Dylan Parker and James Norton met by chance at the Canberra regional paper plane competition in 2008. Their love for paper planes, design and all things aeronautic, lead them to compete not only at the Australian championships but the World Championships in Austria in 2009. Dylan scored a 3rd world ranking with a throw of over 42 meters. James, whose specialty is ‘time in the air’, qualified 1st but famously crashed out in what can only be described as the ‘Don Bradman’ moment for the Australian Paper Plane team.
Now their story has inspired world-renowned Australian filmmaker Robert Connolly (Balibo, The Bank) to develop the world’s first paper plane feature film. Dylan and James have been closely involved in the making of Paper Planes, offering their technical expertise, design skills and folding over five thousand paper planes during the production process. Dylan and James hope that the movie will inspire more people to explore the wonderful world of paper planes.
Paper planes: Dylan and James have formed a lifelong friendship through paper planes. Together they have developed such initiatives as The Paper Pilots, a community partnership and Australia’s first professional paper plane sports team, which travels to schools and community events to spread the love for paper planes. Dylan and James also partnered with Melbourne Artist Ross Coulter for a community engagement project, Ten Thousand Paper Planes. Dylan and James designed and made over ten thousand paper planes, which were launched in unison by two hundred volunteers at the Victoria State Library La Trobe Reading Dome.
Schools: The Paper Pilots have been attending schools and events since 2008. Learning through play is one of the most powerful teaching tools. Paper planes are not only a great demonstration of aerodynamics and physics but can extend to geometry and even the exploration of different materials and their properties. The simplicity of a first fold, a first design, a first flight, can take off in a classroom pretty quickly, and the problem-solving skills needed to test planes and improve them is immediate. The Paper Pilots help kids discover their niche while sharing the story of their journey to becoming World Paper Plane Champions.