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Airplanes & Rockets

Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and Rockets

Kirt Blattenberger

Carpe Diem!

(Seize the Day!)

Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which all began in Mayo, MD ...


1996 - 2026


Kirt Blattenberger


Family Websites:

RF Cafe | Equine Kingdom

All trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other rights of ownership to images and text used on the Airplanes and Rockets website are hereby acknowledged.

- Welcome to the Airplanes & Rockets Website -

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." Lord Kelvin, 1895


Model Aviation & Aerospace Headline News

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archives -

• Reno Air Race Memories

• Glasair Aviation Has Resumed Operations

• Harbor Soaring Society Hopes to Fly Again in Fairview Park

• Latest Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) Measurements • Model Airplane Builders / Pilots Doubled Down Throughout Wuhan Flu Plandemic

• Saskatchewan Model Aircraft Show Returns to Skies for 2021 • Propulsion System Could Enable Mach 17 Speed

• WV Airports Add >$1.6B to State's Economy

• NASA Clears Boeing Starliner for 2nd Unpiloted Test Flight

CallAir Snowcar Will Liven up Winter Contests

Control Line or Radio Control CallAir Snowcar Will Liven up Winter Contests (January 1957 American Modeler Magazine) - Airplanes and RocketsPropeller-driven air cars and boats were popular in the 1950 and 1960s. They solved the problem of complicated and failure-prone transmissions and had no traction issues regardless of terrain. Recall the James Bond movies of the era that featured these vehicles regularly. As a teenager, I built an air boat out of a block of styrofoam and a Cox .048 Babe Bee engine. A rudder was controlled by my OS 3-channel RC system. It ran pretty well - nothing to get excited about but it was my first radio-controlled model of any sort. This CallAir Snowcar is a much more sophisticated type of vehicle and is actually modeled after a full-scale propeller-driven vehicle. Call Aircraft made a few lightplane models, including agricultural (Ag) types, under the CallAir moniker...

Celera 500L May Revolutionize Business Aviation

Celera 500L May Revolutionize Business Aviation - RF Cafe"Its unusual shape helps it travel more miles on a single tank of gas. Sky watchers in the windswept high desert town of Victorville, California, have seen a dazzling array of airplanes over the past 80 years, from the fighters and bombers that flew into the local airfield when it was George Air Force Base to hundreds of about-to-be-mothballed airliners after the former military installation became the Southern California Logistics Airport. But they've never seen anything like the Celera 500L. Nobody has. Shaped like an elongated egg with wings and a stubby propeller hanging off the tail, the 500L is designed to leverage the benefits of laminar flow - an aerodynamic advantage that increases efficiency in flight by minimizing drag..."

U-Control Corner

U-Control Corner, Annual 1960 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsU-Control, aka U/C, aka Control Line, aka C/L, is still very popular today even with radio control available. It is a great model of modeling for those of us with bad eyesight who have trouble with tracking airplanes at a distance. With control line your model is never more than about 70 feet from you and there is never a problem with knowing which direction the model is headed and whether it is right-side-up or upside-down. In 1960 when this Annual issue of Air Trails magazine was published, R/C was mostly a rich man's sport, or at least an electronics man's sport. Free flight and control line dominate aeromodeling. Monthly features like "U-Control Corner" ran in model aviation magazines of the era, and offered many great tips...

Covering a Compound Curve with MonoKote

Covering a Compound Curve with MonoKote - Airplanes and RocketsI took the occasion of having to cover the wingtips of my AAR-X1 electric control line model to make a short video of how I cover a compound surface (one that curves in two or three dimensions) with MonoKote. The only "trick" involved is being daring enough to apply the amount of heat needed to exploit MonoKote's extreme ability to shrink, while pulling on it to stretch it. By daring I mean that it can take quite a bit of heat, even to the point of being dangerously close to the melting point. It can also put the phalanges is peril while attempting to stretch the MonoKote while heating it. In the case of these wingtips, there is an open framework, but the method works equally well on solid compound surface. I have smoothly covered carved sailplane nose blocks and curved wingtips using this method...

