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:
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Final Edition of Young Men: Farewell Message
Following on the heels of Air Trails: Hobbies for Young Men magazine (October 1928 through October 1955) was the replacement Young Men • Hobbies • Aviation • Careers. It lasted for a mere 13 issues before being re-named American Modeler. This issue, November 1956, was the final edition, and included an announcement of the name change. The reason given was that readers were more interested in a concentration on strictly aeromodeling topics. Personally, I liked the mix of full-scale aircraft and aerospace career articles along with the modeling aspect ...
Low-Boom Supersonic Jet in Development
The sonic boom created by previous supersonic passenger aircraft such as Concorde led to them being restricted to trans-oceanic journeys. However, Spike claims its S-512 Supersonic Jet will be able to break the sound barrier with a diminished sonic boom, opening up trans-continental routes across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. 'Sure, there is a market for high-boom supersonic jets that only fly over water,' said Vik Kachoria, Spike Aerospace president and CEO. 'But there is a much bigger demand for low-boom jets that can fly supersonic everywhere ..."
Lucile Wright Air Museum & Planetarium, Jamestown, NY
Just before Christmas 2015, Melanie and I made a trip to Jamestown, New York, and visited Lucile M. Wright Air Museum. Is it located in downtown Jamestown at 300 North Main Street. There are plenty of areas with unmetered parking, so save yourself a couple quarters by driving a block or two to find it. Admission is free. We were met at the door by Mr. Christopher Centi, Planetarium Director and Space Science Coordinator. Since we were the sole visitors at the time, Chris provided a very informative, personal tour. There was a good reason why we were alone in there - unbeknownst to us, the museum had officially closed for the day a couple minutes before our arrival. It wasn't until after leaving that we realized Chris stayed around for thirty minutes just for our sake ...
FAA Grants 1st Approval for Night Commercial UAV Flights
"For the first time, the FAA has authorized commercial night flights by a UAV operator. The U.S. branch of Toronto-based Industrial Skyworks has been given the authority to conduct aerial inspections of buildings and roofs using specially-equipped UAVs flown by qualified pilots, according to The Wall Street Journal. The FAA had previously required all commercial activity to end at sunset. In a 24-page decision, FAA flight standards service chief John Duncan said that the ruling came after 16 months ..."
Pouring and Covering with Microfilm
Even though I have never attempted to build a model covered with microfilm, it is easy to appreciate what a delicate task properly preparing the solution, covering the frame, and handling the delicate airframe is, along with the precision handling required to obtain the correct film thickness and coverage. There have probably been improvements in microfilm solutions and airframe materials and gluing techniques, but ultimately you need to form the film on the wing, tail, and propeller surfaces., so this article should still be useful for contemporary indoor flyers ...
Japan Succeeds in Test Flight of 1st Stealth Fighter Jet
"Japan's first stealth fighter jet successfully took to the skies on Friday as the country joins a select group of world military powers wielding the radar-dodging technology. Technological super power Japan, despite strict constitutional constraints on the use of military force imposed after World War II, has one of the world's most advanced defence forces and the development of the stealth fighter comes as it faces new security challenges in the form of China's expanding force posture. The domestically developed X-2 jet took off from Nagoya airport in central Japan on its maiden test flight as dozens of aviation ..."
Lockheed C-130 Hercules Control Line Model
The Lockheed C-130 has long been my favorite post-World War II four-engine airplane, and I have vowed to someday build a control line model of it. This construction article from a 1956 issue of Young Men magazine might provide just the impetus needed to start the process since it includes highly detailed plans and assembly drawings. Lockheed toolmaker Henry 'Hank' Edwards designed and built the original model using first two .19 engines and then converting to four .09 engines. My model, if it ever becomes a reality, will use four brushless electric ...
Skinny Wing Expected to Reduce Fuel and Emissions by 50%
"Every bit of weight on an aircraft increases the fuel, emissions and money required to put it in the air. NASA and Boeing have been working together to design a longer, thinner and lighter wing – so different from typical commercial transport aircraft wings that it requires a brace, or truss, to provide the wing extra support. Researchers expect the lighter weight, lower drag truss-braced wing to reduce both fuel burn and carbon emissions by at least 50% over current technology transport aircraft, and by 4 to 8% ..."
