About Airplanes & Rockets

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. 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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Copyright 1996 - 2016
Kirt Blattenberger
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Modeling Resources

Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) - Airplanes and Rockets
Academy of Model Aeronautics

Tower Hobbies logo - Airplanes and Rockets
Tower Hobbies

Horizon Hobby logo - Airplanes and Rockets
Horizon Hobby

Brodak Manufacturing - Airplanes and Rockets
Brodak Mfg.

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- Welcome to the Airplanes & Rockets Website -
"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." Lord Kelvin, 1895

Farm Table Redesign & Renovation

Farm Table Redesign & Renovation - Airplanes and RocketsWe have had one of those ubiquitous 'farm tables' since sometime in the late 1980s, back when they were made of wood that is about 50% thicker than today's variety. Over the decades, it has been used variably as a school desk for our kids, as a sewing table, as a computer desk, and as a surface for building model airplanes. It has endured no fewer than ten household moves in that time (don't ask). After all that, it was understandably due for being repaired and refinished ...

The Big Cool Nats, November 1971 AAM

The Big Cool Nats, November 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Doug H. wrote to ask that I check for information on a couple people in particular who participated in the Radio Control portion of the 1972 and 1971 AMA Nationals competitions. Rather than just do that, I went ahead and scanned and posted the entire articles so that all the available information could be seen. I figured there may well be others who would like to have that information available. The November issues of American Aircraft Modeler were typically where NATs coverage ...

Cameron .09 Marine Engine

Cameron .09 Marine Engine, July 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThe author of this review for the Cameron .09 marine engine heaps praise upon the creation, extolling it many advanced features. Robust construction and smooth running evidently are two of its grandest characteristics. A few examples of the Cameron .09 marine engine appear on eBay, with a montage of photos of a new-in-box (NIB) example provided here. Weight including the built-in flywheel is 10 ounces - quite beefy compared to a Cox Medallion .09, which tipped the scales at around 3½ ounces.

NASA Tests 'the New Concorde'

NASA Tests 'the New Concorde' - Airplanes and Rockets"NASA has wind tunnel tested the futuristic aircraft dubbed 'the new Concorde.' The revolutionary Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) project is aiming to create a jet that can break the 767mph sound barrier. Space boffins from the U.S. space agency have joined forces with Lockheed Martin to work on the ambitious project. Engineer Charles Bolden hopes the jets will one day ferry passengers across the Atlantic in half the time of a conventional aircraft. Currently it takes a commercial airliner around ..."

Ford Motor Company Advertisement

Ford Motor Company Advertisement, December 1935 Boys' Life - Airplanes and RocketsBy the end of 1935, according to this full-page advertisement in Boys' Life magazine, Henry Ford's automobile company had built 23 million cars and trucks. Ford Motor Company was founded in 1903 - 32 years earlier- so the average production rate was a little over 4½ million per year. 2 million of them were powered by the V8 flathead engine, which had just been introduced in 1932. As with radios, flying machines, electric lights, and indoor plumbing, every new innovation was considered ...

Russia Making Super-Heavy Ground-Effect Transportation Vehicle

Russia Making Super-Heavy Ground-Effect Transportation Vehicle - Airplanes and Rockets"Most aircraft that take off do not lift straight into the air once their wheels come off the ground. Instead, for just a moment, they float just barely above the ground. The reason being is to make use of ground effect. An aircraft flies by generating lift and directing airflow towards the ground. In open space (higher in the atmosphere) the high pressure from below the wing dissipates into ..."

Stairwell to Basement Project

Stairwell Installation Project, Erie, Pennsylvania - Airplanes and RocketsLast December (2016) we decided to finally cut in a set of stairs to the basement so that going through the garage would not be required (that project will be documented someday). Our Erie house, built in the 1950s, has never had an inside access to the basement. Going through the garage was not particularly a big inconvenience, but in the middle of summer and winter the temperatures could be a bit uncomfortable for that long, 15 second trek from the kitchen door to the basement door ;-)  Still, having inside access seemed to be more 'normal.' We are a mile ... 

