Mississippi Aviation Heritage Museum’s paper plane contest shows the sky is the limit

Aspiring young pilots had their flying abilities tested through some creative paper folding.
Published: Jan. 14, 2023 at 9:00 PM CST
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Aspiring young pilots had their flying abilities tested through some creative paper folding.

The sky was the limit at the second annual John C. Robinson “Brown Condor Association” Paper Airplane Contest hosted by the Mississippi Aviation Heritage Museum in Gulfport.

But folding paper can be a tedious task...even for the adults.

“I am I’m making a few airplanes,” said Lyman resident Kristi Anderson. “They’re not going very far but I have made a few...It seems like it wouldn’t be difficult, doesn’t it? It’s not easy.”

But it’s worth the effort for Anderson and her 5-year-old grandson Zion.

“My grandson woke me up at 8:30,” she said. " ‘Let’s go, let’s go!’ I never knew that he was even interested until we got here, and he is having a ball.”

Anderson said this experience could lead to great things.

“Yeah, maybe this is the beginning in him being interested in a career in flying.”

This is exactly what museum executive director Francisco Gonzalez wants to hear.

“We’re giving them confidence, which is what I want to build,” he said. “As a teacher, what you want to do is make them feel confidence and able and creative.”

At the contest, participants of all ages had their skills tested in flying distance and loft time. As part of the experience, they learned how to change and adapt, with some help from experienced co-pilots.

“We’re giving them three opportunities. In every opportunity, they should adjust the plane to make it fly better,” Gonzalez added.

And for the kids? Sisters McKenna Edelen, 6, and Avery Edelen, 8, have their own reasons for participating.

“Because I want to win a trophy!” McKenna said.

Avery was simply concentrating on the task at hand.

“I just came here so I can throw my plane,” she said. “I just really just came here for fun.”

That’s why Jason Melton brought his 5-year-old grandson Earl.

“Oh, it’s making memories,” he said. “Making memories, teaching them a little bit about aviation. ... If you’re not down here taking advantage of this with your grand kids or kids, you’re just missing out.”

Starting Jan. 26, the museum will host a “History Night” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. It will be once a month on Thursdays, but it will be once a week during February for Black History Month.

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