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It's a Bird, It's a Plane ... It's a Paper Airplane

Jan. 15, 2018
3 min read
It's a Bird, It's a Plane ... It's a Paper Airplane
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Remember the paper airplanes you used to make as a kid? The precision with which you folded the corners and the pride and glory felt when yours went further than your friend's planes? Well, your childhood paper-plane glory days have just burst into flames.

Meet Luca Iaconi-Stewart. He is building a Boeing 777-300ER model that's 1/60th the actual size of the plane completely out of manila folders and glue. That's it. (Apologies to your inner child.)

Iaconi-Stewart's passion for aviation began as a kid; he was fascinated by the "whole travel experience — not just the miracle of flight itself, but everything leading up to it" — from being in the airport to flying commercially. He spent years working on his nearly 4-foot-long model; he started in May of 2008 and to date, has put "somewhere north of 5,000 hours" into the model.

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The project was inspired from an architecture class he took in high school making massing models out of manila paper. Iaconi-Stewart's love of aviation, and the fact that he found a detailed diagram of Air India's 777-300ER, led him on a journey to begin this huge undertaking — one that he's been working on for nearly a decade.

It's no surprise that it's taken him years to finish: Iaconi-Stewart spent one summer just working on the 300 seats that are in the 777, each about the size of a gumdrop. It takes about 20 minutes to make an economy seat, four to six hours for a business class and eight hours for first class.

While the seats don't recline, there are parts of the model that do move like the cabin doors, landing gear and wing flaps. Iaconi-Stewart is still working on the wings and isn't sure when he'll be done, since they're incredibly complex, and told TPG via email that it will be "an ordeal to finish."

Check out some of his work here:

H/T: Wired