I see photos of some of the early radio
control gear for model airplanes, I have a simultaneous reaction of aghastness and marvel at the crudity and ingenuousness,
respectively, of the electromechanical devices - the same kind of reaction I have to stories about early surgical procedures
and equipment. In 1940, when this article appeared in the ARRL's QST magazine, successful takeoffs and landings
were considered notable events not so much because of pilot ability (or inability), but because of the low reliability of
available electronic and mechanical gear
"Any pilgrimage through TSA is sure reminder
why you hate flying. The nettlesome wait on the runway until it's finally your plane's turn to take off makes you rethink
your AMTRAC options. Your neighbor's impressive ability to pour himself into your personal space, while you promise yourself
to next time just eat the costs and upgrade your seat. All of this would be avoided if you just
"This week's video comes from
the US where Aurora Flight Sciences and Stratasys have teamed up to build the world's first jet-powered,
3D printed aircraft. Using 80% 3D printed parts, the UAV is composed of Stratasys' ULTEM 9085 lightweight
material to help achieve flight speeds of over 150 mph. The high-speed system boasts an impressive 9ft wingspan and weighs
$11,800 per year for engineers working in
defense laboratories in 1955 is
the equivalent of about $104,300 in 2016, according to the Inflation Calculator hosted by the BLS. That's probably a pretty
accurate reflection of today's average salary for an experienced engineer. Now, as then, some of the most technically challenging
and interesting research projects are done under the auspices of the Federal government - primarily because they have the
most money to throw ...
"Engineers have revealed a radical new
way to save plane passengers in the event of an emergency. The design shows an aircraft with a
detachable cabin that releases in emergency situations. During take-off, landing or flight, the redesigned
cabin detaches from the plane and safely lands on the ground or water– saving everyone's lives on board. Parachutes are
attached to the roof of the cabin that are
same March 1959 issue of American Modeler as the feature story on
Mr. Nils Testor, founder of the eponymously
named company, is this 2-page advertisement for Testors
paints and glue. As pointed out in the Testors article, Nils Testor's first product was household glue, which, as it
turned out, was perfect for building model airplanes. Anyone older than about 40 who is also reading this is almost certainly
familiar with the Tests enamel paint kits sold in department stores and hobby shops for decades. I remember paying 19¢
for a 1/4-ounce bottle of paint back ...
"Hundreds of hidden
nearby galaxies have been spotted for the first time thanks to a highly-sensitive telescope in Australia. A total of 883
galaxies were found in a region of sky normally hidden from view by our own Milky Way, and a third of these were previously
unknown to science. This concentration of galaxies, and their movement, is now being used to study a phenomenon called the
Great Attractor that pulls the Milky Way
"JetPack Aviation chief David
Mayman is the first person to fly around New York City's signature statue in a 'controlled and sustained' way with a jetpack.
He wasn't exactly brushing past Lady Liberty's nose, as you'll see in the video below, but it's still a noteworthy feat.
Is this ultimately a publicity stunt meant to draw attention to the company's upcoming, mainstream-oriented JB-9 jetpack?
You bet. However, there's no denying that this is also a childhood wish
Nils Testor, an early 20th century immigrant from Sweden, is a classic American success
story. Having begun his management career at Woolworth as a stock boy (although he had a college degree from Stockholm),
his business acumen and love of the arts - including airplane modeling - quickly propelled him into the position of entrepreneur
as owner and progenitor of the Testor Chemical
Company. Beginning with selling household glue, he soon added nitrate and butyrate dope, balsa, airplane kits, paint-by-number
sets, and ...
of flying from New York to London in just one hour has come a step closer to reality. Orbital ATK has successfully tested
a 3D printed
hypersonic engine combustor at NASA Langley Research Centre in Virginia. The breakthrough could lead
to planes that can travel 3,425mph (5,500km/h) - 4.5 times the speed of sound
biggest aircraft has lifted off from the ground in Britain for the first time - but it will not be ready to leave the hangar
where it is being developed until next year. The
Airlander, which is a cross between an airship and an aeroplane, was originally developed as part of
a U.S. Army project but was scrapped by military bosses. It is now being converted to provide business and leisure flights
in a hangar in
AirplanesAndRockets.com website visitor
Mike Bryan wrote
with a little background on his participation in the 1959 National Model Airplane Championships. He saw the "America's First
'National' Championship Air-Model Meet" article I have posted from the November 1959 issue
of American Modeler. Mike won 1st place in Control Line Scale that year. Read his comments
Perhaps it is fitting
that a man named "Wright" should have been so successful in setting model airplane endurance records. Being from New Zealand
dismisses any possibility of a direct relationship to Wilbur and Orville, though.
