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- Home Page Archive #22 -
"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." Lord Kelvin, 1895

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:

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Modeling News Archive:

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Getting Started in R/C 

Getting Started in R/C (July 1968 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsThis installment of Howard McEntee's Getting Started in R/C column introduces electronic schematic symbols commonly found in transistorized radio control equipment. In 1968, when this article was printed, nearly all solid state circuitry was built from individual discretely packaged transistors and diodes; integrated circuits (ICs) were still a few years off for R/C equipment. If you look at a modern transmitter or receiver schematic, you might not see a single transistor ...

Flying Models Magazine Is No More

"Flying Models" magazine shuts down - Airplanes and RocketsIf you thought you heard "Taps" playing in the background recently as you bought a copy of Flying Models at the local hobby shop, it might be because it is now out of publication. Carstens Publications recently sold its other two magazines, Railroad Model Craftsman and Railfan & Railroad, (which will be continued) to White River Productions. It is a sad end to a great magazine - probably the first model airplane magazine I ever read back in the late 1960s. Its demise is reportedly due to a dying (literally) population of modelers who build kits and/or build from plans. Chinese-built RTF and ARF rule the world now. Thanks to the good folks at Carstens who produced Flying Models since 1928!

Antique Clothes Chest Restoration

Antique Clothes Chest Restoration - Airplanes and RocketsAnother of Melanie's family's relics is this pine clothes chest. After more than 100 years of use and abuse, this chest was in dire need of restoration. Construction is very low density pine, with dovetailed corners. Finish was a clear varnish with no stain. The bottom, back, and inside had no finish at all. Restoration consisted of knocking apart and re-gluing most joints, sanding, and filling in the multiple dings and scratches where they were really deep. Minor imperfections were kept for the sake ...

Antique Ansonia Mantel Clock Restoration

Antique Ansonia Mantel Clock Restoration - Airplanes and RocketsThis mantel clock is a multi-generational heirloom. It was not expensive, but had emotional value. Melanie's family hearkens from the York, Pennsylvania, region and this clock, I discovered, was manufactured by the Ansonia company and sold by Will K. Rebert, Watchmaker and Jeweler, in York. Her parents gave it to me for Christmas of 2006, and I decided to refinish it and return it to them the next Christmas. Unfortunately, Melanie's father passed away from cancer last summer, but we were able to present it to ...

Radial Arm Saw Dust Collector

Radial Arm Saw Dust Collector - Airplanes and RocketsThere are many videos on YouTube showing some pretty ingenious dust collectors for radial arm saws. Most use a fairly small enclosure located just behind the fence, with a shop vac attachment for forcefully inhaling the sawdust. They appear to work extremely well for cuts that are at 90° to the fence and to the table surface. Maybe my interpretation of the dust collectors is wrong and they adapt to any angle. Since I only have a small shop vac and do not like to have to turn it on every time I make a cut, my ...

Curtiss C-46 Commando

Curtiss C-46 Commando at Winston-Salem Airshow - Airplanes and RocketsThe last flying (according to the attending crew) Curtiss C-46 Commando made an appearance at the 2014 Winston-Salem Airshow. It looks like a bloated C-47 Skytrain. They were only asking for a $3 donation to look around inside, which is a shame since other aircraft like the C-54 were fetching $5 or more. When costs for keeping it airworthy and touring run the in neighborhood of $3,000 to $5,000 per hour, it takes a lot of visitors to pay the bill. Of all the worthless garbage the government wastes money on (both human and otherwise), letting these relics of our past disappear is shameful ...

Troop Glider & C-46 Tow Plane

Troop Glider and C-46 Tug, May 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsHere is a really unique control line scale model project. This one involves two separate airplanes and two separate pilots - one to fly the twin-engined C-46 Commando tow plane and the other to fly the CG-15 troop glider while it is attached via towline, and then released for landing. Doing so is no different than two aerial combat pilots chasing each other around the sky. The troop glider has its own elevator control and also uses a third line to release the tow line attached to the C-46. Anyone who has seen an R/C power plane tow an R/C glider knows that ...

David W. Update Us on His on Astron Falcon

David W. Update Us on His on Astron Falcon - Airplanes and RocketsHad two very good flights with the Astron Falcon two weeks ago. Both almost 90 seconds. Like most rocket gliders, it is very sensitive to CG balance. But once dialed in, it will just float.  Last Saturday at the sod farm in Moriarty, we put up a flight with an A8-3, as usual. Very light breeze, but it was enough to slowly move it off the field while in a thermal. Slowly coming out of the ...

