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

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Paul Harvey: Bob Hoover Has Crashed (audio)

Space Plane Tech Could Power Hypersonic Aircraft for U.S. Military

Drone Delays Medical Helicopter Landing at OH Hospital

Aircraft to Be Given 'Human-Like Skin' to Sense Damage

Drone Drops Mobile Phones over Prison Walls

Northrop Grumman Developing XS-1 Spaceplane for DARPA

Death of the Original Jumbo Jet, Boeing's 747-400

U.S. Names New York Test Site for Small Drones

New Hacking Scenario: Wi-Fi Signal-Sniffing Drones

UAVs Collaborate Autonomously

FAA Reasserts Enforcement Authority over Model Aircraft (...because gov't doesn't already control enough of your life)

Where Can Drones Fly? Legal Limits Are up in the Air

Perlan Partners with Airbus to Fly Glider to Edge of Space

FAA Rules on Drones vs. Model Aircraft Contested

UK to Launch Commercial Spaceport by 2018

Sprint to Sell Parrot Mini-Drones That Can Be Controlled via Smartphones

'Dronies' Take-off Creating Aerial Headaches for Safety Regulators

Repurposing an FM Radio Chip for an RC Submarine Receiver Project

Keelhauled at Kiev?
Photos from the USSR

Keelhauled at Kiev? from December 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and Rockets1962 was the height of the Cold War where the world's only two nuclear powers sat with their fingers on the nuclear launch button, ready to engage in Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). When the World Control Line Championships were held in Kiev in 1962, the free world country participants came away agreeing that the whole affair was rigged, fraught with incompetence, or a combination of the two. Communism has never bred excellence - just marginal functionality and apathy. The U.S. seems to be adopting the Red way these days with central government planning and a dependent class of non-producers...

Bird Watchers!
New Species from Canada

Bird Watchers! New Species from Canada, July 1962 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsA.J. Robinson's comic humor graced the pages of the July 1962 edition of American Modeler. The only difference between the 'birds' of then and the birds of today is the description of the radio control operator (we no longer bush buttons for commanding our aircraft). Enjoy.

Winning R/C Scale:
Cessna OE-2 Bird Dog II

OE-2 Bird Dog II, July 1962 American Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)According to online sources, the OE-2 (aka the Bird Dog II) is a redesigned version of the OE-1 with Cessna 180 wings and fuselage modified for better visual observation. This R/C model by Bob Wischer has a 54" wingspan and is powered by a .09 to .15 engine. The original, having been built in the early 1960s, used an escapement for rudder-only control. A modern micro or mini R/C system would easily permit 3- or 4-channel operation with probably about the same all-up flying weight. You could even convert it to electric power as is the popular thing to do these days.

The Rocket Ship

The Rocket Ship (September 1936 Boy's Life Article) - Airplanes and RocketsIt was on March 16, 1926, that Robert Goddard made history in Auburn, Massachusetts, by successfully launching the world's first liquid fueled rocket. The propellant was a mixture of gasoline and liquid oxygen. That was a mere ten year prior to this article that appeared in Boys' Life magazine. Author T.E. Mussen comments that as of the writing, "thus far the rocket has carried neither men nor recording instruments, nothing more than the source of its own propelling power." Breathtaking speeds of 700 mph and altitudes of 7,500 feet had been attained and...

5th Annual R/C Soaring NATS

Fifth Annual R/C Soaring NATS (October 1974 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsIn 1974, I was flying some of my first R/C gliders - probably a Mark's Models Windward or maybe the Windfree (in that order). During that time, I tried hard to locate a group of sailplane flyers in my area around Mayo, Maryland, but to no avail. The nearest R/C flying field was about 30 miles away in Upper Marlboro, MD, where the PGRC club field used to be. My family's car was held together with chewing gum and bailing wire, so it wasn't often that I could talk my father into driving me out there, and the few times that he gave in to my whining, there were never any gliders present. So, when I would see articles like this in the modeling magazines, my envy level would increase...

