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

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Once in a Million Year Comet Barely Miss Mars on Sunday

USAF Scraps 16 C-27As Worth $500M for Just $32k

Smartphone-Controlled Drone That Folds up into Pocket Size

Philae Lander Snaps a Selfie as It Passes by Comet Philae

'Unusual' Unmanned Aircraft Being Built at the U of M Aerospace Department

Amazon.com Billionaire Wants to Leave His Mark on Space

Jim Rice Inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame

Final Powered Tests Beckon for SpaceShipTwo

WWI Airplanes Not Forgotten by Ohio Men

Finally, the Flying Car May Have Landed

Smartphones Turned into Pocket Cosmic Ray Detectors

What is the Pentagon's Secret Space Plane Doing? (news morons referring to everything as drones)

NASA App Teaches Kids About Rocket Launches

FAA Gets More Applications for Drone Use Exemptions

Drone Exemptions for Hollywood Pave the Way for Widespread Use (you must donate to the right people)

Swiss Police Use Drones to Document Car Crashes

Saturn's Weird Fast-Changing Ring Baffles Scientists

ULA, Bezos Join Forces on New Rocket Engine

• Stamp Collector Offering $100G for Stolen 'Inverted Jennies'

GBR F2A Team Take World Championship Team Gold

Final Fly-In Honors Art Scholl

Google Tests Drone Deliveries in Project Wing Trials



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Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and Rockets

Antique Ansonia Mantel Clock Restoration

Antique Ansonia Mantel Clock Restoration - Airplanes and RocketsThis mantel clock is a multi-generational heirloom. It was not expensive, but had emotional value. Melanie's family hearkens from the York, Pennsylvania, region and this clock, I discovered, was manufactured by the Ansonia company and sold by Will K. Rebert, Watchmaker and Jeweler, in York. Her parents gave it to me for Christmas of 2006, and I decided to refinish it and return it to them the next Christmas. Unfortunately, Melanie's father passed away from cancer last summer, but we were able to present it to her ...

Troop Glider & C-46 Tow Plane

Troop Glider and C-46 Tug, May 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)Here is a really unique control line scale model project. This one involves two separate airplanes and two separate pilots - one to fly the twin-engined C-46 Commando tow plane and the other to fly the CG-15 troop glider while it is attached via towline, and then released for landing. Doing so is no different than two aerial combat pilots chasing each other around the sky. The troop glider has its own elevator control and also uses a third line to release the tow line attached to the C-46. Anyone who has seen an R/C power plane tow an R/C glider knows that ...

Radial Arm Saw Dust Collector

Radial Arm Saw Dust Collector - Airplanes and RocketsThere are many videos on YouTube showing some pretty ingenious dust collectors for radial arm saws. Most use a fairly small enclosure located just behind the fence, with a shop vac attachment for forcefully inhaling the sawdust. They appear to work extremely well for cuts that are at 90° to the fence and to the table surface. Maybe my interpretation of the dust collectors is wrong and they adapt to any angle. Since I only have a small shop vac and do not like to have to turn it on every time I make a cut, my ...

David W. Update Us on His on Astron Falcon

David W. Update Us on His on Astron Falcon - Airplanes and RocketsHad two very good flights with the Astron Falcon two weeks ago. Both almost 90 seconds. Like most rocket gliders, it is very sensitive to CG balance. But once dialed in, it will just float.  Last Saturday at the sod farm in Moriarty, we put up a flight with an A8-3, as usual. Very light breeze, but it was enough to slowly move it off the field while in a thermal. Slowly coming out of the ...

Dynamic Soaring and Pumped Laser Systems

Dynamic Soaring and Pumped Laser Systems - Airplanes and RocketsYou have heard of the pumped laser and maser. Here is a new type of pumped energy system: the vaser. 'Laser' is an acronym for 'light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation,' and 'maser' is an acronym for 'microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.' I coined the term 'vaser' after reading an article in the June 2014 edition of Model Aviation about a relatively new form of radio controlled model sailplane sport - dynamic soaring - that, using a specially developed technique to exploit geography and prevailing winds, produces aircraft speeds of more than 400 miles per hour. Per my definition ...

