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About Airplanes & Rockets

Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and Rockets

Kirt Blattenberger

BSEE - KB3UON

My Engineering Web: RF Cafe

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 ...

Airplanes And Rockets Copyright 1996 - 2026

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

My Main Modeling Websites

Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) - Airplanes and RocketsAcademy of Model Aeronautics

Tower Hobbies logo - Airplanes and Rockets

Tower Hobbies

Horizon Hobby logo - Airplanes and Rockets

Horizon Hobby

Sig Manufacturing - Airplanes and Rockets

Sig Mfg

Brodak Manufacturing - Airplanes and Rockets

Brodak Mfg

- Welcome to the Airplanes & Rockets Website -
"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." Lord Kelvin, 1895

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Model Aviation & Aerospace Headline News

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archives -

Pilot Ejects from F-35B Fighter After Hard Landing

• Pentagon to Restore U.S. Superiority in Hypersonics

• Model Airplanes Offer Arrowhead Students Valuable STEM Lessons • Airbus Launches DisruptiveLab to Improve Helicopter Performance

•  Mars Occulted by Moon December 7th at 10:20 pm EST

• 2.4 GHz Phone Jammers Blamed for Model Airplane Crash

• ISS Experiments Reveal Risks for Human Space Flights

• Powerful Chinese Space Rocket Engine Passes Milestone Test

• FOD Clings to Ingenuity 'Copter on Mars

Blade 230 S Smart Helicopter for Sale

Blade 230 S Smart Helicopter for Sale

My Blade 230 S Smart helicopter was purchased in March of 2022 and is now for sale. I decided to sell because my eyesight is too poor to see it well at more than a couple hundred feet. It has been flown only in Stability Mode and always with the training gear shown. When programmed per the user manual, the Blade flies very well and makes a good trainer. In order to make it even more docile, I set the GER and Stability controls to 150% and the servo throws to 50% (using my DX6 G3 transmitter - not included). With no wind it will hover hands-off. With the custom-made training gear, it has never even come close to tipping over. This is the Bind-n-Fly (BNF) version that did not come with a transmitter, battery, or charger. Everything looks brand new, and there is no damage to anything as far as I am aware. When buying the Blade 230 S, I bought a few extra parts I haven't needed. They are included, as is the custom training gear...

Aeronautical Definitions - Compliments of ChatGPT

Aeronautical Definitions - Compliments of ChatGPT - Airplanes and RocketsYou might have heard about the new OpenAI information generation engine called ChatGPT. It is a publically accessible tool for creating textual content on just about any subject. I decided to test ChatGPT's mettle by having it write a series of definitions for common aeronautical terms. The result, as you can see for yourself, are impressive. Thus far I have not found any inaccurate information. I wrote a short article about ChatGPT for my RF Cafe engineering website. Please take a couple minutes and check some of these definitions for yourself: Airfoils, Dihedral / Polyhedral, Planform, Aspect Ratio, etc. ChatGPT produces only text - no images or even hyperlinks to other websites...

11-Bladed Propeller in the Works

11-Bladed Propeller in the Works - Airplanes and RocketsWho will be able to afford to buy and maintain it? "Germany-based MT-Propeller has an 11-blade propeller in the works, testing it on a Piper PA31T1 with Pratt & Whitney PT6A-135 turbine engines. The world’s first 11-bladed propeller recently 'took the sky with an impressive noise and sound signature,' company officials said. 'The very promising results in static thrust, 15% increase over the standard certified 5-bladed propeller, and the jet-noise signature showed…what could be possible in the propeller developments,' company officials added. The propeller system, combined with a low RPM power supply from a turbine or an electric engine, opens new possibilities for performance, efficiency, and noise, MT-Propeller officials noted..."

Dragon Fli Article & Plans

Dragon Fli Article & Plans, Jan 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Steve S. asked for a scan of Phil Kraft's Dragon-Fli pattern plane. It appeared in the January 1971 American Aircraft Modeler magazine on page 19. Precision / advanced aerobatics airplanes have undergone a significant transmogrification from somewhat boxy outlines with only slightly larger than normal control surfaces and retractable, tricycle gear, to curvaceous tail draggers with fixed gear. Programmable radio with multiple throw rates and control mixing have permitted a lot of freedom in the configuration of the entire aircraft...

