Believe it or not, there are still some people
who scratch build their own model airplanes or build kits that require bending and
even soldering music wire for
making landing gear. I fall into that category, although I occasionally buy
a pre-built model to use while projects are on the building board. This article
from a 1954 Air Trails has some handy tips and illustrations to help someone
doing doing landing gears for the first time and maybe even for seasoned landing
gear builders. In fact, after reading this article, I implemented step #8 that shows
a good way to assure that the wheel retaining washer is soldered perpendicular to
the axel. If you do not use a jig of some sort, the surface tension of the molten
solder tends to pull the washer askew because of the proximity of the bend in the
wire between the wheel axel and where it leads up to the fuselage. The phenomenon
occurs because the natural action of the solder is to minimize surface tension everywhere...
The October 1950 issue of Air Trails
magazine did a duo-feature on Henri Delanne and his
Duo-Monoplane designs. This article reports on the life and accomplishments
of Delanne and his out-of-the-box concept of what an airplane should look like.
While not quite canards, they did have the wing far back on the fuselage, and larger
than usual horizontal stabilizer surfaces (essentially a second wing - almost a
biplane with sever staggering) and dual vertical fins. Flying surfaces were so close
to each other that airflow from the forward wing had to profoundly affect the rearward
wing. Wind tunnels, pioneered by Wilbur and Orville Wright, were available for study
of such configurations, but it would be very interesting to see on of Delannes Duo-Monoplanes
modeled on a modern software simulator using computational fluid dynamics algorithms...
"We posed a simple question to top people
in a few leading aviation companies and asked - regulations, market impacts, and
investment aside - how can
technology improve aviation and what should be commonplace that we don't currently
have? The answers were interesting, insightful, and surprisingly consistent. Connectivity
Our lives nearly depend on connectivity. Work, communication, social interactions,
home management, and virtually everything in our world rely on sharing information
with other people and other devices. Except in the aircraft. With limited exceptions
our aircraft remain black holes of connectivity. We have radios and receive GPS
signals, but until you get into large business jets and airlines, other communication
and information sharing is sparse at best. Maybe because of marketing to business
Here is a report on the
Nats, aka the 28th National Model Airplane Championships, held at Los Alamitos
Naval Air Station, California. For those not familiar with the early Nats, the U.S.
Navy used to sponsor and host the entire show primarily because it was considered
a good recruitment tool for young men of a necessarily competitive nature. Their
hopes were that those guys would see really cool stuff at the base and anxiously
anticipate the day when they could join. Some time in the late 1960s, the attendance
by youngsters was so low that the Navy decided to pull its support. Bill Winter
managed to talk them into staying for a few more years after promising to work to
bring youth participation back up, but, alas, it did not last...
Perusing through some old
Wish Book issues printed by the likes of Sears, Ward, JC Penny, Spiegel, etc.,
turned up quite a few model airplane types. Joe Ott and Comets stick and tissues
kits were available as were Cleveland as static display models. Many fuel-powered,
ready-to-fly models that pre-dated the Cox line used the Wen Mac .049 engines
with much-heralded "Rotomatic," "Cyclomatic," and "Flexomatic" starters, which were
variations on the simple spring type starter used by Cox. One particularly interesting
item is the "Remote Control Unit" that appeared in the 1958 Wards catalog for control
line airplanes. It allowed the pilot to operate controls from outside the flying
circle. I'm guessing no beginner ever got one of those to work - it was unlikely
enough that he would be successful holding the handle from inside the circle...
"A new gallery in the Smithsonian's National
Air and Space Museum devoted to the largest category of human activity in the air
- general aviation. Scheduled to open in 2022, the
Thomas W. Haas We All Fly gallery will help define the wide world of general
aviation and, through interactive exhibits and audiovisual displays, explore its
impact on everyday life and how it has influenced society. Most people experience
flight aboard airliners, and a great many have flown in military aircraft. General
aviation is everything else - private pilots who fly for fun and those who, like
Mock, set records; performers who fly aerobatics and compete in races; and professional
pilots who fly for all kinds of practical reasons other than fighting wars or moving
This short tongue-in-cheek article about
the use of salt mines in Communist countries like Romania for indoor free flight
contests was appeared in a 1963 issue of American Modeler magazine, at a time when
the Cold War was in full swing, your neighbor might have built a nuclear shelter
in his back yard, and kids practiced getting under their desks in the event of a
wave of incoming ICMBs tipped with MIRVs. In fact, the FAI world championships have
been held in Romanian salt mines a few times, and they will return there in 2014.
