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Watch a huge remote-control plane meet a crashing end

Commentary: The Junker JU-52 has an 20-feet wingspan. But just before it lands, its engine appears to stall. And then, calamity.

 Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Seconds before disaster.

RCHeliJet/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It takes time to put them together. 

Not a little love, too.

When you're done, you watch your creation fly like a big bird. Well, a big bird that hums a lot. 

In this case, the big bird is the one of the biggest remote-control model planes around -- the Junker JU-52.  Its wingspan is 6.09 meters (almost 20 feet). From nose to tail, it's 4.07 meters (13.4 feet). 

And as a YouTube video that's been pulsing around the web this week shows, it's fun to fly. The JU-52 soars over green fields under a blue sky, apparently at a meetup of model airplane fans in Germany.

At takeoff, it looks just like so many private planes you'll see rising from your local airport.

It seems to maneuver successfully at some height. You'd think you were at an air show.

Toward the end of the 8-minute video, the Junker comes in to land. All seems serene. The wings level out. 

Then, within inches of the ground, the plane lifts a little and yaws to its right. The propellers cease spinning.

Lurching further, it crashes in a heap, its tailpiece shearing off and striking a parked car. 

On YouTube, commenters -- some who might even know what they're talking about -- weighed in to offer their judgments. Some immediately lurched to the right and blamed the pilot. Others insisted that bad things can happen to good pilots and that it's impossible from the video to tell what happened.

For me, the Junker's demise is all too redolent of people who spend weeks, months and even years building things, only to see them destroyed in seconds.

It's the same principle for an Elon Musk rocket as it is for a meticulously built old German model plane.

All you can do is learn from what happened and then rebuild the thing and try again.

Technically Incorrect: Bringing you a fresh and irreverent take on tech.

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