About Airplanes & Rockets

Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and Rockets
Kirt Blattenberger
Carpe Diem!
(Seize the Day!)

Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which all began in Mayo, MD. There is a lot of good information and there are lot of pictures throughout the website that you will probably find useful, and might even bring back some old memories from your own days of yore. The website began life around 1996 as an EarthLink screen name of ModelAirplanes, and quickly grew to where more server space ...

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Kirt Blattenberger
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Modeling Resources

Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) - Airplanes and Rockets
Academy of Model Aeronautics

Tower Hobbies logo - Airplanes and Rockets
Tower Hobbies

Horizon Hobby logo - Airplanes and Rockets
Horizon Hobby

Brodak Manufacturing - Airplanes and Rockets
Brodak Mfg.

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- Welcome to the Airplanes & Rockets Website -
"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." Lord Kelvin, 1895

We Drive the MG Magnette

We Drive the MG Magnette, July 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsMG's Magnette was produced 1954and 1958. It was a fairly large, 4-door family car with rather posh features like leather seats, electric windshield wipers, safety glass, and rustproofing. The price tag of $2,675 in 1954, when this article appeared in Air Trails magazine, is equivalent to $27,148 in 2017 dollars per the BLS Inflation Calculator. You cannot buy a car in the same class today for that amount. Modern cars are loaded with many more creature comforts and are heavily burdened with regulatory-mandated environmental and safety features that add ...

400' Model Aircraft Altitude Limit - Nothing New There

400' Altitude Model Aircraft Altitude Limit per FAA - November 1972 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsAMA president Rich Hanson published an editorial column in the April 2017 issue of Model Aviation titled, "How high can I fly?) Ok, more correctly it should have asked, "How high may I fly?" since it addresses the oft-asked question about what altitude limit is imposed on model aircraft. Mr. Hanson does a great job explaining the situation, and points out that the current 400-foot limit has been on the books with the FAA since at least 1972. He refers to a full-page notice to model airmen on page 49 of the November 1972 issue of American Aircraft Molder, the AMA monthly publication that preceded Model Aviation ...

Mars Airplane Resumes Flight

Mars Airplane Resumes Flight - RF Cafe"Flight tests have resumed on subscale aircraft that could one day observe the Martian atmosphere and a variant that will improve collection of Earth's weather data. Work on the shape of the aircraft and the systems it will need to fly autonomously and collect data are ongoing for the Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Land on Mars, or Prandtl-M aircraft. Student interns with support from staff members at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in California are advancing the project ..."

Low-Drag Rocket Design

Low-Drag Rocket Design, May 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsG. Harry Stine was (and in some places still is) a household word (ok, a letter and three words) amongst people who engage in model rocketry. As a degreed physicist, he spent his professional years working in both civilian and government aerospace projects. In his spare time, Mr. Stine contributed mightily to the science, industry, and sport of model rocketry. His monthly columns in American Aircraft Modeler were read and appreciated by enthusiasts hungry for a regular helping of the technical side of the craft, served in layman's terms. A typical article written by him reports on some ...

Aurora and Stratasys Develop World's 1st 3D-Printed Jet Aircraft

Aurora and Stratasys Develop World's 1st 3D Printed Jet Aircraft - Airplanes and Rockets"This week's video comes from the U.S. where Aurora Flight Sciences and Stratasys have teamed up to build the world's first jet-powered, 3D printed aircraft. Using 80% 3D printed parts, the UAV is composed of Stratasys' ULTEM 9085 lightweight material to help achieve flight speeds of over 150mph. The high-speed system boasts an impressive 9 ft wingspan and weighs in at only 33 lbs. In the following video, Dan Campbell, aerospace research engineer at Aurora Flight Sciences, explains how the UAV project met a number of goals using Stratasys ..."

A Flying Bandanna, May 1968 American Aircraft Modeler

A Flying Bandanna, May 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsIf you have a vintage Cox .010 Pee Wee engine sitting on the display shelf and you've been itching to get it in the air again, Ken Willard's Flying Bandanna could be just the thing to get you there. Ken claims it only takes about 10 minutes to assemble, and as he says of the bandanna 'parachute,' it is "...a built-in wiping rag for your hands after each flight!" I remember as a kid when my .049-powered plastic Cox control line models had finally be demolished beyond repair (no glue at the time would hold the styrene plastic together for long) ...

Craftsman Vintage 28" Construction Level Restoration

Craftsman Vintage 28" Construction Level Retoration - Airplanes and RocketsMy 28" Craftsman construction level (p/n 3311990) was bought sometime back in the early to mid 1980s, not long after Melanie and I were married in May of 1983, at the Sears store in Annapolis, Maryland. After living in while restoring four or five houses in the span of twenty years, it was really showing signs of use and abuse, especially the plastic windows protecting the fluid vials. There wasn't much protection going on with half of them either cracked or missing. A replacement 24" Johnson level was bought, but I kept ...

