Live Blogging the Launch

– – –

6:23PM

Sorry for the delay. I know it’s been over four hours since I last updated. Here’s the deal.

This morning, our plane buckled under its own weight. That was the delay. Art and the team had to take it back into the hangar and reinforce the entire structure. So when, several hours later, we once again saw the plane emerge onto the runway, we could only watch. And hope.

And then it flew. 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 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.

Here’s the best photo I could manage so soon in the rush following the flight, and a photo of the reaction behind me at the time. But I promise we’ll get more details, photos plus some pretty great video footage (which I’m sorry to say my computer can’t handle) as soon as we can. For now, just know that somehow, against all odds, a giant paper airplane flew across the Arizona sky tonight.

– – –

2:03PM

The first time I tried passionfruit Skittles I thought they were disgusting. And now they’re all I eat, between my midmorning coffeebeans and wheatgrass lunch. Why do I mention this? Because the first time you try anything is really hard. And such is the case with flying a paper airplane the size of a house. After difficulties pulling it up into the air, Art and his team are forging ahead with new plans of attack. They’re reinforcing the “fuselage” area and rethinking the way the plane will be towed into the air. So, the plan now is to make these adjustments and get Arturo’s Desert Eagle into the air before sunset.

In the meantime, I’ve had some downtime to study up on the proper use of alliteration in blog posts. And Kirby Chambliss, who has generously donated his property for this project, had some time to jump in his stunt plane and perform some amazing tricks high above base camp. Those of us on the ground were treated to a dazzling and death-defying display of disdain for the direction of down. So… you could say we both did something impressive.

Back at you soon.

– – –

12:18PM

Frustrating. There have been a series of delays in hoisting the plane up in the air. The problem now lies not with the plane’s ability to fly, but in our ability to get it up in the air. But Art the Silent Panther-Assassin (thank you, D-Pez) is on the case, creating fixes as we wait in the hot sun. More soon…

– – –

11:09AM

The view of the plane being hoisted up (a very delicate process), as seen through the luscious dreads of Keith from our Build Team.

– – –

10:17AM

Yvonne gives some stirring opening remarks.

– – –

10:02AM

Arturo poses by his plane as the nose art is revealed. Introducing ARTURO’S DESERT EAGLE™ (trademark not really necessary, but included for emphasis). Now, what other kid gets his name on a plane? Let alone a one-of-a-kind giant paper plane?

Art on the plane was created by nose art specialist Gary Velasco from FightingColors.com. Our big thanks to Gary!

– – –

9:56AM

The plane is rolled out of the tent and onto the runway! Wow, it looks great. And MASSIVE.

– – –

9:30AM

Now that’s a huge helicopter Arturo and Matt are leaping out of. Yowza. (Also, if you’ve ever heard of “Riptide”, the TV show this helicopter was once a part of, that makes one of us.)

– – –

9:09AM

Pre-flight interview with our very own Count Von Galen. The bandana looks smashing!

– – –

8:44AM

Art working out the drag chute issues (see previous post for more on this) for the release of the plane from the tow cable. Won’t be long now…

– – –

8:31AM

Our director/camera operator/pilot Matt sporting his “good luck” tee.

– – –

8:11AM

A coffee company and a fast food joint who are not sponsors of our early morning (but they should be).

– – –

7:59AM

So we finally found a wireless connection!

We’ve been out here in the middle of the Arizona desert since before sunrise (many of us have been here all night), getting ready to launch our 45-foot paper airplane (fully built, as shown above)!

Check back in often, as I’ll be giving updates throughout the day…

109 thoughts on “Live Blogging the Launch

  1. Matt Stacy March 21, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Can’t wait to see what happens!

  2. I March 21, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    This is so exciting!

  3. Brianna March 21, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    This is so great! Can’t wait to see what happens.

  4. Genius March 21, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Wishing you all success with the launch! :-)

  5. Per March 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    i love this.

  6. Max March 21, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Good luck!

  7. Michael Gray March 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Will there be any video coverage?

    • admin March 21, 2012 at 6:06 pm

      Hi Michael,

      Yes, we are documenting the whole day on video. We will have a chase plane up in the sky shooting the historic flight. Keep tuning into the site and we will keep you updated with stills.

      Thanks,
      Pima Air & Space Museum

  8. Kelly March 21, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Very exciting! I can’t wait to hear how the plane did. Waiting for updates :)

  9. D-Pez March 21, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    I’m burning up with anticipation. Art the panther is going to fly this plane to the sun and back. People are going scream with delight and fear. Politicians are going to take credit for the success. And Art the panther will continue to be the silent assassin of flight.

  10. Hoff March 21, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    So when is this historic event going to happen, the time of day??

  11. Jenny March 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Please give us an update about the time this will happen

    • admin March 21, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      Hi Jenny,

      We are working on making some final tweaks to the 45 ft. paper airplane to ensure structural integrity. Please check back in about an hour and we should have more details regarding the flight time.

