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:
Canada's De Havilland DHC-3 OtterThere was no article accompanied this picture and 5-view drawings of Canada's de Havilland DCH-3 Otter. 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...
Rocket TrailsIn 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 model rocketry 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."
Largest Full Moon of 2013June 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...
Grandmother Clock Project UpdatesProgress has been slowed a bit with other priorities getting in the way, but the Lorraine grandmother clock (Klockit plans) 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.
Lil' RoughneckIn 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 Lil' Roughneck, 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).
Dancer C/L Model For the TenderfootWebsite 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.
Gyrenes Pocket CopterThis 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.
"Flying Platform" Gets Three EnginesA 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 one such example.
Control Line Capers Bill NetzebandHere 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?
The Great Jack Knight Terrible Night in the SkyWhen 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...
No Strings AttachedWell-known modeling editor Bill Winters waxes 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.
Aeronca C-3 on Floats Article & 3-ViewThis 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 Aeronca C-3 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.
February 1962 Sketchbook Model Building TipsThis Sketchbook 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) models.
Top Flite Advertisement in
the December 1954 Air Trails
Model Boat for the 27 mc. Citizens BandIt 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.
Asteroid QE2 Close Pass to Earth on FridayYou 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.
How to Build George Harris' Magnificent R/C SpitfireWebsite visitor Wells S. just wrote asking for another article to be posted - this time it is a very nice scale radio controlled Spitfire IX. As was common in the era (1962), 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.
Russian Modelers Seek Service in Salt Mines!This 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.
Sketchbook Hints & KinksThis Sketchbook 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...
West Coast AMA NationalsTake 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...
Cardinal FAI Pattern AirplaneAirplanes 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 his Cardinal.
Vintage Airline AdvertisementsIt 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. 5/19/2013
Mr. 'G' Goes to Ecuador to Visit a Balsa OperationMidwest 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
Chance Vought "Corsair" F4U-1a Control Line ModelWalter 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 F4U-1a Corsair 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, for a DC-3 / C-47 titled "Build Your Own Douglas C-47 World's Most Famous Plane." 5/19/2013
F-84G Thunderjet For the TenderfootWebsite visitor Bob wrote to ask that I scan and post the construction article and plans for the F-84G Thunderjet 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. 5/18/2013
Model AeronuticsArtist "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.
Experimental CanardCanards 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.
Rx for R.O.W. (i.e. Seaplanes)Seaplanes 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 (ROW) operation. I looked up the tail number (N3763C) of the Cessna 150 shown, but either it has been retired or it hasn't changed owners in lo these many years.
Model World on the International SceneThe fictitious 'Plaster of Paris Aircraft Corporation,' 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.
Sketchbook: Modeling Tips Hot Knife, Field RepairHere 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 hot knife. 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.
Aquativity RoundupAquitivity 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.
Race Cars in Your Living RoomSurprisingly (or maybe not), electric slot car racing is still 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...
Open Source RC System"The OSRC 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 Blog section for documentation about each part of the system and read the Product descriptions available on the site. "
1961 American Control Line ChampionshipsAs 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 models 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.
Sakai's "Claude" Mitsubishi Type 96Accompanying 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.
Sakai: Japanese AceProfessional 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.
Cleveland: Air-Model CapitalUp 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 columnist Charles Tracy that extolls the virtues of model aviation 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 Newsletter May/June 2013The 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 2013 newsletter.
Sunspot Group via Celestron CPC800 DeluxeThe sky finally cleared and the wind finally calmed down enough to try out my new solar filter 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...
Sherlock Ohms: The Case of
the Ground Leading Edges