- Home Page Archive #14 -
"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." Lord Kelvin, 1895

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:

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Modeling News Archive:

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Flyangle Article & Plans

Flyangle Article & Plans, March 1970, American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes & RocketsBill Hannan was a prolific designer of and author of magazine articles and books about free flight models. His contributions spanned more than fifty years. Many of his designs, like the Flyangle, targeted beginners. His goal was to present models that were easy to build and that were constructed in such a manner as to virtually guaranty success. Based on the inherently rigid, warp resistant triangular features of the AMA's Delta Dart, Hannan's Flyangle introduces a built-up fuselage with a triangular cross-section. It is the next logical step up from the Delta Dart. Airplanes and Rockets website visitor Ray M. wrote to request this article. It's nice to know there are still purists out there building these models.

Rise-Off-Water Secrets - How
to Fly Those Hydro Gassies

Rise-Off-Water Secrets - How to Fly Those Hydro Gassies (1963 Annual Edition American Modeler)Flying a model airplane off snow with a set of skis and flying a model airplane off water with a set of floats are two things I though that by the time I was this age would have already been accomplished. It was just last year that I managed to pull off the snow skis, but I have yet to fly from floats. There's no good reason for it other than for 54 years everything else seems to have take priority. It's shameful, I know. Maybe by age 55... This article from the 1963 Annual edition of American Modeler presents two plans types and three installation configuration types for adding floats to your model. These particular models are free flight, but the same basic principles apply to just about any standard design airplane.

Symposium on Free Flight

Symposium on Free Flight Adjustment Part II (March 1957 American Modeler Magazine)This is part two of a series from the March 1957 American Modeler that briefly introduces a dozen winning free flight models and comments from their designers. Current day modelers who like to fly the vintage (old timer) airplanes might pick up a useful tip from the masters of the golden age of free flight.

Falck's Special "Rivets"

Rivets: Falck's Special (February 1972 American Aircraft Modeler)Website visitor Gareth P. wrote to request that I scan and post the article for Falck's Special "Rivets" racer for Formula I events. The article is a documentary on the airplane and its designer / builder / owner, Bill Falck. As such, it does not include plans for building a model; however, it does include one of uber draftsman Björn Karlström's 4-views that could be used for creating a set of plans. BTW, the AMA plans service has 5 version of Rivets building plans if you want to go the easy route.

Old Timers Free Flight Brings
Out Yesteryear Favorites

Old Timers Free Flight Brings Out Yesteryear Favorites (January/February1963 American Modeler Article) - Airplanes and Rockets"Old Timer" is a relative term, as evidenced by this 1963 article in American Modeler. Participants in the 2nd Old Timers Meet held by the Northern California Free Flight Council probably never thought that nearly 60 years later people would consider their "modern" models to be old timers. Many of the designs and engines found at the event were from the dawn of model aviation.

K&B Fokker D.7 Control Line
Biplane Advertisement

K&B Fokker D.7 Control Line Biplane Advertisement from the December 1969 edition of American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsI do not remember that K&B had a line of ready-to-fly control line models back in the 1960s. This advertisement from the May/June edition of American Modeler displays a K&B Fokker D.7 biplane that comes with a K&B Gold Head .060 Tornado engine. It appears to be plastic a la the Cox control line models. The ad says K&B also had an SE-5A Scout companion to the Fokker for use in dog fighting.

Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat Control Liner

Control Liner F4F-3 Grumman Wildcat (May/June 1963 American Modeler Magazine) - Airplanes and RocketsIn 1963, when this article was printed, it had only been 18 years since the end of World War II, where the Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat earned its place in the history books as the only fighter in the U.S. armed forces' inventory capable of taking on Japan's Zero fighter. Walter Musciano designed this 38" wingspan control line model fashioned after ace fighter pilot Joe Foss' Wildcat. It used a .29 size engine, but could easily be converted to electric power. Construction is very typical of the day: rugged and heavy. Some lightening effort is advised if using electric power.

