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:
Auto Progress: The Steam CarSteam-powered cars of yesteryear were the equivalent of today's electric cars - they reached fairly respectable speeds, but the range between refills wasn't very far. Side note: There were actually electric cars in the early 1900s, but their underperformance made the steamers look like marathoners. The Stanley Steamer is probably the most recognized steam-powered car. Late night host and automobile aficionado Jay Leno features his totally restored Stanley Steamer on his Jay Leno's Garage website. In an edition of Popular Science a couple years ago, Jay reported on another of his steam cars: The 1925 Doble once owned by Howard Hughes. Advantages of steam power were many, including quite operation, no gear box, very few moving parts in the engine, ease of...
Ducted Fans! Scale-like R/C PlanesAs with most other aspects of aeromodeling, ducted fan propulsion systems have come a long way since the time you had to build the entire unit yourself. Modern prefabricated ducted fans are molded glass-filled nylon or carbon fiber that has been engineered, manufactured, and optimized in every aspect of strength-to-weight, thrust, and dimension for the intended application and powerplant. It is like the difference between early radio controlled helicopters that were built on hand-drawn plans and built on a lathe and end mill, and the models you can buy now that practically fly themselves right out of the box. If you do, however, relish the thought of designing and building your own ducted fan or if you just like learning about how the pioneers developed the science into what it is today, then this article is for you.
"Wrongway Feldman's" Krieder Reisner KR21The other night Melanie and I were watching an episode of the old Gilligan's Island television show titled "Wrongway Feldman," which was about a long-forgotten, famous aviator who took a wrong turn during a race and ended up being stranded on the same island as seven famous castaways. The "Spirit of the Bronx" airplane featured in the show was referred to by Wrongway as a Krieder Reisner KR21. It is a right nice looking biplane. I immediately hit the pause button and looked it up on Google. The KR-21, according to the EAA AirVenture Museum's website, was manufactured in the 1929-1930 timespan, had a 22'-7" wingspan, and a 125 hp Kinner B5 (R-440), 372 cubic inch, 5-cylinder radial engine. Not very many were made, so it is remarkable that this one turned up in the show.
Viper Pattern ShipWebsite visitor Steve G. wrote asking that I post the article for the Viper R/C pattern ship that appeared in the January 1973 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. The Viper won the "Best Original Design" award and the "Most Outstanding Finish" award at the 1972 Toledo show. Data obtained during research into a scale P-51 Mustang model contributed heavily to the wing and fuselage design. At least four versions of the Viper were built by designer Dario Brisighella, but the first, which won the Toledo trophy, had not yet left the ground at the time of the article's publication. Viper is a full-house ship with a laminar flow foam wing, balsa fuselage, retractable landing gear, and uses a Webra .61 Blackhead.
Anti-Grav [The G-Engines Are Coming]Website visitor Christopher C. wrote asking that I post the "Anti-Grav" article from the October 1958 edition of American Modeler. If you have never read about anti-gravity theory (by non-lunatics), then this would probably be a good place to start. Honestly, I was not aware of the thought experiments for anti-gravity that have been devised relating directly to the Unified Theory. Gravity has long been the sole force that has defied inclusion. The electromagnetic and weak and strong nuclear forces are fully integrated, but not so gravity. Conjecturing the existence of both gravitational creation (Hoyle) and extinction (Heim) forces provides a means of controlling the force by arbitrarily creating gravitational attractive or repulsive forces. It's an interesting read.
R/C Aircraft Carrier Launches R/C Airplane - VideoMany former and current military members will appreciate this. For that matter, so will a lot of non-military members. Here is a video of a very large scale R/C model of the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier being used as a launch platform for a radio controlled T-38 model airplane. Adding to the cool factor is the use of an R/C tugboat for pushing the aircraft carrier away from the docks before it gets underway. Per the YouTube website description, "Our 13-foot USS Kitty Hawk replica launches her planes to the beach in this RapidNadion adventure. Some aircraft never make it off the deck, and others crash into the drink due to Kitty Hawk's prototype catapult system...
Bipes 'N TripesWebsite visitor Ken E. wrote to request a pair of two articles from the "For the Tenderfoot" series that was a regular feature in the AMA's American Aircraft Modeler magazine. The first one, which appeared in the May 1974 edition, was titled, "Monsters and Monoplanes." As was typical, all the models are 1/2A powered control line with sheet (profile) fuselages and flying surfaces. This series represents World War I era designs with two bipes and two tripes! The plans are very well done and include lots of detail for insignia. Enjoy.
