"Perhaps it was just a coincidence that led Jason
Capra to a back road in Beach City, Ohio, where he'd spot a
Douglas DC-3 seemingly abandoned in a field. Perhaps it was destiny.
Whatever the forces of the universe were up to that day, it allowed Capra, an airline
pilot and self-described WWII airplane enthusiast, to fulfill his childhood dream of
owning and restoring a piece of history. And this particular airplane is loaded with
history, from its two months as Gen. Douglas MacArthur's personal transport to its service
as Buckeye One for Ohio ..."
From the time of the Wright Brothers' successful
flights at Kill Devil Hill, Americans have been in love with aviation. In the early days,
access to flight was limited to those with know-how and access to the special tools and
materials needed to build your own plane - or those who received training in the military.
By the 1930s, commercially produced private airplanes became affordable to many "regular"
people. As the skies filled with airplanes and more people were flying on commercial
airliners, attending air shows, and learning to fly themselves, some of the mystique
wore off, but the public still loved a good aviation story. Magazines ...
I was not particularly looking for a
scrolling through a list of "vintage" items on the Erie area craigslist.org website,
but when I saw both a men's and a woman's early 1980s era 3-speed bicycles pop up, I
had to call. The guy who had them listed said he bought them both at the local K-Mart
sometime around 1980 for his wife and him. As with many new endeavors that begin enthusiastically
and then die out quickly, neither of them thought the experience was enough to make a
lasting pastime. After only a few rides, the bikes were parked in the garage, never to
be ridden again ...
Website visitor Alain Pons, of France, wrote with
this great information on his decades-long involvement with designing, building, and
flying radio controlled canard model airplanes. Alain graciously agreed to allow me to
post his story, photo. and video. He hopes to soon submit plans for his canard, which
I am sure will be welcome by modelers looking for a proven design to build, so stay tuned.
"Dear Kirt, Very happy to know you are interested of my work on my canards. I think I
am an old dinosaur in aeromodelism. I was born in 1953 and began to glue balsa when I
was 10 years old, following my father in free flight, fly by wire and later R/C. And
now jets and war birds with big radial ..."
I first learned of
because of news coverage of his winning the Experimental Aircraft Associations (EAA)
1962 design contest for his single-seater Fly Baby homebuilt airplane with its unique
foldable wings. That allowed the plane to be easily towed to and from the airport rather
than needing to pay for hangar or tiedown space. Another unique feature is its all-wood
construction - including the landing gear undercarriage. I actually bought a set of plans
and construction manual for the Fly Baby Biplane that Bowers later designed based on
the Fly Baby monoplane; alas, I never did build it. Peter Bowers was an aviation historian
for Boeing Aircraft in Seattle ...
"NASA successfully flight-tested a prototype,
twin-fuselage towed glider that could lead to rockets being launched from pilotless aircraft
at high altitudes—a technology application that could significantly reduce cost and im-
prove efficiency of sending small satellites into space. The one-third-scale twin fuselage
towed glider’s first flight took place Oct. 21, 2014, from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research
Center in California. The towed glider is an element of the novel rocket-launching concept
Towed Glider Air-Launch System (TGALS). NASA Armstrong
The 1950 Academy of Model Aviation (AMA) regulations
listed four model engine displacement ranges: Class A: .000-.200 cu. in., Class B:
.201-.300 cu. in., Class C: .301-.500 cu. in., and Class D: .501-.650 cu. in.
Notice that there was no Class ½A or Class ¼A. That jives with
this 1950 article in Air Trails magazine where the
K&B Torpedo .049 engine
is highlighted. It claims, "Half-A engines started out a short time ago as a mere novelty,
but they caught on fast and every manufacturer was in a hurry to get one on the market."
It is hard to imagine a time when the .049, .020, and .010 engines were not around, but
machinery capable of achieving high production levels of engines with such tight tolerances
Model aviation magazines have a long-held tradition
of dedicating a page or two of each issue to reporting on new products. When I happen
to notice an instance of the first announcement of a model, engine, radio, or device
that is now in common use, I like to post it along with everything else on the page(s).
