The two first-graders scurried away from the black line on the linoleum floor Saturday to get a running start before throwing their bright orange paper airplanes.
Sofia Khadduri, 7, ran to the line first, jumping off the ground and throwing the plane with all her might. Not too far behind was Mercedez Srein, 6.
“I threw it up and it went really high and really far — really far,” Sofia said, explaining her best throw.
The girls were among 250 parents and children who attended the 14th annual Paper Airplane Flight School at the Olympic Flight Museum.
Parents and children chose among several types of multicolored paper plane options, experimenting with different models before the distance and accuracy competition later in the day.
It was the Khadduri family’s second time coming to the event.
“It’s fabulous,” said Sofia’s mother, Lucie Khadduri. “It was a sunny day, but we were totally coming no matter what. We wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Khadduri said she likes the exposure to science and physics for the children, as well as the hands-on learning.
Through trial and error, Sofia was able to figure out why her airplane kept pulling to the right in flight.
“I had to take the paper clip off,” she said.
The event attracted about 100 people when it first started, but numbers have substantially grown in recent years.
“It’s become a staple wintertime event for the community,” said Teri Thorning, the museum’s executive director. “Preschoolers through high schoolers can participate.”
The distance and accuracy competitions kicked off after an hour of construction and a 30-minute snack break. Each competition was divided by age group. The winner of each competition received a prize.
“The opportunity to construct something and compete with it as an activity builds skills and sportsmanship,” Thorning said.
Flying paper airplanes is a tradition for Barbara Bell and 6-year-old grandson Matthew Roundtree. The two regularly make a game of it at her Chehalis home.
“If you land in the cupboard, you get 10 points,” Bell said.
Chelsea Krotzer: 360-754-5476 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/thisjustin @chelseakrotzer