Hotel fun for aero geeks

On our family vacation trip for the New Year, we stayed at an Embassy Suites.  One of the best features of their hotel is the inner-facing balconies.  A perfect launching point for paper helicopters and airplanes!  Yes indeed, I and my 8-year old son took advantage of the opportunity.

Embassy Suites inner courtyard

Embassy Suites inner courtyard

My wife was not as enthusiastic or happy about this activity.  But that’s why she brings me along on trips–for the playful adventure. 😉

Our hotel had 7 floors with us on the top, very much like this picture.  I suppose a video of our flights would be fun to share here.  But then there would be real evidence…better left as a story I think.

We made 3 paper helicopters like this:

paper helicopter

paper helicopter

I went down to the ground level to give the “All Clear” signal and catch the helicopters.  My son stood on the 7th floor and released the 3 helicopters in quick succession.  As I suspected, it was good to have multiple objects.  Only one of them spun all the way to the ground as intended, but it was beautiful.  An elegant piece of engineering artwork in motion!

Even though this was late at night, there always seemed to be visitors or hotel staff wandering around in the inner courtyard, so we only did it this once.  I wanted to have a little race or contest between multiple helicopters (whoever took the longest to hit the floor would win).  But my daughter wasn’t as keen on the idea and as I mentioned, we never had a completely empty lobby to play–I mean work with.

Of course, the benefit of being an aerospace engineer is that if I happened to be caught or challenged, I could always say “pardon me, but I do this for a living and I’m teaching my son some important physics and engineering principles.” :-p

Dropping things down the stair wells is always fun too.  We did that.  We tried to see how far down the center column gap we could get a paper helicopter to fly down.  Crumpled up paper balls can be fun too.  Obviously, less likely for someone to discover you there.

Who says you can’t have fun like a kid at any age?!  Not me.  Hotels provide PLENTY of ways for aerospace geeks and airplane buffs to have fun.  Just remember to execute a professional approach: do proper recon beforehand (look for threats and risks).  And clean up after yourself.  Like my mom always taught me, always leave a place as good as or better than you found it.

In my not-so-humble opinion, every rocket scientist, aerospace professional, or aviation geek should know how to make a quality paper helicopter and airplane (at least one type of each).  You think you know how things fly?  You ought to be able to show it and explain it right on the spot with a single piece of paper!  Then keep Embassy Suites in mind as a great hotel to test and fly your creations.  The free breakfast with custom omelets and the evening manager’s reception (with open bar) are great for the grown-ups too.


a decent paper airplane

a decent paper airplane



About Brett Rocket Scientist

Brett creates artful work in aerospace and innovation. He is currently a project manager, author, and speaker. Sometimes he is still an engineer and music composer.

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