Arch 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
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 ...
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 ..."
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was a year away
when this article would have been written, given that it appeared in the January 1941 issue
of Flying Aces magazine. Major Frederic Ives Lord preferred a light-weight, inexpensive,
more expendable type of aircraft like the P-40 Warhawk than something like a P-51 Mustang.
His thinking being that it would be more effective to overwhelm the enemy with massive squadrons
of airplanes that could be quickly replaced (and pilots, too?) rather than recovering and
repairing battle-damaged aircraft (and their air crew). In fact, the major envisioned mostly
enlisted pilots, akin to the expendable crewmen in Star Trek - usually identifiable by their
Many thanks to Airplanes and Rockets website visitor
Pat S. (who happens to also live here in Erie, Pennsylvania) for letting me know about
the Sceptre Flight website with its huge list of
engine test data. Per the webmaster, "This list of tests is continually added to on a
monthly basis due to the hard work of Zoe Quilter who completely scans 3 old magazines each
month and also to Colin Usher who has collected all of Zoe's scans. My thanks to both of them
as this list would otherwise be nowhere near as large. Thanks also to Ray Jennings in Northern
Ireland for his help in scanning many test reports." There are links to 600-700 magazine articles
reporting on glow and diesel engines. Amazing! ...
Here is an interesting bit of history. According to
this article from a 1952 issue of Air Trails magazine, the reason British model engine
designers switched from ignition type engines to
diesel was due
to a shortage of copper element wire and other components brought about by World War II.
Diesels are still very popular in Europe both for model airplanes and full-size automobiles.
The Alternative Fuels Data Center claims that diesel fuel has a 13% greater energy density
that gasoline, which jives with many other independent sources, some of which say overall
efficiency is up to 20% greater. Diesel just has never really "caught on" here in the U.S.
for some reason - maybe its the stinky exhaust. One nice aspect ...
"Rescued from a desert bombing range then painstakingly
restored over many years, the
B-29 Superfortress Doc brought vintage strategic air power to EAA AirVenture
in July. Doc and crew flew away from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with the 'Best Bomber Award,' among
others, returning home to temporary quarters as Doc’s Friends Inc., pass the hat to build
a permanent home for the beloved bomber in Wichita, Kansas ..."
Rick Rabe's rubber-powered free flight "Pogo," not to be confused
with Bob Morse's glow fuel-powered R/C 1/4 Midget racer "Pogo" that appeared five months later
in American Aircraft Modeler, is a quick-building stick and tissue job for modelers
of all ages and interests. Rabe adds a little pizzazz to the craft with a "V" shaped vertical
fin. The flat, stick-framed wing and stabilizer are built directly on the Jap tissue, which
speed the already minimal construction time ...
"There are many iconic photographs from World War II:
An aircraft spotter standing atop a London building with St. Paul's Cathedral rising in the
background, taken by LIFE photographer George Strock; Alfred Eisenstaedt's photo 'The Kiss,'
shot in Times Square the day Japan surrendered. They're all powerful - and they're all in
black and white. While color images of the war exist, they aren't extremely common. Yet official
photographers serving with the British armed forces shot nearly 3,000 color photographs, using
Kodachrome film obtained ..."
The "AT" Interceptor is a very nice
control line twin. Designed
for a pair of .049 engines, its 30" wingspan and tricycle landing gear provides a solid platform
that could easily be adapted for twin brushless motor setup. A common fuel tank feeds both
engines. If you are trying to decide whether the "AT" Interceptor is a takeoff of the P-38
Lightning or the P-61 Black Widow, you'd be right in either case, since both inspired the
model, per Walt Hughes. Both tail booms, the fuselage, and the wings are built-up construction
with balsa sheeting over all ...
This is great!
"This Brazilian pilot is in big trouble for taking selfies thousands of feet up, even though
the photos are fake. Pilotganso is a well-known Instagrammer with 72K followers; he's gained
a rabid following thanks to the incredible selfies on his page showing the aviator hanging
out the cockpit of a
Boeing 737 thousands of feet above the earth. His shots have many scratching
their heads as to whether they are in fact real. No, they're not. The Instagrammer, real name
Daniel Centeno achieves these aerial shots using ..."
John Burkam was one of the few true pioneers in free
flight and particularly
R/C model helicopters. His experiments date back into the 1940s. His rubber-powered Penni
Helicopter appeared in the January 1970 issue of American Aircraft Modeler. John
was an engineer with the Boeing Company. His attention to detail and lack of fear in tackling
design issue with numbers, graphs, and formulas is apparent in his work, although any type
of design in previously unexplored or little explored areas of technology requires some degree
of seat-of-the-pants guestimates. Both philosophies are present in this article. The "Super
Susie" is powered by a Cox .049 Tee Dee engine ...
clamps are ubiquitous on model builders' and woodworkers' workbenches across the world.
