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

Aerospace Headline News

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archives -

• NASA Taps Companies to Advance Human Lunar Landers

• Has Apollo 10 Lunar Module Been Found?

• Go See an Airshow This Summer

Aviation and Flying Careers

• uAvionix Intros Line of Certified Avionics for Drones

• DHS Warns of Chinese-Made Drones Could Be Stealing Data

Want to Fly a B-25?

AMA Drone Report 04/25/19

• The Surprising Missions of the Civil Air Patrol

Navy Orders Small UAVs with Persistent Surveillance Sensor

Navy Orders Small UAVs with Persistent Surveillance Sensor - Airplanes and Rockets"Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designers at Insitu Inc. in Bingen, WA, will build 34 ScanEagle small UAVs for the governments of Malaysia; Indonesia; the Philippines; and Vietnam under terms of a $47.9 million U.S. Navy order in late June. Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, MD, are asking Insitu to provide 12 ScanEagle UAVs for Malaysia; eight for Indonesia; eight for the Philippines; and six for Vietnam. Insitu also will provide spare sensor payloads, spare and repair parts, support equipment, tools, training, technical services, and field service. Insitu is a subsidiary of the Boeing Co ..."

Guillows No. D4 Menasco Trainer Kit

Guillows No. D4 Menasco Trainer Kit - Airplanes and RocketsThe No. D4 Menasco Trainer kit was manufactured by the Paul K. Guillow Company beginning in the late 1930s. The date on the plans is 1939. It was given to me by Mr. Steven Krick from part of his very large collection of vintage model airplane kits. It might be one of the earliest surviving Guillow kits. The Menasco Trainer has a diminutive wingspan of just 7-9/16 inches. No box accompanied the kit parts. The only balsa provided was square strips die cut from 0.050" (3/64") sheet, and a block for the nose. The hardwood thrust button arrived broken into four pieces, so I carefully glued it back together. The remaining parts including wing ribs, curved tip pieces, fuselage formers (0.032" material), and even the propeller blades (0.012" material) are printed on stiff card stock ...

Apollo 11 Factoids: The Moon Has a Smell & What If the LM Return Had Failed?

The Moon Has a Smell - RF CafeOne of the most interesting things I remember about what we learned from the Apollo program is that the moon has a smell. Upon removing their helmets after the moon walk, Neil Armstrong remarked, 'We were aware of a new scent in the air of the cabin that clearly came from all the lunar material that had accumulated on and in our clothes.' Buzz Aldrin described it as 'the smell in the air after a firecracker has gone off.'

Apollo Program Abort Planning - RF CafeDid you ever wonder what would have transpired if the lunar module (LM) rockets had failed to fire for a return to the orbiting Command Module (CM)? Read "In the Event of Moon Disaster" that was prepared for President Nixon to broadcast to the world if the unthinkable happened. Of course NASA had all potential scenarios covered in their Abort Planning document, complimented by extensive scenario training. Some fools wanted to shut off communications with the LM to prevent a record of Armstrong and Aldrin panicking which, of course, would never have happen with the two seasoned professional military aviators.

Solo Racing Drones Have Need for AI Speed Training

Solo Racing Drones Have Need for AI Speed Training - Airplanes and Rockets"Drone racing's ultimate vision of quadcopters weaving nimbly through obstacle courses has attracted far less excitement and investment than self-driving cars aimed at reshaping ground transportation. But the U.S. military and defense industry are betting on autonomous drone racing as the next frontier for developing AI so that it can handle high-speed navigation within tight spaces without human intervention. The autonomous drone challenge requires split-second decision-making with six degrees of freedom instead of a car’s mere two degrees of road freedom. One research team developing the AI necessary for controlling autonomous racing drones is the Robotics and Perception Group at the University ..."

How NASA Recruited Snoopy and Drafted Barbie

How NASA Recruited Snoopy and Drafted Barbie (and GI Joe) - Airplanes and RocketsThe title of this IEEE article is misleading in that NASA did not "draft" Barbie - only Snoopy (and Charlie Brown, BTW). "Snoopy" was the official name of the Apollo 10 lunar module (LM) and "Charlie Brown" was the name of the moon-orbiting command module (CM). There was a Gemini astronaut GI Joe at the time, too. Actually, it was the Apollo 10 astronauts who Snoopy Astronaut Comic Strip c1969 - Airplanes and Rocketschose the Peanuts characters as mascots because of the popularity of the comic strip and Charles Schulz's giving Snoopy the alter ego of an astronaut (and, of course, a WWI flying ace). Here is the Kennedy Space Center account of the history of NASA's adoption of Snoopy. This Saturday, July 20th, marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

8 Technologies We Owe to the Apollo Program

8 Technologies We Owe to the Apollo Program - RF CafeA part of Design News' "Space Week 2019" feature is this "8 Technologies We Owe to the Apollo Space Program." Not mentioned in the list of NASA innovations are freeze-dried food, space blankets (those foil-looking things), miniaturized quartz crystal timekeeping, joystick controllers, and smoke detectors. NASA popularized but did not invent Velcro, Tang, or Teflon. Says the author, "The innovations of the Apollo program didn't stop at the Moon. Many technologies were created, or innovated into what they are today, thanks to the space program."

