On March 15th, 180 self-trained pilots gathered at Park Street Mews for the inaugural Sri Lankan finals of Red Bull Paper Wings. Each participant flew a paper plane, competing for the Longest Distance, Airtime or Aerobatics. In a spectacular show of innovation, skill and creativity, three finalists emerged victorious and will represent Sri Lanka at the upcoming global finals in Austria.
The 180 finalists were chosen after a series of qualifying rounds that took place between February 25th and March 1st. Hundreds of students gathered at APIIT, ICBT, ANC, ACBT and Royal College, inspiring flights of fancy-folded, floating and sometimes faulty falling paper airplanes. Each student competed for a chance to board an actual plane and compete at Red Bull Hangar 7 in Salzburg, Austria for the global finals this May.
Udara S. Perera from the Asian Aviation Centre said that this was the first time he’s thrown a paper plane competitively, and yet won the Longest Distance category with an impressive 25.1m. Overjoyed, Udara said “This feels unreal. I’m so proud that I can fly across the world to represent my country.” In the Longest Airtime category, Shenal Kahandagama, also from the Asian Aviation Centre threw his folded masterpiece above the heads of a whooping audience for a persistent 5.81 seconds. “I do believe practice makes perfect, and I am going to keep practicing until I see 2 digits on the stop watch” said Shenal. Winning the Aerobatics Category, Ikmal Iqbal from ICBT amazed the judges with a total score of 28 and stated “I cannot wait to get back home and start developing the most creative act. I will make the country proud by putting on the best show in Austria.”
One of the three judges for the Aerobatics category, Iroshan Kulatunge, Head of Maintenance and Engineering of Cinnamon Air said that “This event has definitely increased awareness levels of aerodynamics and aerospace engineering in Sri Lanka. It’s great that Red Bull organises such events to offer their brand experience to not only professionals, but amateurs too.”
Roar.lk was on-site to capture the moments and was the official photography partner for the event. Sri Lankans everywhere can follow the journey of their national winners to the global finals on Facebook, Twitter and www.redbullpaperwings.com.