I remember hearing on NPR a few years ago about a group of retired aeronatical engineers who had gotten together and built a number of model airplanes that used miniature autopilot circuits and GPS to fly incredible distances. They were trying to fly one across the Atlantic.

The radio article talked about their taking off and a bit of their trials, but I could never find anything about them actually being able to pull it off. I thought someone here might know something about this... Any information is greatly appreciated.


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They did manage a transatlantic flight on (IIRC) the second attempt in August 2003. See http://tam.plannet21.com/
Obviously this would be nothing all that new since the Aerosonde "Laima" flew autononously across the Atlantic almost 10 years ago. I first saw it in the Air & Space Museum in Seattle.

Since then there was an FAI Class F / F3A model sailplane in 2003.

And of course the Global Hawk UAV flew across the Pacific in 2001.
(I know, its hardly a "model" as we have been discussing here at this site)
Just follow the link included in John Daragon's post.

I still don't know how that site claims that their powered sailplane was the first UAV to cross the Atlantic, when obviously it was many years after the Aerosonde flight (?)
In the RC mags, (the main stream american ones) there was from time to time discussions about endurance contests. They were all flown manually (often from the backs of cars) arond a set course. The plane that flew the farthest won. The race sedlom went to the swiftest. One poster has already mentioned the transatlantic effort of Maynard .... (gosh his name escapes me) .. who did a lot of the early work setting records. interesting reading.

Good luck witht hat keep the foum posted.
F3A is the FAI designation for motor powered models -NOT Sailplanes - Nobody implied that a sailplane was flown across the Atlantic..
The aircraft built and flown by highly respected and holder of many official FAI World distance ,duration and altitude records was Maynard Hill, now in his late 70's and technically blind.

To Qualify under FAI rules as an "aeromodel", the model had to be less than 5 kilos (including all fuel). It reached Ireland, from Newfoundland in 38 hours and had less than an ounce of fuel left.
The Aerosonde and Global Hawk did not fit this category. In 2002 he lost 3 models during attempts and in 2003 he lost one model before success.
Flight progress of all models was carried live with hourly updates of model position. A truly wonderful effort by a well organized team.
John O'Sullivan

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