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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1970 RC Nationals
Website visitor Doug H. wrote to ask that I post this article on the AMA's 1970 Radio Control Nationals. He is collecting information on Don Coleman's accomplishments in the modeling world. If you have any information to that extent, please send it to me and I will see that Doug gets it. Don Coleman designed the Cutlass and Sweettater RC pattern aircraft. Lots of familiar names appear in the winners list ...
Nats-Winning Carousel C/L Stunter
The Carousel is one of those C/L model airplane designs that, after reading the description, you wonder how it was able to flown to a first place finish at the Nats. It is full of oddball gadgetry and implementation techniques, beginning with the twin boom configuration and a long nose moment arm. The flaps are a 3-piece deal with the center section coupled directly to the elevator bellcrank as is normal, but the outboard flap sections were controlled independently by a weighted pendulum arrangement that is intended to adjust automatically based on the direction the model ...
Two Guys in Jetpacks Fly over a Massive Airliner in Dubai
This is a really cool video, but my first thought when seeing it was how now we have a new method of explosives delivery by dedicated suicide bombers. The turbine jet engines used by the jetpack guys are from the model airplane industry. If you haven't seen the radio controlled (R/C) jets in action, do a YouTube search and be amazed at the talent of what is out there. Anyway, the next time you're on a flight and have a window seat, you have a responsibility to keep a watch for a jetpack guy or gal on your wingtip ...
Lionel Train Set Ad in the December 1935 Boys' Life Magazine
Who among us that is older than 45 or 50 did not have an HO-gauge Lionel model train set as a kid? I know I did... well, at least I think it was Lionel, but given our family's low financial status, it was probably a knock-off brand of some sort. Still, we've all had a mode train set at some point. Lionel Corporation started in business in 1900 and stopped production of its original line of model trains in 1969. When my kids were about 12 years old, we made an N-gauge model train layout on a 4'x4' hunk of 3/4" plywood ...
'Morphing' Wing for More Efficient Plane Manufacturing and Flight
"When the Wright brothers accomplished their first powered flight more than a century ago, they controlled the motion of their Flyer 1 aircraft using wires and pulleys that bent and twisted the wood-and-canvas wings. This system was quite different than the separate, hinged flaps and ailerons that have performed those functions on most aircraft ever since. But now, thanks to some high-tech wizardry developed by engineers at MIT and NASA, some aircraft may ..."
Sheer Nonsense? No, Sir!
Mr. Richard Von Berg wrote this great introduction to the basics of shear forces within an airplane wing. It appeared in a 1957 issue of American Modeler, but the principles have not changed since then. If you are familiar with the terms wing loading, shear, compression, tension, and bending moment but are not quite sure exactly what they mean, this short piece is exactly what you need ...
Billionaire’s Supersonic Private-Jet Plan Hits Engine Snag
"Aerion Corp., backed by Texas billionaire Robert Bass, has hit a snag in one of the most crucial milestones toward building the first business jet able to fly faster than the speed of sound. The selection of an engine supplier for the plane, which Bass once said would occur in the first half of this year, is now expected to come in 2017, said Jeff Miller, a spokesman for the Reno, Nevada-based company. Aerion is 'making good progress,' Miller said Tuesday in an interview during ..."
Battery Problems Spoiling Your R/C Fun?
As with most electrical and electronic equipment, performance increases have come often and significantly in the six decades wince the article was written. In 1957, battery technology was still crude by today's standards, but much advancement had been accomplished during the war years of WWII and Korea for the sake of field portable communications gear. Chemistry and packaging improved to where if the user was knowledgeable and applied certain precautions, a high degree of reliability could be garnered from various cell types. Having the right battery for the task at hand was ...
US, UK In Giant Drone Wargame Off Scotland
"The U.S. Navy needs to get better at hunting sea mines. The Royal Navy needs to get better at robots. So the two fleets are joining forces off Scotland in what the Brits are calling 'the largest demonstration of its type, ever,' Unmanned Warrior 2016, with 'more than 50 unmanned vehicles from over 40 organizations.' The US Office of Naval Research is a major partner in Unmanned Warrior, contributing ten different technologies for testing, from mini ..."
"Spirit of Saint Louis" Ryan N-Y-P, 5-View
Walter M. Jefferies, Jr. inked another masterpiece for the June 1957 issue of American Modeler - the Spirit of St. Louis. This 5-view drawing reveals many details of airframe components, fittings, and rigging. Much more detailed plans are available from sources like the AMA Plans Service if you are thinking about building a version of "Lucky Lindy's" famous aeroplane. Interestingly, the August 2016 issue of the Smithsonian's Air & Space magazine reported on a pair of pliers discovered under the floorboard ...
