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

Pilot's Death Defying Photoshop Skills Shocking the Internet

Pilot's Death Defying Photoshop Skills Shocking the Internet - RF CafeThis is great! "This Brazilian pilot is in big trouble for taking selfies thousands of feet up, even though the photos are fake. Pilotganso is a well-known Instagrammer with 72K followers; he's gained a rabid following thanks to the incredible selfies on his page showing the aviator hanging out the cockpit of a Boeing 737 thousands of feet above the earth. His shots have many scratching their heads as to whether they are in fact real. No, they're not. The Instagrammer, real name Daniel Centeno achieves these aerial shots using ..."

Prevent Slipping of Plastic Clamps with Simple Modification

Prevent Slipping of Plastic Clamps with Simple Modification - Airplanes and RocketsThose inexpensive spring-loaded plastic clamps are ubiquitous on model builders' and woodworkers' workbenches across the world. With swiveling jaws that accommodate almost any pair of surfaces needing to be held together while sanding, measuring, painting, cutting, or many other tasks, these things are one of the best deals in the tools universe. They are so great that I feel bad even criticizing them in any way, but I shall. Aside from the occasional snapping of the plastic handles ...

The Pittman Letters Project

The Pittman Letters Project - Airplanes and Rockets1st Lt. Walt "Pitt" Pittman was the father of our neighbor, Barbara. He flew a P-51 Mustang as a fighter pilot in WWII and Korea. "Pitt" wrote more than 350 letters and sent many photos to his wife (Barbara's mother) prior to being shot down in 1951. It wasn't until 2012 that she finally decided to create "The Letters Project" to document the life story of her father. Historians interested in the Korean War (a conflict, technically, not a declared war) will find the content useful. Says Barbara, "If you are wondering why I am doing this project now or why I waited so long, I don't think I have the answer ..."

Cal Smith's Pee Wee "Bomb"

Pee-Wee "Bomb" Article & Plans, December 1957 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsAirplanes and Rockets website visitor Ken E. wrote asking that I scan and post the article and plans for Cal Smith's Pee Wee "Bomb." Says, Ken, "I built one back in the 60's and would like to try another (feeling nostalgic)." Having recently re-acquired a few Cox .049 engines for some A control line models, I can definitely attest to the nostalgic feeling you get when hearing those babies (get it? Babe Bees) scream. The Pee Wee "Bomb" is all sheet balsa construction with ribs under the wing to form an airfoil. Wingspan is around 22 inches ...

Herr Engineering Piper J-3 in U.S. Navy NE-1 Colors

Herr Engineering Piper J-3 / NE-1 - Airplanes and RocketsI decided it might be nice to build a simple 2-channel R/C airplane with an .049 up front, like back in the early 1970s with my Carl Goldberg ½A Skylane. After researching what few options are available in the way of scale ½A kits, I settled on the Herr Engineering ½A J-3 Cub. Herr also has one for electric power, but I wanted something with more robust construction. Construction ensued and progressed with no issues. All the parts fit well and the wood quality was very good. A few photos are included below. I prefer using rubber bands to hold on wings, so I replaced the nylon bolt setup with a couple 3/6" hardwood dowels. To make things easier ...

Ceramic Coating Could Have Hypersonic Applications

Ceramic Coating Could Have Hypersonic Applications - Airplanes and Rockets"Hypersonic flight - defined as Mach five or above - would see aircraft subjected to external temperatures between 2,000 and 3,000°C, leading to structural challenges caused by oxidation and ablation. Amongst other materials, current spacecraft and missiles rely on ultra-high temperature ceramics (UHTCs) to combat high temperatures. However, according to Manchester University, conventional UHTCs can't currently satisfy the associated ablation requirements of hypersonic flight. 'At present one of the biggest challenges is how ..."

