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Shop grounded (Looks like R/C Airplanes to be banned?)
The Clanto Advertiser ^ | March 13, 2003 | Jason Green

Posted on 03/18/2003 6:00:43 AM PST by ItsTheMediaStupid

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March 13-464, 2003 Shop grounded

By Jason Green

A closed sign sits in the window of Clanton's Hobby Shop. It's been there for three weeks and now it sits next to a recently placed for sale sign.

Store owner Ricky Ritch said that he had little choice but to close his business when the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials asked him to stop selling remote control airplanes, rockets, helicopters and fuel containing more than 20 percent nitroglycerin.

On Wednesday, Ritch received a visit from the Justice department, the Homeland Security department and agents from the FBI's Montgomery and Birmingham field offices. That visit confirmed the items he was selling and custom building are now on a list of items the government believes terrorists have begun to use.

The shop owner said he was shocked at the revelation, but once he began thinking about it, he could see how someone could use like items for less-than upright purposes.

"I have planes and helicopters in stock that could carry a pay-load of 40 pounds or so," he said. "I never thought about any of this stuff being more than toys until I started watching television and saw the big deal they were making out of it. Now I am concerned that something I have built in the past might have been or is being used to harm someone else."

Odd communications

The events which have unfolded in Ritch's life and the life of his relatively new local business have also gotten him thinking about visits and phone calls he has received over the course of the past few months. He said there have been out of the ordinary questions regarding the potential payload capacity of certain aircraft as well as the best possible speed of some of the "toys" he sells.

"I originally just thought it was someone interested in getting into the hobby," he explained. "But, now that I think about it, there have been some calls which really didn't make sense. The questions they asked never really had anything to do with getting into the hobby."

Ritch said he is now left with the fear that items he has already built have fallen into the hands of people whom could potentially do harm to American citizens. It's a fear that Ritch never thought he would have to deal with.

"It's just not something I ever thought about happening," He said. "I don't want to think about it."

Also, in 1998 while living in Los Angeles, Ritch said he built 20 aircraft for an individual in California who never wanted a receipt and always paid in cash. The customer told Ritch that he was purchasing the aircraft for friends overseas. There were questions in Ritch's mind then as to what was actually going on, but it wasn't until the customer became more and more insistent that Ritch build the aircraft bigger and more powerful that the local shop owner cut ties and ceased working for that person.

Business future

For Ritch, the items he has been encouraged not to sell make up approximately 90 percent of the current stock he has on the shelves of his Second Avenue business.

"I stand to lose about $125,000 because of this," Ritch explained. "The things that make money here are the planes and the fuel. The United Parcel Service and Federal Express are no longer allowed to deliver the types of fuel that it takes to power most of the items I sell. I've basically been put out of business."

Ritch said the only items left on his shelves the government hasn't encouraged him to refrain from selling are a few glue-together models, some remote controlled cars and NASCAR memorabilia. In fact, the remote control cars do Ritch little good, he said, because the fuel it takes to make the vehicles capable of high performance activity can't be delivered. Once the fuel Ritch currently has in stock runs out, it will take an ATF license to purchase and distribute more.

With that in mind, Ritch said he had little choice but to begin thinking about the future of his business. He can either completely change the items his business carries or he can pack everything up and wait. That wait would be until May 24, when Congress reconvenes to discuss the matter of model aircraft and remote controlled aircraft being used by terrorists in attacks.

"I was so disturbed by the entire ordeal that I called my real estate agent and told them to put the store on the market," he added. "As long as it sits there I'm losing money and if I can't sell the items that make me money, it's not much of a business."

Ritch, who is also attempting to sell his home in Clanton and planning to build another in the area, said he doesn't know what his next step is.

He said he must now consider moving into a smaller store and changing the kinds of toys he sells.

Gladly complying

Ritch indicated he wasn't told to close his store. However, being unable to sell 90 percent of his stock apparently leaves him with no other viable options. Selling the fuel Ritch currently has in stock will require specific actions in compliance with Homeland Security mandates. The purchaser, as will Ritch, will have to be licensed with the ATF and will be required to undergo background checks among other measures prior to the merchandise changing hands.

Ritch said that it's hard for him to imagine having to do that. Based on information given to him by the FBI and Homeland Security, he has little choice. He will comply.

