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

Aerospace Headline News

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archives -

• 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

• At 60, NASA Shoots for Revival of Moon Glory Days

• Estes Industries Announces Ownership Change • EAA, Balloon Federation of America Announce Joint Effort

• How to Buy a Warbird

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 want 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 ...

Citizen-Ship Radio Advertisement

Citizen-Ship Radio Advertisement, May 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsDid you know that Citizen-Ship Radio was a division of Curtis Dyna-Products Corporation - the company that produced the Dyna-Jet engine? Me neither. This uniquely done full-page advertisement from a 1971 issue of American Aircraft Modeler broke the news. I'm not sure when Citizen-Ship stopped making radio control gear, but it couldn't have been too long after 1971 because they didn't appear in the model airplane magazines much after then. Cutris Dyna Products, by the way, is still in business producing fogger machines for crops, special effects, and other needs. ...

QuinStar Technology Engineer Captures Orion Nebula

QuinStar Technology Engineer Captures Orion Nebula - RF CafeAt QuinStar, we're about more than millimeter-wave technology. The people comprising QuinStar Technology pursue diverse and exciting outside interests. Our Chief Engineer, Jim Schellenberg, is a highly skilled amateur astronomical photographer. He captured this beautiful image of the Orion nebula using a specially modified Canon 6D. The camera responds to the H-alpha spectral line at 656 nm (from hydrogen gas), which is seen as red in the photo. The camera is mounted on an 11-inch telescope that tracks the object as the earth rotates. This image consists of nine one-minute exposures that are "stacked" to form the image you see. This is an excellent time of the year to view the Orion nebula. It can be seen ...

Development Highlights, November 1950 Air Trails

Development Highlights, November 1950 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsIt's hard to imagine a time when contemporary news on aircraft development included the Convair B−36 Peacemaker bomber. The maiden flight was just 11 years before this piece appeared in a 1950 issue of Air Trails magazine. I have always wanted to build a control line model of a B−36, but like so many other some-day projects, it will probably never get done. A guy named Joe, who lives at the end of my street here in Erie, Pennsylvania, was a B−36 crewman during the Korean War era. Joe is in his 90s now, and drives a Ford Mustang. Vanderbilt University professor Franklin Farra has an interesting wall-wood flying wing sailplane that he plans to fly someday. Based on the fact that there are none like it on the circuit today, the concept probably never took off. It might make a interesting scale model ...

DIY Brushless Motor Thrust Test Stand

DIY Brushless Motor Thrust Test Stand - Airplanes and Rockets18-year-old Nikodem Bartnik, who lives in Poland, conceived of, designed, and built the amazing motor thrust measuring test stand using inexpensive Arduino components. A load cell is used for measuring thrust, and current and voltage sensors allow those values and power to be displayed. Mr. Bartnik provides all the files needed for the PCB, motor mount / load cell stand, parts lists, and software code needed to run everything. The entire project should be able to be built for under $100. Higher capacity load cells and current sensors can be purchased if you need more thrust capacity. I saw this in the "AMA Air" weekly newsletter ...

Old School Model Works Laser-Cut Kits

Old School Model Works Laser-Cut Kits - Airplanes and RocketsReady-to-Fly (RTF) and Almost-RTF (ARF) models are the overwhelming majority of models being flown these days, but an effort is being made by the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) and companies like Old School Model Works to attempt to get more modelers building their airplanes either once again or for the first time. Precision, interlocking, laser-cut sheet balsa and plywood parts and a minimum of carved balsa parts make building much simpler than with vintage kits. Having built many kits over the decades, including some of the newer kits, I can definitely attest to the higher quality of today's products. Some of the old designs have been re-engineered to make building easier. Covering, even with iron-ons like Monokote, is probably one of the biggest barriers to building models. One solution might be for companies to try providing slip-on sock-type coverings that can be tacked on with an iron and then heat-shrunk. Remember you read that here first ...

Hartzell Propellers to Drive All-Electric Commuter

Hartzell Propellers to Drive All-Electric Commuter - Airplanes and Rockets"Israeli composite airplane will be powered solely by electricity. Hartzell Propeller announced it has entered into a partnership with Eviation to produce customized propellers to drive the company's electric commuter, an 11-seat airplane called Alice, currently in the development phase. The airplane will be powered solely by electricity stored in high-energy density batteries with motors spinning three five-blade carbon fiber pusher propellers approximately 65 inches in diameter that include nickel cobalt leading edges. The props have no life limits and will be attached aft of the tail and wingtips, a configuration the company claims enhances efficiency. The technological advancements that go into Alice go beyond electric propulsion ..."

