If you are a nostalgia buff, go over to the
website and enter the URL of a website whose early pages you would like to see. This one here is a November
1999 version of Tower Hobbies' site. At the time, you needed to spend at least $199.99 to get $10 off
your order; today it only takes $99. There were no electric foamies, brushless motors, 2.4 GHz radios,
or drones! Remember the
America's Hobby Center ads from some of the earliest modeling magazines?
has wind tunnel tested the futuristic aircraft dubbed 'the new Concorde.' The revolutionary Quiet Supersonic
Technology (QueSST) project is aiming to create a jet that can break the 767mph sound barrier.
Space boffins from the U.S. space agency have joined forces with Lockheed Martin to work on the ambitious
project. Engineer Charles Bolden hopes the jets will one day ferry passengers across the Atlantic in
half the time of a conventional aircraft. Currently it takes a commercial airliner around
As with most other areas of sports and hobbies, the state of
the art in technology has advanced considerably in the last decade or two. Such is the case with those
Daisy 'Soft Air' (aka Airsoft) rubber pellet guns we pre-special-snowflakes had as kids. They were
simple spring-loaded, single-shot pistols and rifles with an effective range of 30-40 feet - child's
play (literally) compared to today's just-short-of-deadly hardware. Li-Po-driven
spring and compressed gas mechanisms provide fully automatic operation that is so close to 'the real
thing' that military and police forces train for close-quarters scenarios with them.
Liam Matthews has one of the most
extensive websites covering every aspect of Airsoft, so if you're interested ...
By the end of 1935, according to this full-page advertisement
in Boys' Life magazine, Henry Ford's automobile company had built 23 million cars and trucks.
Ford Motor Company
was founded in 1903 - 32 years earlier- so the average production rate was a little over 4½ million
per year. 2 million of them were powered by the V8 flathead engine, which had just been introduced in
1932. As with radios, flying machines, electric lights, and indoor plumbing, every new innovation was
"Most aircraft that take off do not lift straight into the air
once their wheels come off the ground. Instead, for just a moment, they float just barely above the
ground. The reason being is to make use of ground effect. An aircraft flies by generating lift and directing airflow towards
the ground. In open space (higher in the atmosphere) the high pressure from below the wing dissipates
Trails magazine ran a regular featured titled "Air Progress" that documented the evolution of various
classes of airplanes and helicopters. Occasionally, they would also run "Rocket Progress," "Auto Progress,"
and, less frequently, "Ship
Progress." Here, Mr. Staab presents an array or warships ranging from a primitive log dugout to
a modern day (for the 1950s) battleship. The drawings are usually crisp and clear, but for some reason
these are blurry, possibly
Last December (2016) we decided
to finally cut in a set of stairs to
the basement so that going through the garage would not be required (that project
will be documented someday). Our Erie house, built in the 1950s, has never had an inside access
to the basement. Going through the garage was not particularly a big inconvenience, but in the middle
of summer and winter the temperatures could be a bit uncomfortable for that long, 15 second trek from
the kitchen door to the basement door ;-) Still, having inside access seemed to be more 'normal.'
We are a mile ...
"The instrument at Lowell Observatory used by
Clyde Tombaugh to discover Pluto will soon undergo renovation. The year-long project,
set to begin on January 12, will include restoration of both the historic telescope and the wooden dome
that houses it. While the telescope will be removed from the dome during this work, the dome will be
open from time to time for public tours as work allows. The Pluto Telescope and its dome date
"Adventures of a Newsreel Cameraman"
was a series of short documentary films produced by 20th Century Fox in the 1930s. They covered topics
including the relatively new technologies of airplanes, rockets, and electronics. The video is posted
on YouTube by The Best Radio Controlled Car Reviews website titles it "History of Radio Controlled Cars
Classic and Vintage RC Cars," which is a misnomer because there is nothing about R/C in the film
(thanks to them, anyway). It does have
of the first woodworking projects I remember doing after Melanie and I were married and in our own house
was making a paper towel holder out of some
scrap pieces of oak flooring. The wood was in the basement of the house, probably from when it was originally
installed sometime in the 1950s. A few pieces were glued together along their tongue and groove edges,
and then scraped and sanded to a smooth, flat surface. The bottom curved relief shape was retained for
character. At some point during our many household moves, the paper towel holder
VA001 combustion-powered UAV has achieved a world record with a non-stop, unrefuelled 56-hour flight.
The flight of the 36' wingspan ultra-long endurance aircraft was submitted for a world duration record
for combustion-powered UAVs in the 50-500 kg subclass. A representative from the US National Aeronautic
Association was present to witness the record. The flight was planned as a 120-hour mission but ended
prematurely due to forecasted severe icing and range restrictions. Despite this, the Falls Church
"When Chris Ferguson commanded the final space shuttle mission
in July 2011, he and his crew members left behind something on the International Space Station: a small
American flag that had flown on the first shuttle mission three decades earlier. 'It will hopefully
maintain a position of honor until the next vehicle launched from U.S. soil brings U.S. astronauts up
to dock with the space station,' Ferguson explained. As the director for crew and mission operations
at Boeing, Ferguson is one of the leaders
using electric power systems for model airplanes has never filled sufficiently the 'hole' left by not
hearing an internal combustion engine screaming. I switched over to electric more than a decade ago
when the energy output of brushless motors and Li-Po batteries hit parity with glow engines. I have
to admit that the reliability and ease of use of electric systems has its attractive features, not to
mention no fuel mess to clean off the model. After finally deciding to start using Cox .049 engines
again, I needed to re-acquire the field ...
