for the quarter mile distance was 6.05 seconds or 148.76 mph. There's your new Champion!" That was the judge's announcement
at the conclusion of the 1954 National Model Car Competition. The cars ran in a 70-foot diameter circle on a tether,
screaming away with their 0.0601 in3 displacement engines turning 22,000 rpm! Six laps at that diameter
equals 1/4 of a mile - the distance over which the cars are timed. It must have been quite a sight and sound as those
model cars tore around the track! Anderson, Indiana, hosted the event. The
Racing Car Association (AMRCA), which officiated at the event, is still in existence today and still runs races
in the same manner. Top speeds of over 200 mph have been recorded...
is a full-page advertisement for X-Acto products that appeared in the Christmas edition of American Modeler. I remember
seeing X-Acto knives in the few modeling
magazines I could lay my hands on when I was young and just becoming aware of the wonders of model building. Since
there were no hobby shops nearby and I had not yet learned the fine art of mail ordering, my razor blade supplies
were limited to digging double-edged shaving blades from my father's dispenser. It was sometimes a bloody affair using
those things for cutting balsa. Until I got older and acquired my own set of tools, the selection around our house
was pretty sad - maybe a dull...
The loss of flying fields with a reasonable distance from population centers has been a problem for decades - half
a century even, according to this story from a 1962 edition of Model Aviation.. You might be tempted
to think that this instance must be in a bustling urban location like Atlanta, Georgia, Albany, New York, or Dallas,
Texas, but in fact the problem here was in Billings, Montana. Usually the impetus is due to complaints about noise
from model aircraft engines as houses are built nearby. The
Flying Mustangs lost their field
because a neighboring airport needed to expand its airspace, thereby forcing the flying field shutdown. A field where
I flew occasionally near Kernersville, NC, had been in place for decades. In a period of about five years, a large
neighborhood of expensive homes...
National Model Rocket Championships
near USAF Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado, was covered in the December 1962 edition of American Modeler.
Mr. Harry Stine, who wrote the "Rocket
Trails" column for many years, posted a few photos and short descriptions of the participants and their rockets.
The Front Range region of Rocky Mountains has changed a lot in the half a century since that event was held. I moved
to Colorado Springs for the first time in 1992, lived there for a couple years, left, and then returned in 2000 to
discover a world of difference in population and housing density in that relatively short time period. The city had
just about doubled...
Check this out: Hobby Express, originally
Hobby Lobby, has brought production of their
classic Telemaster kits
back home to Tennessee.
in the USA' is an important consideration for Hobby Express when we source products. We are dedicated to the renewal
of American manufacturing and assembly. Look for the 'Made in the USA' logo on the product pages listed below."
News 2 WKRN-TV in Nashville
did a feature story on them in April 2014.
WKRN News 2
visitor Adrian C., of Moncton NB, Canada, wrote to ask that I scan and post the article for a catapult-launched free
flight glider model of the Zlin Akrobat that appeared in
the September 1971 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. Written by well known and frequent contributor to
the "For the Tenderfoot" series in AAM, this version of contest-winning full-size Akrobat has an 11" wingspan
and the plans provide a high level of detail and realism for such a small model. Its bright scale-like red and white
covering scheme is particularly attractive.
even during the Cold War years it was not uncommon
to see aircraft modelers from the "Iron Curtain"
countries participating in international contests. Even Commies like flying model airplanes. Because their societies
and politics were so closed and guarded, getting information about their modeling supplies was darn near impossible
except during events where inspection could be made. Being a generally friendly bunch of guys, the modelers would
share their designs with the Free World, and vice versa. Then, in subsequent years the Commies would show up with
equipment that was exact replicas of ours. Truth be know, most or all of the participants were probably KGB agents
engaging in extracurricular espionage...
controlled models of birds have been popular for a long time. You might recall the R/C version of Jonathan Livingston
Seagull that was made for the movie back in the 1970s (it showed up in an edition of
R/C Modeler), and then various others have appeared in modeling magazines throughout the decades.
