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Japanese chap sets paper plane flight record

Origami aircraft aloft for 26.1 seconds

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A Japanese aeronautical origami engineer has set the world record for the longest flight by a paper-only plane - 26.1 seconds.

Takuo Toda, president of the Japan Origami Airplane Association, made his attempt on Saturday in a Japan Airlines hangar near Tokyo's Haneda airport, the Guardian explains.

Toda already held the Guinness world record of 27.9 seconds for a vehicle "held together with cellophane tape", but his latest 10cm plane was folded purely from a single sheet of paper without the benefit of scissors or glue.

He told AP after the event: "I felt a lot of pressure. Everything is a factor - the moisture in the air, the temperature, the crowd."

Toda has now set his sights on the 30-second record, which he says is "just a matter of time". He's also hoping to resurrect the audacious International Space Station paper plane project - a collaboration with aerospace engineering professor Shinji Suzuki of the University of Tokyo.

Early in 2008, tests began on a plane capable of surviving re-entry into Earth's atmosphere after launch from the ISS. The idea was to dispatch 100 of the aircraft from the orbiting outpost, but the Guardian notes that the pair canned the plan after acknowledging it would be "all but impossible to track them during their week-long journey to Earth". ®

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Suzuki and Toda's splendidly pointless space experiment provided partial inspiration for our own Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) project, which recently acquired a sponsor and should be good to go in August 2010.

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