World's Smallest Mass-Produced Glow Plug Engine Unveiled by Cox

World's Smallest Mass-Produced Glow Plug Engine Unveiled by Cox, May 1961 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsMy Cox Pee Wee .010 engine sits on a shelf above my computer monitor, along with a small collection of other vintage aeromodelling paraphernalia. They serve as a reminder of the good times as a kid building and flying (and crashing and rebuilding) back in the 1960s and 1970s. I don't recall what airplane I had it on - maybe a homebrew free flight job. Unlike .049 Babe Bees and Golden Bees which I had a few of, I only ever had one of the .010s. They were more of a curiosity than a 'thing.' In this article, the author's suggestion that indoor control line might be a possibility was wishful thinking since even if the building proprietors were willing to suffer the ear-splitting noise, they would ...

Model Rocketry's New Look

Model Rocketry's New Look, May 1961 American Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets1961 was really only in the dawn of the Space Age, with the first successful communications satellites having been launched just a few years earlier in 1957. The first suborbital rocket launch occurred in 1944 when the Germans sent a V-2 rocket above the Kármán line (100 km, 62 mi) which separates Earth's atmosphere from outer space. Technology was moving pretty quickly in the aerospace realm, both with airplanes and with rockets. Model rockets were a big thing for boys (and a few girls) of the era, and similar advances in materials and methods were being reported in the pages of American Modeler and other magazines ...

Couple Build World War I Fighter

Couple Build World War I Fighter - Airplanes and Rockets"Retired USAF Colonels Blake and Sandy Thomas met at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. On their first date Blake took Sandy on a ride in a 1944 BT-13, a two-seat military trainer with a radial engine. 'It was love at first flight,' Sandy said. In December 2017, they will celebrate their 23rd anniversary. Their shared love of aviation led to flying offspring. Their first-born homebuilt was an RV-7, their third, a Sopwith Schneider. This is the story of their middle offspring, a replica World War I fighter, the 1917 Nieuport-28. The Plane Named 'Sandy,' the the Nieuport-28 ..."

Designing RC Helicopters

Designing RC Helicopters, March 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsJohn Burkam was one of the few true pioneers in free flight and particularly R/C model helicopters. His experiments date back into the 1940s. His rubber-powered Penni Helicopter appeared in the January 1970 issue of American Aircraft Modeler. John was an engineer with the Boeing Company. His attention to detail and lack of fear in tackling design issue with numbers, graphs, and formulas is apparent in his work, although any type of design in previously unexplored or little explored areas of technology requires some degree of seat-of-the-pants guestimates. Both philosophies are present in this article. The "Super Susie" is powered by a Cox .049 Tee Dee engine ...

Notes from the Workbench - February 1942 Flying Aces

Notes from the Workbench, February 1942 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsContest-minded aeromodelers, or for that matter competitive types of all disciplines, are most often the people who advance the state of the art in any field. Never content with good enough, they continually strive to come up with new and better ways of doing things. That's not to say everyday sportsmen don't innovate; they just don't usually do it with the vim and vigor of competitors. Although I cannot know for sure, I suspect that the tip offered here for a suggested way to carve rubber power free flight propellers to maximize thrust under a continually changing amount of torque from the twisted motor is the result ...

Drone Operator Safety Act Introduced in U.S. House

Drone Operator Safety Act Introduced in U.S. House - RF Cafe"Bill's Authors Say Goal is to Protect Air Traffic from Collisions with Unmanned Aircraft. U.S. Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) have introduced the Drone Operator Safety Act in the U.S. House of representatives, a bill to they say is intended to help protect American air traffic from the 'misuse' of drones. According to a news release on Congressman Langevin's website, the bill would make it a criminal offense to fly ..."

Stop-Rotor Rotary Wing Aircraft

Stop-Rotor Rotary Wing Aircraft - Airplanes and Rockets"The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has developed a patented system and method of transitioning an aircraft between helicopter and fixed wing flight modes. The stop rotor aircraft is capable of both a helicopter mode vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and efficient high speed fixed wing flight by flipping the left wing/rotor blade 180 degrees between flight modes. Conversion between flight modes will take about 1-2 seconds and simulations indicate altitude deviations of less than 50 feet ..."

