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

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James Webb Space Telescope Fully Assembled in California

• 1st FAA-Approved Beyond-Line-of-Sight Drone Flight Completed

Model Airplane History-Maker Maynard Hill Dies at 85

• Chandrayaan 2 Now in Lunar Orbit for Sept. 4 Moon Landing

Hampshire County RC Club Fly-In August 24-25

Chris Kraft, NASA's Legendary Flight Director, Dies at 95

• NASA Taps Companies to Advance Human Lunar Landers

• Has Apollo 10 Lunar Module Been Found?

• Go See an Airshow This Summer

Scale Model Instrument Panels for IFR

Instrument Panels for Instrument flight Rules (IFR) - Airplanes and RocketsIt is hard to imagine how pilots managed to find their way through fog, rain, sleet, and snow prior to the advent of instruments that could indicate whether the airplane was flying straight and level or spiraling toward the ground. Some flyers were good enough in most situations to sense attitude even without an outside-the-cockpit visual clue. However, it is entirely possible to enter into a situation where your senses cannot possibly tell the difference between normal flight and a life threatening scenario. Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity tells us that without knowing otherwise, there is no discernable difference between gravity and physical acceleration. Therefore, a pilot in solid Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) conditions where he cannot see the sky or ground could very well mistake ...

Powder-Puff Pilots

Powder-Puff Pilots, February 1942 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsThe more things change, the more they stay the same, as the saying goes. In 1942, when this featured appeared in Flying Aces magazine, the participation of women and girls in model aviation was very limited. Being that it was more than 75 years ago, it might have been attributable to a lack of encouragement or even outright discouragement by men and boys. However, here it is 75 years later and the participation rate by women and girls is not that much greater. About the only time you see them in photos in modeling magazines is when they are young girls who are part of a schoolroom group activity conducted by an AMA member. the same goes for model rockets. For that matter, the same goes for model cars, boats, and helicopters. A lot of money and time ...

Comet P-40E Tiger Shark F/F Kit

Comet P-40E Tiger Shark F/F Kit - Airplanes and RocketsWhen I got this Comet Super Stars P−40E Tiger Shark kit #3649 I assumed it was like the one I built as a kid in the late 1960s or early 1970s, but after seeing it I'm thinking maybe I had the Guillows P-40 Warhawk kit. Unlike the kit I had which included injection molded plastic parts for only the complex parts like the spinner and engine exhaust manifold, this Comet kit uses plastic for a large portion of the fuselage. Comet dubs it "SuperXSpeed Construction." The entire area for the top and underside of the fuselage / wing intersection is now plastic. It takes a lot of work out of the building process and probably makes covering that area with Jap tissue easier. Wing ribs are configured in a geodetic manner, which adds great rigidity to the wing, particularly for preventing spanwise twist. It is a fairly large model for rubber power ...

1st All-Japan Helicopter Meet

First All-Japan Helicopter Meet from the April 1977 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsIt's hard to imagine the first All-Japan RC Model Helicopter Championship Contest - nearly 40 years ago. This report from the April 1973 edition of American Aircraft Modeler has man-on-the-scene Larry Hoffman's account of the events. There were only 22 contestants flying that day, and all but one flew the Hueycobra made and sold by Kalt, of Tokyo. There were no heading hold gyros or programmable transmitters with pitch and throttle curves - just good old-fashion pilot skill and lots of body language. I certainly don't long for those days - I can barely fly an R/C chopper with all the modern electronic assistance - but the fortitude of the helicopter pioneers is worthy of note and praise.

McDonnell F-4 Phantom

McDonnell F-4 Phantom, May 1970 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsAirplanes and Rockets website visitor Tony B. wrote to ask that I scan and post this McDonnell F-4 Phantom article, written by noted aviation historian Don Berliner and having a highly detailed drawing by Björn Karlström. Berliner provides a lot of history on the Phantom, beginning with the FH-1 Phantom 1, designed and built by the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in the days before it merged with Douglas Aircraft Company in 1967. The F-4M was the most recent version when this article was published in the May 1970 issue of American Aircraft Modeler. The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels demonstration team flew F-4J models during airshows from 1969 to 1974. Having grown up in Mayo, Maryland, just a few miles south of Annapolis, I watched the Blue Angels perform for the U.S. Naval Academy graduation ceremonies ...