The Best of Show winner at the Toledo show in 2011 was a giant size, twin turbine powered, fire breathing dragon!
This "Peter O'Dactyl" pterodactyl model
was published in American Modeler back in 1962 by Roy Clough, Jr. Its 36" wingspan and simple stick and tissue
construction makes it a great novelty project for stirring up interest in young modelers...
is unique and sophisticated 1/2-A free flight model
designed for and flown successfully in Half-A payload, Half-A free flight, Class A free-flight, and it meets FAI gas
requirements. By adding a set of floats it can be flown in R.O.W. events. Chula Vistan's elliptical dihedral and use
of a diesel engine set it apart from many similar models of the era (mid-1950s). As with many F/F models, the Chula
Vistan's framework is a work of art that is most appropriately covered in a translucent or transparent scheme with
colored trim so that its structure can be appreciated. Not being a free flighter, I do not know if it meets modern
has been written about
colors and trim patterns
that assist in preventing our model airplanes from being lost from flying out of sight against a blue sky or against
a background of white, puffy clouds.
are particularly concerned about such things since their models are at the mercy of air currents. Even dethermalized
models can be whisked away, never to be seen again, when a boomer of a thermal or a strong gust of wind asserts its
influence. As a flier of radio controlled sailplanes, I can attest to the tense moments when suddenly a model at great
altitude transitions from visible to invisible. Down elevator and rudder trim is the best action to set up a spiraling
dive until eye contact is made once again...
visitor Lincoln R. wrote to ask for a scan of the
3-view for the Taylorcraft that
appeared in the February 1968 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. This particular 1941 vintage Taylorcraft
was owned by well-known scale aeromodeler Don Pratt. It was still in pristine condition three decades after being
manufactured. Don built a 1/4-scale model of his own airplane.
Walker's A.J. (American
Junior) Aircraft Company began operation in 1929, with no way of knowing the doom and gloom that would
befall the country in October of the year when the Stock Market crashed and triggered what would become known as The
Great Depression. By the time we had begun to come recover from the financial tragedy, World War II was at our
doorstep, and a lot of raw materials - balsawood for airframes, metal for engines, rubber for wheels - was being directed
toward the defense equipment and supply buildup, supplies were hard to come by. It was a really bad time to be starting
a new business. The passion for all things that flew...
(aka "Old Rocketeer") Stein wrote a monthly column for American Modeler back in the 1960s
that covered a variety of topics ranging including model rocket contesting, model rocket building and trimming for
flight, recovery systems, and even a little rocket scientist theory when appropriate. This particular article discusses
getting started in model rocketry with using the diminutive Astron (Estes) Scout rocket
which used a low-tech tumble recovery system. With the Space Age in full swing by that
time, youths and adults around the world were anxious to get involved. It was an exciting time for everyone.
My own foray into model rocketry began in the late 1960s during the Apollo...
you happen to be 10-year-old Stephen Stackhouse, of Levittown, Pennsylvania, then chances are if you recognize anyone
from these 1957 Nats pictures, it is your father or grandfather. I think I saw that pinstriped sport jacket of Frank
Bropher's hanging in the local Salvation Army thrift store ;-) The Corsair control line model was make from the same
type kit as my Sterling F4U Corsair (which is still
boat plans are more difficult to come by than model airplane plans, so seeing this article in Air Trails for a small,
free-running model hydroplane was a nice find. Its simple,
inexpensive construction makes it a quick build for those rare modelers that still build their own models out of wood.
The Skiddin' II can easily accommodate a modern miniature radio control system and a brushless motor setup. The
original model was designed for a transom-mounted glow fuel outboard engine, but those things make model boat plans
look plentiful. If you really want an outboard, try eBay, and be prepared to pay a couple hundred bucks for it.
thing you can be pretty sure of when looking at airplane model articles in 1954-vintage magazines is that they are
either free flight, static display, or control line. Radio control was still very new at the time and it was largely
the realm of experimenters and guys who were willing to risk a lot of building time and effort on what would almost
certainly eventually end in disaster. So, when I saw this construction article for a nice 68" wingspan, 4-engine
B-4 Liberator, I knew it would be for control line.
