was no article accompanied this picture and 5-view drawings of Canada's de Havilland
. There is a nice
in-air photo of an Otter sporting a really weird set of floats that look like they're too small and mounted backwards,
and there are two highly detailed 5-view drawings. Version are show with standard wheels, with floats
(normal looking ones)
, and with snow skis. Per Wikipedia, "The DHC-3/CSR-123 Otter was
used until 1980 by the Royal Canadian Air Force and its successor, the Air Command of the Canadian Forces...
the same manner that radio control model aircraft are today under scrutiny by government regulating agencies
(DHS, FBI, et al)
, model rocketry suffered various forms of discrimination in its early
days of widespread popularity. Per this 1963 article from American Modeler
, "The status of
under the law has
often been a questionable one in several sections of the country. Our hobby has been variously labeled as fireworks,
handling and discharging explosives, public nuisance (which covers a multitude of sins), disturbance of the peace,
a hazard to aircraft in flight, dangerous to persons and property on the ground, and 'dangerous killer.' As the record
shows it is none of these."
23rd's full moon, known as the Strawberry Full Moon, was the biggest and brightest full moon of 2013 - a 'supermoon
in modern parlance. The technical name for this special combination is the perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system.
The moon reached perigee at 7:00 am EDT, and fullness at 7:32 am. The moon is full when it the earth is
between the sun and the moon, and the moon is new when it is between the sun and Earth. The picture was taken out
of my from porch, at around 12:10 pm local time (Erie, PA)
, with an outside temperature
of around 75 °F. Because of widespread cloud cover, it took about 15 minutes of waiting with my finger on the
shutter button to finally get a break large enough for the entire moon to show through...
has been slowed a bit with other priorities getting in the way, but the
Lorraine grandmother clock
building phase is nearly at an end. The clockworks has been test-fitted
and adjusted to run properly. Boy, was it nice after nearly three years to see the pendulum swinging and hear the
chimes ringing out! Everything was removed for safe keeping while the final touches are put on. Glass retainer strips
are on the doors and waist sides, hinges have been hung, the finial mounted on the crown, cloth grille frames screwed
in place, and then removed until finishing. I like to make sure all screw holes have been tapped ahead of time to
mitigate the risk of an error after the finish is on. All that remains to be done prior to starting the finishing
process is cut and glue on the concave molding on the base and waist (top and bottom), then do a final sanding. The
next pictures will probably be after the stain is applied.
2013, flying a radio-controlled airplane model with a 22" wingspan is no major accomplishment. In 1963 it was a phenomenon.
Today's micro-size servos and receivers and powerful brushless motors and Li-Ion batteries. Yesterday's models used
relays, electronic components with wires sticking out of them, interconnecting wires, metal frames, heavy alkaline
batteries, and in the case of single-channel models like the
, a rubber band
to power the escapement. Oh, and you had to build the model yourself. It was all very crude by today's standards.
Pioneers like author Aubrey Kochman helped pave the way for what we enjoy now with ready-to-fly convenience and at
a much cheaper price in inflated dollars (or rupees).
visitor Alan M. wrote to request that I scan this Dancer article from the February 1971 edition of American Aircraft
modeler. The Dancer is a beginner's level
control line trainer
model for 1/2A
power. It was designed and built by AMA Junior level modeler Dennis Haimerl. A unique feature of the Dancer is use
of a leading edge slot to enhance lift and stall characteristics of the flat airfoil of the wing.
