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Model Plane’s 517-Mile Flight Sets Record

A world record was set and bragging rights secured Saturday by a San Diego man and his crew when they flew a radio-controlled model plane nonstop from Lamoine, a town near Lake Shasta, to the Sepulveda Basin--a distance of 517 air miles.

Ron Klem, 58, made the 11-hour, 41-minute trip from Northern California in a convertible with an assistant pilot, a photographer and a driver.

He flew the plane at an altitude of 500 feet and about half a mile ahead of the car.

The twin-tailed craft, called “The Avenger,” has a 76-inch wingspan and was built from scratch in Klem’s garage. He spent 40 hours on engineering problems and 200 hours on actual labor using plastic foam, epoxy, resin and balsa wood.

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The plane cost less than $175, Klem said.

Klem, who works as a printer, said the hardest part of the trip was arranging to keep the model flying while the crew took a bathroom break.


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