has been around since at least the 1950s, as evidenced by this advertisement in the May 1957 American
Modeler magazine. I owned an Ace Pulse Commander single-channel unit for a while, and documented the electronics prior
to selling it. Ace R/C manufactured radio control systems and a few airplane models up through about the 1990s, when
it was bought by Thunder Tiger, of Taiwan.
are plans for the Texas BoWeevil that I electronically scanned from page 23 of my purchased copy of the October 1972
AAM. Plans for this fine model were drawn by Mr. Don Chancey. The BoWeevil is a hand-launched glider that won 1st
place in the Open and 2nd place in the Senior categories of the 1970 AMA Nationals in Chicago, followed by other wins
you could grab your calculator and figure out the copier setting for scaling your plans up or down, but why bother
value (e.g., 600 % = 6:1).
is the 3-view drawing for the 1914 Mercury Chic T-2 that I electronically scanned from my purchased copy of the July
1969 American Aircraft Modeler magazine. It was drawn by Mr. Björn Karlström. Note that the vertical fin is actually
an inverted "V" that supports the top pivot point of a full flying rudder. The bottom pivot point is on the fuselage.
The Chic T-2 also has a full-flying horizontal stabilizer (stabilator).
are plans for the Eclipse that I electronically scanned from page 24 of my purchased copy of the October 1974 American
Aircraft Modeler magazine. You might be able to scale up the image below if you cannot find a source for ordering
plans. Plans for this fine model were drawn by Mr. Hal Cover. The Eclipse is an all-balsa radio-controlled sailplane
model with a 16-foot wingspan, geodesic ribs construction, and "V" tail configuration. I remember first seeing the
model on the cover back in 1974 and really
wanting to have one. Unfortunately, I was only 16 years old at
the time and was barely able to afford control line models, let alone a huge RC sailplane!
are plans for the Corrigan that I electronically scanned from page 31 of my purchased copy of the November 1968 American
Aircraft Modeler magazine. You might be able to scale up this image below if you cannot find a source for ordering
plans. Plans for this fine model were drawn by Mr. Bill Blanchard. All copyrights (if any) are hereby acknowledged.
Corrigan is a surname of Irish descent that means "Spear." The Corrigan is an all-balsa stunt type control-line
model with a pusher propeller configuration. Note that the bellcrank and lead lines are in the right wing, setting
it up for clockwise flight (as viewed from overhead).
1961 Annual Edition of American ModelerAmerican
magazine - the predecessor to the AMA's American Aircraft Modeler
, featured a monthly spot called
"Sketchbook." In the 1961 Annual Edition, they introduced three new formats: "Powerless Pointers," "Engine Info,"
"Gadgetry." All three are reproduced
Bob Buragas and Mr. Gil Evans drew this comic strip titled "Fixit Wright" for the May 1958 edition of Flying Models
magazine. I don't know whether this Fixit Wright
comic is the first and only of its kind, but the couple
of this vintage I own do not have
other episodes. The theme of the radio running out of range is a familiar one to old timers. I'm not sure how often
that happens with modern radio. My first radio system was a
3-channel OS Digital
job that was
lucky to reach 1,000 feet. It was highly affected by model orientation and altitude. Back in the early 1970s, my Andrews
S-Ray was flying...
particular page is from page 47 of the June 1957 issue of American Modeler
magazine. de Bolt Model Engineering
no longer exists. All copyrights (if any) are hereby acknowledged. Use the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation
calculator to see what items cost in today's dollars. For instance, infamous deBolt Champion that cost $11.95 in 1957
would cost $92.17 in 2010 money...
