line speed models and contests have been around nearly since the existence of engine-powered model airplanes. As with
all sports, the state of the art in materials and design advances significantly over time, as does the contest flyers'
skills. Entering into the realm can be daunting, especially if you do not have access to a mentor. From what I've
read on the North American Speed Society's website, the
1/2-A Profile Proto Speed
was created specifically to provide an opportunity to try your hand (pun intended) at speed modeling without the need
for expensive equipment or pre-existing building and flying experience. Per the AMA's "Rules Governing Model Aviation
Competition in the United States, Control Line Speed," 1/2-A Proto models must use engines with displacements from
to 0.0504 in3
, weigh no
more than 9 oz., and fly on a pair of 42-foot long, 0.010-inch diameter lines. The Model Aeronautics Association of
Canada stipulates identical parameters.
you do not already subscribe to Model
weekly e-mail newsletter, I highly recommend it. There is always at least one item that I
find interesting enough to visit the website to read 'the rest of the story.' This week's newsletter has a story on
reworking the factory finish on an RTF
to give it a more realistic weather-beaten and combat-used look. There is always a brief tutorial
on an aerobatic maneuver (Keeping
Loops Round this week)
, often a feature of a full-scale aircraft, and a few other goodies.
is an interesting piece from the
AMA Government Regulations
"In a recent email an AMA member asked if we had
to fly model aircraft
… ? It's an interesting question... And in fact yes, we do have a right to fly! Though we
do not have a specific right to access the civil airspace as part of our constitutional rights, we do have the right
to navigate the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS) by Public Law. 49 U.S.C. § 40103 states, 'A citizen
of the United States has a public right of transit through the navigable airspace.' The FAA has been tasked with developing
'plans and policy for the use of the navigable airspace and assign by regulation or order the use of the airspace
necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace.' And the law does allow the FAA Administrator
to 'modify or revoke an assignment when required in the public interest.' However...
might be 46 years old, but there are still a couple good tips for modeler in the March 1967 edition of American Modeler.
In particular, a really slick method for holding your fuselage cross-section square (or any other shape) while the
glue is drying. Another great tip is one for holding leading edges in place without pins while drying was submitted
- by a guy in Hong Kong, China. 1967 was a bad year in Hong Kong because of widespread riots instigated by Communists
from Red China. Of course we were having our own riots and violence here in the U.S. during that awful era where groups
like Bill Ayers' Weather Underground were bombing police stations.
is pretty cool. For just $15 you can buy a kit of parts for converting just about any paper airplane in to a electric-powered
flyer. Per the PowerUp website: "The world's first electric-powered paper airplane! Only 20 seconds to charge for
over 30 seconds of free flight duration. Durable, lightweight carbon fiber body. Creative and educational, make your
own free flight origami airplanes, experiment with different models and share your best designs with us. Great outdoor
activity. Requires 3 AA 1.5V Alkaline batteries (not Included)
" Included are motor, 2
props, a Li-Po battery, support stick, and a charging box (for the AA batteries)
iPhone-controlled version is due for release in the fall.
than half a century ago modelers relied on their own ingenuity - and sometimes that of others - to make parts for
their airplanes and/or make tools with which to build those airplanes. Ready-made everything, available at your doorstep
within two days, was just not an option. Even well-designed kits that included most hardware accessories required
the builder to tap into his personal bag of tricks to get the job done. The "Sketchbook
feature that presents reader-submitted tips and tricks began in Air Trails and continued through the follow-on American
Modeler magazines. Many have been posted here on Airplanes and Rockets website.
visitor John H. requested this article on the OQ-2A drone from the March 1971 edition of AAM. The
was produced by the Radioplane
Company, of California at the beginning of World War II. Reginald Denny, a famous actor of the time and owner
of the company, was an avid radio-control flyer. Rudder and elevator control was provided via remote-controlled electric
servomechanisms. Norma Jeane Mortenson, aka Marilyn Monroe, worked on building these planes in the Radioplane Company's
decades, I have had my hobby workbench set up with collectible coffee mugs sitting around to hold all of my hand tools
- pliers, picks, files, scissors, rulers, screwdrivers, etc. Over time the number of coffee mugs has grown considerably,
so it seemed like the time had arrived to finally get a tool box to put everything in so as to have a tidier and more
efficient work space. A search for a nice
showed that anything worth
getting would cost many hundreds of dollars if purchased new. There are a few el cheapo wood toolboxes out there,
but the customer reviews are overwhelmingly bad. Lousy joints, easily scratched finish, and sticking drawers are a
few of the most common complaints. Conversely, customer reviews on the well-made oak chests overwhelmingly rave over
how nice they are. Well, I'm not so poor that I'm eating the dog for dinner, but then I'm not eating caviar either...
