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

Aerospace Headline News

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archives -

• The Solution to Growing General Aviation

• Purdue Alums Create Radio Communications Simulator

• UK Airports Embrace Anti-Drone Tech

• India Approves $1.4B for 1st Manned Spaceflight in 2022

• UK Police Arrest Man and Woman over Gatwick Drone Disruption

• Civil Air Patrol Taps Federal Funds for Training

• >50,000 Drone Applications for Flying in Controlled Airspace

• Aviation Writer Jack Elliott Passes On

• 'Cool' Aviation Careers in Spotlight

• Night Airshow Accident Takes Life of Redline Airshows' Jon Thocker

Vintage Eldon Simpsons-Sears Chicane-Eight Slot Car Set

Vintage Eldon Simpsons-Sears Chicane-Eight Slot Car Set - Airplanes and RocketsWhen I was a wee lad back in the 1960s, my parents gave me a small electric slot car race track set for Christmas. I remember that it had Sears' name on it, but couldn't recall the exact set. When this Simpsons-Sears Chicane-Eight 1/32 Scale Road Race Set (manufactured by Eldon) appeared on eBay, I figured it might be the one, so I bought it. As it turns out, this set was sold by the Canadian branch of Sears Roebuck that partnered with Simpsons department stores. Since I lived in Maryland, this could not have been the slot car set I owned. This has got to be one of the best-preserved Eldon Simpsons-Sears Chicane-Eight 1/32 Scale Road Race Sets in existence today. It works perfectly, as the video below shows ...

Commemorative Coin Throws a Curve at Apollo

Commemorative Coin Throws a Curve at Apollo - Airplanes and RocketsThe U.S. Mint marks the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. Four different versions of the Apollo coins are offered; sales will raise money for the National Air and Space Museum's "Destination Moon" exhibit and for the Astronauts Memorial Foundation and the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. "Buzz Aldrin should have been holding the camera. He and Neil Armstrong had been outside the spacecraft for almost an hour and a half, working through their checklists, and one of Aldrin's chores was to photograph the area where Armstrong had just finished scooping up soil and rocks to bring home. But perhaps because Armstrong was the one who had gathered the samples ..."

Steven's Newest Ace R/C Whizard Uses a TD .049

Steven Swimaner's Newest Ace Whizard Uses a TD .049 - Airplanes and RocketsWhilst waiting for the Canadian snow to subside, Steven built a second Ace Whizard, this time with a cox TeeDee .049 engine and a separate 2 0z. fuel tank. That should extend the flight time from 2-3 minutes with the Black Widow .049 to 8-10 minutes. The TeeDee should provide a little more power as well. The Whizard began appear in Ace R/C advertisements around 1974. See Steven's building article that has lots of good photos ...

Alain's Duck" Turbine Powered R/C Canard

Turbine R/C Canard Model Airplane by Alain Pons (Alain's Duck") - Airplanes and RocketsNot being content to have built a giant size version of his "Alain's Duck," he just sent me these photos of the turbine jet-powered version of a variant of the original canard. What's next - a full-size homebuilt airplane with Alain at the controls? Alain promises a video of the first flight soon. Warm weather's on the way, so hopefully we won't have to wait very long ...

View-Master: Snoopy and the Red Baron 3-Reel Set

View-Master: Snoopy and the Red Baron 3-Reel Set B544 - Airplanes and RocketsIn my continuing effort to help make certain that the history of Charles Schulz's Peanuts comic series is preserved, this set of View-Master slides has been scanned and/or photographed as required. If you want to own this "Snoopy and the Red Baron" set, there are probably copies available on eBay, which is where I bought this set. It is in like-new condition. Charles Schulz drew all of the daily comic strips himself, but he did license other artists to draw his characters for some commercial products, and these appear to be so. In fact, of all the Peanuts comics I have seen - and I have probably seen most of them - this accompanying booklet contains the only non-Peanuts type character I can remember seeing. Picture 19 on the last page shows a nonschultzian [sic] French woman bidding farewell to Snoopy ...

