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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 -

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

• NASA Clears Boeing Starliner for 2nd Unpiloted Test Flight

• Women in Aviation Announces 2022 Scholarships

• NASA Selects 2 Venus Missions for Launch

• Chinese Astronauts Complete 1st Spacewalk at New Space Station

• Drone Use in Today's Society

• Electric Vehicles Are Booming in 2021

• Virgin Galactic Completes 1st Fully-Crewed Spaceflight

• Trailblazing Woman Pilot, 82, to Fly into Space with Bezos

• Pilots Protest Belarus Military Hijacking of Ryanair Flight 4978

Model Plane Landing Gears

Model Plane Landing Gears, December 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsBelieve 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...

Delanne and His Duo-Monoplanes

Delanne and His Duo-Monoplanes, October 1950 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThe 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...

Aviation Tech We Wish We Had...

Aviation Tech We Wish We Had... - Airplanes and Rockets"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 jet owners..."

59 Nats Hailed Great Success

'59 Nats Hailed Great Success (July 1959 Model Aviation News Bulletin) - Airplanes and RocketsHere is a report on the 1959 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...

Model Airplanes from Sears and JCPenny Christmas Wish Books

Model Airplanes from Sears and JCPenny Christmas Wish Books - Airplanes and RocketsPerusing through some old Christmas 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...

Thomas W. Haas We All Fly Gallery

Thomas W. Haas We All Fly Gallery - Airplanes and Rockets"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 cargo..."

Russian Modelers Seek Service in Salt Mines!

Russian Modelers Seek Service in Salt Mines!, November/December 1963 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThis 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...

Peanuts Toys from the 1969 Sears Christmas Wish Book

Peanuts Toys - Featuring Snoopy the Astronaut from the 1969 Sears Christmas Wish Book - Airplanes and RocketsHere on page 541 of the Sears 1969 Christmas Wish Book is a wide selection of Peanuts 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...


Wisecrack-Ups, February 1941 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsA 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...

Standard Aircraft Company Model "J"

Standard Aircraft Company Model "J" Drawings, January 1955 Model Airplane News - Airplanes and RocketsIf 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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Amazon Prime - Airplanes and RocketsThis website exists entirely on the support of its visitors by way of a small percentage earned with your 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, please begin your shopping session from the website so that I get credit for it. Doing so does not cost you anything extra. Thank you for your support.

Comet Curtiss JN4-D Jenny Biplane

Comet Curtiss JN4-D Jenny Biplane - Airplanes and RocketsMy 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...

Apollo 11 Ascent Stage May Still Be Orbiting Moon

Apollo 11 Ascent Stage May Still Be Orbiting Moon - Airplanes and Rockets"James Meador, an independent researcher at the California Institute of Technology, has found evidence that suggests the Apollo 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..."

Sketchbook, May 1968 American Aircraft Modeler

Sketchbook, May 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThis "Sketchbook" 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 soldering...

Plastic Scale Model Kits - Airplanes and Rockets

Rocket Kits + Accessories - Airplanes and Rockets
Modeling Resources

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