Antique Dining Room Table Redesign
When Melanie's mother needed to be moved into an extensive care facility, we inherited the family's antique dining room table. According to marking burned into the frameworks, it was manufactured by the James Pleukharp company, located in Ohio. Similar models were made sometime in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The rounded end panel drop down and the center section expands to hold up to six leaf panels to a total of 105". With no leaves the table is nearly round with a 45" diameter. A very greenish poplar comprises the solid 3/4" tabletop and turned legs, with oak used for the sliding expansion mechanism. Surprisingly, a thick walnut plank ran across the frame to support the center leg. Perhaps due to the average person ...
Comic from the June 1960 Aeromodeller, page 323
This aeromodelling comic appeared in the June 1960 issue of the British modeling magazine Aeromodeller. This is the first comic on page 8 of many comics from vintage editions of American Modeler, Air Trails, Flying Models, and other great publications of yesteryear. A list of links to the other comics are at the bottom of the page. Enjoy ...
DuBro Tri-Star Helicopter Photos and Instruction Manual
A couple months ago I bought a vintage DuBro Tri-Star radio controlled helicopter on eBay, after waiting years for one to become available for sale that was both affordable and in good condition. This one is in like-new shape and appears to never have been flown or even have had the OS 40 engine run other than maybe on a bench for breaking in. It came with the engine and fuel tank installed, but not with a radio. An instruction manual did not accompany it; however, thanks to the efforts of a fellow heli modeler who provided scans of his Tri-Star manual I was able to create a PDF version of the original, complete with detailed assembly drawings ...
'Mad' Mike Hughes to Fly His Rocket Across Texas Canyon
"A California daredevil plans to travel to Texas to cross the country's second-largest canyon in a rocket - and he's aware he might leave the state in a casket. 'It's crazy! I'm gonna strap myself to a rocket and launch myself like Wile E. Coyote,' said 'Mad' Mike Hughes in a phone interview with Daily Mail Online on Thursday. His crossing of the Palo Duro Canyon is scheduled for April 2. Hughes, 60, has already tried the feat once, in a desert 'in the middle of ..."
Antique Airplane Mailbox
Here is nifty weekend project that can be accomplished by any modeler capable of building an airplane from plans. In fact, it's even simpler because you don't have to worry about weight, perfect airframe alignment and rigging, and a can or two of Rustoleum spray primer and paint make for easy finishing. The assembly drawing recommends that you "punch or paint holes to simulate exhausts," but I strongly advise against punching holes in the mailbox because #1: it is illegal to alter the mailbox since it is officially the property of the U.S. Post Office, and #2: your mail might get wet. Definitely paint the holes ...
Branson's 'Mini Concorde' for 'Affordable' Supersonic Flight
"Sir Richard Branson is set to order 10 supersonic jets, which the manufacturer claims will herald a new era of 'affordable' supersonic travel. The airline tycoon has confirmed that Virgin has options to buy 10 of the recently revealed supersonic Boom jets, which will be capable of flying at 1,451 mph - about 100 mph faster than Concorde - and reaching New York from London in three and a half hours. The Boom jet is being built by former Amazon executive ..."
Air Warfare - Phase III
If Frank Tinsley was still writing articles for Air Trails magazine as he did in November of 1950, he would be up to at least Air Warfare Phase IX, depending on how you count our air wars / engagements. The Korean War officially ran from June 25, 1950 – July 27, 1953, so the Air Warfare Phase III installment was right at the beginning. Vietnam (November 1, 1955 – April 30, 1975) would have been Phase IV, the Gulf War (August 2, 1990 – February 28, 1991) counts as Phase V, Bosnia (April 6, 1992 – December 14, 1995) counts as Phase VI, Yugoslavia (March 24, 1999 – June 10, 1999) is Phase VII, the Iraq War (March 20, 2003 – December 18, 2011) is Phase VIII, and Afghanistan ...
