Sunday September 23, 2012
400 let their imaginations soar in contest
By NICHOLAS CHENG
PETALING JAYA: Towering over her younger and smaller rivals, Hajah Adibah Ahmad casts a daunting shadow. But put a paper plane in her hand and the physics teacher becomes the jolliest person in the room.
“I used to enjoy making paper planes and throwing them around. So you can imagine my excitement when I heard about the National Science Centre's 1Malaysia Paper Airplane Contest (1MPAC),” said the 51-year-old who turned up for the contest yesterday with her creation, alongside 400 other contestants, mostly students.
“The objective of the contest is to make your plane stay in the air longer than the others. My plane doesn't look like much but it has great aerodynamics and can hover well,” said Hajah Adibah whose plane clocked four seconds in the air during the open category run.
Business executive Hilmi Md Lahin Noor, 40, said he and his son Muhamad Haikal, 11, researched and tested many designs before settling for a swallow-tail plane design.
“We made a mess of our apartment, throwing so many planes around,” he said in jest. Although the father-and-son-team failed to advance to the final round, they plan to be back next year.
The grand prize winner was Muhaimin Abdul Alif, 14, from SMK Subang Bestari who found the design for his paper plane on the Internet.
“Many others also had the same design, so I never expected to win,” said Muhaimin whose plane clocked 9.85 seconds on the air, just a second shy of the winning time in the 2011's Worldwide Paper Airplane Contest.
The current world record is held by Japanese engineer Takuo Toda whose plane clocked a flight time of 27.9 seconds in the 2009 contest.
Muhaimin believed the way he launched his plane, from a 45-degree angle, gave him the edge.
“Most contestants just threw their planes straight and they end up colliding with other planes,” he noted.
Over RM20,000 worth of prizes including smartphones and a tablet were given out to winners. The event was organised by the National Science Centre, WellAd Communications Sdn Bhd and Yayasan Inovasi Malaysia, with the support of the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry.