Non Sequitur Fridays

Flying Lessons with Ron

This post is part of our Non Sequitur Fridays series, which will feature a different Wistian's take on a non-Wistia-related topic each week. It's like our "employee of the month" but less "of the month"-y. Ron Hong is an engineer at Wistia. This is his first Non Sequitur Fridays post!

As a kid, I was obsessed with paper airplanes. I would spend hours upon hours painstakingly folding them, experimenting with materials, design, and throwing techniques.

I'd bring paper with me wherever I went so I'd never be caught bored. And when I was without a stable, flat surface to fold or without adequate space to launch, I'd sit and brainstorm, thinking up crazy new designs that just might work.

At a school book fair, I found a book about paper airplanes full of new designs to try. It even had a section on design concepts that blew my mind. Concepts like making the nose heavy to keep it pointed forward when thrown, launching from where the weight was balanced fore to aft, curling the tips of the wings up for planes that tended to nosedive, and curling them down for planes that shot straight up in the air.

I must have made a thousand paper airplanes before I picked up that book, and another thousand after that. Even though I don't spend so much time on paper airplanes now, there's still something about folding one and watching it soar that makes my heart jump a little with excitement.

There is only one paper airplane of my own design that I can remember how to fold. I called it the "Speedometer" because... well, it was speedy. In retrospect, not the greatest of names, but I remember being pretty proud of myself for coming up with it.

Note the stabilizers on the wings. These help the airplane stay level, despite asymmetries from imperfect folds. This was a breakthrough technology in the R&D division at Ron Hong Paper Airplanes Corp.

And since we now have the luxury of the Internet to look up paper airplane designs, I went ahead and Googled "best paper airplane" and made one of those.

After I constructed both models, there was only one thing left to do. Fly them.

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