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- Welcome to the Airplanes & Rockets Website -
"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." Lord Kelvin, 1895

Model Rocketry's New Look

Model Rocketry's New Look, May 1961 American Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets1961 was really only in the dawn of the Space Age, with the first successful communications satellites having been launched just a few years earlier in 1957. The first suborbital rocket launch occurred in 1944 when the Germans sent a V-2 rocket above the Kármán line (100 km, 62 mi) which separates Earth's atmosphere from outer space. Technology was moving pretty quickly in the aerospace realm, both with airplanes and with rockets. Model rockets were a big thing for boys (and a few girls) of the era, and similar advances in materials and methods were being reported in the pages of American Modeler and other magazines ...

Couple Build World War I Fighter

Couple Build World War I Fighter - Airplanes and Rockets"Retired USAF Colonels Blake and Sandy Thomas met at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. On their first date Blake took Sandy on a ride in a 1944 BT-13, a two-seat military trainer with a radial engine. 'It was love at first flight,' Sandy said. In December 2017, they will celebrate their 23rd anniversary. Their shared love of aviation led to flying offspring. Their first-born homebuilt was an RV-7, their third, a Sopwith Schneider. This is the story of their middle offspring, a replica World War I fighter, the 1917 Nieuport-28. The Plane Named 'Sandy,' the the Nieuport-28 ..."

Is a Winged Volvo in Our Future?

Is a Winged Volvo in Our Future? - Airplanes and Rockets"Geely, the parent company of Volvo, announced that it has acquired the flying car company Terrafugia. The Terrafugia flying car, created a decade ago by a handful of MIT grads, just made another huge leap toward becoming an actual product thanks to its new owner. The South China News reported that Geely, the company that also owns Volvo, agreed to acquire Terrafugia. Reports indicate Geely was particularly interested in the Terrafugia’s FAA approval last year allowing the transforming car to be certified as a light sport ..."

Ryan Seaplane Solid Scale, February 1942 Flying Aces

Ryan Seaplane Solid Scale, February 1942 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsCarving a solid scale model airplane, ship, train, or automobile from a block of balsa or pine was a favorite pastime of many people up until maybe the latter part of the last century. For some it was the preferred means of crafting a replica of their favorite subject, and for others it a second-best option if building and flying, sailing, etc., a working model was not possible. Lack of funds, time, skill, or any combination thereof could have been the cause. Little known to the solid scale modelers just prior to the publication date of this issue of Flying Aces was that their collective skills would be ...

Long-Duration UAVs for Emergency Communications During Disasters

Long-Duration UAVs for Emergency Communications During Disasters - RF Cafe"Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have designed a drone capable of staying aloft for five days at a time. This technology could prove a huge boon in the communications sector, particularly in regards to disaster situations. Unpiloted aerial vehicles (UAVs) have long held the potential to be a valuable asset in the face of disasters. When communications fail over a wide area, these UAVs can be used to travel into affected ..."

FAA Offers to Refund Drone Fee & Delete Registration Info

FAA Offers to Refund Drone Fee & Delete Registration Info - Airplanes and RocketsThanks to the Academy of Model Aeronautics for this! "The FAA is providing the following updated information regarding the Small UAS Registration and Marking interim final rule as a result of a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit regarding the small UAS registration program. The court's decision invalidated the registration requirement as it applies to certain model aircraft that ..."

Surefly Fuses Helicopter with Drone into Carbon-Fiber Craft

Surefly Fuses Helicopter with Drone into Carbon-Fiber Craft - Airplanes and Rockets"Workhorse - the US-based transport company working with UPS to make drone delivery a reality - has upscaled its airborne technology with the 'Surefly' personal helicopter. 78 years since the first 'copter took to the sky, workhorse has set out to reinvent the VTOL craft using its expertise in battery-powered electric mobility. the drone-helicopter hybrid is designed to be easy to operate ..."