      Thanks,
      Pima Air & Space Museum

  12. Jenny March 21, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Thank you :)

  13. C Lavery March 21, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Where is your location? I would love to be able to watch this live.

    • admin March 21, 2012 at 9:25 pm

      Hi C,

      Due to safety concerns, there is no public access to our location. We hope you will continue to tune in to get updates on the flight. We will have a final video of the flight as well up soon for you to view.

      Thank you,
      Pima Air & Space Museum

  14. Bill March 21, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    WOW! It looks great! It was a lot of fun being there during the competition and am excited to see the flight!

  15. Audrey Morris March 21, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Got your messages Yvonne, alerting some of the family. We’ll be watching—–maybe it will fly all the way to Virginia. Mom

  16. april March 21, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Enjoying the live blogging!!

  17. jotellisf March 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    This is awesome! Very exciting. Snapshots are fantastic… what kind of camera are you using?

  18. lindsey wood March 21, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    This looks AMAZING! Can’t wait to see what happens!!!

  19. Ardon Academy For Girls March 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Wishing you much success!!!

    • admin March 21, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      Thank you!

  20. […] Click here to see the project’s live blog for updates throughout the day. […]

  21. Cal March 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Hmm…Put a bird on it? Oh you did.

  22. D-Pez March 21, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    What’s the hold up? Lift that mother into space and let her go. I can’t wait much longer. Or did whitey shut you down?

    • admin March 21, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      Hi D-Pez,

      We are working on improving the structural integrity of the fuselage. The hope is to fly in a couple hours.

      Thank you,
      Pima Air & Space Museum

  23. Diane Hofstadter March 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Good luck – it certainly is a great looking plane and I like the artwork too!

  24. […] And you can follow the event here via their live-blog. […]

  25. Jose March 21, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    What a fantastic day for Arturo (who helped me fly my paper airplane better at the competition)! I hope the plane gets up and then soars like eagle! Also, Arturo, I saw you on TV and practiced making a paper airplane like yours.

  26. Aidan March 21, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    I bet it will be cool! I would love to interview you for Bear Essential News! I just became a reporter.

    • admin March 22, 2012 at 7:20 am

      Hi Aidan,

      We’d love to chat with you. Our email address is GreatPaperAirplane@pimaair.org. We can coordinate the interview then.

      Look forward to hearing from you!

      Thanks,
      Pima Air & Space Museum

  27. […] And you can follow the event here via their live-blog. […]

  28. Max March 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    This is the excitement and science of making an idea into a real-world project, lots of tweaking and experimenting need to take place. Remember NASA doesn’t always fly on time either. Sending you all inspiration.

  29. Max March 22, 2012 at 12:40 am

    What’s up?

  30. Amy March 22, 2012 at 12:50 am

    Is there any news on the launch? Will it be today?

  31. jouse March 22, 2012 at 12:57 am

    when are you planning to launch it

  32. […] you can follow the event here via their live-blog. The icing on the cake would be some live tracking / data smorgasbord. But I guess kids […]

  33. Valerio Richards March 22, 2012 at 1:35 am

    Make us dreeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaammmm!!

  34. Max March 22, 2012 at 2:16 am

    Thanks for the update. Great picture! And congrats!

    • admin March 22, 2012 at 7:10 am

      Thanks Max!

  35. […] You can get the latest updates about the launch here – http://greatpaperairplane.org/live-blogging-the-launch/ […]

  36. Amy March 22, 2012 at 3:03 am

    Well that sucks there was no word as to when it was going to be launched we waited and waited then we hear it was over that sucks maybe you will do it again soon and let everyone know when it is going to be launched so others can watch. My kids were disappointed they didn’t get to see it:(

    • admin March 22, 2012 at 7:09 am

      Hi Amy,

      We are sorry, but due to safety concerns, there was no public access to our location. We do appreciate your interest in the Great Paper Airplane Project and hope you will tune in for more videos and updates to this site soon.

      Thank you,
      Pima Air & Space Museum

  37. […] You can get the latest updates about the launch here – http://greatpaperairplane.org/live-blogging-the-launch/ […]

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  39. Quentin Fastic March 22, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Awesome Blog

    • admin March 23, 2012 at 5:33 am

      Thanks Quentin!

  40. Brian W March 22, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    No video yet? When?

    • admin March 23, 2012 at 5:33 am

      Hi Brian,

      We posted the first video today. As more footage comes in we will continue to add new videos.

      Thanks,
      Pima Air & Space Museum

  41. D-Pez March 22, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Ah yeeeeeeaaaah! The Silent Assassin of Flight strikes again. Yall are lucky he didnt have to get fierce on anybody. That would hav been news worthy. All the same Papa panther is proud. A paper airplane never looked so majestic. Like a injured swan flying for the horizon.

  42. Brian Murray March 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    some things are just a waste of time. This is one of them. the time, resources, energy can be utlized elsewhere….Time to grow up boys…

  43. Jeff March 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    One question.. what kind of paper was used in the construction?

    • admin March 23, 2012 at 2:54 pm

      Hi Jeff,

      We used Falconboard™ Hexacomb.

