In order to provide for a reasonable homepage loading time, it is impractical to just keep adding items to the top of the stack and keep all the old stuff there too. Therefore, I have created these Airplanes and Rockets Homepage Archives to maintain a historical snapshot of everything once on the homepage. Unfortunately, I did not think to keep a record until around Fall of 2009; I had just been deleting items from the bottom of the stack. No more, though. Hence forth, if you recall seeing something on the homepage but it is no longer there, please check out these archive pages. I also keep an archive of all the modeling news additions:
Homepage Additions Archive:
Modeling News Archive:
A Day in the Life of a Hobby DealerThis article from the November 1962 edition of American Modeler, a time when local hobby shops were still the rule rather than the exception, is a humorous "day in the life of a hobby dealer." You can just imagine how plausible the scenario might be. Not all days could be that bad, however, or they would have all shut their doors.
Camouflaged Boeing FactoryIt's hard to tell from this thumbnail, but what you're seeing is an aerial view of the Boeing Aircraft plant in Seattle that was used at first to build B-17 bombers, and then B-29s (like the one used to drop the atom bombs. The unique feature of this plant is that the entire roof was camouflaged to look like a small town, complete with roads, houses, people, trees, bushes and grass. War planners figured if it looked like any other town in the area, enemy bombers would not be certain where to unload their ordinance.
Modeling Comics from March 1971 AAMA gentleman recently e-mailed me looking to confirm that this panel of modeling comics came form the March 1971 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. It was given to him by his father back in the 1980s. In fact, it did appear in that edition. <more>
Frantique I R/C Article & PlansThe May 1973 edition of American Aircraft Modeler is one of the first I ever received after joining the AMA. I read and re-read every page (no Internet edition back then). This Frantique model is one I desperately wanted to build, but alas, I was a poor newspaper delivery boy at the time, so the project would have to wait for the day that time and money was more plentiful. I'm still waiting... The classic lines of the Frantique remind me of a poor man's Proctor Antic... sort of. Someday...
Unicopter - A Rubber-Powered HeliHere is a nifty little project for those of you who still actually build your models. Finding plans for a flight-proven rubber band-powered helicopter is rare. This construction article and plans for the Unicopter, a one-bladed chopper by Mr. Bill Hannan, appeared in the May 1973 edition of AAM. It can be made out of a handful of materials that are probably laying around your hobby bench area. It might not be as exciting as a Blade MCX2 coaxial rotor RC helicopter, but... oh wait, it actually might just be as exciting after all!.
3 and 4 Finger R/C EscapementsIf you're still using the "old" one-arm escapements in your radio controlled model airplane, you're probably also still using that "greasy kid stuff" in your hair as well. Just like the hip guy has switched to Vitalis, the hip modeler has switched to multi-arm escapements that allow more than just full left/right or full up/down throw on the rudder or elevator, respectively. Today's equivalent would be advocating for the use of digital servos versus the "old" analog servos. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The Pitcairn Mailwing Article & PlansWho doesn't love a classic biplane, especially one with a big radial engine hanging off the nose? The first plane that usually comes to mind is the Stearman PT-17. In fact, if you didn't know better, you might mistake the Pitcarain Mailwing for a Stearman. Yes, the vertical fin and landing gear is markedly different, and the Stearman doesn't have the pilot headrest "bump," but paint a Mailwing yellow and blue, and you might easily fool a lot of us. This model from the August 1968 edition of AAM, designed and built by Frank Beatty is for control line. One unique feature is that the dummy <more>
SIG Under New OwnershipBack in the days of printed catalogs, having the latest of SIG's tome was a treasure, especially in the eyes of a teenager. Like the Estes rocket catalog, its pages displayed a cornucopia of modeling delights, many of which one on a newspaper carrier's budget could only dream of owning. Everyone knew the name Hazel Sig, but boy weren't we surprised to learn that the name was short for Sigafoose! I remember laughing at the funny sound of it, but then was quickly reminded that with a name like <more>
Cox .049 Engine Rides into Space on Shuttle"Flights & Fancy: What Would You Send to Orbit?" That title is from the November 2011 edition of the Smithsonian's Air & Space magazine. It tells the story of how a Cox .049 engine came to ride on a Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station. That engine sure has set a record for the highest flight ever achieved by a 1/2A engine!
MylarAirplanes and Rockets website visitor Michael M. wrote to request that I post this article, along with the ones for the Satellite 1000 free-flight champion, and The Giants of Free Flight. His reason was that he wanted to get his flying team back together again in Bill Hunter, who passed away recently. This article on covering with Mylar is very extensive and is another example of such efforts that were common in hobby magazines of decades ago - a large part of my motivation for making them available. It is rare to see such in-depth articles in today's publications, where the focus seems to be more on cramming in as many different <more>
The Giants of Free FlightThis article reports on the November 1972 San Valeers Annual contest. As the title suggests, it was attended by the big players of the day. Although not an "invitational" type like the Top gun R/C competition of today, the wheat was separated from the chaff by the entree fees: $50 for each class - huge for 1972! ($271 in 2011 dollars). Master builder/flyer Bill Hunter won 1st place for the Night Flying event, and 2nd place for Class C and Class D events. Bill's father, Bob, who designed the Satellite series of models, was there and tied son Bill for 1st place in Night Flying with a time of 12:00 - to the second! So, was the exact performance due to the airplane or the genes of the two fliers? I'm guessing both.