CRACUNS Drone Can Hide Secretly Underwater for Months
"Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel (APL), Maryland, have developed an innovative unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can stay on station beneath the water, then launch into the air to perform a variety of missions. The Corrosion Resistant Aerial Covert Unmanned Nautical System - or CRACUNS - is a submersible UAV that can be launched from a fixed position underwater, or from an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV). A team from APL's Force Projection Sector worked with fabrication ..."
Model Engine Import Review
Four new imported model airplane engines - three diesel and one glow fuel - are extensively reviewed in this 1957 issue of Model Airplanes News. All are without throttle (R/C was very new at the time). The glow fuel powered Enya 15 Model 3101 with bushed bearings arrived from Japan. A Frog 249 and Elfin diesel, both from England, incorporated twin ball bearings on the drive shaft. Finally, from Germany came the Graupner Taifun Super 21, also with a pair of ball bearings ...
Boeing Jobs Cuts in 2016 Could Reach 10%
"Since Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner announced a drive to cut the workforce six weeks ago, his team has taken steps expected to eliminate 4,000 jobs by June - and that may be only halfway toward the total cuts this year. An internal Boeing document obtained by The Seattle Times reveals that at least one company unit is targeting a 10% workforce reduction overall. And people with knowledge of what's planned say that's roughly the percentage of jobs expected to be cut. That would translate to as many as 8,000 jobs being eliminated. Asked about plans ..."
Kinks: 1957 Model Airplanes News
Necktie, lifestyle, and furniture styles tend to go in and out of fashion every couple decades, and so, evidently, do model airplane finishing methods. According to some reports, an increasing number of aircraft modelers are painting their creations these days, as opposed to using pre-tinted iron-no covering. That is to say those modelers within dwindling number of people who both to build and cover their own creations at all. Since at any point in time there are folks entirely new to the procedure for masking off and painting a structure, this 'Kink' from a 1957 issue of Model Airplane News will be appropriate. There is also a homemade control line handle not too much unlike the one I recently made for myself ...
Silicon and Graphene Achieve Lithium-Ion Battery Greatness
"Silicon electrodes crack and break after just a short number of charge/discharge cycles. Meanwhile, the use of graphene on electrodes is limited because graphene's attractive surface area is only possible in single stand-alone sheets, which don't provide enough volumetric capacitance. Layer the graphene sheets on top of each other to gain that volumetric capacity, and you begin to lose that attractive surface area. Now researchers at Kansas State University claim to have developed a technique that uses silicon oxycarbide that makes the combination of silicon and graphene achieve its expected greatness as an electrode material ..."
Sheet Metal Suzie
Here is an interesting twist on the standard balsa, plywood, and Styrofoam model airplanes construction materials - aluminum sheet. Sheet Metal Suzie uses a .19-size engine, has a wingspan of around 27" (~135 sq.in.), and tips the scales at 24 ounces. That works out to a wing loading of around 25-26 oz./sq.ft., which is quite high, meaning it will have a lot of momentum and pull on the control lines impressively. It also means 0.012" diameter braided steel lines are the smallest you'll want to use. The author states that in order to eliminate metal-to-metal joint fatigue, there are no metal-to-metal component junctions, which I assume he means where the metal wing attached to the metal ...
Russian Nuclear Engine Could Get to Mars in 6 Weeks
"Russia has announced that it will test a nuclear engine in 2018 that could help cosmonauts reach Mars in just six weeks. This compares to the 18 months spacecraft currently need to get to Mars, and could make Russia the first nation to land humans on the red planet. The country is betting on nuclear propulsion because it weighs almost half as much as a chemical rocket without reducing thrust. This means larger payloads of cargo ..."
Swedish Hocus Pocus Saab MFI 15 / MFI17
The Saab MFI-15 Safari, also known as the Saab MFI-17 Supporter, looks like it would be an excellent subject for a scale aircraft that would be easy to fly, and there are many physical and color configurations to choose from. Saab-Scania is the company that developed both the Drakken the Viggen supersonic fighter airplanes, so they knew what they were doing when designing the MFI-17 as a dual role platform that was used both as a primary trainer and as a close support anti-tank aircraft. Its 200 HP, fuel-injected engine provided plenty of power and payload capability and combined with a robust airframe, made it fully aerobatic. A very unique ...