Basic Drone Certification Course will enable persons and organizations in the UK to reach the basic
standard required to operate drones under a
CAA Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO). For the past two years, Sky-Futures
has trained Emergency Service and Enterprise clients in the safe use of drone technology in the UK.
Sky-Futures holds CAA National Qualified Entity (NQE) status. Under these privileges, Sky-Futures will
provide an all new online ground school
According to the January 2017 issue of the Academy of Model Aeronautics'
(AMA) Model Aviation magazine, the National Model Aviation Museum has acquired the right to
the plans and articles
published by Mr. Ed Sweeney's Potomac Aviation Publications, between July/August 1966 and March
1975. That includes American Modeler and American Aircraft Modeler magazines. Interestingly,
posted in the announcement is the provenance of titles for the AMA's official monthly magazine. I have
collected many editions over the years through purchases on eBay, and have
LaGuardia Airport was dedicated on October 15, 1939 as the New
York Municipal Airport, and opened for business on December 2 of that year. It was built on the site
of the old Gala Amusement Park at a cost of $40 million. This aerial photograph was taken within a couple
months of when LaGuardia
first opened since it appeared in the March 1940 issue of Boys' Life magazine. The Google map
satellite view is below the page scan, and I superimposed the 1940 runways and taxiways on top of it
for comparison. You can see where expansions were built into the water to accommodate longer runways
"That could be the outcome of
a government consultation on strict new drone safety rules. There could also be tougher penalties for anyone who flies a
drone in a no-fly zone, with the possibility of a new criminal offence of misuse of a drone. Drone use
has become widespread in the past few years, with drones available cheaply in high street shops. The
government says drones have enormous economic ..."
As you might expect, Ham radio
operators tend to be the type of people who engage in more than one pastime. Many are handy with tools
and like doing challenging home improvement projects and renovations of cars, trucks or antique furniture.
Others enjoy hobbies like flying model airplanes and/or rockets, boating, fishing, baseball, and other
endeavors of skill and prowess. Some, like Canadian amateur radio operator
Neil Carleton (VE3NCE), count stamp collecting amongst their extracurricular activities.
Stamp collectors are known properly as philatelists. Neil does not collect just any kind of stamps
In the 1950s and even up through around the early 1970s, many
public schools had rifle clubs as extracurricular activities for students. Believe it or not, even schools
in the big cities - like Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, New York - hosted
rifle clubs. I have heard
stories from guys who used to take their .22 rifles to school while riding on the subway with them on
the way to and from school. Do you recall news reports of the day involving inner city shootings as
a result of it? Me neither. This was a generation of kids whose parents fought in World War II
and Korea ...
has filed a patent for massive flying warehouses equipped with fleets of drones that deliver goods to key locations.
Carried by an airship, the warehouses would visit places Amazon expects demand for certain goods to
boom. It says one use could be near sporting events or festivals where they would sell food or souvenirs
to spectators. The patent also envisages a series of support vehicles that would be used to restock
the flying structures ...
have been developing winged flight technology ever since they stole it from the dinosaurs back in 160
million years ago. Early on, top bird aeronautical engineers realized that wings have a fundamental
problem: They give you both lift (which you want) and drag (which you don’t). Lift is important for
take-offs and landings and maneuverability, but once you get off the ground and are going fast enough
in a straight line, mostly wings just keep you from going even faster. The solution
The the A.C. Gilbert Company was incorporated by founder Alfred
Carlton Gilbert, in 1916, in New Hartford, Connecticut. Erector Sets were a very popular learning toy
for young boys who liked using their hands and minds to build working models of bridges, towers, cranes,
trucks, and all sorts of electro-mechanical contraptions. I owned a couple small
Sets as a kid because my parents figured I had a penchant for construction and destruction ;-) This
advertisement appeared in the December 1935 issue of Boys' Life magazine. If you ever peruse
vintage magazines of
"Acres of blueberry, hazelnut,
and hop farmland 60 miles from the Pacific Ocean in northwest Oregon seem an unlikely home for one of
aviation's giants. The Howard Hughes-designed H-4 Hercules dubbed the
Spruce Goose, a mammoth eight-engine flying boat that flew only once nearly 70 years
ago, sits land locked in McMinnville, about 1,000 miles north of its birthplace in Southern California.
