This old aircraft is a Stuka that has been on the bottom of the ocean for 60 plus years. It is amazing the condition this airplane is in considering how long it has been submerged.
Nearly 70 years after it crashed into the Adriatic Sea, a rare German World War Two dive bomber has been discovered off the coast of Croatia
The National Conservation Institute says a well-preserved Stuka dive bomber was found lying on the seabed. As the Daily Mail reports, previously, two other Stuka bombers had been discovered, but they were in much worse condition.
An institute official said, "The engine, which was most likely ripped off when the plane hit the water, was missing and was found nearby, but the rest of the aircraft is complete and in very good condition. The plane is lying on its wheels as if it smoothly landed on the seabed."
Stuka bombers were designed to handle steep dives and were able to accurately drop bombs at low altitudes. It's believed this particular Stuka bomber was piloted by the Italian forces and was hit by the Yugoslavian navy sometime in April 1941.
See our model for sale here:
Stuka Model For Sale
Stuka on sea bed
Cockpit Underwater Stuka Aircraft model
The Stuka operated with success after the Battle of Britain, and its potency as a precision ground-attack aircraft became valuable to German forces in the Balkans Campaign, the African and Mediterranean Theaters and the early stages of the Eastern Front campaigns where Allied fighter resistance was disorganized and in short supply. Once the Luftwaffe had lost air superiority on all fronts, the Ju 87 once again became an easy target for enemy fighter aircraft. In spite of this, because there was no better replacement, the type continued to be produced until 1944. By the end of the conflict, the Stuka had been largely replaced by ground-attack versions of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190, but was still in use until the last days of the war. An estimated 6,500 Ju 87s of all versions were built between 1936 and August 1944.
I found this story very interesting. Now that toys can be perceived as a threat where is the government going to draw the line? R/C model planes have been around since I was a kid. My first model plane had strings attached to it but it did have a cox gas engine and flew very fast. Hopefully this ruling does not ruin the hobby for our kids!
Model aircraft hobbyists, research universities and commercial drone interests filed lawsuits Friday challenging a government directive that they say imposes tough new limits on the use of model aircraft and broadens the agency's ban on commercial drone flights.
The three lawsuits asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to review the validity of the directive, which the Federal Aviation Administration issued in June. The agency said the directive is an attempt to clarify what is a model aircraft and the limitations on their operation.
The FAA has been working on regulations that would permit commercial drone flights in U.S. skies for more than 10 years, but the agency is still at least months and possibly years away from issuing final rules to permit flights by small drones. Regulations for flights by larger drones are even farther away.
Part of the agency's challenge is to distinguish between planes flown by hobbyists and those used for commercial applications, a distinction that's become harder to draw as the technology for model planes has grown more sophisticated.
A law passed by Congress in 2012 directed the FAA to issue regulations permitting commercial drone flights by the fall of 2015, but prohibited the agency from imposing new regulations on model aircraft.
The FAA directive is a backdoor imposition of new regulations on model aircraft hobbyists and commercial drone operators without going through required federal procedures for creating new regulations, said Brendan Schulman, a New York attorney representing the groups that filed the lawsuits. Federal procedures require an opportunity for public comment on proposed regulations and an analysis of the potential costs of the regulations vs. the benefits.
"People who have been using these technologies for years in different ways are concerned that they are suddenly prohibited from doing so without having their voices heard, and without regard to the detrimental impact on the commercial drone industry," he said. Schulman pointed out that hobbyists have been flying model aircraft nearly 100 years, but he knows of no instance in which a model aircraft has caused the crash of a manned plane or helicopter.
"In situations where there really is no safety issue there appears to be not just some restrictions, but an outright prohibition on activities that have been done for a long time very safely," he said.
An FAA spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuits.
The lawsuits were filed by the Academy of Model Aeronautics, which represents more than 170,000 model aircraft hobbyists; the Council on Governmental Relations, an association of 188 research universities; and several commercial drone and model aircraft interests. Among them are UAS America, a fund that invests in the commercial drone industry; SkyPan International Inc., an aerial photography company; FPV Manuals LLC, a company that sells video systems for unmanned aircraft operators and an association representing commercial drone operators. All argued that the FAA policy would impede their activities, from hobby use to research and innovation.
