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

Oaken Paper Towel Holder

Paper Towel Holder Project (made from oak flooring) - 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 disappeared - we probably donated it as with ...

C–47 That Led D-Day Flies Again

C–47 That Led D-Day Flies Again - Airplanes and Rockets"With photographers poised to capture the moment and spectators watching in person and from all over the world online, the C–47 "That's All, Brother" took off from Wittman Regional Airport on a clear, blustery afternoon, circling the airport and concluding the brief flight with an overhead pass, accompanied by a Beechcraft Bonanza chase plane. The flight crew included pilot-in-command Doug Rozendaal, second-in-command Tom Travis, and engineer Ray Claussen. According to the Commemorative Air Force, which acquired and restored the airplane. The Oshkosh flight, the first ..."

Maple Picture Frame with Crewel Needlework

Maple Picture Frame with Crewel Needlework - Airplanes and RocketsAfter just 33 years, this crewel picture that Melanie stitched is complete and has a custom frame. If memory serves correctly, we bought the crewel kit at a Ben Franklin store in Severna Park, Maryland, in 1985 while living in Arnold, Maryland. She started it shortly after getting it, and then it was put away until last year, 2017, when she decided to complete the project. Most, if not all, of the needlework pictures Melanie has done over the years have been placed in custom frames made by me. I've used pine, oak, teak, hickory, mahogany, and now maple for this frame. The maple wood ...

Shape Memory Alloy Key to Morphing Wings on Experimental Aircraft

Shape Memory Alloy Key to Morphing Wings on Experimental Aircraft - Airplanes and Rockets"NASA has successfully used a heat-activated shape memory alloy to morph an aircraft's wings in flight tests, an advance with potential benefits for subsonic and future supersonic aircraft. The flights which took place at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, was part of the SAW (Spanwise Adaptive Wing) project that aims to validate the use of a lightweight material to fold the outer portions of aircraft wings and their control surfaces to optimal angles in flight. SAW ..."

Shoe Rack Project

Shoe Rack Project - Airplanes and RocketsOur one-car garage does not have a lot of extra space in it, especially considering it also holds a riding lawn mower, a snow blower, a backup power generator, and various and sundry yard and car tools. That doesn't leave much room for the assortment of shoes and boots needed by Melanie and me. We had been using a stack of cinder blocks to stuff shoes in, but they looked rather crude and the holes were not really big enough to allow the shoes to be fully enclosed. After completing building a set of stairs into the basement, there were end pieces of the stair treads left over that were just the right width to fit into the space where the cinder blocks used to be stacked. 2x3 framing lumber ...

Vintage Gooseneck Lamp Restoration

Vintage Gooseneck Lamp Restoration - Airplanes and RocketsWhile perusing the local Goodwill store, Melanie and I happened upon this old gooseneck lamp. Unlike most of the newer models found in places like Walmart, this one is made of heavy stamped steel, and the gooseneck part is very sturdy with no plastic. When you bend this lamp into position, it stays exactly where you put it without reflexing back a little. It was just what Melanie needed for use on her sewing table, so we bought it as a fixer-upper. As can be seen in the photos, the original condition was useable, but not ...

Ronald Valentine's Smallest Engines in the World

Ronald Valentine's Smallest Engines in the World - Airplanes and RocketsRonald Valentine engines is one of the very few manufacturers remaining of miniature model aircraft engines - both glow fuel and diesel, single- and multi-cylinder. Prices are amazingly reasonable, too. "We are the manufacturers of the world's smallest model engines. We have been manufacturing miniature model engines for over 30 years. We specialized in 2-stroke diesel engines for model airplanes, boat and cars. Next to this we manufacture multi-cylinder engines 2-stroke and 4-stroke as glow or diesel engines. Our challenge is to develop and present the world's finest ..."

