Arturo Valdenegro, 12-year-old Tucson resident, made paper aviators everywhere look minuscule by comparison last week. In the skies over the Sonora desert in Arizona, the Pima Air & Space Museum launched the biggest paper airplane ever constructed--a paper airplane based on Valdenegro's design--into the sky, accelerating it to speeds topping 100 miles per hour before it came crashing down (as paper airplanes do).
The plane, aptly named Arturo's Desert Eagle, weighed 800 pounds and stretched 45 feet long with a 24-foot wingspan. The museum constructed it out of falcon board, a kind of corrugated cardboard, as part of its Giant Paper Airplane Project, the goal of which is to generate interest in aviation and engineering among young people.
Arturo designed and folded his plane for the competition, winning top honors in a fly-off sponsored by the Pima museum. But for last week's flight, his design was adopted and constructed by Art Thompson, one of the designers of the B-2 stealth bomber.
The idea was initially to tow Arturo's Desert Eagle up to roughly 5,000 feet and let it fly, but the pilot of the Sikorsky S58T helicopter that was doing the towing decided that the wind conditions wouldn't allow it. The tether was cut at about 2,700 feet, which was still plenty high to allow the giant paper plane to glide for about ten seconds, hitting speeds of 100 miles per hour before tail stress brought it crashing to the ground. For his part, Valdenegro told the museum that he's now convinced that a career in engineering is the right move for him when he gets older. Given the video below, his resume already looks pretty solid.
Nothing fake about this video. It's a true story. All that you have to do is a little cross checking. . .
BTW, The shaky video is caused by the helicopters winds and a cameraman handholding the camera.
This thing will never fly right. It is missing a giant paper clip, sheesh!
Now to construct a spitwad cannon of like dimensions.
Downward folded wingtips... well done.
In our school's paper airplane contest I taped 2 small wings on a tightly packed brick of paper clips (approved materials) and threw it like a rock. Some say it was cheating, but they didn't win the Jolly Ranchers...
@johnt007871, I approve your design. :) Wrap the paper clips in a fuel soaked rag and light it on fire and call it the Phoenix. :D
In space, no one can hear a tree fall in the forest.
Why is the video cut short? You would think they wouldn't want us to miss any of their glorious ten seconds of flight from each of the HD cameras used.
The most exciting part, and hardest to fake, the crash, is not shown.
If this turns out to be fake I'm deleting my PopSci account.
You people are loosing respect for science.
i say lets settle our differences between countries with good old paper plane battles.
"religion is like a prison for the seekers of wisdom"
My father showed me how to make a glider airplane. It makes me wonder how fair it would have flown if it was made like this one.
@johnt007871 I won my classes contest by making a jet, the most basic of planes. Fold it in half, unfold it. Fold each side to where the crease is from the first fold. Do it two more times. The harder you throw it the further it goes lol.
talking about paper planes this X-45C Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle is one of the best paper plane i've seen so far :))