Post-Pusher Parade

Post-Pusher Parade, May 1961 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsDouglas Rolfe produced for Air Trails and American Modeler many 2-page spreads of drawings depicting early model airplanes, automobiles, and boats. This month's "Post-Pusher Parade" includes aeroplanes that came onto the scene after the initial Wright-like biplanes that sported pusher propeller configurations. The Curtiss JN-1 and the famous JN-4 Jenny biplanes, the bullet-nose Sturtevant S4 with its gunner's 'sidecar,' and the triwing Martin TT trainer are amongst the 17 models shown. There is a list at the bottom of the page with Mr. Rolfe's sketches ...

Secondary Mirror of European Extremely Large Telescope Cast

Secondary Mirror of European Extremely Large Telescope Cast - RF Cafe"The casting of the secondary mirror blank for ESO's Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) has been completed by SCHOTT at Mainz, Germany. The completed mirror will be 4.2 metres in diameter and weigh 3.5 tonnes. It will be the largest secondary mirror ever employed on a telescope and also the largest convex mirror ever produced. ESO's 39-metre Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) will be the largest telescope of its kind ever built when it achieves first light in 2024. A new milestone ..."

DARPA Drones Fly w/o Human or GPS Help

DARPA Drones Fly w/o Human or GPS Help - Airplanes and Rockets"Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will soon navigate without using GPS or human assistance as demonstrated by several successful test runs last month as part of the Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program. DARPA recently announced the breakthrough, after four days of testing in central Florida. The test runs marked progress toward development of small, quadcopter drones that are able to fly through obstacle-ridden environments ..."

National Model Aviation Day - August 12, 2017

National Model Aviation Day 2017 - Airplanes and Rockets"Join the Academy of Model Aeronautics Foundation in celebrating model aviation for the fifth annual National Model Aviation Day, August 12, 2017. National Model Aviation Day was created to encourage clubs to celebrate the hobby and share it with the public. Our chartered clubs have also been asked to conduct a fundraiser to provide assistance to a worthy cause. For this year all clubs have been asked to support the AMA Foundation. The AMA is devoted to inspiring the young and young-at-heart to pursue a hobby that will inspire creativity and advanced learning through the use of hands-on applications. The purposes ..."

Maximus Free Flight - 1/2A, A, B, FAI

Maximus Free Flight - 1/2A, A, B, FAI, June 1961 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsHere are three models in one with separate plans provided for each of ½A, FAI (Class A), and Class B versions of Robert Sifleet's contest winning Maximus free flight bird. This piece from the June 1961 issue of American Modeler is half of a pair of articles, one of which covers the model build and flight details, and the other that provides a brief autobiography on Maximus designer Robert Sifleet

MIT Develops Gas-Powered UAV That Can Stay Aloft for 5 Days

MIT Develops Gas-Powered UAV That Can Stay Aloft for 5 Days - Airplanes and Rockets"MIT engineers have developed and built an unpiloted aerial vehicle, or UAV, that is expected to provide temporary telecomms service to areas affected by disasters and calamities. The UAV technology is considered inexpensive and is capable of flying and providing service for several days. This is not the first time UAV technology has been exploited for this purpose. Google has also developed and tested a system that provides temporary telecomms coverage ..."

Eviation All-Electric Aircraft Goes 965 km on a Single Charge

Eviation Debuts All-Electric Aircraft That Can Go 965 km on a Single Charge - Airplanes and Rockets"The future is electric, and we are one step closer after Eviation Aircraft released the first prototype of an all-electric airplane. The futuristic machine has a range of 965 kilometers and the capacity to carry nine passengers and two crew members. The plane was released at the 52nd International Paris Airshow. The non-emission aircraft is a huge leap forward in electrical aircraft. Currently, aviation is responsible for 2% of the world's total carbon ..."

