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

Rocket Trails: Engine Performance

Rocket Trails: Basic Info on Propulsion Systems for Small "Birds", October 1962 American Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets'Old Rocketeer' Harry Stein, who authored the monthly "Rocket Trails" column in American Modeler magazine for many years, presents here a simple treatment of the technicalities of model rocket engines such as those produced by Estes, Centauri, and Model Missiles (of those, only Estes still makes motors), but Quest and Aerotech are other modern model rocket motor suppliers. Specific impulse, thrust, burn time, motor sizes, delay times, and ejection charges, etc. are all covered

Sound Broadcasting from Airplanes

Sound Broadcasting from Airplanes, September 1947 Radio News - RF CafeUntil maybe 20 to 30 years ago, there was still a certain amount of awe associated with new applications of technology. It seems anymore people are so accustomed to new and amazing things - usually at affordable prices - that the wonder is gone. Advancements are expected. The world is moving so fast that it is difficult to absorb and fully appreciate all the work being done. In 1947, both airplanes and electronics were still relatively new to a lot of people, especially in more rural areas, so a whiz-bang scheme like broadcasting messages from an airplane was

SpaceShipOne Coming to AMA Museum

SpaceShipOne Test Model Coming to National Model Aviation Museum - Airplanes and RocketsDan Kreigh of Scaled Composites and RutanRC has loaned a RC test model of SpaceShipOne to the National Model Aviation Museum. Not only is this RC test model of historical significance, it is the predecessor to the SpaceShipOne RC model now available through the RutanRC Kickstarter campaign. You have until Monday, May 25 to order your SpaceShipOne with White Knight RC models for $169.

Elementary Modeling: Half-A Control-Line

Elementary Modeling: Half-A Control-Line, July 1951 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsHalf-A (aka 1/2A, 1/2-A, and A/2) control line flying has been a staple of the model airplane hobby for at least 3/4 of a century. Because of the relative low cost and low complexity of the engine, airframe, and fuel consumption, 1/2-A has been the entry point for untold thousands of kids and adults - an 'entry drug' of sorts because many of those people, myself included, get 'hooked' and move on to bigger (but not necessarily better) things as the years and decades go by. The well-known Cox (L.M. Cox Manufacturing) ready-to-fly plastic models are no longer produced, but some of the .049 engine parts and even some

Radio-Operated Airplanes

Radio Operated Airplane, January 1946 Radio News - RF CafeWhen I first saw this article from a 1946 edition of Radio News, I did a double-take on the author's name, thinking it was written by long-time model aviation author and magazine editor William 'Bill" Winter. It was actually done by a fellow named Winters, not Winter. An enthusiastic radio control (R/C) evangelist in his day, Bill Winter wrote many pieces for electronics magazines such as Popular Electronics. As I have noted in the past, hobbyists in the electronics realm, as well as in the fields of aircraft and rocket design, contribute mightily to the state of the art. Such is also the case in many other arts and sciences. Here we have a report of some of the earliest radio controlled flying 'drones,' as we call them today. They are a far cry from the

L.M. Cox Manufacturing Advertisement - 1953 Air Trails

Cox Thimble Drome Ad, November 1953 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsLiving one's whole life in the past is never a good thing, but it doesn't hurt to spend a little time harkening back to the roots of our fine hobby of aeromodeling. One of the most readily accessible venues is vintage magazines like American Modeler, Air Trails, etc. Looking at the of the old advertisements really brings back memories of the items I drooled over as a kid. $6.95 for a Space Bug isn't much in 2015 money, but according to the BLS's Inflation Calculator, that amount was equivalent to $61.10 in 1953. A newspaper delivery boy's pay made such purchases a little difficult, and my parents certainly were in no position to buy stuff for me

Beechcraft Debonair Article & Plans

Bonanza Debonair Article & Plans, July 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Eduardo wrote to ask that I scan and post this construction article for the Beechcraft Bonanza Debonair. I am glad to do so for anyone, at no charge, as time permits. Usually, I am able to get requests completed within a couple days. If plans are still available through the AMA Plans Service, then only lower resolution versions are posted (typically 1500 pixels wide) in order to not cheat the AMA out of needed revenue. Besides, there are distortions in the scaled-up magazine version that would not be present in the AMA's reproductions from the originals. The AMA Plans Service will provide a version of the plans at a size different from the original, so, for

Multi-Cylinder Engines

Multi-Cylinder Engines, March 1967 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsMulti-cylinder model aircraft engines add an incredible degree of 'wow factor' to any model, whether inline, opposed, or radial. From a functional perspective, multi-cylinder engines are notable smoother in operation because when properly configured the pistons are moving in opposite directions and therefore tend to cancel each other's mass acceleration. More cylinders gets more vibration cancellation. Torque effects are the same as for any equivalent displacement engine as engine speed changes. The other great advantage of a multi-cylinder engine is better idling characteristics. Producing a multi-cylinder engine take more than simply coupling two or more engines to the same thrust line since timing issues, even with glow engines than have no separate ignition

Notable Quote on the Future of Missile Mail

Arthur Summerfield on Missile Mail - RF Cafe Notable Quote"Before man reaches the moon, mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to England, to India or to Australia by guided missiles." - Arthur Summerfield, U.S. Postmaster General. On June 8, 1959, in a move that PG Summerfield heralded as "of historic significance to the peoples of the entire world," the Navy submarine USS Barbero fired a guided missile carrying 3,000 letters towards the naval auxiliary air station in Mayport, Florida. Racing along at about 600 miles per hour, the guided missile traveled the more than 100 miles from the deck of the submarine off the coast of Florida to the air station in about 22 minutes

