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Tech Saturday, March 24th 2012 at 2:00 pm

45-Foot Paper Airplane Flies Over Desert

As part of its own Great Paper Airplane project, Pima Air & Space Museum built and flew a 45-foot-long paper airplane with a 24-foot wingspan over the Arizona desert. The plane, dubbed Arturo’s Desert Eagle, was helped into the sky by a Sikorsky S58T helicopter, and upon reaching 2,703 feet up, was let loose to fly.

The team initially wanted to tow Arturo’s Desert Eagle up to around 4,000 or 5,000 feet, but due to wind conditions, the helicopter pilot decide 2,703 feet was good enough. The paper airplane was able to reach speeds of up to 100mph for around 7 to 10 seconds until pressure on the tail caused it to crash.

The plane was made of layers of falcon board, a type of corrugated cardboard, which spokesperson Tim Vimmerstedt described as something similar to the material of pizza boxes, and was designed and built by Art Thompson, who actually helepd design the B-2 stealth bomber. Though the plane was built by someone who designed the B-2, Arturo’s Desert Eagle was designed by 12-year-old Arturo Valdenegro, giving the plane its namesake.

Check out a video of the launch below:

(via LA Times)

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