Attention: Model Rocketeers!Urgent Notice
RC Helicopters at the 1972 NatsIf a total of 15 pilots were to enter helicopters in the 2011 Nats, everyone would wonder what in the world has gone drastically wrong. Heck, in today's contest it probably isn't unusual for a single contestant to show up with as many as 15 of his own helicopters - one for each type of event (aerobatics, scale, etc.) and a couple back-ups for each. In 1972, 15 pilots with a total of 17 machines was heralded as ground-breaking. How times have changed.
Du-Bro's Whirlybird 505Du-Bro's Whirlybird 505 was the first successful commercial helicopter kit (although successful is a relative term as applied here). I was fortunate as a kid in Holly Hill Harbor, Mayo, Maryland, because there was a man down the street from me who was an avid radio control modeler and seemed to buy just about every new type of radio, engine, and kit available. I would anxiously await the sound of an engine running, and instantly jump on my bicycle to ride down and see what he was doing. The strange thing about it was that he had three step-sons...
1973 R/C Helicopter NatsIn August 1973 (the 18th), I was just turning 13 years old and could only dream of owning an R/C airplane, much less an R/C helicopter. It was still a time when very few people possessed the skill or money to become proficient enough at flying helis to consider competing in a contest. There were no programmable radios, and the metal-to-metal contact of gears and mechanical connections wreaked havoc on the 72 MHz receivers. Gyros were of the Hiller mechanical type; piezoelectric versions that integrated with the tail rotor servo were yet to be invented. Many of the models that appeared at the 1973...
Terrorist Planned to Use R/C Airplane
to Attack Pentagon & U.S. Capitol
Everything You Wanted to Know About E-Flight FlightRenowned electric-powered flight author Ed Anderson has published a book titled Everything You Wanted to Know about Electric Flight. You can download it in PDF format at the preceding hyperlink. Mr. Anderson carries on an extensive dialog on both the WattFlyer and the RCUniverse modeling forums. If you need a lot of pictures to learn, then this is not the book for you. However, if you can handle loads of concise data, explanations, and practical advice - especially if you are a newcomer to e-flight - then this is the book for you.
R/C 'Los Angeles' Article & PlansAn Airplanes and Rockets visitor wrote requesting that I post this article on the R/C Los Angeles airship, so here it is. There have been a few articles in the last year or so reporting on radio-controlled blimps (airships, dirigibles, etc.). The advent of super-light radio gear, powerful little brushless motors, and high energy density batteries has made them practical in almost any scale. This "Los Angeles" model is 53" long and 11½" in diameter, and will lift 8-10 ounces of gear. In 1968, when this...
Jupiter Photo w/Celestron 8SE TelescopeHere I am in my back yard in Erie, Pennsylvania, "playing" with my newly acquired (in June) Celestron NexStar 8SE telescope. City lights are fairly bright here to the east and west, but farm land is to the south and Lake Erie begins two miles to the north, so that limits the light pollution somewhat. Erie is not that large of a city, so that also helps. Still, compared to the truly dark skies in areas I have lived in Vermont and Colorado, the seeing is noticeably bad. I haven't had a chance to try any of the filters that came with the eyepiece and filter kit that came with the scope.
There's a Wankel in Your Future"Our certainty that model Wankels will soon be here stems not only form the Graupner efforts, but from the strong rumors that others model engine makers are engaged in development (Webra is supposed to be well along with a design, for for example). There very probably is a Wankel in your future...!" That is the closing line from this article in the June 1968 edition of AAM, reporting on the new-fangled Wankel rotatory engines and their supposed superiority and therefore inevitability. Unfortunately, the problems plaguing Wankel production models - both model and full-size engines - never were overcome...
First All-Japan Helicopter MeetIt's hard to imagine the first AllJapan 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.
The R/C CloudWhenever I hear the word "cloud" these days, I automatically think about the application to "cloud computing." It's just conditioning from living in the high-tech computing world. In this article from the February 1960 Popular Electronics, "cloud" refers to the nickname given to a model R/C blimp. It's hard to tell whether the story is a real experience or if it is just a humorous short about a scenario that we all know could be real - the infamous Mr. Murphy makes it possible. It's a good read.
The Wonderful Ryan S-CThis article on the Ryan S-C appeared in the July 1968 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. The S-C was unique in many ways, the least of which was its monocoque construction throughout - wing, tail surfaces, and fuselage. Its production, certain to be a hit, was abruptly halted after just 10 production models due to WWII requiring the factory be used for military aircraft.
