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Soaring high: Australian paper plane pilots conduct workshops for kids

Dylan Parker and James Norton attend schools of Delhi, interact with the kids and talk about folding paper and solving problems of life.

art and culture Updated: Feb 21, 2017 19:32 IST
Henna Rakheja
Australian paper plane pilots Dylan Parker and James Norton , on their India tour.
Australian paper plane pilots Dylan Parker and James Norton , on their India tour.

When was the last time you made a paper plane and flew it? In 2014, when the English film, Paper Planes released, it just didn’t win the hearts of viewers but also revived this childlike interest. So when the inspiration behind this film — Dylan Parker and James Norton — paper plane pilots from Australia, introduced themselves to the young adults from the schools of Delhi, their reaction was nothing short of euphoria.

“A lot of kites fly in this part of the world. But we are happy to see that there are a lot of paper plane enthusiasts too,” says James, who met Dylan at a paper plane competition in 2008 at the University of Canberra.

A still from the movie, Paper Planes (2014), which is inspired from the life of Dylan Parker and James Norton.

Their journey together was no less that a dramatic film. Soon after they met, Dylan was diagnosed with a brain tumour. He went back to Newcastle but the two remained in touch with each other through social media. Dylan came third in the World Paper Plane Championships (2008) in Sydney. And their story became inspirational.

“A piece of paper can be folded in numerous ways. It’s versatile and accessible and if it doesn’t fly, you just have to tweak a fold to solve the problem.” - James Norton

“A piece of paper can be folded in numerous ways. It’s versatile and accessible and if it doesn’t fly, you just have to tweak a fold to solve the problem. Even life is like that… a bad fold is the worst thing that can happen,” says James, a landscape architect by profession, agreeing how paper planes are symbolic of real life and small changes can help one succeed.

Dylan, who works in advertising and tags himself as more talkative among the two, adds, “While giving workshops to children and teachers in school in Mumbai and Delhi, we saw that were excited about the movie. They try to learn from each other. One of the kids stuck different planes together and tried to fly them as one. Everyone thought that it’s unique. Everywhere we go in the world, kids often come up with something or the other that’s unusual in their own way.”

Dylan and James fly paper planes after a workshop with school children, during their India tour.

Wherever these two go, they make sure to check one mandatory box in their to-do list. Dylan informs, “We get ourselves clicked while flying planes in front of iconic monuments. So when in India, we have thought of getting that picture in front of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India Gate in Delhi and the Hawa Mahal in Jaipur. Let’s see if our schedule permits.”