was another dream of mid-last-century visionaries. It was the post World War II
era where, following the demonstration of nuclear energy's awesome capacity demonstrated
in Japan, plans were being made to harness its capacity for peaceful uses. Large scale
atomic power electricity and steam generation stations being designed and built. So,
too, were personal nuclear power packs, atomic-powered car, boats, submarines, airplanes,
rockets, and trains envisioned. Unfortunately, designers soon learned that safe containment
of the fuel made small form factor generators impractical. Unfortunately, a few accidents
in power stations has spooked ...
Notice the tail number has been blotted out. "A
student pilot who was training at Fullerton Airport in southern California is in major
trouble after an incident on Sunday. Too eager for his first solo, the man took a Cessna
172 from a local flying club
without permission, but was unable to successfully complete his mission.
Fullerton's airport manager Brendan O’Reilly said the student pilot had recently joined
the RI Flying Club, which had the Cessna 172 as part of its fleet. O'Reilly said the
flying club has been operating at the airport for more than 30 years without any incidents.
The student pilot was not qualified to fly the airplane solo, but somehow snagged the
keys and took the airplane to the skies. The student pilot made not one, not two, not
three, not four, but five attempts at landing, each time messing up the airplane more ..."
John Collins is the undisputed
Paper Airplane Guy. He set a new world record flight distance of
26 feet, 10 inches, in 2012. He wrote a book titled,
The World Record Paper Airplane and International Award Winning Designs.
This article is from an appearance on the Conan O'Brien show, and includes a video of
Mr. Collins demonstrating how to fold and launch paper airplanes ...
"The San Diego Air & Space Museum's Library &
Archives recently launched a new online exhibit commemorating the
100th Anniversary of U.S. Airmail. On a fog-shrouded May 15th, in
1918, the first airplane to provide regularly scheduled airmail service in the United
States took off from the Potomac Park polo grounds in Washington, D.C., headed to New
York City, a 218-mile route. Sponsored by the U.S. Post Office, and personally sent off
by President Woodrow Wilson, this has proven to be a most important day in our nation's
Flying model helicopters of any sort were fairly
rare in 1952, when this edition of Air Trails magazine hit the news stands.
The sophisticated, miniaturized, smart stabilization systems of today's models were not
available at any price, and radio control was the realm of military research vehicles.
Methods for driving the rotors included glow and gas engines, rubber bands, and even
Jetex engines. Many free flight helicopters sported the
of a pair of engines at the end of a moment arm which caused rotation. Cox .010 and .020
engines were a popular choice, as were the Jetex engines. I always wondered what happened
Every couple years a Crosley 03CB
console radio shows up on eBay. I
keep a Saved Search to get an e-mail when one becomes available, mainly to get an idea
of how many are still around. My research based on Newspaper.com issues of old newspaper
advertisements indicates the Crosley 03CB models were primarily sold in the PA, NJ, NY,
DE, CT, OH, and MD areas. Per the eBay listing: "Working condition, lights up and plays
some stations. Need some refinishing on the cabinet." If you are looking for a restoration
project, this would be a good subject for only $50. As can be seen from
my restored Crosley 03CB radio, the cabinet and electronics are very
robust and attractive. It's worth a look ...
"It was a beautiful Sunday morning, and nobody
was flying. My open-cockpit biplane, a
Great Lakes 2T-1A-1, was just the answer for a relaxing start to
the day. It's a great airplane for sightseeing. It flies low and slow, and turns on a
dime. I departed Montgomery Airport (KMYF) in San Diego and put down at nearby Gillespie
Field (KSEE) for a delicious cheese omelet. When I departed, it was still a ghost town;
the Gillespie controller even offered an intersection departure on the perpendicular
runway, just for fun. I departed into the clear, gorgeous empty sky. What could possibly
go wrong? I let my instincts ..."
1962 AMA Nationals competition was considered the first major contest for scale radio
controlled airplanes. To wit, this article from the 1963 Annual edition of American
Modeler, says R/C scale "finally 'came of age.'" Proportional radio sets were becoming
common and the reliability of the airborne electronics and batteries was going up while
weight and size was coming down. Modelers were much more willing to trust the radios
to safely control models that often took many hundreds of hours to build. Sharing frequencies
at or near to the 27 MHz band allocated by the FCC to R/C was still a huge risk,
but the venues of major contests provided protected areas that were far enough from most
"Drones are not, as is often assumed, a 21st-century
development. Far from it. Their history goes back more than 100 years, but the rate
at which they are changing our everyday life continues to accelerate. So we thought it
is worth looking back and seeing where the concept came from, how it developed, and where
it stands today. Given the current rate of change, it's obvious we're only seeing the
tip of what is going to turn out to be a very big technological and cultural iceberg.