An Improved Radio-Controlled Sailboat

An Improved Radio-Controlled Sailboat, November 1935 Radio-Craft - Airplanes and RocketsAnyone entering the radio control hobby since the era of 2.4 GHz radios, with their couple-inch-long antennas, might be glad they weren't around in the 1970's through Y2K when three-foot-long antennas on the transmitter and receiver seemed cumbersome. They were, to some extent, but I still use my 72 MHz R/C system in models. Those of us who grew up with the 27 MHz and 72 MHz systems are equally queasy about the early days of R/C when an amateur radio license was required and nearly all units were home-built, and operating frequencies in the 78-meter band required a ¼-wave transmitter wire antenna of 58 feet be rolled out if positive control is desired. Such was the case with this "improved" radio control system appearing in a 1936 issue of Radio-Craft magazine. I salute the fortitude and technical prowess of my forebears in the hobby, but am very glad to not have been one of them...

An Airship Revival

An Airship Revival - Airplanes and Rockets"At Moffett Field in Mountain View, CA, Lighter Than Air (LTA) Research is floating a new approach to a technology that saw its rise and fall a century ago: airships. Although airships have long since been supplanted by planes, LTA, which was founded in 2015 by CEO Alan Weston, believes that through a combination of new materials, better construction techniques, and technological advancements, airships are poised to - not reclaim the skies, certainly - but find a new niche. Although airships never died off entirely - the Goodyear blimps, familiar to sports fans, are proof of that - the industry was already in decline by 1937, the year of the Hindenburg disaster. By the end of World War II, airships couldn’t compete with the speed airplanes offered, and they required larger crews. Today, what airships still linger serve primarily for advertising and sightseeing. LTA's Pathfinder 1 carries bigger dreams than hovering over a sports stadium, however..."

AMA Historical Video Collection

AMA Historical Video Collection - Airplanes and RocketsThe Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) has a webpage filled with great vintage videos showcasing key moments and accomplishments in model aviation. Included is a documentary on Dr.'s Walt and Bill Good, who pioneered radio control electronics and airframes to pave the way for incredibly complex and reliable systems we enjoy today. "The Choppers" takes a look at the history of R/C helicopters, beginning with the 1971 Nats when two of Dieter Schlueter's AH-1G Bell Huey Cobras were flown. "Wired For Excitement" covers control line airplanes for stunt, scale, combat, speed, and carrier. "Adrift on the Air... the Fun of Free Flight Flying" introduces the aspect of free flight aeromodeling, with gliders, rubber, and fuel power. Visit the AMA's YouTube channel for hundreds of great videos - both historical and contemporary!

Buzz Aldrin Marries Sweetheart on His 93rd Birthday

Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11, NASA - RF Cafe Buzz Aldrin Marries Sweetheart on His 93rd Birthday - RF CafeBuzz Aldrin has always been my favorite astronaut. He is the subject of my January 20th RF Cafe website logo. Aside from being the second human to set foot on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission, the West Point alum has a reputation as brilliant engineer, decorated fighter pilot, pull no punches opinions, and sharp witticism. No modern being has earned the right to be considered a role model than Dr. Aldrin (astronautics, MIT). Legend has it that Buzz Lightyear was named in honor of him. At 93 years old, he is still outspoken on matters of science and infinitely more lucid than many people decades his younger and even some presidents. It came as no surprise when this headline appeared last Friday: "Astronaut Buzz Aldrin gets married to 63-year-old girlfriend on 93rd birthday: 'As excited as eloping teens.'" In this age of compromised masculinity, it is good to have an authentic "man's man" (and evidently "woman's man") in our midst.

R/C Models Today Are Just Too Expensive

Editorial: R/C Models Today Are Just Too Expensive, September 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsNot all old adages are still true. Waaaay back in the last century, even as recently as the late 1990's and early 2000's, that is to say before the advent of 2.4 GHz, spread spectrum radio systems, brushless motors, and LiPo batteries for model use, you could make the argument proclaimed here in this American Aircraft Modeler magazine editorial that "R/C models today are just too expensive." Yes, it might apply to giant scale, competition models, and jets, but when adjusted for inflation, the cost of an entry level radio controlled airplane is dirt cheap. You can but a ready-to-fly trainer with airplane, motor, battery, charger, and radio system for under $100 ($11.82 in 1968 money). With so much stuff being built by Uyghur slave labor and other virtual slave labor in China where hopeless people commit suicide by jumping off production plant buildings, combined with a trade policy that includes undercutting American product prices, modeling has never been easier to get into...

