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He examines some steel and aluminum tubing being fitted to the front of a somewhat worn composite airplane that looks like it’s going backward. They will be the prototype for a “refueling” probe for his most imaginative project to date.

Yates is a pilot. He got his license a year ago. Despite his inexperience, he has a dream. A crazy, outlandish, almost insane dream. He wants to repeat Charles Lindbergh’s historic flight across the Atlantic — in an electric airplane.

Lindbergh was the first to fly solo across the Atlantic when he made the flight in 1927. Electric aviation is in its infancy, and its longest flight thus far is less than 1,000 miles. Yates plans to fly 3,500 miles, and do so at least as fast as Lindbergh did.

He is quite serious about this. And as crazy as it sounds, his efforts have caught the attention of the Navy.

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