Hiller Helicopters XROE-1 "Rotor-cycle"
looks a lot like the Bensen Gyrocopters that seemed to be in every magazine in the 1960s and 1970s, either as a feature
story or in the advertisements in the back. A couple James Bond movies even featured them as high-tech, futuristic
flying machines. The U.S. military experimented for a while with the personal gyrocopter concept for surveillance
and search and rescue operations, but it never really went anywhere. Remote-controlled drones do a lot of that work
these days. Significant improvements have been made in airworthiness over the years and now there are many personal
gyrocopters in use around the world - both homebuilt and commercially built.
lot of wild and zany ideas for flying machines have been tried over the years. Most, if not all, of them could probably
be coaxed into flying with modern computer-controlled stabilization and navigations systems that use fast-reacting
powerplants, sensitive accelerometers and position sensors. For anything other than stable platforms, human pilots
just could not provide control - at least on an extended basis and under adverse weather conditions. This "flying
platform" by Hiller Helicopters
is another article from the 1960s where its author laments
waning interest in FAI
(Fédération Aéronautique Internationale)
competition. Most seem to have concluded that
the problem was due to a perception that the FAI's had adopted overly bureaucratic regulations. They wanted to simply
end participation. Others wanted to add an FAI "tax" to AMA membership to support team participation in order to increase
participation. Isn't the latter concept the same bass-ackwards approach that politicians have in the past used - and
lots still do - that fails every time it's tried?
learning to fly, students are introduced to a consequence of Einstein's General Relatively theory - albeit not called
by that name. According to Albert, there is no way to experimentally determine the difference between a force caused
by positional acceleration and a force caused by gravity. That is, if you did not know better, you could not tell
whether the downward force on your body (weight)
was due to the 32.2 ft/sec2
acceleration of gravity or whether you were standing in a rocket ship that was accelerating through space at a rate
of 32.2 ft/sec2
. The phenomenon is responsible for many pilots crashing their airplanes under low
or zero visibility condition when, believing they are right-side-up and flying straight and level, they are actually
in a coordinated turn or even flying inverted in an arc that generates the same acceleration as gravity. Early fliers,
like pioneer airmail pilot Jack Knight
had to contend with such dangers...
modeling editor Bill Winters
wonderingly about whether the "theoretician" modelers who use "wind tunnels, slide rules, [and] adding machines" might
really be gaining an edge over the "rule-of-thumbers" who pioneered the basic precepts of various model aircraft design
and operation through trial-and-error processes. By removing environmental variables like wind, thermals, and terrain,
he considers how recent gains in indoor events have rewarded renowned "thinker" type modelers with great advanced
in record performances.
short article and 3-view drawing by James Trigg appeared in the February 1962 edition of American Modeler
With a 36' wingspan and a mere 40 hp for an engine, the
performed more like a powered
glider than a power plane. Its wing loading of 6.15 lb/sq.ft. yielded it a climb rate of 450'/min and a
glide ratio of 10:1. Only 400 were built before new FAA airworthiness standards caused production to halt.
was scanned from the February
1962 American Modeler, page 40. 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)
number of things make this
advertisement from the December 1954 edition of Air Trails surprising. First, did you even know that
Top Flite used to make anything other than large radio controlled model airplanes? Second, did you know that the great
Carl Goldberg was a model designer for Top Flite before he started his own model airplane company? Third, did you
know Top Flite used to make small molded balsa models for Jetex engines? This ad offered an F-86 Sabre Jet and a Douglas
Skyrocket for $1 each.
was a lot of work to put together a radio control model of any sort in 1953, but the complexity of this
paddlewheel model boat
seems excessive. It claims, through careful consideration and design, to have overcome to main two obstacles of entering
the remote control model realm - a need to possess expert modeling skills and a need to possess an amateur radio operator
license. Obstacle one is (ostensibly)
overcome through simple boat and electronics construction,
and obstacle two is overcome through use of a radio that operates in the unlicensed Citizens band. I'll give them
the second, but at least to today's ARF and RTF hobbyist population, the first is still way beyond the ability of
most enthusiasts. You're probably tired of hearing it if you read my notes often, but the fundamental lack in hands-on
craftsmen in the country (all countries)
is pretty pathetic. Evidently such abilities
aren't required for society to progress... but that depends on your definition of progress.