Monsters and MonoplanesWebsite visitor Ken E. wrote to request a pair of two articles from the "For the Tenderfoot" series that was a regular feature in the AMA's American Aircraft Modeler magazine. The first one, which appeared in the March 1974 edition, was titled, "Bipes and Tripes." As was typical, all the models are 1/2A powered control line with sheet (profile) fuselages and flying surfaces. This series represents World War I era designs and one is even a twin engine biplane! The plans are very well done and include lots of detail for insignia. Enjoy.
Lockheed Air Express Article & 4-ViewDon Berliner was a prolific researcher and publisher of books about model airplanes and full-size airplanes. His articles and photographs, often graced by master draftsman and artist Björn Karlström's drawings, appeared fairly often in American Aircraft Modeler. Here, Don gives a brief history of the Lockheed Air Express. One interesting note is that the aircraft featured an open cockpit - even though the passenger compartment was completely enclosed - at the insistence of pilots (many former Air Mail men) who claimed they needed the multi-sensory environment for safe navigation because it allowed them feel the wind shifts and changes in attitude. Website visitor Christopher W. requested this article.
Flying Funtique Article & PlansWebsite visitor Ken E. requested the Flying Funtique article from the April 1969 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. The Flying Funtique is a rubber-powered free flight model that is part of AAM's "For the Tenderfoot" series that presented easy to build airplanes with full-size plans printed with the articles. A unique feature of the Flying Funtique is that the designer, William Hannan, provided patterns for finishing the model in five different versions of livery.
Bristol "170" Freighter Control LinerWebsite visitor Robert C. wrote to request that I post the article and plans for the British Bristol "170" Freighter that appeared in the 1961 Annual edition of American Modeler. This control line version has a 40" wingspan and is powered by a pair of .049s for scale-like flight characteristics or a pair .09s if you want aerobatics. Diesels are shown installed in the original. The fuselage, wing, and tails surfaces are all built-up and sheeted with balsa, so she is a sturdy bird.
UP! - The Real ThingAs you read this, veteran North Carolina balloonist Jonathan Trappe is floating over the Atlantic Ocean somewhere right now in a small wicker gondola lifted aloft by a cluster of colorful party balloons. It departed from Maine on Thursday, September 12, 2013. A story on the ARRL website reports that amateur radio is onboard. Mr. Trappe is no newcomer to flying in such contraptions. In 2012 he and his small house used a similar buoyancy arrangement to fly a house with him in it above Mexico. A "toy balloon" flight over the Alps met with success in September of 2011. Trappe became the only person to have crossed the English Channel by cluster balloon...
Bean Hill Flyers Sep/Oct 2013 NewsletterThe Bean Hill Flyers club 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 month's Safety column editor Chris Keller takes a humorous swipe at consumer product safety tips.
Willow Grove NAS: America's Best Youthful Flyers
Fizz-Wizz CO2-Powered PlaneCO2 power for model airplanes gained a lot of popularity in the 1950s and throughout the 1960s and then waned for some reason in the 1970s. The same cycle was exhibited in Jetex type engines. CO2 engines run off a cylinder of compressed carbon dioxide gas. A metal tube feeds the top of the cylinder where a metal ball under pressure from the gas seals off the cylinder until the piston pushes up on it. Doing so forces the piston down to where the gas is ejected at the exhaust port. Momentum from the propeller mass swings the piston back to the top of the cylinder where it once again opens the ball valve to start the cycle all over again.
Portable Control Line Aircraft Carrier DeckHere is a clever control line airplane carrier deck design that derives it lightness from sparse construction and its compactness from making the modular components stowable within each other sort of like the familiar Russian matryoshka nesting dolls. It is designed to accommodate a 60' circle, but slight modifications to the deck components can be easily made for other radii. Not shown in the plans but likely possible without sacrificing strength and rigidity would be to drill lightening holed in the 1"x6" and 1"x8" frame members.
Phil & Shaun's Single Channel & Vintage R/C PagePhil & Shaun's Single Channel & Vintage R/C Page is a great website that is dedicated to collecting and presenting antique equipment and airplanes. They have many examples of escapements, reeds, early attempts at servos, pulse and proportional, kits, engines, and a lot of other stuff. Bob Aberle reported on this website in his August 2013 Model Aviation column.
Maxey's Marvelous P-63 Kingcobra Article & PlansThose of us fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on your point of view) to have been in the model airplane realm back in the 1960s and 1970s (and earlier) are very familiar with Maxey Hester and his award-winning models. Mr. Hester designed many of the fine scale models sold (some still) by Sig Manufacturing of Montezuma, Iowa. In fact, if you don't know, Maxey later married Hazel Sigafoose after her first husband and company co-founder (Glen) died (during an aerobatic performance). This P-63 Kingcobra was designed for 'multi' radio and a K&B .45 engine. The wingspan is about 64".