Rocket Trails
- We Lead the Russians

Rocket Trails - We Beat the U.S.S.R., July 1962 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsSometime around 1962, none other than Dr. Wernher von Braun became a member of the National Association of Rocketry (NAR), as reported in this edition of American Modeler. The Iron Curtain was still in place as the United States of American and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics battled it out for leadership in space. Model rocketry was involved in the contest every much as the big boys who designed ICBMs and satellites. That "us versus them" attitude shone through often in the "Rocket Trails" articles of the era. Oh. BTW, we won.

Riverside Aeromodelers
(RAMS) 2014 Swap Meet

Riverside Aeromodelers (RAMS) 2014 Swap Meet - Airplanes and RocketsThe Riverside Aeromodelers (RAMS) flying club hosts a major swap meet meet each year at the Winston-Salem, NC Fairgrounds. I was surprised to learn that it was only the eighth in a series, because back in 2007 I rented a table at it to sell some of my stuff, so that must have been only the first or second event. Melanie and I just moved back to NC after being away for six years and decided to attend. My main interest at this point is control line, but I only saw one C/L model for sale. It is a safe bet by now that I did not win either of the raffles because no phone call has been received. Here are some photos of what was there. If you see something in these photos that you are interested in, try calling someone listed on the RAMS club website...

Canard Design Pointers

Canard Design Pointers, April 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsCanard airplanes - those with the horizontal stabilizer forward of the wing - have been around for a long time. In fact, the Wright Brothers' airplanes were canards. They tend to go in and out of style. It seems all of a sudden articles will appear in all the model magazines for a couple months, and then they disappear for a few years until something makes them popular again. For full-size airplanes, it probably wasn't until Burt Rutan came on the scene in the early 1970s with his Varieze (and later the Long-EZ). That started another wave of canard models. Than, as usual, they faded from view. A decade later, the Beechcraft Starship emerged...

Sketchbook - Hints & Kinks
Sept. 1962 American Modeler

Sketchbook from September 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsThis Sketchbook was scanned from the September 1962 American Modeler, page 42. Most building tips are timeless. Even in this era of ready-to-fly (RTF), almost-ready-to-fly (ARF), bind-and-fly (BAF), etc., there are still many modelers who build their own aircraft. Nearly all top tier competition fliers build their own models, as do aficionados of vintage (aka old-timer) models. Some guys just would rather build than buy...

R/C Sailplane Quiz

R/C Sailplane Quiz (October 1974 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsAlan Druschitz, winner of this quiz and also the young man holding the trophy in the photo, wrote recently to request that I scan and post this R/C Sailplane Quiz that appeared in the October 1974 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. It is always nice to get a note from someone who appears in image and/or print form in the old articles. It has been 40 years since the event, which makes Mr. Druschitz about st two years older than me. To win the contest, he answered 9 out of 10 of the questions correctly, and also took 1st place in the Jr./Sr. Team event.

Buccaneer B Special R/C Job
in "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."

Buccaneer B Special Appeared in "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." - Airplanes and RocketsMelanie and I were watching an episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. when what to my wondering eye should appear but a scene where a Buccaneer B Special was being used as a terrorist weapon delivery system. The model was launched in a park a little ways from U.N.C.L.E. headquarters (cleverly hidden below Del Floria's Tailor Shop in New York City), and then flown on a "suicide mission" to blow up Napoleon Solo, Illya Kuryakin, and their fellow fighters for truth, justice, and the American way. Anyway, there was no indication that the controller used by the pilot utilized any sort of First Person View (FPV) system...

Build and Fly This ...
Spinning Disc Saucer

Build and Fly This ... Spinning Disc Saucer from August 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsIf you have been searching for a project to build and fly that will generate a "ululating whine," then the Spinning Disc Saucer is the model for you. Measuring 38" from tip to tip, this ½A powered alien craft uses a unique configuration with the engine mounted on a outboard pod and a counterweight on the opposite side to generate the rotation - which causes the Doppler effect that creates the weird sound. Mr. Clough designed a timer device that slows the engine after a preset period to bring the Spinning Disc Saucer down under power rather than...