With swiveling jaws the accommodate almost any pair of surfaces needing to be held together
while sanding, measuring, painting, cutting, or many other tasks, these things are one of
the best deals in the tools universe. They are so great that I feel even criticizing them
in any way, but I shall. Aside from the occasional snapping of the plastic handles ...
Contest-minded aeromodelers, or for that matter competitive
types of all disciplines, are most often the people who advance the state of the art in any
field. Never content with good enough, they continually strive to come up with new and better
ways of doing things. That's not to say everyday sportsmen don't
they just don't do usually do it with the vim and vigor of competitors. Although I cannot
know for sure, I suspect that the tip offered here for a suggested way to carve rubber power
free flight propellers to maximize thrust under a continually changing amount of torque from
the twisted motor is the result ...
Walt "Pitt" Pittman was the father of our neighbor, Barbara. He flew a P-51 Mustang as a fighter
pilot in WWII and Korea. "Pitt" wrote more than 350 letters and sent many photos to his wife
(Barbara's mother) prior to being shot down in 1951. It wasn't until 2012 that she finally
decided to create "The Letters
Project" to document the life story of her father. Historians interested in the Korean
War (a conflict, technically, not a declared war) will find the content useful. Says Barbara,
"If you are wondering why I am doing this project now or why I waited so long, I don't think
I have the answer ..."
"Bill's Authors Say Goal is to Protect Air Traffic
from Collisions with Unmanned Aircraft. U.S. Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Senator
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) have introduced the
Drone Operator Safety Act in the U.S. House of representatives, a bill
to they say is intended to help protect American air traffic from the 'misuse' of drones.
According to a news release on Congressman Langevin's website, the bill would make it a criminal
offense to fly ..."
Airplanes and Rockets website visitor Ken E.
wrote asking that I scan and post the article and plans for Cal Smith's Pee Wee "Bomb." Says,
Ken, "I built one back in the 60's and would like to try an other (feeling nostalgic)." Having
recently re-acquired a few Cox .049 engines for some A control line models, I can definitely
attest to the nostalgic feeling you get when hearing those babies (get it? Babe Bees) scream.
The Pee Wee "Bomb"
is all sheet balsa construction with ribs under the wing to form an airfoil. Wingspan is around
22 inches ...
"The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has developed
a patented system and method of transitioning an aircraft between helicopter and fixed wing
flight modes. The
stop rotor aircraft is capable of both a helicopter mode vertical takeoff
and landing (VTOL) and efficient high speed fixed wing flight by flipping the left wing/rotor
blade 180 degrees between flight modes. Conversion between flight modes will take about 1-2
seconds and simulations indicate altitude deviations of less than 50 feet ..."
I decided it might be nice to build a simple 2-channel
R/C airplane with an .049 up front, like back in the early 1970s with my Carl Goldberg ½A
Skylane. After researching what few options are available in the way of scale ½A kits, I settled
on the Herr Engineering ½A J-3 Cub. Herr also has one for electric power, but I wanted something
with more robust construction. Construction ensued and progressed with no issues. All the
parts fit well and the wood quality was very good. A few photos are included below. I prefer
using rubber bands to hold on wings, so I replaced the nylon bolt setup with a couple 3/6"
hardwood dowels. To make things easier ...
This autobiography by Maximus designer
Robert Sifleet from the June 1961 issue of American Modeler is half of a pair of articles
that also covers building and flight details of the
won the 1960-1961, U.S.A. Championship. As with most champions, he began at an early age and
progressed with dogged determination into early adulthood. Even in these days of ready-to-fly
models that have been thoroughly engineered for successful flight, free flighters - and with
a couple exceptions control liners - are still building, trimming, and flying their models
"Hypersonic flight - defined as Mach five or above
- would see aircraft subjected to external temperatures between 2,000 and 3,000°C, leading
to structural challenges caused by oxidation and ablation. Amongst other materials, current
spacecraft and missiles rely on
ultra-high temperature ceramics (UHTCs) to combat high temperatures. However,
according to Manchester University, conventional UHTCs can't currently satisfy the associated
ablation requirements of hypersonic flight. 'At present one of the biggest challenges is how ..."
It's finally here -
Great North American Solar Eclipse of 2017! The amateur astronomy community
has been anticipating and preparing for the event for a couple years. Astronomy magazine
dedicated the entire August issue to providing detailed information on viewing suggestions
along the entire path. Traffic from the Pacific Coast of Oregon to the Atlantic Coast of South
Carolina will probably be a challenge as people vie for positions as close to the centerline
as possible. Those who manage optimal locations will see about 2 minutes and 40 seconds of
total darkness. Others within the 68-mile-wide path of totality will see from a fraction of
a second up to the full extent. According to a calculator on the Vox website, we will only
see a 76.2% eclipse, which will barely darken our skies ...
