Thursday, December 30, 2010

Secrets Revealed

You might recall the post last week where I described an UNUSUAL FLYING OBJECT and my promise to track down the operator of the unusual flying machine.

Well, as I was headed to the hardware store for the third time today, I saw the lights soaring above a neighborhood and decided to track the operator down. It took about two minutes.

I met Gary and his friend Fred. They were busy flying two radio controlled airplanes, both lit with up LEDs. When I spotted them, they were standing in the driveway of Gary's house on a quiet residential street.

After assuring them that I meant no harm and was merely curious about their models, they agreed to answer some questions and to let me shoot a few pictures. In the above photo, Gary is holding the model I saw the other night. You can see that it is modeled after a bird-of-prey. Gary hand cut the model out of Styrofoam and painted the plumage onto the foam. The engine and controls are off the shelf RC parts. The LEDS were wired into the bird by Gary.

Here it is with the LEDS on. The top are blue, the bottom are white. All of the LEDs are wired through a switch allowing Gary to shut them off from the ground.

As the bird is made of Styrofoam, it is very light weight and is launched by turning on the electric powered motor and throwing the model into the wind.

With relatively new batteries, the bird can fly for up to half an hour on a charge. The radios have a range of a couple of miles and the bird can climb to an altitude of 900 feet. It does all of this almost silently, the electric power plant is almost silent.

Gary landed the bird in a space about twelve feet long. As it requires very little space to operate from, Gary likes to fly it from his house. He has built several of them and is thinking of a way to make and sell them as a business. He is kind of secretive about flying it from his house he doesn't want to piss anyone off - or at least he doesn't want to get caught pissing anyone off. Apparently, he likes to fly over a nearby baseball field and get the spectators there wondering about his bird. Sometimes, they get a little fired up.

I am grateful Gary allowed me to take pictures and that he answered my questions. It made it worth it to track him down. I think his product is cool and I wish him well with it. At least now, when I see weird lights maneuvering in the hood, I will know what I am seeing.

Thanks for reading,


  1. Simply amazing what they are doing with RC planes these days. You have to wonder, if they can do it with a chunk of styrofoam and a battery, would it not just be a matter of scale to make an electric plane?

    Sorry for not commenting more, but I do enjoy your blog on a daily basis!

  2. 5400 - This thing was pretty simple, yet it's power to weight ratio was pretty high. He has plenty of payload capacity left so he really wants to get creative with the LEDs. He mentioned a circular pattern with rotating multi-colored sequencing is in the works. I guess he likes to make people think that they are looking at a flying saucer.

    If they ever get the weight of high-cap batteries down, an electric plane would be nice. Issues like shock cooling, carb ice, fouled plugs and mixtures would go away. Of course I am sure other issues would arise.

    Thanks for reading and for the comment. Keep the greasy side down.

  3. Hello, My name is Tammy. I am a 52 year old career Paramedic and Paramedic Instructor who was put out on Disability in 2009. I live with my 22 year old son. We live in North Carolina. I write this in the hopes of getting help from kind, more fortunate people. I spent 20 years helping and teaching people as a Paramedic before I had to go out on Disability. I make $933.00 a month on Disability. My rent takes over half that. My electricity takes another $250.00. I make 'too much' to get Medicaid, so I have Medicare which still costs a lot for Doctor's visits and Medications....and I am on a lot. I am not eligible for food stamps because I make 'too much'. I have exhausted every avenue available to me and cannot find help anywhere. My son is desperately searching for a job, which is all we would need to make it, but has had no luck. No one is hiring. He has applied for work everywhere in our city, nearby cities, and online. It's just impossible in this economy to find a job.
    I am asking for ANY donations anyone could make. I am trying to get enough money to pay my rent up a few months in advance so that we can eat and get my medications until my son can find employment. Any amount that anyone can make would be a blessing and greatly appreciated!! I am not used to asking strangers for help, and this is very hard for me to do, but I am desperate. I have no family that can help me financially, and the Government will do nothing for me beyond my Disability check...which I worked very hard for all my life.

    Please, please help me if you can...any amount will help.

    Please mail any donation to:

    Tammy Peaden

    2509 Charles Blvd., Apt. 72

    Greenville, NC

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please pass this along to anyone that might want to help me...Thank you!

  4. Wow--that could be a ton of fun over a crowd at night. I need that can drop things. ;-)

  5. You - I think General Atomics came up with a similar idea. There a whole lot folks over in "The Stan" that are thankful for such creative thinking.

    Of course, there are some folks over there who aren't so enamored with the idea.

    Thanks for the comment.