1955, Ford introduced the Thunderbird convertible as its first true 'modern' personal luxury car. It was not promoted
as a sportscar, although its 2-seat configuration certainly provided the requisite look.
with all new model years, the 1955 Ford Thunderbird
was introduced to the public in the fall of 1954, in time for the December edition of Air Trails
a series of scale pencil drawings by Jefferies. The artist much have had access to at least some level of factory
drawings because of the detail in the x-ray views; either that or he had an exceptional ability to visualize such
things based only on external observations. If you are a Thunderbird fan, then you will appreciate these drawings.
Believe it or not, there are still some people who scratch build their own model airplanes or build kits that require
bending and even soldering music wire for making landing gear. I fall into that category, although I occasionally
buy a pre-built model to use while projects are on the building board. This article from a 1954 Air Trails has some
handy tips and illustrations to help someone doing doing landing gears for the first time and maybe even for seasoned
landing gear builders. In fact, after reading this article, I implemented step #8 that shows a good way to assure
that the wheel retaining washer is soldered perpendicular to the axel. If you do not use a jig of some sort,
the surface tension of the molten solder tends to pull the washer askew because of the proximity of the bend in the
wire between the wheel axel and where it leads up to the fuselage. The phenomenon occurs because the natural action
of the solder is to minimize surface tension everywhere, so that angle perturbs the solder flow. Skewing does not
happen when you are soldering a washer at the end of the wire where all the angles (90°) are the same.
Trails HOBBIES for Young Men
magazine, which was published in the 1950s and 1960s, covered a wide array of subjects
including model cars, boats, trains, rockets, and helicopters. It may have billed itself as targeting young men, but
men of all ages enjoyed its monthly contents. The December 1945 edition had this spread on some early cars such as
the Pierce Silver Arrow
1922 Durant. The image of line drawings and brief descriptions would also make a good wall poster if you want to print
it out. If you are a vintage car aficionado, then most likely you have visited the Jay Leno's Garage website. He has
one of the nicest private collections of antique automobiles and motorcycles in the world.
December 1954 edition of Air Trails
magazine, a mere decade past the end of World War I, did a short
feature on 11 of the
most important airplanes. Description and role for each model is brief. Line drawings are provided.
You might want to print out the image and use it as a poster.
visitor Tom J. wrote to request that this article for the "Push-Air"
free flight model
be posted. Designed by Frank Ehling, it appeared in the February 1970 edition of American
Aircraft Modeler. The 19" wingspan almost seems large for such a tiny motor - the 0.005 cubic-inch Brown Junior CO2
Built-up stick and tissue construction could replace the 1/16" sheet balsa fuselage sides and tail surfaces to save
a little weight if you want a little extra flight time.
is another one of the the many models I have always intended to build, but just have never gotten around to it. Being
a huge fan of the whole Peanuts
gang, and particularly
Snoopy the World War I ace, one of these
be a perfect project. I've never seen one configured for control line, so that's my plan when and if I ever do build
two years ago I scanned and posted just the plans for the
control line model intended for Navy Carrier
events, but I did not post the construction article. So, I finally added the article for you. Here are plans for the
Martin MO-1 that I electronically scanned from my purchased copy of the August 1969 American Aircraft Modeler magazine.
To this day, the MO-1 is the preferred model for the event. It will be interesting to see how the AMA's adoption of
new rules for control line competition that allows radio control of any function other than elevator control will
affect Carrier competition. I foresee gyroscope stabilization and airspeed hold functions. Plans for this fine model
were drawn by Don Gerber and Charles Reeves.
electric power is increasing in popularity for model aircraft locomotion due to significant advances in motor and
battery technology, internal combustion engine use is decreasing - at least as a percentage. For those modelers who
still indulge the often temperamental habits of those engines, this article from the American Aircraft Modeler's
"For the Tenderfoot
" series is a good primer
(yes, word chosen deliberately)
on how to break in and adjust them for long life and
reliable runs. My own conversion to electric power has been purely for the sake of convenience; there is no substitute
for the sound and smell of a model airplane engine screaming away with the fragrance of hot castor oil emanating from
the exhaust port.
any American what is his all-time favorite World War II fighter aircraft and the answer will most likely be the
P-51 Mustang. It's sleek lines, rocket-like speed, and the guttural roar of its 12-cylinder engine creates a demanding
presence whether in a museum or on an airshow flight line. That same person would also probably name the AT-6 Texan
as his favorite trainer of the era, and the B-25 Mitchell as his favorite bomber. What do all three have in common?