Farm Table Redesign & Renovation

Farm Table Redesign & Renovation - Airplanes and RocketsWe have had one of those ubiquitous 'farm tables' since sometime in the late 1980s, back when they were made of wood that is about 50% thicker than today's variety. Over the decades, it has been used variably as a school desk for our kids, as a sewing table, as a computer desk, and as a surface for building model airplanes. It has endured no fewer than ten household moves in that time (don't ask). After all that, it was understandably due for being repaired and refinished ...

USAF Plans Recoverable Hypersonic Drones by 2040

USAF Plans Recoverable Hypersonic Drones by 2040 - RF Cafe"Air Force weapons developers expect to operate hypersonic intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance drones by the 2040s, once scientific progress with autonomy and propulsion technology matures to a new level. The advent of using a recoverable drone platform able to travel at high altitudes, faster than Mach 5, will follow the emergence of hypersonic weapons likely to be operational in the mid-2020s, according to the Air Force Chief ..."

Frank Smith's Miniplanes

Frank Smith's Miniplanes, January 1961 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsModels of Frank Smith's Miniplane have been built and flown by scores of modelers over the decades. Homebuilt planes are popular scale projects partially because the level of detail necessary to faithfully reproduce the full-size airplane is less that with a production plane. Sig Manufacturing introduced a radio controlled kit model of the Smith Miniplane back in the 1970 that is still available for purchase on their website today. This article from a 1961 issue of American Modeler includes plans ...

Supersonic Without the Boom

Supersonic Without the Boom - Airplanes and Rockets"Supersonic planes without the Earth-shaking sonic boom could arrive by 2023. When the Concorde first hit the skies in the 1970s, it could fly from London to New York in just under three hours. But despite being able to travel at twice the speed of sound, the futuristic supersonic jet failed to attract passengers and was sent into decommission in 2003. Now researchers claim that Concorde-style jets could be making a comeback, and are working ..."

B-29 'Doc' Cleared to Tour

B-29 'Doc' Cleared to Tour - Airplanes and Rockets"The FAA has approved a new airworthiness certificate for the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Doc that will allow the historic warbird to tour the airshow circuit. The restoration effort undertaken by Doc's Friends Inc. reached an important milestone in March, the organization announced, with successful completion of 'phase one' flight tests. Restoration Program Manager Jim Murphy said officials from the FAA office in Wichita, Kansas, and agency officials ..."

Air Progress: Lindbergh Era

Air Progress: Lindbergh Era, July 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThe "Golden Age of Flight" is unofficially the period of time between World War I and World War II; i.e., the 1920s and 1930s. The Wright Brothers and their immediate followers had worked out the basics of flight control and engine building, and the race was on to design airplanes for commercial passenger and freight transportation, recreational pursuits, and military applications. Part of that process was the setting of records for closed course and long distance speed, time to climb, altitude, and high-G ...

Hard-to-Destroy Drone Goes from Rigid to Flexible in Crash

Hard-to-Destroy Drone Goes from Rigid to Flexible in Crash - Airplanes and Rockets"Anyone who's ever flown a drone of any sort will tell you that sooner or later, you're going to crash it. The question is how exactly you will go about doing this, and how much of the drone will be functional after it's happened. Most flying animals somewhat frustratingly don't have this problem: Birds and insects run into things occasionally, and just shrug it off and keep on going, thanks to their biological design, which includes both stiffness ..."

Drone Swarms Make Deliveries Then Vanish

Swarms of Disposable Drones Will Make Critical Deliveries and Then Vanish - Airplanes and Rockets"Delivery drones still face an uncertain future, but there's at least one scenario where they make a lot of sense: Flying robots can be ideal for bringing small, high value, time-sensitive goods to people in low-infrastructure areas. As specific a situation as that sounds like, it’s an enormous opportunity, and has the potential to make a huge difference in rural areas and disaster relief missions with deliveries of food and medical supplies, for example. One challenge with that, however, is that while drones are cheap to operate, the up-front investment ..."

72 RC National Championships, November 1972 AAM

'72 RC National Championships, November 1972 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Doug H. wrote to ask that I check for information on a couple people in particular who participated in the Radio Control portion of the 1971 and 1972 AMA Nationals competitions. Rather than just do that, I went ahead and scanned and posted the entire articles so that all the available information could be seen. I figured there may well be others who would like to have that information available. The November issues of American Aircraft Modeler were typically where NATs coverage ...

