The centerpiece of classroom mischief will come into its own this weekend when amateur aviation engineers test the mettle of their paper planes at the non-for-profit Public Art Fund's New Millennium Paper Airplane Contest in New York City.

As many as 200 participants are expected to battle it out for such titles as the paper creation that flies the farthest, is the most beautiful—and even the one that puts in a performance deemed the most "spectacular failure." The rules are simple: paper must be 8.5 by 11 inches (21.6 by 28 centimeters) or smaller; cutting and gluing is okay, but stapling is not. Tiny planes folded from gum wrappers make the cut, as do graceful bird-inspired crafts, angular jets, and tiny mothlike fliers.

Competitors will be arranged in heats at the event, which is being held Saturday from 1 P.M. to 5 P.M. in the New York Hall of Science in Queens. Wannabe contenders who can't make it to NYC are invited to send their paper planes for designated proxies to fly. And, yes, the winners will get trophies.

New York artist Klara Hobza organized the event, inspired by a Scientific American–sponsored paper airplane contest held in the same location (originally called the Great Hall and built to display rockets for the 1964 World's Fair) more than 40 years ago. She plans to include winning designs in a new book, The New Millennium Paper Airplane Book, with do-it-yourself instructions, similar to one published after the original 1967 tournament.

View Slide Show of the Contest