They were all designed and manufactured by
. At the helm of the company during the era was James Howard "Dutch" Kindelberger. This story from a 1949
edition of The Saturday Evening Post takes a look at the man behind those legendary aircraft.
, which is named after what
a newcomer or 'tenderfoot' was referred to in Northern Canada and Alaska, is an entry-level rocket boost free-flight
glider. The name fits perfectly with the monthly "For the Tenderfoot" series that ran in the AMA's American Aircraft
for many years. Cheechako uses what was at the time the second-smallest Estes rocket motor, the
, for power. The thrust and
engine run time were minimal, and there was a 2-second delay time before the ejection charge was fired to eject the
heavy motor casing out of the back of the mounting tube. I had a Falcon rocket boost glider as a kid and loved it
since the configuration allowed me to combine my other other indulgence: model airplanes (hence, the name of this
and I toured the Watson-Curtze Mansion here in Erie, Pennsylvania, today. It was built in the late 1800s by businessman
Harrison F. Watson, president of H.F. Watson Paper Company. Its 22,000 square feet of floor area occupies a full basement,
three full floors, and a balcony area for orchestras above the third-floor ballroom. The level of detail in the woodwork
is incredible, with an extensive mix of hand carvings on railings and cornices and machine carvings on moldings and
trim. Each room has a unique theme woven throughout its features. Any woodworker would be envious of the craftsmanship
exhibited in the handiwork. Of particular interest to me were the two clocks. One was a grandmother style clock built
by the John Hoff company. It sits on the first landing of the stairs. The other is a
Walter H. Durfee Hall Clock
(it appears to be pattern number 13)
, which was considered the clock to have for those
in the upper echelon of society at the turn of the 20th century...
have dominated headlines where Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are the subject because they are highly stable and
precise platforms that require almost no interaction or flying ability by the user. They are being used by law enforcement,
private companies, and by well-heeled hobbyists and for photography and surveillance. For as little as a thousand
dollars you can buy a gyro stabilized, autonomous platform for taking pictures of your neighborhood, house, or club
flying field. While they are capable of hovering stationary over a target, the disadvantage of quadrotors is that
they are slow-moving and therefore have limited range. Conventional airplane configurations don't suffer the speed
and range problem, but they are always in motion. While pricier than many lower end quadrotors (higher end model run
above $10k), the eBee
flying wing platform from senseFly,
at about $12,000, not only incorporates many advanced sensing and monitoring systems, also removes the requirement
for piloting ability because it is capable of landing autonomously. I'm guessing the senseFly still needs an operator
smart enough to hand-launch it...
and Rockets visitor Kevin B. requested that I scan and post this article on the
"Big Twin" R/C outboard motorboat
model. It appeared in the May 1957 edition of American Modeler (AM)
. AM was one of the forerunners of today's
(the official AMA publication), and was more all-encompassing in regards to modeling as it
included model boats, cars, rockets, and trains. It also was known to occasionally have articles on full-size aircraft.
Anyway, the Big Twin is 32" long and is built of traditional model boating materials like mahogany plywood and spruce.
This model's claim to fame is the use of balsa planking on the hull - which is much easier to form than spruce - and
then a layer of fiberglass is laid over it for strength and waterproofing. An
Allyn Twin outboard motor
is specified for power.
visitor Jim S. wrote to request that I post this construction article on Larry Scarinzi's 'Gay
' control-line stunter model. Designed for a .29 to .35 size engine, the Gay Devil is an all built-up airframe,
as were the vast majority of the models of the era. Undoubtedly its large elevator area, reminiscent to today's 3-D
R/C models, is responsible for the designer's claim that it pulls through square-corner maneuvers with ease - and
that is without flaps! Jim says, "I knew him [Larry] when we were attending Newark College of Engineering during the
early 50's. I also saw him at Shaw Air Force Base in "57" where I helped launch his 'Gay Devil.' He won third place
at that contest." This is yet another example of someone having the opportunity to wax nostalgic over experiences
long, long ago.
not mentioned in the article, the 1962 FAI R/C World Championships
were held at Kenley Airfield about 15 km south of London, England. This article from a 1963 edition of American
. If you had relatives who attended the event, this might be one of the best places to look to see if
you can find him or her in the large number of photographs presented here. Flyers from the USA, Great Britain, Germany,
South Africa, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Japan, Holland, Norway, the USSR, and many other countries
were in attendance. I read elsewhere that none other than Maynard Hill was one of the judges. It is interesting that
at the time the FAI did not award a 2nd-place spot, but two 1st-place spots instead; was that one of the earliest
examples of feel-good sports?
