Up, up and away with a record-breaking attempt

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They smashed the record for highest altitude paper plane launch.

A La Salle-Peru native and his buddies from Chicago had high hopes Saturday when they were able to launch a weather balloon carrying a paper airplane up to what they hoped would be a record-setting launch.

Their plane was released at over 126,000 feet, and the current record is recorded at about 115,000 feet in the United Kingdom.

“We feel pretty good,” said Brian Koehler, formerly of Peru.

Koehler of Chicago and a group of friends competed Saturday to be part of Guinness World Records for the highest altitude paper plane launch at the former Church Street Park in Peru. Saturday the group prepared to launch the specially-designed, neon-green Carter II paper airplane, in hopes that the weather balloon would carry it to a record height — 120,000 feet, 5,000 feet higher than the record.

At over 126,000 feet in the air, the airplane and payload were released from the balloon.

The group had lots of technology allowing them to find the airplane and payload after the launch.

But Guinness likes video proof, and the group does have some video proof, but the camera’s batteries froze after about 60,000 feet in the air.

“We’re hoping what we have is enough,” he said. “We’ll submit it and see what we have is enough.”

If they don’t make the record this time, they’ll try breaking the record again, he said.

He said they’d do it in Peru again, which he called the perfect location because there aren’t any big airports around, and because it’s easier to find the airplane and payload in the wide open spaces of this rural area, than say an urban city.

They found the airplane on Sunday at a gun range near Manhattan, Ill., which is about an hour and 12 minutes away from Peru.

Friends and family attended the Saturday launch. Koehler said it was nice to see some people who he hasn’t seen in 20-some years.

After the group submits their information to Guinness, they’ll wait to see if Guinness requests any more info. If they don’t get the record, they’ll start planning for the next world record.

Ali Braboy can be reached at (815) 220-6931 and abraboy@shawmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @NT_LaSalle. Craig Sterrett can be reached at (815) 220-6935 or csterrett@shawmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_NewsEditor.