Fairchild 22 C-7-F (1934) 4-ViewThis 4-view drawing of the Fairchild 22 C-7-F (1934) was scanned from page 38B and 38C of my purchased edition of the July 968 American Aircraft Modeler. It is another example of Björn Karlström's fine scale drawings.
Sketchbook - July 1968 AAMThis Sketchbook was scanned from the July 1968 American Aircraft Modeler, page 40.Most building tips are timeless. There are some of us who prefer to build our own models - not that there's anything wrong with RTF.
The Truth About the Russian Space ProgramHere is a type of article you will not find in today's modeling magazines; it is an in-depth look at the state of Russia's space program in the late 1960s. In 1968, the Cold War was in full swing, and recently constructed survival shelters were still stocked with food, water, clothing, and medicine in case some crazed general in Russia decided to push that would launch a barrage of ICBMs over the North Pole and into the USA. President Kennedy's challenge to send a man to the moon and safely return him was a year away from reality, and the Space Race was revealing how different design and execution strategies can be toward accomplishing the same goal of manned <more>
Flying Sorcerer - September 1970 AAMHere is an interesting little 1/4A free-flight model. The round wing planform is unique enough, but what I really like is the s-curved airfoil formed into the balsa sheet wing. Designing and test flying these kinds of models with unusual construction techniques often takes a lot of time and effort by the designer. It is really good old seat-of-the-pants aircraft development.
Cox Fokker D.VII BiplaneBack in the 1970s, the Evening Capitol newspaper, for which I delivered newspapers and my father, Art, was the classified ad department manager, had a contest where if you signed up a certain number of new customers, you got to chose from a list of prizes. The one I coveted was a set of Cox WWI airplanes. I know it included a Fokker triplane and a Sopwith biplane, but for some reason I think it had a third model; I just don't recall which <more>
Advertisements from Vintage AM and AAMIt is interesting to look back at the advertisements for aeromodeling from 30, 40, or more years ago to see what the rave of the day was. Even more interesting is to see the prices for various items and compare them to today. Believe it or not, when adjusted for inflation, there is not all that much difference in most things, but the big difference is in electronics. We pay dirt for radio systems nowadays, and they're infinitely better than those of yore. I have quite a few posted now, so start with any one and go from there.
Radio Control of ModelsBeginning with the first edition of the newly published hobby magazine called "Popular Electronics," the editor thought that including articles of the relatively new field of radio controlled aircraft would be important to serving a broad spectrum of interests. In this October 1954 edition, Volume 1, Number 1, prolific model aviation author William (Bill) Winter provided the write-up below as an introduction to the sport of radio controlled models. He included material on both airplanes <more>
S.S.P. HelicopterImagine if your path to flying an R/C helicopter involved first designing, then building, and then troubleshooting the contraption. That was the burden of pioneers. We have people like S.S.P. Helicopter designer Gene Rock to thank for being able to enjoy the state-of-the-art models that are available today. This article from the August 1972 edition of American Aircraft Modeler describes the process of machining all the metal parts for an Enya .45-powered craft. Mr. Rock even designed a very successful mechanical gyro for <more>
Milestone in Mankato: Ninth Rocketry NatsWhenever I look at articles like this one of the 1967 model rocketry nationals (NARAM-9) showing people from 40+ years ago, I always wonder what they are doing today. Kids that were 15 in 1967 are 59 today! Many of the adults, if they are still living, are in their 80s. Are they still flying model rockets? Are they in good health? Has life been good to them? Time can be a cruel master, but it can also be a gracious . But, at the time nobody was thinking about where they would be or what they would be doing in the year 2011; their only concern was the competition at hand and having a good time.
Chance Vought F4U-1 Corsair 4-ViewThis 4-view drawing for the Chance Vought F4U-1 Corsair were scanned from my purchased copy of the October 1968 American Aircraft Modeler magazine. Plans for this fine model were drawn by Mr. Björn Karlström for the October 1968 edition of American Aircraft Modeler.
Model World - On the International SceneMost of us have seen R/C Snoopy dog houses, witches on brooms, and lawnmowers. Here from the April 1969 edition of American Aircraft Modeler are some zanier flying platforms that you probably have not seen at the local field. These contraptions were flown at a meet in Germany. They called it a "weirdo" contest. Weird is right!
R/C Compound Escapements & ServosEarly "servos" were nothing more than the electromechanical equivalents of rubber band-powered escapement. Rather than energizing a solenoid that would allow the rubber band to turn the control arm, the pulse signal from the receiver would set a motor in motion, and then limit switches would stop it once the predetermined position was reached. They had a number of advantages over rubber-powered escapements in that the power delivered to the control surface was not diminished with every actuation (except from some negligible energy drain from the batteries), they <more>