20 Years Ago: Maynard Hill’s TAM 5 Conquers the Atlantic 

Twenty years ago, AMA member Maynard Hill and a team of supporters accomplished the unthinkable—they successfully crossed the Atlantic flying an RC model airplane. This flight has never been duplicated. 

The aircraft, known as the Spirit of Butt’s Farm, took five attempts (the reference to TAM-5) to make the journey a success. The journey was described in the January 2004 issue of Model Aviation. 

Tam-5 successfully landed in Ireland on August 9, 2003. 

The TAM-5 aircraft is on display at the National Model Aviation Museum in Muncie, Indiana, as are the National Aeronautics Association official certificates of record. Those certificates also recognize AMA members Barrett J. Foster and former AMA President Dave Brown. 

Perhaps no other model aviation record or achievement better exemplifies what is possible with a model aircraft on Earth, taking into account that an RC helicopter, Ingenuity, made its first flight on Mars on April 19, 2021. 


  1. Lets not forget the record set by the Eugene Prop Spinners back in the late 50’s for endurance by a control line aircraft. Nearly 5 days on continuous flight.

  2. It would be interesting to understand the energy and engine/propeller efficiency required to make this trip possible. The aircraft drag (Dg) at the average airspeed of the crossing multiplied by the distance (D) will give the energy required. The energy from the fuel is the energy of a pound of fuel (Qf) multiple by the weight of fuel (W) consumed in making the trip. The engine/propeller efficiency (Eff)is then Eff= Dg*D/(Qf*W).

  3. Someone should make a movie about Maynard and his accomplishments. I met him when I was in high school back in ’72. He was friendly and helpful to everyone that needed help getting their airplane flying.

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