Archive for June 14th, 2011

I came across an obituary in the Washington Post the other day for Maynard Hill, who passed away at the age of 85. It’s not a name that will mean anything to many of us but in his field he was a true legend.  You see, he was a model airplane enthusiast who made his hobby his vocation and the focus of his life.  In the process he pushed the boundaries of  possibility, creating miniature planes that flew further, faster and higher than anyone had before imagined.  His work led to the  high tech drones that our military use today to surveil enemy forces.

His greatest achievement came in 2003, when a plane that he designed and built (over five years with a team of like-minded experts that he had assembled) made its way from Newfoundland to Ireland, a distance of 1882 miles.  The plane, weighing less than 11 pounds and carrying a single gallon of fuel, covered the distance in just under 39 hours.  A truly remarkable feat when you think about those model airplanes buzzing around the park.  To those in the know, such as other model airplane enthusiasts, the feat rivalled our 1969 moon landing in importance.  Nobody had ever flown a radio controlled plane even a third of the distance that Mr. Hill’s plane covered in it’s crossing of the Atlantic.

I mention this today not because  I knew of Mr. Hill or know even the slightest thing about model airplanes, drones or aeronautics. I am just interested in those people who find a passion in their life and unfalteringly follow it.  It’s a rare occurrence to find that one thing that jibes with one’s thought process and innate talents, to take that spark and willingly pursue it. 

Maynard Hill was obviously one of those people and, like him, we should all strive to fly further in our pursuits, to create new horizons to seek.  It doesn’t matter what we do.  It’s that we strive to do what we do as well as we can.


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