Sketchbook, January 1961 American Modeler Magazine

Sketchbook, January 1961 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsHere are another seven hand-dandy tricks of the aeromodelling trade. As with many of the tips and kinks offered by readers of the era, some - if not most - involve materials and/or methods that have long been replaced by more modern means. Still, you might find something useful in the extensive collection from vintage American Modeler and Air Trails magazines ...

1967 AMA Nats on ABC Wide World of Sports

1967 Nats on TV, September 1967 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsIn the 1960s, model aviation was still a fairly enticing hobby to boys captivated by the sights, sounds, and smells of airplanes, helicopters, and rockets. Indeed, that was the era that began my lifelong engagement in model building and flying. The U.S. Navy sponsored the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) National Competition (Nats) for many years in hopes of providing a segue into naval aviation through aeromodelling. Somehow, local television stations and newspapers never bothered to give the sport much air time or print space, respectively. A quick search ...

Retracting-Gear Airliner

Retracting-Gear Airliner, May 1961 American Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets'Pandemonium Airlines' - LOL, is that funny or what? Obviously, USAF Captain Keith Laumer had a great sense of humor to go along with a fine skill as a model airplane and mechanical gadget craftsman. In the days before commercially available retractable landing gear and powerful servos were nonexistent, this sort of clockworks mechanism was commonly found. 'Clockworks' is literal in that a key-driven wind-up arrangement, along with clock gears is used. In fact, I have a book titled "How to Design and Build Flying Models," by Keith Laumer, that describes just such a retractable ...

Concept Enables Solar UAV Autonomous Soaring

Concept Enables Solar UAV Autonomous Soaring - RF Cafe"Naval Research Laboratory engineers want to improve the ability of unmanned platforms to support a 24/7 information, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) mission. A new concept being tested consists of a photovoltaic array integrated into the center wing panel of the PV-SBXC aircraft as a drop-in replacement to the original wing. A power management and distribution system converts the power from ..."

Paul Allen's Colossal Stratolaunch Plane Emerges from Its Lair

Paul Allen's Colossal Stratolaunch Plane Emerges from Its Lair - RF Cafe"Paul Allen's monstrous Stratolaunch airplane finally rolled out of its hangar in Mojave, Calif., Wednesday, showing off its complete twin-hulled majesty for the first time. It will now spend many months on ground tests before a first flight. And it's not expected to be used to launch a rocket into space -- a mission that some observers are skeptical will ever ..."

Aerospace Headline News

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archives -

UK to Bring in Drone Registration (U.S. just eliminated registration)

Two Mustangs Have Issues at Duxford Air Show

General Aviation Unites Against ATC Privatization

Drone Rules That Never Became Law

So Much for Those New Drone Registration Rules

Elon Musk Explains Why He Thinks Flying Cars Are a Really Bad Idea

Cash Awards Offered After Drones Disrupt Flights in China

Breakthrough in Battery Charging Technology

Canada Imposes Strict New Rules for Recreational Drone Use

Break-In Stand for Cox .049 Engines

Cox .049 Break-In Stand - Airplanes and RocketsSometime in the early 2000s I began making a transition from glow fuel power to electric power. There was a general trend in that direction in the modeling world, and there were certainly advantages in doing so. Lack of fuel mess, almost no noise, and simple, reliable operation were the primary compelling reasons for adopting the new paradigm in power plants. After all, technical advances in brushless motors, lithium polymer (Li-Po) batteries, and electronics speed controllers (ESC) has reached - or nearly reached - parity with internal combustion ...

The Rise of Disposable Drones

The Rise of Disposable Drones - RF Cafe"As air-launched munitions get smarter, the Air Force is creating a new class of weapon—a combination of drones and missiles. But can they be advanced enough to work, yet cheap enough that it's okay to lose a few in battle? It has advanced radar, forward-looking infrared cameras, and laser rangefinders—all used to help the 13-man crew direct a barrage of lethal fire to the ground from 12,000 feet. But for all of this advanced technology, the vision ..."

