- Home Page Archive: #38 (Current) -
"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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Letter to AMA HQ Praises Club Charter Plan

Letter to AMA HQ Praises Club Charter Plan, September 1967 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsMr. Jim Perdue, president of the Tennessee Model Airplane Association from 1966 to 1968, submitted this letter to the editor of American Modeler magazine in high praise of the club charter program instituted by the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA). The most important feature, at least in back in that day, was liability insurance provided by virtue of being officially chartered. The same applies today regarding insurance; however, the AMA has greatly expanded the benefits to chartering your model club. The current Club Charter Guide document list the following ...

Inside the Wasp Shop

Inside the Wasp Shop - Airplanes and Rockets"Gene McNeely started flying airshows in 1986 and has been a stalwart presence on the AeroShell aerobatic team, flying a Wasp-powered North American T-6. He can only guess at his total flying time behind the engine: 'I would say 15,000 hours…probably more than that.' He does remember exactly how he got there, though. 'I got out of the Navy and ... started cropdusting, and the first engine I sat behind was the [Pratt & Whitney R-]985, which we'd adapted to the Stearman,' he recalls. McNeely later moved up to the Grumman Ag-Cat, with which 'you could get you ..."

Breaking the Sound Barrier with a Rocket-Powered Model Car

Breaking the Sound Barrier with a Rocket-Powered Model Car - Airplanes and Rockets"Not content with setting a new land speed record a group of a school students in Mansfield are now gearing up for an assault on the sound barrier. Much has been made of the so-called 'Bloodhound effect:' the way in which the UK effort to develop a 1,000 mph car has been used to engage and inspire the next generation of engineers. And there can be few more striking examples of this phenomenon in action than the achievements of a group of pupils from The Joseph Whitaker secondary school in Mansfield which, after ..."

BMP Vintage Engine Sale

BMP Barton Model Products Vintage Engine - Airplanes and RocketsUK website visitor Trevor M. wrote to ask about plans for the Comet Sparky model. He also mentioned that a guy he used to fly, John G. with as far back as the 1950s now owns Barton Model Product (aka BaMoPro and BMP), which is a major supplier of vintage model airplane engines. Varieties include glow, spark, and diesel, with and without R/C throttle for cars, boats, and airplanes. John also sells vintage tethered model cars and model airplane kits. BMP is located in Staffordshire, England.

50 WWII Aircraft Units Unearthed in Turkey

50 WWII Aircraft Units Unearthed in Turkey - Airplanes and Rockets"For anyone who likes World War II aircraft, the Focke-Wulf 190 series was, without doubt, one of the greatest planes of the period. But could there be 50 buried at an old airbase in Turkey? Turkish researchers believe so. There had long been rumors of the possibility of buried 190's somewhere in Turkey. The story goes that just over 70 Focke-Wulf 190's were exchanged for raw materials during the height of the Second World War. At this time in the Young Turkish Republic's history, they were intent on staying neutral. Turkey needed ..."

Air Berlin Pilots Suspended for "Auf Wiedersehen" Low Pass

Air Berlin Pilots Suspended for 'Goodbye' Low Pass - Airplanes and RocketsThis story reminds me of a Calvin & Hobbes comic strip from the early 1990s. "Air Berlin, the second-largest airline in Germany, is set to cease operations on October 28 following the company's August announcement that it had filed for insolvency. The airline's final flight will take place a day earlier, and tickets are reportedly already sold out for that Munich to Berlin flight. On Monday, however, Air Berlin flew its final long-distance flight, from Miami, and that one is bound to be far more memorable due to the way the pilot of the Airbus A330 handled the approach into Düsseldorf ..."

A Newspaper's Account of the AMA HQ's Relocation to Muncie

Academy of Models Aeronautics (AMA) Relocation to Muncie, Indiana 1992 - Airplanes As a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) since around 1971 (AMA # 92498), I have witnessed a lot of change in the organization as well as in the model industry. When I first joined as a teenager, AMA headquarters consisted of rented office space in a Washington, D.C., building, Richard Nixon was president, and the war in Viet Nam was on nightly news. AMA headquarters moved into a brand new building, which included museum space, on purchased property in Reston, Virginia, in 1983. A growing AMA membership and the desire to consolidate national competitions to a central location resulted in establishing residence in Muncie, Indiana, where the 25,000 square-foot Frank V. Ehling Complex celebrated its grand opening ...