The aircraft attracts a steady stream of visitors to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, a sleek
"Lithium ion batteries are the go to energy source for gadgets, powering everything
from our smartphones to our laptops. But too much use can cause them to run down, overheat, and in the
case of some faulty phones, explode. Now scientists have used X-rays to peer inside lithium batteries
to find out why some of them swell like a pillow. They revealed that when the batteries are overheated
or overcharged, chemical reactions produce gas inside the cells causing the pillowing effect. A team
Long before rechargeable NiCad and nickel-NiMH batteries were
used for starting model airplane engines, we used standard primary type (non-rechargeable) 1.5-volt
dry cells. In fact, the nominal 1.2-volt-per-cell potential of NiCad and NiMH batteries were barely
high enough to sufficiently light the ignition coils in the glow heads and/or glow plugs, which were
designed for 1.5 volts. Today's glow plugs work just fine on 1.2 V or 1.5 V. I have written
before about how as a kid on a very small modeling budget, I would often spend a long time flipping
the propeller of my Cox .049 engines ...
"Be careful or you'll shoot your eye out." That is the famous
line from A Christmas Story, where the plot centers around Ralphie Parker scheming to get a
Daisy Red Ryder BB gun, aka the "official Red Ryder carbon action 200-shot Range model air rifle with
a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time." This Daisy BB gun advertisement appeared in the December 1935 issue of Boys' Life
of the oddest military drones aborning reinvents a stillborn technology from 1951. That's because the
unmanned aircraft revolution is resurrecting configurations that were tried more than a half century
ago but proved impractical with a human pilot inside. The case in point: Northrop Grumman's new Tern,
a drone designed to do everything armed MQ-1 Predators or MQ-9 Reapers can, but to do it flying from
small ships or rugged scraps of land – i.e., no runway needed. 'No one has flown a large, unmanned
"News of the death of legendary
test pilot and aerobatics pioneer
this morning has brought grief to the aviation community. Hoover, known among his many fans as the 'pilot's
pilot,' died at about 2 a.m. PT, according to reports. He was 94 years old. Hoover's flying career began
when he was a teenager. He soon enlisted and flew in World War II as a fighter pilot. After being shot
down off the coast of southern France and spending 16 months in a German POW camp, he famously
lightweight is the creation of Airstage craftsman. CEO Rainer Mugrauer is himself an active R/C modeler.
Airstage says, "Our expertise lies in the design of remote-controlled flying objects and their eye-catching
presentation for events and show productions." It has a 189" wingspan and weighs only 13 oz (filling
the model with helium helps reduce the flying
Airplanes and Rockets website visitor Barry D. from Belgium, wrote
to ask whether I had a copy of an advertisement run by World Engines that featured the
rotary engine. I remember seeing those ads way back in the 1970s, so I began looking at the World Engines
ads in the January 1970 issue. Finally, in the March 1972 edition, there it was. The entire ad and a
full-size scan of just the Wankel engine are shown below.
new type of composite wing that can change its shape according to flight conditions has been made from
a lattice of small, lightweight components. This morphing ability could allow for more aerodynamic,
maneuverable and fuel-efficient aircraft that are also simple to construct. Described as a 'digital-material' approach to aeronautical design, the technology was developed
by a collaboration involving NASA and several U.S.
Maxwell's Hobby Shop is owned and run by Joe Maxwell and wife,
Mary. Joe (a very nice guy) has been operating his eponymously named hobby
shop in Erie, Pennsylvania, for many decades. The 600 sq. ft. shop is stuffed to the gills with kits
and equipment for all types of aeromodeling, including free flight, control line, and radio control.
There are many supplies for boats, helicopters, multirotor drones, and cars as well. Joe is an avid
control line flyer and a member of the Bean Hill Flyers control line club, so there is a very nice stock
of control line ...
Technology's XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator has been designed to cruise at Mach 2.2 and is a one
third subscale prototype of a supersonic passenger airliner proposed by the Denver-based company. '60
years after the dawn of the jet age, we're still flying at 1960s speeds,' said Blake Scholl, chief executive
officer and founder of Boom. 'Concorde's designers didn't have the technology for affordable supersonic
travel, but now we do. Today, we're proud to unveil
Many thanks to everyone who supported the Airplanes and Rockets website throughout the year. Advertisers
and visitors all play an important part in keeping Airplanes and Rockets "On the Air." Have a great
holiday season and a safe and prosperous New Year!
there is a Santa Claus."
Airplanes and Rockets website visitor wrote to ask that I scan
and post this article from a 1971 edition of the Estes Model Rocket News publication. "Hey,
this is GREAT!" Can't you just hear your friends when you fly your model rocket with the Estes
TRANSROC -- the latest in miniature
Space Age electronics? You'll have lots of fun, too, becoming an expert with this multi-purpose transmitter
that will literally transform your model into a "talking bird"
and Wilbur Wright were secretive and extremely protective of the designs for their new flying machines,
said The Wright Experience's Ken Hyde, an aircraft restorer who unlocked their mysteries. 'If they hadn’t
been so secretive there would be nothing for us to discover,' Hyde said from his working museum in Warrenton,
Virginia. His sleuthing led to the modern-day Wright Flyer and Wright Glider re-creations that are now
hanging in several well-known aircraft museums. Hyde explained