Suzy Homemaker Items, 1967 Montgomery Ward Christmas Catalog

Suzy Homemaker Items, 1967 Montgomery Ward Christmas Catalog - Airplanes and RocketsLike many little girls who were born in the 1960s, Melanie had a small collection of Suzy Homemaker toy appliances. Old photographs from birthdays and Christmases past document the times they were received. Melanie had the Suzy Homemaker Oven / Stove and the Suzy Homemaker Clothes Iron. Since hers was long gone my the time we got married in 1983, we decided to look for them on eBay. As with just about everything ever made, we easily found them in nice condition. Neither the oven nor the iron came with their original boxes because those are very expensive. This page of Suzy ...

Hobby People Ad, March 1970, American Aircraft Modeler

Hobby People Ad, March 1970, American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets

This particular Hobby People advertisement is from page 53 of the March 1970 issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine. Hobby People was probably the first company that I ever did mail order from to get airplane supplies. Hobby People is no longer in operation. All copyrights (if any) are hereby acknowledged. Use the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation calculator to see what items cost in today's dollars. For instance, that $3.99 "Cox .049 Babe Bee" engine would be $26.16 in 2018 money. The "regular" price of $6.00 would be $39.34 in 2018. Cox International ...

Rocket Lab's Electron Rocket Successfully Reaches Orbit for 1st Time

Rocket Lab's Electron Rocket Successfully Reaches Orbit for 1st Time - Airplanes and Rockets"RocketLab has successfully launched their Electron Rocket. It took three small satellites into orbit. The company is preparing for a possible Moon mission later this year. U.S.-based spaceflight startup company, Rocket Lab completed their second successful test flight this weekend reaching orbit for the first time. The company's Electron rocket launched from New Zealand at 2:43 PM local time on Sunday, and successfully deployed three commercial satellites about eight and a half minutes later. This was Electron's first full ..."

Engine Idling Secrets

Engine Idling Secrets, December 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsPrior to the widespread use of mufflers on radio controlled model aircraft engines, exhaust dampers were installed that worked in unison with the throttle. They were oblong or butterfly-shaped flat pieces of metal that pivoted in the center and were connected via a short pushrod to the carburetor's throttle arm. At full throttle, the damper was straight up and down to block the exhaust port as little as possible. At idle, the damper usually totally blocked off the exhaust port; of course some exhaust was still able to exit or the engine would choke out and stop running. The first R/C engines I used in the 1970's came with exhaust dampers ...

Amateur Astronomer Captures Supernova's First Light

Amateur Astronomer Victor Buso Captures Supernova's First Light - RF CafeAnother important discovery by an amateur scientist has occurred. Mr. Víctor Buso was testing a new CCD camera on a 16" personal telescope from his home in Víctor Buso telescope supernova - RF CafeArgentina when he noticed a star suddenly appeared in an exposure. It then grew in brightness over successive exposures. He had captured the very first sighting of a supernova in its initial stage of exploding. Realizing the gravity of his discovery, he alerted the astronomy community. Astronomical research institutions worldwide immediately trained their telescopes on the event to make detailed scientific measurements. Interestingly, this all occurred in September of 2016, but is just now making headlines everywhere ...

The Stanzels of Schulenburg

The Stanzels of Schulenburg, January 1961 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsA couple years ago I posted an article about the Victor Stanzel ElectroMic "Copter" Tethered Helicopter that I had bought on eBay. It was just like the one I had as a pre-teen in the 1960's. If memory serves me correctly, I also had one of the ElectroMic Flash Tethered Airplanes as well. Someday I'll probably buy one of those on eBay. The webpage hyperlinked above has a video embedded that tells the story of the Stanzel Brothers' Model Airplane Museum. You will be amazed at all the types of models they produced - powered airplanes, gliders, helicopters, flying saucers. They were a couple of the earliest pioneers in manufacturing ready ...

SR-72 "Son of Blackbird" Could Be Back - and Hypersonic

SR-72 Hypersonic Spy Plane - Airplanes and Rockets"For years, Lockheed Martin Corp. has been developing a successor to one of the fastest aircraft the world has seen, the SR-71 Blackbird, the Cold War reconnaissance craft that the U.S. Air Force retired almost three decades ago. Lockheed officials have said the hypersonic SR-72 - dubbed the 'Son of Blackbird' by one trade journal - could fly by 2030. But a rather curious talk last week at an aerospace conference by a Lockheed Skunk Works executive implied that the SR-72 might already exist ..."