Cassutt III Converted to e-Power

Cassutt III Converted to e-Power - Airplanes and Rockets"The research project at Nottingham University has been funded by the Propulsion Futures Beacon of Excellence, directed by Professor David Grant in collaboration with Air Race E, an electric air race series, to investigate alternatives to the use of fossil fuels in global transportation systems. In a statement, project lead Professor Michael Galea said: 'Electric flight is one of the fastest developing technological areas and is seen as the third-generation of aviation. The rigors of air motorsport, with its demand for speed, performance and power management, has provided us with the perfect conditions to develop and promote cleaner, faster and more technologically advanced electric motor drives.' The Cassutt III petrol-powered single-seater racing aircraft..."

JWST Telescope Will Change Astronomy

JWST Telescope Will Change Astronomy - RF Cafe"After years of delay and frustration, the James Webb Space Telescope is ready to launch. Sometime this fall, if the launch date doesn’t slip again, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope - the most powerful, expensive, and eagerly anticipated telescope ever to gaze out into the universe - will lift off from French Guiana on an Ariane 5 rocket. Twenty-six years in design, delayed countless times, the JWST, as astronomers typically refer to it, will dwarf the Hubble Space Telescope in size, resolution, and ability to see very faint objects. Unlike Hubble, which operates primarily in the visible spectrum, Webb will use cameras and spectrographs tuned to near- and mid-infrared wavelengths to view some of the oldest objects in the cosmos, with a sensitivity 1,000 times better than past infrared space telescopes..."

Workshop Tips for Modelers

Workshop Tips for Modelers, Annual 1960 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThese half-dozen hand-dandy model building tips are as useful today as they were in they appeared in the 1960 Annual issue of Air Trails (Hobbies for Young Men) magazine. Readers submitted their brilliant ideas to the editor, who then created drawings and brief descriptions. I find myself doing many of the things that appear in this and of editions of the vintage modeling magazines - of course that might have something to do with my being "vintage" at this point in life (born in 1958). Back when these items were published, availability of most tools and material was nowhere near as abundant as today. It's hard to imagine anyone nowadays making a drill bit out of a nail, but in a pinch you never know...

Chameleon Field Box™

Chameleon Field Box™ - Airplanes and RocketsDepending on the phase of the moon, the prevailing wind, stock market activity, or the color socks I have on, my interest in airplane activities alternate between radio control, free flight, control line, static display, or any other aspects of modeling. Over the years, I have designed and built probably four or five different field boxes to accommodate the mood du jour. Each was sold before moving on to the next design iteration. Finally, I decided that rather than keeping on making new field boxes, it would make more sense to design a one-size-fits-all version. The Chameleon Field Box™, as I have dubbed it, comes pretty close to achieving that goal. The design work was done on Autodesk's AutoSketch release 6. I still have the file, but upon opening it again after many years, I discovered that I never did put in all the detail for the hardware...

OpenRocket v15.03 Now Available for FREE

OpenRocket v15.03 Now Available for FREE - Airplanes and RocketsOpenRocket is a free, fully featured model rocket simulator that allows you to design and simulate your rockets before you build and flying them. Everything you need to design, simulate and fly better rockets. Reliable simulations. Leverage state of the art 6-degrees-of-freedom flight simulation with over 50 variables. Analyze all aspects of your simulation with advanced plotting and exporting. Easily design your models with CAD technology. Replicate all features of your existing model or new design. Everything from the density of materials to the quality of finish on the outside of your model. Choose from a massive catalog of existing components...

Ingenuity's Flight 15 to Home Base

Ingenuity's Flight 15 to Home Base - Airplanes and Rockets"With conjunction over and our first flight at 2,700 RPM behind us, Ingenuity is ready to begin the journey back to the Wright Brothers Field at the Octavia E. Butler landing site, before venturing beyond. The above figure depicts the mission ahead of Ingenuity, which is to join Perseverance in the trek north along the east edge of Seitah, before traveling west to reach the Jezero ancient river delta. To accomplish this feat, the Ingenuity team is planning a series of 4-7 flights to return to Wright Brothers Field. Along the way the project is considering preparing a flight software upgrade for our helicopter which will potentially enable..."

Luscombe Silvaire 3-View

Luscombe Silvaire 3-View, June 1959 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThis expertly rendered 3-view drawing of the Luscombe Silvaire appeared in the June 1959 issue of American Modeler magazine. Draftsman Jim Trigs provided many such detailed drawings for modeling and full-scale aircraft publications. According to this 2012 Capital Journal newspaper piece on Jim Riggs, he flew from 1953 through 2008, with 28 of those 52 years devoted to United Airlines. Being a South Dakota native, he was inducted in to the South Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2012. Jim soloed in a Cessna 140 in 1953 when he was 16, then went on to log nearly 22,000 hours of flight time over his career. He flew helicopters in Vietnam, and spent decades in the Civil Air Patrol - a true aviation enthusiast. Jim left us in 1995...

