American wins at Paper Airplane World Finals in Austria

American wins paper airline competition

SALZBURG, Austria — A competition in Austria proved that paper airplanes are not just child's play.

The Paper Airplane World Finals last weekend drew 176 competitors from 58 countries. They competed in the longest distance, longest airtime and aerobatics categories.

It was the fifth year for the high-flying competition.

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American Jake Hardy wowed the crowd in Salzburg with the longest throw, coming in at more than 185 feet. His throw measured more than 14 feet farther than the second-place finisher.

"It's amazing. It feels unreal to be a world champion throwing a paper airplane. Super proud, obviously, to be able to bring home the gold for the red, white and blue; it's awesome," said Hardy.

An Australian, Cameron Clark, won the longest airtime event. He threw his plane straight up and it came down in a graceful spiral, hitting the floor more than 13 seconds later.

The aerobatics event gave contestants 60 seconds to perform a creative routine while throwing paper planes to the rhythm of music. A Ukrainian woman, Kateryna Ahafonova, took that title. She made history by becoming the first woman ever to win an event at the Paper Airplane World Finals. She was the only competitor to receive a perfect 10 from any of the judges.