R/C Model debate rages on
By JOAN LOWY
WASHINGTON (AP) -
Drones have been in the news a lot lately in the US. And I don’t mean the large, lethal military drones that operate in war zones, but the small Phantoms, Parrots and similar quadcopters favored by many hobbyists and independent commercial photographers and videographers. Weighing a couple of pounds or less with a maximum speed measured in feet, these tiny flying machines – called model aircraft by many operators – have been defined as “aircraft” by the FAA most recently in an interpretive rule published June 25. Defining these small UAVs as aircraft makes them subject to many of the same regulations as full-scale aircraft, including certification, airworthiness and operational requirements, like having a pilot’s license.
According to the recently-published interpretation, the FAA has “historically…considered model aircraft to be aircraft that fall within the statutory and regulatory definitions of an aircraft, as they are contrivances or devices that are ‘invented, used, or designed to navigate, or fly in, the air”. Whether the FAA has historically considered them to be aircraft is the subject of much debate; many drone attorneys and at least one NTSB administrative law judge consider model aircraft to have been long-excluded from the regulatory definition of aircraft, which most of us consider to include aircraft significantly larger than the ones you can easily hold in the palm of your hand.
But the question here is not why the FAA considers hand-sized drones to be aircraft, regardless of their size or the altitude at which they’re operated. But why it can’t decide that an 1100 pound passenger-carrying Flying Hovercraft that looks like an aircraft – wings and all – and can fly at speeds of 70 miles per hour (and more) and at altitudes of 20 feet to more than 50 feet in the air, over water or land, is also an aircraft. These flying machines, called WIG craft or wing in ground effect craft, fly on the air cushion created by aerodynamic lift due to the ground effect between the craft and the surface, the same as occurs between any aircraft and the ground on landing.
The question of whether these flying machines were aircraft came up when a friend asked how come Hammacher Schlemmer was advertising a Flying Hovercraft in its catalog with the claim that only a boat registration was required and not a pilot’s license. The Flying Hovercraft first appeared in the catalog in 2012. It is currently priced at $190, 000. Intrigued, by the question of how these craft avoided FAA regulatory requirements when tiny drones did not, I called the catalog company which promised to have a representative call me. I also called the manufacturer, Universal Hovercraft in Rockford, Illinois, and left a message. To date, no calls have been returned. How many have been sold and how many are being operated is unknown but there are quite a few videos on YouTube.
Here is a link to a Discovery Channel video that includes a conversation with the craft’s designer, aeronautical engineer, Bob Windt. In response to how high the craft can fly, he states: “It will go real high. But it’s not safe to do that.” I also called my local Coast Guard field office which promised to speak to its headquarters office and call me back. I’m still waiting. According to its website, no Coast Guard safety standards currently exist for WIG craft, although it claims to be working on them and will be getting “further assistance from the [FAA]”.
I also put the question of whether a WIG craft was an aircraft to the FAA. The initial response from an FAA spokesperson was “we haven’t made any determination whether any WIG [craft] is an aircraft because we’ve not received any applications for certification. We would have no reason to make a determination prior to someone applying.” That seemed like a bureaucratic non-response so I tried more directly, asking whether a commercially-advertised craft that weighs 1100 pounds, flies 70 miles per hour and can go to altitudes of 20 to 75 feet is considered an aircraft by the FAA. The response I got was that according to Frank Paskiewicz, FAA’s Deputy Director for Aircraft Certification, no decision had been made: “we simply haven’t made any determination yet. …It really depends on how someone wanted to operate it.”,
I think WIG craft embody some amazing technology that could have many beneficial applications. But their potential for raising safety concerns is also significant given their weight, speed, altitude and locations where they can fly. At least the FAA should be able to determine if they qualify as aircraft under its regulations.
By John Goglia
Plane Boat Drone?
The British Royal Air Force (RAF) unveiled the first upgraded Chinook helicopter of a planned new fleet this week. The helicopters are part of the country's $1.7 billion (1 billion pounds) campaign to strengthen their military force.
The new Chinook Mark 6, a helicopter that U.K. Secretary of Defence Philip Hammond calls "the battlefield workhorse of the RAF," will bring the British helicopter fleet to 60 — the largest in Europe.
