Author Topic: Well, I never knew that.  (Read 683 times)

Happy Days

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Well, I never knew that.
« on: November 16, 2019, 08:35:31 AM »
Maynard Hill, who has died aged 85 on the 7th June 2019, made his mark on aviaon history in 2003 when one of his remote controlled model aircra became the first to fly a record-breaking 1,882 miles across the Atlanc on less than a gallon of fuel.
 Hill's TAM (Transatlantic Model) 5, with a wingspan of 6ft and weighing less than 11lbs, made it from Newfoundland to Ireland with a few drops of fuel to spare, marking a record time for the flight of 38 hours and 23 minutes.  The flight recreated the historic first transatlantic journey of the British aviation pioneers Alcock and Brown, who made the crossing in 16 hours and 27 minutes in 1919.  A retired engineer, Hill had reason to savour his moment of triumph: 24 test prototypes of his design had wobbled into the air and failed, crashed or disappeared. But he was certain he could build a model aircraft that could stay aloft for 1,875 miles, enough to fly across the Atlantic.  In August 2002, TAM 1 climbed to 1,000ft bound for Ireland before falling into the ocean. Two days later TAM 2 stalled and met the same fate. TAM 3 disappeared in a rainstorm eight hours and 479 miles out.  Having made adjustments to his computerised autopilot system, Hill returned to Newfoundland the following year, launching TAM 4 into a cloudless sky over Cape Spear at 8pm on August 8 2003. Contact was lost at 430 miles downrange. Someone joked that the Bermuda Triangle may have had a cousin over Greenland. Or perhaps the Icelandic Navy was in need of target practice.  Undaunted, at 7.45pm local time the next day, Hill again held his breath as TAM 5 climbed rapidly, turning gracefully before disappearing
out of sight on a 62-degree heading towards Ireland. By 11pm, satellite data showed the tiny aircraft still aloft at a satisfactory altitude, making approximately 43mph with no tailwind.  At 8.30 the following morning, the little plane, nicknamed The Spirit of Butts Farm, after the farm in Maryland owned by Beecher Butts where it had been tested, was roughly 560 miles out. But Hill noted some ominous data from satellites monitoring its telemetry.  The aircraft's four-stroke engine was supposed to be regulated at 3,900rpm, but the readings ranged from 3,100 to 4,100rpm. The plane's altitude was bouncing between 280 and 320 metres, suggesting a porpoising flight path from a shallow climb to a speedy dip.  "The Spirit trotted along all day Sunday," Hill reported. "Over the midocean it picked up a 5-10mph tailwind and was cruising at 5055mph. I went to bed at roughly 10pm, fearful that the cool of night would increase the viscosity of the fuel, taking the engine from lean to dead."  When he awoke at 4am, there had been no satellite data for three hours, and Hill believed the plane was lost; it was agreed to stand down the officials in Ireland who were making a special six-hour trip from Dublin to the landing site at Dooloughton, Bay Beach, Co Galway.
 But just then, data from one of the satellites confirmed that TAM 5 was not only still flying, but was now far enough east to be in warming sunshine, and had shed a lot of fuel weight. By 9am local time (12.30pm in Ireland), the Spirit was a mere 70 miles from the Irish coast.  The landing was a cliff hanger. The engine had been set to run for roughly 37 hours, and Hill worried it might stop a couple of miles short of the landing site.  At 2pm Irish time, the Spirit of Butts Farm hove into view at  Dooloughton Beach, and one of the Irish officials took manual control, banging the rudder stick hard right to kill the engine. A mobile phone link was opened to Hill as the Spirit made a dead-stick landing approximately five feet from the designated spot. At 2.08pm, hearing over the phone link the shout "It's on the ground!", Hill led a whooping cheer, buried his head in his wife's shoulder "and wept unashamedly for joy".  The plane's tank contained less than two ounces of fuel – a quarter of a cupful. "In the model airplane world, this is no different from Armstrong landing on the moon," Carl Layden, an official observer of the feat, announced.  A blacksmith's son, Maynard Luther Hill was born on February 21 1926, in the coal mining town of Lehighton, Pennsylvania. He numbered Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart among his childhood heroes but was Maynard Hill with TAM5 before its transatlanc Launch - Photo from Washington Post
PLEASE NOTE: The Text for this article was reproduced from the Daily Telegraph Monday 21st October 2019.
Try not to run out of airspeed, altitude and ideas....... all at the same time.

EI1638

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Re: Well, I never knew that.
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2019, 13:11:02 PM »
I do believe some of the 'officials' mentioned above were from our own MACI. I see that at least one is on the committee still.

I don't know if the people involved venture on here, but yes 'we', in the royal sense, were part of this feat.

I have to admit I only found out about this well after the event.

There is some info on the web about the aircraft, I believe the motor was a modified OS four stroke, and to reduce drag the successful airframe had only a single aileron.
Construction is best described as 'traditional', it's not the high tech material construction that jumps to mind when this feat is mentioned.

Wikipedia to the rescue: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spirit_of_Butts%27_Farm

The 'little grey cells' are still working.


Spinifex

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Re: Well, I never knew that.
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2019, 14:14:09 PM »
This was a major event in model flight.
Noel Barrett and Joe Dible were the official FAI representatives who verified the flight. John Molloy and Ronan Coyle worked on the project also.

The flight was live streamed, with updates on shown on a satellite map.

Here are a couple of links to the trip.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q20uRLcvKjM



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KEIq76JE7o

John O'Sullivan
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GliderIreland - Ireland RC Forum - Flying Model forum in Ireland

Re: Well, I never knew that.
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2019, 14:14:09 PM »

rogallo

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Re: Well, I never knew that.
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2019, 08:35:38 AM »
Dave Brown (an avid US Slope flyer) traveled over to work with the Irish Team here, he was the US official to confirm the attempt. The model was stored in Noel Barretts shop here in Cork after the Flight. It was a wondrous machine. It was never going to win any concurs event, but it was functional and built by a modeller. P.S. Maynard was technically blind while he carried out the project. He never let this slow him down doing anything and ally had inventive solutions to the problems he faced.
Spots or no Spots?
Tuff Choice.