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

- Model Aviation in the News -

Bio-Inspired Unmanned Aircraft Capable of Soaring Like BirdsBio-Inspired Unmanned Aircraft Capable of Soaring Like Birds

Next Generation Solar Plane Unveiled in SwitzerlandNext Generation Solar Plane Unveiled in Switzerland

FAA to Establish Center of Excellence to Conduct Research into Unmanned Aircraft IssuesFAA to Establish Center of Excellence to Conduct Research into Unmanned Aircraft Issues

Scale Model WWII Craft Takes Flight with Fuel from the Sea ConceptScale Model WWII Craft Takes Flight with Fuel from Sea Concept

Tablet-Controlled Unmanned Copters Deliver Goods for MarinesTablet-Controlled Unmanned Copters Deliver Goods for Marines

The Drone That Shot Down the FedsThe Drone That Shot Down the Feds

Avid Model Aircraft Builder Remembered by McDonald's Coffee BuddiesAvid Model Aircraft Builder Remembered by McDonald's Coffee Buddies

Airshow Veteran Jim "Fang" Maroney Crashed in Tennessee ForestAirshow Veteran Jim "Fang" Maroney Crashed in Tennessee Forest

Drone-Assisted Hunting to Be Illegal in AlaskaDrone-Assisted Hunting to Be Illegal in Alaska

Facebook to Build Drones and Satellites to Beam Internet Around the WorldFacebook to Build Drones and Satellites to Beam Internet Around the World

Scientists Find First Asteroid with Rings Scientists Find First Asteroid with Rings

Mystery Aircraft Spotted over TexasMystery Aircraft Spotted over Texas

New Dwarf Planet Discovered Beyond PlutoNew Dwarf Planet Discovered Beyond Pluto

Goodyear Unveils Next-Generation BlimpGoodyear Unveils Next-Generation Blimp

DARPA Developing 'Radical' Copter/Plane HybridDARPA Developing 'Radical' Copter/Plane Hybrid

Air Force Asks General Atomics to Upgrade UAV Ground-Control Stations for Use with the InternetAir Force to Upgrade UAV Ground-Control Stations for Use with the Internet

NTSB Judge Rules FAA Ban on Commercial UAS/Drones UnenforceableNTSB Judge Rules FAA Ban on Commercial

Revell Displays 2014 Plastic Model LineRevell Displays 2014 Plastic Model Line

All-New 2014 Generation 5 Cirrus AircraftAll-New 2014 Generation 5 Cirrus Aircraft

Fed Ruling May Bring Flocks of Buzzing Drones to U.S. SkiesFed Ruling May Bring Flocks of Buzzing Drones to U.S. Skies

Florida Jets 2014 Brings Model Planes to LakelandFlorida Jets 2014 Brings Model Planes to Lakeland

Facebook Wants to Build 11,000 Drones to Bring Internet to AfricaFacebook Wants to Build 11,000 Drones to Bring Internet to Africa

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Radio Control News
Printed Circuits & Capacitors

Radio Control News, May 1954 Model Airplane News - Airplanes and Rockets1954 was just a decade after World War II, during which time the Army Signal Corps introduced a method of printing - or etching - metallic circuit conductors on an insulator substrate, and thus was born the printed circuit board (PCB). The first boards used a phenolic-paper laminate, which is the shiny brown substrate material that is still found in some industrial applications like motors and control panels. Ferric chloride was used to etch away the copper foil not masked off with photoresist chemicals. I made many crude PCBs using a resist ink pen to draw circuit traces and component mounting pads, then etched away the exposed copper with ferric chloride...

Facts About Microfilm Covering

Facts About Microfilm, May 1954 Model airplane News - Airplanes and RocketsMicrofilm-covered indoor models is one (of many) aspects of model airplane building and flying that I've always wanted to try, but never found the opportunity. You might be tempted to think this is the exclusive realm of white-haired old men, and admittedly it nearly is, but when you look at contest coverage in the modeling magazines, it is heartening to see a good showing of youngsters. For that matter, the same holds true for just about all forms of model aircraft these days except for radio controlled airplanes and helicopters. As recently as a couple decades ago, radio equipment was too expensive for many younger modelers to buy, so those who aspired to hobbies involving airborne craft had...

