O.S. Digitron DP-3 Radio Control System User Manual
The O.S. Digitron DP-3, 3-Channel Radio Control System was my first radio control system. After watching eBay for an affordable set, I finally found one in January of 2017 for a little over $100. It is in pretty good physical condition, but I have not tried to power it up to to see whether it works. My plan is to buy a modern spread spectrum 2.4 GHz radio and swap out the electronics in the O.S. Digitron DP-3 transmitter. I will have to rig the trim tabs to be spring centered with switch contact on each side of center since analog (potentiometer) trims are no longer used. The 2.4 GHz antenna will mount in place of the original telescoping whip antenna ...
Semroc V-2 Model Rocket Kit
The Semroc V-2 model rocket kit was modeled after the original Estes V-2. The V-2 is one of the Estes models that I always planned on building as a kid, but for some reason - most likely budgetary - I never got around to it. What I liked about the Semroc kit was that it kept with the original all balsa components rather than substituting molded plastic parts for the nose cone and tail section. The building process was pretty straight-forward. The Estes Fin Alignment Guide was used for attaching the fins. It was the first time I ever used the jig. Because of the way the bottom of the Semroc V-2's body curved ...
Verizon Tests Flying Cell Site for Emergency Preparedness
"Verizon conducted its latest engineering flight tests using a 'flying cell site' aboard a drone, and while it didn’t share specific results, it's another indication that the carrier is progressing with the prospect of using drones to supply an LTE network if severe weather knocks out more traditional cellular network components. The 17-foot-long drone was piloted by American Aerospace Technologies Inc. (AATI) during the trial run at Woodbine Municipal Airport in Woodbine, New Jersey, on April 5. The test was designed to simulate ..."
Auto Progress: The Ford Story
Henry Ford began production of the Model T (aka the "Tin Lizzie") in 1908, and his introduction of the moving assembly line commenced in 1913, thereby reducing the assembly time of an automobile from 12 hours to just 2.5 hours. Prices dropped to less than half the original cost and profits soared as a growing number of people were able to afford a car. It is always interesting when reading these reports on airplanes and automobiles which were published in the middle of the last century to remember that at the time, the technology was less than 50 years ...
Battery-Powered Plane Sets World Speed Record at 210 MPH
"With electric cars breaking their way onto our roads, it's only a matter of time until commercialised electric airliners take to the skies. The world's fastest battery-powered plane, which was created by Siemens, has hit a new speed record for electric flight as it whipped through the air at over 210 mph (340 kmh). The Extra 330LE plane's record is a big leap towards the eventual replacement of jet fuel and combustion engines in aircraft. The record was completed at Dinslaken Schwarze Heide ..."
Model Rectifier Corporation Advertisement - Jan 1972 AAM
This back-page advertisement by Model Rectifier Corporation (aka MRC) appeared in the January 1972 issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine. Note the cool collection of [now] vintage test equipment shown in support of testing the R/C system. The advertisement shows a rhombic antenna, the Dana 8015 RF frequency counter, Tektronix 7904 oscilloscope, HP spectrum analyzer, RF communications synthesizer RF generator, and an Anritsu precision field strength meter. I was 13 years old at the time, and anxiously watched for it in the mailbox each ...
'Lightning Strike' Plane Powered by 24 Electric Fans Set for Lift Off
"Officially known as the XV-24A Lightning Strike Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) XPlane, the 20% scale craft completed its planned flight test program in early March at Webster Outlying Field in Southern Maryland. Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the SVD successfully demonstrated key technical features the full-scale XV-24A will perform, including outbound and inbound transition flight. The SVD aircraft is a 325 pound, Lithium battery ..."
Tone Modulator for R-C from April 1958 Radio-Electronics
Declaring any kind of straight LC tank circuit to be high stability is a bit of a stretch when compared the Q available simply by adding a crystal, even in 1958. Tone modulation was an early method for achieving remote control of model airplanes, boats, and cars. The number of channels with these tone modulation systems is two times the number of modern proportional systems in that moving the rudder left took one channel and moving it right took another. Up and down elevator likewise took two channels. Therefore, this four channel system is only two channels by today's terminology. Technology evolved into fully proportional ...