Lockheed Plane to Fly at Mach 6
"On the brink of a hypersonic breakthrough! Lockheed claims a plane that flies 6x the speed of sound is almost ready. Lockheed Martin's CEO haled progress on a hypersonic aircraft. The proposed SR-72 would fly at Mach 6 - three times faster than Concorde. Lockheed's engineers are on the verge of making technology such as scramjet engines, which have been talked about for years, a workable reality. They work by burning fuel in a stream of air compressed by the forward speed of the aircraft itself, as opposed to a normal jet ..."
Honeycomb Wing Construction
Here is an interesting concept in model wing construction that probably would have become very popular in the prefabricated model market if the foam wing had not been invented. Honeycomb has a very high strength-to-weight ratio when a compression force is applied parallel to the cell height. When sandwiched between balsa (or maybe even cardboard) upper and lower wing 'skins,' author Shepherd has found the scheme to be very satisfactory for all kinds of models. BTW, words such as 'aluminium,' 'aerofoil,' 'centre,' etc., are not misspellings to the folks on the other side of the pond. Oh, and a 'stone' as used here is a unit of weight (1 stone = 14 pounds), not a physical rock ;-) ...
WASPs: 1st Women in History to Fly for Army Air Corps
"Before there could be women flying combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, there were the pioneers of the Army Air Forces of World War II. On July 5, 1943, the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, or WAFS, and the Women's Flying Training Detachment merged into a single unit for all female pilots. The new group called itself the Women's Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP, with its pilots known as WASPs. TRAINING The women paid their own way to travel to basic training at Avenger Field in Sweetwater ..."
Velox by Vernon Advertisement
Much more so in the pre-Internet days than today, obtaining or even knowing about model airplane products in foreign countries was difficult. Unless an aircraft modeling magazine, of which there might have been three or four in 1960, happened to report on something like this Velox kit from Veron, in the UK, there was almost no way most hobbyists would ever learn of it. My guess is that most model magazines published in foreign lands were brought back to the U.S. in the duffle bags of military members and their families. Velox models have recently sold on eBay for more than $100, and there ...
Twin Comets Make Closest Earth Approach Since 1770
"You'd have to go back to 246 years to find a comet that passed closer to Earth than Comet PanSTARRS (P/2016 BA14) will on March 22nd. Predicted to come within about nine lunar distances (2.1M mi. or 3.4M km) of Earth around 16:00 UT on that day, P/2016 BA14 will soon claim the distinction of second closest comet ever recorded. Lexell's Comet has them all beat. It missed Earth by 1.4M mi. (2.2M km) on July 1, 1770. Although discovered in June that year by the comet ferret himself, Charles Messier, it became popularly known as Lexell's Comet after astronomer and mathematician Anders Johan Lexell computed its orbit. As the comet ..."
Is This What Air Travel Will Look Like in 2050?
"Radical concept plane has virtual reality headsets, live outdoor scenes on the walls and more legroom (even though there are seats for 1,000 passengers) This futuristic concept plane was designed by a team from Airport Parking & Hotels and Imperial College London They set out to predict what the future of flight could realistically be like in 40 years, creating a blended wing plane Wraparound virtual reality visors would display 3D films and live images would be projected onto ..."
I know the "Airplanes and Rockets" website gets a lot of visitors from across the pond, and particularly from the UK, so here's a feature from a 1960 edition of Aero Modeller magazine that will be near and dear to you. A lot of fine model airplanes are displayed here, covering the entire spectrum of control line aerobatics, combat and scale; free flight endurance and scale; and radio control scale. There's even a sailplane. If you happen to see yourself or someone you know in any of these photos, please send me a note and I'll be glad to post something about them on the page alongside ...
Russian Company to Usher in Era of Suborbital Tourism
"A Russian privately owned company called CosmoCourse declared its intent to create a reusable suborbital tourist spacecraft. According to CosmoCourse's CEO Pavel Pushkin, he came up with the idea of suborbital tourism back in 2013 when he was working at Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center. 'We were reviewing various concepts of commercial space rockets and came up with the idea of launching people into space via suborbital trajectory. We met an investor who wanted to participate in some kind of space project, and decided that suborbital tourism would be the best ..."
