Shoot model airplanes for a good cause

Brandon Griffin

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For $12000, Could This 1990 Chrysler TC By Maserati Hijack Your Heart?

Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Chrysler/Maser TC has a tenuous connection to hijacker D.B. Cooper. More importantly it has the rare Cosworth/Maserati twin-cam head. Maybe that, and not the famous airplane robbery will make it worth its asking.

Miserable. Awful when new. Slower than sunburned sloth sex. Dull as ever-lovin’ dishwater. These were some of the themes that arose out of the comments for yesterday’s 1976 Ford Maverick Four-Door. Some of you even averred that it would be overpriced at free.

It’s quite surprising then that it actually drove away—albeit likely very slowly—with a 60-percent Nice Price win. I guess when it comes to Mavericks, nobody’s going to tell them what to do.

Lee Iacocca was a bit of a maverick, and so were a number of his friends. liked to work with his friends. That led to partnerships with such notables as Carroll Shelby and Alejandro de Tomaso, the latter even sharing Iacocca’s Italian heritage.


It was while at Ford that Iacocca funded Shelby’s vision of the Corvette-killing Cobra, and it was also there where he first met industrialist de Tomaso.

Both Shelby and de Tomaso followed Iacocca to Chrysler after the latter’s unceremonious canning from Ford, and there they continued to crank out special models, many of which have become historically noteworthy.

One of the most… well, notorious of those was the Chrysler TC by Maserati. Not only did it have an awkward name, but it also featured one of the more oddball pairings in automotive history. Maserati was, at the time owned by de Tomaso, who after failing to turn the marque into a large-scale producer of near-exotics with the Biturbo, sought other avenues for leveraging the company’s brand and skills. He and Lee decided to build the ultimate K car.


This 1990 Chrysler TC by Maserati was the result of that decision, and this one has a number of notable attributes that make it all the more interesting.

Let’s start with the drivetrain. This is one of the few TC’s to rock the 16-valve turbo 2.2 and Getrag five-speed transmission combo. Most of the TC’s arrived with a Mitsubishi V6 and automatic.

The engine was based on the standard 2.2 block, but that received Mahle pistons, cams designed by Crane, and was capped by a DOHC head designed by Cosworth and built by Maserati. Output from the takes-a-village mill was an even 200-ponies. The three pedal setup drove through the front wheels, because K-car.

The seller claims there were 501 twin cam TCs built in total, and only 150 this model year. The car comes with cream paint, black hand-stitched leather, and wheels shared with the LeBaron. It also rocks two tops—a fabric soft one that drops fully under its hard tonneau, and a porthole equipped hard cap. The use of each is fully on you.


There’s 35,000 miles on the clock and the car presents well in the ad. It comes with an update to R134, a ton of manuals and original kit, and—oddly—a connection to ‘70s airplane hijacker D.B. Cooper.

Okay, so the connection is about as strong as my connection to Anna Kendrick—whom I once saw on TV and considered stalking. The ad says that this car was once owned by an FBI agent on the Cooper case. Yep, that’s it.

If that’s a bit of a let down, know that the car apparently comes with a V6/auto parts car as a bonus. I’m not 100% sure if that costs extra, but the ad seems to imply it does not.

The price is $12,000 which gets you arguably the most interesting TC model there is, and one that seems well taken care of and hence is still presentable.


What’s your take on this TC and that $12,000 price? Does that sound captivating? Or, is this Italian-American not infamous enough to get away with it?

You decide!

Portland, OR Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.



H/T to Fauxshizzle for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOCP. Click here to send a me a fixed-price tip, and remember to include your Kinja handle.

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Spirit’s composite savvy could benefit new Boeing plane | The …

Boeing offered new details on its potential middle of the market plane at the Paris Air Show – and they could be promising for Wichita’s Spirit AeroSystems.

Mike Delaney, Boeing vice president of airplane development, said in a presentation at the show on Tuesday that the new plane’s fuselage design may break from the traditional circular structure to one that is shaped closer to an ellipse.

Such a design would allow for the plane to be a wide body with two aisles versus a single aisle found in the out-of-production 757, Boeing’s last middle-market airplane.

But the design wouldn’t allow for as much cargo space in the bottom of the plane compared with contemporary Boeing fuselages.

Boeing hasn’t yet committed to building such an airplane, but talk of it has been robust in the past six months and “was a persistent topic of conversation” on Day 2 of the show, Vertical Research Partners analyst Robert Stallard wrote in an e-mail Tuesday afternoon.

“There is already an expectation that Boeing will try and get this plane into service and to full rate faster than has traditionally been seen in the industry,” Stallard wrote.