The RAF ordered 14 upgraded Chinook helicopters in 2011 — a time when the British were fighting in Afghanistan and there were calls for more heavy-lift helicopters, reported BBC News. All 14 Chinooks will be delivered to the RAF by the end of 2015, according to the U.K. Ministry of Defence. [Supersonic! The 10 Fastest Military Airplanes]
The RAF is relying on the aircraft's improved hardware to provide a "significant uplift in helicopter capability" to support the army "on the front line for decades to come," Hammond said in a statement.
The new Chinooks boast increased safety and stability through a new digital automatic flight control system, giving pilots improved handling of the aircraft. Chinook helicopters are used for a range of military operations and peacekeeping efforts overseas.
The first Chinooks were designed and manufactured in the 1960s by Boeing, an American aerospace company that still manufactures the helicopters for the U.K..
"Chinook has proved itself time and again on operations, most recently in Afghanistan," Air Chief Marshal Pulford said in a statement. "The new Mark 6 variant will ensure the Chinook fleet is able to continue to play a key role in future operations, wherever they may be."
Pulford added that the new Chinook helicopters are some of the most advanced that the RAF have ever operated.
Caroline Wyatt, a BBC News analyst, believes the new helicoptersare a necessary addition to the British fleet, whether they are deployed for military operations, peacekeeping or humanitarian tasks. "All three services need to remain ready for whatever conflict they may be called on to intervene in at short notice," Wyatt said. "Assets such as Chinooks are among the most useful military assets for transporting troops and equipment to wherever they may be needed in the years to come."
By Jillian Rose Lim
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Darrell Abby carefully wipes down the fuselage of his Curtiss P-40 Warhawk for its first flight of the day.
He checks the flaps, wiggles the rudder, pumps in gas and monitors the air pressure for the landing gear. Then he pulls on a gray heavy work glove before spinning the propeller to start the engine.
While Abby's warbird has a wingspan of 86 inches — the real deal is 37 feet — the pre-flight checks he performs mimic those taken by a pilot before crawling into a cockpit.
"We're very big on safety," said Abby, a 66-year-old retired Delta Air Lines pilot at a recent "fly-in" of model aircraft buffs in Fort Worth. "In my opinion, these things are like a real airplane."
So it should come as no surprise that Abby and other hobbyists are in a four-foot hover over the Federal Aviation Administration's recent efforts to clarify its rules for flying model aircraft in the wake of recent incidents involving small remote-controlled aircraft, commonly referred to as drones.
Published in the Federal Register late last month, the FAA proposal restates some of the agency's established rules for model aircraft and tries to shed new light on others with the stated purpose of protecting the public both in the air and on the ground.
"We want people who fly model aircraft for recreation to enjoy their hobby — but to enjoy it safely," federal Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said last month.
But opponents to the FAA's recent attempt at rule-making say that what the agency is doing flies in the face of a law Congress passed in 2012 to protect the model plane community from "overreaching and onerous regulation" by the federal government.
Comparing it to the ongoing debate over gun control laws, Abby and others say a few bad actors are causing trouble for the vast majority of model aircraft owners who operate their miniature bombers, fighters, helicopters and blimps responsibly and safely.
"The FAA is trying to take part or all of our hobby away on a knee-jerk reaction to a specific problem that they will never be able to control," said Ed Couch, who has been involved in aeromodeling for 62 years. "It's the individual, not the vehicle, that is causing the problem."
The FAA says it published the new 17-page interpretation of its rules after receiving multiple inquiries regarding its enforcement authority over model aircraft. There have also been several high-profile incidents involving unmanned aircraft in the past year.
In March, a U.S. Airways jet flying from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Tallahassee, Florida, nearly collided with a remote-controlled aircraft. The airline pilot described the aircraft as a camouflaged F-4 Phantom jet.
Last month, the owner of a remote-controlled quad copter was flying — in apparent violation of FAA airspace regulations — over downtown Dallas and Arlington. He eventually lost control of the aircraft while flying over the $1.2 billion AT&T Stadium and it crashed onto the roof.
