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800-pound paper airplane soars over Arizona desert

Joshua Lott / Reuters

Workers prepare to launch a 45-foot paper airplane from the Pima Air and Space Museum over the desert in Eloy, Ariz. on March 21.

Joshua Lott / Reuters

A 45-foot paper airplane from the Pima Air and Space Museum is launched from a helicopter in Eloy, Ariz. on March 21.

A 45-foot paper airplane with a 24-foot wingspan was launched yesterday outside of Tucson by the Pima Air & Space Museum.

Aeronautical engineers designed the plane, inspired by 12-year-old Tucson resident Arturo Valdenegro, whose paper airplane flew the farthest when he competed against hundreds of children in a regional paper airplane distance contest held at the museum in January.

As winner of the contest, Valdenegro got to meet with the engineers who oversaw the design and build of the 800-pound paper airplane, which sailed at an altitude of 2,703 feet and speed of 98 miles per hour.

--Msnbc.com wire services contributed to this post

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Arturo's Desert Eagle sails over the Arizona desert on March 21.

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