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

Aerospace Headline News

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archives -

• India Approves $1.4B for 1st Manned Spaceflight in 2022

• UK Police Arrest Man and Woman over Gatwick Drone Disruption

• Civil Air Patrol Taps Federal Funds for Training

• >50,000 Drone Applications for Flying in Controlled Airspace

• Aviation Writer Jack Elliott Passes On

• 'Cool' Aviation Careers in Spotlight

• Night Airshow Accident Takes Life of Redline Airshows' Jon Thocker

• Jets Clip Wings at Reno

• Hottest Used Airplane Markets in Many Years

• Neil Armstrong's Moon Space Suit Is Deteriorating

• How Wing Cuffs Work

PicaSim Flight Simulator - Free!

PicaSim Slope Soaring Flight Simulator - Airplanes and RocketsPicaSim, created and provided as a free download by Danny Chapman, is an amazing flight simulator that runs on Windows, Android, and iPhone platforms. What began as a flight simulator for radio control slope soaring has evolved to include powered planes, helicopters, and drones. The graphics quality rivals that of RealFlight, and PicaSim has a sophisticated aircraft flight dynamics editor, a growing hanger full of aircraft models, and even racing and aerobatic course challenges. Smartphone versions use finger motions for control and the PC version uses keyboard and transmitter interface control. If you use PicaSim, please be sure to donate to Mr. Chapman to reward him for his great work ...

Spanwise Adaptive Wing

Spanwise Adaptive Wing - Airplanes and Rockets"NASA's Glenn Research Center developed a novel means of articulating the outboard portion of an aircraft wing to create the optimal geometry for given flight conditions. The Spanwise Adaptive Wing (SAW) concept employs a high-force, solid-state Shape Memory Alloy (SMA)-based actuator to develop a structurally efficient and reliable method of deflecting a portion of the wing in flight. This ability enables significant increases in lateral-directional stability and control augmentation, thereby enhancing aircraft efficiency by reducing the rudder motion to control yaw. Particularly in supersonic flight, the SAW's benefits include increased compression lift and reduced wave drag. Compared to prior hydraulic-based actuators, the SMA-based ..."

Flyin' Jenny Comic Strips: October 10, 1939 Baltimore Morning Sun

Flyin' Jenny Comic Strips: October 10, 1939 Baltimore Morning Sun - Airplanes and RocketsThis is the Tuesday, October 10, 1939, "Flyin' Jenny" comic strip. The Baltimore Sun newspaper, published not far from where I grew up near Annapolis, Maryland, carried "Flyin' Jenny" from the late 1930s until the strip ended in the mid 1940s, so I saved a couple dozen from there. The first one I downloaded has a publication date of December 7, 1941 - that date "which will live in infamy," per President Roosevelt. Many Americans were receiving word over the radio of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor while reading this comic at the breakfast table. I expect that soon there will be World War II themes. "Flyin' Jenny," whose real name was Virginia Dare (what's in a name?), was a test pilot for Starcraft Aviation Factory who divided her time between wringing out new airplane designs and chasing bad guys ...

Ion-Driven Model Aircraft

Ion-Driven Model Aircraft - Airplanes and Rockets"We've often heard the expression 'that won't fly,' but an MIT-based experimental model literally contradicts that statement for one type of flight propulsion. Like a science-fiction story come true, what's claimed to be the first-ever heavier-than-air craft with no moving parts has flown using only ion-based propulsion (formally called electroaerodynamics and commonly known as sonic wind). While ions have been used for demonstrations of small toy-like devices hovering over a desktop while still tethered to a power cable, this aircraft - with a wingspan of about 5 meters and weighing 2.5 kg - made 10 successive nine-second-long indoor flights of about 60 meters distance at a height of about a half meter, while cruising at about 10 mph. The silent aircraft ..."

Boeing Beat Airbus with Record-Setting 2018 for Jets and Avionics

Boeing Beat Airbus with Record-Setting 2018 for Jets and Avionics - Airplanes and Rockets"Boeing delivered a record 806 commercial passenger jets in 2018 to retain the title of the world's biggest plane maker for the seventh straight year but missed its full-year target of 810-815 due to supplier woes that delayed shipments. European rival Airbus SE, which will report its numbers later this week, met its own 800-jet target pending final audit, but is certain to lag behind Boeing due to engine delays, industry sources said earlier. Boeing also looked set to beat Airbus for aircraft and avionics orders on a like-for-like basis in 2018 after booking 893 net orders, excluding cancellations in the year. Meanwhile, Airbus ended November with 380 net orders, to which it has since added confirmed deals for another 220 aircraft. Orders for Boeing and Airbus are seen down compared to 2017 as airlines fret over trade ..."

