Alright, so who doesn’t wonder about the biggest paper airplane ever made? Most of us have probably even tried making one out of large sheets or poster board. In the photo here you can see one of our own large paper planes made out of red poster board. But it’s not the largest plane, that distinction and honor goes to 12-year-old Arturo Valdenegro.
In March 2012 the Pima Air and Space Museum gave flight to perhaps the biggest paper airplane ever built, a giant 45 foot paper airplane with a 24 foot wingspan!! Can you imagine? That thing weighed in at 800 + pounds yet managed to fly at over 2,700 feet and reached speeds of up to 98 miles per hour! So yea, it’s no regular paper plane.
And Arturo is no rookie, he’s been making planes for some time and he was able to be a part of this great event because he won a regional paper airplane distance competition held at the Pima Air and Space Museum the previous January. As the winner he then collaborated with engineers to build a large-scale replica of his design, which now rests on display in tattered pieces at the museum (see photo below). The plane was made out of Falconboard® paper, which is a heavy-duty, corrugated type of paperboard.
Unlike this giant behemoth, our big red flier didn’t fly so well. It seems that making the biggest paper airplane out of poster board is really difficult if you try to stick to traditional folds, mainly because the paper is so thick that its very hard to fold and get creases. It’s also difficult to get the wings to cooperate and
stay in position, likely because of the fold and crease problem. But she did fly. The added weight of the large plane and the robust paper meant we could give it a really good throw!
Below is a photo of Arturo’s plane, dubbed “Desert Eagle”, in the shattered remains of its less than graceful landing. But a huge congratulations to him for his inspiration of others and his dedication to flight and his passion. Some larger communities have paper plane clubs and competitions, so check it out and get involved for yourself, or your children. Or be courageous and start your own clubs and competitions, and compete nationally against others like Arturo. It is a great way to learn about aeronautics and flight, and a great way to inspire learning.
At the bottom is a YouTube video of the Biggest Paper Airplane ever being hoisted in the air, flown to 2,700 feet by a helicopter and then released for flight… check it out! What’s the biggest paper airplane you’ve ever built?