Killer Combat Kites

"Killer" Combat Kites, July 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThe object with these stick and tissue fighter airplane shaped kites is to use the sharp-edged sand that is glued to the kite string to saw through your opponent's string until it breaks. Part of the trick is that there is a long section of rubber in the kite string so that the kite is continually zooming back and forth, up and down. This provides the sawing motion needed to cut the string. The original plan calls for a single string, but it might be possible to work out a dual string control so that the kites can be maneuvered, thereby ...

"Stormer" Plans & Article

"Stormer" Plans & Article from April 1961 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsAirplanes and Rockets website visitor Jack A. wrote to request this article and plans for Doug Spreng's "Stormer" radio controlled airplane model. It appeared in the April 1961 edition of American Modeler, where you read the opening line that says, "'Stormer' is a return to the older style R/C jobs ..." R/C had not really been around all that long by 1961, so reference to "older style" is kind of funny. It is interesting to read the author's discussion on airframe design and control surface shape and deflection amount. The reed-type radio equipment required careful consideration to such details in ...

Wooden Bleachers Built by Boy Scout Troop 117

Wooen Bleachers built by Boy Scout Troop 117 in Jasper, Alabama in 2014 - Airplanes and RocketsLarry J.'s son's Boy Scout Troop 117 in Jasper, AL, built four sets of these 12'-long wooden bleachers using their own modified version of my plans (see below). They will be used in a equine therapy program. The project helped to earn an Eagle Scout badge. Boy Scouts are an increasingly rare source of good works and high moral standards. Congratulations!

The Gere Sport Biplane

The Gere Sport Biplane, May 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)Here is a nice set of drawings for building a scale model of the Gere Sport biplane. The tail surfaces are large so that it would probably not be necessary to enlarge them as is often necessary for rubber powered models. The Gere Sport, with a wingspan of only 19 feet, was originally designed by 19-year-old Bud Gere (one foot per year, I suppose). An R/C version of the Gere Sport with a 36" wingspan was published in R/C Modeler in 1976.

Huey Ride at the 2014 Winston-Salem Airshow

Huey Helicopter Ride at the 2014 Winston-Salem Airshow - Airplanes and RocketsIt is always hard to pass up a ride in a vintage aircraft. Usually, the price is not too awfully high, so on the rare occasion that Melanie and I go to an airshow, we try to be sure to fly in something. Last summer, we rode on one of the 11 flying Ford Trimotors left in the world when it was visiting Erie Airport in Pennsylvania. The cost was an incredibly affordable $75 each, so we couldn't resist. This time we were at the airshow in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and there was a crew with a Bell "Huey" UH-1 Iroquois and a Bell...

The Wonderful World of Model Power Boating

The Wonderful World of Model Power Boating from 1955 Annual Edition of Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsIf you like looking at pictures of competition-quality model boats of all sorts, then this is the article for you. The 1995 Annual edition of Air Trails published this piece to demonstrate the huge variety of model boats that we built and sailed in the day, with loads of talent crammed into each pixel. America was filled with craftsmen who had built and operated the equipment that resulted to victory in World War II. Their skills were on ample display in the form of hand-built steam engines and internal combustion engines, rubber-powered submarines some of which were 5 feet long, radio controlled tug boats and even speed boats sporting not just one but two...


Antique Clothes Chest Restoration

Antique Clothes Chest Restoration - Airplanes and RocketsAnother of Melanie's family's relics is this pine clothes chest. After more than 100 years of use and abuse, this chest was in dire need of restoration. Construction is very low density pine, with dovetailed corners. Finish was a clear varnish with no stain. The bottom, back, and inside had no finish at all. Restoration consisted of knocking apart and re-gluing most joints, sanding, and filling in the multiple dings and scratches where they were really deep. Minor imperfections were kept for the sake ...

Curtiss C-46 Commando

Curtiss C-46 Commando at Winston-Salem Airshow - Airplanes and RocketsThe last flying (according to the attending crew) Curtiss C-46 Commando made an appearance at the 2014 Winston-Salem Airshow. It looks like a bloated C-47 Skytrain. They were only asking for a $3 donation to look around inside, which is a shame since other aircraft like the C-54 were fetching $5 or more. When costs for keeping it airworthy and touring run the in neighborhood of $3,000 to $5,000 per hour, it takes a lot of visitors to pay the bill. Of all the worthless garbage the government wastes money on (both human and otherwise), letting these relics of our past disappear is shameful ...

