It's A Bird... It's A... Model Airplane? - WNKY.com | SoKY Community, Events, Weather

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It's A Bird... It's A... Model Airplane?

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West Baden Springs Hotel -

Some rather remarkable airplanes are flying inside the rather atrium of the West Baden Springs Hotel at French Lick Resort this week. This is not just any flying competition, this is the world championship    for these meticulously hand-crafted rubber band powered planes. Built of Balsa Wood with micro fiber wings, these are the ultimate ultra-light aircraft. 1.4 grams, about the weight of a dollar bill. It’s the minimum airplane you can have.  It’s kind of like the DNA of flight.  There’s almost nothing there and it manages to fly. Tim Hayward Brown of Australia is among 14 teams that came from around the world for this competition. The planes are built to nearly identical specs and are powered by a single rubber band, and not just any rubber band says former world champ Steve Brown. It’s all about endurance and who can keep their plane in the air the longest in a single flight. That could be somewhere around half an hour with the new rules in place. The previous world championship was decided 400 feet underground in a salt mine in Romania, a fact not lost on our friend. Why a salt mine and then here? For one thing these planes need height and space. They also need quiet air, if you will. We turn off the heat and air conditioning when they’re here in the atrium flying. Another question you might ask, why the balloons and long sticks? They help the fliers steer their planes out of trouble like mid-air collisions, hitting the wall or landing on a ledge. When you put 30 hours into building one of these delicate planes you want to keep it airworthy. The championship will be decided in the final round on Thursday.

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