      You can view all of our sponsors at the bottom of the experts page @ http://greatpaperairplane.org/the-experts/

      Thanks,
      Pima Air & Space Museum

  44. Sandy Escoe March 23, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Great read! Thanks!

  45. cal March 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Sorry, Brian Murray, this one was for the kids. They will grow up eventually, and hopefully experiences like this will be inspiring.

  46. […] the successful launch, the team was delayed with some structural issues in some test lifts of the plane, which required reinforcing. Earlier […]

  47. […] Twice shy – Regardless of the last story, we so want to believe that this one is true. The folks from the Pima Air & Space Museum made a 45-foot paper plane that they then flew across the Arizona desert. Sure, it was taken up by a helicopter and flew for only a few seconds, but it’s still more successful than every paper aeroplane we’ve ever made. [Great Paper Airplane] […]

  48. Sara J March 23, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Where’s the video? I’m not finding any link to access it.

  49. Maggie March 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    So. Freaking. Cool!!! Congrats Arturo!

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  52. […] a first-hand account of the flight, compliments of the museum’s live blog: “After it was lifted off the ground by its nose, our giant paper airplane rose and rose […]

  53. […] the flight had some bumps – like when the plane buckled under its own weight. After they took it back to the hangar and reinforced it, here’s how they describe the […]

  54. […] the successful launch, the team was delayed with some structural issues in some test lifts of the plane, which required reinforcing. Earlier […]

  55. […] the flight had some bumps – like when the plane buckled under its own weight. After they took it back to the hangar and reinforced it, here’s how they describe the […]

  56. […] Twice shy – Regardless of the last story, we so want to believe that this one is true. The folks from the Pima Air & Space Museum made a 45-foot paper plane that they then flew across the Arizona desert. Sure, it was taken up by a helicopter and flew for only a few seconds, but it’s still more successful than every paper aeroplane we’ve ever made. [Great Paper Airplane] […]

  57. Dan Holstein March 23, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Fantastic work crew! Goes to show you don’t have to grow up.
    Just brilliant. Thank you.

  58. […] Twice shy – Regardless of the last story, we so want to believe that this one is true. The folks from the Pima Air & Space Museum made a 45-foot paper plane that they then flew across the Arizona desert. Sure, it was taken up by a helicopter and flew for only a few seconds, but it’s still more successful than every paper aeroplane we’ve ever made. [Great Paper Airplane] […]

  59. […] world’s biggest paper airplane was launched in the Arizona desert just south of Tucson, earlier this […]

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    • admin March 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      Thanks Judith!

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      Thanks,
      Pima Air & Space Museum

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  63. Giant Paper Airplane Flies in Arizona March 26, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    […] March 21, the PIMA Air & Space Museum successfully launched a 45 foot long paper airplane from a helicopter in the skies over Arizona […]

  64. […] March 21, the PIMA Air & Space Museum successfully launched a 45 foot long paper airplane from a helicopter in the skies over Arizona […]

  65. […] Twice shy – Regardless of the last story, we so want to believe that this one is true. The folks from the Pima Air & Space Museum made a 45-foot paper plane that they then flew across the Arizona desert. Sure, it was taken up by a helicopter and flew for only a few seconds, but it’s still more successful than every paper aeroplane we’ve ever made. [Great Paper Airplane] […]

  66. […] March 21, the PIMA Air & Space Museum successfully launched a 45 foot long paper airplane from a helicopter in the skies over Arizona […]

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  70. […] March 21, the PIMA Air & Space Museum successfully launched a 45 foot long paper airplane from a helicopter in the skies over Arizona (video). via CNET […]

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  76. Laurent April 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    I discovered this great adventure on the screens of the Montreal metro ! What a foolish and amazing idea, I love it !
    I would like to know at which altitude was the plane droped and on which distance did it ride ?
    And how long did it take from the first draws to this flight ?
    Will you perform more rides ?

    • admin April 5, 2012 at 2:18 am

      Thanks for your interest in the Great Paper Airplane Project Laurnet!

      The plane was 45ft long with a wingspan of 24ft. We dropped at an altitude of 2,703 ft. We were hoping to go higher, but wind played a factor in how high we were able to drop from safety. Arturo’s desert eagle flew .93 miles at a top speed of 98 MPH.

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      Hi Lonny,

      We try to update as much as possible. There will be another video posted in the next couple of weeks, so please check back soon to watch.

      Thanks,
      Pima Air & Space Museum

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  92. admin April 13, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Hi Erik,

    As the largest non-government funded aviation Museum in the world, Pima Air & Space Museum depends upon the support and generosity of people like you.

    There are many ways you can help, from making a cash donation to volunteering at Pima Air & Space Museum or the Titan Missile Museum, and by joining the Arizona Aerospace Foundation.

    Both Museums are dedicated to preserving the history of flight, enhancing aerospace knowledge, and encouraging a spirit of discovery.

    If you are interested in pursue this further, we kindly ask for you to email info@pimaair.org with your contact details and someone will be in touch with a response.

    Thank you.

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