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AMA 92498 | ©1996-2014

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

Model Aviation
in the News

- Archives -

Can Birds Be Trained to Bring Down Drones?

UK Designed Nano Drone to Fly in CES

FAA: Near-Collisions Between Drones, Airliners Surge

European Space Plane Set For February Launch

FAA Can Regulate Small Drones: NTSB Reverses Judge's Ruling

SpaceX Will Try to Land Rocket on Floating Ocean Platform

'Flying Doughnuts': Airbus Files Patent for New Kind of Plane

Orion Rocket Flight Marks 'Milestone' for NASA Space Program

World Championship FAI F2 Control Line Results, Wloclawek, Poland

Wounded Warrior Project Speaker at AMA Expo

Home-Brew Observatory Detects Exoplanet

Waking New Horizons Craft on Pluto's Doorstep

Drone Strikes Woman at Crowded Market

11 Robots Take Flight

AMA to Host Live Q&A Regarding Recent Drone Legislation

"I Almost Killed Someone with a Drone" (morons like this are the problem)

Astronomers Watching Extreme Storms on Uranus

NASA Eyes Revolutionary Aircraft Wing Technology

Wireless Devices Used by Casual Pilots Vulnerable to Hacking

DARPA Wants to Turn Large Planes into Aircraft Carriers for UAS

Amazon Hiring Drone Pilots for Delivery Service

A Bird's Secret
to Handling Turbulence

A Bird's Secret to Handling Turbulence - Airplanes and RocketsUniversity of Oxford mathematical biologist Graham K. Taylor has been studying bird flight for more than a decade using a trained steppe eagle named eagle named Cossack. For this study, Cossack wore a recording device to track the details of his flight, like speed, turns and altitude. It turns out that 'wing tucks' are used to smooth out turbulence. I've seen it done many times, but never knew the reason. This video show the maneuver.

RealFlight Mobile R/C Flight
Simulator - FREE!

RealFlight Mobile R/C Flight Simulator - FREE! - Airplanes and RocketsIf anything has tempted me to finally get a smartphone or a tablet, this new FREE R/C flight simulator offering by RealFlight is it! This is at the same time a great public relations campaign and a slick advertising tool to get people hooked and want to buy the full PC version (that I've had). Click one of the icons below to download the software free either for your iOS or Android device. The RealFlight Mobile app features Beginner, Intermediate & Realistic presets, a Help menu showing controls and versions, onscreen "joysticks" for easy control, volume adjustment, 2 camera modes, controller adjustments and sensitivity, physics

Wizrod 350 Freeflight
Article & Plans

Wizrod 350 Freeflight Plans & Article from July 1972 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Bob P. wrote from New Zealand to ask that I scan and post this Wizrod 350 article and plans from the July 1972 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. Wizrod 350 is a ½A free flight job designed by Ron St. Jean. Bob has been a fan of St. Jean's models from the 1950s and 60s, and wants to see how the designs progressed into the 1970s. Billed by the author as "an uncomplicated high-performance FF power design," the Wizrod 350 would make a good subject for a vintage craft.

Author: Kirt Blattenberger on Google+ Author:
Kirt Blattenberger

Great Lakes Trainer
Article & 3-View

Great Lakes Trainer 3-View & Article (September 1970 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsThe Great Lakes Trainer has been kitted by many manufacturers over the years. Its proportions, designed to make it stable and easy to fly in its full-size format makes it ideal for free flight, control line, or radio control. Its classic lines and a unique engine and cowling arrangement makes the Great Lakes Trainer a stand-out in any lineup of biplanes. This article is a historical insight into the airplane and offers a detailed 3-view that will serve the scale modeler who needs accurate dimensional and cross-sectional references for judges to use in scoring fidelity.