Neil Armstrong - Aircraft Modeler at Purdue

Neil Armstrong Purdue Aeromodelers - RF Cafe"One Small Step with Model Aviation," produced by the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), is a memorial to the launch of Apollo 11 on this day, July 16, 1969. This short video features of Neil Armstrong's early life as an avid aeromodeler before and during his time as an aeronautical engineering student at Purdue University. He is shown here in the dormitory holding a slide rule outfitted with wings, which was the Purdue Aeromodelers' club logo. It can be seen printed on their T-shirts. Neil was an AMA member (as I have been since the early 1970s, AMA#92498). The video includes narration of some of his friends from the era. Here is my Estes Saturn V rocket model in the Apollo 11 configuration ...

Apparition in the July Model Aviation "Viewfinder" Photo

Apparition in the July Model Aviation "Viewfinder" Photo - Airplanes and RocketsWhile reading the July 2019 issue of the AMA's Model Aviation magazine, I did a double take when looking at the photograph in the "Viewfinder" feature on page 147. There appears to be a ghostly human apparition in the sun glare behind the father-daughter flying team. Click on the above thumbnail and see if you know what's going on. The truth is out there ;-)



Future Drone Power Could Be Hydraulic

Future Drone Power Could Be Hydraulic - Airplanes and Rockets"'Everyone is facing the same problem with weight in creating these types of vehicles,' said Lizhi Shang, a postdoctoral research assistant who works on the technology with Andrea Vacca, a professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue. 'Drones require heavy batteries or lots of electrical components, which leaves little room for the actual payload.' Shang said many current systems also are expensive, unstable, unreliable and not environmentally friendly. Shang and the research team at Purdue University came up with a method to use fluid power technology for VTOL AAV. The Purdue team members said their technology is an inexpensive, recyclable hydraulic propulsion ..."

Signed, Comet F−86D Sabre Jet Kit

Signed, Comet F-86D Sabre Jet Kit - Airplanes and RocketsThis is not just another vintage Comet Model Hobbycraft, Inc., F−86D Sabre Jet from 1952. What makes this kit unique is that it has the signature of well-known (at the time) Comet draftsman Gerald J. Blumenthal on the box cover. John Zawiski was the designer. The f-86D Saber has a wingspan of 13-1/4" and a length of 15-1/16". The model was meant to be flown either as a free flight glider or attached to a tether line where the pilot drags it around in a circle. A few of these have sold recently on eBay for around $20-$30, so they can still be found. This particular kit, provided by Mr. Steven Krick, is going to be offered as a donation to the AMA's National Model Aviation Museum in Muncie, Indiana, because of the signature ...

Flying-V Plane Marks Spectacular New Look in Air Travel

Flying-V Plane Marks Spectacular New Look in Air Travel - Airplanes and Rockets"Seating airline passengers in the wings? Think about it. A V-shaped plane designed to carry passengers, cargo, and fuel tanks in its wings is being seeded as a good idea for the future. Bloomberg said it plain and simple: Planes may receive a drastic facelift. What drives the appetite to play with new designs: a practical interest in reducing carbon emissions and improving efficiencies. It is no secret that climate change researchers recognize the role that airplanes play in emissions. Architectural Digest reported that the Rhodium Group released a study showing U.S. carbon dioxide emissions surged in 2018 by 3.4 percent ..."

3,000 MPH Plane Will Fly New York to London in 90 Minutes

3,000 MPH Plane Will Fly New York to London in 90 Minutes. - Airplanes and Rockets"Plans have been unveiled for a 3,000mph plane that will fly passengers from New York to London in just 90 minutes. Aerospace firm Hermeus has won funding to develop supersonic commercial planes that will fly more than five times the speed of sound within 10 years. Hermeus has funding to develop a supersonic plane that will fly passengers from New York to London in just 90 minutes The company was set up by alumni from Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos-backed aerospace company Blue Origin - which is planning to fly passengers to the moon. Hermeus says its planes would travel at speeds of more than 3,000mph with a range of 4,600 miles ..."

