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 ...
"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 ..."
This 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 ...
"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
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 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 ..."
It 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 ...
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 ..."
"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 ..."
Even with the many decades of attempts to
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 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 ..."
"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 ..."
January'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
I 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
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 ..."
If 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 ...
My 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 ...
"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 ..."
"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 ..."
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