Although finding a copy of the original plans will be a challenge, the version I scanned along with the construction
article high enough resolution to scale up for use...
you an aeromodeler and does your name happen to be Carl Hermes, Rolf Hagen, Robert Dunham, or Donald MacKenzie? Were
also you contesting in the free flight realm during the mid 1950s? If so, you might find yourself among these photos
taken during the 1954 international
FF championships held at the Suffolk County Air Force Base, sponsored by now defunct Convair aircraft company.
All those young men are old timers now, as are the models they were flying. Maybe one of these fellows is your father
or grandfather. Print out the photo and send it to him if you want to see a grown man cry. Take a close look at the
last photo and you will spy none other than Lt. General Jimmy Doolittle...
is novel idea from well-known free flight modeler Bill Hannan and hobby shop owner Russ Barrera. The pair converted
an unused transmitter case into a handy
field box for use with free
flight models. In addition to adding a hinge and latch to the cover, the retractable antenna sports a small wind
sock for judging launch times and even a compass in place of the RF power meter to note the direction of your model
as it drifts off into the wild blue yonder when the dethermalizer fails to trigger.
Testor Corporation has been manufacturing products for hobby,
craft, and home decorating for more than eight decades. Since 1929, the oval Testor logo has been associated with
quality and integrity. Testor hobby finishing materials and accessories, plastic model kits, craft paints and supplies,
and airbrushes are sold world-wide, satisfying the demand for these fine products. Testor currently staffs a manufacturing
facility in Rockford." - from the Testors "About Us" page. This advertisement appeared in a 1954 edition of Model
couple weeks ago I published an article on my RFCafe.com engineering website titled, "Amazing
Collection of QSL Cards and Photographs from 1924-1978." If you are an amateur radio operator, you will probably
want to take a look at the absolutely huge collection of QSL cards collected over many decades by Mr. Thomas "Tom"
Russell Gentry (W5RG). I mention the website here as well because there is an equally
amazing collection of post World War I through pre World
War II airplane photographs that have most likely never been seen anywhere else. There are hundreds of biplanes
and pilots and hangars and engines and officers and aerial reconnaissance views, and a whole lot more. Many show the
is the earliest edition I have of Air Trails Hobbies for Young Men, so this is also the first edition of Sketchbook
I have. Sketchbook continued for many years as a monthly feature where modelers wrote to the magazine with handy ideas
for saving time and/or money, and just for offering tips and suggestions on a different way of doing something. In
those days there was not the plethora of accessories available for building models, so a lot of creativity was involved.
Even items as commonplace as bellcranks for control line models and dethermalizers for free flight were fabricated
from salvaged parts like metal soup cans and hairpins. I'm guessing no magazine today would publish a scheme to attach
a look at the jet fighter design submitted by Lorry Burchett of Detroit, Michigan, and see if it looks somewhat
familiar to you. Except for the horizontal stabilizer spanning between the twin tail booms, it reminds me a lot of
Scaled Composite's ("Scaled") X-Prize-winning
SpaceShipOne. This and
two other 'futuristic' aircraft designs were part of a run by Air Trails Hobbies for Young Men in 1954. The
chosen three are nothing like each other. First prize was awarded $50, which in 2014 is the equivalent of $434.79.
Scaled founder Burt Rutan, the man who single-handedly popularized canard configurations...
was just a decade after World War II, during which time the Army Signal Corps introduced a method of printing
- or etching - metallic circuit conductors on an insulator substrate, and thus was born the
printed circuit board (PCB).