Pee Wee .010 engine sits on a shelf above my computer monitor, along with a small collection
of other vintage aeromodelling paraphernalia. They serve as a reminder of the good times as
a kid building and flying (and crashing and rebuilding) back in the 1960s and 1970s. I don't
recall what airplane I had it on - maybe a homebrew free flight job. Unlike .049 Babe Bees
and Golden Bees which I had a few of, I only ever had one of the .010s. They were more of
a curiosity than a 'thing.' In this article, the author's suggestion that indoor control line
might be a possibility was wishful thinking since even if the building proprietors were willing
to suffer the ear-splitting noise, they would ...
"Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
will soon navigate without using GPS or human assistance as demonstrated by several successful
test runs last month as part of the Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program. DARPA recently
announced the breakthrough, after four days of testing in central Florida. The test runs marked
progress toward development of small, quadcopter drones that are able to fly through obstacle-ridden
1961 was really only in the dawn of the Space Age,
with the first successful communications satellites having been launched just a few years
earlier in 1957. The first suborbital rocket launch occurred in 1944 when the Germans sent
a V-2 rocket above the Kármán line (100 km, 62 mi) which separates Earth's atmosphere
from outer space. Technology was moving pretty quickly in the aerospace realm, both with airplanes
and with rockets. Model rockets were a big thing for boys (and a few girls) of the era, and
similar advances in materials and methods were being reported in the pages of American
Modeler and other magazines ...
"Join the Academy of Model Aeronautics Foundation in
celebrating model aviation for the fifth annual
National Model Aviation Day,
August 12, 2017. National Model Aviation Day was created to encourage clubs to celebrate
the hobby and share it with the public. Our chartered clubs have also been asked to conduct
a fundraiser to provide assistance to a worthy cause. For this year all clubs have been asked
to support the AMA Foundation. The AMA is devoted to inspiring the young and young-at-heart
to pursue a hobby that will inspire creativity and advanced learning through the use of hands-on
applications. The purposes ..."
"Retired USAF Colonels Blake and Sandy Thomas met at
Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. On their first date Blake took Sandy on a ride
in a 1944 BT-13, a two-seat military trainer with a radial engine. 'It was love at first flight,'
Sandy said. In December 2017, they will celebrate their 23rd anniversary. Their shared love
of aviation led to flying offspring. Their first-born homebuilt was an RV-7, their third,
a Sopwith Schneider. This is the story of their middle offspring, a replica World War I fighter,
the 1917 Nieuport-28. The Plane Named 'Sandy,' the the
Here are three models in one with separate plans provided
for each of ½A, FAI (Class A), and Class B versions of Robert Sifleet's contest
free flight bird. This piece from the June 1961 issue of American Modeler is half
of a pair of articles, one of which covers the model build and flight details, and the other
that provides a brief autobiography on Maximus designer
"Geely, the parent company of Volvo, announced that
it has acquired the flying car company Terrafugia. The
flying car, created a decade ago by a handful of MIT grads, just made another huge leap
toward becoming an actual product thanks to its new owner. The South China News reported that
Geely, the company that also owns Volvo, agreed to acquire Terrafugia. Reports indicate Geely
was particularly interested in the Terrafugia’s FAA approval last year allowing the transforming
car to be certified as a light sport aircraft. The exemption means Terrafugia ..."
"MIT engineers have developed and built an unpiloted
aerial vehicle, or UAV, that is expected to provide temporary telecomms service to areas affected
by disasters and calamities. The UAV technology is considered inexpensive and is capable of
flying and providing service for several days. This is not the first time
UAV technology has been exploited for this purpose. Google has also developed
and tested a system that provides temporary telecomms coverage in remote and calamity-stricken
areas. The MIT-developed drone is considerably inexpensive ..."
solid scale model airplane,
ship, train, or automobile from a block of balsa or pine was a favorite pastime of many people
up until maybe the latter part of the last century. For some it was the preferred means of
crafting a replica of their favorite subject, and for others it a second-best option if building
and flying, sailing, etc., a working model was not possible. Lack of funds, time, skill, or
any combination thereof could have been the cause. Little known to the solid scale modelers
just prior to the publication date of this issue of Flying Aces was that their collective
skills would be ...
Model Rocketry - "The Last Frontier" - 1977
A Conversation with
Vern and Gleda Estes
"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 ..."
"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 ..."
"Continuing to make discoveries in the final weeks of
a historic mission at Saturn, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has recorded a unique time lapse movie
looking out toward the planet's iconic icy rings. Cassini captured imagery to assemble the
movie during an Aug. 20 swing through the gap between Saturn and its rings. Ground controllers
set Cassini's wide-angle camera to take images in a low-resolution mode ..."
"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 from very ..."
"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
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 ..."
"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 (later NASA) team in Huntsville, Alabama, to lead
the effort. When, in 1961, President John Kennedy announced his plan to land an American on
the lunar surface by the end ..."
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 ..."
"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 Governor ..."
This 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 Airport ..."