Retracting Gear B-17G Control Liner

Retracting Gear B-17G Control Liner (July/August 1963 American Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsCan you imagine what four Cox .049 engines running at the same time on the same airplane sounds like? Keith Laumer and John Simmance didn't have to wonder once they teams up to design, build, and fly this 45" wingspan, control line B-17 Flying Fortress. As if that wasn't enough, they added a custom electrical retractable landing gear (including the tail wheel), navigation lights, throttles on all four engines, and flaps! An 800:1 reduction gear box was coupled with a 3 volt motor to drive the retract mechanism, flaps, throttles, and light switches. A third control line and a Roberts 3-line bellcrank controlled everything. Operation of the retracts is a bit dicey since they are triggered to go up at full throttle, then go back down a low throttle. That means the pilot has to be careful not to command full throttle while the model is on the ground or the landing gear will fold up on him. I would not have wanted the task of trying to get all four Bay Bee .049 engines running at...

January/February 1963 Sketchbook

Sketchbook (January/February 1963 American Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsThis Sketchbook was scanned from the January/February edition of American Modeler, page 56. Most building tips are timeless. Even in this era of ready-to-fly (RTF), almost-ready-to-fly (ARF), bind-and-fly (BAF), etc., there are still many modelers who build their own aircraft. Nearly all top tier competition fliers build their own models, as do aficionados of vintage (aka old-timer) models...

May/June 1963 Sketchbook

Sketchbook (May/June 1963 American Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsBefore just about everything you could ever think of needing for your aeromodeling hobby was made in China and sold here at a dirt-cheap price, resourcefulness and creativity, combined with some mechanical skill, was needed by most hobbyists. Even those who could afford to buy everything they needed were not always able to find it already made and hanging on the hobby shop wall...

Aeroscraft Maiden Flight Set for December 2012

Aeroscraft Lighter-Than-Air Craft Set for Maiden Flight in December 2012 - Airplanes and RocketsAccording to a video produced by the BBC, Igor Pasternak's Aeroscraft airship is due for its maiden flight in December 2012. The Aeroscraft is a radically new design that does not require a ground crew for routine flights and uses internal bladder bags for controlling buoyancy rather than having to carry and release ballast and helium. The base design is 90 m long by 27 m wide by 30 m tall, and holds 37,000 cubic meters of helium. It is designed for luxury passenger accommodations as well as for cargo transport. One animated video shows it sitting in a Walmart parking lot, delivering products - that would be cool to see! Aeros has an extensive line of lighter-than-air craft for commercial and military use. There is a plethora of information on their website.

Dart Board Backerboard

Oak-Framed Backerboard for Halex Dart Board - Airplanes and RocketsWhen your dart throwing skills leave a lot to be desired, having a piece of wood behind the dart board to capture stray missiles rather than having them stick in the wall is an absolute necessity - unless you enjoy filling and painting small holes. Not wanting to just nail a scrap piece of plywood to the wall, I decided to put a little extra effort into the project and build a nice oak frame around the plywood. 3/4" thick oak is used for the outside border and 1/2" interior grade plywood is used for the backerboard. The width was made less than the height because the swing-open doors protect a wide enough area at the level of the dart board...

Lorraine Grandmother Clock Hood Assembly

Klockit Lorraine Grandmother Clock Project - Airplanes and RocketsA lot of new construction photos have just been posted for the Hood assembly of my Klockit Lorraine grandmother clock project. All parts are cut from hickory stock from a local lumber mill. Most of the Hood pieces are complete now...

What Really Happened at Kiev
International U-Control Meet

What Went Wrong at Kiev? (January/February1963 American Modeler Article) - Airplanes and RocketsThere were no punches pulled in this article subtitled, "Why America's Control-Line Teams Flubbed so Badly at Russian-Run F.A.I. World Championships," that appeared in the January/February edition of American Modeler. The author is not named, but whoever wrote it was obviously highly perturbed at the USA's showing - or lack thereof. He roundly criticizes both speed and stunt teams and individual flyers for a very weak showing in the 1962 FAI international control-line championships at Kiev, Ukraine, a former member of the now-defunct USSR. Unlike today's environment where everyone - even the losers - must be coddled and reminded how special he is, USA team participants and those whom he believed should have vied for a position on the team are repeatedly accused of being afraid of the competition. Having to accommodate the FAI's rules departures from the AMA's rules is presumably the reason for lack of...

