The event certainly didn't measure up to that historic day in 1903 when Wilbur and Orville Wright took to the air in Kitty Hawk, N.C. Nor did it conjure up images of Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Yeager or Neil Armstrong.
But the fourth annual Day-After-Thanksgiving Paper Airplane Contest, held Friday on the east balcony of the City-County Building, did bring out a few nascent aviators for a semi-historic, if not, semi-hysteric, contest.Third District Judge Scott Daniels has organized the event since its inception. In the past it's been an invitational, but this year the number of entrants swelled to a dozen under an open enrollment policy.
The east balcony of the City-County Building, now under renovation, served as the flight deck for the match-up. Contestants lined up on the balcony to toss their aeronautical creations out over Washington Square.
Planes were required to meet strict flight standards, including using only ordinary paper no larger than 81/2 by 11 inches, of a weight no heavier than 40-pound bond, according to rules drafted by Daniels.
Entries met with varying degrees of success. Assistant Salt Lake City Attorney Bruce Baird's mock-up of a Stealth Fighter performed gracefully but posted a negative gain when the dust settled.
"It's just the thrill of my life," Baird deadpanned.
Phil Erickson, executive assistant to Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis, sported a design named after his daughter, but the craft fell prey to a blast of wind shear and fell short of a winning mark.
Salt Lake County deputy sheriff Jack Weiss prevailed over all comers with a solid performance by a traditionally designed craft - the same kind that worked so well in grade school - to win a modest trophy.
And Chuck "The Right Stuff" Gates, a Deseret News editor, placed a close second with his entry, crafted from Deseret News stationery and thrown with the skill he developed in winning the event in 1986.