We Drive the MG Magnette
MG's Magnette was produced 1954 and 1958. It was a fairly large, 4-door family car with rather posh features like leather seats, electric windshield wipers, safety glass, and rustproofing. The price tag of $2,675 in 1954, when this article appeared in Air Trails magazine, is equivalent to $27,148 in 2017 dollars per the BLS Inflation Calculator. You cannot buy a car in the same class today for that amount. Modern cars are loaded with many more creature comforts and are heavily burdened with regulatory-mandated environmental and safety features that add ...
USAF Plans Recoverable Hypersonic Drones by 2040
"Air Force weapons developers expect to operate hypersonic intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance drones by the 2040s, once scientific progress with autonomy and propulsion technology matures to a new level. The advent of using a recoverable drone platform able to travel at high altitudes, faster than Mach 5, will follow the emergence of hypersonic weapons likely to be operational in the mid-2020s, according to the Air Force Chief ..."
400' Model Aircraft Altitude Limit - Nothing New There
AMA president Rich Hanson published an editorial column in the April 2017 issue of Model Aviation titled, "How high can I fly?) Ok, more correctly it should have asked, "How high may I fly?" since it addresses the oft-asked question about what altitude limit is imposed on model aircraft. Mr. Hanson does a great job explaining the situation, and points out that the current 400-foot limit has been on the books with the FAA since at least 1972. He refers to a full-page notice to model airmen on page 49 of the November 1972 issue of American Aircraft Molder, the AMA monthly publication that preceded Model Aviation ...
Frank Smith's Miniplanes
Models of Frank Smith's Miniplane have been built and flown by scores of modelers over the decades. Homebuilt planes are popular scale projects partially because the level of detail necessary to faithfully reproduce the full-size airplane is less that with a production plane. Sig Manufacturing introduced a radio controlled kit model of the Smith Miniplane back in the 1970 that is still available for purchase on their website today. This article from a 1961 issue of American Modeler includes plans ...
Mars Airplane Resumes Flight
"Flight tests have resumed on subscale aircraft that could one day observe the Martian atmosphere and a variant that will improve collection of Earth's weather data. Work on the shape of the aircraft and the systems it will need to fly autonomously and collect data are ongoing for the Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Land on Mars, or Prandtl-M aircraft. Student interns with support from staff members at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in California are advancing the project ..."
Supersonic Without the Boom
"Supersonic planes without the Earth-shaking sonic boom could arrive by 2023. When the Concorde first hit the skies in the 1970s, it could fly from London to New York in just under three hours. But despite being able to travel at twice the speed of sound, the futuristic supersonic jet failed to attract passengers and was sent into decommission in 2003. Now researchers claim that Concorde-style jets could be making a comeback, and are working ..."
Low-Drag Rocket Design
G. Harry Stine was (and in some places still is) a household word (ok, a letter and three words) amongst people who engage in model rocketry. As a degreed physicist, he spent his professional years working in both civilian and government aerospace projects. In his spare time, Mr. Stine contributed mightily to the science, industry, and sport of model rocketry. His monthly columns in American Aircraft Modeler were read and appreciated by enthusiasts hungry for a regular helping of the technical side of the craft, served in layman's terms. A typical article written by him reports on some ...
B-29 'Doc' Cleared to Tour
"The FAA has approved a new airworthiness certificate for the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Doc that will allow the historic warbird to tour the airshow circuit. The restoration effort undertaken by Doc's Friends Inc. reached an important milestone in March, the organization announced, with successful completion of 'phase one' flight tests. Restoration Program Manager Jim Murphy said officials from the FAA office in Wichita, Kansas, and agency officials ..."
Aurora and Stratasys Develop World's 1st 3D-Printed Jet Aircraft
"This week's video comes from the U.S. where Aurora Flight Sciences and Stratasys have teamed up to build the world's first jet-powered, 3D printed aircraft. Using 80% 3D printed parts, the UAV is composed of Stratasys' ULTEM 9085 lightweight material to help achieve flight speeds of over 150mph. The high-speed system boasts an impressive 9 ft wingspan and weighs in at only 33 lbs. In the following video, Dan Campbell, aerospace research engineer at Aurora Flight Sciences, explains how the UAV project met a number of goals using Stratasys ..."
Air Progress: Lindbergh Era
The "Golden Age of Flight" is unofficially the period of time between World War I and World War II; i.e., the 1920s and 1930s. The Wright Brothers and their immediate followers had worked out the basics of flight control and engine building, and the race was on to design airplanes for commercial passenger and freight transportation, recreational pursuits, and military applications. Part of that process was the setting of records for closed course and long distance speed, time to climb, altitude, and high-G ...