"I don't think the FBI or Homeland Security or the U.S. Justice Department are organizations that I can take on," he said. "I'll do what they've asked me to do and have I'll have to deal with it. I just could not have imagined this ever happening. All I know is that I would hate to be the guy that sold something that was used to blow something up or was used to knock a plane out of the sky."

Ray Zicarelli, an agent with the Mobile FBI Field Office, said late Thursday afternoon that he could not confirm whether or not agents had been in Clanton. However, he did confirm that there was be some interest in some hobby shops throughout the country.

"There has been no nation-wide canvassing of hobby shops, but the FBI is interested in some hobby shops as they apply to model aircraft," Zicarelli said. "We do not comment on which we have contacted based on security issues. I can say that we have no indication that there is any cause for concern in the area."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: models; patriotact; poorjournalism; radiocontrol; rc
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first 1-5051-53 next last
Lot's of things wrong in this story. So the visit by the FBI, et al, probably never happened.
1 posted on 03/18/2003 6:00:43 AM PST by ItsTheMediaStupid
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: ItsTheMediaStupid
Sounds phoney... anyway, I'm glad I fly RC sailplanes.
W9NM
3 posted on 03/18/2003 6:09:43 AM PST by eborys
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
More to the point...this guy is lying about why the store is closed.

I think we have reason to ask what he WAS up to.
4 posted on 03/18/2003 6:11:13 AM PST by Poohbah (Beware the fury of a patient man -- John Dryden)
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
The model fuels use alcohol and nitromethane, not nitroglycerin. They are not explosive, only flammable.
5 posted on 03/18/2003 6:14:28 AM PST by Sender (-A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. -WOPR-)
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To: Poohbah
I agree.
6 posted on 03/18/2003 6:14:38 AM PST by sport
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
Model rocket engines above mid-G rating are now verboten. Won't effect the Estes kids stuff (a-d rated engines) but I did love the sound of a I or J heading off the pad
7 posted on 03/18/2003 6:15:07 AM PST by pikachu (The REAL script)
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
Lot's of things wrong in this story. So the visit by the FBI, et al, probably never happened.

I doubt this is policy, or there would have been more stories, and probably press releases from Homeland security.
Sounds like some over the top local FBI or ATF office has misinterpreted things. The ATF is Very Good at that.

So9

8 posted on 03/18/2003 6:15:15 AM PST by Servant of the Nine (JDAM the Arabs, Full Speed Ahead)
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
Maybe the guy was just going out of business anyway.

I used to fly RC planes but I have been wondering if the various RC clubs have discussed with one another that they should be alert for newcomers to the hobby that may appear just interested in getting the aircraft up in the air and how to fly it straight and level.
9 posted on 03/18/2003 6:18:30 AM PST by KeyLargo
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
I fly electric RC planes (some flights are shorter than others ;-). This all sounds very unusual.
10 posted on 03/18/2003 6:22:07 AM PST by DB ()
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
I just got my first R/C plane for Christmas and it is now built with the exception of the servos being hooked up. They will be this week and I hope I get to fly it this weekend or next. I have wanted one for twenty years and my wife got me one for Christmas.

I went to an R/C plane hobby shop last week in western Ky. to pick up a new controller and they were doing a very good business. They didn't say anything about Feds stopping this hobby or anything like that. I talked to them about becoming a regular customer and buying my supplies from them. I would have no idea about this guy in the article, but it does sound suspicious.

11 posted on 03/18/2003 6:22:38 AM PST by freedom4ever
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
"I have planes and helicopters in stock that could carry a pay-load of 40 pounds or so,"

Flying 40lbs. of plastic explosives into the grandstands of a baseball game or a NASCAR event would be a pretty effective way to send a message.

12 posted on 03/18/2003 6:22:51 AM PST by dead
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To: Poohbah
Note the fuel used. It's not correct. It's nitromethane not nitroglycerin, it can be shipped through UPS for an additional surcharge, and does not require an ATF license. Also I don't know of any R/C helicoptors that can carry a 40 pound payload.
13 posted on 03/18/2003 6:24:16 AM PST by ItsTheMediaStupid
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
Guess the feds are monitoring this forum. See my post #76 here
14 posted on 03/18/2003 6:30:29 AM PST by dark_lord
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
I just looked at the Byron's fuel I have. It is one gal. and contains 15% nitro methane.
15 posted on 03/18/2003 6:32:44 AM PST by freedom4ever
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To: dark_lord
If we are going to start banning and prohibiting products, because terrorist may potentially use it, we are all going to end up naked and hungry. The very first thing on my list would be trucks, and then cars. But, I am sure we can work our way down to pots and pans after that.
16 posted on 03/18/2003 6:33:34 AM PST by ARCADIA (Abuse of power comes as no surprise)
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
I have looked through the Patriot Act to find the details that outlines rockets and RC's. Does anyone know what section this may be found in? If it is there, is it sneaking in provisions for banning primers and reloading powders?
17 posted on 03/18/2003 6:36:05 AM PST by Deguello
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To: dark_lord
Guess the feds are monitoring this forum. See my post #76 here.