Adjusting the Power R/C Plane

Adjusting the Power R/C Plane, January 1955 Popular Electronics - Airplanes and RocketsIf you ever had any doubt whether Bill Winter was one of the model airplane hobby's earliest and most prolific contributors, check out this article that appeared in the January 1955 edition of Popular Electronics magazine (only the third issue since its inception). Radio control systems were just beginning to be commercialized and priced at a point where a lot of the public could afford it. Quirks and high unreliability that plagued early systems had become less of an issue so that airplane and power plant design efforts could take priority with aeromodelers. In this article, Bill addresses setting proper wing incidence and engine thrust angles for good, repeatable, stable flight...

Airships Rise Again

Airships Rise Again (AirLander 10) - RF Cafe"Tom Grundy, the CEO of Hybrid Air Vehicles, started his career working on fighters and drones for BAE Systems, and he was a project engineering manager for Airbus during the development of the A380. But these days his focus is on a type of aircraft that can do things the fixed-wing fliers he has spent his life admiring can't - even though the basic technology keeping them aloft is substantially older. Welcome to the second age of the airship. Grundy’s company is promoting its striking, pillow-like AirLander 10, initially designed for military surveillance, as a pleasant, low-emission alternative means of regional air travel. In May the company announced plans to begin service for up to 100 passengers per flight on a handful of short-haul routes (Liverpool to Belfast, Oslo to Stockholm, Seattle to Vancouver, among others) in 2025. A Scandinavian company is in talks about using the AirLander..."

1st Mercury Photos from BepiColombo Probe

1st Mercury Photos from BepiColombo Probe - Airplanes and RocketsTwo spacecraft built by Europe and Japan captured their first up-close look at the planet Mercury in a weekend flyby, revealing a rocky world covered with craters. The two linked probes, known together as BepiColombo, snapped their first image of Mercury late Friday (Oct. 1) during a flyby that sent them zooming around the planet. The encounter marked the first of six Mercury flybys for BepiColombo, a joint effort by the space agencies of Europe and Japan, to slow itself enough to enter orbit around the planet in 2025. BepiColombo took its first official photo of Mercury at 7:44 p.m. EDT (2344 GMT) with its Mercury Transfer Module Monitoring Camera 2, a black-and-white navigation camera, as the probe was about 1,502 miles (2,418 kilometers) away from the planet...

1974 National Miniature Aircraft Championships

Behind the Scenes at the 'Most' Nats (November 1974 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsWere you or anyone you know - father, brother, son, uncle, nephew, grandfather, friend, enemy - attend the 1974 National Miniature Aircraft Championships (NATS) at Lake Charles, Louisiana? Why that location was chosen for a mid-summer event is beyond me, but the NATS were held there a few times. John Clemens was Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) president at the time. I had just become aware of the AMA a few years earlier at the ripe old age of about 13. After 63 years on Earth I still have never experienced a NATS - or the Toledo Show for that matter (which, alas, is no more). I have managed to visit the AMA Headquarters in Muncie, Indiana, twice, though, but that was nearly two decades ago shortly after they opened. ...but I digress. Here is a thorough accounting of the goings-on at the 1974 AMA NATS as presented in the November 1974 issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine...

Walt Mooney on Free Flight - Scale

Walt Mooney on FF - Scale (January 1974 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsSince there is a lot of wisdom conferred each month upon the model aircraft magazine reading public, I thought it would be of service to scan, OCR (so you can search the text), and post some of the articles from vintage American Aircraft Modeler magazines. This first is the "Walt Mooney on Free Flight," from the January 1974 issue. One item is how a flying club near the Miramar Naval Air Station (of Top Gun fame) lost its site because someone (a non-member) flew an R/C glider at high altitude during a full-size training exercise, thereby disturbing the program. Eventually, all kinds of aeromodeling will be covered including free flight, control line, and radio control. Stay tuned for more to come...

Plastic Scale Model Kits - Airplanes and Rockets

Drones - Airplanes and Rockets
Modeling Resources

Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) - Airplanes and Rockets

Academy of Model


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Tower Hobbies

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Horizon Hobby

Sig Manufacturing - Airplanes and Rockets

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