In August 2003, Maynard L. Hill flew a model airplane, referred to as the TAM 5, from Newfoundland to Ireland. The total flight took 38 hours, 52 minutes and 19 seconds and covered 1,881.6 miles. To make the flight possible, Maynard spent years researching aeromodelling design and engine fuel mixtures. He also got input from electronics and computing experts to assemble an electrical system that could have the model remain in level flight as it tracked and maintained its path to Ireland.
In the January 2004 Model Aviation article “Two Sunsets and Still Flying,” Maynard first notes that there was an “Aveox brushless motor core was used as an alternator to provide power for all of the electrical components.” Those components were not just the traditional receiver and servos for ailerons, rudder and throttle, but also a “custom-designed autopilot, its harness, its piezoelectric gyro, its pressure sensor and a GPS receiver.” The specialized equipment all together only weighed 8 ozs.
The TAM 5 has been on exhibit at the National Model Aviation Museum since it was donated by Maynard in December 2003. It is now joined by an exhibit showcasing equipment from another TAM that has had its framework and covering removed so interior workings can be clearly seen. Also included is one of the four transmitters that were involved with the flight. This exhibit is on loan from the National Electronics Museum and will be available at the NMAM for at least a year.
We’re thankful to the National Electronics Museum for helping our AMA members and other visitors develop a better understanding of the knowledge and work that went into making the transatlantic flight possible.
For more information on the National Model Aviation Museum, including our location, hours and admission fees visit: www.modelaircraft.org/museum