Model Progress

Model Progress, April 1962, American Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets"She's a junk dealer's daughter, but she's given the air to Lord Rennell's heir. Explained sultry, blonde Nina Hobbs, 21...'He didn't pay me enough attention. He was much more interested in model airplanes.'" That line, quoted from the New York World-Telegram and The Sun story via Associated Press, was in this April 1962 edition of American Modeler magazine. I had to look up the phrase "give the air to" - it means to spurn, jilt, or reject one, especially a lover or romantic interest. Such a situation is not uncommon even today, and not just regarding model airplanes. The article includes a few other interesting items, along with plans for the Spearhead swept-wing free flight model...

Therapeutic Horse Riding Mounting Platform & Ramp Plans

Therapeutic Horse Riding Mounting Platform & Ramp Plans - Airplanes and RocketsMy daughter, Sally Cochran, owns and operate the Equine Kingdom Riding Academy on their farm in Greensboro, North Carolina. Sally is currently a Level 2 ARIA (American Riding Instructor's Association) instructor certified in Recreational Riding and Hunt Seat on the Flat, a member of AQHA, NCHJA, and PATH Int'l. She became a PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) certified instructor in November 2012. In order to fully implement a therapeutic riding program at Equine Kingdom, it was necessary to install a mounting platform and access ramp that can be used to assist people in wheelchairs and with other disabilities in mounting and dismounting horses. Commercially made platforms/ramps start at around $5,000, which is far too expensive for an operation like Equine Kingdom. So, I researched some of the government's handicap access requirements and designed the mounting platform and ramp shown below. As you might expect, there are no shortage of regulations. Ramp angle, safety rail height...

USAF B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber Unveiled

USAF B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber Unveiled - Airplanes and Rockets"The U.S. Air Force has a new stealth bomber: Meet the B-21 Raider. Officials with the U.S. Air Force and aerospace company Northrop Grumman unveiled the newest aircraft in the U.S. fleet late Friday in a ceremony webcast live online from the Edwards Air Force Base in California. The new bomber, built by Northrop Grumman, will be the backbone of the Air Force's bomber fleet once it enters service in a few years. It will also offer the first look at what are sure to be next-generation aerospace capabilities that will likely become commonplace in decades to come. 'The B-21 Raider is the first strategic bomber in more than three decades,' U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin said during the unveiling ceremony. "It is a testament to America's enduring advantages in ingenuity and innovation. And it's proof of the Department's long-term commitment to building advanced capabilities that will fortify America's ability to deter aggression..."

Renaissance of the Home Built Airplane

Renaissance of the "Home Built" Airplane, June 1961 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsI was surprised when I saw the byline of Douglas Rolfe for this "Renaissance of the 'Home Built' Airplane" article in a 1961 issue of American Modeler magazine in the table of contents. The title kind of implies it is an article discussing the past and present of homebuilt airplanes, but actually it is a collection of line drawings of various homebuilts, with a short narrative. The format fits with Mr. Rolfe's usual contributions with his Auto Progress and Air Progress features. One of the things he points out, which I didn't know, is that in the early 1930's the CAA (predecessor to the FAA) regulated home builders out of the air by imposing difficult to comply with rules. If history is any indicator, it was probably lobbyists hired by aircraft manufacturers paying off politicians and bureaucrats to make life hard on homebuilders. Fortunately, people like EAA founder Paul Poberenzny helped reform the system to facilitate a rebirth of homebuilders...

Facts About Microfilm

Facts About Microfilm, May 1954 Model Airplane News - Airplanes and RocketsMicrofilm-covered indoor models is one (of many) aspects of model airplane building and flying that I've always wanted to try, but never found the opportunity. You might be tempted to think this is the exclusive realm of white-haired old men, and admittedly it nearly is, but when you look at contest coverage in the modeling magazines, it is heartening to see a good showing of youngsters. For that matter, the same holds true for just about all forms of model aircraft these days except for radio controlled airplanes and helicopters. As recently as a couple decades ago, radio equipment was too expensive for many younger modelers to buy, so those who aspired to hobbies involving airborne craft had to settle for free flight and control line. Now, the department store shelves hold no control line or free flight models, but a nice selection of miniature R/C helis and airplanes. But I digress. This 1954 Model Airplanes News magazine article by John Zaic is a very comprehensive set of instructions on how to cover airframes with microfilm, a pyroxylin...