How Spread Spectrum Radio Control Systems Came to Be

How Digital Spread Spectrum Radio Control Systems Came to Be - Airplanes and RocketsThe March 2019 issue of the Academy of Model Aeronautics' Model Aviation magazine contains a letter from Dave Jones, of the AUAV website. Mr. Jones informs us that, contrary to popular belief, he was the designer, builder, and tester of the first frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) radio control system (R/C) operating in the 2.4 GHz ISM band. He developed his system for the DoD back in the 1990s, many years before Spektrum R/C marketed its first commercial spread spectrum system in the early 2000s (see my Spektrum DX6 teardown). Prior to 2.4 GHz systems (now a combo of FHSS and DSSS), FM and to a lesser extent AM digital proportional R/C systems were primarily on the 72 (air, 50 channels) / 75 (surface, 30 channels) MHz band (a few on 50/53 MHz for licensed Hams). RF interference and unintentional "stepping on" frequencies in use often resulted in costly aircraft crashes. The 72 Hz systems were vulnerable to metal-to-metal noise (a problem in helicopters) whereas the 2.4 GHz systems are immune. Dave Jones made a Monkee of that issue and sent it to the bottom of the sea, figuratively speaking. And now you know... the rest of the story.

Israel's Beresheet Lunar Lander Blasts Off for the Moon

Israel's Beresheet Lunar Lander Blasts Off for the Moon - Airplanes and Rockets"On Thursday evening, SpaceX launched its first rocket of the year from Cape Canaveral, and tucked inside was the first lunar lander built with mostly private money. The robotic lander, dubbed Beresheet (which means “Genesis” or 'in the beginning' in Hebrew) lifted off at 8:45 pm EST on top of a Falcon 9 rocket. If all goes according to plan, Beresheet will gently touch down on the lunar surface on April 11, becoming the first private spacecraft to reach the surface of another planetary body. To date, only three nations have landed on the moon: the United States, Russia and China. If this mission succeeds, Israel will become the fourth - and by far the smallest - country to reach the lunar surface ..."

Drone Delivery Canada Unveils Its Largest And Longest-Range Cargo Delivery Drone

Drone Delivery Canada Unveils Its Largest And Longest-Range Cargo Delivery Drone - Airplanes and Rockets"The Condor has been in development for the past year and is the next generation in DDC's drone delivery cargo aircraft. With a payload capacity of 400 pounds, and a potential travel distance of up to 108 nautical miles, the Condor pushes the limits in both cargo capacity and distances. The Condor is powered by a next generation gas propulsion engine. The Condor measures 22 feet long, 5.1 feet wide and seven feet tall. It has a wing span of approximately 20 feet and is capable of vertical take off and landing. It is equipped with DDC's proprietary FLYTE management system which is the same platform used in all of DDC's cargo delivery drones ..."

View-Master: America's Man in Space 3-Reel Set

View-Master: America's Man in Space 3-Reel Set - Airplanes and Rockets

New: All 21 pictures now posted. As a kid in the 1960's, following America's progress in the Space Race was a big part of my life. I built and launched as many Estes rockets as my meager newspaper route-funded budget allowed. When John Glenn made his historic Earth-orbiting flight in the Mercury Freedom 7 space capsule on February 20, 1962, I was a mere 3 years old, but my parent say I was an ardent aerospace fan beginning at a very young age. Most American households probably had at least one View-Master stereo slide viewer, and ours was amongst them. I loved the 3D Peanuts slide sets, and especially any with an airplane or space exploration theme. My originals are long gone, but fortunately I was able to buy this near-perfect set titled, "America's Man in Space," on eBay ...

GeeBee Air Racing with the World's Fastest Pony Kegs

GeeBee Air Racing with the World's Fastest Pony Kegs - Airplanes and Rockets"Today it's impossible to think of the golden age of air racing without an R-1 or R-2 Gee Bee roaring across the mind's eye. To the aviation public, the Gee Bees air racing - and vice versa. And that's only right. When Granville engineer, Pete Miller, drafted the first lines for the 'R' series of Super Sportsters, there was no way he could have known that he was designing a legend. And an airplane that would have people shaking their heads for the next 70 years. In fact, since the last Gee Bee roared around a pylon in 1933/34 there have been no serious challengers to the Gee Bee's position as King of Weird. However, there is one fact no one argues: Gee Bees were fast. Very fast. And that was not by accident ..."

Boeing's Invests in Aerion's Supersonic AS2

Boeing's Invests in Aerion's Supersonic AS2 - Airplanes and Rockets"Much of the skepticism about whether the Aerion SST 12-seat business jet might ever fly was probably squashed when Boeing NeXt said this week it was making a significant investment into the Reno, Nevada, aircraft builder. Boeing NeXt's portfolio includes autonomous air vehicles and passenger-carrying hypersonic aircraft. Founded in 2003 to develop new, more efficient aerodynamic technologies for supersonic aircraft, Aerion Supersonic introduced its AS2 12-passenger business jet design in 2014. The company unveiled the AS2's GE Affinity engine design in 2018. Boeing will provide engineering, manufacturing and flight test resources, as well as strategic vertical content, to bring Aerion's AS2 supersonic business jet to market ..."