Dynamic Soaring and Pumped Laser Systems

Dynamic Soaring and Pumped Laser Systems - Airplanes and RocketsYou have heard of the pumped laser and maser. Here is a new type of pumped energy system: the vaser. 'Laser' is an acronym for 'light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation,' and 'maser' is an acronym for 'microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.' I coined the term 'vaser' after reading an article in the June 2014 edition of Model Aviation about a relatively new form of radio controlled model sailplane sport - dynamic soaring - that, using a specially developed technique to exploit geography and prevailing winds, produces aircraft speeds of more than 400 miles per hour. Per my definition ...

Killer Combat Kites

"Killer" Combat Kites, July 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThe object with these stick and tissue fighter airplane shaped kites is to use the sharp-edged sand that is glued to the kite string to saw through your opponent's string until it breaks. Part of the trick is that there is a long section of rubber in the kite string so that the kite is continually zooming back and forth, up and down. This provides the sawing motion needed to cut the string. The original plan calls for a single string, but it might be possible to work out a dual string control so that the kites can be maneuvered, thereby ...

Channel Winger Control Line Pusher

Channel Winger C/L Pusher, July 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsHere is a model airplane design that should prove to be very interesting to try out in order to determine whether its designer, Roy Clough, Jr., is correct about his theory of the aerodynamics of the curve wing center section. The pusher configuration with the reward-facing engine between twin tail booms probably kept a lot of people from trying it back in the 1950s when small electric starters were not commercially available for .049 engines. Today, the issue can be mitigated entirely simply by converting ...

"Stormer" Plans & Article

"Stormer" Plans & Article from April 1961 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsAirplanes and Rockets website visitor Jack A. wrote to request this article and plans for Doug Spreng's "Stormer" radio controlled airplane model. It appeared in the April 1961 edition of American Modeler, where you read the opening line that says, "'Stormer' is a return to the older style R/C jobs ..." R/C had not really been around all that long by 1961, so reference to "older style" is kind of funny. It is interesting to read the author's discussion on airframe design and control surface shape and deflection amount. The reed-type radio equipment required careful consideration to such details in ...

Consolidated PBY-5A Canso at Erie Int'l Airport

Consolidated PBY-5A Canso / Catalina - Airplanes and RocketsOn August 26 2013, Melanie and I toured the inside of this Consolidated PBY-5A Canso (PBY-5 is the Catalina) while it was on display at the Erie International Airport. It was on tour by a crew from Canada, which is appropriate since it was this particular airplane was manufactured in Canada in 1944 by the Vickers company. World War II ended before it could ever see combat reconnaissance duty. The PBY-5A has a wingspan of 104 feet 0 inches and is powered by a pair of 1200 horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp radial ...

Wooden Bleachers Built by Boy Scout Troop 117

Wooen Bleachers built by Boy Scout Troop 117 in Jasper, Alabama in 2014 - Airplanes and RocketsLarry J.'s son's Boy Scout Troop 117 in Jasper, AL, built four sets of these 12'-long wooden bleachers using their own modified version of my plans (see below). They will be used in a equine therapy program. The project helped to earn an Eagle Scout badge. Boy Scouts are an increasingly rare source of good works and high moral standards. Congratulations!

Estes Skydancer Rocket-Boost R/C Glider

Skydancer Rocket Boost R/C Glider, March 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsEstes does not sell the D-13 engine line anymore, but it does sell a D-12. The D-13 produced 9 pounds of thrust according to this article and the 1971 Estes catalog, whereas according to the 2014 Estes catalog the D-12 produces only 7.4 pounds. If you want similar performance with readily available rocket engines, you will need to get them from a company like Aerotech, which makes an F30FJ-6 model that produces 9 pounds of thrust. With that solution you're look at about $12 per launch. I believe that with modern materials like graphite for spars and/or leading edges, and the lightweight airborne systems, the flying weight ...

The Gere Sport Biplane

The Gere Sport Biplane, May 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsHere is a nice set of drawings for building a scale model of the Gere Sport biplane. The tail surfaces are large so that it would probably not be necessary to enlarge them as is often necessary for rubber powered models. The Gere Sport, with a wingspan of only 19 feet, was originally designed by 19-year-old Bud Gere (one foot per year, I suppose). An R/C version of the Gere Sport with a 36" wingspan was published in R/C Modeler in 1976.

Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio

Counted Cross Stitch Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio in Teak Frame - Airplanes and RocketsOne of the nice things about having a website is that people from all over the world are able to see what you post. This very nice lady from Spain saw Melanie's picture and wrote to us in the year 2011 about obtaining the pattern for it. We found the booklet on eBay, and since she could not purchase it from Spain, she sent us the money and we procured it for her and mailed it to her in Spain. Honestly, we had forgotten about it and then voila! A week or so ago Miss Mortes e-mailed these two pictures to...

Huey Ride at the 2014 Winston-Salem Airshow

Huey Helicopter Ride at the 2014 Winston-Salem Airshow - Airplanes and RocketsIt is always hard to pass up a ride in a vintage aircraft. Usually, the price is not too awfully high, so on the rare occasion that Melanie and I go to an airshow, we try to be sure to fly in something. Last summer, we rode on one of the 11 flying Ford Trimotors left in the world when it was visiting Erie Airport in Pennsylvania. The cost was an incredibly affordable $75 each, so we couldn't resist. This time we were at the airshow in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and there was a crew with a Bell "Huey" UH-1 Iroquois and a Bell...

The Wonderful World of Model Power Boating

The Wonderful World of Model Power Boating from 1955 Annual Edition of Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsIf you like looking at pictures of competition-quality model boats of all sorts, then this is the article for you. The 1995 Annual edition of Air Trails published this piece to demonstrate the huge variety of model boats that we built and sailed in the day, with loads of talent crammed into each pixel. America was filled with craftsmen who had built and operated the equipment that resulted to victory in World War II. Their skills were on ample display in the form of hand-built steam engines and internal combustion engines, rubber-powered submarines some of which were 5 feet long, radio controlled tug boats and even speed boats sporting not just one but two...

Crosses and Roundels

Crosses and Roundels (January 1968 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsToday's ubiquitous presence of cameras in cellphones, worn around necks to capture entire days of activity, and compact models that fit in a shirt pocket for easy retrieval, has resulted in billions of images being captured in the last decade. You have probably seen the time lapse videos of kids and pets growing from newly born to 12 or 15 years old after daily pictures had been snapped. Nobody from this time forward will have any problem finding a visual record of him/herself. In the 1960s, the only people who had the benefit of photographic progressions of their lives were the famous and...

Nike Smoke Sounding Rocket

Nike Smoke Sounding Rocket, April 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsNASA's Wallops Island Station was located about 100 miles as the rocket flies from where I grew up in Mayo, Maryland. That was close enough that many of the colored skies created by sounding rockets conducting atmospheric research were visible. Local newscasters would broadcast announcements ahead of tests so that the populace wouldn't think we had been invaded by aliens or were not under attack by the Russkies. This article on the Nike Smoke rocketsonde, by überrocketeer G. Harry Stine...

Nationals Reborn at Olathe

Nationals Reborn at Olathe (June 1968 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and Rockets1968 was the AMA Nats that almost wasn't. The U.S. Navy, which for year prior had helped organize and finance the Nationals competitions, decided it was no longer going to do so. The reason given was that its primary mission - to promote aviation as a career to boys and young men who might eventually decide to make the Navy a career - had suffered due to a continually decreasing percentage of boys and young men participating in the competition. Thanks to heroic efforts of members of both the Navy and the AMA, the 1968 Nats went on to become possibly 'The Greatest Ever." Alas...

Grumman Widgeon 3-View

Grumman Widgeon, March 1967 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsJust like with the old commercial jingle that went, Music bar "Everybody doesn't like something, but nobody doesn't like Sara Lee," I can pretty confidently substitute "seaplanes" for "Sara Lee." The Grumman Widgeon was one of many iterations of their twin engined amphibious airplanes that is immediately recognizable to most people over the age of 40. In fact, the Widgeon was the seaplane that appeared each week on the 1970s television show "Fantasy Island." It was "Ze plane! Ze plane!" that Tattoo would call out at the beginning of each episode.