Model Aviation in the News

- Archives -

NASA to Launch Donut-Like Flying Saucer into Space on June 2

Solar Impulse E-Plane Awaits 'Moment of Truth'

10-Engine Electric Plane Prototype Takes Off

What You Need to Know About the Laws of Space

Boat Designers off to a Flying Start

Venus Plane Pushed for Next NASA New Frontiers Mission

Navy Extends UAV Range with 1st In-Flight Refueling

Hubble Space Telescope Marks 25 Years in Orbit

10-Engine Electric Plane Prototype Takes Off

Aeromobil Flying Car Crashes During Critical Test

Drone Claims to Be World's Smallest

NASA's Shape-Shifting Plane Wings Pass Initial Flight Tests

Citizen-Ship Model SPX Single-Channel R/C System

Citizen-Ship Model SPX Transmitter & Receiver - Airplanes and RocketsMy very first radio control system was a single-channel Citizen-Ship Model SPX like this one I bought on eBay. I stupidly sold my original, which was in mint condition and still in the box many years ago, this example is in used condition, but still looks pretty good. A little isopropyl alcohol and 409 cleaner did a nice job of cleaning the 'used-ness' off of it. This was one of the first transistorized production radio systems which, along with other such systems, prompted a lot of people to get into radio control since cost, size, weight, and complexity were greatly reduced. Much greater immunity to vibration and electrical noise effects made reliability much better as

1953 AMA Nationals

The Nationals, November 1953 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThe Naval Air Station at Lakehurst, New Jersey, was the venue for the 1953 aeromodeling "Nationals." Lakehurst was still fresh in the minds at the time of everyone there because of the Hindenburg Zeppelin airship disaster that occurred a mere 16 years earlier (1937). All events, including indoor, were flown at the same location thanks to the immense size of the field and hangar. Those of us who have been in the the realm for a few decades will recognize some of the names of folks in attendance. It's kind of sad to think that many of the people captured in the photos here are gone from this Earth by now. Hopefully, a family member or friend will find mention of them here and be given a chance to enjoy

The Aircraft Radio Serviceman

The Aircraft Radio Serviceman (Piper Cub), April 1946 Radio News - RF CafeAircraft electronics has always been on the bleeding edge of technology because of the ever-increasing need to fly in the widest range of atmospheric conditions possible. Accordingly, skills needed by avionics servicemen are amongst the highest required in any electronics field. There are still many pieces of vintage equipment in service that need to be maintained, but even 20- to 30-year-old airborne radars and navigational units require top-notch techs to troubleshoot and align. One topic in particular that plagues electronics operation even in modern airframes is that of static electricity build-up and lightning strikes. We all face those kinds of static discharge hazards in non-aviation environment, but for the most part a failure on the ground or water is not as imminently

Southern Senior High School Class of 1976 Yearbook

Southern Senior High School Class of 1976 Yearbook Photos - Airplanes and RocketsThese images were scanned from my 1976 yearbook for Southern Senior High School in Harwood, Maryland. Only pages with information on Seniors is included. Birthdates have been covered over, but everything else remains. Please let me know if you would like your picture and/or information removed. On the other hand, if you would like to send additional information for posting or would like me to send you the full-resolution scan of your page, then please send me an e-mail. A full list of all the names that go with these photos can be found at the bottom of this page. Having them in text format (versus a photo) will allow search engines to find your name and associate it with Southern Senior High School. Oh, and yes, all the photos are in

Adding Scale Detail to Your B-24 Bomber Flying Model

Adding Scale Detail to Your B-24 Bomber Flying Scale Model, September 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThis is part two of a control line B-24 Liberator article that appeared in two 1954 issues of Air Trails magazine. Part one covered construction of the model and had the framework plans. Part two, here has plans and instructions for adding lots of good detail to the model if so desired. Paint, special markings, guns and turrets, pilot, and airframe and cockpit drawings make the job easier. It is hard to believe that as I write this, the article was published nearly 60 years ago

San Francisco's Busy Boatmen

San Francisco's Busy Boatmen, September 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThe craftsmanship skill level exhibited by many of the early model boat builders is amazing, but then so is that of model airplane, model train, and model car builders. Scale model rocket builders have had it relatively easy because typically other than a faithful reproduction of a paint job, there is very little in the way of external ornamentation or functional gadgetry to replicate. The number of hours required to turn out even a fairly simple wooden-hulled sailboat or tugboat is a lot more than most modelers would be willing to dedicate to a single project. As with so many other models that appear in these vintage magazines, I wonder where these models are today. How many have survived the ravages of time, household

R/C Notes

R/C Notes, January 1956 Popular Electronics - Airplanes and RocketsWhen Popular Electronics began publication in October of 1954, its editors included both radio control modeling and amateur radio as regular features. The magazine's target audience was made up of professional, student, and hobbyist electronics aficionados who often mixed their interest in electronics with another hobby; e.g., the aforementioned R/C and Ham radio, but also counted amongst readers were audiophiles looking for top-notch systems, do-it-yourselfer (DIY) domestic gadget makers, and automotive enthusiasts. It might seem like today there is not as much interest in such endeavors  as in times past, but the plethora of hobby type magazines still being published in hard copy, electronically,

Author: Kirt Blattenberger on Google+
Kirt Blattenberger
Tower Hobbies logo - Airplanes and RocketsCall me a Tower Hobbies groupie, or maybe I'm just lazy, but I have been ordering most (probably >90%) of my modeling supplies from Tower Hobbies since they first opened in the 1970s. I remember anxiously awaiting delivery of my first Carl Goldberg 1/2A Skylane from them. That was before the Internet, when mail order involved hand-writing your order on a form and enclosing a check or money order in an envelope, then dropping it in the mailbox. 3-4 weeks was a typical turn-around time. No, I do not get any perks for posting this.

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