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"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." Lord Kelvin, 1895

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Army Developing 'Pocket Drones' for Next Big WarArmy Developing 'Pocket Drones' for Next Big War

Judge Dismisses Bizarre Patent Lawsuit Against AOPA Judge Dismisses Bizarre Patent Lawsuit Against AOPA

FAA Extends Interpretive Rule Comment PeriodFAA Extends Interpretive Rule Comment Period

3D-Printed Rocket Engine Fires Up3D-Printed Rocket Engine Fires Up

Drone Flying Takes off as Popular HobbyDrone Flying Takes off as Popular Hobby

Law of Physics Governs Airplane EvolutionLaw of Physics Governs Airplane Evolution

Matthew Munson Wins Auction for Ride on Lancaster BomberMatthew Munson Wins Auction for Ride on Lancaster Bomber 

MIT's Drone Keeps Moving Photo Subjects LightedMIT's Drone Keeps Moving Photo Subjects Lighted 

Farnborough Airshow: F-35 Will Not Appear Farnborough Airshow: F-35 Will Not Appear

Train Carrying Boeing 777 Fuselages DerailsTrain Carrying Boeing 777 Fuselages Derails

SpaceX Receives FAA Approval for Proposed Spaceport in TexasSpaceX Receives FAA Approval for Proposed Spaceport in Texas

FAA Investigates Congressman's Drone Wedding Video 

FAA Has Commercial Drone Regulations BackwardsFAA Has Commercial Drone Regulations Backwards

Model Aircraft Buffs in Texas Warily Eye FAA RulesModel Aircraft Buffs in Texas Warily Eye FAA Rules

Large Model Aircraft Rally at RAF Museum (July 19-20)Large Model Aircraft Rally at RAF Museum (July 19-20)

TSA Allowing Illegals to Fly Without Verifiable IDTSA Allowing Illegals to Fly Without Verifiable ID (glad I'm not flying)

The AAM Glowdriver

The AAM Glowdriver (July 1974 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsThis is the prototype of American Aircraft Modeler's "AAM Glowdriver." To be more accurate, the experimental construction is on an actual wooden breadboard - the kind used in a kitchen- making it in fact a prime example how the term "breadboard" for electronic circuit construction came to be. There is also an accompanying article in the same July 1974 edition titled "Fast Start Set Uses the AAM Glowdriver." Thanks to website visitor Danny M. for writing to request this article.

How to Build Better Wings

How to Build Better Wings, July 1962 American Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets
Hal deBolt
was a well known and respected model aircraft designer in the early days of radio control. By 1962 there were some proportional radio systems coming on the market, but a lot of fliers still used escapement, galloping ghost, or reed systems. With somewhat limited control , having an airplane that was inherently stable or neutrally stable was important for success. Negative stability usually meant disaster. One way to minimize airframe related issues is to build on a well-designed jig - especially for the wing and tail surfaces. Even today's laser cut, perfect fitting kit parts are of no use in obtaining a true airframe if the surface they are built on is twisted or bowed. This article offers a simple jig that can be used for building any normal wing. If you are one of the rare builders left...

Canard Design Pointers

Canard Design Pointers, April 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsCanard airplanes - those with the horizontal stabilizer forward of the wing - have been around for a long time. In fact, the Wright Brothers' airplanes were canards. They tend to go in and out of style. It seems all of a sudden articles will appear in all the model magazines for a couple months, and then they disappear for a few years until something makes them popular again. For full-size airplanes, it probably wasn't until Burt Rutan came on the scene in the early 1970s with his Varieze (and later the Long-EZ). That started another wave of canard models. Than, as usual, they faded from view. A decade later, the Beechcraft Starship emerged...

Sketchbook - Hints & Kinks
Sept. 1962 American Modeler

Sketchbook from September 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsThis Sketchbook was scanned from the September 1962 American Modeler, page 42. Most building tips are timeless. Even in this era of ready-to-fly (RTF), almost-ready-to-fly (ARF), bind-and-fly (BAF), etc., there are still many modelers who build their own aircraft. Nearly all top tier competition fliers build their own models, as do aficionados of vintage (aka old-timer) models. Some guys just would rather build than buy...

