As any schoolchild can tell you, November is Aviation History Month. While most of these smart-alecky kids will be celebrating by furtively crafting paper airplanes under their desks and then lofting them toward the teacher's head during a lull in class, their more industrious peers will be consumed with studying wind charts, national weather reports and the vector dynamics of Ken Blackburn's "Deltry" design.
Blackburn, the Guinness Book record-holder for time aloft, paper-airplane division (27.6 seconds), is the patron saint of the highly competitive paper-aviation world, and his successful designs (some of which can be found at www.paperairplane.org) will no doubt be in attendance today at the Barr Branch of the St. Louis Public Library (1701 South Jefferson Avenue, 314-771-7040). From 4 to 5 p.m., junior aviators (and adults, too) will be provided with all of the necessary materials to construct their own planes and then enter them in the library's Great Paper Airplane Flyoff. Prizes will be awarded in three age categories, so the old-timers will have a chance against the whiz kids. If your plane suffers an inglorious demise, don't worry: The library probably has copies of Blackburn's books on hand, and you can bone up on his theories for the next flyoff, which happens to be on November 13 at the Buder Branch. Check www.slpl.lib.mo.us for other Aviation Month events at the city libraries. -- Paul Friswold
Free fun by the floodwall
Before the St. Louis winter sweeps in and coats the sidewalks with lawsuit-defying ice, you may want to check out the artsy outdoor offerings just north of the Arch. The floodwall mural, Reflecting on a River, is a 190-foot-long bas-relief projecting from the monolithic concrete wall. Cer-amic fish, insects, fossils and birds weighing a total of 17,000 pounds cavort on the stark surface (visit www.confluencegreenway.org for more info). Nearby, Bob Cassilly's fanciful bike ramp shoots out of the Laclede Power Building (Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard at Biddle Street). Walking under the organic forms carved into the concrete arch feels a little like being at Cassilly's City Museum. Finally, take a moment to walk along the immense floodwall and appreciate its aesthetic interaction with the sky from various angles -- it's every bit as cool as walking through Richard Serra's Joe at the Pulitzer Foundation. -- Byron Kerman