MSgt. Ford's One-Man Air Force - 43 Years LaterHere is a rare treat. MSgt. Gordon Ford's daughter contacted me after seeing this article on her father's models! She told me he is now living in Minnesota and still has most of the models that he so expertly built over the years. Come to find out, American Aircraft Modeler was not the only publication that featured his handiwork. Click on the thumbnail images to see where the C-133 and the KC-135 are now. I can't imagine being able to preserve any model that was actually flown often for that long. Many thanks to MSgt. Ford for his service to the country and for his service to the aeromodeling sport. Thanks also to his daughter for checking in with an update.
The Nearly Effortless Flight of the AlbatrossThe July 2013 edition of IEEE's Spectrum magazine had a really good article on a high tech study that is being done on the manner in which an albatross manages to fly great distances and for long periods of time while rarely needing to flap its wings. As shown in the thumbnail (and in the article), an albatross performs a series of rapid climbs into very strong wind, turns, and dives leeward nearly to the water's surface, then repeats the process over and over as it makes its way to its destination. The process is called dynamic soaring. R/C soaring pilots have been doing the same sort of thing for a few years now. Obviously the albatross figured out how to fly like that long before mankind was able to mimic it, but the researchers in the article seem to not have knowledge of the R/C soaring technique. They are capturing albatrosses in their nests and attaching GPS-based sensors with data recorders to the birds' back feathers and retrieving the units...
University Scholarships Go to Top Car ModelersWhile the originality and craftsmanship exhibited in the model car designs entered in this contest sponsored by Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild is unassailable, I find myself being grateful that most of them never hit the car lot showrooms (although some designs are not too far off of what has been produced here and in Europe). The date was 1954 and imaginations ran wild with concept car configurations, and while just about anything goes in such competitions, some were downright, dare I say it?, ugly. Of course a look at some of today's concept cars register the same emotions, so I suppose the old adage about the more things change, the more things stay the same holds true here. Scholarships handed out to the teenage entrants were very respectable, especially for 1954 - a $4,000 top prize, which per the Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation calculator, is equivalent to $34,721 in 2013 dollars!!!
Sketchbook - Model Building TipsThis Sketchbook was scanned from the December 1962 American Modeler. 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. One hint is to use milk rather than water for spraying onto tissue paper. Thomas Hill claims dope will not penetrate the milk solids after it dries, which keeps weight down since the dope cannot saturate the tissue paper.
Uncle Sam's Plastic Air Force Collection for SaleThis private collection of World War II plastic identification airplane models is, as of this posting, available for purchase. It is owned by the estate of a former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy who was a Class of 1953 U.S. Naval Academy graduate. Please send me an e-mail if you are interested and I will pass it along to the owner.
Friend Ship I Article & PlansAirplanes and Rockets website visitor Jim S. wrote to request that I post the original article for the Friend Ship I full house R/C airplane from the May 1973 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. Jim says he has already built a 30" span version, but is now looking to build a balsa-framed 60" wingspan version. He must really like the Friend Ship I! The original model used Glaskin foam wings with fiberglass covering, so the plans do not show a built-up wing construction.
"P.E." - Britain's Best DesignerTo call P.E. Norman multi-talented doesn't do him justice. Aside from being recognized, at least circa 1962, as Britain's most accomplished aeromodeler, he made and played professional violins (aka luthier), wa a wood carver, a silver smith, a sculptor, and even an artist who painted the image used on the cover of this February 1962 American Modeler. P.E. is credited with designing, building, and flying the first pendulum-operated-elevator free flight model and has designed and built many ducted fan scale jet models (long before commercial ducted fan units were available).
Scale Bentley 9-Cylinder Engine on 27% Avro 504KIt took Andy Johnston nearly four years to build the true-to-scale engine and another two years to build the Avro 504K from scaled-up plans. The 9-cylinder engine has 1 mm thick cast-iron liners and aluminum finned barrels. Total displacement is 347 cc with 700-3500 rpm turning a 25.5×23 custom prop carved to scale. The really cool thing about the 15-pound Bentley engine is that the entire engine spins, just like real one. It pulls the 116" wingspan Avro 504K through the air with the greatest of ease.