Robert Sifleet, My Life as a Championship Modeler

Robert Sifleet, My Life as a Championship Modeler, June 1961 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsThis autobiography by Maximus designer Robert Sifleet from the June 1961 issue of American Modeler is half of a pair of articles that also covers building and flight details of the Maximus. Robert won the 1960-1961, U.S.A. Championship. As with most champions, he began at an early age and progressed with dogged determination into early adulthood. Even in these days of ready-to-fly models that have been thoroughly engineered for successful flight, free flighters - and with a couple exceptions control liners - are still building, trimming, and flying their models themselves ...

The Great North American Solar Eclipse of 2017 - It's Here!

the Great North American Solar Eclipse of 2017, Kirt's Cogitation #291 - RF CafeIt's finally here - the Great North American Solar Eclipse of 2017! The amateur astronomy community has been anticipating and preparing for the event for a couple years. Astronomy magazine dedicated the entire August issue to providing detailed information on viewing suggestions along the entire path. Traffic from the Pacific Coast of Oregon to the Atlantic Coast of South Carolina will probably be a challenge as people vie for positions as close to the centerline as possible. Those who manage optimal locations will see about 2 minutes and 40 seconds of total darkness. Others within the 68-mile-wide path of totality will see from a fraction of a second up to the full extent. According to a calculator on the Vox website, we will only see a 76.2% eclipse, which will barely darken our skies ...

DARPA Drones Fly w/o Human or GPS Help

DARPA Drones Fly w/o Human or GPS Help - Airplanes and Rockets"Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will soon navigate without using GPS or human assistance as demonstrated by several successful test runs last month as part of the Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program. DARPA recently announced the breakthrough, after four days of testing in central Florida. The test runs marked progress toward development of small, quadcopter drones that are able to fly through obstacle-ridden environments ..."

National Model Aviation Day - August 12, 2017

National Model Aviation Day 2017 - Airplanes and Rockets"Join the Academy of Model Aeronautics Foundation in celebrating model aviation for the fifth annual National Model Aviation Day, August 12, 2017. National Model Aviation Day was created to encourage clubs to celebrate the hobby and share it with the public. Our chartered clubs have also been asked to conduct a fundraiser to provide assistance to a worthy cause. For this year all clubs have been asked to support the AMA Foundation. The AMA is devoted to inspiring the young and young-at-heart to pursue a hobby that will inspire creativity and advanced learning through the use of hands-on applications. The purposes ..."

Maximus Free Flight - 1/2A, A, B, FAI

Maximus Free Flight - 1/2A, A, B, FAI, June 1961 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsHere are three models in one with separate plans provided for each of ½A, FAI (Class A), and Class B versions of Robert Sifleet's contest winning Maximus free flight bird. This piece from the June 1961 issue of American Modeler is half of a pair of articles, one of which covers the model build and flight details, and the other that provides a brief autobiography on Maximus designer Robert Sifleet

Aerospace Headline News

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archives -

NASA and Industry Take Next Step Toward X-Plane

Senator Wicker Will Help Write Next Chapter of Drone Technology

UK Government's Drone Collision Report Criticised

The Only Jet Fighter Ever to Shoot Down a Satellite

UK to Bring in Drone Registration (U.S. just eliminated registration)

Two Mustangs Have Issues at Duxford Air Show

General Aviation Unites Against ATC Privatization

Drone Rules That Never Became Law

So Much for Those New Drone Registration Rules

MIT Develops Gas-Powered UAV That Can Stay Aloft for 5 Days

MIT Develops Gas-Powered UAV That Can Stay Aloft for 5 Days - Airplanes and Rockets"MIT engineers have developed and built an unpiloted aerial vehicle, or UAV, that is expected to provide temporary telecomms service to areas affected by disasters and calamities. The UAV technology is considered inexpensive and is capable of flying and providing service for several days. This is not the first time UAV technology has been exploited for this purpose. Google has also developed and tested a system that provides temporary telecomms coverage ..."

Is a Winged Volvo in Our Future?

