While most airplanes were grounded last week, because of the ash created by the volcano eruption in Iceland, Jolly Green Giant and its owner Tony Nijhuis, were having a grand time taking advantage of the empty skies and soaring to new heights.
That's because, while the 80lbs airplane, which sports a 19ft. wingspan is big enough to be classified as a 'light aircraft' it is in reality, just a remote-controlled airplane that has the capacity to fly for a mere eight minutes. Thanks to its size however, it needs an aviation license and has permission to fly up to an altitude of only 400ft.
The incredible toy is the work of East Sussex resident, Tony Nijhuis, who has been building custom remote-controlled planes for over 30 years. The Jolly Green Giant, which took four years and $15,000USD to build, is his biggest project yet and he believes, the largest electric model plane in the world!
The aircraft, a 7:1 scale model of a Boeing B-50, uses 96 batteries to power its four electric motors and can attain a maximum speed of 40km on a 50m runway, prior to taking off. Thanks to its weight and size it's batteries need recharging every eight minutes.
Similar to the real thing, the replica made from scratch using balsa wood and plywood, sports a rudder control and bomb bay doors, that open up that could spit out real bombs (or eggs), if needed. The one drawback it has, compared to smaller remote-controlled aircraft, is that thanks to its size and weight it could disintegrate, if it crashed. In order to prevent that, Tony has installed an alarm that warns him every time the battery needs re-charging.
While Tony built this particular model for himself, he has plenty of others that he sells to model airplane enthusiasts all over the world. To see his other creations, check out www.tonynijhuisdesigns.co.uk.
The Boeing B-50, also known as the Lucky Lady II, made history in 1949, for being the first airplane to go around the globe nonstop. It took 94 hours and four mid-air refuelings to achieve this amazing feat! With a wingspan the width of a soccer field and a top speed of 400mph, it was also one of the fastest and most powerful airplane of its era.