Bristol Monoplane Scout

Bristol Monoplane Scout Article & Plans, June 1960 Aero Modeller - Airplanes and RocketsAlthough originally designed and built for free flight, this fairly large scale mode of the Bristol Scout monoplane could easily be adapted for control line or radio control flying. With a wingspan of 46 inches and a robust airframe, it can withstand the rigors of aerobatic flight. Replacing the glow fuel engine with a modern brushless motor and LiPo batteries helps keep the vibration and therefore wear and tear to a minimum, and also avoids getting messy fuel all over your nice airplane. Since these plans are no longer available, you can click the one presented below to get the full resolution version. It was only

Supersonic Killers

Supersonic Killers, July 1951 Air Trails - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)Already in 1951, a mere half decade after Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier in his Bell X-1, the world was gearing up for the new reality of supersonic warfare. Air superiority as a significant tactical advantage on the battlefield was well-established during World War II, itself only half a decade in the past at the time this article in a 1951 edition of Air Trails. The learning curve was steep but the progress fast on how to build and fly aircraft operating beyond Mach 1. Crazy phenomena like aileron control reversal came as a surprise to engineers and pilots on the bleeding edge of that technology, and were major issues that need to be dealt with and mitigate. Here is a wee bit of early history on

Cobra C/L Stunt Article & Plans

Cobra C/L Stunt, February 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsAs with all highly competitive endeavors, whether they be sports, academics, or cooking, top contenders get where they are a the top of the list through indefatigable application of physical and/or mental aptitude. In events such as model aircraft building and flying, simply following the lead of others is usually not enough to attain the ultimate goal of being a world class celebrity. Such is the case of Steve Wooley and his Cobra control line stunt model. At this point in the evolution of C/L aerobatics, improvements in airframes and engines are subtle, so pilot skill be

Carl & Jerry
Trapped in a Chimney

Carl & Jerry: Trapped in a Chimney, January 1956 Popular Electronics - Airplanes and RocketsAll three of my hobbies are contained in this episode of Carl & Jerry - electronics, astronomy, and airplanes! For as clever as the two teenagers are, they sure do manage to get themselves into some sticky situations due to what can only be termed as stupidity. This is not the first time their future relied on a fairy large number of people being 'out there' who were familiar with Morse code. Supporting the claim that trends run in cycles, the ignition-type model engine common in the mid 1950s eventually gave way to glow fuel engines, but nowadays miniature electronic ignition systems have made

200 MPH Volkswagen"
Witt's Vee

200 MPH Volkswagon? Witt's Vee (February 1974 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsSteve Wittman, aka 'The Grand Old Man of Air Racing,' was a prolific airplane designer, builder, and pilot. His Wittman Tailwind homebuilt airplane was very popular and proved to be fast and efficient for its size and power. The 'Formula Vee' racer, motivated by a highly modified Volkswagen engine, easily broke the 170 mph speed benchmark. Making outside-the-box tradeoffs like suffering the drag of wing bracing wires for a lighter and thinner airfoil are what made Wittman a crafty - and winning - designer. A scale model of the Wittman Vee might benefit from a slightly thicker airfoil and larger tail surfaces unless you want to have to aggressively fly the craft

Sopwith Pup Article & Plans

Sopwith Pup Article & Plans from the June 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)A modern miniature radio control system rather than a galloping ghost setup and a brushless motor rather than a glow fuel engine would be a great combination for this scale Sopwith Pup from the June 1971 edition of American aircraft Modeler. Joe Hankes' 33" wingspan version of this World War I biplane is in the manner of the late 1960s very solidly constructed in order to withstand the grueling pounding of internal combustion engine powerplants. With a little judicious material substitution the airframe weight could be whittled down considerably

Kenhi Advertisement

Kenhi Advertisement, November 1953 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsMaybe I should be embarrassed to admit it, but for some reason Kenhi is not a familiar name to me. The company from Burbank, California kitted half a dozen control line stunters, the most notable of which was the Panther, by Hi Johnson. This advertisement appeared in the November 1953 edition of Air Trails. Another Kenhi model, the Cougar, is kitted today by RSM Distribution for competition in the Classic Stunt class. My BJM Enterprise-E electric control line stunter was cut and kitted by RSM, so I know they provide a quality product.

My Enterprise-E C/L Stunter
Is Finally Finished!

Enterprise-E Control Line Stunt Model (Supermodel Melanie holding) - Airplanes and RocketsIt certainly took long enough (due to being busy with other things), but my BJM Enterprise-E is finally complete and ready for its maiden flight! With an advertised wing area of 357 in2, that works out to a wing loading of 0.0922 oz/in2 (13.3 oz/ft2). MotoCalc thinks the provided 30 A ESC is inadequate, so I'll have to be careful with the motor speed and run time. The center of gravity is exactly where indicated on the plans. Hopefully, I'll be back soon with news of a successful experience!