Restored Mission Control Comes Alive 50 Years After Apollo

Restored Mission Control Comes Alive 50 Years After Apollo - Airplanes and Rockets"Gone is the haze of cigarette, cigar and pipe smoke. Gone are the coffee, soda and pizza stains. With only a few exceptions, NASA's Apollo-era Mission Control has been restored to the way it looked 50 years ago when two men landed on the moon. It gets the stamp of approval from retired flight director Gene Kranz, a man for whom failure - or even a minor oversight - is never an option. Seated at the console where he ruled over Apollo 11, Apollo 13 and so many other astronaut missions, Kranz pointed out that a phone was missing behind him. And he said the air vents used to be black from all the smoke, not sparkly clean like they are now. Those couple of details aside, Kranz could close, then open his eyes, and transport himself back ..."

Landing System Made to Enter Spoofing Zone

Landing System Made to Enter Spoofing Zone - Airplanes and Rockets"Just what the airplane passenger who is always skittish does not want to hear: Radio navigation on planes for landing purposes is not secure; signals can be hacked. In a video demonstration of the attack by researchers, 'Wireless Attacks on Aircraft Landing Systems,' spoofing starts automatically as soon the aircraft enters 'the spoofing zone. The attacker signal is in real-time generated accounting for the maneuvers of the aircraft.' What does the spoof actually do, to trick the pilot? Dan Goodin in Ars Technica said the researchers can spoof airport signals in a way that causes a pilot's navigation instruments to falsely indicate ..."

Parris-Dunn "Little Bobby" Helicopter Kite Kit

Parris-Dunn "Little Bobby" Helicopter Kit - Airplanes and RocketsThis Parris-Dunn "Little Bobby" Helicopter Kite kit may well be the only one left in existence. Many thanks to Mr. Steven Krick for providing the kit to me for documenting. I will contact the AMA's National Model Aviation Museum in Muncie, Indiana, to find out if they want it for their collection of model aviation historical items. A fairly extensive search on the WWW turned up exactly zero other examples of this kit, or any mention of it for that matter. Parris-Dunn was primarily a wind-powered electricity generator company located in Clarinda, Iowa, formed in the 1930s. In the days before commercial electric power was delivered to rural areas, farms and homes were run on DC power provided by banks of lead-acid storage batteries, so the generators were very popular as a means of recharging them. Many early radio sets ...

Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional

Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional - Airplanes and RocketsFor a limited time (get it - time?), you can buy a 50th Anniversary gold Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional watch for a mere $9,650. "The OMEGA Speedmaster Professional Chronograph has a unique place in the history of space exploration as the only piece of equipment used in all of NASA's piloted space missions from Gemini to the current International Space Station program. When Buzz Aldrin stepped on the lunar surface in 1969, he was wearing a Speedmaster Professional, the chronograph that has been known as the Moonwatch ever since. Today, the timepiece is driven by virtually the same hand-wound movement trusted by NASA's astronauts on the Moon." Less expensive options are available for about half the cost. Beware of knock-offs being sold. Buy directly from Speedmaster.

Jetco Superflite "Jet 50" Jetex-Powered FF Kit

Jetco Superflite "Jet 50" Jetex-Powered Free Flight ModelThis "Jet 50" kit was part of Jetco's Superflite series. It was designed to be powered by the venerable Jetex 50 rocket motor. It is one of the models I had as a kid in Mayo, Maryland, back in the late 1960s. It was a lot like building and flying the Estes Falcon rocket-powered glider. The big difference was that the "Jet 50" flew at a leisurely pace as the Jetex 50 motor burned for about 20-30 seconds with a gentle "hiss," whereas the Falcon blasted off with more of a "ssst" sound for about half a second whilst the craft ascended to a couple hundred feet high. Each had its advantages. The "Jet 50" could be trimmed to fly in a tight circle in the back yard of our half-acre lot ...

Dornier Do 335 V-4 Scale Model

Dornier Do 335 V-4 Scale Model (Steven Krick) - Airplanes and RocketsSteven Krick, builder of the previously featured Dornier Do−335 A−6 plastic scale model, has a thing for the Dornier Do−335 in many of its variants. This version is the Dornier Do−335 V−4. The level of detail is amazing, even including simulated weathering effects. Here is the text Steve included along with his photos: "This build represents the Do 335 V−4, the grosse Flach, or extended wing, long range reconnaissance version. The Werk Nr is 230004, and the Stammkennzeichen is CP + UD. The first flight was on July 9, 1944, and there are no photos of the aircraft in any of my five reference books. Several authors speculate that the reason for this is the fact that this aircraft flew very in the later part of 1944, and no photos have survived (most of the other Do 335's flew in late 1943, early 1944) ..."

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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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