Paper plane to Austria
Many of us live the generic school life; wake up, go to class, do homework, and go to work. Not much excitement besides the occasional gathering at the local watering hole, but for one Mount Royal student excitement is a regular occurrence as of late.
Addison Asuchak, a second-year general studies student, qualified for the national Red Bull Paper Wings paper airplane competition back in February at Mount Royal. He was then given the chance to go to Toronto to compete against other Canadian students for a spot in Austria at the world competition.
“I didn’t expect winning going in to the Calgary competition, but after Calgary I had complete confidence in the Toronto competitions,” explains Asuchak.
While being overconfident does hinder some, it didn’t with Asuchak. His first plane in the national competition didn’t fare too well; he redesigned his plane, didn’t even test it out and came up with the longest hang-time at the competition.
“I made that plane in under a minute, completely changed the design, never tested it and threw it, he explained. “It nearly hit the rafters on the roof.”
Asuchak isn’t new in the paper airplane world; he has been constructing them for about 16 years and says it is somewhat ironic that this particular hobby is taking him across the world.
“It’s funny because I use to get in trouble at home for making and throwing airplanes,” explained Asuchak. “My mom would get mad because she would find them everywhere, behind the couches and on top of the fridge.”
After the Toronto competition, Asuchak said it felt a little surreal, he was given a limo to go wherever he wanted and the Red Bull rep called him and said that CBC wanted to do a live radio interview with him right there. Somewhat out of the ordinary for the 19-year-old.
Now that Asuchak is back in Calgary and finishing up his second year, as well as studying for final exams, he is doing research on the air pressure in Austria and checking out different models of airplanes that he will try out.
After the competition in Austria, he plans on staying and travelling around Europe for three weeks with newfound friend Louis-René Lafond of Sherbrooke, QC, who placed first in the distance category in the competition.
Ironically, Asuchak wasn’t even going to attend the competition in Calgary because he had an English class at the same time. He saw the poster a couple days before the competition but didn’t want people to see him eyeing it even though it peaked his interest.
“I didn’t want to get caught looking at it. It is about paper planes, how juvenile is that?”
This “juvenile” competition is now giving him the opportunity of a lifetime and he will never look at a printer full of paper in the same way.
The world competition takes place May 1-2 in Salzburg Austria, and while this is the end of the path this year, Asuchak says he will most likely continue with paper airplane competitions.
“I’ve already got my feet wet, so why don’t I go swimming.”