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Giant Paper Airplane: Pima Air & Space Museum Lifts Off 800-Pound Paper Airplane (VIDEO)

Posted: 03/23/2012 12:03 pm Updated: 03/23/2012 12:03 pm

Paperairplane1
That is one massive paper airplane.

Giant class clowns, this is for you.

The Pima Air & Space Museum in Arizona celebrated its Great Paper Airplane launch on Wednesday with the maiden voyage of a 45-foot, 800-pound paper aircraft.

The design was inspired by 12-year-old paper airplane distance contest winner Aturo Valdenegro. The Tucson boy won the honor of meeting engineers who oversaw the design and construction of the massive paper plane after claiming first prize in the museum's competition, held in January.

Organizers lifted the paper aircraft by helicopter up approximately 2,703 feet before letting it sail.

Here's a first-hand account of the flight, compliments of the museum's live blog:

"After it was lifted off the ground by its nose, our giant paper airplane rose and rose until it began swaying pretty heavily in the wind (a product of our having to delay the launch until the evening instead the calmer morning). Aaron, our helicopter pilot then gave the order to cut the plane loose from the cable when it began to pull the chopper itself in a strong gust. But after it was released, for several shining moments, our huge, beautiful, silly, hubristic 45-foot paper airplane soared."

The plane reached speeds of 98 mph and then glided into history.

The museum does not seem to have plans of shooting a half ton spit-ball through an enormous straw.

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Filed by Steven Hoffer  |