But observers say the FAA's urge to restate the rules can really be traced to a ruling in March by an administrative law judge that dismissed a $10,000 fine against Raphael Pirker, a businessman who in 2011 used a remote-controlled foam glider to take video for the University of Virginia Medical Center. The FAA said Pirker's actions were reckless and is appealing the decision.
Despite complaints from the modeling community, the agency says it's simply trying to clear up ambiguities in its existing regulations.
The agency says the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 prohibits it from putting into force any regulation regarding model aircraft if it meets several criteria.
But the law does not prevent the FAA from any future rule-making that may affect model aircraft, such as the use of airspace for safety or security reasons, the interpretation states. The clarification was published June 25 and comments can be submitted for 30 days.
"What we were doing was clarifying the FAA's authority under existing legislation," Les Dorr, a spokesman for the agency, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (http://bit.ly/1kdRqWr ).
The FAA also restates that flying for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited and it gives examples of what is OK. Taking photos from a drone for fun is OK; a real estate company doing so for a property listing, not so much. Viewing crops grown for personal enjoyment to see if they need watering, go right ahead. But if those crops are part of a farming operation, no can do.
"We have a mandate to protect the American people in the air and on the ground and the public expects us to carry out that mission," FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said.
At the field in east Fort Worth, Abby and other members of the Greater Southwest Aero Modelers were celebrating the Fourth of July with a cookout and a fly-in.
Parked along the main runway are several large-scale models, some of them "scratch built," others from "almost ready to fly" kits. Besides Abby's P-40 Warhawk, there is a Messerschmitt Bf 109, a Vought F4 Corsair and a North American P-51 Mustang.
Club members carefully fly their planes, keeping them in sight at all times, often with a second person standing next to them acting as a spotter.
In flight, some of the smaller engines have the high-pitched whine of lawn edgers, while the grumbling from the bigger airplanes — which can fly up to 120 mph — resembles chainsaws.
But the biggest buzz at the annual event is the fear that the FAA's "clarifications" may ground them.
Tim Lovett, a retired Hurst police officer and president of the club, is afraid that what the FAA is doing is a "gateway" to more stringent and unnecessary regulation.
"It makes me wonder what the next step is," Lovett said. "When we are at a field like this, we don't interface with full-scale aircraft. We are a model aircraft hobbyist organization, so we don't and shouldn't come under the auspices of FAA control.
"Anytime model aircraft interfaces with a full-scale airport control areas then I've got no problem with the FAA being involved, they need to be for all of our safety. But outside of that no. I don't see it," he said.,
The Academy of Model Aeronautics, a community-based membership organization that has existed since 1936 and has more than 165,000 members nationwide, also issued a statement saying it is "extremely disappointed and troubled by the approach the FAA has chosen."
The Muncie, Indiana-based group said the FAA frankly is ignoring the intent of the 2012 law passed by Congress to exempt their activities from regulation if it is conducted safely.
"The people writing these rules are by and large people who don't have experience with or a background in this industry," said Rich Hanson, a spokesman for the AMA. "They would shackle the one organization that is operating safely and responsibly."
Brian Huff, an associate professor at the University of Texas at Arlington who is conducting cutting-edge research in drones, said the FAA's clarification is one of the largest rule changes he's seen.
"To me the criteria should be if it is being operated in a safe and appropriate manner rather than if it is being used for sport and recreation," Huff said. "People who want to put these (drones) to good use, that will slow them down."
Couch, owner of Over the Top, a company that flies small blimps in the American Airlines Center and AT&T Stadium, said he wants the freedom to enjoy his hobby and grow his business.
"Whether I'm flying a 30-foot airship for the Dallas Cowboys or a 13-inch model, it makes me no difference, it's part of my roots," said Couch, a retired engineer and technician at Vought and Lockheed. "We are not geeks, crazies or someone lurking in the background bound on taking the government down. As a group, we love aviation in all its glory."
By MAX B. BAKER, Fort Worth Star
This story has been updated to clarify that House Bill 2710 does not apply to model aircraft.
A Southeast Portland resident recently purchased a drone for spying on Union Pacific and local developers.
The news raised legal questions for readers, so we did a little extra research. First, some background on the situation:
Robert McCullough, an energy economist and president of the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association, jokingly sporting vintage flight goggles and a leather helmet for flight practice with his new drone.