Official 1957 AMA
Control Line Stunt Patterns

Official AMA 1957  C/L Stunt Patterns, June 1957 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThe control line stunt pattern in effect for 1957 is shown in this article from American Modeler in that year. The stunt pattern has undergone numerous changes in the past many decades, so competition flyers have needed to keep abreast of the most current rules. Airplanes have undergone many changes as well, partially driving the rules changes. There are now official contest events for Old Time Stunt (OTS) that use models and a pattern from prescribed eras: "Old-Time Stunt models are those designed, built, flown and/ or published before the last day of 1952; Classic models are the models categorized with the same criteria but before the last day of 1969" (per the AMA)...

Everything Under Control:
McEntee on R/C

Everything Under Control: McEntee on R/C from June 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and Rockets$347 round trip from Detroit to England was the going group rate in 1962 when Howard McEntee wrote this article soliciting fellow travelers to attend the Internats. Expedia shows the same flight today would cost a little south of $1,100. According to the BLS inflation calculator, $347 in 1962 is equivalent to $2,733 in 2014 money, so effectively today's price is less than half of what it cost in 1962 - what a deal! There are many other items of interest in the column, including R/C engine throttle modification, a Toledo Show brief, and a scheme for implementing tailwheel braking...

Model Paradise: PACAF

Model Paradise: PACAF from December 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and Rockets - Airplanes and RocketsAccording to this article from a 1962 edition of American Modeler, the U.S. Air Force had a great policy for its overseas bases whereby it made sure that, where possible, airmen interested in engaging in just about any form of hobby activity had supplies and facilities available. Everything from a well-stocked hobby shop to building and flying facilities were provided on base, and often nationals from the host countries were allowed to participate as well. Japan evidently was an exceptionally good assignment for guys looking to fly model airplanes, run model boats, and shoot off model rockets. When I was in the USAF stationed both at Keesler AFB in Mississippi and at Robins AFB, the bases had very nice hobby facilities. While in radar tech school at Keesler, my friend, Jim Flinn, and I...

Drone-Based Field
Measurement System (dB-FMS)

Drone-Based Field Measurement System™ (dB-FMS)™ - Airplanes and RocketsHere is a million dollar idea for you to consider. I hereby dub it the "Drone-Based Field Measurement System™" (dB-FMS™). The concept came to me while reading a column in QST magazine discussing the use of the EZNEC antenna radiation pattern prediction software. As you know unless a antenna is situated in a perfect, unobstructed environment like in the middle of a desert with a perfectly uniform ground or on a space-based platform, physical obstacles and variations in surface conductivity can significantly alter the 3-dimensional field distribution. Columnist Joel Hallas is a master at EZNEC and is routinely called upon to model antenna systems for people. As important as length and orientation of antenna elements are, the ground plane configuration can have a profound impact on the radiation pattern... 

AMA C/L Stunt Video
Narrated by Bill Mandakis

Control Line Stunt Pattern Flown at Hobby Park, NC - Airplanes and Rocket - Airplanes and RocketsI don't recall ever seeing a video of the AMA control line stunt pattern being flown while a narrator announces each maneuver and describes how it should look. BJM Enterprises owner Bill Mandakis tells the story while I video the flight. Bill is an avid C/L stunt flier and meets a couple times a week with a local cadre of club members at Hobby Park in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. As time permits (which unfortunately is not very often), I am currently building an electric-powered Enterprise-E control line model that was designed by and is kitted by Bill...

Notable Quote

Beginner's Book of Model Airplanes (They Fly!) [eBay image] - Airplanes and Rockets"The best way to carve a propeller is to use a knife on a block of wood for as long as it is pleasant and then buy a propeller someone else has carved." - Carl H. Claudy in Beginner's Book of Model Airplanes (They Fly!). I saw this in the August 2014 edition of Model Aviation (p12, "Making Propellers").

Sketchbook - Construction,
Adjustment, Workshop Ideas

Sketchbook - Hints and kinks, November/December 1963 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsOne of the best ideas in this installment of Sketchbook, IMHO, is a method to quickly select balsa sheets of approximate equal density. It involves a flashlight and a light intensity meters (a phone app for the meter can be downloaded for that these days). Another neat suggestion is a way to make simulated rivets in thin aluminum foil. There is a list at the bottom of every Sketchbook page that has hyperlinks to all other Sketchbook editions published thus far.

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About Airplanes and Rockets Homepage - Supermodel Melanie Blattenberger holding my Aquila Spirit glider
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