A Flying Bandanna, May 1968 American Aircraft Modeler
If you have a vintage Cox .010 Pee Wee engine sitting on the display shelf and you've been itching to get it in the air again, Ken Willard's Flying Bandanna could be just the thing to get you there. Ken claims it only takes about 10 minutes to assemble, and as he says of the bandanna 'parachute,' it is "...a built-in wiping rag for your hands after each flight!" I remember as a kid when my .049-powered plastic Cox control line models had finally be demolished beyond repair (no glue at the time would hold the styrene plastic together for long) ...
Hard-to-Destroy Drone Goes from Rigid to Flexible in Crash
"Anyone who's ever flown a drone of any sort will tell you that sooner or later, you're going to crash it. The question is how exactly you will go about doing this, and how much of the drone will be functional after it's happened. Most flying animals somewhat frustratingly don't have this problem: Birds and insects run into things occasionally, and just shrug it off and keep on going, thanks to their biological design, which includes both stiffness ..."
Craftsman Vintage 28" Construction Level Restoration
My 28" Craftsman construction level (p/n 3311990) was bought sometime back in the early to mid 1980s, not long after Melanie and I were married in May of 1983, at the Sears store in Annapolis, Maryland. After living in while restoring four or five houses in the span of twenty years, it was really showing signs of use and abuse, especially the plastic windows protecting the fluid vials. There wasn't much protection going on with half of them either cracked or missing. A replacement 24" Johnson level was bought, but I kept ...
Drone Swarms Make Deliveries Then Vanish
"Delivery drones still face an uncertain future, but there's at least one scenario where they make a lot of sense: Flying robots can be ideal for bringing small, high value, time-sensitive goods to people in low-infrastructure areas. As specific a situation as that sounds like, it’s an enormous opportunity, and has the potential to make a huge difference in rural areas and disaster relief missions with deliveries of food and medical supplies, for example. One challenge with that, however, is that while drones are cheap to operate, the up-front investment ..."
Farm Table Redesign & Renovation
We have had one of those ubiquitous 'farm tables' since sometime in the late 1980s, back when they were made of wood that is about 50% thicker than today's variety. Over the decades, it has been used variably as a school desk for our kids, as a sewing table, as a computer desk, and as a surface for building model airplanes. It has endured no fewer than ten household moves in that time (don't ask). After all that, it was understandably due for being repaired and refinished ...
72 RC National Championships, November 1972 AAM
Website visitor Doug H. wrote to ask that I check for information on a couple people in particular who participated in the Radio Control portion of the 1971 and 1972 AMA Nationals competitions. Rather than just do that, I went ahead and scanned and posted the entire articles so that all the available information could be seen. I figured there may well be others who would like to have that information available. The November issues of American Aircraft Modeler were typically where NATs coverage ...
The Big Cool Nats, November 1971 AAM
Website visitor Doug H. wrote to ask that I check for information on a couple people in particular who participated in the Radio Control portion of the 1972 and 1971 AMA Nationals competitions. Rather than just do that, I went ahead and scanned and posted the entire articles so that all the available information could be seen. I figured there may well be others who would like to have that information available. The November issues of American Aircraft Modeler were typically where NATs coverage ...
Lithium-Ion Battery Inventor Intros Fast-Charging, Noncombustible Batteries
It sure would be nice to have batteries that don't pose a bigger risk of burning down your house, car, or model than glow fuel. "A team of engineers led by 94-year-old John Goodenough [what a great name!], professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin and co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery, has developed the first all-solid-state battery cells that could lead to safer, faster-charging, longer-lasting rechargeable batteries for handheld mobile devices, electric cars and stationary energy storage ..."
Cameron .09 Marine Engine
The author of this review for the Cameron .09 marine engine heaps praise upon the creation, extolling it many advanced features. Robust construction and smooth running evidently are two of its grandest characteristics. A few examples of the Cameron .09 marine engine appear on eBay, with a montage of photos of a new-in-box (NIB) example provided here. Weight including the built-in flywheel is 10 ounces - quite beefy compared to a Cox Medallion .09, which tipped the scales at around 3½ ounces.
Tower Hobbies Homepage Screenshot: November 1999
If you are a nostalgia buff, go over to the Archive.org 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?
NASA Tests 'the New Concorde'
"NASA 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 ..."