And your point is???

18 posted on 03/18/2003 6:36:42 AM PST by ItsTheMediaStupid
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
This guy is not dealing with the little planes we are all used to seeing.

With 40 pound payloads, it's likely he's dealing with 1/4 scale models.

19 posted on 03/18/2003 6:44:11 AM PST by TC Rider (The United States Constitution 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: TC Rider
But, from modelers in the area, his largest plane was a .40 ducted fan model. I doubt it can carry more than 3 or four pounds of payload.
20 posted on 03/18/2003 6:55:25 AM PST by ItsTheMediaStupid
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
Given that RC control units are capable of quite complex control surface movements, the building of a crude model capable of carrying quite a large payload is both feasible and well within the capability of anyone with some cash, good hand eye coordination, and access to a library with a stock of old model airplane magazines.

However, any chainsaw can be used as a power unit for a large model - is ATF going to have a requirement for background checks for chainsaw purchasers? Oops - perhaps I confused ATF with GangGreen (your local enviro-MENTAL FREAK organization).

Those whackos would like all chainsaw owners registered.

What about BBQ tanks and flour? As a gentleman (retired from Special Forces)
I know said, "Consider a Cherry bomb in the middle of a coffee can full of flour, but make sure you use an electrical ignition source."

I asked why the electrical ignition warning and was told "Because you can't run fast enough to survive the blast if you use a match."

Think he was jesting? Check how little flour it takes to create a silo explosion. Did you also pull up some silo explosion pics on Google.com?

Any widely dispersed combustible material with a fast flame front propigation rate is capable of causing a very damaging blast. Ckeck 'fuel air bombs at Google.com and you can download a short video of one in action courtesy of the US Navy.

MORAL: DETERRNCE, - - NOT SURRENDER!

Deter whackos. Don't give up your free society. Otherwise, it will be model planes first, then BBQ tanks, finally flour will have to be registered.

Can't you just see it now. Jimmy Buffet is mixing up a batch of pancake mix for his family on Sunday morning when BATF agents do a 'Forced Entry' screaming "Drop the flour!
Assume the Position!"

A BATF "agent" mistakes the spatula for:
1. A SS handgun.
2. A sword.
3. A knife.
4. "Lethal weapon, as defined by him on the spur of the
moment.

Result: Jimmy is 'buffeted' by a hail of 9mm and - No more
Margaritaville music.

Surprise! surprise! surprise! ALong with all that firepower, BATF arrived with confiscation papers for the property, all music royalty rights, and his youngest daughter.

Wait a minute - we are talking Left Coast here. They also take his youngest boy.

Before you start flaming me, what if this happened in Kalifornia? What wouldn't a Left Coast Judge allow?

There is no end to what can be damaging if mis-used by the willfully destructive. Those used to be called "evil".

In this Republic, we can't allow our freedoms to be nibbled away by a flock of quacking socialist ducks. Rather than give up model airplanes, chainsaws, flour, and propane BBQ's, etc., elect politicians more like GW Bush than "Our Bill" & the HilaBeast.

We get, deserve, and have to live with the consequences of - voting. In a Republic, voting (by an informed electorate) and the political process is second in importance only to breathing.

Register whackos (Islamic, enviro, etc.), not things. Things don't kill people. Whackos kill people.

Given the damning evidence of the negative impact of the last Democratic administration under the Clintons - Could we require BATF registration to register as a Democrat?
21 posted on 03/18/2003 7:03:04 AM PST by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon liberty, it is essential to examine principles - -)
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
Note the fuel used. It's not correct. It's nitromethane not nitroglycerin

You beat me to it! So-called "hot" model engine (and dragster) fuels are mostly nitromethane. However, nitromethane has been described as "the simplest nitrogen-based high explosive" -- and, packaged with an appropriate oxidizer, is sold as a commercial binary (mix immediately before use) explosive. (Deliberately being vague here...)

