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Julian Noses
Julian Noses

Flying Lawnmower Buy

The other is a gas-powered red lawnmower with propeller blades on its under-carriage and ailerons on the back that allow it to be controlled in the air, built from magazine plans by Brooklyn auto-collision repairman and part-time model air-show pilot Phillip Cushman.

flying lawnmower buy

The pilots launch into the sky, and things quickly start to go wrong. Early into the show, the flying Snoopy dog-house plummets to the ground. One of the pilots has trouble starting another plane, and the crowd begins to boo. The flustered Eagles, eager to recover from the embarrassment, bring out Cushman and his lawnmower, a usually guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

"The lawnmower plane was flying clockwise around the playing field at about the height of the top of the grandstand, with an occasional swoop downward and over the seating area. I was standing, following the show with the binoculars.

But how? How could a death both this public and this egregiously stupid happen? Who thought it would be a good idea to allow enthusiastic hobbyists to propel home-built flying lawnmowers right over the delicate and unprotected bodies of football fans?

Today, flying lawnmowers still ply the skies of air shows, seemingly free of any deadly reputation. Until a few years ago, you could order a flying lawnmower kit from a number of companies, and the plans are still widely available for free online. Model airplane forums regularly see users who have decided to try making one. Supposedly, in the right hands, they fly rather nicely indeed.

YouTube features a wide assortment of flying lawnmower videos, usually shot at air shows, usually with whimsical narration provided by an older guy in a large hat and tube socks (which is the national uniform of middle-aged model airplane enthusiasts). There was even a massively popular, very good, Vine with a Mariah Carey soundtrack.

The Electronic Eagles were a sub-group of the Radio Control Association of New York, a respectable model airplane hobby group who are affiliated (like other hobby groups of their ilk) with the mighty Academy of Model Aeronautics, or the AMA. The AMA dates back to 1936 and was, by 1979, a venerable institution amongst US model-airplane builders, as well as the publisher of the popular monthly Model Aviation Magazine. Back then and today, the AMA offered pilots access to flying fields and model aviation events, as well as liability insurance for RC model pilots.

Cushman, far as I can tell, vanished swiftly into obscurity, and so did the Electronic Eagles. Nothing ever seems to have been published on what, exactly, went wrong with the flying lawnmower, or why Cushman had lost control of it.

If we take all this modern-day public concern over drone crashes into account, then it\u2019s shocking to read about a 1979 incident where a flying remote-controlled lawnmower killed a man and seriously wounded another. During a halftime show at a New York Jets game with thousands of people in attendance. Even more shocking: the incident resulted in relatively little news coverage, and no major changes to regulations around remote control aircraft.

On the field, the Eagles begin to set up their equipment. There are plenty of regular gas-powered model airplanes, which the pilots guide through impressive trick routines. There are also two flying objects of a far stranger, more whimsical nature. One is a flying model of Snoopy\u2019s dog house, which the Electronic Eagles would use to simulate air battles with the Red Baron.

In the stands are 20-year old John Bowen of Nashua, NH, apparently on his first trip to New York City with his younger brother. They are sitting close to 25-year-old Kevin Rourke of Lynn, Massachusetts. While we don\u2019t know what the two young men made of the relative safety of a flying lawnmower swooping over their heads, the New York Times quoted Ray Warner of Montclair, New Jersey, on the matter:

\u201C\"The lawnmower plane was flying clockwise around the playing field at about the height of the top of the grandstand, with an occasional swoop downward and over the seating area. I was standing, following the show with the binoculars.

\u201CIf you youtube flying lawnmower, you'd probably see a very light looking, plastic replica of a push mower flying around. At the game, the lawnmower looked genuine. Back where the endzone/players entrance/home plate was, the lawnmower started towards the outfield. About halfway down the field, it went airborne. It flew into the outfield, then into the parking lot, around one of the outfield light posts and then back. When it got to the first base side, the controller decided to do some stunt flying over those at the lower levels. It twisted and perhaps corkscrewed. Not to long into the stunts, the lawnmower lost power and fell from the sky. Its fall of about 20-30 feet was broken by one (and possibly more) football fans. I think it was only one fan though. An ambulance was driven onto the field from the players entrance. The victim was carted from the lower level, onto the field, and into the ambulance. Then the ambulance left. Halftime was over. I do not recall ever hearing the fate of the victim ever being announced at the game. I didn't find out until well after the game that he had passed.\u201D

Yet another eyewitness wrote to the Washington Times in June 2017, applauding a Major League Baseball decision to ban drones inside of ballparks. He recalled that John Bowen had been reduced to a \u201Chorrible, bloody mess,\u201D who he\u2019d watched being carried into an ambulance. He also recalled that the lawnmower \u201Chad a particularly difficult time\u201D of getting off the ground.

After a short delay, the Jets and Patriots retake the field \u2013 attack by lawnmower, presumably, not being considered a valid reason to cut short a football match. The Jets end up winning, 27 to 26. Rourke makes a full recovery. Bowen dies on December 15th, after undergoing surgery. The seemingly innocuous model aviation hobby had claimed a very public victim.

The notion of a flying lawnmower \u2013 which is, if you think about, a physical manifestation of a dad joke - dates back to at least the 1970s, and may go back even further. One famous model was designed by RC specialist Ted Teisler, and was advertised as the \u201CYard Bird.\u201D Model aviation magazines regularly featured advertisements for them. Builders could send away for plans. Other bizarre flying machines were also rather in vogue in the 1970s, like the aerial cheeseburgers featured in a July 1978 issue of Model Aviation.

A January 1978 issue of Model Aviation included a full page feature on the Electronic Eagles with pictures from the September 1977 Pittsburgh halftime show, including the ill-fated flying Snoopy doghouse. The aforementioned John Byrne, the article notes, provided both narration of the show and \u201Cappropriate plugs\u201D for the model aviation hobby.

Again, the article makes exculpatory reference to the rather obvious question of safe flight in the crowded confines of a football stadium: \u201CThe pilots are carefully chosen as are the models \u2013 not all are suited to flying in the tight confines. Thorough inspection of models before each show is a must as is test flying. It\u2019s not recommended for everyone. But the Eagles are a professional group and are doing a great job of promoting model aviation.\u201D

By February 1978, it was clear that some people in the model airplane community felt - quite correctly, as it turned out - that flying large model aircraft at crowded sports games was unsafe. In that month\u2019s issue, Model Aviation felt moved enough by these criticisms to issue a retort. \u201CAlthough some risk is involved, these events present an outstanding opportunity to \u201Csell\u201D aeromodeling,\u201D the club noted, adding that the Electronic Eagles \u201Chave been a credit to all modelers.\u201D 041b061a72


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