The one detail from Delaney’s briefing that is relevant to Spirit is how Boeing plans to construct its fuselage. Boeing will use composites to fashion the new plane’s fuselage, Delaney said, and that’s an area where Spirit – already a supplier of structures on every Boeing airplane model – has a great deal of expertise.

Spirit manufactures the composite forward fuselage section of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner at its South Oliver plant. It also uses composites in the manufacture of other parts for Boeing and Airbus planes, such as the 777’s nacelles and the center fuselage of the A350 XWB.

Spirit’s Wichita plant is one of three locations that make parts of the Dreamliner’s composite fuselage. The others are in North Charleston, S.C., and Nagoya, Japan.

Spirit officials on Tuesday would not confirm whether the company and Boeing have discussed work on the middle-market plane.

“We are always in close communication with Boeing, but have nothing to announce at this time related to any potential new programs,” the company said in an e-mailed statement to The Eagle.

Contributing: Seattle Times

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New materials and 3D printing make lighter, cheaper planes

Several exhibitors at the international event are displaying new materials, which manufacturers are using to cut costs. British company Sigma Components is one example, using a thermoplastic composite – material which is melted before cooling and hardening – to create ultra-lightweight but durable plane parts.

Chief executive Mark Johnson demonstrates with two pipes: one made of steel, one braided thermoplastic. The two pieces are exactly the same size, but the thermoplastic is half the weight. Despite the reduction, the plastic tube is just as strong, says Johnson.

“Clearly everyone wants to lower costs, but with the pressures on OEMs they also want them lighter,” says Johnson to Professional Engineering. “Everyone focuses on wings and fins, but not many people focus on some of the smaller components like tubes. They are always spending time on the big stuff… but if you make savings on small things, and a lot of them, it makes a big difference.”

Using thermoplastic pieces in an engine could save 10kg, says Johnson. For a whole plane, 100kg could be saved – enough to take on another passenger. “If we do that on all of the components, just imagine the savings,” says Johnson. “It is the power of many.”

Sigma also uses traditional materials in non-traditional ways, such as 3D printing metal alloys. Johnson shows the difference with two nuts of the same diameter, but one has been 3D printed. It is far lighter, using less material – and therefore costing less money – but has been intelligently engineered and printed to be of the same strength.  “Everybody wins,” says Johnson.

Other companies at the air show are also demonstrating techniques which let them use less material but keep the same strength when making parts. Dassault Systèmes showed PE software that simulates aircraft parts based on a set of constraints – set by an engineer – and a virtual model of the objects the part must link.

The result is noticeably streamlined, with more organic-looking structures replacing the sharp lines and hard corners of the human-designed pieces. The lighter parts are virtually stress-tested before real-world testing, revealing the same strength as the outdated part.

Cutting aircrafts’ weight is a major focus at the show, with concern around the huge amount of fuel required to power increasing numbers of heavy commercial planes. “Every time you think about an airplane design, you think of weight,” said Bob Guirl from UTC Aerospace Systems. “The first thing you think about is weight. The last problem you address is weight. Every model-change factors in weight. How can we increase efficiency by reducing weight?”

Manufacturers must take an integrated approach to cutting weight, Guirl added, considering everything from reducing miles of cable to using lighter hydraulic pumps simultaneously.  

Our reporter Joseph Flaig is at the Paris Air Show this week. To contact him, email or follow him on Twitter @Joseph_Flaig.

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Retired McMurray man uses expertise to build model ships

James Drake is a model guy, of sorts.

The 85-year-old Peters Township man builds model ships, and his basement workshop is filled with replicas of famous wooden tall ships.

His ship-building hobby, which he took up in 2007, takes patience, a steady hand – and a lot of time.

“It usually takes between 600 and 2,000 hours to finish a model,” said Drake, who keeps a detailed log of the time he spends on each model.

Drake’s passion for model building started when he was young.

Growing up in Lincoln Place, near Allegheny County Airport, Drake made model airplanes and tanks, and he built and flew radio control airplanes.

“All of my life, I’ve built models,” said Drake, a tool and die maker who retired from Daugherty Tool Die Inc. in Buena Vista in 1994.

“I’d build anything just to build.”

His first boat kit was Bluenose, a celebrated racing ship and fishing vessel built in Nova Scotia in 1921.

Once he completed it, he decided to continue.

“I think it’s fun to do. I’m sure not everything thinks so,” laughed Drake.

Drake’s tools are stored neatly in the wooden toolbox he used at Daugherty, and supplies and blueprints are organized on tidy work tables. Among the tools of his trade are razors, pliers, tweezers, vices, files and scissors.

Building models, Drake admits, appeals to his fastidious nature.