This September 1967 edition of American Modeler introduced Su-Pr-Line Products' "Nyrod."
That was 60 years ago! I know I have been using Nyrod and its clones for as long as I
can remember, which is since at least the mid 1970s. When properly supported along its
length, Nyrod results ...
As a member of the
Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) since around 1971 (AMA # 94298), I have witnessed
a lot of change in the organization as well as in the model industry. When I first joined
as a teenager, AMA headquarters consisted of rented office space in a Washington, D.C.,
building, Richard Nixon was president, and the war in Viet Nam was on nightly news. AMA
headquarters moved into a brand new building, which included museum space, on purchased
property in Reston, Virginia, in 1983. A growing AMA membership and the desire to consolidate
national competitions to a central location resulted in establishing residence in Muncie,
Indiana, where the 25,000 square-foot Frank V. Ehling Complex celebrated its grand opening ...
Last week I posted the first part of a story
about two 1980s-vintage bicycles I bought from a guy off craigslist. That was the complete
teardown and restoration of Melanie's Columbia Commuter III, 3-speed women's model.
This page has photos from doing the same thing to my
Huffy 3 Timberline,
3-speed men's bicycle. Rather than repeat all the textual description from Melanie's
bike, please click on the above hyperlink to read it; it's not very long. At some point
I will scan and post the owner's manuals for both bicycles. One important aspect worth
repeating is the use of Krud Kutter for removing all the oil and grease ...
to website visitor Ben D. for his $20 donation.
Ben is a fellow lover of "rockets, astronomy, science, eclipses, robotics for next gen,
creativity with the building blocks of the fabric of the universe," etc. The Airplanes
and Rockets website covers a lot of territory from both a hobby and technical perspective.
The world is filled with folks like Ben and me who use our available time in pursuit
of knowledge and having a bit of fun while doing it. Posting the volumes of text and
photos that I do takes a lot of time and dedication, so I appreciate when someone helps
"pay the freight," so to speak. I believe this might be the first ever donation from
With all the reports of powerful men being outed
for abuses against helpless women, this recently discovered article seems timely. Last
summer while visiting a local yard sale I spotted the Sunday, July 21, 1969 edition of
the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper. The front page gushed with coverage of
the historic Apollo 11 moon mission where on the previous day Neil Armstrong and
Buzz Aldrin landed at Tranquility Base. However, turn the page and I found it is consumed
with a report on Senator Ted Kennedy's incident at
Chappaquiddick where he drove his car off that tragically famed bridge. While our
brave astronauts were flying to the moon, Kennedy was killing Mary Jo Kopechne ...
Frank Sinatra decided to drop a cool half-million on an airplane to shuttle his Rat Pack
pals between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, he chose a
Lear Jet. For Bill Lear's company, 1965 was a very good year. Lear
was 61 when he decided to get into the aircraft production business. Although he'd never
designed an airplane, the self-trained engineer was known for his inventions, including
the first jet autopilot, for which he'd received the 1949 Collier Trophy. In the late
1950s, Lear and his family were living in Switzerland, where he hoped to expand his avionics ..."
'V' stood for the five giant F-1 rocket engines—still the most powerful ever built -
clustered at the bottom of the
Saturn V's first stage. At one point a four-engine version, the Saturn
IV, had been considered, but in the complicated tradeoffs that led to the final design
of NASA's moon rocket, the 'V' variant won out. What became the Saturn grew out of a
U.S. military requirement in the late 1950s for a booster big enough to launch large
satellites. Wernher von Braun, who had dreamed as a young engineer in Germany of a rocket
capable of reaching the moon, was enlisted with his U.S. Army ..."
Lilium enables you to travel 5 times faster than
a car by introducing the world's first all-electric vertical take-off and landing jet:
an air taxi for up to 5 people. You won't have to own one, you will simply pay per ride
and call it with a push of a button. It's our mission to make air taxis available to
everyone and as affordable as riding a car. In 1894, Otto Lilienthal began experimenting
with the first gliders and imagined a future in which we could all fly wherever we want ..."
