Across the Pond
August 14, 2003 7:22 AM   Subscribe

The Spirit of Butts Farm has made it across the Atlantic in one piece. Not bad for a toy plane designed by deaf and blind Maynard Hill, who already holds many records for RC aircraft flights. Those with less lofty ambitions could fly this helicopter in their living room or just practise on their computer screen.
posted by Geo (8 comments total)
This is a cool story -- love the part about how little gas was left when it landed -- but it makes me wonder what kind of payload could be strapped to one of those things.
posted by rcade at 7:53 AM on August 14, 2003

Neat! It's a great story! I only wish that it would allow us to forget about Charles "Jawohl" Lindbergh.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:55 AM on August 14, 2003

Pretty cool. Now somebody's got to try to beat him and get to the European continent proper.

I wonder how close you can shave it across the top of the Atlantic and still be said to have crossed it. Canada to Ireland isn't exactly Florida to Spain. I mean, would Greenland to Iceland count?

There are rules about global circumnavigation records, that you have to be within certain latitudes for certain points in the journey -- I wonder if there's any standard for what constitutes an Atlantic crossing?
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:09 AM on August 14, 2003

(George, the de facto standard is Canada/Newfoundland to Ireland.)

Neat. I was thinking of something like this just last night, imagining if someone could fly an RC glider or plane across the Atlantic from the deck of a ship, actively controlling it the whole time rather than autopilot. But I had no idea how long the flight would take.

Now I know. But with the 6 day cruising time of the big liners like QE2, it's not too likely you could keep it airborne that long. Maybe a horizon to horizon handoff system with several ships? Take a lot of coordination, I guess. But hey, if you've got the time you might as well spend it productively.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:41 AM on August 14, 2003

those rules didnt hold true for that terminally-bored millionaire in the hot air balloon. i think he went around the world near the top of the hemisphere

the cheap bastard
posted by shadow45 at 10:19 AM on August 14, 2003

GhostintheMachine, re flying the Atlantic with an RC plane from the deck of a ship -- that's insanely brilliant. You'd have to work in shifts so somebody could sleep. As for fuel, I wonder if the wing surface area would provide room for enough photovoltaic cells to run an electric plane with enough power to stay aloft and handle forseeable conditions. Bearing in mind you'd be damn lucky to have sunny weather all the way across the Atlantic.

The other option is to rig it for midair refueling by Super Soaker....
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:23 AM on August 14, 2003

shadow45: The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale struggled to define rules for an around-the-world flight, but settled on one that crossed all meridians and a total length that is at least half the equatorial circumference. Regardless, Steve Fossett is no slouch, holding records in sports other than ballooning, as well as risking his life with each flight and making emergency landings several times, some in mid-ocean, and once falling 29,000 feet into the ocean. On his final, successful circumnavigation, he was actually no further south in general than he had been north on previous attempts; he was just trying to avoid troublesome weather by flying in a latitude with fewer landmasses. Remember, Australia and the US are at approximately the same latitude -- just reversed.
posted by dhartung at 10:42 PM on August 14, 2003

Bearing in mind you'd be damn lucky to have sunny weather all the way across the Atlantic.

...especially for 38 straight hours (I sense a problem there). Maybe a hybrid?

The other option is to rig it for midair refueling by Super Soaker....

Now that's brilliant!
posted by GhostintheMachine at 8:43 AM on August 15, 2003

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