Everyone likes a good paper airplane. But how much do you love a 45-foot paper airplane?
The answer is clear: A lot.
And your love doesn't have to be unrequited, because the good folks at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Ariz., have not only built but also flown a 45-footer, achieving the feat earlier this week. (See video below.)
"It's not every day that a giant paper airplane is released high over the Arizona desert. In fact, it's never been done. But that's exactly what the Pima Air and Space Museum did," the museum wrote on its wonderfully named Web site, GreatPaperAirplane.org. "A couple months ago, hundreds of kids came to the museum to show us what paper airplane flying was all about. And now, inspired by their enthusiasm, we built a 45-foot paper airplane (quite possibly the largest ever constructed) and flew it."
Indeed, while the giant flyer had a few problems--it buckled under its own weight just hours before it finally got airborne--the folks at Pima eventually took it to the sky (with a little help from a friendly helicopter).
"Then it flew," Pima's live blog reported. "The Eagle flew!
"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 of 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."
This is obviously one of the great moments in geek history, and it's no surprise coming from an aviation lover's playground like the Pima Air and Space Museum. This is a place that features a fantastic airplane graveyard that's available for public tours, and that is currently exhibiting a group of vintage planes that have been re-imagined as artists' canvases. But as for the giant paper airplane? As Gizmodo put it, "I don't think it's a great idea. I think this is an awesome kick-ass french-toast-sweet idea with maple syrup on top."
I would have to completely and totally agree.