Midget Motor Mania: Vintage Model Car Racing Video

Midget Motor Mania: Vintage Model Car Racing Video - Airplanes and Rockets"Adventures of a Newsreel Cameraman" was a series of short documentary films produced by 20th Century Fox in the 1930s. They covered topics including the relatively new technologies of airplanes, rockets, and electronics. The video is posted on YouTube by The Best Radio Controlled Car Reviews website titles it "History of Radio Controlled Cars Classic and Vintage RC Cars," which is a misnomer because there is nothing about R/C in the film (thanks to them, anyway). It does have ...

Drone Swarms Make Deliveries Then Vanish

Swarms of Disposable Drones Will Make Critical Deliveries and Then Vanish - Airplanes and Rockets"Delivery drones still face an uncertain future, but there's at least one scenario where they make a lot of sense: Flying robots can be ideal for bringing small, high value, time-sensitive goods to people in low-infrastructure areas. As specific a situation as that sounds like, it’s an enormous opportunity, and has the potential to make a huge difference in rural areas and disaster relief missions with deliveries of food and medical supplies, for example. One challenge with that, however, is that while drones are cheap to operate, the up-front investment ..."

72 RC National Championships, November 1972 AAM

'72 RC National Championships, November 1972 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Doug H. wrote to ask that I check for information on a couple people in particular who participated in the Radio Control portion of the 1971 and 1972 AMA Nationals competitions. Rather than just do that, I went ahead and scanned and posted the entire articles so that all the available information could be seen. I figured there may well be others who would like to have that information available. The November issues of American Aircraft Modeler were typically where NATs coverage ...

Lithium-Ion Battery Inventor Intros Fast-Charging, Noncombustible Batteries

Lithium-Ion Battery Inventor Intros Technology for Fast-Charging, Noncombustible Batteries - Airplanes and RocketsIt sure would be nice to have batteries that don't pose a bigger risk of burning down your house, car, or model than glow fuel. "A team of engineers led by 94-year-old John Goodenough [what a great name!], professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin and co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery, has developed the first all-solid-state battery cells that could lead to safer, faster-charging, longer-lasting rechargeable batteries for handheld mobile devices, electric cars and stationary energy storage ..."

Tower Hobbies Homepage Screenshot: November 1999

Tower Hobbies Homepage Screenshot November 1999 (archive.org) - RF CafeIf you are a nostalgia buff, go over to the Archive.org website and enter the URL of a website whose early pages you would like to see. This one here is a November 1999 version of Tower Hobbies' site. At the time, you needed to spend at least $199.99 to get $10 off your order; today it only takes $99. There were no electric foamies, brushless motors, 2.4 GHz radios, or drones! Remember the America's Hobby Center ads from some of the earliest modeling magazines?

The Ultimate Airsoft Guide: 18,657+ Words of Top MVP Intel

The Ultimate Airsoft Guide, by Liam Matthews - Airplanes and RocketsAs with most other areas of sports and hobbies, the state of the art in technology has advanced considerably in the last decade or two. Such is the case with those Daisy 'Soft Air' (aka Airsoft) rubber pellet guns we pre-special-snowflakes had as kids. They were simple spring-loaded, single-shot pistols and rifles with an effective range of 30-40 feet - child's play (literally) compared to today's just-short-of-deadly hardware. Li-Po-driven spring and compressed gas mechanisms provide fully automatic operation that is so close to 'the real thing' that military and police forces train for close-quarters scenarios with them. Liam Matthews has one of the most extensive websites covering every aspect of Airsoft, so if you're interested ...

Ship Progress, July 1954 Air Trails

Ship Progress, July 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsAir Trails magazine ran a regular featured titled "Air Progress" that documented the evolution of various classes of airplanes and helicopters. Occasionally, they would also run "Rocket Progress," "Auto Progress," and, less frequently, "Ship Progress." Here, Mr. Staab presents an array or warships ranging from a primitive log dugout to a modern day (for the 1950s) battleship. The drawings are usually crisp and clear, but for some reason these are blurry, possibly ...