The Harrier Needs No Runway

The Harrier Needs No Runway, June 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsIt is hard to believe there was a time that a production-level VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft would be a big deal, but that was the case in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the Harrier "Jump Jet" arrived on the scene. British aircraft manufacturer Hawker Siddeley was the innovator. I remember being TDY at Fort Campbell, KY, while in the USAF, having gone there to pick up a mobile TACAN unit that was on loan from our Robins AFB, GA home base. We were going to load the hardware into a pickup truck when we saw a couple jets zoom overhead and then go around for a landing. It was very strange to notice how they seemed to be taking much longer than normal to arrive over the runway, and then it occurred to me that they must be Harriers. It was fascinating to watch the pair hover side-by-side, and then softly touch down and then taxi to the tarmac area ...

Drone-Detecting Radar at Super Bowl LIII

Drone-Detecting Radar at Super Bowl LIII - RF Cafe"A Bill Gates-funded startup is seeking permission to test a new kind of drone detector at Sunday's Super Bowl game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots in Atlanta, Georgia. Echodyne, a Seattle-based company, filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Sunday to operate two experimental radars 'in the immediate vicinity' of Mercedes-Benz Stadium to 'alert security personnel, including federal officers, of any unidentified drone activity during Super Bowl LIII.' The drone tests would be conducted under the guidance and direction of the FBI. Atlanta police have said there will be a zero-tolerance policy for drones near the Super Bowl stadium, with hundreds of local, state and federal law enforcement ..."

GPS-Denied Navigation on Small Unmanned Helicopters

GPS-Denied Navigation on Small Unmanned Helicopters - Airplanes and Rockets"Drone usage is expected to soar over the next several years. As legal regulations evolve, many industries will embrace drones for a multitude of tasks from infrastructure inspections to commercial fishing and beyond. And despite the potential for enormous growth, this revolutionary technology has an Achilles heel that is rarely mentioned - it is fully dependent on Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)/GPS navigation. All drones rely on GNSS to maintain a stable position and/or to navigate between waypoints. At the same time, all small drones use MEMS sensors to estimate their altitude. These sensors are accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers that provide data on the aircraft's ..."

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em, June 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsEven with the many decades of attempts to get girls and women interested in flying model airplanes, the sport still has a very small percentage of them involved. The same is true of model cars, boats, trains, helicopters, and even the newfangled drones. It certainly cannot be blamed on a lack of trying to encourage participation since anytime a girl or lady shows up at the flying field or has a modeling story to tell, the media are all over it. The same phenomenon is true of amateur (Ham) radio, and probably for many other historically male-dominated activities. Could it be that girls / women in general just are not as interested in such things? To even suggest such a possibility in today's hostile social environment could lead to threats of physical harm, doxing, Twitter and Facebook flaming, and other forms of extreme harassment. Surely, documented history is wrong and must be altered to achieve the desired outcome. I personally welcome all comers, but refuse to be blamed for those who choose not to engage ...

The T-38 Talon Finally Gets a Replacement

The T-38 Talon Finally Gets a Replacement - Airplanes and Rockets"The U.S. Air Force announced in September that Boeing will be building the service’s brand-new jet trainer, ending a fiercely fought competition. Under a contract worth up to $9.2 billion, Boeing's St. Louis factory will construct at least 350 of the aircraft, designed jointly with Sweden's Saab, to replace the worn-out Northrop T-38 Talon. Boeing will also provide training simulators. The T-38 has served as the Air Force's primary fighter pilot trainer since 1961. Obsolete electronics aside, the T-38s are today so well-used that they are restricted from making the tight turns of today's fighters, lest they disintegrate in midair; pilots training on the F-22 and F-35 undergo additional training in F-16s to verify that they can handle the G-forces. Boeing's win was a surprise, given that versions of its primary ..."

Doc the Superfortress Comes Home

Doc the Superfortress Comes Home - Airplanes and Rockets"B-29 Doc Hangar and Education Center is getting ready for opening. One year after the construction began on the B-29 Doc Hangar and Education Center at the Eisenhower National Airport in Wichita, Kansas, the stunning Superfortress named Doc has moved in to its new home. The bricks and granite tiles that have been purchased by Doc’s supporters to raise funds for the project have arrived and are being installed outside the 32,000 square-foot facility. But the work isn't done yet. Doc’s Friends spokesman Josh Wells said the organization still needs to raise $800,000 to complete the $6.5M facility. 'While we have successfully raised enough money to build the structure, there's still ..."

Largest Full Moon (Supermoon) of 2019

Largest Full Moon (Supermoon) of 2019 Photo - Airplanes & RocketsJanuary's first full moon, known as the Wolf Moon, is the biggest and brightest full moon of 2019 - a 'supermoon' in modern parlance. It was also a long duration (1 hour and 2 minutes) total lunar eclipse. The technical name for this special combination is the perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system. The moon reached fullness at 00:16 EST and perigee at 14:59 EST on the 21st. The moon is full when the earth is between the sun and the moon, and the moon is new when it is between the sun and Earth. The picture below was taken out of my back door, at around 9:30 pm local time (Erie, PA), at the beginning of the penumbral phase of the eclipse (not apparent in the photo). The outside temperature was about 5 °F and the wind was howling pretty good - quite appropriate for this Wolf Moon ...

