Saturday, June 11, 2011

I just like this obituary on 'the Lindbergh of hobbyists'

From a Wall Street Journal obit:

"On a clear Saturday evening in early August of 2003, Maynard Hill stood on a hillside on Cape Spear, Newfoundland, started the motor on his model airplane and heaved it into a light wind.

Thirty-eight hours and nearly 1,900 miles later, the 11-pound plane with a six-foot wingspan landed in Ireland, the first radio-controlled model to make a trans-Atlantic crossing.

Mr. Hill, who died Tuesday at 85, was the dean of model airplane hobbyists and spent decades setting records for altitude, duration, speed and distance. His planes outflew those of the Soviets in competitions during the Cold War.

During the 1980s and 1990s, he developed unmanned aircraft for the armed forces, expendable models carrying radar-jamming equipment, cameras and antitank weaponry.

But despite decades spent convincing Pentagon brass to embrace his ideas, Mr. Hill was a poor fit with the gold-plated contractor's culture and dropped out of defense work.

'He didn't believe his planes should be used for war,' said his wife, Gay Hill."

The rest is here.


RossK said...

The amateurs win again!

Thanks Paul.


DPL said...

Sound a bit like Openheimer who ran the A bomb program but figured they should never have been used. History shows if something can be used for war , it will be used for war. He did have an interesting career. I doubt he would be happy with the drones in Libya, and elsewhere shooting up people from a control center in the USA. It's much easier to kill if you arn't close to the victim