who has been in aeromodeling for more than a decade or so is familiar with the name William (Bill) Winter. Bill has
been in the model airplane realm for longer than a lot of us have been alive and is one of the true pioneers of the
sport. He has served as editor for a couple aircraft modeling magazines, and has written countless articles both for
the magazines he edited and for other special interest magazines. When Popular Electronics came on the scene in the
mid 1950s, Bill was editor of Model Airplane News. Radio control was beginning to mature from its infant
state when only hobbyists with an intimate knowledge <more>
this article from the August 1959 American Modeler, Ford's Director of Research, Dr. Andrew A. Kucher, laments, as
the title suggest, the lack of originality and invention on the part of "today's" aero modelers. He was one of the
pioneers of the lifting body concept, having applied for a patent in 1926 based on his research. Dr. Kucher magnanimously
offered the technology to anyone interested in developing aircraft that can exploit the phenomenon. Dr. Kucher's goal
was not necessarily a pure lifting body, but the inclusion of the feature into fuselages in order to assist the wings
in generating lift. Look at any of today's fighter aircraft and you will see evidence of his work.
anyone you know here? If so, he's probably in his 70s now. This article from the August 1959 edition of Model Aviation
tells the story of a "Rocket College" where the Army allowed some of its officers to give instruction on some of the
technical concepts of model rocketry from a professional perspective, including some hands-on activity at Camp A.P.
Hill, in Bowling Green, Virginia. This was a time when the military very actively promoted youth aeronautical activities
rather than sponsoring "Save the Earth" and diversity seminars in school classrooms.
hard to imagine back when it had only been 14 years - to the month - since the Japanese surrendered to the U.S., that
this article was written in the August 1959 edition of American modeler. The Imperial Japanese Air Force, like the
German Air Force (Luftwaffe), was made up of highly skilled pilots and increasingly capable aircraft. The Japanese
were a notable more terrorizing enemy since many were willing to sacrifice their lives in battle, whereas the Germans
were more of the mindset of living to fight another day.
have always indented to build a multi-engine model of some sort, but never have gotten around to it. With the plethora
of ready-to-fly (RTF) and almost RTF (ARF) models on the market today at very reasonable prices, there is no real
good excuse for not doing it; so I'll have to stick with my bad excuses. But I digress. This simple twin "Wee-38"
Lightning uses a pair of Cox .020 or .049 engines and solid balsa components. You could electrify the model with equivalent
power. P-38s make one of the nicer looking profile scale subjects because of the twin tail booms and short fuselage.
control combat flight is a huge sport these days. You might be tempted to think that it is a late-comer to the model
airplane sport realm, but if so, you'd be wrong. Here is an article from the December 1959 American Modeler magazine
that describes the successful effort of modelers half a century ago pioneering R/C combat. Per author H. Donald Brown,
"With us, mid-air crashes have out-numbered cut steamers but the damage minor in most eases." The more things change,
the more they stay the same.
daily comic strip titled "The Buckets" has been running a series of "Rocket
Shootin' Day Handy Rules." It began on July 25 and is still running as of July 30. The artists is obviously familiar
with model rocketry as the Scout troops feature some familiar themes.
had the good fortune of being contacted by a famous modeler in Oklahoma who offered me a rather large stock of Jetex
fuel pellets for a very reasonable price. Most are for the Jetex "35" and the Jetex "200" model engines, but there
are a few packages for the Jetex "350" and the Jetex "400." As a bonus, there was a Jetex PAA Loader 150 engine, too!
July 17, 2011, the Bean Hill Flyers help an informal control-line fun fly at their field located in Albion, Pennsylvania.
The club has members from as far east as Erie and Meadville, PA, and stretching west all the way to Cleveland, OH.
It was a perfect summer day with temperatures in the low to mid-80s, light winds, and a clear, blue sky. Field proprietor
Dalton Hammett graciously keeps the flying area mowed with a closely cropped circle to facilitate aircraft with
smaller wheels. <more>
images were sent to me in an e-mail from a friend with a subject line about these being long-lost (and recently found)
photos from World War II.