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Show to Pay FAA $447,000
for Air Traffic Controllers
Miss Paranoia Article & PlansWebsite visitor Ernie S. wrote to say that the Miss Paranoia that he built back in the 1970s has been converted to electric power, and that he would like to see the construction article and, in particular, the plans in order to see where the center of gravity is supposed to be. Scale quarter midget racers with their thin wings and short-coupled fuselages can be sensitive to CG; getting it right can make the difference between just one short flight and many years of enjoyment. The AMA Plans Service no longer sells plans for the Miss Paranoia, probably because it uses a fiberglass fuselage and foam wings, so there's not much chance anyone will be building one from scratch.
Model Progress April 1962 Model Aviation"She's a junk dealer's daughter, but she's given the air to Lord Rennell's heir. Explained sultry, blonde Nina Hobbs, 21...'He didn't pay me enough attention. He was much more interested in model airplanes.'" That line was in a 1962 edition of American Modeler magazine. I'm guessing such a situation is not uncommon even today, or at least a lot of wives give it serious consideration. There are a few other interesting items, and plans for the Spearhead swept-wing free flight model.
Lorraine Grandmother Clock
Now Complete and Running!
Memphis Belle B-17 at Erie International AirportOn July 21, 2013, Melanie and I toured the inside of the "Memphis Belle" that was used in filming the movie of the same name. North Coast Air, based at Erie International Airport, hosted the event. This particular B-17 Flying Fortress is not the original Memphis Belle, but is a version that was produced in 1945, near the end of World War II. It is being leased by the Liberty Foundation for country-wide public tours while the ill-fated Liberty Belle is being restored. Pics and a short video tour of the inside are posted.
Big FlapperWebsite visitor Iram O. wrote to ask that this article and plans for the "Big Flapper" be scanned and posted. It appeared in the February 1972 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. With a 70" wingspan, it was considered a rather large plane in the day. Big Flapper was designed for lazy Sunday flying. The original used a home-brew engine (big and heavy per the author) and sported reeds for control actuation. 'Reeds,' for the uninitiated, were receivers that used 'resonant reeds' - a type of electromechanical oscillatory device - to decode channel function. They acted like narrowband tuned circuits (decoders) for responding to discrete commands from the transmitter. Think of each reed as one of the fingers on the comb of a music box mechanism that is resonant at a specific frequency, only instead of emitting a tone, it vibrates in response to the unique frequency for which it is tuned. When stimulated by the detected AM signal from the transmitter, it would close a switch for a particular command, thereby signaling a servo or escapement to move the airplane's control surface.
Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter: AHS Sikorsky PrizeHere is the official press release from AHS International, the world's premier professional vertical flight technical society, "AeroVelo Team Wins AHS International's 33-Year-Old Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition." AeroVelo's Dr. Todd Reichert piloted and pedaled the Atlas on the flight inside The Soccer Centre in Vaughan, Ontario, that netted the team the long-standing $250,000 prize. "This incredible flight was 64.11 seconds in duration (World Record for "Duration on Hover"), reached a 3.3 m (11 ft) peak altitude, and drifted a maximum of 9.8 m (32 ft). The Atlas as flown on June 13th behaved very differently from the aircraft we first flew some 9 months ago...
Ryan ST-3 | Army PT-21 | PT-22 Detailed DrawingsThis set of very detailed drawings of the Ryan ST-3, aka Army PT-21, aka Army PT-22, monoplane appeared in the July 1962 edition of American Modeler. I cannot make out the signature to give credit to the fine work. The artist included a lot of information that scale modelers in particular would be interested in such as cockpit materials, instruments, wheel and propeller sizes, etc. It also has a detailed drawing of the main landing gear oleo strut. Tables of the various commercial and military designations are included as well in the set of three drawings.
Ford Trimotor Flight at Erie International AirportOn July 3, 2013, the EAA AirVenture Museum flew a Ford Trimotor (aka "Tin Goose") into Erie International Airport, and offered rides for $75 per seat. Normally, rides in vintage aircraft cost much more than $75, so Melanie and I jumped at the chance. We got about a 16-minute ride out to Presque Isle and around Presque Isle Bay. The experience of flying in an aircraft with three radial engines was definitely worth the investment, especially since it was a cool day, winds were light, and the visibility was unlimited with a little haze. Even with finely balanced propellers and 9-cylinder radial engines, the vibration level was very notable. Unless you are an airplane lover who responds to such stimulation the way a newborn baby responds to its mother's heartbeat, I can understand how hours-long flights might have been a bit wearisome...
X-47B Drone Lands on Aircraft
Carrier USS George H.W. Bush
Me with My Estes T-Shirt c1971I'm not one to post pictures of myself, or to even allow my picture to be taken for that matter, but I ran across this one of me taken in 1971. If you click the thumbnail and look at the larger image, you'll see the "Estes Model Rocketeer" decal that I ironed onto a T-shirt.
