3D Robotics

Amateur UAV pioneer Maynard Hill passes away

3689411831?profile=originalGary Mortimer passes on sad news:

The Washington Post reports the death of Maynard Hill an inspiration to so many in the sUAS world. Our condolences to his family

Maynard Hill, a designer of model airplanes who secured a spot in aviation history in 2003 when one of his creations flew 1,882 miles across the Atlantic Ocean on less than a gallon of fuel, died June 7 of prostate cancer at his home in Silver Spring. He was 85.

A balsa-and-glue virtuoso, Mr. Hill was a legend in the model-aircraft world even before his first-of-its-kind transatlantic feat. Beginning in the 1960s, he set a total of 25 world records for speed, duration and altitude, flying his radio-controlled aircraft as high as 26,990 feet, as long as 38 hours and as fast as 151 miles per hour.

Read the full article here

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  • My condolences to his family and friends, his achievements were and are unbelievable. He leaves a great legacy.
  • In many ways, the UAS community in general owes a great deal to this giant, and many others who pushed the boundaries of radio-controlled aeromodeling.  I remember some of Maynard's experiments with electrostatic stabilization systems and his numerous altitude records set at a time when the rudimentary nature of proportional R/C promised a much greater capability of scientist and hobbyists alike.  Comparing it to westward expansion and Manifest destiny,  it was a wonderful era for our hobby.  The road we find ourselves traveling today reeks of an onerous regulatory environment frosted by the excrement of a risk-averse society that is blind to the nature of, and very need for, discovery. Abraham Lincoln wrote, " If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide." Though his words were directed at those who would risk the destruction of the Union, I can't help but feel they are indicative of such times as these.  In a way, it is good that a true pioneer such as Maynard did not live to see the potential destruction of a part of his life he loved so much.  To his family and friends, I offer my heartfelt condolences.
  • T3
    That was a real pioneer flight across the Atlantic. RIP.
  • Admin

    I don't know about what his wife meant but his one little plane did go faaaaar away .. 

    I was spell bound with his TAM feat too and to this day I could not understand how did a gallon of fuel = Atlantic crossing by a model plane !!!  How did he control it ? Was it a free flight?  was there some sort of autopilot? I need to reread all the details some time soon. But I am sure model world will miss him very much. I do.

  • T3

    Maynard is often in my thoughts. He inspired me.


    Maynard had a great sense of humor. He was fond of quoting what his wife said during their trip up to Nova Scotia for his launch of TAMs across the Atlantic. She said, "It seems like a far way to go to just throw six little airplanes into the ocean."


  • I read about his record and kept reading for about 2 hours with all of his little bits of extra information. Such knowledge, such enthusiasm, such a shame.

    Hope we can push the boundaries like he did.

  • Let us continue carrying on in his spirit. What better way to remember him.

  • Hear Hear, on the passing of a pioneer.

    unprecedented achievements, and while legally blind no less.


  • I had the sincere pleasure to not only learn from Maynard as one of my early RC instructors back in the late 70s and early 80s but to help on TAM and also sponsor the Record Attempt. Maynard spent his life in aviation and many of the innovation we all see in our field as well the drone field and aviation field in general as because of his many many decades of work and passion. He will be missed by all he touched! God Speed Maynard, God Speed my friend! DCRC club I am sure has Maynard in their thoughts!!!
  • TAM (the trans-Atlantic aircraft) is in the AMA museum in Muncie. Quite a contradiction since the AMA now bans similar aircraft and flights.
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