Ace High Glider Article & Plans

Ace High Glider - Airplanes and RocketsAce R/C was in its heyday in the 1970s. It was manufacturing one of the nicest single channel proportional radio control systems available and had a small line of models to go along with it. The models - Ace All Star Biplane, Ace High Glider, Ace Pacer, and the Ace Simple Series - all used the very popular Ace foam wing set, which had both straight and tapered chords. This Ace High glider is one of the first I remember seeing and wanting in American Aircraft Modeler magazine in 1971 when I about 13 years old and penniless. Grass mowing jobs could pay for the glider kit, but the R/C system was way out of reach. Ace High glider kits still show up on eBay occasionally for less the $100, which is a pretty good price these days for a vintage kit ...

Boeing's Autonomous Air Taxi Makes 1st Flight

Boeing's Autonomous Air Taxi Makes First Flight - Airplanes and Rockets"The urban air mobility concept employs an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle with a design range of up to 50 miles. If proponents of the rooftop urban air taxi concept have their way, in the not-so-distant future you'll be able to go to the top of a skyscraper and board a 'flying car' for a short trip to another landing site either on the outskirts or on the other side of town. All the while, you avoid the ground traffic on the streets and highways below. Boeing recently took a step toward that vision of the future when the company's autonomous passenger air vehicle (PAV) prototype completed a controlled takeoff, hover, and landing during its first flight test ..."

FAA Issues Interim Final Rule for External Marking Requirement

FAA Issues Interim Final Rule for External Marking Requirement - Airplane and Rockets"The FAA issued an Interim Final Rule today that will require drone pilots and model aircraft pilots to display their FAA-issued registration number on the outside surface of their aircraft. The rule will take effect on Monday, February 25, which means the markings must be in place for any outdoor flight beginning on that date. Although most AMA members already have their FAA registration number posted on the outside of their aircraft, AMA will be submitting comments to the FAA requesting a waiver process for those who might be burdened by external markings, such as members who fly scale replica model aircraft. Most importantly, this rule does not change the original acceptable methods of external marking ..."

Movieland of the Air Museum

Movieland of the Air, September 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThe Movieland of the Air museum, once located at the Orange County Airport, seems to be no more according to Google searches I did to try to find it. There are few archive photos on an Orange County, California, website, but not much else. Tallmantz Aviation, Inc., was formed in 1961 by pilots Frank G. Tallman and Paul Mantz. The scant information available indicates that sometime around 1991 the museum was closed and the aircraft and other exhibits were sold or donated to various collectors and museums. The photos from this 1971 issue of American Aircraft modeler, which will now be discoverable on the Web, might well be the only accessible ones of their kind. Most, if not all, of the planes in these early photos were used in Hollywood movie productions like "Dawn Patrol," "North by Northwest ..."

Boeing 777X Could Change Flying Forever

Boeing 777X Could Change Flying Forever - Airplanes and Rockets"Some of the world's most prestigious airlines are on tenterhooks as the first flight of an aircraft that could change long-haul travel for decades looms ever closer. Executives at Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qatar Airways, among others, will have their eyes cast to the skies this spring when Boeing is expected to fly one of its new 777X planes for the first time. The 777-9, the first of the X family to be developed, will have the biggest jet engines ever seen, attached to the longest wings of any aircraft ever made by the Seattle-based manufacturer. The 777X has been said to be the result of the very best of the existing 777 plane, as favored by the likes of British Airways et al, and the game-changing 787 Dreamliner ..."

Bee-Tween ½A R/C Model by Steven Swinamer

Bee-Tween ½A R/C Model by Steven Swinamer - Airplanes and RocketsSteven Swinamer has, with this Bee-Tween project, probably entered the realm of the prolific model airplane builder class of fellow hobbyists. Maybe it is an addiction to balsa dust or the sound of a Cox .049 engine screaming at 18,000 rpm that causes the compulsive need to create model airplanes. There seems to be no cure - not that those affected have a desire to be ridded of the condition ;-)  As is readily apparent by the photos below, Steven's well-honed skill at building and finishing ½A size radio control models has been applied to the Bee-Tween. Being a life-long lover of Charles Schulz's Peanuts comic strip, I especially appreciate Steven's wise selection of World War I flying ace Snoopy as the pilot ...

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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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