The first boards used a phenolic-paper laminate, which is the shiny brown substrate material that is still found in
some industrial applications like motors and control panels. Ferric chloride was used to etch away the copper foil
not masked off with photoresist chemicals. I made many crude PCBs using a resist ink pen to draw circuit traces and
component mounting pads, then etched away the exposed copper with ferric chloride...
is a nice, quick project if you have ever wanted to try your hand at an
amphibious model airplane. The Shoehorn was originally designed
and built as an .049-powered free flight job with a 32" wingspan, but with today's miniature radio systems it could
easily be converted to 3-channel operation. For that matter, you can substitute a brushless electric motor for the
glow fuel engine that, along with today's high density, low weight Li-Po batteries, would easily provide as much power
as the .049. The Shoehorn is of built-up balsa construction with
Silkspan and dope covering, but of course there you could substitute iron-on plastic covering available for park flyers
(which this would have been considered if park flyers had a name back then).
Line Speed always seemed like a great aspect of competition to get involved in, but like so many others, I just
never made time for it. There are some really cool videos on YouTube of C/L Speed models being flown. On a properly
adjusted engine, you can hear the engine break into a screaming 2-cycle mode after the airplane picks up some speed
and the propeller unloads a bit from the pilot whipping it. It is like seeing / watching the afterburner kick in on
a jet engine! A major change in the design of Speed models from the 1955 vintage of this "Monitor" is the use of a
wing only on the inside...
was six years prior to this field strength
meter construction article being published that Mssrs. Brattain, Shockley, and Bardeen invented the transistor
using the element germanium and a point contact "cat's whisker." In 1954, the date of this article, Texas Instruments
introduced the first commercially available silicon device - the TI 900 silicon transistor. However, operational frequencies
of semiconductors were only in the hundreds of kilohertz, so vacuum tubes were still necessary in higher frequency
radio circuits like the field strength meter, which operates in the 30 MHz band...
World War II, a lot of leisure activities were sacrificed due to unavailability of raw materials for manufacturing
products needed to pursue them. We have all see photos of kids collecting scraps of metal, rubber, and other materials
for recycling as components of airplanes, guns, canteens, ships, etc. Aircraft modeling took a hit along with most
other hobbies since metal for engines and wood for airplane kits (balsa was popular for shipping
contain packing) were scarce. It wasn't until the late 1940s that
Leroy Cox was able to begin mass producing
his famous line of miniature engines, most notably the .049 family. Other manufacturers - like Allyn - were following
indoor models is one (of many) aspects of model airplane building and flying that
I've always wanted to try, but never found the opportunity. You might be tempted to think this is the exclusive realm
of white-haired old men, and admittedly it nearly is, but when you look at contest coverage in the modeling magazines,
it is heartening to see a good showing of youngsters. For that matter, the same holds true for just about all forms
of model aircraft these days except for radio controlled airplanes and helicopters. As recently as a couple decades
ago, radio equipment was too expensive for many younger modelers to buy, so those who aspired to hobbies involving
airborne craft had...
you believe that servos with
metal gears signify the latest and greatest in reliable, robust, modern radio control actuation, you are probably
right... unless of course those actuators happen to be these metal-geared servos from the 1950s. In that case, you
might look at them and wonder how anyone ever managed to get model airplanes into the air and back safely on the ground
when using them. Guys spent a lot of time and money building large, heavy airframes and used low power-to-weight ratio
engines for lofting vacuum tube receivers, bulky actuators, and wet-cell batteries into the air. Rubber-band-driven
escapement mechanisms were probably more advanced in design and implementation than...
visitor Pat M. wrote to ask that I scan and post this article for the
Yako free flight rubber model. The unique feature
of the Yako is that it is a canard - wing in the back and horizontal stabilizer up front. It appeared in the December
1971 edition of American Aircraft Modeler magazine. "For the Tenderfoot" catered to beginner model builders
- mostly kids. They were typically small free flight or control line jobs that could easily be built without help
from an experienced modeler, although of course seeking assistance was encouraged. I have been surprised at the number
of requests I have received for models from the "For the Tenderfoot" series that ran for many years. Could it indicate...
some point you have probably read about an old model aircraft contest event called 'PAA-Load.'
