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

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Russia to Give Cosmonauts Guns to Fend off Animals on Landing (and ETs in space)

Model Plane Hobbyists Flying into Mesa Park

James Webb Space Telescope Fully Assembled in California

• 1st FAA-Approved Beyond-Line-of-Sight Drone Flight Completed

Model Airplane History-Maker Maynard Hill Dies at 85

• Chandrayaan 2 Now in Lunar Orbit for Sept. 4 Moon Landing

Hampshire County RC Club Fly-In August 24-25

Chris Kraft, NASA's Legendary Flight Director, Dies at 95

• NASA Taps Companies to Advance Human Lunar Landers

NASA Opens Competition to Build Human-Rated Lunar Landers

NASA Opens Competition to Build Human-Rated Lunar Landers - Airplanes and Rockets"Companies have until November 1 to submit proposals to NASA for a human-rated lander that could be ready in time to carry astronauts to the moon's surface by the end of 2024, and the agency is leaving open the option for contractors to develop a descent craft that would bypass the planned Gateway mini-space station in lunar orbit, at least for the first landing attempt. The lunar lander, or Human Landing System, is critical to the Trump administration’s goal of returning humans to the moon’s surface by the end of 2024. NASA named effort after Artemis, the twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology, after Vice President Mike Pence announced the 2024 goal ..."

The Berliner-Joyce OJ-2

The Berliner-Joyce OJ-2, May 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThe Berliner-Joyce OJ−2 was a multi-purpose biplane built for naval service. Its maiden flight was in 1931. As this American Aircraft Modeler magazine article photos show, it could be configured with wheels or floats. Berliner-Joyce Aircraft Corporation had is main offices in Baltimore, Maryland, which was a popular location for defense contractors then and now. The Glen L. Martin Company, manufacturer of the famous Martin B−10 Bomber, was also in Baltimore. The OJ-2 was in heavy competition with the Vought O2U Corsair, which, unlike its eventual and much more famous successor gull-wing, all-metal F4U Corsair, was a fabric-covered biplane. Someone at Vaught must have really been stuck on using the Corsair name ...

China Unmanned Rocket-Powered Aircraft for Recon When Satellites Down

China Unmanned Rocket-Powered Aircraft for Reconnaissance When Satellites Are Down - Airplanes and Rockets"China's big 70th anniversary parade marking the founding of the PRC has come and gone. There were a number of revelations, some of which we are still analyzing, but the biggest ones were in the unmanned space. In the days leading up to the parade, we had covered both of the most impressive unmanned vehicles that were to be displayed. It's time to follow up with our analysis now that we have seen them in far greater detail. We posted our analysis on the GJ-11 Sharp Sword UCAV earlier today, now here are my takeaways from the official unveiling of the WZ-8 - also referred to as the DR-8 - high-speed reconnaissance drone. Before we get started, it's important to note that the two WZ-8s ..."

Airplane Wing Assembled from Tiny Identical Pieces

Airplane Wing Assembled from Tiny Identical Pieces - Airplanes and Rockets"A radically new kind of airplane wing, assembled from hundreds of tiny identical pieces, can change shape to control the plane’s flight, and could provide a significant boost in aircraft production, flight, and maintenance efficiency. The new approach to wing construction could afford greater flexibility in the design and manufacturing of future aircraft. Instead of requiring separate movable surfaces, such as ailerons, to control the roll and pitch of the plane as conventional wings do, the new assembly system makes it possible to deform the whole wing or parts of it by incorporating a mix of stiff and flexible components in its structure. The tiny subassemblies ..."

UK Space Organisations Develop Self-Aligning Orbital Telescopes

UK Space Organisations Develop Self-Aligning Orbital Telescopes - Airplanes and Rockets"Oxford University and Surrey Space Centre and Surrey Satellite Technology embark on a joint project to develop space telescopes that are more compact for launching. The design of all space hardware tries to minimise two factors: launch weight and launch volume. But for space telescopes, minimising launch volume is particularly tricky, because the physics underlining the operation of telescopes depends on their size - the area of the primary mirror has to be maximised to collect the largest amount of light possible, and the space between primary mirror and secondary mirror is fixed by the size of the primary. With the Earth observation market growing, and already at the multibillion dollar level ..."

Could Airships Rise Again?