Humor Department

Humor Department, or "Smile, It's Only a Hobby!" (March/April 1963 American Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsHumor has long been a vent for frustrations in life. As the old saying goes, "You gotta learn to laugh at yourself. Life is a joke and you're the punchline." Here are a few model airplane related comics from artist Roland that appeared in the March/April 1963 edition of American Modeler. Enjoy.

Sketchbook Modeler's Building Tips

Sketchbook (March/April 1963 American Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsBefore just about everything you could ever think of needing for your aeromodeling hobby was made in China and sold here at a dirt-cheap price, resourcefulness and creativity, combined with some mechanical skill, was needed by most hobbyists. Even those who could afford to buy everything they needed were not always able to find it already made and hanging on the hobby shop wall. Improvisation was the order of the day. These monthly "Sketchbook" features are a prime example of what I'm writing about. Having read through many of the ideas in many issues of American Modeler, I am a little dubious about the practicality of some of them. For instance, I highly doubt that the string starter idea in this edition actually worked very well. That's an awfully short moment arm on the prop shaft for being able to pull fast and hard enough to turn over the engine. I just...

Flight Radar 24

Flight Radar 24 Real-Time Commercial Flight Mapping Program - Airplanes and RocketsNo, that is not a swarm of bees attacking the Earth. FlightRadar24 is a Google Maps-based program that tracks commercial flights in real time. There were nearly 6,000 flights being tracked when this screen capture was made. You can quickly pan to and in and out of any area in the world to see where scheduled flights are in their transits. Add filters for specific flight number, cruising altitude, airport, aircraft model, and even radar type used for tracking. I live on a ridge overlooking Erie International Airport (ERI) in Erie, PA, and can sometimes visually see the traffic displayed on the map. This is très cool!

Mad Modeler's Coloring Book

Mad Modeler's Coloring Book (May/June 1963 American Modeler Magazine) - Airplanes and RocketsThis very strange comic appeared in the May/June 1963 edition of American Modeler. Although it's purpose purports to be a humorous way to let off steam about some aspect of modeling, it comes across to me as uncharacteristically nasty, and not real funny to boot. It uses sort of a free style (non rhyming) prose. What do you think?

Folkerts SK-3 Speed King

Folkerts SK-3 Speed King Article & 5-View, Feb 1973 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Stephen B. just wrote asking me to post this article for the Folkerts SK-3 Speed King. As the designation suggests, there were two prior iterations of the airplane. The Folkerts was a paradigm breaker in its day (circa 1930s) for using an inline engine rather than a radial. The story mentions that even "today" (...being 1973) the battle of opinions continues. Guess what? In 2012, there is still no agreement - take a look at the variety of racers at Reno. Although there are no construction plans, the inestimably talented Björn Karlström provided a detailed 5-view of the airplane.

Tom Akery's Baby Biplanes

F11C and P-6E Baby Biplane Models by Tom A. - Airplanes and RocketsTom Akery was kind enough to send photos of the two versions of the Baby Biplane that he built. Ironically (or not), Tom actually implemented the inkjet printing method that I mentioned. One model is covered in the F11C Goshawk (Navy)color and marking scheme, and the other is the P-6E Hawk II (Army). A very detailed documentation of the entire process is posted on his StickAndTissue.com website. Note the attention to panel lines, hardware, pilot, etc. Does that pilot look anything like Tom?

Because the Little Voice In My
Head Told Me To, That's Why...

Because the little voice in my head told me to, that's why... :-) - Airplanes and RocketsI've always loved that bumper sticker you see on pick'em-up trucks that says, "A little voice in my head told me to stay home from work today and clean my guns." That came to mind when Melanie took this picture after a session at the local shooting range.