Lithium-Ion Battery Inventor Intros Fast-Charging, Noncombustible Batteries

Lithium-Ion Battery Inventor Intros Technology for Fast-Charging, Noncombustible Batteries - Airplanes and RocketsIt sure would be nice to have batteries that don't pose a bigger risk of burning down your house, car, or model than glow fuel. "A team of engineers led by 94-year-old John Goodenough [what a great name!], professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin and co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery, has developed the first all-solid-state battery cells that could lead to safer, faster-charging, longer-lasting rechargeable batteries for handheld mobile devices, electric cars and stationary energy storage ..."

Aerospace Headline News

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archives -

NASA Selects Over 100 Small Business Projects to Advance Space Innovation

Women of AOPA Offer Advice to Future Female Pilots

Reaction Strong to President Trump's ATC Budget Language

Seattle Man Jailed for Hitting Woman with Drone

WASP's 100th Birthday to be Celebrated

Flame Retardant in Li-Ion Batteries Could Quench Fires

Japan's Low-Cost Rocket Fails at 1st Launch

Report Outlines Risks for Drones Flying Beyond Line of Sight

21 HS Students Win AOPA Scholarships

The Big Cool Nats, November 1971 AAM

The Big Cool Nats, November 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Doug H. wrote to ask that I check for information on a couple people in particular who participated in the Radio Control portion of the 1972 and 1971 AMA Nationals competitions. Rather than just do that, I went ahead and scanned and posted the entire articles so that all the available information could be seen. I figured there may well be others who would like to have that information available. The November issues of American Aircraft Modeler were typically where NATs coverage ...

Tower Hobbies Homepage Screenshot: November 1999

Tower Hobbies Homepage Screenshot November 1999 (archive.org) - RF CafeIf you are a nostalgia buff, go over to the Archive.org website and enter the URL of a website whose early pages you would like to see. This one here is a November 1999 version of Tower Hobbies' site. At the time, you needed to spend at least $199.99 to get $10 off your order; today it only takes $99. There were no electric foamies, brushless motors, 2.4 GHz radios, or drones! Remember the America's Hobby Center ads from some of the earliest modeling magazines?

Cameron .09 Marine Engine

Cameron .09 Marine Engine, July 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThe author of this review for the Cameron .09 marine engine heaps praise upon the creation, extolling it many advanced features. Robust construction and smooth running evidently are two of its grandest characteristics. A few examples of the Cameron .09 marine engine appear on eBay, with a montage of photos of a new-in-box (NIB) example provided here. Weight including the built-in flywheel is 10 ounces - quite beefy compared to a Cox Medallion .09, which tipped the scales at around 3½ ounces.

NASA Tests 'the New Concorde'

NASA Tests 'the New Concorde' - Airplanes and Rockets"NASA has wind tunnel tested the futuristic aircraft dubbed 'the new Concorde.' The revolutionary Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) project is aiming to create a jet that can break the 767mph sound barrier. Space boffins from the U.S. space agency have joined forces with Lockheed Martin to work on the ambitious project. Engineer Charles Bolden hopes the jets will one day ferry passengers across the Atlantic in half the time of a conventional aircraft. Currently it takes a commercial airliner around ..."

The Ultimate Airsoft Guide: 18,657+ Words of Top MVP Intel

The Ultimate Airsoft Guide, by Liam Matthews - Airplanes and RocketsAs with most other areas of sports and hobbies, the state of the art in technology has advanced considerably in the last decade or two. Such is the case with those Daisy 'Soft Air' (aka Airsoft) rubber pellet guns we pre-special-snowflakes had as kids. They were simple spring-loaded, single-shot pistols and rifles with an effective range of 30-40 feet - child's play (literally) compared to today's just-short-of-deadly hardware. Li-Po-driven spring and compressed gas mechanisms provide fully automatic operation that is so close to 'the real thing' that military and police forces train for close-quarters scenarios with them. Liam Matthews has one of the most extensive websites covering every aspect of Airsoft, so if you're interested ...

Ford Motor Company Advertisement

Ford Motor Company Advertisement, December 1935 Boys' Life - Airplanes and RocketsBy the end of 1935, according to this full-page advertisement in Boys' Life magazine, Henry Ford's automobile company had built 23 million cars and trucks. Ford Motor Company was founded in 1903 - 32 years earlier- so the average production rate was a little over 4½ million per year. 2 million of them were powered by the V8 flathead engine, which had just been introduced in 1932. As with radios, flying machines, electric lights, and indoor plumbing, every new innovation was considered ...

Ship Progress, July 1954 Air Trails

Ship Progress, July 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsAir Trails magazine ran a regular featured titled "Air Progress" that documented the evolution of various classes of airplanes and helicopters. Occasionally, they would also run "Rocket Progress," "Auto Progress," and, less frequently, "Ship Progress." Here, Mr. Staab presents an array or warships ranging from a primitive log dugout to a modern day (for the 1950s) battleship. The drawings are usually crisp and clear, but for some reason these are blurry, possibly ...

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