Les Wright attributes a large part of his success
to having personally designed, built, and operated a reliable radio control system for both his powered and non-powered
series of 'Mark' aircraft. His models were essentially very large free-flight
This article on the IEEE Spectrum website reports on Dutch police
training eagles to snatch drones out of midair. While clever, it does raise the issue of potential harm
to the bird by multiple, very sharp-edged, rapidly spinning rotor blades. As usual, reader comments are as good or better
than the story itself. To wit, "Chopping up eagles, hawks & falcons in the U.S. is legal, as long as it's a
windmill that's doing the chopping," and "It's also legal in the U.S. to turn Eagles into
streamers when they fly over solar panel farms."
Here are two highly detailed 3-view drawings of the
Chance Vought VE-7, VE-9 & UO-1
Army and Navy biplane types, as inked by Mr. Willis L. Nye. It has a classic biplane profile that, at least
with the VE-7 reminds me a lot of Peter Bower's Fly Baby Biplane. The second sheet has the top plan view showing wings
and horizontal stabilizer ...
Not too often, but every once in
a while I am fortunate to have someone seen my request for a response to an article posted on the AirplanesAndRockets.com
website. This time, no less than the grandson of
Lloyd's Train & Hobby Shop
owner Ed Finn submitted this amazing information: "Hi Kirt, My name is Chris Dorn and I live in Eden Prairie,
MN. And in response to your question, "Yes", I certainly do remember Lloyd's as my grandfather, Edward (Ed) Finn was the
owner from the early 50's until the late 70's
"SpaceX has revealed new footage of its
Dragon capsule hovering it above the desert in its latest test. The manned capsule will be used to ferry
astronauts to the International Space Station - and could one day even take man to Mars. As the footage shows, the thrusters
all fire up together to raise the spacecraft for a five-second hover, 'generating approximately 33,000 lbs. of thrust before
returning the vehicle to its resting position.' SpaceX said
"The U.S. Air Force is shelving plans to retire
the aging A-10 'Warthog' aircraft, a heavily armored tank killer, because of its role in the fight against Islamic State.
The 40-year-old ground attack aircraft is popular with soldiers, Marines - and some U.S. lawmakers.
One quoted the Air Force officials as saying that, while the A-10 would still need to be retired, the service would
put aside immediate plans to take it out
Technical details of gas-powered free flight have changed since this article was published
in a 1968 issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine, but the basics of construction, rigging, and flight trim
are the same. Free flighters like to say that their particular facet of aeromodeling is the purest form since success or
failure depends on the practitioner's ability to master all the 'natural' forces acting on their craft. I agree to a point,
except that unless you are considering the whirlybird flight of a maple tree seedling heading earthward or a similar airborne
inanimate object, the fact is most flight in nature is controlled either by the animal exercising the ability
"The Naval Research Laboratory
is taking a cue from nature in developing unmanned surveillance aircraft that don't use much power to stay aloft for hours
at a time - and still communicate with each other to work in concert. Working with the Air Vehicle Intelligence and Autonomy
Lab at Pennsylvania State University, NRL has tested a cooperative autonomous soaring algorithm, called the
Locator of Thermals (ALOFT) autonomous soaring algorithm, that can keep sailplanes airborne for much longer than
Our kitchen is pretty small
by 2016 standards. For that matter, our entire 920 sq. ft. rancher house is pretty small by 2016 standards. Immediately
after moving in in 2008, we set about performing a complete
renovation that included replacing all the kitchen cabinets (and just about everything else).
Melanie does a lot of baking and needed to store a lot of supplies in the basement because they would not fit in our cabinets.
We considered trying to shoehorn another cabinet into the kitchen area somehow, but there was no reasonable location. So,
she came up with the idea of converting the base corner cabinet from its original
Lazy Susan configuration to fixed shelves.Lazy Susan
units are convenient in terms of not having ...
"Now, Airbus has revealed a new 'drone killer' system that can automatically monitor an area - and disable the drone by jamming its signals
if it spots one. The system can even analyse signals from the drone to work out exactly where it is being controlled from.