Grandfather Clock Update
& Workbench Grid Marking

Klockit Lorraine Grandmother Clock Project & Workbench Square Grid Markings - Airplanes and RocketsAt long last, most of the major house projects are done so I'm finally able to get back to work on the clock! Oh, part of the delay has been due to moving to a new house in December 2010. The workshop is set up in the garage of the new house rather than in the basement as the previous one was. It's nice having an 8-foot high ceiling again. Before beginning assembly of the clock's hood (top enclosure for the works and dial), I took the time to scratch a 2" square grid pattern on the workbench surface. Dark stain was brushed into the grooves and then a couple coats of clear were sprayed over everything. This will make getting all of the clock components straight and square much easier. The clock's hood assembly is being clamped and screwed at this point. The plans don't call for glue on any of the...

Model Airplanes from
Vintage Christmas Wish Books

Control line Remote Control Unit 1958 Ward Christmas Catalog - Airplanes and RocketsPerusing through some old Christmas Wish Book issues printed by the likes of Sears, Ward, JCPenny, Spiegel, etc., turned up quite a few model airplane types. Joe Ott and Comets stick and tissues kits were available as were Cleveland as static display models. Many fuel-powered, ready-to-fly models that pre-dated the Cox line used the Wen Mac .049 engines with much-heralded "Rotomatic," "Cyclomatic," and "Flexomatic" starters, which were variations on the simple spring type starter used by Cox. One particularly interesting item is the "Remote Control Unit" that appeared in the 1958 Wards catalog for control line airplanes. It allowed the pilot to operate controls from outside the flying circle. I'm guessing no beginner ever got one of those to work...

Color TVs in the 1969 Sears Christmas Wish Book

Color Television Sets from the 1969 Sears Christmas Wish Book - Airplanes and RocketsHere on page 380 of the Sears 1969 Christmas Wish Book is a selection of higher-end color television sets. For a mere $629.95 you could own a 23" color television with instant-on technology. That was a big deal at the time. I can remember our old POS black & white set taking seemingly forever to heat up. If you were an early adopter of couch potato technology, an extra $100 got you a remote control handset - what a deal!...

Home Planetarium from the 1969 Sears Wish book

Home Planetarium from the 1969 Sears Christmas Wish Book - Airplanes and RocketsHere on page 544 of the Sears 1969 Christmas Wish Book is a home planetarium setup. The 7" diameter star projector had over 60 constellations. For an extra $19.99 you could buy a plastic hemispherical dome that would actually make the star projector useful. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation calculator, the total cost of the star projector and dome ($35.98 in 1969) would equal $224.61 in 2012 money.

Telescopes from the 1969 Sears Wish book

Telescopes from the 1969 Sears Christmas Wish Book - Airplanes and RocketsHere on page 545 of the Sears 1969 Christmas Wish Book is a selection of three refractor telescope models. I can remember having an el cheapo (a little Spanish lingo there) telescope as a kid living in Annapolis, Maryland, and being dumb enough to screw the sun filter into the eyepiece to look at the sun during the total solar eclipse of 1970 (12 years old at the time), when the path of totality ran just 50 miles or so south of my home. Telescopes usually don't include solar filters that screw onto the eyepiece anymore for safety reasons.

WAG - Hand-Held Relayless Dual Transmitter

WAG - Hand-held Relayless Dual Transmitter (January/February 1963 American Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsIf you like re-visiting the old days of radio control (notice I didn't use the adjective "good") to see how far we have come in terms of equipment, then this article from the January/February 1963 edition of American Modeler is just what you are looking for. Dr. Walter Good (no relationship to the adjective mentioned above) developed this "handheld" transmitter at a featherweight seven pounds to replace his previous 32-pound monstrosity. Modern digital transmitters with 100,000x the processing capability weigh less than a pound. Being a tube circuit admirer, I have always been impressed at what designers were able to do with so...