Keelhauled at Kiev?
Photos from the USSR

Keelhauled at Kiev? from December 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and Rockets1962 was the height of the Cold War where the world's only two nuclear powers sat with their fingers on the nuclear launch button, ready to engage in Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). When the World Control Line Championships were held in Kiev in 1962, the free world country participants came away agreeing that the whole affair was rigged, fraught with incompetence, or a combination of the two. Communism has never bred excellence - just marginal functionality and apathy. The U.S. seems to be adopting the Red way these days with central government planning and a dependent class of non-producers...

AYSC
A Younger Set Competes

AYSC - A Younger Set Competes Model Aviation, July 1962 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThe Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) has forever been on a mission to promote, encourage, and facilitate youth activity in model aviation. Part of the organization's charter is to educate citizens about aviation and aerospace in general , and the modeling aspect of it in particular. A big deal is always made - appropriately so - when a large contingent of kids participate in a contest of some sort. Unfortunately, as time goes by there is less and less youthful engagement in modeling, not just of aircraft but of rockets, cars, boats, trains, etc. Hands-on craftsmanship waning and the ability of most boys or girls...

Supersweep 22 IHLG

Supersweep (October 1974 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsThis is part two of an article that began in the September 1974 American Aircraft Modeler. The Supersweep was used to break the long-standing Indoor Hand Launched Glider (IHLG) record of one minute and thirty seconds. In 2009, Stan Buddenbohm set a new record for 1:52.12 (video embedded in web page). Website visitor Ward B. recently wrote asking that I post the second article on the Supersweep, so, here it is. Plans can be found in the September 1974 edition.

Official 1957 AMA
Control Line Stunt Patterns

Official AMA 1957  C/L Stunt Patterns, June 1957 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThe control line stunt pattern in effect for 1957 is shown in this article from American Modeler in that year. The stunt pattern has undergone numerous changes in the past many decades, so competition flyers have needed to keep abreast of the most current rules. Airplanes have undergone many changes as well, partially driving the rules changes. There are now official contest events for Old Time Stunt (OTS) that use models and a pattern from prescribed eras: "Old-Time Stunt models are those designed, built, flown and/ or published before the last day of 1952; Classic models are the models categorized with the same criteria but before the last day of 1969" (per the AMA)...

Everything Under Control:
McEntee on R/C

Everything Under Control: McEntee on R/C from June 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and Rockets$347 round trip from Detroit to England was the going group rate in 1962 when Howard McEntee wrote this article soliciting fellow travelers to attend the Internats. Expedia shows the same flight today would cost a little south of $1,100. According to the BLS inflation calculator, $347 in 1962 is equivalent to $2,733 in 2014 money, so effectively today's price is less than half of what it cost in 1962 - what a deal! There are many other items of interest in the column, including R/C engine throttle modification, a Toledo Show brief, and a scheme for implementing tailwheel braking...

Bird Watchers!
New Species from Canada

Bird Watchers! New Species from Canada, July 1962 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsA.J. Robinson's comic humor graced the pages of the July 1962 edition of American Modeler. The only difference between the 'birds' of then and the birds of today is the description of the radio control operator (we no longer bush buttons for commanding our aircraft). Enjoy.

Winning R/C Scale:
Cessna OE-2 Bird Dog II

OE-2 Bird Dog II, July 1962 American Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)According to online sources, the OE-2 (aka the Bird Dog II) is a redesigned version of the OE-1 with Cessna 180 wings and fuselage modified for better visual observation. This R/C model by Bob Wischer has a 54" wingspan and is powered by a .09 to .15 engine. The original, having been built in the early 1960s, used an escapement for rudder-only control. A modern micro or mini R/C system would easily permit 3- or 4-channel operation with probably about the same all-up flying weight. You could even convert it to electric power as is the popular thing to do these days.