Radio AstronomySuper-low-noise-figure receivers are absolutely essential in radio astronomy work. The need has driven major advances in the state of the art of cryogenically cooled front ends with noise temperatures near absolute zero. Antenna technology has also benefitted from radio astronomy due to the need for precision steering and narrow beam widths. Phased arrays for interstellar targets requires that element spacing being large enough to require separate antennas as the elements, which creates a very large effective aperture, hence greater angular resolution. Networks located continents apart are synchronized with the use of atomic clocks to allow signal time of arrival and therefore phase to be accurately measured. This story gives some of the early efforts.
"Mr. Speed" Clayton FolkertsIf you are a fan of airplane racing, then you are likely familiar with Clayton Folkerts, an early speed demon of the air. Starting in the early 1920s with a 27-hp engine and a homebrew airframe and hand-carved propeller, Clayton and his brothers made a name for themselves in the history books. When you have a Wikipedia page about you and it's not because of an infamous crime you committed, you've done something noteworthy ;-) This story from a 1963 edition of Americana Modeler is chock full of photos and an extensive textual treatise on the Folkerts' accomplishments.
Tech Talk Rogallo Wing & MoreMost people probably think of the familiar triangular Rogallo Wing as a platform for hang gliders, but its original intention was as a recovery system for manned space vehicles returning from orbit. In fact, Francis M. Rogallo won a $35,000 prize from NASA in 1963 for the invention. It had been seriously considered for the Gemini rocket program. Parachutes won out in the end, and were the primary form of recovery for the entire manned space program up until the Space Shuttle fleet was commissioned. In an utterly sickening turn of fate and irony, America's astronauts now hitch rides on Communist Russia and China spacecraft which return to Earth on parachutes. NASA's urgent mission now is, according to its administrator (Charles Bolden), is to establish an outreach to a foreign religious group.
Sketchbook - Hints & KinksThis Sketchbook was scanned from the October 1962 American Modeler, page 42. 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. Some guys just would rather build than buy a pre-build airplane, whether from a kit or from plans.
RealFlight Flight Simulator 6.5
RealFlight included a free upgrade to R/C Flight Simulator version 6.5 so you will be getting the latest and greatest version. The license has been released for transfer by RealFlight. It includes the airplane Megapack and the Interlink Mode 2 transmitter/controller (new one with the reset button). Only $90 + shipping
Schweizer SGS 2-33a Short Kit for Sale
This is a short kit of the Schweizer SGS 2-33a with a 76.5” wingspan. It is a scale version of the sailplane used for decades by the U.S. Air Force academy for training cadets. Aerosente's price is now $139 + $12 shipping. Only $90 (NIB) + shipping
Sig Citabria Kit for SaleThis Sig Citabria kit is likely the best example you will find anywhere because I had them replace all of the balsa parts that were of inferior quality. 69" wingspan. It is completely unbuilt. Only $90 (NIB) + shipping - SOLD
Mini MonoIts profile on the plans looks like Mini Mono designer Ralph Pearson fashioned it after the F-86 Sabre, but that's mainly because the Pee Wee .020 engine is not shown. This 1970 vintage 2-channel R/C model was a marvel in compactness for its day. An Ace superhet pulse radio did the guidance for an all-up flying weight of only 9.5 ounces for a 21" wingspan low wing airplane. Supposedly it would bore holes in the sky with impressive aerobatics (for 1970). Full-size plans were printed on four pages along with the construction article.
Thermal DartThe AMA's Delta Dart program has been around a long time, and is still its primary tool for introducing young kids to the model aviation hobby. The Delta Dart's easily and quickly built, strong, forgiving frame and simple dry tissue covering makes for almost guaranteed success with all newcomers... and they're cheap to boot. This Thermal Dart is a step up really only in size with not not too much added complexity. Its 24" wingspan, versus the Delta Dart's 12" wingspan, provides for longer flights and make it easier to see. Frank Ehling designed both the original Delta Dart and the Thermal Dart.
Warlord FAI Pattern ShipAirplanes and Rockets website visitor Peter I. wrote to ask for the article on Jim Wilmot's Warlord to be scanned and posted. The model, which appeared in the October 1973 edition of American Aircraft Modeler (predecessor to Model Aviation) was designed specifically to compete in FAI events. It features a molded fiberglass fuselage and built-up wing and control surfaces. The stabilizer is of the all-flying variety (aka stabilator). A SuperTigre 60 Bluehead engine was used in the original.