Photos: Inside the Restoration of a C-53 Skytrooper

Restoration of a C-53 Skytrooper - Airplanes and Rockets"Perhaps it was just a coincidence that led Jason Capra to a back road in Beach City, Ohio, where he'd spot a Douglas DC-3 seemingly abandoned in a field. Perhaps it was destiny. Whatever the forces of the universe were up to that day, it allowed Capra, an airline pilot and self-described WWII airplane enthusiast, to fulfill his childhood dream of owning and restoring a piece of history. And this particular airplane is loaded with history, from its two months as Gen. Douglas MacArthur's personal transport to its service as Buckeye One for Ohio ..."

Vintage Huffy 3 Timberline, 3-Speed Men's Bicycle Restoration, early 1980s

Vintage Huffy 3 Timberline, 3-Speed Men's Bicycle Restoration, early 1980s - Airplanes and RocketsLast week I posted the first part of a story about two 1980s-vintage bicycles I bought from a guy off craigslist. That was the complete teardown and restoration of Melanie's Columbia Commuter III, 3-speed women's model. This page has photos from doing the same thing to my Huffy 3 Timberline, 3-speed men's bicycle. Rather than repeat all the textual description from Melanie's bike, please click on the above hyperlink to read it; it's not very long. At some point I will scan and post the owner's manuals for both bicycles. One important aspect worth repeating is the use of Krud Kutter for removing all the oil and grease ...

Thanks to Ben D. for the Generous Donation!

Thanks for the Donation - Airplanes and RocketsMany thanks to website visitor Ben D. for his $20 donation. Ben is a fellow lover of "rockets, astronomy, science, eclipses, robotics for next gen, creativity with the building blocks of the fabric of the universe," etc. The Airplanes and Rockets website covers a lot of territory from both a hobby and technical perspective. The world is filled with folks like Ben and me who use our available time in pursuit of knowledge and having a bit of fun while doing it. Posting the volumes of text and photos that I do takes a lot of time and dedication, so I appreciate when someone helps "pay the freight," so to speak. I believe this might be the first ever donation from anyone ...

What Do Kennedy's Chappaquiddick Incident and Apollo 11 Have in Common?

Ted Kennedy's Chappaquiddick Drowning of Mary Jo Kopechne - Airplanes and RocketsWith all the reports of powerful men being outed for abuses against helpless women, this recently discovered article seems timely. Last summer while visiting a local yard sale I spotted the Sunday, July 21, 1969 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper. The front page gushed with coverage of the historic Apollo 11 moon mission where on the previous day Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed at Tranquility Base. However, turn the page and I found it is consumed with a report on Senator Ted Kennedy's incident at Chappaquiddick where he drove his car off that tragically famed bridge. While our brave astronauts were flying to the moon, Kennedy was killing Mary Jo Kopechne ...

Flyin' Jenny Comic Strip - December 7, 1941

Flyin' Jenny Comic Strips: December 7, 1941 Baltimore Morning Sun - Airplanes and RocketsFrom the time of the Wright Brothers' successful flights at Kill Devil Hill, Americans have been in love with aviation. In the early days, access to flight was limited to those with know-how and access to the special tools and materials needed to build your own plane - or those who received training in the military. By the 1930s, commercially produced private airplanes became affordable to many "regular" people. As the skies filled with airplanes and more people were flying on commercial airliners, attending air shows, and learning to fly themselves, some of the mystique wore off, but the public still loved a good aviation story. Magazines ...

Birth of the Bizjet

Birth of the Bizjet - RF Cafe"When Frank Sinatra decided to drop a cool half-million on an airplane to shuttle his Rat Pack pals between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, he chose a Lear Jet. For Bill Lear's company, 1965 was a very good year. Lear was 61 when he decided to get into the aircraft production business. Although he'd never designed an airplane, the self-trained engineer was known for his inventions, including the first jet autopilot, for which he'd received the 1949 Collier Trophy. In the late 1950s, Lear and his family were living in Switzerland, where he hoped to expand his avionics ..."