It uses operational radars, infrared cameras and direction finders from Airbus Defence and Space's portfolio to identify
Amazingly, Jiro Horikoshi himself,
the actual designer of the famed Mitsubishi 00 'Zeke' fighter, wrote this article in the November 1950 issue of
Air Trails magazine in response to an article that was published in the April 1949 issue titled, "The Great 'Zeke'
Mystery." A little on his background and a lot on the airplane's background is presented in this extensive story. A lot
of lessons-learned improvements were integrated into the design. World War II aircraft historians will surely be interested
in this first-hand account that was written very shortly after then end of the war.
"A unique vertical take-off and landing
(VTOL) aircraft completed its first untethered flight last week. The 'AirMule', designed to carry about 1,000 pounds every
31 miles, has the ability to drop supplies to the Israeli army and carry the wounded soldiers to safety. The prototype has
taken two years to complete, but its creators are hopefully it will be able to reach places traditional helicopters
A couple weeks
ago, Erie, Pennsylvania experienced a major wind storm with lots of rain. Living just a mile from the shores of Lake Erie
means that we typically get the worst of the winds. The street we live on has overhead power distribution, telephone, and
Internet lines, so they are more vulnerable than underground buried lines. During the aforementioned storm, a very tall
pine tree in the yard right on the corner where the main feeder branches to our road snapped about halfway up and pulled
the lines right out of their connections on the mains as it fell. To make a long (45 hours to be
exact) story short, our entire street was
without power for nearly two days. That
is an unacceptable situation when you run your business from home, as I do for both
say it is 'floating' in denser solid nitrogen, and which has been dragged to the edge of a convection cell. Also visible
are thousands of pits in the surface, which scientists believe may form by sublimation. Transmitted to Earth on December
24, this image from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) extends New Horizons' highest-resolution views of Pluto
to the very center of Sputnik Planum
the very early 1970s I had purchased and built my first 'real' control line model, a Jetco Shark "15." It needed a metal
fuel tank, some wheels, and fuel line larger than the thin plastic type I had been using with the Cox control line models.
Being young an ignorant, I did not bother to include such items in my purchase order from America's Hobby Center. There
were no local hobby shops in my small town area of Mayo, Maryland, so I was faced with the prospect of waiting weeks for
another order to arrive. Back then you typically placed a paper order form and a personal check in the mail, hoping to receive
your supplies within a month. Fortunately, father, Art Blattenberger,
who was the Classified Advertising Department manager at the Evening Capital
A long time
ago I bought a used glider winch at an auction held by the Prince Georges Radio Club, in Maryland. It cost me somewhere
around $25, which was a lot for me in the mid 1970s. The motor and control circuitry was contained in a plywood box, with
a jack for the foot switch and terminals to clamp jumper cable to from a car. In looking at these plans for the
AAM Glider Winch shown here from the April 1973 American Aircraft
Modeler, it looks a lot like mine, only in a box. It worked extremely well for my 99"
Windfree and 99" Aquila
sailplanes. Unfortunately, I sold it shortly after getting married in 1983 (couldn't eat the winch).
I would love to have it back ...
"A Chinese drone maker has
revealed a giant quadcopter big enough to fit a passenger. EHang claims to be building the world's first 'Autonomous Aerial Vehicle' for transporting people. Unveiled at CES in Las Vegas and called the 184,
the all-electric vehicle has four arms with a total of eight propellers at the end. 'You know how it feels to sit in a Ferrari?
This is 10 times better,' George Yan, co-founder of Ehang said in an interview with DailyMail.com
Website visitor Rob P. wrote to ask that I scan and post this article and plans
for Claude McCullough's "Chariot" radio control
model. The 58" wingspan high wing model features a pylon-mounted .23-size engine. Although the original used rudder-only
control, no doubt Rob will use at least three channels, and maybe even add ailerons for a fourth. He may even decide to
adapt the Chariot to electric power. Simple stick and sheet balsa construction helps to make for easy, inexpensive building.
