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Experts Say Model Plane Terror Attack Would Have Failed

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This is a "like" photo of a plane similar to the one mentioned in the proposed plot. (Photo Credit: Dept. Of Justice)

This is a “like” photo of a plane similar to the one mentioned in the proposed plot. (Photo Credit: Dept. Of Justice)

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BOSTON (CBS) – Even if the plot to use model planes against targets in Washington hadn’t been stopped by authorities, one expert believes it would have failed anyway.

The remote-controlled planes purchased by 26-year-old Rezwan Ferdaus of Ashland are not toys. They are model planes that can cost thousands of dollars, can be over 6 feet long and have actual jet engines.

It takes years of practice to learn how to fly them.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Joe Mathieu reports.

“There are a lot of people who go out there and try to learn to fly on their own, and most likely, they’re gonna be crashing the first time,” said John Eppling, president of the Charles River Radio Controllers Club of Framingham. “So, it’s not very likely that someone can just pick one up and go out and fly.”

Read: Who is Rezwan Ferdaus?

Ferdaus was charged with plotting attacks on the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol by using the planes attached with explosives. He had acquired the aircraft, and then weapons and one pound of C-4 from undercover agents, who arrested him shortly thereafter.

“It’s a lot like flying a real airplane, and with the remote control, there is little room for error,” said Mark Stopa of the South Shore Radio Club.

Eppling added that it would also be close to impossible to use the planes in the nation’s capital, though, because they require runways or roads hundreds of feet long, and quite a bit of time to fuel up.

WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields.

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“If you could find an empty stretch of road, or some hard surface, maybe 300-400 feet, you could do it, but in a busy area like the metropolitan D.C. area, I doubt that you could get away with launching one of those planes near the Capitol,” said Eppling.

Stopa doubts Ferdaus could have pulled it off.

“If you add five pounds of anything to one of these aircraft…even the large ones that weigh about 30 pounds…you might be able to take off, but you’d never be able to fly it,” said Stopa.

WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields contributed to this report.

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