Vintage Columbia Commuter III, 3-Speed Girl's Bicycle Restoration

Vintage Columbia Commuter III, 3-Speed Girl's Bicycle Restoration, 1980s vintage - Airplanes and RocketsI was not particularly looking for a bicycle when scrolling through a list of "vintage" items on the Erie area craigslist.org website, but when I saw both a men's and a woman's early 1980s era 3-speed bicycles pop up, I had to call. The guy who had them listed said he bought them both at the local K-Mart sometime around 1980 for his wife and him. As with many new endeavors that begin enthusiastically and then die out quickly, neither of them thought the experience was enough to make a lasting pastime. After only a few rides, the bikes were parked in the garage, never to be ridden again ...

We Built the Saturn V - Great Photos!

We Built the Saturn V - RF Cafe"The 'V' stood for the five giant F-1 rocket engines—still the most powerful ever built - clustered at the bottom of the Saturn V's first stage. At one point a four-engine version, the Saturn IV, had been considered, but in the complicated tradeoffs that led to the final design of NASA's moon rocket, the 'V' variant won out. What became the Saturn grew out of a U.S. military requirement in the late 1950s for a booster big enough to launch large satellites. Wernher von Braun, who had dreamed as a young engineer in Germany of a rocket capable of reaching the moon, was enlisted with his U.S. Army ..."

Custom R/C Canard Model Airplane by Alain Pons

Custom R/C Canard Model Airplane by Alain Pons - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Alain Pons, of France, wrote with this great information on his decades-long involvement with designing, building, and flying radio controlled canard model airplanes. Alain graciously agreed to allow me to post his story, photo. and video. He hopes to soon submit plans for his canard, which I am sure will be welcome by modelers looking for a proven design to build, so stay tuned.  "Dear Kirt, Very happy to know you are interested of my work on my canards. I think I am an old dinosaur in aeromodelism. I was born in 1953 and began to glue balsa when I was 10 years old, following my father in free flight, fly by wire and later R/C. And now jets and war birds with big radial ..."

The Lilium EDF "Jet"

The Lilium EDF Jet - Airplanes and RocketsLilium enables you to travel 5 times faster than a car by introducing the world's first all-electric vertical take-off and landing jet: an air taxi for up to 5 people. You won't have to own one, you will simply pay per ride and call it with a push of a button. It's our mission to make air taxis available to everyone and as affordable as riding a car. In 1894, Otto Lilienthal began experimenting with the first gliders and imagined a future in which we could all fly wherever we want ..."

Plane and Fancy Shooting

Plane and Fancy Shooting, September 1957 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsI first learned of Peter Bowers because of news coverage of his winning the Experimental Aircraft Associations (EAA) 1962 design contest for his single-seater Fly Baby homebuilt airplane with its unique foldable wings. That allowed the plane to be easily towed to and from the airport rather than needing to pay for hangar or tiedown space. Another unique feature is its all-wood construction - including the landing gear undercarriage. I actually bought a set of plans and construction manual for the Fly Baby Biplane that Bowers later designed based on the Fly Baby monoplane; alas, I never did build it. Peter Bowers was an aviation historian for Boeing Aircraft in Seattle ...

Cox Model 789-3, 1½-Volt Starting Battery - Scans

Cox Model 789-3, 1½-Volt Starting Battery - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor George A. wrote to ask for the dimensions of the Cox model 789-3, 1½-volt starting battery box so that he can create one using his printer. He also needed high resolution images of all sides. The photos below show both sides of the flattened box, along with a ruler for scale. The scans have not been edited except to move the terminal clips closer to the box to keep file size down, so edit color and sharpness as you deem fit ...

Towed Twin-Fuselage Glider Satellite Launch System

Towed Twin-Fuselage Glider Satellite Launch System - Airplanes and Rockets"NASA successfully flight-tested a prototype, twin-fuselage towed glider that could lead to rockets being launched from pilotless aircraft at high altitudes—a technology application that could significantly reduce cost and im- prove efficiency of sending small satellites into space. The one-third-scale twin fuselage towed glider’s first flight took place Oct. 21, 2014, from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California. The towed glider is an element of the novel rocket-launching concept of the Towed Glider Air-Launch System (TGALS). NASA Armstrong ..."