Melissa Binder/The Oregonian
Robert McCullough is president of the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association. He purchased a 2.6-pound flying camera (and christened it "Flying Monkey 1") several weeks ago, with the intent of capturing video of activity at the Brooklyn rail yard and neighborhood development projects.
He has no intention to spy on residents, he said.
McCullough intended to donate the drone to the neighborhood association, but said Wednesday he's leaning against it because he's heard from a couple of concerned neighbors.
His only plans to only fly the drone above public right-of-ways to avoid legal trouble.
But it turns out drone regulation is pretty tricky.
Does McCullough need approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly the drone?
Yes, which was news to McCullough. The administration's online FAQ says commercial or business use requires certification and recreational use does not, implying those are the only options. But FAA officials confirmed this week that commercial use is just one example of a non-recreational purpose and that all drone use that isn't just for fun requires federal permission.
Gathering information about Union Pacific or a developer's activities for use in negotiations or litigation isn't purely recreational, according to FAA officials, so McCullough must attain a Certificate of Operating Agreement before using the drone for any surveillance.
So far he's only flown Flying Monkey 1 for practice.
(Note: The first FAA stamp of approval for flying a commercial drone over U.S. soil went to BP earlier this month.)
So, I can fly a drone just for fun without FAA approval?
Yep. But if you want to use that drone for any purpose other than recreation (even something seemingly innocent, such as academic study) you might want to talk to the FAA first. McCullough -- who testified before Congress as an expert witness against Enron Corp. in 2002 -- thought his plans qualified as recreational.
Didn't the Oregon legislature pass a law regarding drone use last year?
Yes. House Bill 2710 limits when a law enforcement agency can and cannot use a drone or disclose information acquired with a drone. The bill also sets parameters for the use of drones by public bodies and lays out a few ground rules for general use. Those rules are:
It's a class A felony to intentionally fire a projectile or shine a laser at an airborne aircraft (or crash into it) with your drone.
Interfering with a drone licensed by the FAA or operated by the military is a class C felony.
You can sue anyone who flies a drone less than 400 feet above your property if they've done it before and you told them not to do it again (unless the drone is taking off or landing in the lawful path for an airport).
HB 2710 doesn't apply to model aircraft, as defined by the FAA. The administration defines model aircraft as a device that's capable of sustained flight used solely for hobby or recreation purposes and stays within the the operator's sight.
Is a neighborhood association a public body?
That answer is a little muddy.
If McCullough does not donate the drone to the neighborhood association and operates it himself, he's likely only accountable to the rules that apply to the general public (such as not shooting airplanes). However, if the neighborhood association uses the drone for surveillance, the part of the Oregon law pertaining to public bodies could conceivably apply.
Neighborhood associations probably aren't public bodies, but it would be up to a court to decide. State law says entities created by local government are a part of local government. Portland created the Office of Neighborhood Involvement to facilitate the neighborhood system and recognize neighborhood associations, but neighbors technically create the associations.
Here's what the state law says about public bodies:
Public bodies must register drones with the Oregon Department of Aviation before flying the aircraft and provide an annual report on the frequency and purpose of the aircraft's use.
Public bodies cannot operate a weaponized drone.
Any image or information gathered by a public body with a drone that isn't approved by the FAA can't be used in a judicial, administrative, arbitration or other adjudicatory proceeding. It also can't be used to establish probable cause or reasonable suspicion that an offense has been committed.
Is my privacy protected from drones?
Sort of. HB 2710 allows you to sue anyone who flies a drone over your private property at a height of less than 400 feet -- if they've done it before and you've notified them of your distaste.
But the bill doesn't apply to model aircraft, so if the operator can see the drone and it's only being used for hobby or recreational purposes, you're out of luck.
Still have questions? Post in the comments section or email me.
-- Melissa Binder
Two pilots with 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade listen to instructions on a UH-60M Black Hawk simulator given by a training contractor May 28 on Hunter Army Airfield.
HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. – Army Black Hawk pilots with 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade have been undergoing instruction on the new M Model UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter—which nine Army Aviation CABs have already received—over the past several weeks on Hunter Army Airfield.