14-foot-span F-86 Sabre jet flown by Henri Wild at the Icare-Airmeet in France weighs 145 pounds and uses two JetCat
160 turbines for power. It experiences retractable gear problems so the pilot opts to keep the gear down for the maiden
flight. A second video runs after the F-86 video that has highlights of the entire airshow. The variety and quality
of jet models as well as giant scale WWI and WWII models is amazing, as are the realistic sounds of the turbines and
huge 4-cycle engines!
has been said that if you cannot accomplish greatness and/or notoriety for yourself, write about those who have and
you might just share some of their glory. Through posting some of the old articles from model aviation magazines,
I have had the good fortune of being contacted by a few of the people who appeared in them. This time it was by Free
Flighter Mike Schwartz
, who flew with Bill
and Bob Hunter of Satellite
fame. Mike is writing an authoritative
story of the Satellite's history for the
National Free Flight Society Symposium
in 2013. There have been a number of errors in modeling magazines regarding
Satellite versions and flying locations that he corrected in his letter.
Municipal Airport was the national headquarters of the
Antique Airplane Association
in 1967 when this article was written by Don Pratt for American Modeler magazine, but today it is located about 10
miles west of Ottumwa at Antique Airfield. Maybe ever since Radar O'Reilly made 'put Ottumwa on the map' in the M*A*S*H
television series, the Muni got so busy that AAA had to move. Or not. This is a great collection of photos of full-size
airplanes many of which probably don't even exist anymore... at least in airworthy condition.
knows the Experimental Aircraft Association's (EAA) headquarters and annual Fly-In is located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin,
but it hasn't always been so - just like the AMA's HQ and flying facilities have not always been in Muncie, Indiana.
In this article from the January 1970 American Aircraft Modeler, author Don Pratt, whose son Kevin contacted me and
requested that this and other articles written by his father, covers the final year that the
EAA held its Fly-In
in at the Rockford Municipal (now International)
Airport. To the right is a satellite
image of how the area looks today (note that runway 6 is now runway 7)...
you calendars for February 9th and 10th. That is when
will be held in Champaign, Illinois.
I'd like to attend e-Fest, Toledo, and AMA Nationals, but time and $$$ just don't allow. If you want to send me photos
of your experience at any of these shows, I'll be glad to post them with appropriate attribution to you as the source.
Bean Hill Flyers
is the Erie,
Pennsylvania's, only organized control line flying group. It operates under sanction of the Academy of Model Aeronautics
(AMA), charter #4673. Two main flying sites are maintained, one in Albion, PA, and the other in Millcreek, just west
of the Erie city line. This is the January/February newsletter.
you might know if you have been visiting this website for a while, my life-long hobby has been model aviation. Many
notable people have similarly been aeromodelers from a young age, including aircraft designer Burt Rutan, Space Shuttle
astronaut Robert "Hoot" Gibson, radio personality Paul Harvey, actor and WWII bomber pilot Jimmy Stewart, Olympiad
Bruce Jenner, catamaran and surfboard designer Hobart "Hobie" Alter, to name a few. Physicist
Dr. David (Dave) Wineland
has just been added to the list since he won the Nobel Prize in Physics in December
2012 for his work on quantum computing. The Academy of Model Aeronautics' (AMA) monthly magazine Model Aviation
printed an interview with Dr. Wineland in the January 2013 edition, where he discusses his history with model airplanes
and his work at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Colorado. Model Model Aviation
editor Jay Smith granted permission for me to reprint the article on my
engineering website since it will likely be of interest to engineers and scientists who visit.
every soaring enthusiast is familiar with Schweizer's model 1-26 glider, having been around since before most of us
were born. Incredibly, it was the new kid on the block at the
1954 Soaring Nationals
in this December 1954 edition of Air Trails. The Schweizer 1-26 had just been introduced in January of the same year.
Another familiar name to aviation enthusiasts in general is Peter Bowers, designer of the Fly Baby homebuilt monoplane
and biplane. Who knew Bowers was a glider guy as well? While names are being dropped, how about Paul MacReady, the
Gossamer Condor designer? This contest was a virtual Who's Who of yet-to-be hangarhold[sic] names.