S. Korea Lunar Orbiter Photos of Earth & Moon

S. Korea Lunar Orbiter Photos of Earth & Moon - RF Cafe"South Korea's first-ever lunar orbiter Danuri has sent black-and-white photos of the Moon's surface and Earth, the national space centre said Tuesday. Danuri - a portmanteau of the Korean words for 'Moon' and 'enjoy' - was launched on a SpaceX rocket from the United States in August 2022 and entered lunar orbit last month. Its images - taken between December 24 and January 1 - show the lunar surface and Earth, and were shot from less than 120 kilometres (75 miles) over the Moon, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) said in a statement. The images and videos will be 'used to select potential sites for a Moon landing in 2032,' it added. Danuri is circling the Moon every two hours, the centre said..."

Carve the Italian Beretta 9mm Pistol

Carve the Italian Beretta 9mm Pistol, December 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsFinding an article in a modern model airplane magazine like this "Carve the Italian Beretta 9mm Pistol" from a 1954 issue of Air Trails is highly unlikely. For that matters, seeing an advertisement like the Polk's Hobbies Antique Gun Reproductions on the same page has equally low odds. It's not that boys are no longer interested in guns, it's that publishers are afraid to promote them in any manner - even for historical education purposes. Our politicians promote policies that allow criminals to enter the country bringing drugs, weapons, and other contraband; judges set criminals free or lightly sentence them; schools teach kids that all guns by all people (including police and military) are bad, and then want to remove all guns from law-abiding citizens. As the old saying goes, then only the bad guys will have guns. The morons believe putting an orange cap...

Airtronics Aquila Product Review

Airtronics Aquila Product Review, May 1975 RC Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsIt was in this May 1975 issue of R/C Modeler magazine that I first saw the Airtronics Aquila sailplane (way too graceful to refer to it as merely a glider). Airtronics had not introduced a kit yet, but they were selling a canopy and hardware kit along with plans, so I ordered them and scratch built my first Aquila. I was 17 years old then. It was covered to look like the one in the photo above (which would become the kit box label photo). Not having lite ply for the fuselage, I used hard balsa. Somehow I eventually managed to destroy Aquila #1, but by that time a kit was available, so I bought one and also the ABS plastic fuselage. A standard Hi-Start was used for launching. A few years ago I built a 105% Aquila version simply because I wanted another Aquila and had never built a sailplane with a wingspan greater than 99". I am now in the process of building an 80% scale Aquila...

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Amazon Prime - Airplanes and RocketsThis website exists entirely on the support of its visitors by way of a small percentage earned with your Amazon.com purchases. It typically works out to less than $10 per month. That barley covers the domain registration and secure server fees. If you plan to buy items via Amazon.com, please begin your shopping session from the AirplanesAndRockets.com website so that I get credit for it. Doing so does not cost you anything extra. Thank you for your support.

Tower Hobbies, July 1972 American Aircraft Modeler

Tower Hobbies, July 1972 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThis advertisement from the July 1972 issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine might be the very first appearance for the recently incorporated "Tower Hobbies." Unlike other full-page and multiple-page ads that would soon follow, this early example is all text, with the exception of the now very recognizable company logo. According to the Tower Hobbies History webpage, "In 1971, founder Bruce Holecek started Tower Hobbies with little more than a passion for RC and $800 savings." It also says the TowerHobbies.com website was launched in 1995, making it one of the very earliest commercial World Wide Web (WWW) entities. The Wayback Machine on Archive.org made its first capture on December 29, 1996, almost exactly twenty-six years ago! Do you remember the spinning biplane? Animated GIF's were a big deal back in the day. A Top Flite P-40 Warhawk cost $32.50 at the time, which in today's hyper-inflation era works out to $230.92. That's an increase factor of about 7.1x (810%) in 26 years...

Please see the Airplanes and Rockets Homepage Archives for previous items of interest...

Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) Plans Service - Airplanes and Rockets