Your Dream Home
on Michigan's Long Lake
17039 Dreamers Lane

17039 Dreamers Lane, Alpena MI, 49707 - Northern Michigan Dream Home for SaleAre you looking for a quality starter home, retirement home, vacation home, or a home for a small family? This home has quality construction that includes a maintenance-free full brick facing from the ground up to the soffits, all the way around. Windows are double paned and airtight. R-45 insulation in the attic keeps heating bills at a minimum as does the metered gas supply for the furnace and water heater. That, and sitting on 1.28 flat acres with beautiful trees, on a private road 100' from the main highway, deeded access to a boat launching area on Long Lake, a large 2-story pole barn, with boat/camper storage, topped off by great neighbors, makes this estate an ideal choice for your lifestyle. Low taxes, very high speed cable Internet are a bonus to boot. SimpliSafe alarm installed.

Peter O'Dactyl F/F
is "Toeliner," Too!

Fearsome F/F is "Toeliner," Too! from December 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and Rockets - Airplanes and RocketsRadio controlled models of birds have been popular for a long time. You might recall the R/C version of Jonathan Livingston Seagull that was made for the movie back in the 1970s (it showed up in an edition of R/C Modeler), and then various others have appeared in modeling magazines throughout the decades. The Best of Show winner at the Toledo show in 2011 was a giant size, twin turbine powered, fire breathing dragon! This "Peter O'Dactyl" pterodactyl model was published in American Modeler back in 1962 by Roy Clough, Jr. Its 36" wingspan and simple stick and tissue construction makes it a great novelty project for stirring up interest in young modelers...

Don Pratt's Full-Scale
1941 Taylorcraft

The Taylorcraft, February 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Lincoln R. wrote to ask for a scan of the 3-view for the Taylorcraft that appeared in the February 1968 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. This particular 1941 vintage Taylorcraft was owned by well-known scale aeromodeler Don Pratt. It was still in pristine condition three decades after being manufactured. Don built a 1/4-scale model of his own airplane.

1957 AMA Nat Photos

1957 AMA Nats Pics from November 1957 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)Unless you happen to be 10-year-old Stephen Stackhouse, of Levittown, Pennsylvania, then chances are if you recognize anyone from these 1957 Nats pictures, it is your father or grandfather. I think I saw that pinstriped sport jacket of Frank Bropher's hanging in the local Salvation Army thrift store ;-) The Corsair control line model was make from the same type kit as my Sterling F4U Corsair (which is still under construction).

Rocket Trails - How To Get
Started In Model Rocketry

Rocket Trails from June 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsHarry (aka "Old Rocketeer") Stein wrote a monthly column for American Modeler back in the 1960s that covered a variety of topics ranging including model rocket contesting, model rocket building and trimming for flight, recovery systems, and even a little rocket scientist theory when appropriate. This particular article discusses getting started in model rocketry with using the diminutive Astron (Estes) Scout rocket which used a low-tech tumble recovery system. With the Space Age in full swing by that time, youths and adults around the world were anxious to get involved. It was an exciting time for everyone. My own foray into model rocketry began in the late 1960s during the Apollo...

Testors Advertisement
circa 1954

Testors Advertisement, May 1954 Model Airplane News - Airplanes and Rockets"The Testor Corporation has been manufacturing products for hobby, craft, and home decorating for more than eight decades. Since 1929, the oval Testor logo has been associated with quality and integrity. Testor hobby finishing materials and accessories, plastic model kits, craft paints and supplies, and airbrushes are sold world-wide, satisfying the demand for these fine products. Testor currently staffs a manufacturing facility in Rockford." - from the Testors "About Us" page. This advertisement appeared in a 1954 edition of Model Airplane News.

"ATH" Airmen of Vision
Aircraft Design Competition

"ATH" Airmen of Vision Aircraft Design Competition, from August 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsTake a look at the jet fighter design submitted by  Lorry Burchett of Detroit, Michigan, and see if it looks somewhat familiar to you. Except for the horizontal stabilizer spanning between the twin tail booms, it reminds me a lot of Scaled Composite's ("Scaled") X-Prize-winning SpaceShipOne. This and two other 'futuristic' aircraft designs were part of a run by Air Trails Hobbies for Young Men in 1954. The chosen three are nothing like each other. First prize was awarded $50, which in 2014 is the equivalent of $434.79. Scaled founder Burt Rutan, the man who single-handedly popularized canard configurations...