Greensboro Martial Arts Academy (GMAA) Diorama
Sometime around the year 2000, while we were living in Fairfield, Ohio, our daughter, Sally, made a diorama of a Tae Kwon Do martial arts dojo that was inspired by the school she was attending at the time. Unbeknownst to Sally, Melanie and I had kept the diorama in a cardboard box for lo these many years. We decided to make a nice wood and Plexiglas display case for it and present it to her for her birthday. The case is made from some scrap walnut given to me by a friend. Korean, Chinese, and Japanese versions of "Greensboro Martial Arts Academy" and a few decorative flourishes were ...
Model Boat Record Breakers, July 1957 American Modeler
When most people think about control line (CL) models, airplanes are what comes to mind. However, prior to the advent of miniature, reliable radio control (RC) systems, model boats and model cars also ran on control lines. Most of the time they went in circles, just like model airplanes do; however, some hobbyists stretched out long sections of straight line in order to get maximum speeds from their craft. Unlike with model airplanes where an operator in the center of the circle exerted control of the elevator (and sometimes throttle), the boats and cars generally ran ...
Swinging Tabletop for Notebook Computer
Way back around 1996, I slipped on an icy sidewalk in Colorado Springs, landing on my back and whacking my head on the concrete. Ever since then, I have had recurring nerve-related issues in my right arm and hand due to cartilage damage in the C4-C5 cervical vertebrae region. It is strange to experience a pain that seems to originate in my fingers, upper arm... The design is neither elegant nor sophisticated; it's even a little embarrassing. Why embarrassing, you might ask? If you look at the labeled assembly photo, you will see that the bottom and top mounting components are ...
Accelerating the Future of Aircraft with Electricity - Airbus E-Fan
"It seems as though it's becoming a daily occurrence for companies to launch initiatives to create the greenest technologies. Airbus has decided to join the race and create aircraft which produce zero CO2 emissions. The plane of choice is the Airbus E-Fan, and its engines are powered entirely by electricity. Their goal is to create 'short-range commercial aircraft.' The E-Fan first earned its name in ..."
Supermoon of November 14, 2016
Here is my contribution to the science of astronomy for the recording of the November 14, 2016 'supermoon.' The photograph was actually taken at 8:45 pm EST, which technically was a few hours ahead of the formal full moon (8:52 am). Notice on the eastern edge you can see the outline of craters. Full moon photos are typically the least impressive because with the sun shining nearly straight down on the surface, there are no shadows cast by the ridges of the craters. Contrast is also at a minimum because the image is so bright - like trying to see something when the sun is staring you in the face. My photographic equipment was bare-bones minimal with ...
How to Woo a Gal with Models
Even after decades of trying to convince girls and women that they should do everything boys and men do, somehow there is not a 1:1 relationship with activities. Hmmmm, maybe there really is an innate difference between males and females. Well, since gals and women couldn't be convinced to do all the guy things, society is now trying to get guys to do gal things. Try as they might, though, little Johnnie still doesn't care too much about playing with doll babies. I suppose that old adage about being able to lead a horse to water but not being able to make him drink it applies to humans ...
China to Build World's Biggest Space Plane by 2020
"This year China has been firmly establishing its place in the space race, by unveiling the world's largest radio telescope, launching a space lab in preparation for a space station and unveiling plans to send a mission to Mars. Now it seems the country also has its eyes on commercial spaceflight. Designs of a new space plane, which could fly up to 20 passengers to the edge of space each day, have been revealed ..."
The National Championships, November 1950 Air Trails
Model airplane flyers have always been a rugged bunch that can only be dissuaded from flying by the roughest of weather. This is particularly true at contests, where those who dared to risk their aircraft's well-being to the elements competed against a smaller field of contenders. The story behind this particular National Championships in 1950 is interesting in that the U.S. Navy hosted the events on active bases, and the breakout of the Korean War occurring mere months before the scheduled date nearly caused a cancellation. Per the article, "By July 25th every Navy base in the country except Dallas NAS had been closed to the public." The Navy ...
TU Delft's Newest Tailsitter Drone Designed for Outback Delivery
"Drone designs are usually a choice between flexibility and endurance. You can either go with a multirotor that'll let you hover and make pinpoint landings, or you can go with a flying wing, which can handle bigger payloads and longer ranges. Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has a history of managing to make successful drones that combine the best features of VTOL and fixed-wing flight. With their latest aircraft, they’re going old-school, with ..."
China SpacePlane Taking Shape
"New concept opens range of possibilities for high-speed commercial travel, tourism. Chinese space engineers will join hands to develop a next-generation craft with enormous business potential for commercial launches and space tourism, according to an industry conference. As competition in the international aerospace field becomes increasingly fierce, Chinese space engineers have reached a consensus that the new craft ..."
