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-Short Attention Span Theater-
Model airplane crosses the Atlantic
For those of you still contemplating building your own cruise missiles in the garage...
He may be legally blind and partially deaf, but 77-year-old Maynard Hill can still perform miracles with balsa and glue: In August the retired engineer stunned the hobby world by building the first model airplane to cross an ocean. The Spirit of Butts Farm sailed from Newfoundland to Ireland in 38 hours and 52 minutes, shattering world aeromodel records for flight time and distance. Strict rules set by the Switzerland-based Fédération Aéronautique Internationale demand that a model weigh no more than 11 pounds. So Hill and his 12-man team spent five years developing a miniature satellite-guided autopilot capable of navigating the Atlantic. Even more daunting was how to fly 1,888 miles on less than a gallon of fuel, which was all Spirit’s tank could hold and still make weight. Hill started by swapping out the stock carburetor in his four-stroke, 10cc engine for a smaller one that sucked less gas. He then wired the engine with an electronic ignition and spark plug capable of burning Coleman lantern fuel, which explodes with more gusto than the Glo fuel most hobbyists use, he says. Another fuel-saving trick: Hill tuned Spirit’s engine to putter along at an average 49 miles per hour. The result? "A typical model engine can go for 10 minutes on 12 ounces of fuel," Hill says. "Mine can go for about six hours."
I think there were more details in the print version. Regardless there is a good pic at the link as well.
Posted by:Dar

#7  As a kid growing up in Louisiana, I used to be fascinated by one hobby shop in Alexandria. The guy that owned it had built a 1/32 scale Lockheed Constellation, powered by 4 electrically-started engines, with working flaps, rudder, retractible gear, the whole nine yards. At that scale, the aircraft was some 11 feet long, and had a wingspan of about 10 feet. IIRC, he said it had a five-hour cruise limit at 75mph, using radio-controlled variable-pitch props. Remember, this was in the late 1950's - this thing was built of some pretty heavy wood (Balsa won't handle that much stress), and about 16 coats of laquer, which is HEAVY. Predator can loiter around 16 to 18 hours.

The capability to do damage to someone, somewhere, at some time, isn't limited. There are dozens of ways it can be done. The only way to keep these fruitcakes from doing what they please is the threat of us coming down on them like a ton of bricks from high orbit. Only the threat of massive, unrestrained retaliation can restrain madmen. Clinton's half-hearted retaliation to Embassy and other bombings led directly to 9/11. UBL and Al Qaeda were shocked by Bush's response, because it was so different from Clinton's. They're still trying to recover.
Posted by: Old Patriot   2003-10-15 1:14:23 AM  

#6  Keep in mind that the payload restriction on this particular model is an artifact of the rules, and not an inherent limitation of the vehicle itself. Given its wing-loading and power loading, the little device should be able to carry several pounds of additional payload, more than enough for certain terrorist devices.
It is also possible, obviously, to build a much larger model, say, 50 pounds or more gross weight, with the same basic technology.
It would not necessarily have to be capable of transoceanic flight, either, since the launch point could be a camelshaggistan-registered container ship in mid-ocean or a mosque in some sort of dhimmi enclave, say, Berkeley or Ottawa.

Reginald Denny, the 1930s Hollywood character actor, was also an RC enthusiast. He used that experience to start building radio-controlled target drones for the military before World War 2, and eventually founded the Radioplane Corporation, still in business as a division of Northrop-Grumman.
Posted by: Atomic Conspiracy   2003-10-14 8:28:30 PM  

#5  Alaska Paul, the little plane has merit for a terrorist because terrorism is about making people petrified. Lots of folks saw North by Northwest.
Posted by: Super Hose   2003-10-14 7:56:18 PM  

#4  With small planes, basically high-tech RC's, you are going to still have a payload problem. I think that the Jihadis are looking for stock or modified stock equipment that they can boom, bio, or make a chem attack with. Why go to all that effort of transcontinental or intercontinental transport when one can smuggle in a package and use a Toyota for transport.
Posted by: Alaska Paul   2003-10-14 5:45:07 PM  

#3  I thought small planes weren't a problem. What's Blix's opinion.
Posted by: Super Hose   2003-10-14 3:12:52 PM  

#2  Great, now bombs can come over with minaturized Jihadi's.

Like Noor Tantray?
Posted by: Atrus   2003-10-14 2:49:14 PM  

#1  Great, now bombs can come over with minaturized Jihadi's.
Posted by: Anonymous   2003-10-14 1:14:40 PM