The 160.5 mph "Monitor"
National Record Holder

Two-Line Speed Plane: the 160.5 mph "Monitor" National Record Holder from 1955 Annual Edition of Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsControl Line Speed always seemed like a great aspect of competition to get involved in, but like so many others, I just never made time for it. There are some really cool videos on YouTube of C/L Speed models being flown. On a properly adjusted engine, you can hear the engine break into a screaming 2-cycle mode after the airplane picks up some speed and the propeller unloads a bit from the pilot whipping it. It is like seeing / watching the afterburner kick in on a jet engine! A major change in the design of Speed models from the 1955 vintage of this "Monitor" is the use of a wing only on the inside...

Zlin Akrobat
For the Tenderfoot

Zlin Akrobat: For the Tenderfoot (September 1971 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Adrian C., of Moncton NB, Canada, wrote to ask that I scan and post the article for a catapult-launched free flight glider model of the Zlin Akrobat that appeared in the September 1971 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. Written by well known and frequent contributor to the "For the Tenderfoot" series in AAM, this version of contest-winning full-size Akrobat has an 11" wingspan and the plans provide a high level of detail and realism for such a small model. Its bright scale-like red and white covering scheme is particularly attractive. 

Chula Vistan
PAA-Load Free Flight

Chula Vistan PAA-Load Free Flight, from August 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsHere is unique and sophisticated 1/2-A free flight model designed for and flown successfully in Half-A payload, Half-A free flight, Class A free-flight, and it meets FAI gas requirements. By adding a set of floats it can be flown in R.O.W. events. Chula Vistan's elliptical dihedral and use of a diesel engine set it apart from many similar models of the era (mid-1950s). As with many F/F models, the Chula Vistan's framework is a work of art that is most appropriately covered in a translucent or transparent scheme with colored trim so that its structure can be appreciated. Not being a free flighter, I do not know if it meets modern specifications for...

Model This B-24 Liberator

Model This B-24 Liberator, from August 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)One thing you can be pretty sure of when looking at airplane model articles in 1954-vintage magazines is that they are either free flight, static display, or control line. Radio control was still very new at the time and it was largely the realm of experimenters and guys who were willing to risk a lot of building time and effort on what would almost certainly eventually end in disaster. So, when I saw this construction article for a nice 68" wingspan, 4-engine B-4 Liberator, I knew it would be for control line. Although finding a copy of the original plans will be a challenge, the version I scanned along with the construction article high enough resolution to scale up for use...

Novel Field Kit
for a Free Flighter

Novel Field Kit for a Free Flighter from August 1970 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)Here is novel idea from well-known free flight modeler Bill Hannan and hobby shop owner Russ Barrera. The pair converted an unused transmitter case into a handy field box for use with free flight models. In addition to adding a hinge and latch to the cover, the retractable antenna sports a small wind sock for judging launch times and even a compass in place of the RF power meter to note the direction of your model as it drifts off into the wild blue yonder when the dethermalizer fails to trigger.

Model Building Tips

Sketchbook - Model Building Tips, August 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThis is the earliest edition I have of Air Trails Hobbies for Young Men, so this is also the first edition of Sketchbook I have. Sketchbook continued for many years as a monthly feature where modelers wrote to the magazine with handy ideas for saving time and/or money, and just for offering tips and suggestions on a different way of doing something. In those days there was not the plethora of accessories available for building models, so a lot of creativity was involved. Even items as commonplace as bellcranks for control line models and dethermalizers for free flight were fabricated from salvaged parts like metal soup cans and hairpins. I'm guessing no magazine today would publish a scheme to attach bottle rockets...

Shoehorn Amphibious
Model Airplane

Shoehorn Amphibious Model, May 1954 Model Airplane News - Airplanes and RocketsHere is a nice, quick project if you have ever wanted to try your hand at an amphibious model airplane. The Shoehorn was originally designed and built as an .049-powered free flight job with a 32" wingspan, but with today's miniature radio systems it could easily be converted to 3-channel operation. For that matter, you can substitute a brushless electric motor for the glow fuel engine that, along with today's high density, low weight Li-Po batteries, would easily provide as much power as the .049. The Shoehorn is of built-up balsa construction with Silkspan and dope covering, but of course there you could substitute iron-on plastic covering available for park flyers (which this would have been considered if park flyers had a name back then).