Dremel Moto-Tool Model 370 Reconditioning

Dremel Moto-Tool Model 370 Reconditioning - Airplanes and RocketsThis Dremel Model 370 Moto-Tool is one of my longest-owned tools. It was bought sometime around 1976. After 40 years of use, it began exhibiting erratic behavior due to the motor brushes finally having worn down to where they were not making good contact with the commutator. You can see in the photos how the original brushes did not wear evenly, although the contact surfaces were clean and not pitted at all. I decided that given the Moto-Tool's age, it might be a good idea to disassemble it and do a good cleaning and inspection ...

NASA Rules out Crew on First SLS Flight

NASA Rules out Crew on First SLS Flight - RF Cafe"NASA managers have ruled out putting a crew on board an Orion capsule atop the agency's huge Space Launch System rocket for the gargantuan booster's maiden flight in 2019, citing technical risks and higher costs, up to as much as $900 million, agency officials said Friday. Earlier this year, the Trump administration asked NASA to look into the possibility of either adding a crew to Exploration Mission 1 ..."

Could this be part of Trump's 2-for-1 regulation reduction mandate?

A Pair of Cox .049-Powered Li'l Jumpin' Beans

A Pair of Cox .049-Powered Li'l Jumpin' Beans - Airplanes and RocketsHaving never been truly satisfied with the silence of electric-powered model airplanes, I made a decision to start reverting back to glow fuel models. Yes, electric power is clean, easy to set up, and consistent motor runs are the rule, but I grew up with models I could hear flying as well as see flying. I've really missed the sound and smell of glow fuel engines after a 15-year hiatus. I'm starting with .049 engines mainly because of the high cost of fuel, but there's also a back-to-basics feel about them since I, like most kids in the 1960s and 70s, learned to fly with the plastic Cox models. As you might ...

FAA Registration Requirement Struck Down

FAA Registration Requirement Struck Down (AMA) - Airplanes and RocketsThanks to the efforts of the Academy of Model Aviation for its efforts! From the AMA website: "Friday, May 19, the federal appeals court struck down the FAA's registration requirement for recreational model aircraft. The Court ruling is effective immediately. As such, if you have not registered with the FAA, you are no Model Aircraft Registration Overturned by United States Court of Appeals - Airplanes and Rocketslonger required under the law to do so. For those of you who have already registered with the FAA, you may be wondering what this means for you. We are currently working to obtain answers from the FAA and will ..."

Modelplane Sketchbook, July 1954 Air Trails

Modelplane Sketchbook, July 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsHere are a half dozen more tips and ideas that might make your aeromodelling hobby a little easier -especially if you ardently adhere to doing things 'the old way.' Most of the homebrew schemes presented in this and the many other "Sketchbook" postings are these days available in pre-made form, with higher reliability, made of inexpensive materials, and low in cost. The converted hand drill-cum-rubber-winder is a good example. In 1954, most workshops had such a drill, but now everyone has a battery-powered, variable speed drill that would make the job much ...

Toyota Backs Flying Car Project in Japan

Toyota Backs Flying Car Project in Japan - RF Cafe"Japanese carmaker Toyota has announced its backing for a group of engineers who are developing a flying car. It will give 40 million yen (£274, 000) to the Cartivator group that operates outside Toyota city in central Japan. The Nikkei Asian Review reports Toyota and its group companies have agreed in principle to support the project. So far crowd funding has paid for development of the so-called Skydrive car, which uses drone technology and has three wheels and four rotors ..."

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About Airplanes & Rockets

Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and Rockets
Kirt Blattenberger
Carpe Diem!
(Seize the Day!)

Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which all began in Mayo, MD. There is a lot of good information and there are lot of pictures throughout the website that you will probably find useful, and might even bring back some old memories from your own days of yore. The website began life around 1996 as an EarthLink screen name of ModelAirplanes, and quickly grew to where more server space ...

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