are plans for the Loughead [later renamed Lockheed] Sport Biplane Model S-1 Plans, that I scanned from page 42 of
my purchased copy of the October 1972 AAM (drawn by Mr. M. B. Groves. "In 1919, Loughead Aircraft entered the small
aircraft market with the revolutionary single-seat S-1 Sport Biplane. Intended to be "the poor man's airplane", it
featured an innovative molded plywood monocoque fuselage. Its foldable wings allowed the plane to be stored in a garage,
and the lower wings could be rotated to act as ailerons and airbrakes... <more
are plans for the Down Draft Dodger that I electronically scanned from my purchased copy of the March 1969 American
Aircraft Modeler magazine. It was a prize-winning hand-launched glider design. If you need the construction article,
I can scan it for you.
aviators and the U.S. Armed Forces have had a long-standing relationship. Up until the early 1970s, the U.S. Navy
sponsored and promoted the Academy of Model Aeronautics' (AMA) Nationals competition right on actual Navy bases. Their
motivation was to become a familiar entity to young modelers who would, hopefully, eventually enlist or receive a
commission when they come of age. It was working well until the average age of national competitors began creeping
upward to where only a very small percentage of all competitors were within recruiting age. At that point, the Navy
issued an ultimatum to the AMA: bring more youngsters into the competitions or loose the sponsorship...
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. Back when these Sketchbook columns were run, there were...
Coming in April 2010 - Little Traveler II flight for St. Jude!
In October of 2009, the first-ever flight
of the Little Traveler occurred on a mission to raise funds for the St Jude Children's Hospital. Famous airplane builder
and fearless pilot Kim Stricker launched a project to fly a radio controlled model airplane non-stop for a mind-boggling
distance of 2,026 scale miles*
. An incredible $1639.53 was raised thanks to generous
Americans like you.
Airplanes and Rockets visitor asked me to make good on my offer to scan articles of interest to visitors - in this
case one from the 1973 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. Titled , "Uncle Sam's Plastic Air Force," it details
the ambitious project the military undertook to provide visual aids to servicemen to help them identify enemy aircraft
and, equally as important, to identify friendly aircraft.
is an example of just how far we have come in the realm of electronics. In a world where you can go to Harbor Freight
and buy a digital multimeter with an accuracy of 1% or better for a mere $3, this article from the July 1958 edition
of Flying Models illustrates the dedication that was necessary in order to outfit yourself with even the most fundamental
tools for flying radio control airplanes. It was part of era where building your own electronic device...
are a few comics
from late 1950s
and early 1960s vintage model aviation magazines. The two identifiable artists, Mr. McGrew and Mr. Hutchinson, provided
some pretty good work. To my knowledge, there are no contemporary model aviation comic artists who publish on a regular
Back in the 1950s, a company named Curtis Automotive Devices manufactured the now-coveted Dyna-Jet engine (they typically
sell for >$400 on e-Bay - if you can find one). Are they still around today? Yep, only the company name is now
, and they make pulse jet-based
foggers for commercial applications. One of the first pulse-jet products aerospace engineer Russell Curtis produced
was the Dyna-Jet "Red Head"
miniature engine for use in
(per their website).
is another in the series of vintage model advertisements from magazines like American Modeler
, American Aircraft Modeler
, etc. This particular page is from page 45 of the July 1957
issue of AM magazine. Enterprise Model Aircraft is no longer in operation. There is an inflation calculator link on
the page to compare what things would cost in today's dollars.
perhaps most people engaged in model airplane flying today, it is hard to imagine a time when having even a single
channel of remote control was considered a giant leap in capability. Commercially available rudder-only (RO) systems
came on the scene back in 1950s or so, and were common up through around the 1970s. The earliest systems used tube
amplifiers and lead acid batteries, but by the time they disappeared from the pages of modeling magazines transistors
and nickel cadmium (NiCad)...
particular page is from page 1 of the February 1967 issue of Model Airplane News
magazine. Notice the Western
Union telegram notifying Bonner of the type certification. This is the era when 72 MHz frequencies had not long before
been assigned for model use. $455 for a 4-channel radio system is a lot in today's dollar, but it was a huge amount
of money back in 1967 (=$2,951 in 2010 according to the USBLS's inflation calculator)