How can this be? Not only is this F-16 privately owned, but they’ve even somehow gotten away with painting it in exact Thunderbirds colors! Either someone has way too much power and money, or they’ve done something really wrong and are gonna be in some heap big trouble when Uncle Sam figures out what’s going on.
Or, there may be one other option here… maybe this is really just a 1/5 scale model that is so amazingly well crafted that you can’t even tell that it only has an 80” wingspan and weighs just 53 pounds! It’s true, it is an RC model, but c’mon, in these pix you just can’t tell. You can even see the heat waves from the AMT Olympus turbine engine coming out the tailpipe in the top pic! And look at that main landing gear detail - it pretty much melts my brain to know that there are people out there that can do this kind of meticulousness!
The builder of this incredible piece of work is Graeme Mears from Toronto. He’s been working full-time building museum-quality flying RC aircraft since he retired from 40 years in the motion picture industry in 2003. This F-16 took first place in the ‘team’ category at the 2009 Top Gun invitational meet held each spring in Lakeland, Florida. Graeme built the airplane, and it was flown by David Shulman.
There’s some crazy amazing stuff going on in the world of model aircraft these days, and Top Gun is a great place to see a lot of it. Check out the extensive pix gallery from this year’s event (links are on the left side of the page), and then consider adding April 28 - May 2 to your list of events that you really should get to if it’s at all possible. Til then, I’m gonna do a little more digging’ to see if I can found out what Graeme is working on now!
photo: Top Gun
photo: cropped from MAN