Making a Radio-Controlled Model "Saratoga"
Even though I am appreciative of and nostalgic for the memories of 'old' ways and means, I definitely am glad to have modern technology. Take a look at the bulk of that simple function selector switch which was part of the electromechanical escapement for the Sarasota model ship. The 160-meter CW ham radio band was chosen for communications. Even a simple 1/4-wave antenna is 40 meters long (~131 feet), requiring the wire to be strung up in a tree and then a 'ground' conductor to be submersed in the water (see Fig. 1f). In 1936, there were no unlicensed radio bands ...
Blue Origin's New Glenn Rocket May Someday Take You to Space
"Blue Origin, the secretive space company created by Amazon.com's Jeffrey Bezos, offered a look at its newest rocket design on Monday — and, by extension, its ambitions to make space travel more frequent and inexpensive. Both the rocket and the ambitions appear to be big. The rockets, named New Glenn after John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, are almost as large ..."
Air Progress: The Search for Speed
Douglas Rolphe ran a series of "Air Progress" and "Auto Progress" features similar to this one where he included line drawings and short factoids on each vehicle, with a timescale of sorts that shows progression in the state of the art. "The Search for Speed" has, as you might guess early model aircraft that were designed for racing and/or setting speed records. Many were one-of-a-kind and might make excellent subjects for scale builds in any of the competition categories - radio control, control line, free flight, or even static display ...
Glider Will Attempt Record-Breaking Flight to Edge of Space
"In a spot in South America known for its powerful winds, scientists and engineers are gearing up to attempt a record-breaking feat: to fly a human-carrying glider to the edge of space. The expedition, known as Perlan Mission II, aims to take the glider up to an elevation of 90,000 feet (27,000 meters). The project is more than an attempt at aviation history; it's designed to study the layers of Earth's atmosphere ..."
Estes Mercury Redstone Model Finished!
Yay, my Estes Mercury Redstone is finally complete! It was purchased on eBay sometime around 2011 and sat around until, according to the date I wrote on the instruction sheet, I began building it on January 12, 2014. The final coat of clear was sprayed on today, and that finishes the job. The rocket would have been done a year ago except that for some reason I had a really bad experience when spraying the Rustoleum black paint. It wrinkled at the first attempt, so I painstakingly sanded it off, taped everything off again, and re-sprayed. The same thing happened ...
Herb Davis' Hot Canary Dyna-Jet Control Line Record Setter
Dyna-Jet pulse jet engines were a big deal in the 1950s and 60s in part because it was the era when full-size jet aircraft were coming onto the scene in military and commercial applications. They fulfilled the need for speed that many modelers have. The Hot Canary set a record of 157 mph which, of course, has been far exceeded since then. In fact, both pulse jet and internal combustion reciprocating engines have set control line records of well in excess of 200 mph ...
'Double Bubble' Plane by 2027 with NASA Funding
"NASA is bringing back the era of 'X-planes' - a series of experimental aircraft first tested by the space agency in the 1940s. Among its plans is the 'double bubble' D8, which is a twin-hull plane that is designed to make the experience of flying more fuel efficient, with faster loading and unloading and a quieter, more comfortable takeoff. The design was initially developed by Aurora Flight Sciences and MIT in 2008 ..."
Future Airplanes Will Fly on Twistable Wings
"More than a century ago, the first aviation pioneers figured out a way to use rigid wings with flaps to generate enough force to lift a heavy craft into the sky. [There] is one promising strategy that remains - changing the shape of the aircraft wing during flight. For three decades, engineers at aerospace companies, universities, and defense labs have been working on twistable aircraft wings that could be instantaneously and minutely adjusted ..."
"Air-Track" System of Blind Landing
The Instrument Landing System (ILS) has been around for an amazingly long time - almost as long as commercial airlines have been operating. This 1937 article in the October issue of Radio-Craft magazine reports on the current state of the art. The Douglas DC-3 twin-engine airliner (my all-time favorite airplane) entered service in 1936 and is credited with creating widespread public acceptance of the safety and comfort of airplanes. Much of the content for this article also appeared in "The History and Development of the Washington Institute of Technology," by ...
Evening Capital Newspaper from Christmas Eve 1969
A white Christmas was not exactly a common thing in the Mayo, Maryland region where I grew up. I remembered there was a Christmas sometime when I was around 12 or 13 years old when our family was at my Grandmother's house for dinner when it unexpectedly began snowing in the late afternoon. It happened to be the same year that I received my Cox Sky Copter free flight helicopter, which I recall being outside trying to get the darned Cox .020 engine started in the cold. I had brought it with me from home since it was my prized gift for the year, and I ...
FAA Expects 600,000 Commercial Drones Within a Year
"We are in 'one of the most dramatic periods of change in the history of transportation,' says Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. He was talking about all of it: the self-driving cars, the smart-city movement, the maritime innovations. But the staggering prediction of the day goes to the drone industry: The Federal Aviation Administration expects some 600,000 drones to be used commercially within a year ..."