The new digital platform replaces an older analog control system. Gauges and dials have been replaced by four large digital screens, or multi-functional displays. The Black Hawk M Models also have advancements that allow the aircraft to automatically adjust speed in flight to arrive at a location at a time specified by the pilot.
Rotor brakes, changes in rotor blades, and exhaust orientation will be the biggest changes the pilots will face, along with adjustments in cockpit management.
Army Lt. Col. Bradley Bruce, product manager for UH-60M Black Hawk, arrived to 3rd CAB from Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. He says that the fielding of aircraft in an aviation brigade is similar to the block of instruction a pilot would receive in pilot training at Fort Rucker.
“The advantage to the CAB is based on the multiple deployments we have been through; it allows the CAB to get their UH-60M qualification at their home station. They get to go home to their Families. They also get to train on their own unit’s aircraft and airspace,” said Bruce.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dennis Snyder, a standardization pilot with Company B, 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment is excited about the upgrades to the aircraft.
“You have the computers working for you,” said Snyder. “It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of.”
Snyder said he was initially worried about the system being digital, but said there are backup systems that are engaged should there be a failure. He adds the instructors conducting the training did a great job presenting the material in methodical demonstration.
Bruce said the contractors conducting the training are Soldiers, noncommissioned officers, and Instructor Pilots who first fielded the M Model and have since gotten out of the Army to work for contracting, or retired and are now supporting the government.
One of the pilots going through training was Chief Warrant Officer 2 Denise Griffie, Company B, 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment. She said learning to fly the aircraft was relearning the aircraft and that for many pilots, who are set in their ways of the analog aircraft, it was not without transition.
“There’s so much new stuff in this aircraft; it’s all digital. It’s like learning a new aircraft, it really is,” said Griffie.
Story by Sgt. William Begley
The A-10's official name comes from the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt of World War II, a fighter that was particularly effective at close air support. However, the A-10 is more commonly known by its nickname "Warthog" or simply "Hog". As a secondary mission, it provides airborne forward air control, guiding other aircraft against ground targets. A-10s used primarily in this role are designated OA-10. Our troops would be at a serious disadvantage without the close air support provided by this aircraft model.
Larry Malvin, a North Shore real estate photographer who uses a remotely-controlled model-aircraft drone to photograph houses, on May 27 received an email from a Federal Aviation Administration official that, in essence, told him that what he's doing is prohibited.
“There is no method at this time for a business or company to fly UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) in the NAS (national airspace system),” read the email from Mark Foisy, an aviation safety inspector in the FAA's flight standards division and the unmanned aircraft specialist for the Great Lakes Region.
Mr. Malvin was featured in a recent Crain's article.
Elizabeth Cory, a spokeswoman in the FAA's Des Plaines office, said the email to Mr. Malvin was “informational” and carried no threat of penalties. “We're concerned about public safety and the careless or reckless operation” of drones, Ms. Cory said. She declined to make the safety inspector available for an interview.
The email explained that AC 91-57, a federal guideline that allows use of drones by "modelers" or hobbyists, “specifically excludes its use by persons or companies for business purposes.”
Ms. Cory said the email did not imply threat of enforcement but was “meant to keep (Mr. Malvin) aware of safety concerns.” She declined to say how many other businesses may have received emails similar to the one Mr. Malvin received. Mr. Malvin is believed to be the first Chicago-area photographer to use drones in his business.
Peter Sachs, a Connecticut lawyer who has taken up the cause of remote-controlled model aircraft drones, claimed in a December 2013 article on his website, Drone Law Journal, that the FAA has no authority over their use. “There is not a single statute that is currently enforceable at the federal level,” Mr. Sachs said in an interview.
Mr. Malvin declined to comment other than to say, “Whatever the FAA regulates, I'm willing to follow.” I would be uncomfortable with a drone flying over my house but apparently there are no regulations that apply.
I am sure this applies to all model aircraft that can be remotely operated. Technology is changing so fast that laws can’t get through the government quick enough. See our thread on EE times Great story, who owns my airspace. Also a great story. A Near Miss Between an Airplane and an Aircraft Model Check out all the comments and please leave a comment!