Hopefully, Mr. P will send a photo of his completed Chariot for posting
When building my
Enterprise-E control stunt airplane, I knew that
the amount of control surface throw available for both flaps and elevator was extreme, but I wanted to have the reserve
capability in case it was needed. It was definitely NOT needed! Fortunately, because of the way the top fuselage hatch is
designed for removal there is easy access to the flap control horn, and thereby the ability to move pushrod clevises around
to decrease throws. Even with doing that, however, the model is still very sensitive to control handle movements. My only
solution was to obtain a control handle with line spacing less than the 4-1/4" on the stock Sullivan handle. That spacing
has been a little too much for other models as well, so an alternate handle would be nice anyway. I have always admired
the custom wooden control line handles other
"If you are
the kind of person who always gets a window seat when flying, just to drool over the beautiful view from the top, then you
will definitely love
SkyDeck. Windspeed Technologies, an American aerospace engineering company, is patenting the SkyDeck,
a glass capsule that can be installed in a wide variety of aircraft to provide passengers with a panoramic 360°
When testing the operation of my
Craftsman 4-1/8" jointer/planer, I noticed immediately
that the cut along the length of a board resulted in a curved edge rather than a perfectly straight edge. I had already
verified that the in-feed and out-feed table surfaces were parallel by laying a steel straight edge along them, and I knew
I was feeding the wood properly. The only way to get a straight, even cut was to press down really hard on the wood as it
passed over the cutter head - a really dangerous practice since a slip could cause my hand to fall into the cutters. What
was happening didn't make sense because theoretically the cutter head removes material at a thickness equal to the difference
between the in-feed and out-feed table heights ...
Less than two years before this issue of American Modeler went to print, the Russkies
launched the first Sputnik orbiting satellite. The Space Race was on, and America was scurrying to show the Commies that
we could out-do them. It wasn't until August of 1960 that NASA finally launched Echo, but after that the rest, as they say,
is history. That bit of background is needed to understand the creation of the name
'Propnik' by Bill Baughman for his air boat. This is a free
running or tethered model that uses a Cox Babe Bee .049 for power. I've always liked air boats, and in fact my very first
radio controlled model was a crudely built air boat using an .049 engine
and rudder-only control ...
is getting serious about its plans to fly passengers from London to New York in just one hour. The aircraft manufacturer
today filed a second patent for a supersonic plane that could take people between the two cities faster than it takes to
drive across London. The patent outlines designs for a huge rocket engine that would allow it to travel at more than 3,425
mph - more than four times the speed of sound
Website visitor Steve R. wrote requesting that I scan and post this article from
the September 1962 issue of American Modeler magazine. Says, Steve, "I built one of these back then on Galloping ghost and
it went great till servo failed (modified mighty Midget motor). Later I built another for
Class one Aerobatics fitted with OS 40 and Kraft Propo, this was very successful. Nostalgia strikes and I'd like to build
another as a sport model." Square Hare from
Delaware is a bit unique in that its wing has no spar and is constructed from diagonally arranged ribs sandwiched between
3/32" balsa sheeting. Looking at all the hardware required just for the elevator control really makes you appreciate modern
radio gear with servos. Hopefully ...
avid gas free-flighters - even younger enthusiasts - will immediately the names in this list of Who's Who from a 1957 article
in American Modeler.
Stanley Hill, Frank Ehling, John Tatone, and the others were pioneers of the free flight realm. Unlike many other model
aircraft types, the variety in fuselage, wing and empennage shapes, engine downthrust and overall configurations is quite
wide. These 11 profile silhouettes, even without top views to show wing and tail planforms, amply illustrates my point.
Even today's winning model exhibit a similar diversity
"In a further move to ease the strain on increasingly taxed remotely piloted aircraft
crews, the Air Force announced recently that enlisted personnel will be integrated into the fold. However, enlisted soldiers
will only pilot the unarmed, high-altitude, long-endurance
RQ-4 Global Hawks surveillance aircraft. The Air Force is not considering measures to allow enlisted
airmen to fly armed RPAs such as the MQ-1 Predator and
posting information on my newly-acquired Stanzel ElectroMic
"Copter," I ran across an advertisement for it in the 1969 edition of Montgomery Ward's Christmas catalog. The one my
parents bought me was probably gotten sometime a bit earlier - maybe 1965 or 1966. I plan to eventually post a short video
of the Copter flying, but just haven't gotten around to it yet. Stay tuned
Here on page 402 of the Montgomery Ward 1969 Christmas catalog is a special type bar
print head for the company's 'Signature' line of electric typewriters that permits special characters for engineering, mathematics,
international language, and medicine. If you look down the page here, you'll see a red key on the keyboard that activates
the Dial-A-Type type bar.
The 'type bar,' BTW, is the arm with the embossed character on the end that strikes the inked ribbon to print a character
on the paper. Although I could not find any instructions online, it appears the two rows of characters are accessed with
the normal and shifted key presses, and a twist of the Dial-a-Type head