Archive for Thursday, February 15, 2007

Man the torpedoes!

February 15, 2007

When it comes to duck hunting, Ron Eichost has a surprising weapon of choice: torpedoes. But, then again, when you're hunting with a submarine, what else can you use?

Eichost built a 1/24th-scale replica of a World War II German submarine from scratch from scaled plans he purchased from Germany. But the vessel is not merely a static model - with the help of battery power, propulsion and even an autopilot system that Eichost programmed himself, it's a functioning piece of history. Luckily for the ducks, Eichost did decide to forego certain historical details.

"The model is fully radio-controlled," said Eichost, a retired aircraft technician. "It has five torpedoes on it, four in the bow, one in the stern. They do fire - as far as coming out of the tube. There's no warhead or anything like that, : It could be very easily rigged, but no - you're asking for a lot of trouble that way."

Eichost built the sub more as a chance to dive into the history books than into the local ponds (though he now enjoys doing both). The idea first caught him while watching a television show about a lost German submarine discovered near Boston.

"The more I got into the depth on this thing, the more I realized, 'Wow, there's an enormous amount of history," Eichost said.

And greater knowledge and appreciation of the history of submarines triggered a deeper sense of responsibility in Eichost to make his vessel something meaningful.

"After I got into it more and more, I said, 'You know, I'm really going to work at this and make it true to scale and make it something representative of the submariners. And that's what I did," Eichost said. "I have sometimes built parts three or four times until I get one that I feel is right.

"It's just kind of a personal thing now with me. Almost an obsession actually."

Name: Ron Eichost

Address: 125 Fairlane

Occupation: Retired aircraft technician

Graduate of: Evergreen Park High School, Chicago; Spartan Aviation

Family: Dianna, wife; Laurie, 36, daughter; Cameron, 7, grandson; Juanita, mother-in-law

How long have you lived in Lansing and what brought you here? Since 1972, to work for American Airlines at Kansas City International Airport. "We looked around the area and this seemed just seemed to be the nicest place."

What do you like most about Lansing? "The people - they're just friendly and congenial."

What do you do for fun? "Usually for fun, mostly going out with the little guy. Monkeying around. He's kind of out in the garage with me a lot."

What would surprise people about you? "My interest field, I think. I like kind of the unusual and there's so much information out there that it's amazing."

What's the best advice you've ever received? "To marry my wife."

What organizations or clubs do you belong to? Sub Committee, Submarine Veterans Association

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