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45-foot-long paper airplane soars over Arizona desert

  • massive paper airplane.JPG

    Pima Air & Space Museum launches one of the world's largest paper airplanes across desert near Tucson, Arizona to ignite youth interest in aviation and engineering.Pima Air & Space Museum

  • Giant paper airplane and namesake arturo

    The giant paper airplane was dubbed Arturo's Desert Eagle after the inspiration behind the design, 12-year-old Arturo Valderamo.Pima Air & Space Museum

  • giant paper airplane towed

    The 800-pound aircraft flew after being towed into the sky by a helicopter and then released.Pima Air & Space Museum

  • Giant paper airplane flies

    The aircraft flew at 98 mph at an altitude of 2,703 feet.Pima Air & Space Museum

  • Giant paper airplane in sky

    Arturo's Desert Eagle will go on display at the museum later this spring.Pima Air & Space Museum

A 45-foot-long (14-meter-long) paper airplane successfully flew across the desert skies of Arizona -- albeit briefly.

The model, which has a 24-foot wingspan, could be the world's largest paper plane, according to the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Ariz., which was responsible for the project.

Dubbed Arturo's Desert Eagle after the inspiration behind the design -- 12-year-old Arturo Valderamo -- the 800-pound (363-kilogram) aircraft flew at 98 mph (158 kph) at an altitude of 2,703 feet (824 meters) after being towed into the sky by a helicopter Wednesday and then released.

"The paper airplane in flight rekindled the childhood creativity in all of us."

- Pima Air & Space Museum executive director Yvonne Morris

The project began in January after the museum launched a contest for six- to 14-year-olds to see who could fold a paper plane and get it to fly the furthest.

Arturo's design won the competition and -- spurred on by the kids' enthusiasm -- engineers at the museum decided to see whether they could fly their own (slightly larger) aircraft made from Falconboard paper.

Pima Air & Space Museum executive director Yvonne Morris said, "The arresting visual of the paper airplane in flight rekindled the childhood creativity in all of us."

Arturo's Desert Eagle will go on display at the museum later this spring.