2040 UTC (22.4 hours after launch) we are at 1105 miles away from
Newfoundland on course for Ireland. The distance from Cape Spear,
our launch point, to the designated point on the west coast of Ireland
is 1888 miles. This says we are more than 55% of the way there,
783 miles to go. If we average 55 miles per hour, we have another
14.2 hours to go and the total flight time still computes to 36.6
hours, which puts the ETA at 1030 UTC (11:30 am IDT).
airplane is still shaky on the engine and speed. It is still
porpoising plus and minus 50 feet, and the reported engine speed
fluctuates from around 3500 to 4200 RPM. We get data only once a
minute and it probably depends on where the data point picks off
the RPM, high numbers coming when the airplane is descending and low
numbers when it goes back up the hill.
have seen this in many flight tests, but it has seldom had such a broad
swing. And so we still suspect the engine is close to the lean
limit. We'll keep our fingers crossed during the night.
Foster has programmed waypoints on each 10 degree change in longitude
meridian. We now have passed the 50 degree meridian, the 40
degree meridian, the 30 degree meridian, and are headed towards
waypoint 6 on the 20 degree meridian. There were two waypoints in
the program dealing with a safe flight out of Cape Spear to avoid
spectators on the parking lot and a second one to put the Futaba
receiver to sleep.
has worked incredibly hard over the past four years to write the code
for the TAM autopilot. And it is a great satisfaction to him and
to all of us to see it steering the airplane precisely on course.
If you have ever read Dava Soble's little book called Longitude dealing
with the battles between a clockmaker John Harrison and the great Isaac
Newton of laws of motion and how sailing vessels in the early 1700s
often crashed into shore in a fog because they didn't know their
longitude, you come to respect this modern technology that Joe has put
to use as an awesome achievement.
still think there's a 50-50 chance of making it and we look forward to
clucking cheerfully on Monday morning.