Straight Talk About
Straight Shooting

Straight Talk About Safe Shooting, September 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)Here is something you will probably never find today: a gun shooting club in a public school. As late as the 1970s when I was in high school, gun clubs were common. There were even gun clubs in New York City high schools. Members would bring their .22 rifles with them (often while riding subway trains) for use on the range and during classroom instruction. Shooting ranges used to built in the basements of urban schools that did not have outside areas for use. In the last few years, merely mentioning any kind of gun, pointing your finger like a pistol, or even biting your Pop Tart into a shape that can be perceived by a

Featured Book: Flying RC Models

Flying RC Models - Airplanes and RocketsFlying RC Models, by David Crocker. This Kindle e-book is about David's memories of over 50 years of flying radio controlled model airplanes. Back in the mid 1960's after finishing his education he took up his old hobby again. First he tried single channel with rubber powered compound escapements moving the rudder. One pulse for right rudder, two for left and three pulses activated the secondary escapement for a one stage change throttle setting. A one stage change meant the throttle moved from, for instance, low

Wright Brothers Crossword

Wright Brothers Crossword Puzzle for December 14, 2014 - Airplanes and Rockets111 years ago this week (December 17, 1903), Orville and Wilbur Wright made their historic first flight whereby a human and aircraft took off and flew under its own power. The Wright Flyer, piloted by Orville, took off from rails on a dune at Kill Devil Hills, NC, and Wright Flyer crossword - Airplanes and Rocketsremained airborne for 120 feet before landing on the beach below. The location was chosen for the orographic lift generated by the ocean winds blowing up the sandy slopes. This week's crossword commemorates the event by incorporating many relevant terms and clues. Enjoy!

How the V-2 Rocket
Was Wirelessly Controlled

How the V-2 Rocket Is Wirelessly Controlled, April 1945 Radio News - RF CafeHere I go again saying how Germany missed an opportunity - twice - to be the world's technical superpower by starting wars that numerically proved it could never win. Scientists and engineers of Deutschland designed and implemented what would be the first wirelessly guided missile for correcting the flight path of the V-2 rocket (the 'V' stood for Vergeltungswaffe, or vengeance weapon). This article from a 1945 edition of Radio News describes how a radio 'cone' was formed by a ground-based transmitter array that caused an airborne guidance system to keep the rocket on course during the boost phase of its flight. Embarrassingly, I don't recall

Elmira's Greatest Soaring
Nationals - 1953

Elmira's Greatest Soaring Nationals, November 1953 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsElmira, New York, has long been a major soaring locale, both for full-size and radio controlled model aircraft. This 1953 article on the soaring nationals held there contains a very familiar name to anyone who followed the 'Gossamer' series of human-powered aircraft in the the 1970s and 80s - Paul MacCready. The propellers of the Condor and Albatross used propellers built up of spruce and balsa, and covered with Monokote. His company, AeroVironment, is still in operation creating breakthrough technology for aircraft of many types. Paul won the title of National Soaring Champion that year (his third time)

Jaunty Alouette Ducted Fan
Jet Control Line Model

Jaunty Alouette Ducted Fan, September 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)"Jaunty Alouette" is a play on the French folk song "Gentille Alouette" (which means "nice lark"). This ducted fan control line model by Roy Clough, Jr., is the result of many evolutionary stages of ducted fan propulsion systems. Early ducted fans were basically a wide-blade, small diameter propeller placed inside a tube (duct). Not a lot of engineering went into the design to maximize efficiency. Over time, cones were placed before and after the engine and propeller (impeller, or fan) in order to direct the air mass in ways that created the greatest velocity, and hence the greatest thrust. Modern ducted fan

RealFlight 7.5 Now Available!

RealFlight 7.5 Now Available! - Airplanes and RocketsGreat Planes RealFlight 7.5 with Interlink Elite Mode 2. Airplane and helicopter simulations. This price through Amazon is as good or beter as buying it through Tower Hobbies, but doing it here helps support my work on the website. Free shipping. Thank you very much!

Models of Models

Models of Models, May 1954 Model Airplane News - Airplanes and RocketsUpon seeing this article I immediately thought about the famous "Triple Self Portrait" painting by Norman Rockwell. I suppose to truly be an analogy to triple object it would require building a model of a model of a full-size airplane rather than being a model of a free flight model. It's a unique concept.

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Supermodel Melanie Blattenberger holding my Aquila Spirit glider - Airplanes and Rockets
My lovely enabler, Melanie
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