Must-See Stargazing Events for 2019

Telescopic Watch Infographic 2019 - RF CafeNot everyone is an ardent observer of astronomical events, but most people are still as awestruck as were primitive peoples when a lunar eclipse or solar eclipse occurs, or when a massive meteor shower happens. Centuries ago most of those phenomena were not predicted because the mathematics and mechanics of gravity were not known. The kings' best astronomers and astrologers leveraged ignorance to influence ruling policy similar to how politicians and activists do today. The folks at the Telescopic Watch website created this infographic titled "Must-See Stargazing Events for 2019" which highlights the 10 most significant astronomical events of the new year. First up is a total lunar eclipse on January 21st ...

German Dimor Acquires Waco Aircraft

German Dimor Acquires Waco Aircraft - Airplanes and Rockets"Vintage aircraft enthusiast Dieter Morszeck is ensuring the future manufacturing of the stunning 1920s Waco biplane. Waco Aircraft Yet another legacy airplane manufacturer has been sold - Waco Aircraft Corporation. This time, it wasn't a Chinese company that swooped up the assets of the company, which was established in Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1983 to revive the classic 1930s open cockpit biplane design. Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Dimor Group Inc. bought the company this month. Dimor Group Inc. was established this year as a subsidiary of Cologne, Germany-based Dimor Aero - a company that was established less than a year ago. Behind the company is Dieter Morszeck, the grandson of the founder or Rimowa ..."

USS Arizona Battleship 1/426th Scale Plastic Model

U.S.S. Arizona Battleship (Revell) - Airplanes and RocketsThis U.S.S. Arizona battleship model was built and painted by my son, Philip, who was 10 years old at the time. It is the stock 1/426th scale U.S.S. Arizona Revell kit. Spray cans of Testors enamel paint were used for the hull and deck, and the small Testors bottles of colors were used for the airplanes and detail work. His effort paid off with a 1st Place ribbon at the 2005 Dixie Classic Fair in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Philip was at one time an ardent World War II history enthusiast, being especially interested in the naval battles of the South Pacific ...

Me Build a Kite? Quit Ya Kiddin!

Me Build a Kite? Quit Ya Kiddin!, March 1957 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsLiving in Erie, Pennsylvania, there are a lot of days that are too windy for comfortably flying the gliders and 1/2A-sized models I build. If the weather forecast says the winds are in the double digits, I stay grounded. Sometime if it has been a couple weeks since winds and/or rain and/or snow has prevented flying, I'll brave a 12-15 mph wind just to get in some stick time, but the experience is not particularly enjoyable. It is good practice for maintaining control of your ship in the event of unexpected gusts, but certainly not the preferred environment. Contest flyers have to learn to be good in all weather, which is probably part of why I never competed. This article about building and flying kites in winds too high for flying models is a good idea. The designs presented by author William Paxton are more sophisticated than most people ...

Avionics Sales Growth an Encouraging Sign

Avionics Sales Growth an Encouraging Sign - Airplanes and Rockets"Worldwide avionics sales for business and general aviation aircraft in the first three quarters of the year were up a 'robust' 15.5% from the same period last year and totaled more than $2B, said the Aircraft Electronics Association. Retrofit and forward-fit markets each registered double-digit sales increases compared to the first nine months of 2017, AEA said upon releasing its third-quarter 2018 Avionics Market Report. The two avionics market segments registered respective 14.7% and 16.6% sales growth. The retrofit market refers to avionics equipment installed after original production, and the forward ..."

X–59 Quiet Supersonic Technology Aircraft

X–59 Quiet Supersonic Technology Aircraft - Airplanes and Rockets"The first part for the $247.5M X–59 Quiet Supersonic Technology aircraft was machined in Palmdale, California, Lockheed Martin announced November 16, a company official calling it a 'great leap forward for the X–59 and the future of quiet supersonic commercial travel' in a news release. This part, and many others to follow, will become a sleek, single-seat jet that NASA aims to fly in 2021. The aeronautics and space agency announced Nov. 19 that it has fully committed to the program and three-year timeline to first flight following a key program review. That will make the QueSST NASA's first new, supersonic X–plane in more than three decades ..."


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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
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