FITCHBURG – Though it didn’t actually fly, flying wasn’t required for what is possibly the world’s largest paper airplane to break a world record.

The weather was beautiful Tuesday morning, with the sun shining bright at the Fitchburg Municipal Airport, but the high wind kept organizers of the project from having the crane operator lift the 64-foot paper airplane covered in artwork as high as planned for as long as planned. Organizers were hoping to lift and circulate the plane, which weighs nearly a ton and measures four feet longer than a bowling alley, for the large crowd in attendance. Spectators included hundreds of area schoolchildren, some who had contributed artwork for the project.

Thousands of regional participants were involved in the plane’s design, construction and decoration over three years. Tuesday, the plane was tethered to a construction crane several stories high, lifted and then lowered back to earth for official measurement and documentation by an independent monitor on behalf of the Guinness World Records organization.

The creators are seeking the record for "World’s Largest Paper Plane Artwork.” It will take a few weeks for the Guinness people to determine whether the plane gets the record.

The current Guinness World Record for largest paper airplane was set by Germany’s Braunschweig Institute of Technology in 2013 with a plane that measured just over 59.7 feet.

After the first liftoff, the plane’s nose bent slightly, but it was repaired quickly and raised back into the air while students from McKay Arts Academy, Sizer Charter School and Fitchburg High School made kites from provided supplies. Firefighters in the raised bucket of a Fitchburg Fire Department ladder truck released 1,000 colorful small paper planes made by volunteers for the event before the crowd was allowed a close-up look at the artwork on the giant airplane. The art was made by hundreds of students and local and regional artists, and others – some seeing it Tuesday for the first time.

The project is the brainchild of Jerry Beck, director of the Revolving Museum, who said he was inspired by his daughter, Georgie, several years ago when she brought home a paper airplane she had constructed at school and decorated with artwork.

Mr. Beck, known for his large-scale public art projects, put together Team PROJECT SOAR – made up of the Revolving Museum, the city of Fitchburg, Rotary International District 7910 and others – and enlisted the help of 5,000 people including 3,800 children. Artists, engineers, business and civic leaders, and individuals from Fitchburg, 20 regional Rotary clubs and local colleges, businesses and educators helped design and build the paper airplane.

The project cost around $60,000, said Mr. Beck, who plans to make the plane part of a traveling exhibition before it is installed in a permanent location for public display.

Mr. Beck, Fitchburg Mayor Stephen L. DiNatale, Fitchburg Public Schools Superintendent Andre R. Ravenelle, Rotary District Governor Karin Gaffney, participating local artist Kathy Fanelli, and Fitchburg student Matthew Kroch were among those who spoke at the event.

“It takes a skillful team to make things happen,” Mr. Beck said. “We are making world history today in the city of Fitchburg. We’re doing something no other city in the world has accomplished.” He thanked his daughter, who was standing in the audience with relatives who flew up from Florida for the event, and told her he loved her.

“This is great exposure for the city and a great event to get all the schoolchildren involved,” Mr. DiNatale said. “The weather is outstanding, but could be a little better if it was less windy. What Jerry does is the best. He is a cross between Salvador Dali and P.T. Barnum. I refer to him as ‘impresario.’ ”

Mr. Ravenelle said he loved seeing schoolchildren's enthusiasm for the project.

John O. Hickey, 9, of Worcester was watching with his mother, Casey L. Hickey, a teacher at Dawson Elementary School in Holden and artist who contributed artwork for the plane.

“It’s very cool,” John said. “It’s long and it’s big and I think it will fly a little bit, but not that well - maybe a few feet.”

Ms. Hickey, whose father, William H. Darling, flies corporate jets and has a runway and hangar on his property in upstate New York, said her class contributed about 100 pieces of artwork for the plane.

“This is a pretty unique experience and I wanted my son to see what me and my students did,” she said.

McKay seventh-graders Kiara L. Rivera and Carlina A. Velez, both 13, were checking out artwork displayed on the plane, including vintage envelopes, stamps, comics, maps, newspapers, movie posters and music sheets. Both girls contributed artwork and said the project inspired them to become artists.

“It’s exciting and I’m glad to see my artwork shown somewhere,” Kiara said.

“I think it’s exciting to see all the artwork built into one extraordinary piece that is detailed and exquisite,” Carlina said. “It is disappointing it didn’t fly, but it is still a beautiful piece. Just seeing it in real life inspires me that I can do it.”

McKay art teacher Kara L. David said all of her Grade K-8 students created monochromatic or analogous self-portraits for the plane.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to have students involved in a community event and see the results of a true collaborative effort,” Ms. David said.

Sizer eighth-graders Nicole E. Wright and Autumn A. Meeker, both 14, were looking at artwork they created glued to the plane underneath the back of the wing.

“I created the blue demon,” Nicole said. “This is really cool.”

“I think it is really cool how we all came together to do this big project,” Autumn said. “I thought it would fly, but it is still cool to see.”

Fitchburg High School sophomore Peter J. Rivera, 16, said he was impressed.

“It was incredible, to be honest,” Peter said. “To see something like this that has not been done before is mesmerizing. Seeing this makes me want to make my own big plane – grab a couple of friends and we can build one on our own.”