H. ,of XenonProject.com, wrote to ask whether his company could
be featured on the Airplanes and Rockets homepage. While I have not personally dealt with them, they appear to have
a great selection of R/C helicopters, airplanes, boats, cars, and trucks - both electric and nitro. You can even buy
an R/C tank or snowmobile. I didn't see any submarines, though. Please take a look.
Sketchbook was scanned from the February 1968 American Aircraft Modeler, page 44. Most building tips are timeless.
Even in this era of ready-to-fly (RTF), almost-ready-to-fly (ARF), bind-and-fly (BAF), etc., there are still many
modelers who build their own aircraft. Nearly all top tier competition fliers build their own models, as do aficionados
of vintage (aka old-timer) models. Some guys just would rather build than buy a pre-build airplane, whether from a
kit or from plans.
free flight, to the uninitiated, might appear to be a simple sport. Maybe even to the casual free flighter is simple.
Wind the rubber band, launch the model, recover the model, repeat. Truthfully, that's about the way it has always
been for me. However, many free flight enthusiasts are more competitive and like to know how to get the most performance
out of every inch or ounce of rubber. As with most aspects of every hobby, the science of rubber motors has become
quite precise. Even as far back as 1968, when this article appeared in AAM, hobbyists were experimenting with rubber
article is from the December 1954 edition of Popular Electronics, written by E. J. Lorentz about his transmitter design.
It used a single 3A4 vacuum tube. As was the technique of the day, point-to-point wiring was used in the chassis;
printed circuits boards were yet to become ubiquitous. Of course all the components are leaded, since surface mount
packages did not become common place until the late 1980s. The good thing about those methods is that just about anyone
with a soldering iron could build the circuits.
purchased a couple batched of vintage Popular Electronics magazines off of eBay for use on my engineering website,
RF Cafe; however, upon scanning through the pages I was pleasantly
surprised to find that many articles on radio controlled airplanes were included. The 1950s and 1960s were relatively
early in the R/C sport, and such things were still considered a novelty. This article was written by none other than
Bill Winter, former editor of American Modeler, American Aircraft Modeler, and Model Airplanes News.
Drone - later to become Cox - sold its first ready-to-fly control line model beginning around 1959. The wings were
of built-up construction with ribs and thin, molded sheets of aluminum skins. A modified Space Bug .049 engine was
used for power. There was no spring starter on the early .049 engines, but a rubber finger guard was provided to help
spare the modeler's finger.
visitor Kenneth E. wrote to say that he is working to build a complete collection of the Tenderfoot models that were
published in American Aircraft modeler. The Tenderfoot series was an attempt to provide motivation to young newcomers
to the hobby. They were a mix of freeflight rubber, gliders, and 1/4A &
control line designs that built simply and cheaply. Kenneth requested reprints of the following three models:
Saucerer, Ray Malmström:
C/L 1/2A, Jan 1970
Bonanza and Mustang,
David Thornburg: HLG, Jan 1971
Paul Denson: FF Rubber Feb 1973
Richardson, located in the UK, has created a very nice resource for
Vintage RC Helicopters
. He has put a lot of effort into collecting
and organizing data on some of the earliest RC helicopters, including magazine articles, advertisements, and other
bits from around the Web and personal material. Joe asked for and received scans of helicopter-related articles from
my collection of magazines.