Allyn .049 Sky Fury
Engine Review

Allyn .049 Sky Fury Engine Review, May 1954 Model Airplane News - Airplanes and RocketsDuring World War II, a lot of leisure activities were sacrificed due to unavailability of raw materials for manufacturing products needed to pursue them. We have all see photos of kids collecting scraps of metal, rubber, and other materials for recycling as components of airplanes, guns, canteens, ships, etc. Aircraft modeling took a hit along with most other hobbies since metal for engines and wood for airplane kits (balsa was popular for shipping contain packing) were scarce. It wasn't until the late 1940s that Leroy Cox was able to begin mass producing his famous line of miniature engines, most notably the .049 family. Other manufacturers - like Allyn - were following suit...

Iron Curtain Engines
- Da? Nyet?

Iron Curtain Engines - da? nyet? from August 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsAmazingly, even during the Cold War years it was not uncommon to see aircraft modelers from the "Iron Curtain" countries participating in international contests. Even Commies like flying model airplanes. Because their societies and politics were so closed and guarded, getting information about their modeling supplies was darn near impossible except during events where inspection could be made. Being a generally friendly bunch of guys, the modelers would share their designs with the Free World, and vice versa. Then, in subsequent years the Commies would show up with equipment that was exact replicas of ours. Truth be know, most or all of the participants were probably KGB agents engaging in extracurricular espionage...

Free Flight
Color and Visibility Chart

Free Flight Color and Visibility Chart, from August 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsMuch has been written about colors and trim patterns that assist in preventing our model airplanes from being lost from flying out of sight against a blue sky or against a background of white, puffy clouds. Free flighters are particularly concerned about such things since their models are at the mercy of air currents. Even dethermalized models can be whisked away, never to be seen again, when a boomer of a thermal or a strong gust of wind asserts its influence. As a flier of radio controlled sailplanes, I can attest to the tense moments when suddenly a model at great altitude transitions from visible to invisible. Down elevator and rudder trim is the best action to set up a spiraling dive until eye contact is made once again...

Jim Walker's A.J. Aircraft
Company Advertisement

A.J. Aircraft Company Ad (Jim Walker), from August 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsJim Walker's A.J. (American Junior) Aircraft Company began operation in 1929, with no way of knowing the doom and gloom that would befall the country in October of the year when the Stock Market crashed and triggered what would become known as The Great Depression. By the time we had begun to come recover from the financial tragedy, World War II was at our doorstep, and a lot of raw materials - balsawood for airframes, metal for engines, rubber for wheels - was being directed toward the defense equipment and supply buildup, supplies were hard to come by. It was a really bad time to be starting a new business. The passion for all things that flew...

Skiddin' II Racing Hydroplane

Skiddin' II, from August 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)Model boat plans are more difficult to come by than model airplane plans, so seeing this article in Air Trails for a small, free-running model hydroplane was a nice find. Its simple, inexpensive construction makes it a quick build for those rare modelers that still build their own models out of wood. The Skiddin' II can easily accommodate a modern miniature radio control system and a brushless motor setup. The original model was designed for a transom-mounted glow fuel outboard engine, but those things make model boat plans look plentiful. If you really want an outboard, try eBay, and be prepared to pay a couple hundred bucks for it.

Rubber Power Wakefield
F.A.I. Free Flight "Gas"

International Meets: Rubber Power Wakefield F.A.I. Free Flight "Gas" from 1955 Annual Edition of Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsAre you an aeromodeler and does your name happen to be Carl Hermes, Rolf Hagen, Robert Dunham, or Donald MacKenzie? Were also you contesting in the free flight realm during the mid 1950s? If so, you might find yourself among these photos taken during the 1954 international FF championships held at the Suffolk County Air Force Base, sponsored by now defunct Convair aircraft company. All those young men are old timers now, as are the models they were flying. Maybe one of these fellows is your father or grandfather. Print out the photo and send it to him if you want to see a grown man cry. Take a close look at the last photo and you will spy none other than Lt. General Jimmy Doolittle...

Amazing Airplanes Photos
from Post WWI - Pre WWII

Amazing Collection of Post World War I - Pre World War II Airplane Photographs - Airplanes and RocketsA couple weeks ago I published an article on my engineering website titled, "Amazing Collection of QSL Cards and Photographs from 1924-1978." If you are an amateur radio operator, you will probably want to take a look at the absolutely huge collection of QSL cards collected over many decades by Mr. Thomas "Tom" Russell Gentry (W5RG). I mention the website here as well because there is an equally amazing collection of post World War I through pre World War II airplane photographs that have most likely never been seen anywhere else. There are hundreds of biplanes and pilots and hangars and engines and officers and aerial reconnaissance views, and a whole lot more. Many show the result of...

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