Could Airships Rise Again? - Airplanes and Rockets"Transportation produces about one-fourth of global anthropogenic carbon emissions. Of this, maritime shipping accounts for 3%, and this figure is expected to increase for the next three decades even though the shipping industry is actively seeking greener alternatives, and developing near-zero-emission vessels. Researchers with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), in Austria, recently explored another potential solution: the return of airships to the skies. Airships rely on jet stream winds to propel them forward to their destinations. They offer clear advantages over cargo ships in terms of both efficiency and avoided emissions. Returning to airships, says Julian Hunt, a researcher at the IIASA and lead author ..."

The Boom in R/C Boats

The Boom in R/C Boats, May 1955 Popular Electronics - Airplanes and RocketsBill (William) Winter served as the editor of the Academy of Model Aeronautics' (AMA's) American Modeler and American Aircraft Modeler magazines from 1966 through 1974, but his efforts to promote all form of modeling - airplanes, helicopters, cars, boats, trains, and rockets - covered many decades. His first recorded article, "Building the Famous Udet Flamingo," (co-authored by Walter McBride), was published in the March 1935 issue of Universal Model Airplane News magazine. His 264th, "The Soft Touch," appeared in Model Aviation (the latest incarnation of the AMA's flagship magazine) in 1996. This article entitle "The Boom in R/C Boats" appeared in a 1955 edition of Popular Electronics magazine which, during the early ...

Water Jet Powered Drone Takes Off

Water Jet Powered Drone Takes Off - Airplanes and Rockets"To take off from the water, this drone uses an explosion-powered water jet. At ICRA 2015, the Aerial Robotics Lab at the Imperial College London presented a concept for a multimodal flying swimming robot called AquaMAV. The really difficult thing about a flying and swimming robot isn’t so much the transition from the first to the second, since you can manage that even if your robot is completely dead (thanks to gravity), but rather the other way: going from water to air, ideally in a stable and repetitive way. The AquaMAV concept solved this by basically just applying as much concentrated power as possible to the problem, using a jet thruster to hurl the robot out of the water with quite a bit of velocit ..."

SpaceX's 1st Rocket for Humans Test-Fired in Texas

SpaceX's 1st Rocket for Humans Test-Fired in Texas - Airplanes and Rockets"The Falcon 9 booster assigned to launch two NASA astronauts on an orbital test flight of SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule has been test-fired in Texas, but the schedule for the long-awaited mission remains unclear. SpaceX announced the static fire test of the Falcon 9's first stage in a tweet August 29. The launch vehicle's nine Merlin 1D first stage engines ignited on a test stand at SpaceX's test site in McGregor, Texas, for a hold-down firing before the booster is shipped to Cape Canaveral for final launch preparations. The 15-story booster produces some 1.7 million pounds of thrust from its nine Merlin engines, which consume super-chilled ..."

Down Memory's Runway

Down Memory's Runway, February 1942 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsFlying Aces magazine, which was published in the middle of the last century, had for a while a monthly featured entitled, "Down Memory's Runway," where vintage (at the time) aircraft were featured in pictures and captions. Of course those same airplanes are practically prehistoric today. By 1942 when this column was published, biplanes had been replace by monoplanes as the standard commercial and military design. A 14-passenger Boeing 80-A passenger biplane is included, along with the statement that it is believed to be the only tri-motored biplane built in the U.S. Of course there was the famous Ford Trimotor, but it was a monoplane. Also included is a photo of Claude Ryan with his company's first M-1 monoplane. The swirled finish ...

How Boeing Builds Them - 314 Clippers

How Boeing Builds Them, May 1941 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsOh, for the days when American big airplane manufacturers rightfully claimed air superiority. Boeing, of course, was arguably the leader of the pack, although Douglas and McDonnell ran close at Boeing's heels. The unfortunate incidences of the 737 MAX Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) software issue has delivered a huge black eye to Boeing at a time when they are desperately trying to compete with Airbus in the commercial airline transport market. Boeing enthusiasts who used to recite the "If it's not Boeing, I'm not going," mantra have been forced to reconsider their brand loyalty. This brief inset piece in a 1941 pre-war issue of Air Trails magazine extolled the virtues of Boeing's 314 Clipper amphibious airplane that facilitated Pan American Airway's (PAA) domination of transoceanic passenger and cargo operations. Similar to the manner in which the U..S. Navy used to sponsor ...