Of course, R/C transmitter/receiver/servo combinations have been used by middle eastern terrorists to trigger bombs.

BTW, were any of you FReepers aware that those suspected of bombing the Murrah Building in OKC visited a model shop shortly before the bombing? And that an Iraqi caught an overseas flight from OKC shortly thereafter -- and that his luggage was found to contain "several car radios and other bomb-making materials and tools". (So-described by Italian customs, who discovered them.)

I've often wondered if mis-translation masked the true nature of those "car radios"...

I build models -- and certainly don't advocate shutting down our hobby. OTOH, A good "Heads-up" to model shops across the nation seems in order...

-----------------

Of course, nowadays, the terrs seem to favor cell phones for triggering bombs.

Hmmm -- perhaps a computer program that rapidly and repeatedly cycles through all cell numbers, giving each a ring... Might give some terrorists a few nasty surprises...

'-}

22 posted on 03/18/2003 7:03:06 AM PST by TXnMA ((No Longer!!!))
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To: GladesGuru
Result: Jimmy is 'buffeted' by a hail of 9mm and - No more Margaritaville music. Surprise! surprise! surprise! ALong with all that firepower, BATF arrived with confiscation papers for the property, all music royalty rights, and his youngest daughter. Wait a minute - we are talking Left Coast here. They also take his youngest boy.

Jimmy Buffet lives in Flordia, and I am pretty sure he is a conservative. On the opposite end of the political scale of his uncle Warren Buffet.

23 posted on 03/18/2003 7:19:00 AM PST by ItsTheMediaStupid
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To: TXnMA
A good "Heads-up" to model shops across the nation seems in order...

I wonder how many Iraqis/Muslims own these hobby shops? Are they contributing to their communities the way you and I would expect them to or are we going to see some surprises?

24 posted on 03/18/2003 8:47:38 AM PST by B4Ranch (Keep America safe! Thank the troops for our freedom.)
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To: TXnMA
Nitrimethane is not classified as an explosive. However it is a monopropellent, but it is not very volitle and difficult to ignite without mixing with air. You can pour some in a bowl and put a match to it and it will put out the match. But you need to be carefull when using it in a hard metal tank. The metal, alkili, and nitro can create a combination which will make the nitro explode with a hard contact such as a crash. Dragracers will wash out their fuel tanks with a mild acid and dry them before filling them up to avoid this.
25 posted on 03/18/2003 9:47:07 AM PST by ItsTheMediaStupid
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
Nitrimethane is not classified as an explosive.

FWIW, I am a physical chemist -- and I fear that you are under-informed: As you, yourself, noted in your final statement, nitromethane (properly catalyzed and/or highly shocked) is capable of detonation. In other workds, it is a high explosive.

For your enlightenment, I offer the following on-line technical papers as references:

http://www.cyberhost3.com/nitronic/research8/shelly.html

A great part of the considerable interest devoted to nitromethane, the simplest explosive nitro compound, is related to the understanding of the chemical mechanism of initiation of detonation. Experimental observations show that a careful study of the methyl group, in particular that of the highly excited [[nu]](CH) vibrational states, could bring some information to elucidate the initial chemical mechanism of decomposition, including the means by which intramolecular energy transfer processes can occur. Actually, one interesting peculiarity of the methyl group in nitromethane is the low value of the potential barrier to internal rotation, which is essentially free at normal temperature. Its coupling with the other vibrations, especially with the CH stretching modes, could affect the vibrational energy redistribution and thus the nitromethane reactivity.

and...

http://www.aps.org/BAPSSHOCK97/abs/S1700.html#SG1.005

Session G1 - Nitromethane.
MIXED session, Tuesday morning, July 29 CCA,

[G1.01] Mechanism of Chemical Decomposition in a Shocked Condensed Explosive

Based on these P-T Hugoniot data, we construct the detonation diagram of nitromethane, which consists of no-detonation, super-detonation, normal-detonation zones. In the super-detonation zone between 12 and 19 GPa, the shock-compressed nitromethane detonates with a significant induction time; whereas, the detonation occurs nearly instaneously in the normal-detonation zone above 19 GPa.