Drones constitute a fundamental transformation in both military and
civilian realms. In an unmanned air system (UAS), the miniaturization in technologies ..."
1938 was still two decades away from when America
would launch its first Earth-orbiting satellite and three decades from when man would
first walk on the moon, yet work was well underway by enthusiastic aerospace engineers,
scientists, astronomers, project managers, and others to accomplish those goals. While
article boasts of rockets attaining speeds of 800 miles per hour, leaving Earth's gravitational
pull for a trip to the moon would require a escape velocity of 25,000 miles per hour.
Telescopes powerful enough to survey the moon's surface for determining a safe location
for landing were being readied with telescopes like constructed 200-inch Hale reflector ...
"MIT engineers have designed a
robotic glider that can skim along the water’s surface, riding the wind like an albatross
while also surfing the waves like a sailboat. In regions of high wind, the robot is designed
to stay aloft, much like its avian counterpart. Where there are calmer winds, the robot
can dip a keel into the water to ride like a highly efficient sailboat instead. The robotic
system, which borrows from both nautical and biological designs, can cover a given distance
using one-third as much wind as an albatross and traveling 10 times faster than a typical
sailboat. The glider is also relatively lightweight, weighing about 6 pounds. The researchers
Less than a year before the U.S. was officially
drawn into World War II with surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, American fighter pilot
Lieutenant Thomas McBride provided this first-hand report on what he perceived to be
the current status of the
German air force (Luftwaffe). While in France he noted bizarre behavior of young
German pilots, often with no more than a few hours of flight instruction, making deadly
rookie flying mistakes and strafing ambulances and farm animals for sport and blood lust.
Older pilots with slower reflexes were put in higher performance aircraft and could not
compete with younger British pilots, while plebes in the same airplanes could not, due
to insufficient training, handle the power and maneuverability. Blacking out under high
G forces and not allowing sufficient altitude for vertical bombing runs spelled the end
to many Luftwaffe airmen ...
Having been a typical kid in the 1960s and '70s,
I had an Erector Set.
It was Set 3 per my memory, based on remembering the box lid picture. You might recall
a set or two of your own. Alfred Carlton Gilbert founded the A.C. Gilbert company in
1909 in Westville, Connecticut, and produced many varieties of Erector Sets, as well
as other educational hobby items like chemistry sets (I had one of those, too). The
A.C. Gilbert Engineering Society website has a really
nice history on the company and lots of photos - including likely one of the Erector
Set your parents gave you ...
"For robots of all sizes, power is a fundamental
problem. Any robot that moves is constrained in one way or another by power supply, whether
it's relying on carrying around heavy batteries, combustion engines, fuel cells, or anything
else. It's particularly tricky to manage power as your robot gets smaller, since it's
much more straightforward to scale these things up rather than down - and for really
tiny robots (with masses in the hundreds of milligrams range), especially
those that demand a lot of power, there really isn't a good solution. In practice, this
means that on the scale of small insects ..."
SIG Manufacturing, forever located in Montezuma,
Iowa, is among the ranks of a dwindling number of America's original model airplane kit
and accessories makers and distributors. Sig's catalog from the early 1970s was the first
hobby catalog I ever owned. You can bet I read it cover-to-cover many times, wishing
to own everything on its pages. In case you don't know, the name SIG is a shortened version
of Sigafoose, which is the last name of the company founders, Glen and Hazel Sigafoose.
According to a press release, "In February 2011 SIG Manufacturing Co., Inc. was purchased
by Herb Rizzo (President), David Martin (VP and General Manager), and Ron Petterec (VP) ...
This is the January 25, 1942, "Flyin'
Jenny" comic strip. The Baltimore Sun newspaper, published not far from
where I grew up near Annapolis, Maryland, carried "Flyin' Jenny" from the late 1930s
until the strip ended in the mid 1940s, so I saved a couple dozen from there. The first
one I downloaded has a publication date of December 7, 1941 - that date "which will live
in infamy," per President Roosevelt. Many Americans were receiving word over the radio
of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor while reading this comic at the breakfast table.