Presuming you’ve read the headline, you’re probably thinking I was sniffing model airplane glue when I came up with the idea for this post. Well, maybe I was, and that’s none of your business, but there is evidence, to back up this crazy claim thanks to golden artifacts left behind by the Quimbaya Civilization circa 1000 CE.
The Quimbaya prospered in along the Cuaca River in what is now Quindío, Caldas and Risaralda, Colombia, beginning some time around the 6th and 7th centuries. Among their claims to fame in the history books is their impressive artistic talents using the medium of a gold and copper alloy called tumbaga.
While numerous artifacts have been recovered from the Quimbaya civilization, there are a few specific pieces that stand out. Those few pieces bear a striking resemblance to modern airplanes, which is probably why they are commonly referred to as the Quimbaya Airplanes — if you can imagine that.
The airplanes are small, perhaps the size of the average ornament on a Christmas tree, if you’re into that kind of thing, but many believe the design contains aerodynamic properties conducive to actual flight.
The artifacts are often cited by ancient astronauts proponents as evidence supporting their beliefs. It’s not a bad artifact to cite when trying to prove that argument either.
In the 1990s a scale replica of a Quimbaya airplane was built to the size of the average radio controlled airplane, equipped with an engine, and then flown without difficulty.
I believe this video should earn this post bonus points because it includes some commentary by Giorgio A. Tsoukalos of the History Channel’s show Ancient Aliens.
Of course, most mainstream history and science people say this is all just wishful thinking on the part of ancient astronaut theorists, because there is no way people had the knowledge or technology to construct viable aircraft more than 1000 years ago. The gold airplane is more than likely an homage to an insect, bird, or even just creative expression that happens to look like an aircraft.
Watching the modern, engine-powered model fly, given a few slight modifications, is impressive though. It’s design did allow it get off the ground, and stay there, which is something that isn’t easy to do. Modern civilization has only been doing that consistently for about 100 years.
So if the Quimbaya civilization made aerodynamically sound model airplanes some time between the 6th and 10th century, they had to have been the first to do something like this right?
In the era just before the Quimbaya Civilization the Peruvian Nazcan culture created the Nazcan Lines, drawings of birds, lizards, and other animals so large, they are best viewed from the air.
The desert drawings are so large and intricate, some believe they couldn’t have been created without some kind of assistance from an aerial view. Although there are those who say the full drawings can be viewed from a specific location atop some nearby hills. Whether air-help was needed to make them or not, why go to all the trouble of making drawings in the sand if not to be seen by somebody?
There are several theories about this, including reasons of astronomy and religion, but there is evidence going even further back of possible manned flight.
In the Egyptian Temple of Seti I, built some time around 1280 BCE, there are hieroglyphs depicting what appears to be a helicopter, and this just in, helicopters fly. There are also other objects in the drawings resembling flying objects one might see in a Jetsons cartoon.
Then there is the story of Mauryan Emperor Asoka the Great, who allegedly created a secret order of Nine Unknown Men to guard the technological secrets known to the Mauryans to prevent enemies from acquiring their power. Among the technology the Nine Unknown Men were ordered to protect was flight and space travel. This one has been chalked up as myth by most, but who knows what truth existed at one point to be perpetuated and exaggerated into the modern myth?
There is of course another explanation for the existence of the Quimbaya Airplanes. Some theorize the design could be modeled after an aircraft which was seen in the sky, or possibly even visited them from another planet.
The Quimbaya Civilization mysteriously vanished some time around the 10th century. The common theory is they splintered into smaller groups and scattered throughout South America forming new cultures, independent of the each other in both religion and politics.
When you look at the Quimbaya legacy, specifically the airplanes, you have to wonder whether the civilization’s disappearance can be attributed to them being the first group to all lace up their sneakers and zoom out to the heavens to catch a ride on the Hale-Bopp Comet, or other celestial body that happened by one day.
One thing is certain, Quimbaya artists put together some nice pieces that are far better than anything I’ve ever done. Their model airplanes, or bugs, or whatever, don’t have crooked pieces, scrunched up decals, or dried glue coating all the little parts making up the intricate detail like mine always do. So if nothing else, they deserve credit for that.