26 posted on 03/18/2003 3:04:08 PM PST by TXnMA ((No Longer!!!))
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To: TXnMA; ItsTheMediaStupid
I should have checked those reference URLs before posting them. It looks like one of them has even been preempted by one of those nefarious "domain grabbers" who re-route traffic to undesirable locations.

Those papers were, indeed online when I used them as references a couple of years ago (while doing research on the compositon of the OKC truck bomb). However, like many things in this new medium, they obviously had a limited lifetime. (Webserver filespace is obviously considered to be more valuable and recyclable than printed journals...)

If you are truly interested in pursuing the nitromethane issue, FReepmail me, and I will dig out some current articles for you. Again, apologies for cutting-and-pasting old references without checking...

27 posted on 03/18/2003 3:51:50 PM PST by TXnMA ((No Longer!!!))
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid

I believe this should be the oxidizer rich, nitromethane instead. I also think 40 lbs is too high, stopped reading there.

Besides, what's to stop some guy with a minivan and a garden sprayer from doing the same thing?

28 posted on 03/18/2003 3:58:38 PM PST by Jhoffa_ (Yes, there is sexual tension between Sammy & Frodo.)
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
Nitromethane MSDS
29 posted on 03/18/2003 4:12:02 PM PST by JoshGray
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To: TXnMA
"However, nitromethane has been described as "the simplest nitrogen-based high explosive" -

It's not an explosive at all. It's a very high octane fuel that contains some oxidant. The model airplane engine is a diesel. This fuel just allows the engine to work w/o being sensitive to F/A ratio.

30 posted on 03/18/2003 4:36:33 PM PST by spunkets
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To: TXnMA; ItsTheMediaStupid
Here's a current, corrected URL for the technical session abstracts that should have been accessible via the second link I posted:

http://flux.aps.org/meetings/YR97/BAPSSHOCK97/abs/S1700.html

31 posted on 03/18/2003 4:49:16 PM PST by TXnMA ((No Longer!!!))
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To: TXnMA
TXnMA,
I probably should have been a bit more specific in my statement. Pure nitromethane is shock sensitive, but not very. However, nitromethane as sold for racing fuel is diluted with a small amount of acetone (and maybe some other substances) and has a yellow indicator. The indicator turns purple (I think, never had this happen) in the presence of alkili. It is then considered shock sensitive and dangerous to use. I have seen cans banged and cars crashed rupturing the tank with out the nitro exploding.
32 posted on 03/19/2003 10:09:38 AM PST by ItsTheMediaStupid
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To: spunkets
spunkets,
Nitro is about the lowest octane fuel I can think of. In racing engines detonation (not the explosion type)is a big problem when using 100% racing nitro. It is cured with very low compression ratios (I think some are below 5:1 now), and very rich mixtures. The fuel air mixtures are now so high that a restriction of the air flow can cause it to richen up enough to ruin the engine with hydralic lock. That is where there is so much unvaporized fuel that it's volume is smaller than the comubstion chamber. Since liquid is relatively uncompressable this will break the pistons, rods, and head.
33 posted on 03/19/2003 10:26:02 AM PST by ItsTheMediaStupid
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid; TXnMA
Here's a link that gives some idea of how shock sensitive it is. It requires a reletively large volume and a large charge to set it off. Nitric acid itself can be set off like that. Otherwise it requires large temps and pressures. Neither one is considered a practical explosive, but are components of.

Vrroooom!

I stepped out for a smoke yesterday and some neighborhood kids were playing with their model rocket. It was nice to see. The control nuts are after that too.

34 posted on 03/19/2003 10:36:31 AM PST by spunkets
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To: Sender
The model fuels use alcohol and nitromethane, not nitroglycerin. They are not explosive, only flammable.

Nitromethane is used an explosive, properly detonated. A buddy of mine developed an oil well-head severing system using nitromethane.

35 posted on 03/19/2003 10:44:02 AM PST by jimt
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
This on the AMA website. http:/www.modelaircraft.org

Important Notice
(added 03/10/03)
There has been much communication over the last few days stemming from an Internet-based online subscription intelligence news service release. This concerned the potential use of radio-controlled aircraft by terrorists.

One of the greatest threats facing our sport during these times of concern for our national security is not so much the "news items" that appear on the Internet, but more importantly, the seemingly endless exchanges of these items.