Is a Winged Volvo in Our Future? - Airplanes and Rockets"Geely, the parent company of Volvo, announced that it has acquired the flying car company Terrafugia. The Terrafugia flying car, created a decade ago by a handful of MIT grads, just made another huge leap toward becoming an actual product thanks to its new owner. The South China News reported that Geely, the company that also owns Volvo, agreed to acquire Terrafugia. Reports indicate Geely was particularly interested in the Terrafugia’s FAA approval last year allowing the transforming car to be certified as a light sport ..."

Eviation All-Electric Aircraft Goes 965 km on a Single Charge

Eviation Debuts All-Electric Aircraft That Can Go 965 km on a Single Charge - Airplanes and Rockets"The future is electric, and we are one step closer after Eviation Aircraft released the first prototype of an all-electric airplane. The futuristic machine has a range of 965 kilometers and the capacity to carry nine passengers and two crew members. The plane was released at the 52nd International Paris Airshow. The non-emission aircraft is a huge leap forward in electrical aircraft. Currently, aviation is responsible for 2% of the world's total carbon ..."

Ryan Seaplane Solid Scale, February 1942 Flying Aces

Ryan Seaplane Solid Scale, February 1942 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsCarving a solid scale model airplane, ship, train, or automobile from a block of balsa or pine was a favorite pastime of many people up until maybe the latter part of the last century. For some it was the preferred means of crafting a replica of their favorite subject, and for others it a second-best option if building and flying, sailing, etc., a working model was not possible. Lack of funds, time, skill, or any combination thereof could have been the cause. Little known to the solid scale modelers just prior to the publication date of this issue of Flying Aces was that their collective skills would be ...

Sketchbook, January 1961 American Modeler Magazine

Sketchbook, January 1961 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsHere are another seven hand-dandy tricks of the aeromodelling trade. As with many of the tips and kinks offered by readers of the era, some - if not most - involve materials and/or methods that have long been replaced by more modern means. Still, you might find something useful in the extensive collection from vintage American Modeler and Air Trails magazines ...

Long-Duration UAVs for Emergency Communications During Disasters

Long-Duration UAVs for Emergency Communications During Disasters - RF Cafe"Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have designed a drone capable of staying aloft for five days at a time. This technology could prove a huge boon in the communications sector, particularly in regards to disaster situations. Unpiloted aerial vehicles (UAVs) have long held the potential to be a valuable asset in the face of disasters. When communications fail over a wide area, these UAVs can be used to travel into affected ..."

FAA Offers to Refund Drone Fee & Delete Registration Info

FAA Offers to Refund Drone Fee & Delete Registration Info - Airplanes and RocketsThanks to the Academy of Model Aeronautics for this! "The FAA is providing the following updated information regarding the Small UAS Registration and Marking interim final rule as a result of a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit regarding the small UAS registration program. The court's decision invalidated the registration requirement as it applies to certain model aircraft that ..."

1967 AMA Nats on ABC Wide World of Sports

1967 Nats on TV, September 1967 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsIn the 1960s, model aviation was still a fairly enticing hobby to boys captivated by the sights, sounds, and smells of airplanes, helicopters, and rockets. Indeed, that was the era that began my lifelong engagement in model building and flying. The U.S. Navy sponsored the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) National Competition (Nats) for many years in hopes of providing a segue into naval aviation through aeromodelling. Somehow, local television stations and newspapers never bothered to give the sport much air time or print space, respectively. A quick search ...

Surefly Fuses Helicopter with Drone into Carbon-Fiber Craft

Surefly Fuses Helicopter with Drone into Carbon-Fiber Craft - Airplanes and Rockets"Workhorse - the US-based transport company working with UPS to make drone delivery a reality - has upscaled its airborne technology with the 'Surefly' personal helicopter. 78 years since the first 'copter took to the sky, workhorse has set out to reinvent the VTOL craft using its expertise in battery-powered electric mobility. the drone-helicopter hybrid is designed to be easy to operate ..."

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About Airplanes & Rockets

Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and Rockets
Kirt Blattenberger
Carpe Diem!
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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. There is a lot of good information and there are lot of pictures throughout the website that you will probably find useful, and might even bring back some old memories from your own days of yore. The website began life around 1996 as an EarthLink screen name of ModelAirplanes, and quickly grew to where more server space ...

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