"I used to regularly win lots of prizes at the local paper airplane contest, at least until they got tired of me and one other person pretty much taking over the entire adult division," Zongker said. "I'd usually win distance or acrobatics--everything but time aloft, which is what this is about."
Zongker made the British version of the Guinness Book of World Records in 1985--but a competitor promptly broke his distance aloft record, so he failed to make the U.S. version of the book.
Zongker isn't sure which design he'll fly in Long Beach: "I may or may not win, but my design definitely will be interesting. It will not be boring."
Wainfan said he's tempted to copy Old Red, which has set the standard at McDonnell Douglas' internal competition. But the engineer added that, "as a Northrop employee, I'm honor-bound to at least try one flying-wing design."
"This is a funny business," Wainfan said. "Airplane design involves science, but it's really still an art. I'm sure a few mavericks will consider adding wheels or a different kind of tail."
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
McDonnell Douglas engineer Jerry Peck hopes to break the 40-second barrier with "Old Red," his entry in the World's Greatest Paper Airplane Contest. Peck's design:
Class A entries in the contest must follow these rules:
* Constructed of a single 8 1/2-by-11-inch sheet of four-millimeter bond paper (photocopier paper)
* Glue permitted for assembly
* No plastic, cardboard or paper clips
* Nose ballast may be of any material
* Ballast may not extend from airplane
Source: Jerry Peck; Researched by JANICE L. JONES / Los Angeles Times