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March 13, 2009
UC Davis Students Try to Ride Paper Planes to Austria

Students at UC Davis competed in a paper airplane flying contest Thursday, vying to be selected for an international competition in Salzburg, Austria in April.

The winner in two of three categories was sophomore Ryan Naccarato, a pre-med student. All planes had to be made with a single uncut sheet of paper.

:"I have a history in model aviation," Naccarato said Friday, "so I know a lot about aerodynamics on a small scale."

Naccarato practiced with printer paper, then was surprised at the different paper stock used for the competition. An experienced origami practitioner, he experimented for an hour while judges checked out others of the scores of competitors.

Naccarato's score of 285 in the aerobatics category was near the perfect 300, and almost 100 points higher than the 2nd place competitor. He also won the distance competition with a plane that went 94 feet.

After a series of similar competitions sponsored by Red Bull, the contestants earning the five highest scores in each category will be send to Austria to compete against European paper aviators.

"To go to Austria, that would be fantastic," Naccarato said.

The top three UC Davis competitors in each category were:

Farthest Distance:
Ryan Naccarato - 94 ft
Nick Chi - 90 ft. 4 in.
Kyle Oyama - 88 ft. 6 in.

Longest Flight:
Ronnie Lau - 4.78
Rocky Bair - 4.56
Patrick Elahmadie - 4.50

Ryan Naccarato - 285
Derick Felsman - 190
Amir Nojoumi - 175

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