Fast Start Set Uses
the AAM Glowdriver

Fast Start Set Uses The AAM Glowdriver (July 1974 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsDanny M., a website visitor from The Land Down Under, wrote to ask that I scan and post this article for what today we would call a 'smart' glow plug driver. There is also an accompanying article in the same July 1974 edition titled "Fast Start Set Uses the AAM Glowdriver." Danny said, "I built one in 1978, it is still working fine. When a friend saw how it would light a plug under water and clear a flooded engine instantly he begged me to build him one. Unfortunately the original article is long gone, so I found your website and noticed that you list the magazine in question." Well, thanks to our resourceful mate...

Notable Quote

Beginner's Book of Model Airplanes (They Fly!) [eBay image] - Airplanes and Rockets"The best way to carve a propeller is to use a knife on a block of wood for as long as it is pleasant and then buy a propeller someone else has carved." - Carl H. Claudy in Beginner's Book of Model Airplanes (They Fly!). I saw this in the August 2014 edition of Model Aviation (p12, "Making Propellers").

Sketchbook - Construction,
Adjustment, Workshop Ideas

Sketchbook - Hints and kinks, November/December 1963 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsOne of the best ideas in this installment of Sketchbook, IMHO, is a method to quickly select balsa sheets of approximate equal density. It involves a flashlight and a light intensity meters (a phone app for the meter can be downloaded for that these days). Another neat suggestion is a way to make simulated rivets in thin aluminum foil. There is a list at the bottom of every Sketchbook page that has hyperlinks to all other Sketchbook editions published thus far.

The Rocket Ship

The Rocket Ship (September 1936 Boy's Life Article) - Airplanes and RocketsIt was on March 16, 1926, that Robert Goddard made history in Auburn, Massachusetts, by successfully launching the world's first liquid fueled rocket. The propellant was a mixture of gasoline and liquid oxygen. That was a mere ten year prior to this article that appeared in Boys' Life magazine. Author T.E. Mussen comments that as of the writing, "thus far the rocket has carried neither men nor recording instruments, nothing more than the source of its own propelling power." Breathtaking speeds of 700 mph and altitudes of 7,500 feet had been attained and...

High School Aviation:
California Style

High School Aviation: California Style (June 1968 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsIt is hard to imagine a time when there could be a flight instruction regimen integrated into a public high school curriculum, but in 1968 an article appeared in American Aircraft Modeler reporting on just such a program at Anderson Valley High School in Boonville, California. It began with the donation (sale of $1, actually) of a Cessna 150 by G&H Aircraft of El Monte. School superintendent J. Robert Mathias, himself an aviation cadet in WWII, welcomed the opportunity with enthusiasm. So did 35 students. In addition to flight lessons leading to a private pilot license, courses were offered...

AMA Nationals 1974
Lake Charles: RC Scale

AMA Nationals 1974 Lake Charles: RC Scale (November 1974 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Wells S. wrote to ask that I post this article covering the RC Scale event for the 1974 AMA Nationals. He was particularly interested in the appearance of Top Flite's P-47 Thunderbolt (aka "Jug"). The November 1974 edition of American Aircraft Modeler covered the entire Nats meeting at Lake Charles, Louisiana, including RC Pattern, RC Pylon racing, RC Scale, CL Scale, CL Stunt, Free Flight, Indoor, and Helicopter. The articles for all categories will eventually...

Jetex Powered Dyna-Soar

Rocket (Jetex) Powered Dyna-Soar, July 1962 American Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets This rocket boost glider called the Dyna-Soar was powered by American Telasco's version of the Jetex 50 engine. Jetex rocket engines were quite popular with model airplane, boat, and car builders through the early 1970s, at which point the fuel supplies began to disappear. Most Internet sources posit that Imperial Chemicals Industries (ICI) ceased making the fuel pellets due to a combination of liability and regulation issues. ICI, based in Scotland, manufactured the Jetex fuel pellets* from a measured blend of guanidine nitrate...

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