North Korea's Antonov AN-2 Biplane

North Korea's Antonov AN-2 Biplane - Airplanes and Rockets"Kim Jong-un could launch nuclear bombing raids on South Korea using 70-year-old biplanes so slow they cannot be tracked by modern radars. North Korean despot Kim Jong-un is preparing his special forces for suicide parachute missions across the border on 70-year-old Stalin era biplanes. The dictator has a fleet of 300 Antonov An-2 transport aircraft which are capable of flying as slow as 30 miles-per-hour and can even go backwards into a heavy headwind. Footage has emerged of North Korean paratroops jumping from the aged aircraft ..."

Motor of the Month: K&B Torpedo .049 Engine

K&B Torpedo .049, November 1950 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThe 1950 Academy of Model Aviation (AMA) regulations listed four model engine displacement ranges: Class A: .000-.200 cu. in., Class B: .201-.300 cu. in., Class C: .301-.500 cu. in., and Class D: .501-.650 cu. in. Notice that there was no Class ½A or Class ¼A. That jives with this 1950 article in Air Trails magazine where the K&B Torpedo .049 engine is highlighted. It claims, "Half-A engines started out a short time ago as a mere novelty, but they caught on fast and every manufacturer was in a hurry to get one on the market." It is hard to imagine a time when the .049, .020, and .010 engines were not around, but machinery capable of achieving high production levels of engines with such tight tolerances were ...

NASA Tests Could Lead to FAA Integration of UAVs

NASA Tests Could Lead to FAA Integration of UAVs - Airplanes and Rockets"NASA's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration in the National Airspace System, or UAS in the NAS, project is attracting international attention as increasingly complex flight tests take place over NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California. The project is designed to develop recommendations for the FAA to safely open the skies to allow UAS to fly in the same airspace with human-piloted aircraft. Using NASA's remotely piloted Ikhana aircraft as a demonstration platform  ..."

Check List New Products, September 1967 American Modeler

Check List New Products, September 1967 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsModel aviation magazines have a long-held tradition of dedicating a page or two of each issue to reporting on new products. When I happen to notice an instance of the first announcement of a model, engine, radio, or device that is now in common use, I like to post it along with everything else on the page(s). This September 1967 edition of American Modeler introduced Su-Pr-Line Products' "Nyrod." That was 60 years ago! I know I have been using Nyrod and its clones for as long as I can remember, which is since at least the mid 1970s. When properly supported along its length, Nyrod results ...

Reliable Perching Makes Fixed-Wing UAVs Much More Useful

Reliable Perching Makes Fixed-Wing UAVs Much More Useful - Airplanes and Rockets"UAV designs are a perpetual compromise between the ability to fly long distances efficiently with payloads (fixed-wing) and the ability to maneuver, hover, and land easily (rotorcraft). With a very few rather bizarre exceptions, any aircraft that try to offer the best of both worlds end up relatively complicated, inefficient, and expensive. A group of researchers from the University of Sherbrooke in Canada have come very close to making that happen, with a little airplane that uses legs and claws to reliably perch on walls ..."

Breed of the Hellfire

Breed of the Hellfire, February 1941 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsArch Whitehouse authored many aviation-related techno-thriller mysteries for Flying Aces magazine. He was a British World War I veteran with the RAF as a mechanic and observer. In this adventure, Hale Aviation Company's intrepid chief test pilot Crash Carringer took on the challenge of identifying the cause of an unreasonably high number of deaths of Hellfire aircraft fighter pilots while in the air. I won't spoil the plot by giving any details of the story. It's a good way to kill 20-30 minutes ...

Cheaper, Lighter, Quieter: The Electrification of Flight Is at Hand

Bye Aerospace Sun Flyer - Airplanes and Rockets"Our small electric plane, which uses light and powerful batteries and motors, is less costly than its gasoline-engine rivals. When you first sit in the cockpit of an electric-powered airplane, you see nothing out of the ordinary. However, touch the Start button and it strikes you immediately: an eerie silence. There is no roar, no engine vibration, just the hum of electricity and the soft whoosh of the propeller. You can converse easily with the person in the next seat, without headphones. The silence ..."