While the Internet is certainly a wonderful tool to facilitate communication, it is hard to verify accuracy. The impression may be given that these stories are factual even when they are not.

We have investigated stories concerning terrorists using model aircraft and rockets and have found them to be inaccurate due to translation errors or from the reporter looking for shock value to "sell" the message.

It is important that we not contribute to this proliferation, particularly when the accuracy of the information may be in doubt.

AMA Headquarters is working diligently to maintain our flying activities. Should you encounter information you feel is important, please relay it to us. Please do not broadcast the information on the Web to thousands who may stumble upon it without fully appreciating the potential impact.

We want to assure you that AMA, as a result of the September 11th incident, has been communicating with several federal government agencies concerned with terrorism.

Due to these efforts, there currently are no plans by the authorities to increase the level of restrictions placed on model aircraft activities.

Should any significant changes occur concerning this situation, we will immediately provide factual information updates from AMA Headquarters and through the AMA Web site.

—Jay Mealy
36 posted on 03/19/2003 10:57:36 AM PST by ItsTheMediaStupid
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
The paper updated the story Saturday.

March 15-206, 2003
Hobby Shop news causes stir nationally


By Jason Green


A FBI representative from the Mobile Field Office said Thursday the organization was not canvassing all hobby shops in the country in regard to the sale of large-scale remote control aircraft. However, word that a local business had received a visit from officials from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice created a stir.

Calls from throughout country flooded The Clanton Advertiser on Friday and email boxes Saturday morning were full of questions regarding the story's validity.

A law enforcement official did confirm that there was some interest in Clanton Hobby Shop owner Ricky Ritch, but also pointed out that the interest might have a lot to do with actions taken by Ritch three weeks earlier.

It was learned late Friday through the Associated Press Ritch had made first contact with the previously mentioned departments when he found information on the Internet concerning Homeland Security's interest in items similar to those Ritch can build and has built in the past. The source indicated Ritch became concerned that some of the items he had built in the past might have fallen into the hands of those wishing to do harm to America through terrorist activity.

When the FBI looked into Ritch's business, they found that some of the items are being looked into by Homeland Security. However, the organization maintains that Ritch was not told not to sell any of his items and was not told to close his business.

Ritch also claimed that UPS and Federal Express were not allowed to deliver fuel over 20 percent nitromethane to him.

Calls to hobby shops across the state, including some in the Birmingham and Montgomery areas, found that none of the businesses had been contacted by the Department of Justice, Homeland Security or the FBI. Also, they indicated there has thus far been no trouble in getting fuel delivered by either UPS or Federal Express.

37 posted on 03/19/2003 10:59:10 AM PST by ItsTheMediaStupid
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To: jimt
Fertalizer is an explosive when you add desiel fuel. That doesn't make it an explosive.
38 posted on 03/19/2003 11:00:24 AM PST by ItsTheMediaStupid
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To: Badabing Badaboom; bonfire; PhiKapMom; Mitchell; Allan; Fred Mertz; birdwoman
"I have planes and helicopters in stock that could carry a pay-load of 40 pounds or so," he said.

Marvelous!

39 posted on 03/19/2003 11:01:32 AM PST by The Great Satan (Revenge, Terror and Extortion: A Guide for the Perplexed)
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
How did we ever survive until now?!

With model rockets, remote control airplanes, chemistry sets all being suspect, how can children of the future be expected to be interested in science? Take away toy guns and toy soldiers, and we're raising a generation with no practical experience in science or conflict.

40 posted on 03/19/2003 11:04:58 AM PST by Liberal Classic (Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentis telum est.)
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
A poster on http://www.rcuniverse.com claims this is a letter from the AMA president to the paper:

I have read much of what has been written on the subject of the recent incident with the hobby shop in Clanton, and will admonish you to realize that most of what has been written is an extreme exageration of the capabilities of any "normal" model airplane, such as those found in hobby shops. The speeds, and payloads, quoted do not reflect the state of the art in the, R/C model aircraft sport/hobby today. While those numbers MAY reflect the absolute records in the sport/hobby, they certainly do not reflect the potential performance of a single model, any more than the record mileage of an automobile (about 70 MPG), and the fastest automobile (nearly 700 mph), are the performance specifications of a single automobile. Furthermore, when a modeler refers to "Nitro", he is refering to "nitromethane", NOT "nitroglycerine", and nitromethane, while flamable, is MUCH safer than gasoline. In fact, if the flashpoint of nitromethane was just a few degrees higher, it would be classified as "combustable", in the same way as paper is. Nitromethane is quite safe, and will not explode, unless it is compressed in the cylinder of an engine. It is CERTAINLY not in the same category as nitroglycerine. It is MUCH safer than gasoline. With the possible exception of your lack of research to verify the facts, I do not blame you for this story, as it is obvious your reporter was mislead by the person he talked to, or, misinterpreted what he was told. I would offer my, personal, help, in any, future, story on the subject of model airplanes, to ensure that the facts are presented in an accurate way. Certainly, a model airplane could be used in a detrimental way, but, then, so could almost anything. A model airplane is no more likely to be used in a detrimental way, than would be an automobile, a truck, or a bow and arrow. In fact, of the aforementioned items, I'd say the model is a lesser threat than all except the bow, and arrow, and isn't much more of a threat than that! Should you ever need any help in verifying the facts in a story involving model airplanes, please feel free to contact me. Just FYI, the Academy of Model Aeronautics, (AMA), is a 170,000 member organization, dedicated to serving the needs of model airplane enthusiasts in the USA.

Dave Brown

AMA President

41 posted on 03/19/2003 11:07:52 AM PST by ItsTheMediaStupid
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To: The Great Satan
AMA only insures models with a weight not to exceed 55 pounds. With a payload of 40 pounds that only leaves 15 pounds for the engine and airframe. Not a practical combination.

However I have seen photos of models as large as a 75% scale Extra or some other aerobatic scale plane. That would be a wing span of around 20 feet. Of course he was self insured.
42 posted on 03/19/2003 11:11:54 AM PST by ItsTheMediaStupid
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
Jimmy Buffet lives in Flordia, and I am pretty sure he is a conservative. On the opposite end of the political scale of his uncle Warren Buffet.

Jimmy sends lots of mixed messages. He's an active hunter, but he appeared at campaign functions for Gore - and Clinton, too, IIRC.

43 posted on 03/19/2003 11:15:21 AM PST by Charles Martel
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
Maybe the reason this guy was singled out is because his models go beyond the normal size range. I recall asking myself a few days ago, when I saw the picture on Drudge's website of the Iraqi drone, how big do RC model aircraft get? If the payload is really 40 lbs, that would be more than enough to take out a large city with anthrax.
44 posted on 03/19/2003 11:15:57 AM PST by The Great Satan (Revenge, Terror and Extortion: A Guide for the Perplexed)
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
Iraqis: "Smoking gun" made with duct tape

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Niko Price

printe-mail

March 12, 2003  |  Al-Taji, Iraq -- A remotely piloted aircraft that the United States has warned could spread chemical weapons appears to be made of balsa wood and duct tape, with two small propellors attached to what look like the engines of a weed whacker.

Iraqi officials took journalists to the Ibn Firnas State Company just north of Baghdad on Wednesday, where the drone's project director accused Secretary of State Colin Powell of misleading the U.N. Security Council and the public.

"He's making a big mistake," said Brig. Imad Abdul Latif. "He knows very well that this aircraft is not used for what he said."

In Washington's search for a "smoking gun" that would prove Iraq is not disarming, Powell has insisted the drone, which has a wingspan of 24.5 feet, could be fitted to dispense chemical and biological weapons. He has said it "should be of concern to everybody."

The drone's white fuselage was emblazoned Wednesday with the words "God is great" and the code "Quds-10." Its balsa wood wings were held together with duct tape. Officials said they referred to the remotely piloted vehicle as the RPV-30A.

Latif said the plane is controlled by the naked eye from the ground. Asked whether its range is above the 93-mile limit imposed by the United Nations, he said it couldn't be controlled from more than five miles.

Latif said the exact range will be determined when the drone passes to the next testing stage.

Ibn Firnas' general director, Gen. Ibrahim Hussein disputed assertions by Powell and White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer that the drone was capable of dispensing biological and chemical weapons.

"This RPV is to be used for reconnaissance, jamming and aerial photography," he said. "We have never thought of any other use."

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte, complained this weekend that chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix didn't mention the drone in his oral presentation to the Security Council on Friday.