Piloted Vehicles (RPVs) have been around for a long time. They started out in about the 1930s when remote control
was beginning to be reliable enough to trust an expensive airborne platform with its equipment. Most early RPVs were
target practice drones, but by World War II, top secret programs were using them as decoys and for flying reconnaissance
into dangerous areas. The craft were large, heavy, noisy, and <more>
while electric propulsion systems are gaining ground in the modeling realm, 2- and 4-cylinder engines are still quite
popular amongst modelers. I have made a switchover totally to electric, but I sure miss the sound and smell of the
nitro engines. For those who still use internal combustion engines, and for those who just want to learn a little
more about how these model engines work, this article by Glenn Lee will be a very useful read.
this cool or what? Unmanned aerial dog fighting is not far off. I suppose taking the human pilot out of the equation
greatly reduces risk to the mission and aircraft, but the drama is not quite there anymore without the guy in the
cockpit. Even in Star Trek and Star Wars there were still humans (or aliens) flying the battle craft. I must say it
was always a bit strange that such high tech guns seemed to miss their targets more often than they hit them; surely
automated systems acquired and tracked targets with infinitely greater <more>
article for the Imperial War Museum appeared in the September 1968 edition of American Aircraft modeler. "The
Imperial War Museum, London, England,
was founded by the War Cabinet in March, 1917, and established by Act of Parliament in 1920 as a memorial to the effort
and sacrifices made by men and women of the British Empire during the First World War." Among the array of weapons
there are displayed about ten semicutaway aircraft models of World War II.
Back in the 1970s, the Evening Capital
newspaper, for which I delivered newspapers and my father, Art, was the classified ad department manager, had a contest
where if you signed up a certain number of new customers, you got to chose from a list of prizes. The one I coveted
was a set of Cox WWI airplanes. I know it included a Fokker
, a Fokker Dr.VII biplane, and a Sopwith biplane. If you can find any of those models now, they are
selling for a couple hundred dollars each on eBay. <more>
motors for model boats have been available for a long time. Advertisements in modeling magazines from the 1950s
(as far back as my collection goes)
has plenty of them. Ailyn's Sea Fury outboard motor
and the Fuji outboard motors are just a couple examples for which I have copies of the ads. As of this writing, there
is a Fuji .15 outboard motor up for bid on eBay. It appears to me in remarkably good condition.
is the article and plans for the "Insect" that I electronically scanned from my purchased copy of the April 1970 American
Aircraft Modeler magazine. Rogallo Wings were all the rage in the 1970s as hang gliding was really gaining in popularity,
so the modeling world joined in the fun. An article for the R/C
Flexi-Flier, complete with a G.I. Joe
pilot, was published four years after this free flight model.
you are looking for a large, Open Class vintage sailplane to build, it's hard to imagine a better subject than the
Astro-Jeff. It was featured in the August 1974 edition of
AAM, and is now offered in full and short kit
options by Mr. Jim Ealy, at the Vintage
Sailplaner website. I'm looking forward to the day an Aquila
kit, with fiberglass fuselage, is finally available. Mr Ealy?
hints and tips from the Sketchbook feature of vintage American Modeler magazines are timeless. Many of the techniques
are useful today, even in the era of ready-to-fly models. Radio control equipment manufacturing was a wide open field
up through the 1960s. Here is an old Lafayette Radio ad from the June 1959 American Modeler.
engines that were just being released for production in the year this article was written are now 52 years old, and
would therefore now qualify as vintage engines in any modern model engine museum. The article's author, Pete Chinn,
probably did not even conceive of the possibility while writing his piece in November 1959. He has some enviable model
engines from as far back as the Stagner 7.4 cu.in. V-4, circa 1909. At the time, the Wright Brothers were developing
engines not a lot larger than that for their full-size
Here is the follow-on article for Model Motor
Museums in the December 1959 edition of American Modeler. It has a couple dozen more photos.
you at the 1959 AMA Nationals? Yes? Had you forgotten about it until you ran across this article? Billed as the first
truly "national" meet because there was at least one contestant from each of the states, 1959 National Model Airplane
Championships was held at the Naval Air Station, Los Alamitos, California, from July 27th through August 2nd. If you
were a kid at the time, take a look at the photo in the center of the article to see if you can find yourself. Your
father... grandfather? My purpose for posting these old article is to give modeling pioneers <more>