Volocopter Air Taxi Flies in Controlled Airspace

Volocopter Air Taxi Flies in Controlled Airspace - Airplanes and Rockets"Germany's Volocopter air taxi has flown a test flight at Helsinki International Airport while integrated with both traditional and unmanned air traffic management (ATM) systems. Managing the skies in urban environments is a pressing concern as drone and air taxi technology rapidly advances. Developing safe systems to allow unmanned vehicles to operate alongside piloted planes has become a priority for countries and regions hoping to embrace this new wave of aerial innovation. The latest Volocopter flight, which took place on 29 August, is part of the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Programme, which aims to create a single coordinated airspace for commercial, general and drone aviation ..."

The Aluminum Casalaire Advertisement

The Aluminum Casalaire Advertisement, November 1946 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThis advertisement for the Aluminum Casalaire control line (C/L) model airplane appeared in the November 1946 issue of Air Trails magazine. The Casalaire was designed and marketed by Louis Casale of the AMA Nationals fame. Its fuselage is made of stamped aluminum components that are held together with rivets which were set with a pair of pliers - no air hammer or bucking bar required. Wings and empennage are built from standard balsa and plywood parts. With a wingspan of 45" and a B- or C-size engine, it is a fairly large model. For more background information and magazine appearances of the Casalaire, look about half-way down this page on the Collect Air website. Another advertisement for the Casalaire shown at Collect Air includes a twin-cylinder Viking 65 engine that came with a 3-blade, variable-pitch propeller ...

"Flyin' Jenny" Comic Strip: January 2, 1944

"Flyin' Jenny" Comic Strip: January 2, 1944 Baltimore Morning Sun - Airplanes and RocketsThis is the Sunday, January 2, 1944, "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 ...

To the Moon by 2024

To the Moon by 2024 - Airplanes and Rockets"The vice president did his best to sound stirring. The podium, the flag, the ringing cadences - all were meant to convey that this moment in the spring of 2019 was a significant one, a turning point in the history of space exploration. 'It is the stated policy of this administration and the United States of America to return American astronauts to the moon within the next...five...years.' Hardly had Mike Pence concluded his March 26 speech to the National Space Council in Huntsville, Alabama, when the doubts and second-guessing began. Even at NASA headquarters, where Administrator Jim Bridenstine took questions from his troops at a televised town hall a few days later, the applause was tepid, and the questions had mostly to do with money and political commitment ..."

A Career Built on Flying Models

A Career Built on Flying Models - Airplanes and Rockets"The Job: Gritter's first job with Aurora Flight Sciences was building a small-scale model to prove the concept of the XV-24 Lightning Strike, winner of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency competition for a super high-performance, short-takeoff-and-landing aircraft. He also performs aerobatic routines at airshows in full-scale airplanes. How did flying radio-controlled airplanes prepare you for your job? Being around model airplanes exposed me to all the technology - the components, the electronics. That was hugely beneficial in school because the senior capstone ..."

Comet Jetex-Powered Lockheed Starfire F/F Kit

Comet Jetex-Powered Lockheed Starfire F/F Kit - Airplanes and RocketsHere is a vintage Jetex-powered Comet Lockheed F−94C Starfire kit that, prior to my receiving it, had been started by the previous owner. It was designed and drawn by Gerald Blumenthal. The copyright date printed on the plans is 1953. Many of the parts had been cut out of the printwood balsa sheets, but none of the airframe has been assembled. There were no laser-cut kits back in the era of this kit, when the die-cut balsa sheets often were more appropriately referred to as "die-smashed" due to dull cutting edges on the die. It was also not uncommon for the die-cut part to not exactly match the outline of the printed pattern. Cutting out the parts with an X-Acto knife takes more time, but at least for the small shapes and for accuracy that is the way to go. I have not done a full inventory of the kit, but it appears most, if not all, parts are present ...

1960s Sport of Hang Gliding Still Hangs On

1960s Sport of Hang Gliding Still Hangs On - Airplanes and Rockets"'We first flew in dreams, but the dream of flight has become real,' the narrator says. The image on the giant screen is mesmerizing: Above massive volcanic islands reaching up from the ocean floats a tiny triangular form. This is the first shot of the hang gliding scene from To Fly!, the iconic IMAX film made for the opening of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in 1976. It has been playing for more than 40 years, and for many, it's their first encounter with hang gliding. In the scene, pilot Bob Wills hangs below the wing, shifting his body to exert control over the impossibly simple craft. He soars between mountain peaks, then climbs, stalls, dives, and swoops high above the water. When the film was made, hang gliding was emerging ..."

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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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