have probably seen the news about asteroid "QE2
(1.5 miles wide, like the one which eradicated the dinosaurs)
that will pass within 3.6
million miles of the Earth on May 31. That might seem like far, but it is only 15x the distance between Earth and
the moon. Anyway, this Frank and Ernest
comic strip appeared on May 13th and I cut it out to remind me to post it today, on the eve of QE2. QE2, BTW, is a
nerd pun on the potential destruction to Earth that the government's Quantitative Easing policy might cause.
visitor Wells S. just wrote asking for another article to be posted - this time it is a very nice scale radio controlled
. As was common in the era
, construction is very robust and therefore heavy (10 pounds with a 64" wingspan)
A Super Tigre .56 powered the model in the article, and an Orbit radio with Bonner servos were used. My favorite line
in the article is, "In flight the Spitfire is very stable but snaps through maneuvers and will tie knots in itself
if you can operate transmitter switches fast enough." We've come a long way, baby.
short tongue-in-cheek article about the use of salt mines in Communist countries like Romania for indoor free flight
contests was written in 1963, a time when the Cold War was in full swing, your neighbor might have built a nuclear
shelter in his back yard, and kids practiced getting under their desks in the event of a wave of incoming ICMBs tipped
with MIRVs. In fact, the FAI world championships have been held in
Romanian salt mines
a few times, and they will return there in 2014.
was scanned from
the January 1962 American Modeler. There are a couple ideas in this edition that I would not recommend. The first
is a method for attaching the primary handle of your control line model to a separate handle that allows the primary
to pivot, thereby enabling the pilot to simply hold the contraption above his head and letting the airplane fly in
circles without the pilot needing to turn with it. It might seem clever, but I can imagine a whole lot of things that
could go wrong with that scenario! The second not-recommended item is placing a piece of sponge material between a
transistor package and the circuit board and then saturating it with a volatile chemical prior to soldering the leads
in order to allow the evaporative action wick...
a look at the variety of models at the
1963 West Coast AMA Nationals
and you will notice that the overall types and outlines have not really changed all that significantly for the different
categories. Stunt, speed, scale, free flight, and other models, if the pictures were in color, would look like what
you might see at the 2013 Nats in Muncie this years (OK, the helicopters were more crude)
Only a discerning eye could spot the true vintage from the photos. Up close, there is undoubtedly a lesser degree
of precision and detail on the models since competition always moves the bar higher over time. If anything betrays
the era, it is the haircuts and less slovenly attire of the participants...
and Rockets visitor Wells S. requested this article and plans of the Cardinal, from the February 1972 issue of
AAM. The Cardinal
, per its designer,
Dan Santich, was created in order to have a competitive pattern ship that could not only fly the entire FAI course,
but do it gracefully and effortlessly. A search did not reveal whether he ever went on to win an FAI contest with
wasn't until the mid 1930s, thanks largely to Douglas Aircraft's DC-3, that the public began taking to the airways
in large numbers. It was a combination of trust in a rugged, proven airframe and the low (relatively) operating cost
of operating the aircraft that made passenger travel affordable. By 1949, when these advertisements appeared in
The Saturday Evening Post
, the airline industry was in full swing worldwide. Successful jet airliners were
still a few years off, as evidenced by all the airplanes in the ads being propeller driven. De Havilland's Comet
claiming the title of 'first' in that realm, but the in-air breakup of many due to window failures soured the public
on jetliners. Boeing's 707 restored the trust and went on to become the first 'successful' commercial jet airliner.
Products has been selling high quality balsa to modelers for a very long time - since 1952 according to their website.