As its name implies, the challenge involved hauling specific weights of 'payload' aloft and vying for the longest
flight. What you might find surprising is that the 'PAA' part of the event title comes from Pan American Airlines
(PAA, aka PanAm), who created and sponsored the activity as an educational effort to
encourage youngsters to consider the necessary accommodations to efficiently and profitably transport people and cargo
from point A to point B. Careful attention to airframe configuration and weight, powerplant size, propeller, wheel
size and weight, covering material and finish, etc., was required to...
might not need to wire up a battery and light bulb to do a range check on your radio system anymore, but there are
a few other good ideas in the 1955 installment of "Hints
'n' Kinks" that you might find useful in your model endeavors. The relative few who still build, fly, and repair
model airplanes will appreciate the resourcefulness of such methods.
advertisement for the United States
Rubber Company's T-56 rubber appeared in the Annual Edition of Air Trails. T-56 was a very popular choice
for free flight modelers back in the day. I posted another ad for them from an April 1957 American Modeler.
United States Rubber Company was one of the original 12 companies used to calculate the Dow Jones Industrial Average
(DJIA) for the stock market on Wall Street. In addition to manufacturing automobile and
airplane tires, it also supplied the free flight model world with T-56 rubber for powering.
Celestron CPC Deluxe 800 HD telescope
is for sale (bought in September of 2012). Unfortunately for me, a combination of lack
of time and lack of opportunity has caused me to decide to sell my telescope setup and just make do for now with my
Celestron 15x70 SkyMaster binoculars. Since everything was bought to work together as a complete setup, I would like
to sell everything together. Doing so will make my life easier and it will result in you paying less overall for all
the great equipment. Everything is in like-new condition and has received very little use. The main feature is the
incredibly robust and high quality CPC 800 Deluxe HD telescope. I had an 8SE before this, and the comparison is like
night and day. Whereas the 8SE was very shaky because of its single support arm and getting a good alignment was sometimes
tricky, the CPC 800 Deluxe HD is solid as a rock and achieves an excellent alignment every time with very little effort...
I bought this 1976 vintage Snoopy telephone on eBay, the seller
didn't disclose that the Volume level in the earpiece was very low, including the ringtone. Technically it worked
so I couldn't claim fraud, but it worked poorly. So, I began doing a bit of research on the Internet and found that
a lot of people were having similar problems with the Snoopy phone and a couple other novelty models
(Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, M&Ms dude, et al) that were based off the same Western
Electric design. I planned to clean up the phone and put it into service, but wanted to make sure it was functioning
properly before going to the trouble. The first thing I did was some standard continuity tests to make sure signals
could flow from point to point. I discovered...
through this article reminded me of how dedicated some modelers are today and have been in the past in their efforts
to advance the state of the art. The ingenuity of people often makes me feel like a real dope by comparison. Mechanical
and electronic devices conceived of, built, tested, improved, and perfected by our aircraft flying brethren are truly
astounding. This "Pi-Bar"
invented by Gerald Ritz is a simple tool to "make it easy to lay out a propeller of any blade shape, area, or pitch,
with absolute accuracy and without computations or the use of formulae." I wonder how long it will be before we witness
the first 3-D printed propeller for free flight?
images were scanned from my 1976 yearbook for
Southern Senior High School
in Harwood, Maryland. It was my senior year, my year of liberation. Only the photos of seniors from when they little
kiddos were scanned. The picture were submitted by their parents, in some cases without the knowledge of
(and probably much to the dismay of) the subjects. I did a fairly extensive Internet
search looking for where someone else had already done it, but to no avail, so, here they are. If you recognize yourself
or someone else and send me an e-mail, I will be glad to add the info with the page scan. No, I'm not included anywhere;
I don't think my parents even owned a camera...