Lowell Observatory to Renovate Pluto Discovery Telescope

Lowell Observatory to Renovate Pluto Discovery Telescope - Airplanes and Rockets"The instrument at Lowell Observatory used by Clyde Tombaugh to discover Pluto will soon undergo renovation. The year-long project, set to begin on January 12, will include restoration of both the historic telescope and the wooden dome that houses it. While the telescope will be removed from the dome during this work, the dome will be open from time to time for public tours as work allows. The Pluto Telescope and its dome date ..."

Aerospace Headline News

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archives -

Seattle Man Jailed for Hitting Woman with Drone

WASP's 100th Birthday to be Celebrated

Flame Retardant in Li-Ion Batteries Could Quench Fires

Japan's Low-Cost Rocket Fails at 1st Launch

Report Outlines Risks for Drones Flying Beyond Line of Sight

21 HS Students Win AOPA Scholarships

RC Planes Take Flight in Dayton

Register for the UAS4STEM Search & Rescue Challenge!

Paper Towel Holder Project

Paper Towel Holder Project (supermodel Melanie) - Airplanes and RocketsOne of the first woodworking projects I remember doing after Melanie and I were married and in our own house was making a paper towel holder out of some scrap pieces of oak flooring. The wood was in the basement of the house, probably from when it was originally installed sometime in the 1950s. A few pieces were glued together along their tongue and groove edges, and then scraped and sanded to a smooth, flat surface. The bottom curved relief shape was retained for character. At some point during our many household moves, the paper towel holder ...

UAV Makes Record Endurance Flight

UAV Makes Record Endurance Flight - Airplanes and Rockets"Vanilla Aircraft's VA001 combustion-powered UAV has achieved a world record with a non-stop, unrefuelled 56-hour flight. The flight of the 36' wingspan ultra-long endurance aircraft was submitted for a world duration record for combustion-powered UAVs in the 50-500 kg subclass. A representative from the US National Aeronautic Association was present to witness the record. The flight was planned as a 120-hour mission but ended prematurely due to forecasted severe icing and range restrictions. Despite this, the Falls Church ..."

Commercial Spaceflight Hits a Milestone

Commercial Spaceflight Hits a Milestone - Airplanes and Rockets"When Chris Ferguson commanded the final space shuttle mission in July 2011, he and his crew members left behind something on the International Space Station: a small American flag that had flown on the first shuttle mission three decades earlier. 'It will hopefully maintain a position of honor until the next vehicle launched from U.S. soil brings U.S. astronauts up to dock with the space station,' Ferguson explained. As the director for crew and mission operations at Boeing, Ferguson is one of the leaders ..."

Tower Hobbies Deluxe Power Panel

Tower Hobbies Deluxe Power Panel - Airplanes and RocketsSomething about using electric power systems for model airplanes has never filled sufficiently the 'hole' left by not hearing an internal combustion engine screaming. I switched over to electric more than a decade ago when the energy output of brushless motors and Li-Po batteries hit parity with glow engines. I have to admit that the reliability and ease of use of electric systems has its attractive features, not to mention no fuel mess to clean off the model. After finally deciding to start using Cox .049 engines again, I needed to re-acquire the field ...

Earn Your CAA Remote Pilot in Command License

CAA-Approved Drone Flying Courses - Airplanes and Rockets"Sky-Futures' Basic Drone Certification Course will enable persons and organizations in the UK to reach the basic standard required to operate drones under a CAA Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO). For the past two years, Sky-Futures has trained Emergency Service and Enterprise clients in the safe use of drone technology in the UK. Sky-Futures holds CAA National Qualified Entity (NQE) status. Under these privileges, Sky-Futures will provide an all new online ground school ..."

Feature: Maxwell's Hobby Shop in Erie, Pennsylvania

Maxwell's Hobby Shop in Erie, Pennsylvania - Airplanes and RocketsMaxwell's Hobby Shop is owned and run by Joe Maxwell and wife, Mary. Joe (a very nice guy) has been operating his eponymously named hobby shop in Erie, Pennsylvania, for many decades. The 600 sq. ft. shop is stuffed to the gills with kits and equipment for all types of aeromodeling, including free flight, control line, and radio control. There are many supplies for boats, helicopters, multirotor drones, and cars as well. Joe is an avid control line flyer and a member of the Bean Hill Flyers control line club, so there is a very nice stock of control line ...

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Kirt Blattenberger