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

Model Aviation
in the News

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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

Google Exec Breaks Sound Barrier in 135,890-foot Sky Dive

Amazon Hiring Drone Pilots for Delivery Service

Amelia Earhart Plane Fragment Identified

Jupiter's Great Red Spot Isn't What We Thought It Was

Army Developing Small Drone with Insect-Like Vision

Unauthorized Drones at Stadiums Prompts Safety Concerns

Firefly Flies with New Motor and Who Knows What Else?

Directing Planes by Remote Control

Permanent TFRs Issued for Major Sporting Events and Disney Properties

SpaceShipTwo Manufacturer May Face Setback After Crash in California

Investigation into SpaceShipTwo Loss Gets Underway

NASA Creating Virtual Telescope with Two Small Spacecraft

Quadcopter 'Deliberately Flown at Airliner' over Essex

Supersonic Laser-Propelled Rockets

How WWI Changed Aviation Forever


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A Graphical Look
at Daylight Saving Time

A Graphical Look at Daylight Saving Time - RF CafeDaylight Saving Time (DST) ends at 2:00 am local time this coming Sunday morning in most of the U.S., whereupon we return to Standard Time (ST). The event, as with the beginning of DST in March, always elicits a lot of debate over whether DST is necessary in the 21st century. I would prefer to end the inane biannual ritual for reasons illustrated in the graph I created in Excel. Daylight Saving Time is not observed everywhere across the globe, and where it is observed there are variations in when it begins and ends. In the U.S., DST begins

Auto Progress
Memory Lane Collection

Auto Progress Memory Lane Collection No. 2, from August 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsIn a time before massive overregulation by the government, even starting your own car manufacturing business was a lot simpler. In the early part of the 20th century there were dozens of independent car companies that vied for the hard-earned money of a public growing increasingly demanding of modern conveniences both in the home and outdoors. Unlike recent history where an overreaching government decides who the winners (e.g., Chevrolet - aka Obama Motors) and losers (e.g., Pontiac) are, market forces (i.e., the public) decided which companies deserved to thrive and which ...

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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

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.

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.

Radio Robot Plane

Radio Robot Plane, August 1945 Radio Craft - RF CafeRadio-controlled flying drones are commonplace today - so much so that the FAA has enacted legislation to strictly limit who can fly them, where they can be flown, how big they can be, what type of payloads can be carried, how far from the pilot they can be flown, etc. - the typical kind of overreaching and overregulating that governments promulgate (especially in the last few years). Sport model airplane flying has suffered loss of freedoms because of it by getting lumped in with multirotor drones. The military, of course, has been using

Embry-Riddle: An Air Trails
Air Career Review

Embry-Riddle: An Air Trails Air Career Review, November 1948 Air Trails - Airplanes and Rockets"On December 17, 1925, exactly 22 years after the historic flight of the Wright Flyer, barnstormer John Paul Riddle and entrepreneur T. Higbee Embry founded the Embry-Riddle Company at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio." So states the Embry-Riddle website. Check out the 1948-era flight line filled with Piper J-3 Cubs and Stearman biplanes! Back when I was a teenager and thought my life might be spent flying airplanes for a living - or at least as a serious hobby - my sights were firmly set on

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

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

Free Amateur Astronomy

Free Amateur Astronomy Software - Airplanes and RocketsThere are some really excellent pieces of software available to amateur astronomers ranging in function from presenting the night sky in incredible detail and can even control your telescope (TheSkyX) to image processing (RegiStax). Screen shots and hyperlinks are given below. RegiStax is free to anyone, but to get TheSkyX free, you have to buy a Celestron telescope that bundles it with the hardware (as low as $80 for the PowerSeeker 70AZ). Stellarium is a totally free, open source sky chart program. It appears to do everything TheSkyX does, including

How to Make Scale-Model
Planes for Government Use

How to Make Scale-Model Planes for Government Use, May 1942 Popular Science - Airplanes and RocketsWith the entry of the U.S. into World War II came the need for service members to be trained on many new technologies - among them being airplanes and the ability to identify them quickly. Electronics technicians and airframe & powerplant mechanics were in need, of course, but everyone had to be able to tell friend from foe when airplanes were approaching. In order to assist the war effort, a call went out to civilians to begin producing thousands of models at a 1:72 scale so that at 35' away they appeared in size to be that of a full-scale version at about half a mile

Curtiss Pusher
Control Line Model

Curtiss Pusher & Plans, November 1948 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsHere is a really nicely done Curtiss Pusher biplane model for control line. The original model had a 24" wingspan and was powered by an .049 ignition engine, but you could easily adapt it to electric power. In fact, doing so would eliminate the hassle of needing to hinge the tail boom and empennage for accommodations easier engine starting. If you elect to build the Curtiss Pusher, be prepared to do a lot of work because of the shaped wood sticks for the fuselage, the undercambered airfoil (which could be modified to flat bottom airfoil for simplicity in covering), and the flying

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.

Electronics at Redstone Arsenal

Electronics at Redstone Arsenal, May 1957 Radio & TV News - RF Cafe"The fact that every part of this ship was built by the lowest bidder." That, according to Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director during the Gemini and Apollo missions), was Alan Shepard's reply when asked what he thought about as he sat atop the Mercury Redstone rocket, waiting for liftoff. That fact that the boost vehicle, the Redstone, was originally designed as an expendable ballistic missile and not for safely launching humans into space might have had something to do with it, too. This 1957 vintage article

Curtiss C-46 Commando

Curtiss C-46 Commando at Winston-Salem Airshow - Airplanes and RocketsThe last flying (according to the attending crew) Curtiss C-46 Commando made an appearance at the 2014 Winston-Salem Airshow. It looks like a bloated C-47 Skytrain. They were only asking for a $3 donation to look around inside, which is a shame since other aircraft like the C-54 were fetching $5 or more. When costs for keeping it airworthy and touring run the in neighborhood of $3,000 to $5,000 per hour, it takes a lot of visitors to pay the bill. Of all the worthless garbage the government wastes money on (both human and otherwise), letting these relics of our past disappear is shameful ...

Channel Winger
Control Line Pusher

Channel Winger C/L Pusher, July 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsHere is a model airplane design that should prove to be very interesting to try out in order to determine whether its designer, Roy Clough, Jr., is correct about his theory of the aerodynamics of the curve wing center section. The pusher configuration with the reward-facing engine between twin tail booms probably kept a lot of people from trying it back in the 1950s when small electric starters were not commercially available for .049 engines. Today, the issue can be mitigated entirely simply by converting ...

Consolidated PBY-5A Canso
at Erie Int'l Airport

Consolidated PBY-5A Canso / Catalina - Airplanes and RocketsOn August 26 2013, Melanie and I toured the inside of this Consolidated PBY-5A Canso (PBY-5 is the Catalina) while it was on display at the Erie International Airport. It was on tour by a crew from Canada, which is appropriate since it was this particular airplane was manufactured in Canada in 1944 by the Vickers company. World War II ended before it could ever see combat reconnaissance duty. The PBY-5A has a wingspan of 104 feet 0 inches and is powered by a pair of 1200 horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp radial ...

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