only experience with Jetex engines with a No. 50B, and that was back in the early 1970s. It was attached to a
dime store type Guillows glider - the king where the wing, stab, and fin slid into slits in the fuselage. Once the
engine finally ignited, the glider took off with a cool hissing sound and headed skyward. The glider had been trimmed
to fly smoothly with power off. I can remember having a heck of a time getting the crappy little piece of chemical-coated
wire wick to stay lit as it passed through the Jetex's nozzle. Looking back from this perspective, I do believe I
was fairly inept at a lot of things at the time, so maybe that was the entire problem. Maybe someday I'll pull my
Jetex No. 50 from...
the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. That being the case, here are 8,000 of some of the most
amazing words that I've ever seen regarding Cox control
line airplanes. These photos were sent to me by Airplanes and Rockets website visitor Charlie H.
According to his e-mail, there are around 300 models in all, many of which are still in their original boxes. I see
some pretty unique examples in the photos. If my understanding is correct, he is interested in selling his collection.
It must be worth a small fortune. I will let you know how to contact him if he does want to sell part or all of the
models. Many of these models sell for hundreds of dollars each on eBay.
daughter, Sally, was named after the Peanuts character that was Charlie Brown's baby sister. I have been wanting to
get the 1958 Hungerford Sally doll
of her, but the price was always higher than I wanted to pay. Finally, this Sally was available on eBay for well under
$100, so I bought it - marks and all. It doesn't really mater to me if it is not is like-new condition as long as
it is in good shape and clean(able).
very far-sighted, having a modern alarm clock next to the bed with large LED numbers is a great convenience for seeing
the time at night. However, I have always hated the electronic alarm sound and neither do I want music since it tends
to put me back to sleep. The old fashioned wind-up mechanical alarm clocks did the job quite handily, and I missed
having such a clock after many decades of doing without. So, I decided to look for a Peanuts-themed clock from the
1960s or 70s. This Snoop alarm clock came up for bid on
eBay, and I picked it up for under $10, probably because the seller said it did not work. He was correct that it didn't
work in its selling condition. However, I disassembled the entire clock and soaked it...
first-ever appearance of animated Peanuts characters came in the form of
television commercials for the 1960 Ford Falcon. I learned
about them in a book titled Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz. To me, Peanuts represents a more innocent
time in America, where neighborhood kids played together, were moral in their actions, and even "crabby" kids like
Lucy were not evil. Cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, pirates and naval mariners did battle with makeshift weapons
and only one ball team at a time won a trophy. My sisters and I rode in basic cars like the Ford Falcon, without the
benefit of seat belts, crawling up onto the package shelf in the back to watch the world pass by, standing on our
heads in the back seat, and thinking it a privilege to get to ride up front on the rare...
December 16, 1965, NASA astronauts Walter M. "Wally" Schirra Jr. and Thomas P. Stafford conducted the first live musical
performance from space. Using a smuggled mini harmonica (Hohner
#39 Little Lady) and some reindeer bells, Schirra and Stafford, respectively, radioed a 'UFO' report saying
"Gemini VII, this is Gemini VI. We have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south, up in a polar
orbit. He's in a very low trajectory traveling from north to south and has a very high climbing ratio. It looks like
it might even be a ... Very low. Looks like he might be going to reenter soon. Stand by one ... You might just let
me try to pick up that thing." Just before reentry into the Earth's atmosphere for a splashdown, the two pranksters
then broke out in a round of "Jingle
rocket boost glider builder David Wagner sent me this note and photos of his excellent
Estes Falcon and his
rocket boost gliders. David
established a unique "signature" finishing scheme on his models that consists of a solid red and/or sometimes white
base with aluminum foil in a decorative pater in the rocket motor exhaust area.
is a nice, lightweight WWI British SE-5 biplane
for radio control. The original was rudder-only (RO) with a .15 size diesel engine for
power. Designed by well-known (at the time) scale modeler Chet Lanzo, this model
features break-away top and bottom wings and oversize air-filled wheels to help make hard than normal landings more
survivable. A modern 3-channel setup with an electric motor should serve the SE-5 well, and would most likely yield
an even lighter ready to fly weight than the original configuration.