20th U.S. Air Force Championships

20th U. S. Air Force Championships (April 1971 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsIt is amazing to ponder that as recently as the 1970s that the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy officially sponsored model aviation events. Hmmm... it just occurred to me that the 1970s was 40 years ago - amazing! 1970 was the year of the 20th annual base championships where the winners were sent to represent the USAF team. These guys were in the middle of the Vietnam War at the time which, along with being called upon to move to new bases every few years, made impressive showings in spite of difficulties not imposed upon their civilian competitors. Note that Sgt. Gordon Ford, who was featured in "One-Man Air Force" in the March 1970 edition of AAM, had entered his C-5A Galaxy...

Charles M. Schulz (Peanuts) Memorial Cake

Charles M. Schulz (Peanuts) memorial cake by Melanie Blattenberger - Airplanes and RocketsI had totally forgotten about this nice cake to memorialize the life and works of Charles M. Schulz when he died in the year 2000. His Peanuts characters have been a lifelong favorite of mine. Neither of us remembers why she choose this particular comic strip. In retrospect, the one where Snoopy ate the carrot nose of his 'best friend' snowman after it melted might have been more fitting (just as we ate the cake).

Map of Where Hitler's V2s Killed 1,000s of Britons

Interactive map of V2 rocket targets in Great Britain - Airplanes and RocketsHiler's V2 Rocket on Launcher - Airplanes and RocketsUK's Mail Online website has a big story for the 70th anniversary of Hitler's forces raining approximately 1,500 V2 rockets (the 'V' is for 'Vergeltungswaffe,' or 'Vengeance Weapon') down upon British cities during the final months of World War II. Included is an interactive Google map that shows locations and displays statistics on deaths, injuries, destruction, etc.; e.g., "Axminster Road , January 13, 1945, ~48 Dead."

Modelers at Work in Aviation, Space and Electronics

Modelers at Work in Aviation, Space and Electronics from August 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsThis wide view of the Martin (now part of the Lockheed-Martin conglomerate) model shop brings back memories of when I worked as an electronics technician at the Westinghouse Oceanic Division in Annapolis, Maryland. We had a bunch of guy in lab jackets sitting around at benches with out machinist's tool boxes open. Most people had the Gerstner, Craftsman, or Union brand. Serious tool accumulators had the large model with the big drawer in the middle for hold a machinist's reference manual (my shop did electronics assembly and prototype building, so we kept other things in ours). As with so many other things, I eventually sold my toolbox, but, fortunately, there is almost nothing you cannot buy on eBay, so a couple years ago I bought one like what I had before. I'm not sure how much model making...

Beechcraft T-34 Mentor

T-34B Mentor Plans - February 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsA couple years ago I scanned and posted just the plans for this Beechcraft T-34 Mentor from the February 1974 American Aircraft Modeler magazine. It is a fully aerobatic 60-size scale model. Finally, I went back and scanned the article, too. It mentions availability of a fiberglass cowl and a formed plastic canopy from Sig, but I seriously doubt they are available today. Standard balsa and aircraft plywood construction is used otherwise. Plans for this fine model were draw...

5th Annual R/C Soaring NATS

Fifth Annual R/C Soaring NATS (October 1974 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsIn 1974, I was flying some of my first R/C gliders - probably a Mark's Models Windward or maybe the Windfree (in that order). During that time, I tried hard to locate a group of sailplane flyers in my area around Mayo, Maryland, but to no avail. The nearest R/C flying field was about 30 miles away in Upper Marlboro, MD, where the PGRC club field used to be. My family's car was held together with chewing gum and bailing wire, so it wasn't often that I could talk my father into driving me out there, and the few times that he gave in to my whining, there were never any gliders present. So, when I would see articles like this in the modeling magazines, my envy level would increase...

R/C Sailplane Quiz

R/C Sailplane Quiz (October 1974 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsAlan Druschitz, winner of this quiz and also the young man holding the trophy in the photo, wrote recently to request that I scan and post this R/C Sailplane Quiz that appeared in the October 1974 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. It is always nice to get a note from someone who appears in image and/or print form in the old articles. It has been 40 years since the event, which makes Mr. Druschitz about st two years older than me. To win the contest, he answered 9 out of 10 of the questions correctly, and also took 1st place in the Jr./Sr. Team event.

About Airplanes & Rockets

Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and Rockets
Kirt Blattenberger
Carpe Diem!
(Seize the Day!)

Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which all began in Mayo, MD. There is a lot of good information and there are lot of pictures throughout the website that you will probably find useful, and might even bring back some old memories from your own days of yore. The website began life around 1996 as an EarthLink screen name of ModelAirplanes, and quickly grew to where more server space ...

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