Channel Winger Control Line Pusher

Channel Winger C/L Pusher, July 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsHere is a model airplane design that should prove to be very interesting to try out in order to determine whether its designer, Roy Clough, Jr., is correct about his theory of the aerodynamics of the curve wing center section. The pusher configuration with the reward-facing engine between twin tail booms probably kept a lot of people from trying it back in the 1950s when small electric starters were not commercially available for .049 engines. Today, the issue can be mitigated entirely simply by converting ...

Consolidated PBY-5A Canso at Erie Int'l Airport

Consolidated PBY-5A Canso / Catalina - Airplanes and RocketsOn August 26 2013, Melanie and I toured the inside of this Consolidated PBY-5A Canso (PBY-5 is the Catalina) while it was on display at the Erie International Airport. It was on tour by a crew from Canada, which is appropriate since it was this particular airplane was manufactured in Canada in 1944 by the Vickers company. World War II ended before it could ever see combat reconnaissance duty. The PBY-5A has a wingspan of 104 feet 0 inches and is powered by a pair of 1200 horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp radial ...

Estes Skydancer Rocket-Boost R/C Glider

Skydancer Rocket Boost R/C Glider, March 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsEstes does not sell the D-13 engine line anymore, but it does sell a D-12. The D-13 produced 9 pounds of thrust according to this article and the 1971 Estes catalog, whereas according to the 2014 Estes catalog the D-12 produces only 7.4 pounds. If you want similar performance with readily available rocket engines, you will need to get them from a company like Aerotech, which makes an F30FJ-6 model that produces 9 pounds of thrust. With that solution you're look at about $12 per launch. I believe that with modern materials like graphite for spars and/or leading edges, and the lightweight airborne systems, the flying weight ...

Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio

Counted Cross Stitch Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio in Teak Frame - Airplanes and RocketsOne of the nice things about having a website is that people from all over the world are able to see what you post. This very nice lady from Spain saw Melanie's picture and wrote to us in the year 2011 about obtaining the pattern for it. We found the booklet on eBay, and since she could not purchase it from Spain, she sent us the money and we procured it for her and mailed it to her in Spain. Honestly, we had forgotten about it and then voila! A week or so ago Miss Mortes e-mailed these two pictures to...

Crosses and Roundels

Crosses and Roundels (January 1968 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsToday's ubiquitous presence of cameras in cellphones, worn around necks to capture entire days of activity, and compact models that fit in a shirt pocket for easy retrieval, has resulted in billions of images being captured in the last decade. You have probably seen the time lapse videos of kids and pets growing from newly born to 12 or 15 years old after daily pictures had been snapped. Nobody from this time forward will have any problem finding a visual record of him/herself. In the 1960s, the only people who had the benefit of photographic progressions of their lives were the famous and...

Nationals Reborn at Olathe

Nationals Reborn at Olathe (June 1968 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and Rockets1968 was the AMA Nats that almost wasn't. The U.S. Navy, which for year prior had helped organize and finance the Nationals competitions, decided it was no longer going to do so. The reason given was that its primary mission - to promote aviation as a career to boys and young men who might eventually decide to make the Navy a career - had suffered due to a continually decreasing percentage of boys and young men participating in the competition. Thanks to heroic efforts of members of both the Navy and the AMA, the 1968 Nats went on to become possibly 'The Greatest Ever." Alas...

20th U.S. Air Force Championships

20th U. S. Air Force Championships (April 1971 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsIt is amazing to ponder that as recently as the 1970s that the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy officially sponsored model aviation events. Hmmm... it just occurred to me that the 1970s was 40 years ago - amazing! 1970 was the year of the 20th annual base championships where the winners were sent to represent the USAF team. These guys were in the middle of the Vietnam War at the time which, along with being called upon to move to new bases every few years, made impressive showings in spite of difficulties not imposed upon their civilian competitors. Note that Sgt. Gordon Ford, who was featured in "One-Man Air Force" in the March 1970 edition of AAM, had entered his C-5A Galaxy...

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About Airplanes and Rockets Homepage - Supermodel Melanie Blattenberger holding my Aquila Spirit glider
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