Equado Balsawood Advertisement
It's not hard to guess where the trees from Equado Balsawood were harvested. Whereas her in the U.S. we had major balsa suppliers like Pactra, Sig, and Midwest, the Brits and other Europeans had their own suppliers. Equado was one of the prime companies of the mid last century for the continent. Goods did not flow quite as freely or abundantly between nations as they do today. Interestingly, if you look up the street address of Equado Balsawood, a business of E. Law & Son (Timber) Ltd., you will find a building with a sign stating "Champion for Timber," whose website is championtimber.com . According to their About Us page ...
DARPA Announces VTOL X-Plane Phase 2
"For decades, aircraft designers seeking to improve vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities have endured a substantial set of interrelated challenges. Dozens of attempts have been made to increase top speed without sacrificing range, efficiency or the ability to do useful work, with each effort struggling or failing in one way or another. DARPA's VTOL Experimental Plane (VTOL X-Plane) program aims to overcome these challenges through innovative cross-pollination between fixed-wing and rotary-wing technologies and by developing ..."
NASA Plans Supersonic Passenger Jet
"The return of supersonic passenger air travel is one step closer to reality with NASA's award of a contract for the preliminary design of a 'low boom' flight demonstration aircraft. This is the first in a series of 'X-planes' in NASA's New Aviation Horizons initiative, introduced in the agency's Fiscal Year 2017 budget. NASA selected a team led by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company of Palmdale, California, to complete a preliminary design for Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST). The work will be conducted under a task order against the Basic and Applied Aerospace ..."
3x Famous in March 2016 Model Aviation
The last time I appeared in Model Aviation was around 2000 when they published a few modeling themed crossword puzzles I constructed. Now, in the March 2016 edition, appears not just one but three honorable mentions. Thanks to the editors. The first is in the list of donors for the AMA Museum. Melanie paid for one of the "Walk of Fame" memorial sidewalk bricks as a Christmas present, so my name (Kirt Blattenberger) showed up in there. The second is in the "Focal Point" feature where models built by AMA members are posted along with a brief description. My "Enterprise-E" electric-powered control line model is displayed ...
The BOMARC Story
Is the BOMARC an airplane or a rocket? If it is an airplane, then it is the pilotless type (aka 'drone'). If it is a rocket, then it is the ultimate in controlled trajectory hardware - at least in its day. The DoD referred to it as a surface-to-air guided missile. The name is a combination of 'BOeing Airplane Company' and 'Michigan Aeronautical Research Center.' Clever, non? If memory serves me correctly (it's been 30+ years), the AN/TPX-42 IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) secondary radar system I maintained as an air traffic control radar technician reserved a special 'X' bit in its data packet to designate ...
Military’s Super-Fast Bird Drone
"It bobs and weaves with the dexterity of a bird. It is… the U.S. military's newest experimental drone. The Defense Advanced Research Projects agency, or DARPA, on Friday released new footage from its Fast Lightweight Autonomy, or FLA, program and announced that the program had achieved a major milestone: a lightweight drone capable of flying 20 meters per second while carrying a high-resolution camera, LIDAR, sonar, and inertial measurement sensors ..."
Wild Bill Netzeband's Control Line Capers
There are a lot of very high quality and interesting control line airplane models in this month's "Wild Bill Netzeband's Control Line Capers" column. There's also a control line racing car model! Overall, this is a very extensive article that covers a lot of ground concerning models, contests, and new equipment. Sadly, Bill also reports on his home workshop burning down (up?) and losing not just his personal modeling stuff, but photos and notes from the Aeromodeling Nationals control line events. Fortunately, he was able to collect some materials from others ...
U.S. Air Force Unveils Picture of New Stealth Bomber
It doesn't look very 'new' to me; in fact it looks just like a B-2. Maybe it should be named the 'B-S' bomber rather than the B-21 ;-) "Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James revealed the first rendering of the Long Range Strike Bomber, designated the B-21, at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, and announced the Air Force will be taking suggestions from Airmen to help decide the name of the bomber. 'This aircraft represents the future for our Airmen, and (their) voice is' ..."