Website visitor George A. wrote to ask for
the dimensions of the Cox model 789-3, 1½-volt
starting battery box so that he can create one using his printer. He also needed
high resolution images of all sides. The photos below show both sides of the flattened
box, along with a ruler for scale. The scans have not been edited except to move the
terminal clips closer to the box to keep file size down, so edit color and sharpness
as you deem fit ...
- Archives -
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
Tragedy of Americana: California Wildfire Destroys 'Peanuts' Creator's
Drones Deliver Storm Response
Vintage Aviation Publications Acquires Warbirds News
'Strega' Dethrones 'Voodoo' at Reno Air Races
"Kim Jong-un could launch nuclear bombing raids
on South Korea using 70-year-old biplanes so slow they cannot be tracked by modern radars.
North Korean despot Kim Jong-un is preparing his special forces for suicide parachute
missions across the border on 70-year-old Stalin era biplanes. The dictator has a fleet
Antonov An-2 transport aircraft which are capable of flying as slow
as 30 miles-per-hour and can even go backwards into a heavy headwind. Footage has emerged
of North Korean paratroops jumping from the aged aircraft ..."
"NASA's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration
in the National Airspace System, or UAS in the NAS, project is attracting international
attention as increasingly complex flight tests take place over NASA's Armstrong Flight
Research Center in California. The project is designed to develop recommendations for
the FAA to safely open the skies to allow UAS to fly in the same airspace with human-piloted
aircraft. Using NASA's remotely piloted Ikhana aircraft as a demonstration platform ..."
Arch Whitehouse authored many aviation-related
techno-thriller mysteries for Flying Aces magazine. He was a British World War I
veteran with the RAF as a mechanic and observer. In this adventure, Hale Aviation Company's
intrepid chief test pilot
took on the challenge of identifying the cause of an unreasonably high number of deaths
of Hellfire aircraft fighter pilots while in the air. I won't spoil the plot by giving
any details of the story. It's a good way to kill 20-30 minutes ...
"UAV designs are a perpetual compromise between the ability to fly
long distances efficiently with payloads (fixed-wing) and the ability to maneuver, hover,
and land easily (rotorcraft). With a very few rather bizarre exceptions, any aircraft
that try to offer the best of both worlds end up relatively complicated, inefficient,
and expensive. A group of researchers from the University of Sherbrooke in Canada have
come very close to making that happen, with a little airplane that uses legs and claws
to reliably perch on walls ..."
electric plane, which uses light and powerful batteries and motors,
is less costly than its gasoline-engine rivals. When you first sit in the cockpit of
an electric-powered airplane, you see nothing out of the ordinary. However, touch the
Start button and it strikes you immediately: an eerie silence. There is no roar, no engine
vibration, just the hum of electricity and the soft whoosh of the propeller. You can
converse easily with the person in the next seat, without headphones. The silence ..."
Here is an interesting bit of history. According
to this article from a 1952 issue of Air Trails magazine, the reason British
model engine designers switched from ignition type engines to
diesel was due
to a shortage of copper element wire and other components brought about by World War II.
Diesels are still very popular in Europe both for model airplanes and full-size automobiles.
The Alternative Fuels Data Center claims that diesel fuel has a 13% greater energy density
that gasoline, which jives with many other independent sources, some of which say overall
efficiency is up to 20% greater. Diesel just has never really "caught on" here in the
U.S. for some reason - maybe its the stinky exhaust. One nice aspect ...
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was a year
away when this article would have been written, given that it appeared in the January
1941 issue of Flying Aces magazine. Major Frederic Ives Lord preferred a light-weight,
inexpensive, more expendable type of aircraft like the P-40 Warhawk than something like
a P-51 Mustang. His thinking being that it would be more effective to overwhelm the enemy
with massive squadrons of airplanes that could be quickly replaced (and pilots, too?)
rather than recovering and repairing battle-damaged aircraft (and their air crew). In
fact, the major envisioned mostly enlisted pilots, akin to the expendable crewmen in
Star Trek - usually identifiable by their red ...