Blix mentioned the drone in a 173-page written list of outstanding questions about Iraq's weapons programs last week. While small, Blix said, drones can be used to spray biological warfare agents such as anthrax. He said the drone hadn't been declared by Iraq to inspectors.

But Iraq insisted it declared the drone in a report in January -- and Hussein held up its declaration to prove it. The confusion, he said, was the result of a typo: The declaration said the wingspan was 14.5 feet instead of 24.5 feet as stated by Powell.

"When we discovered the mistake we addressed an official letter correcting the wingspan," he said. He showed that letter to reporters as well. He suggested inspectors had already seen the drone when the correction was made, but said: "No one of the inspectors noticed the difference."

"We are really astonished when we hear that this RPV was discovered by inspectors, when it was declared by Iraq," Hussein said. "Nothing is hidden."

Hiro Ueki, spokesman for the U.N. weapons inspectors, said the United Nations was investigating the drone's capabilities, and said he was unsure whether Iraq reported the drone before inspectors found it on an airfield or after.

Iraq seized on the issue of the drone -- along with early reports from Washington that Iraqi fighter jets threatened a U.N.-sponsored U-2 reconnaissance plane on Tuesday -- as proof that Washington is trying to mislead the world about Iraq's weapons programs in its push for war.

"You can imagine the exaggerations the Americans are capable of," said Maj. Gen. Hossam Mohammed Amin, the chief Iraqi liaison with U.N. weapons inspectors.

The United States has been searching for a way out of an impasse created by its demand that Baghdad be given an ultimatum to disarm or face war, which has so far failed to gather enough support in the Security Council.

Amin said the United Nations advised Iraq of one U-2 flight Tuesday, but that two U-2s entered Iraq's airspace. Multiple flights are permitted under a U.N. Security Council resolution approved last November, but the United Nations agreed to inform Iraq in advance.

U.S. officials speaking on condition of anonymity said Iraq launched fighter jets, which threatened one of the planes. Amin disputed that, saying the jets "did not take any measures."

Iraqi workers in al-Taji, meanwhile, were destroying three more Al Samoud 2 missiles Wednesday, banned by the United Nations because they can fly farther than allowed, and two trucks full of components for the missile, said Odai al-Taie, a senior Information Ministry official.

Before Wednesday's destruction, Iraq had destroyed 55 of its approximately 100 missiles, as well as 28 warheads, two casting chambers, two launchers and five engines -- all associated with the Al Samoud 2 program. Tools and computer software used for launching have also been destroyed.

Source: Salon

45 posted on 03/19/2003 11:19:52 AM PST by The Great Satan (Revenge, Terror and Extortion: A Guide for the Perplexed)
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
An Iraqi mechanic displays a radio-controlled drone near Baghdad. The drone has a wingspan of 24.5 feet, which prompted concern that it could fly long distances, but an Iraqi general said it had never flown more than two miles.

Photo Credit: Michael Robinson-chavez -- The Washington Post

Source: Iraqi Officials Proudly Exhibit A Disputed, Dinged-Up Drone

46 posted on 03/19/2003 11:25:56 AM PST by The Great Satan (Revenge, Terror and Extortion: A Guide for the Perplexed)
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
Jimmy Buffet lives in Flordia, and I am pretty sure he is a conservative.

I'm afraid Jimmy's a liberal, and a Sinkmeister supporter at that.

:-(

47 posted on 03/19/2003 11:41:07 AM PST by Jonah Hex
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid; All
For the R/C hobbyists in this thread and others who are interested, there is a good discussion thread on this topic over at R/C Universe message boards.

There are comments there from people who've met this hobby shop proprietor. He sounds like he knows just enough about the hobby to create Fear/Uncertainty/Doubt when he runs his ignorant mouth. I know of a few gunshop owners who come off that way when interviewed, too.

48 posted on 03/19/2003 12:20:20 PM PST by Charles Martel
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To: Liberal Classic
What do model airplanes have to do with children? I haven't seen a child with one in years. Yeah there are some toys that claim to be radio controled model airplanes. But they don't really fly!
49 posted on 03/19/2003 12:46:10 PM PST by ItsTheMediaStupid
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To: ItsTheMediaStupid
Maybe I'm projecting, as I was into these as a teenager. Begged my grandparents to spend a small fortune on them. Maybe you're right, and it isn't a child's sport anymore.
50 posted on 03/19/2003 12:55:08 PM PST by Liberal Classic (Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentis telum est.)
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