By Andrew Liszewski
You know what we here at OhGizmo! love most? Gadgets of course… But if we had to choose a close second, it would be intricately detailed and functional scale models. Whether it’s a 10,000+ piece Jawa Sandcrawler made out of LEGO, or Jack Clemens’ faithful and flyable scale reproduction of the USS Macon. At 20 feet in length the model barely fits in Jack’s two-car garage, but any smaller and the volume of helium inside wouldn’t be enough to allow the mini Macon to actually lift off.
Interestingly enough, the USS Macon pictured here is actually the third model Jack has built. The first was destroyed by a cat jumping off a shelf onto the prototype. The second, possibly the most historically accurate of the three, was totaled in a windy test flight. (The original USS Macon was lost when damaged in a thunderstorm in 1935.) But the third managed to survive until completion.
Eight small propellers, powered by a single 2.5 ounce lithium polymer battery is all that’s needed to propel the mini Macon, which is controlled and steered by a standard RC remote that talks to a receiver in the craft’s cockpit. All in all the USS Macon model represents about 2 1/2 years of Jack’s life, and $6,000. And he eventually hopes to donate it to a museum being built in Moffett Field, California, which is where the original USS Macon called home.