AMA National Model Aviation Museum Donations

Parris-Dunn Little Bobby Kite Kit - Airplanes and RocketsGuillows No. D4 Menasco Trainer Kit - Airplanes and RocketsThis notice just appeared on the AMA's National Model Aviation Museum website: "New Addition: Helicopter Kite, Kirt Blattenberger (AMA 92498) and Steven Krick recently donated two older kits to the museum, including this Parris-Dunn Little Bobby Helicopter Kite kit." The second kit, not yet featured on the AMA website, is the Guillow No. D4 Menasco Trainer kit. Both were generously given to me by Mr. Steven Krick, who is an accomplished modeler of highly detailed plastic static scale model airplanes and a collector of vintage balsa free flight models. In response to my providing some Silkspan covering information, he offered to let me select from a list of kits, and seeing these two and the likely rarity of them, I submitted them the the museum for consideration. They appreciatively accepted them.

India's Chandrayaan 2 Spacecraft Entered Lunar Orbit

India's Chandrayaan 2 Spacecraft Entered Lunar Orbit - RF Cafe"India's Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft entered lunar orbit on Tuesday, executing one of the trickiest maneuvers on its historic mission to the Moon. After four weeks in space, the craft completed its Lunar Orbit Insertion as planned, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said in a statement. The insertion 'was completed successfully today at 0902 hrs IST (0332 GMT) as planned, using the onboard propulsion system. The duration of manoeuver was 1738 seconds,' the national space agency said. India is seeking to become just the fourth nation after Russia, the United States and China to land a spacecraft on the Moon ..."

Herkimer OK CO2 Model Airplane Motor

Herkimer OK CO2 Model Airplane Motor - Airplanes and RocketsWhile perusing a box filled with miscellaneous old items at a local garage sale, I spotted this Herkimer OK CO2 motor buried under door hinges, bags of nails, and light bulbs. It was pretty dirty, but it seemed fine otherwise. Half the propeller was missing, so I assume when it broke, that was on the motor's last flight. The motor had been mounted to the still-attached plywood firewall with three small brads! Price" $1. After carefully disassembling the OK CO2 motor, it was soaked overnight in Evapo-Rust, an excellent water-soluble, non-toxic rust remover which I have used often. It cleaned up very nicely. A few drops of Cox after-run motor oil was used when reassembling the motor. I do not have a CO2 cylinder small enough to fit into the holder, so I have not been able to run it yet  ...

Startup Promises Cheaper Flying via Renewable Hydrogen

Startup Promises Cheaper Flying via Renewable Hydrogen - RF Cafe"ZeroAvia says electric efficiency, fewer repairs, and onsite hydrogen production can make zero-emissions flight cheaper than burning jet-fuel. The aviation industry's global trade group says electric airplanes are unlikely to be flying commercial routes before 2040. That pessimism from the International Air Transport Association is off by nearly two decades according to ZeroAvia, a fast-moving electric flight startup popping out of stealth mode today. For six months already, the Hollister, California-based firm has been flying the world's largest zero-emissions aircraft - the fuel cell equipped prop-plane pictured above - and ZeroAvia vows that its powertrain design will be cutting both carbon and costs for regional flights in just 3 to 4 years ..."

Vintage South Bend 6−Player Croquet Set Restoration

Vintage South Bend Croquet Set Restoration - Airplanes and RocketsWhile visiting our daughter in North Carolina, we ran across someone who had a vintage 6-player croquet set for sale for just a few dollars. As the photos below show, it has been completely restored. All components (except the balls) were stripped down to bare wood or metal, sanded, primed, and then painted with four coats of enamel spray paint for color areas and three coats of polyurethane clear on the natural finish portions. The balls would have been too difficult to get to bare wood, so I sanded down to the point where the paint was stable and strongly adhered to the underlying wood. The two end pegs were fabricated from new wood because there was only one original and I wanted them to look alike ...

Hybrid Robot Flies, Creeps, and Leaps off Buildings

Hybrid Robot Flies, Creeps, and Leaps off Buildings - Airplanes and Rockets"The autonomous robot is based on the observation that both rotors and wheels spin. There is great potential in using both drones and ground-based robots for situations like disaster response, but generally these platforms either fly or creep along the ground. The flying sprawl-tuned autonomous robot (Flying STAR) does both through a mechanism based on the elementary observation that both rotors and wheels spin. The hybrid was created using high-powered, lightweight drone components. The result is a robot that can easily fly when it needs to, then land softly and by tilting the rotor arms downwards, direct that same motive force into four wheels ..."

USAF Basic Training, Flight 483, November 1978

USAF Basic Training - Kirt Blattenberger - Airplanes and RocketsNovember 9, 1978, a date which will live in infamy - for me, anyway. That was the day I left my comfortable, oblivious 20-year-old existence as an electrician in Mayo, Maryland, and boarded a Delta Airlines flight to San Antonio, Texas. About six months earlier I had signed up under the Delayed Enlistment program. I was on my way to becoming a fully trained and qualified Weather Equipment Specialist, a career field chosen based on my keen interest in weather phenomena, aviation, and aerospace (aka airplanes and rockets). The plan was to survive six weeks of Basic Training (BT) at Lackland Air Force Base and then go on to technical school at Chanute AFB in Illinois. My first assignment ...

