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45-Foot Paper Airplane Takes Flight

03/26/2012 04:36 AM ET

A giant 45-foot paper airplane takes flight in the skies over Tucson, Arizona. The paper airplane carried a 24-foot wingspan and was towed 4,000 feet into the sky by a helicopter before being released. It took flight, reaching speeds of up to 90 miles per hour for six seconds, before landing again near the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson.

Giant Paper Airplane

According to Metro, the plane was named the Arturo Desert Eagle after 12-year-old Tucson school kid Arturo Valdenegro, who won a local newspaper paper plane competition that gave him the opportunity to join the team responsible for building the 363kg plane.

The Pima Air and Space Museum staff have claimed that the Arturo Desert Eagle could be the world’s largest paper plane.

After the flight, the museum’s director Yvonne Morris said: “The arresting visual of the paper airplane in flight rekindled the childhood creativity in all of us.”

She also said that the project was “part of our larger effort to inspire America’s youth and spark a passion for aviation and engineering in the next generation.”

As winner of the contest, Valdenegro got to meet with the engineers who oversaw the design and build of the 800-pound paper airplane, which defied gravity at an altitude of 2,703 feet.

The public can view the larger-than-life paper airplane in person when it goes on display at the Pima Air & Space Museum later this spring. The museum, which is non-government funded, maintains a collection of more than 300 aircraft and spacecraft from around the globe, including many rare and one-of-a-kind artifacts.

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