Virgin Galactic Tourism Rocketship Reaches Space

Virgin Galactic Tourism Rocketship Reaches SpaceI love the concept, but the hypocrisy by a big-time Greenie like Branson is hard to take - the carbon footprint per passenger must be huge. "Virgin Galactic's tourism spaceship climbed more than 50 miles high above California's Mojave Desert on Thursday, reaching for the first time what the company considers the boundary of space. The rocket ship hit an altitude of 51 miles before beginning its gliding descent, said mission official Enrico Palermo. It landed on a runway minutes later. 'We made it to space!' Palermo exclaimed. The supersonic flight takes Virgin Galactic closer to turning the long-delayed dream of commercial space tourism into reality. The company aims to take paying customers on the six-passenger rocket, which is about the size ..."

The Sound of Things to Come: Electric Powered Model Planes

The Sound of Things to Come: Electric Powered Model Planes, January 1973 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsIf you have been in the modeling world since at least the 1990s, you have witnessed the slow but steady evolution of electric propulsion systems to the point where we are today with the technology having overcome and largely replaced glow engines. During that time, the resentment and jealousy of glow engine modelers has been very apparent. I must admit to having some feelings of betrayal to the power source to which I owed my early days of model flight, but by the early 2000s I was using electric power in my gliders - before brushless motors and lithium-polymer batteries were household words. By 2005 or 2006, power-to-weight ratios of brushless motors and LiPos were on par with and pushing past glow engines. Now, with 40C batteries, incredibly powerful outrunner motors, and finely engineered electronic controllers, there is no reason other than for nostalgic satisfaction ...

OS Digital Digitron DS-3, 3-Channel Radio Control System

OS Digitron DP-3, 3-Channel Radio Control System - Airplanes and RocketsMy very first radio control system was an OS Digital Digitron DS−3, 3−channel system. I have wanted to get one for nostalgia's sake for a long time. I had a saved search on eBay for years and finally a few months ago, one came up for auction, which I won. My plan is to replace the original 27.195 MHz electronics with that of my 6−channel 72.750 MHz Futaba system, with necessary modifications to the gimbal potentiometers, NiCad battery, antenna mount, etc. I will need to add a dual rate switch somewhere inconspicuous so as to not detract from the original look. The results will be posted here when done ...

A Petrel's Strange Journey

A Petrel's Strange Journey - Airplanes and Rockets"Why a rare British sailplane survived. In 1937, up on the windy heights of the Yorkshire moors, British sportsman Frank Charles taught himself to fly in primitive gliders. He soon tired of their limited capabilities, and went in search of something that could actually soar instead of simply glide downhill. The best sailplanes of the day were being designed and built in Germany, so Charles asked a local firm, Slingsby Sailplanes Limited, to build an airplane based on German designs. Between-the-wars British airplane manufacturers - de Havilland, Percival, Miles -had developed wood aircraft construction into a high art, and Slingsby continued the tradition by ..."

Chinese Rover Exploring Far Side of Moon

Chinese Rover Exploring Far Side of Moon - Airplanes and Rockets"A robotic Chinese spacecraft named Chang'e 4 braked out of lunar orbit and slowed to a controlled touchdown on the far side of the moon Thursday, a first in the history of space exploration. The lander later deployed a small rover to explore the surrounding landscape. The spacecraft landed at 0226 GMT on January 3 in the 110-mile-wide Von Karman crater, located in the southern hemisphere on the back side of the moon. Chinese websites released several images captured during the lander's descent, and then revealed several more pictures taken of the mission's six-wheeled rover as it drove down a ramp and onto the lunar surface. But Chinese state television did not provide a live broadcast of the landing ..."

Toledo 1971 - World's Biggest RC Show

Toledo - World's Biggest RC Show, May 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThe 1971 Toledo R/C trade show as a major event in large part because of the new generation of transistorized pulse proportional radio control systems being introduced that were rapidly replacing legacy vacuum tube and some solid state reed and escapement systems. A large selection of new model designers were also offered to accommodate the lighter weight, smaller, and more highly functional radios. Fast forward nearly half a century to what will soon be the 2019 Toledo Show and you will find an incredible array of high technology electronics and airframes. Most models will be factory-built, with balsa and plywood kits being mostly extremely small or extremely large models. Glow fuel engines will barely have a presence, having been replaced by large gasoline engines and brushless motors. Transmitters are highly programmable and have no extendable antennas ...

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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 ...
1996 - 2018
Kirt Blattenberger
Family Websites:
RF Cafe | Equine Kingdom

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