Aerospace Headline News

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archives -

AOPA Announces 2018 Scholarship Programs

National Aviation Hall of Fame Reveals Class of 2018

Voyager 1 Fires up Thrusters After 37 Years

>$135,000 in Aviation Scholarships Now Available from EAA

Aviation Explorers Launches Youth Representatives Program

Commercial Airliner Hits Drone in Canada

FAA Seeks 'Emergency' Action on Drones

What's Wrong with Experimental Pilots?

Drone Hits Army Helicopter Flying over Staten Island

Review of Russian Airpower

Review of Russian Airpower, February 1942 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsAircraft historians might find the information from this 1942 edition of Flying Aces magazine useful. As has long been the case on many Russian airplanes and helicopters, the basic outlines - and often even the details - are recognizable from the original versions designed by the United States, England, and Germany. The Russkies have been short on design and test capabilities and long on materials, manpower, and espionage agents. It wouldn't be so bad if the copying was not so obvious. Even their attempt at a space shuttle was a carbon copy of ours. If not for their leaders' commitment to Communism and Socialism, Russia could be ...

Float Like a Robot, Think Like a Bee

Float Like a Robot, Think Like a Bee - Airplanes and Rockets"Cornell University engineers have been experimenting with a new type of programming that mimics the mind of an insect. The developed sensors and algorithms may soon support autonomous, small-scale robots like Harvard University's RoboBee, an 80-milligram flier that could perform a variety of roles in agriculture and disaster relief. Even the most lifelike bug-bot could be thrown off by a gust of wind or a mid-air obstacle. Cornell's sensing system aims to steer a RoboBee around trouble, adjusting its flight to avoid ..."

James Webb Space Telescope Completes End-to-End Test

James Webb Space Telescope Completes Critical End-to-End Test - Airplanes and Rockets"NASA's $8.8B James Webb Space Telescope has completed critical end-to-end testing in a giant vacuum chamber at the Johnson Space Center, proving the telescope will work properly in the deep cold of space, bring starlight to a sharp focus and precisely track its astronomical targets when launched in 2019, engineers said Wednesday. 'The successful completion of this test represents a very significant milestone for JWST,' said Bill Ochs, the telescope's project manager at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. 'It verified the alignment of the telescope ..."

How to Bend Music Wire Landing Gear (video)

How to Bend Music Wire Landing Gear (video) - Airplanes and RocketsI am in the process of building a control line C-47 Skytrain model using plans drawn by Walter Musciano. I knew making the scale landing gear was going to be a challenge because it requires bending two pieces of 1/8" music wire with six 90° bends apiece. It seems easy enough in theory, but in practice getting the opposing axel end to line up in opposition is not trivial. Making the first one took two tries, as did the second one. the problem was that the two did not match each other very well. I tried fudging it by bending some weird angles to get the spacing right, but the lengths of the legs were different enough ...

Model World on the International Scene - January 1968

Model World on the International Scene (January 1968 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsDecember 1967 was the last edition of the Academy of Model Aeronautics' American Modeler magazine, and this January 1968 edition of American Aircraft Modeler was the first with the new name. Interestingly, editor Bill Winter does not mention the name change in his monthly "Straight and Level" column. For that matter, I checked up through the May issue and still no mention. Printing and distribution lagged publication for many months back in the day, but usually comments of previous editions began appearing within three or four months. Nothing. Anyway, here are some ...

Video: Model Rocketry - "The Last Frontier" - 1977

Video: Model Rocketry - "The Last Frontier" - 1977 - Airplanes and RocketsWilliam Shatner (aka "Captain Kirk" of the original "Star Trek" television series) hosted this 1977 video produced by Estes Industries. Titled, Model Rocketry - "The Last Frontier", it shows not only snapshots of various Estes model rockets, but also video of actual launches from cameras mounted on the rockets and cameras mounted at the base of the launch pad - pretty cool for the day! ...

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Kirt Blattenberger