Johnson Engines Continue on Improvement Program

Johnson Engines Continue on Improvement Program (February 1957 American Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsThe title of this article from the February 1957 edition of American Modeler was ahead of its time in that it incorporates the "continuous improvement" theme of 21st century company quality assurance programs. Old timers are very familiar with the Johnson line of model aircraft engines. Although materials and process have improved since that time, it is interesting reading about the engineering thought that went into the design improvement. Have you ever heard of the Meehanite process?

Nesmith Cougar

Nesmith Cougar Article & Plans (April 1971 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsAn article and plans for the Nesmith Cougar homebuilt plane appeared in the April 1971 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. Per Wikipedia: "The Nesmith Cougar was a light aircraft developed in the United States in the 1950s and marketed for homebuilding. The design, by Robert Nesmith, was for a conventional high-wing, strut-braced monoplane with fixed tailwheel undercarriage. The pilot and a single passenger were seated side-by-side. The fuselage and empennage were of welded steel-tube..."

Sketchbook Timeless Modeling Tips

July/August 1963 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsBack when the Sketchbook, Gadgetry, Powerless Pointers, and Engine Info columns were run, there were very few pre-built models, and there simply was not as much available in the way of hardware and specialized modeling tools. We were still a nation of designers and builders. The workforce was full of people who worked on production lines, built houses and buildings with hand tools, and did not have distractions...

Bean Hill Flyers September 2012 Newsletter

Bean Hill Flyers Club Newsletter, September 2012 - Airplanes and RocketsJust a few thoughts on the July 15th Annual Competition. We had a great crowd despite the morning rain and threat of thunderstorm activity. The stunt crowd enjoyed pretty good conditions with an occasional gust of windy turbulence, (mostly during Denny Thomas' flights), and keen competition for beginner and intermediate skill levels. Chris Keller flew a repeated win from his performance at Brodak's, with some smooth flying. Way to go Chris, I'm sure you'll be moving up a level very soon. The hollow log planes were great to see and even more fun to watch the flying, proving that 1/2A's have their own unique set of challenges. The Foxberg...

Fletcher FU-24

Fletcher FU-24 (September 1971 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Barry G. (of Australia) wrote to ask to have the article for Claude McCullough's Fletcher FU-24 scanned and posted. It appeared in the September 1971 edition of American Aircraft modeler. The Fletcher is an Australian crop duster that looks and flies more like a sport plane than a crop duster. A unique feature of the FU-24 is its all-flying horizontal stabilizer (aka stabilator). The plans are high detailed with lots of good fodder for scale trimmings. There are lot of names credited on the plans...

Analog Devices' Contest "Guess the # of Gs"

Analog Devices "Guess the G's Contest" - RF CafeDang, I'm not sure how I missed this but Analog Devices ran a "Guess the G's Contest" in a promotion for one of their accelerometers (model # not identified). It was placed in an Estes Big Daddy model rocket and launched on video by Patrick Kusior. Andy Robinson, one of 4,900 entrants, guessed exactly the correct number of 5.561 Gs. He is now the proud owner of an iPad. Watch the video by clicking on the thumbnail above. Another contest will be announced in a couple months.

1909 Curtiss Model A 4-View

1909 Curtiss Model A Plans (April 1969 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsHere are plans for the Curtiss Model A that I electronically scanned from my purchased copy of the April 1969 American Aircraft Modeler magazine. You might be able to scale up this image below if a suitable set of plans is not available. Plans for this fine model were drawn by Mr. Björn Karlström.

Cardboard Dust Collectors

Woodworking Tips: Cardboard Dust Collectors - Airplanes and RocketsDust is always an issue when cutting and sanding wood. I build both model airplanes made of balsa and wooden projects made of pine, maple, oak, hickory, etc., so dust creation is almost an every day activity for me. Other than being located inside a room dedicated to the creation of such messes, the light weight, particulate form of dust causes it to spread far and wide throughout your house. I can be working downstairs in the corner of my garage on one end of the house and shortly thereafter, there will be a fresh layer of dust upstairs on the other end of the house. Even with doors shut, it manages to work itself into the air conditioning...