“Everything has to be accurate, it’s very detailed, and everything has to be just right. I’ve worked real close-up at my jobs,” said Drake, who also spent four years as a machinist in the U.S. Navy. “That’s just how I am. I’m particular. It’s almost a handicap.”

Kits, which can cost upwards of $600 (Drake always waits for them to go on sale), arrive with raw materials and a set of instructions. It’s up to Drake to size, sand, cut, soak and bend the wood, tie the rigging, assemble masts and build cannons.

To date, he’s built models of seven ships, including the USS Constitution, the oldest original ship in the United States, now dry docked in Charlestown, Mass.; the USS Niagara, once commanded by Oliver Hazard Perry and an important part of the Battle of Lake Erie (a “Don’t give up the ship” banner hangs above the model); and the HMS Victory, the Royal Navy’s most famous warship, launched in 1765. It is the world’s oldest naval ship still in commission.

Drake is currently working on a German tall ship called the Berlin, built in 1675 and propelled by sail and oar.

When the Berlin kit arrived, Drake faced a hurdle: instructions are written in Italian, which Drake is not familiar with.

“I can’t read Italian,” said Drake. “I convert for millimeters and I follow the diagrams. You wouldn’t want this to be your first ship.”

For the Berlin, Drake has taken on a new challenge. He is making the ship’s sails.

“It’s a new adventure. I’m getting help from my wife,” said Drake.

The models, which often contain more than 1,500 pieces, are impressively intricate and accurate.

Drake typically works on projects for a few hours at a time, taking breaks to do yard work and jobs around the house.

“It will be the fall before I’m done. You just can’t do this for hours and hours at a time,” said Drake. “I’m just lucky because my hands don’t shake yet or anything. I’m still chugging along.”

For Drake, building model ships has given him an understanding of the complexity of building ships centuries ago, and an appreciation of the men who sailed them.

“It just amazes me to think how, in the 1600s, they built a thing like this,” he said. “It’s almost incomprehensible. What they accomplished without computers and modern tools is incredible.”

He traveled to Erie to see the replica of the USS Niagara, anchored at the Erie Maritime Museum, and drove to Massachusetts to tour the USS Constitution. Drake is awed by how closely the models resemble the tall ships.

Drake still occasionally flies radio control planes, and he has been “playing with a drone,” which he said “is good for the hands and the mind.”

But right now, building model ships has become a passion.

“If you do it right, everything fits and it’s satisfying,” said Drake. “I don’t have any pieces left over.”

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Flyers to treat seniors to model airplanes air show

The Parksville District and Qualicum Flyers will be treating some of the region’s senior citizens to a unique air show.

The local club will be showing off and flying different radio-controlled aircrafts on Friday, June 23. The invited seniors will come from different care homes in the area.

This will be the second year the Flyers are hosting this event.

“It’s our way of paying back to the community and putting some smiles on these people’s faces,” said Flyers’ secretary Greg Brunt.

The seniors invited to the event, which will feature over 25 model aircrafts, are from Nanaimo Seniors, Cokely Manor, The Gardens at Qualicum Beach, Eagle Park and Trillium.

This year, Brunt said, one of their main features will be Snoopy on his dog house going after the Red Baron. There will be a couple of Electric Ducted Fan (EDF) Jets. said Brunt. “They look like jets and they sound like jets.”

As well, dogfights will be staged. Ribbons are attached to each plane and the objective is to cut them from each other.

There will also be some aerobatic performances. “We just want to give them something to look at, the ins and outs,” said Brunt.

The seniors will also be treated to lunch.

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PARIS: Dassault Systemes shoots for the ‘digital universe’

In the eyes of technology company Dassault Systèmes, the virtual world is quickly becoming master of the physical world.

The concept, which the French company is highlighting at the Paris air show, is abstract but fairly straightforward.

It rests on the fact that advances in computer models have enabled aerospace companies to design and test components using increasingly complex digital models in a “virtual universe”, says Dassault vice-president of aerospace and defence Michel Tellier.

As technology advances, physical tests – wing load and bird strike tests, for instance – aim more to validate the theoretical models than they do to validate performance of actual components, Tellier says.

“More and more, the model is the virtual master,” he says. “The only way to verify that any of this stuff works is to do it in a virtual world.”

Soon, “you will break the wing to verify the model. You won’t break the wing to verify the wing”, he says.

Three “virtual universes” impact aviation, according to Tellier.

One universe models the design of aviation components and aircraft. Sophisticated computer platforms mesh a range of data, laying out specifications of individual parts and showing how those parts integrate and are effected by larger systems, says Tellier.

Another universe models the manufacturing process, detailing components’ requirements and constraints, and helping experts design production methods, he says.

A third universe models aircraft operation, detailing how aircraft are used and how they perform in service, according to Tellier.

Get all the coverage from the Paris air show

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