I learned about this aircraft at the June breakfast fly-in a few years ago.
During World War II, an airplane was made in DeKalb that was so top secret, it was not declassified until the 1960s.
Imagine a wooden plane loaded with a 500-pound bomb and a television camera in its nose. Then, imagine a person in another airplane watching a TV, aiming the plane into a target.
"The reason it was so top secret is the television camera. It was totally built as a remote control plane, so it would actually take off from a dead stop on the runway," said historic preservationist Roger Keys.
The technology of remotes and joysticks available today was not around in the 1930s and '40s, so a different method was used.
"To control this radio-controlled [plane], they used a telephone dial, an old, little rotary telephone dial. They would dial, like, 3, and it would tell the plane to do something. [Dial], like, a 6, and it would tell the plane to do something else."
MAKING THOSE CONNECTIONS. In a February interview with the Northern Star, I mentioned the military origins of the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport. The reporter subsequently followed up with an investigation of our progenitor of the cruise missile.