Theirs and Sig's are the two names that come to mind when I think of balsa, since they dominated the market back in
the 1960s and 1970s when I first started building airplane models. Balsa USA and the many house brands sold by hobby
distributors are now available, but Midwest and Sig are still to balsa what Coke and Pepsi are to soft drinks, at
least to many my age (54) and older. This story from the July 1970 edition of American Aircraft Modeler recounts an
expedition by Mr. Frank Garcher, of Midwest, to the Balsa
Ecuador Lumber Corporation
, in Guayaquil, Ecuador. A search of Balsa Ecuador Lumber did not turn up any results,
but I did find a modern-day mill called Lumber Industries, in Samborondon, Ecuador, in case you want to see an example
of how your balsa is processed today. 5/19/2013
A. Musciano is a name very familiar to early control line modelers. His beautifully detailed plans and cut-away construction
drawings are pieces of art suitable for framing. This Chance Vought
is designed to a scale of 1" equals 1 foot. A Fox .59 engine powered the original. The article has a little bit of
historical data about the development process, beginning with the FX4U-1 prototype. Another example of Walter A. Musciano's
fine scale detailed plans and construction article appeared in the December 1947 edition of Air Trails
a DC-3 / C-47 titled "Build Your Own
Douglas C-47 World's Most Famous Plane
visitor Bob wrote to ask that I scan and post the construction article and plans for the
control line model. The unique feature
of this model is that the power is supplied by the pilot. A fishing pole and line is used to drag the airplane around
the flying circle and a separate, standard two-line elevator control is used to maneuver the model. Construction is
sheet balsa. Author Joe Wagner (well-known in the modeling world) claims that with a bit of practice just about any
aerobatic maneuver can be accomplished except for the overhead routines like the figure 8.
"Roland" (not sure if that was his first or last name)
drew a series of
comics for American Modeler
in the 1960s that played off of typical humorous scenarios that occurred then - and now - in the modeling world. See
if any of these themes are familiar from your own experiences.
are another form of aircraft that causes people to stop and stare. Most people have never seen an airplane with the
wing in the back and the horizontal stabilizer up front, and the pusher propeller configuration just adds to the amazement.
For all the hoopla canards have enjoyed over the years, except for an occasional Long EZ at the local airport, you
don't see very many. There are a couple military jets with a small supplemental forward control surface, but I don't
really consider them canards in the truest sense. If you would like to try modeling a canard, plans and a construction
story appeared in the October 1967 edition of Model Aviation. The 64" wingspan make it a fair size model; the original
was powered with an Enya .45.
have always been a popular topic with modeler and full-size pilots alike. There's something about watching an airplane
take off from or land on the water that is awe-inspiring. Flying without the constraints of a narrow runway certainly
has its advantages, but there is an added element of risk with seaplanes because of potential damage that can be caused
by water entering the airframe or even damaging it. The possibility of drowning, even after making an otherwise perfect
landing, exists for the full-scale pilot, and the modeler can lose equipment that otherwise might be salvageable.
This article is pretty extensive and give a lot of food for thought concerning taking on rise-off-water
operation. I looked up the tail number (N3763C)
the Cessna 150 shown, but either it has been retired or it hasn't changed owners in lo these many years.
fictitious 'Plaster of Paris
,' comprised of a couple university of Michigan professors and a handful of students constructed
three giant scale models of what were probably originally Guillows rubber powered model airplane plans. They were
intended as outdoor display models and were the basis of a study in materials and construction. The Fokker DR-1 spanned
16', and two 18' span SE-5 Scouts were built, and then auctioned off. Also in the story is a
British model airplane contest
is another of American Modeler's Sketchbook series of helpful hints and tricks for making your model building efforts
a bit easier. An example is showing how to attach an X-acto blade to a soldering gun to make a
. It uses a #11 blade, but you could
attached any type blade, depending on your need. A hot knife is good for shaping Styrofoam, but I have found one of
the best uses for a hot knife is to cut through hardened epoxy. If you need to remove a firewall or landing gear mounting
block, this is the way to go. It will slice through that gob of epoxy like... well... a hot knife through butter.
Roundup was a monthly column in American Modeler (the precursor to American Aircraft Modeler
, precursor to
the current Model Aviation
). American Modeler covered many aspects of modeling other than airplanes (helicopters
were for experimenters) including rockets, boats, cars, and to a lesser extent, trains. Radio control for models boats
was in full swing by 1962, both for powered and sail boats.