Airbus 'Bird of Prey' Concept Seeks to Inspire

Airbus 'Bird of Prey' Concept Seeks to Inspire - RF Cafe"Airbus has revealed a new conceptual aircraft design known as 'Bird of Prey,' intended to inspire the next generation of aeronautical engineers. The hybrid-electric turbo propeller plane takes design cues from eagles and falcons, featuring individually controlled feathers on the wings and tail for precision flight control. Its body also includes a blended wing to fuselage joint that mimics the sweeping aerodynamic arch of predatory birds. Unveiled at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, the aircraft’s primary goal is to encourage young people into aerospace but also marks the 50th anniversary of Airbus ..."

Man Jumps onto Wing as Plane Prepares for Takeoff

Man Jumps onto Wing as Plane Prepares for Takeoff - Airplanes and Rockets"A man who climbed onto the wing of a plane as it prepared for takeoff at the airport in Nigeria's Lagos city has been arrested, authorities said. The man, who has not been identified, walked towards the aircraft on the runway and was spotted by the pilot, who slowed down and later turned off the engine as the man continued to wander around the aircraft, Azman Air said in a statement. He then jumped onto a wing of the plane and tried to access the cabin, the airline said. The pilot radioed the tarmac to report the incident, according to the airline. The incident happened Friday morning at the domestic wing of the Murtala Muhammed International airport in Lagos ..."

Important Facts About Balsa Wood, Sig Catalog

Important Facts About Balsa Wood, Sig Catalog - Airplanes and RocketsBalsa wood was a special thing to me as a kid. To me, it represented the essence of model airplanes and model rockets. At the time - the 1960s and 70s - plastic and foam as model components were considered a sign of cheapness, low quality, amateurishness. It was like having "Made in Japan" stamped on it. Now, of course, it's a different world where Japan is renowned for some of the highest quality electronics and cars and the plastic and foam ARFs represent some of the highest-performing aircraft at the flying field. I have owned a few of those foamies, but still, at least for my tastes, nothing beats the look, feel and aroma of balsa. Somehow the tell-tale surface texture of foam, even with a nice paint job, ruins the authenticity of an otherwise beautifully factory-finished scale F4-U Corsair or P-38 Lightning. Sorry, that's just the way it is. Sig Manufacturing was ...

Franky Zapata Flyboard

Franky Zapata Flyboard - Airplanes and Rockets"'Flying soldier' arrives at Bastille Day parade on an 118 mph Back to the Future-style hoverboard as Macron shows off France's military innovation in front of world leaders including Angela Merkel. A 'flying soldier' wowed crowds in Paris today when he arrived at France's Bastille Day parade on an 118 mph 'Back to the Future'-style hoverboard. Franky Zapata, 40, brandished an unloaded rifle as a he raced at high speed above world leaders including President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Then he landed comfortably on his so-called Flyboard, which he hopes to sell to the French military ..."

The Digital Decabulator

The Digital Defabrilator, February 1966 RC Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsGenius takes on many forms, not the least of which is the ability to concoct and compose an [almost] believable a story describing in the utmost detail the technical workings of a complex mechanical gadget. Items such as a mizule wrench, meta-phasic shielding, blinker fluid, a left-handed screwdriver, and - one of my favorites - the muffler bearing, have been heard in comic routines... er... routinely. No matter how many times you hear them you always laugh again. Some are actually a portmanteau and just sound funny while others are completely made up. This Digital Decabulator article that appeared in a 1966 issue of R/C Modeler magazine is amazing; it pegs the B.S. detector from beginning to end ...

Oddisy Student Drone Launches from Portable Base

Oddisy Student Drone Launches from Portable Base - Airplanes and Rockets"Each year on the third week of April, seniors at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) present their Major Qualifying Projects (MQPs) to the WPI community and to the public. No classes take place this day, seniors dress in business clothing, and each team gives a 15-minute presentation. Some 20 teams from the WPI Robotics Department participated, showing their robots that fly, collect fish, sail, crawl, sort objects, and roll. One such project, the Oddisy Drone Dispatch System, has commercial potential in that the drone comes in a weather-protective box that opens and closes to allow takeoffs and landings while keeping the drone safe and dry ..."

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Kirt Blattenberger
Carpe Diem!
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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 ...
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