I expect that soon there will be World War II themes. "Flyin' Jenny," whose real
name was Virginia Dare (what's in a name?) ...
"Promising results from recent ground testing
and a funding boost provided by a new NASA budget passed by Congress earlier this year
helped NASA leadership decide that the 4-pound Mars Helicopter could be ready in time
for launch with the space agency's next rover mission in July 2020. 'You should see the
big smile on my face right now,' said Mimi Aung, project manager for the Mars Helicopter
mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. 'It's phenomenal
because this has never been done before.' In an interview with Spaceflight Now on Friday,
Aung said nearly 5 years ..."
Website visitor Dan T. (see his photos from
a decades-ago use of this method) wrote to ask that I scan and post this article, which
appeared in the 1962 Annual edition of American Modeler magazine, on
making fiberglass cowls. It is a variation on vacuum bagging that exploits the even
tension applied by the elasticity of a rubber balloon. Although limited to relatively
small forms, it has the advantage of low cost and complexity, and it eliminates the potential
nuisance of the mold release agent not being fully coated and causing separation issues.
This method will probably not work too well with shapes that need localized indented
areas more than 1/32" to maybe 1/16" deep (like cooling fins). The article did not originally
"Recent research demonstrated that, although most
wing shapes used today create turbulent wake vortices, wing geometrics can be designed
to reduce or eliminate wingtip vortices almost entirely. In the study, the vortex and
wake characteristics were computed for three classic wing designs: the elliptic wing,
and wing designs developed in classic studies by the researchers. It's common to see
line-shaped clouds in the sky, known as contrails, trailing behind the engines of a jet
airplane. What's not always visible is a vortex coming off of the tip of each wing -
like two tiny horizontal tornadoes - leaving behind a turbulent wake ..."
today's standards, warbirds are clunky, noisy, dirty, inefficient and expensive to operate,
not to mention almost completely impractical. Despite those drawbacks, owning and operating
a warbird can be thrilling. Flying an ex-military airplane demands pilots update their
flying experience to ready themselves for the challenges of handling an airplane that’s
often configured with conventional landing gear and connected to power plants that create
sizable amounts of torque. Most warbird pilots told us they began their warbird experience
by logging time in either a T-6 or Stearman ..."
Rosie the Riveter is perhaps most recognized symbol
of wartime aircraft production, having come about in World War II (although women
also built trucks, tanks, guns, sewed uniforms, made boots,...). She is also symbolic
of women entering
the workforce en masse. After WWII, many women went back to being housewives and
raising families with war-weary servicemen looking to resume peaceful lives. The respite
didn't last long, as the Korean conflict began within a week of the time the first atom
bomb was dropped on Japan in August of 1945. The U.S. entered the fray in fall of 1950
when North Korea invaded South Korea. Once again, America's women answered ...
"The startup is building short-haul aircraft for
Boeing and JetBlue that combine gas turbines and batteries. In the century that's elapsed
since the dawn of commercial aviation, air transportation has become pretty well refined.
Yet paradoxically, it's easier to fly halfway around the world than to travel to a nearby
city. As a result, many people shun air travel when taking short trips. ..."
"Virgin Galactic successfully launched and landed
its Unity spacecraft by rocket power, completing its first powered flight in almost four
years. Richard Branson's space company shared a photo of the SpaceShipTwo model spacecraft
as it blasted into the air above the Mojave Air and Space Port before going supersonic
and landing safely. "VSS
Unity completed her first supersonic, rocket-powered flight this morning in Mojave,
California. Another great test flight, another ..."
After seeing an article titled, "High School Aviation:
California Style," from the June 1968 issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine,
website visitor Janice H. sent me a copy of this 1972 document titled, "A
Status Report of Aviation and Aerospace Education in California," by Earl W.
Sams, California State Department of Education, Sacramento. Janice is working to get
the Anderson Valley High School in Boonville, California, to create a memorial to the
program and its administrators and students ...
Competitive model boating was a popular sport
in the 1960's as radio control systems became more affordable and reliable. Of course
if you have a glitch in your radio with a boat, the consequences are usually much less
that with an airplane. This report in a 1962 edition of American Modeler magazine
tells of one California model boating club that lost its "field" (a park lake) due to
"excessive and unnecessary noise." Yep, it was happening way back then. On the other
hand, it also reports on a club in New Jersey where the parks department constructed
a pier for them to use. As usual, your fortunes depend on the preferences and sentiments
of government bureaucrats. Many people these days are using brushless motor setups in