(or maybe not)
electric slot car racing
fairly popular amongst kids. I say surprisingly because with radio control electric cars being under $10 in some cases,
it is a wonder that anyone these days wants anything that confines a car to a specific course or has to plug into
the wall to work. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, slot car racing was very popular. I can remember even into the 1970s
that some of the bigger hobby shops still had slot car tracks set up where you could rent time on the track for a
buck or so an hour. If you didn't have your own car, you could rent one there. My good friend, Jerry Flynn, was a
slot car aficionado and would lend me one of his spares. I think the hobby shop we went to was in either Bethesda
or Rockville, Maryland. It was quite a drive from our neighborhood around Annapolis. While typing out these words
I can remember the smell of the electrical arcing of the motor brushes heating the oil we put on the axels and motor
bushings. Ah, those were the days...
project is Open Source and completely community driven. The
goal is to create and maintain the most advanced and up to date array of tools for many different fields of Remote
Control applications. Since the system is closer to a portable Ground Station than a simple control unit and can be
configured through accessories and modules to be as complex as the application requires it, it is important to understand
the basic functionality and role of each available component of the system. Please check the
section for documentation about each part
of the system and read the Product
available on the site. "
time marches on, names like Jim Vornholt, Bud Tenney, Bill Werwage, and Lew McFarland are, unfortunately, fading into
the ether of yesterday's memories. They were the pioneers of control line stunt flying. Unlike modern day radio control
extreme 3-D and precision aerobatics models, the overall planform of
control line aerobatic
has not changed all that much. Proportion changes are hardly noticeable to the untrained eye. Engines
are now built better and structural components like carbon fiber are now used, but the most important element of winning
control line contests was and still is pilot skill, which has gotten better over time like most other forms or sports.
the article "Sakai: Japanese Ace" is a building article with plans for Sakai's "Claude" airplane. It is designed by
none other than Walter Musciano, with a 36" wingspan for use with an OK Cub .19 engine. The elliptical wing planform
is reminiscent of Britain's beautiful Supermarine Spitfire. There is an interesting arrangement of three bellcranks
used for the control line configuration in order to accommodate the wing's 3-piece section for dihedral.
courtesy and respect for each other's piloting abilities has always been a part of the military aviation culture -
even amongst and betwixt enemies. A combination of fear and awe followed the legendary Baron Manfred von Richthofen
in the skies over Germany during World War I. Erich Hartmann may have been the WWII equivalent for Germany. Japan
had Saburo Sakai
, with 64 official
victories, and who is rumored to have never lost a wing man.
until about the 1960s, it was commonplace for big city newspapers to have 'aviation reporters' to keep the public
abreast on the latest developments in aviation technology and air travel. At some point the 'wow' factor kind of disappeared,
budgets were cut, and now most of the reporting is done by people who can barely spell 'airplane,' much less know
anything about them. This 1962 edition of Model Aviation features a column by The Cleveland Press
Charles Tracy that extolls the virtues of
in the area.
The next month had a story on my town of Erie, Pennsylvania's, Morning News
' reporting on control line clubs
in the area.
Bean Hill Flyers
is 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 their May/June
sky finally cleared and the wind finally calmed down enough to try out my new
on my Celestron CPC800 Deluxe telescope
...by the time the sky cleared the sun was only about 30 degrees above the western horizon, so the seeing quality
was not so great. Still, the view through the eyepiece was awesome when the atmosphere steadied occasionally for a
split second. It was good enough to prompt me to go ahead and hook up the Celestron NexImage 5 camera. ...The
large image of the entire solar disk was made by simply holding a point-and-shoot type camera up to the 32 mm
eyepiece ...I figured the best chance of obtaining a good image was to use the video function of the NexImage 5
and run the results through RegiStax software...
News' 'Sherlock Ohms' mysteries are submitted by their readers. They tell stories of electronics posers and how the
e-sleuths solve them. I only link to ones that RF Cafe visitors might enjoy. This one