BTW, for those too young to remember, it used to be a common joke to talk about
sending someone to the Siberian salt mines as a form of punishment...
Here on page 541 of the Sears 1969 Christmas
Wish Book is a wide selection of
paraphernalia, including books, calendars, ribbons, coloring books, hand bags,
and Snoopy the Astronaut dolls. If you look for the authentic Astronaut Snoopy dolls
(item #4 in the photo) today on eBay, you'll find that they regularly sell for $250
or more. I've been a big Peanuts fan for all my life (more than 60 years, sigh),
and I have a few collectibles, but nothing worth much - a few old comic strip books,
and some glasses/mugs. I have all the fairly recent biographies on Charles Schulz,
which provide an interesting insight into his childhood, WWII Army years, and career
path from working as an art instructor up to his final years drawing Peanuts...
A little levity is good comic relief from
the burdens of the day. These half-dozen quips from a 1941 edition of Flying
Aces magazine are the perfect pick-me-up for an otherwise mundane day... as
well as for an otherwise good day! You will probably notice that the style of humor
is a different than what would be seen today. Other magazine of the era, like
The Saturday Evening Post, often contained short pieces interspersed throughout
the pages with similar odd-sounding poems and quips...
If the Standard Aircraft Company's model
Standard "J" looks a lot like the Curtiss JN−4 "Jenny," there's a good
reason - it was manufactured to supplement the Army's urgent need for trainer planes.
Its two-seater configuration provided the student-instructor accommodation not available
in the high-powered, single-seat fighter and patrol aircraft. The January 1955 issue
of Model Airplanes News magazine contained a two-page spread of some of the most
highly detailed line drawings you will find of the Standard "J," inked by Willis L.
Nye. Mr. Nye produced many such fine quality drawings for both model airplane
and professional aeronautical magazines...
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My father's side of the family hearkened
from the Buffalo, New York area, but we lived in Mayo, Maryland, where my mother's
family resided. Most summers my father's sister, Bonnie (my aunt) and her husband,
Brian (my uncle) would load my grandparents and another uncle or two into their
big cruiser and drive down for a week. It was always a great time. Every five years
or so, my parents braved a trip with my siblings and me up to Buffalo. I loved it
up there because of the cool weather. Sometime around 1972, we made the trek and
while there, in-between going to Niagara Falls, Crystal Beach, and other nearby
attractions, I built from a Comet kit the
Curtiss JN4-D Jenny biplane
shown below. My Uncle Brian cleared a spot in his basement for me to work. I left
it for him as a decoration. The years passed... and passed... and passed...
"James Meador, an independent researcher
at the California Institute of Technology, has found evidence that suggests the
11 ascent stage may still be orbiting the moon. He has written a paper outlining
his research and findings and has posted it on the arXiv preprint server. In 1969,
NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history when they landed a craft
successfully on the moon. After more than 21 hours on the surface, the astronauts
blasted off the surface in a part of the Eagle lander called the ascent stage. They
soon thereafter rendezvoused with Michael Collins in the command module which carried
them back to Earth. Before departing for Earth, the ascent stage was jettisoned
into space - NASA engineers assumed that it would crash back to the moon's surface
sometime later. Meador reports that the ascent stage may not have crashed into the
moon after all and might, in fact, still be orbiting the moon..."
was scanned from the July 1968 American Aircraft Modeler magazine. 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. This month's building tips
include a method for making scale WWI machine guns, fabricating scale flat-head
rivets and screws, properly balancing an airplane, and a holding jig for use when