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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 -

• Eyes Above the Horizon Honors Tuskegee Legacy

• Confederation College Announces Aviation Expansion

• 5 Charged in Aviation-Equipment Fraud Case • UK Planning 165 Mile Drone Superhighway • NASA Equity (not equality) Action Plan to Increase Diversity (equity based not on skills - only physical attributes)

• Chinese Space Junk on 5,800-mph Collision Course with Moon

• Senator Inhofe, Defender of Pilots' Rights, to Retire in 2023

• Top 10 Best Selling Business Jets of 2021

• Ukraine Aircraft Factories Under Threat

Pink Ladies Article & Plans

Pink Ladies Article & Plans, August 1958 American Aircraft - Airplanes and RocketsControl line speed has been around for many decades. As with all other areas of specialty, the state of the art has advanced significantly since the time of Bill Wisniewski's reign as king of the C/L speed domain with his venerable Pink Ladies. Today's C/L speed models have a single long inboard wing and often have computer-designed airfoils and fuselage shapes. In the 1958 timeframe when this story appeared in American Modeler magazine, the record speed was in the 160 mph range. The video below shows a new F2A world speed record of 208 mph being set in October of 2009...

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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.

Consolidated PBY-5A Canso / Catalina

Consolidated PBY-5A Canso / Catalina - Airplanes and RocketsOn August 26, 2013, Melanie and I toured the inside of this Consolidated PBY-5A Canso (PBY-5 is the Catalina) while it was on display at the Erie International Airport. It was on tour by a crew from Canada, which is appropriate since it was this particular airplane was manufactured in Canada in 1944 by the Vickers company. World War II ended before it could ever see combat reconnaissance duty. The PBY-5A has a wingspan of 104 feet 0 inches and is powered by a pair of 1200 horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp radial engines. Top speed is 179 mph. It sported six .303 Vickers machine guns and could carry up to 2000 pounds of bombs and depth charges. Hopefully, these photos will be of use to scale model researchers...

Milestone in Mankato: Ninth Rocketry Nats

Milestone in Mankato: Ninth Rocketry Nats, from January 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWhenever I look at articles like this one in American Aircraft Modeler magazine of the 1967 model rocketry nationals (NARAM-9) showing people from 40+ years ago, I always wonder what they are doing today. Kids that were 16 in 1967 are 60 today! Many of the adults, if they are still living, are in their 80s. Are they still flying model rockets? Are they in good health? Has life been good to them? Time can be a cruel master, or it can also be a benevolent guardian. But, at the time nobody was thinking about where they would be or what they would be doing in the year 2011; their only concern was the competition at hand and having a good time. Note the number of Ph.Ds in the crowd! Back in the day, model rocketry was a big part of preparing young men (and a few young women) for a career in astronautics...

HY4 Hydrogen-Electric Airplane Sets Altitude Record

HY4 Hydrogen-Electric Airplane Sets Altitude Record - Airplanes and Rockets"Stuttgart, Germany-based H2Fly has set what it believes represents a new world altitude record for a hydrogen-powered passenger aircraft, the developer of hydrogen fuel cell applications for aviation reported on April 19. Besides flying its HY4 demonstrator on April 13 to an altitude of 7,230 feet, H2Fly took the aircraft on a 77-mile journey between Stuttgart and Friedrichshafen on April 12, marking the first time anyone has piloted a hydrogen-electric passenger aircraft between two major airports, the company added. The aircraft flew the mission to Friedrichshafen to participate in the Aero Friedrichshafen airshow, scheduled to take place from April 27 to April 30. The appearance will mark the first time the company has displayed the HY4 to the general public. Testing of the aircraft has taken place exclusively in an area around Stuttgart Airport, which serves as a long-term partner of H2Fly and plays a key role in supporting the company with its infrastructure..."

Super Flower Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse Tonight

Super Flower Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse Tonight - RF CafeDon't miss this chance to observe one of the longest possible lunar eclipses tonight, Sunday, May 15th - a super flower blood moon. The earth's umbral shadow first touches the edge at 10:27 pm EDT, then totality begins at 11:29 pm. The 85-minute-long total eclipse is midway at 12:11 am, then leaves the umbral shadow at 12:53 am. A lesser darkening of the moon happens on both sides of the eclipse while in the earth's penumbral shadow, but it is not as stark. A second, nearly identical, lunar eclipse will occur in November of this year, so if the weather does not cooperate in allowing you to see this one, maybe you will get luckier in half a year. The skies here in Greensboro, NC, are forecast to be clear tonight. I hope yours are, too.

Gliding in Russia - What the USSR Has Done to Develop Gliding

Gliding in Russia, May 1934 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsThe spell checker sure gets a workout with stories from these vintage magazines, specially ones from in the 1920s and 1930s. Common words were sometimes spelled a bit differently than today, and other words are rarely seen anymore. And then there is the mix of foreign words and names of people and places relating to World War I, which had only ended ten to fifteen years prior (1919). Such is the case here in this 1934 issue of Flying Aces magazine in a piece called "Gliding in Russia," and even more so in the fictional wartime stories like "The Ghost from G−2." The "Iron Curtain" is a term adopted at the end of World War II to describe the imaginary line through Europe that divided Russia's Communist world from the Western Democracies; however, Iron Curtain was also used in World War I. Russia had for a long time endeavored to keep its citizens from learning about the benefits earned by peoples of free nations, including superior medical care, food, clothing, appliances, transportation, housing, mental health, etc. At the same time it kept outsiders from reporting on the internal situation of its territories. You can be sure that stories like this one were orchestrated by the Bolsheviks of the Politburo...

Sketchbook, April 1960 American Modeler

Sketchbook, April 1960 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThe April 1960 issue of American Modeler magazine provided this octet of handy tricks and tips for model airplane building in its monthly "Sketchbook" feature. Readers write in with ideas they came up with to solve commonly encountered issues with hardware, framework construction and covering, painting, trimming out a model for good flight characteristics, engine operation, and others. Many might seem obvious, but such is often the case after you see a solution, kind of like in school when working a math or physics problem and looking at the answer in the back of the book. A couple of the suggestions here are things I have done, such as running a nut up on a bolt prior to cutting the bolt so that it can then clean up the threads as it is removed. I also used to put a piece of fuel tubing between the fuel/air nipples on the fuel tanks of Cox Babe Bees to facilitate flying inverted. The homemade long drill bit trick was made in order to make holes through lamps I turned on my lathe...

3 and 4 Finger R/C Escapements

3 and 4 Finger R/C Escapements, January 1955 Popular Electronics - Airplanes and RocketsIf you're still using the "old" one-arm escapements in your radio controlled model airplane, you're probably also still using that "greasy kid stuff" in your hair as well. Just like the hip guy has switched to Vitalis, the hip modeler has switched to multi-arm escapements that allow more than just full left/right or full up/down throw on the rudder or elevator, respectively. Today's equivalent would be advocating for the use of digital servos versus the "old" analog servos. The more things change, the more they stay the same. This article entitled, "3 and 4 Finger R/C Escapements," appeared in a 1955 issue of Popular Electronics magazine.

Air Progress, April 1960 American Modeler

Air Progress, April 1960 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsBy the time these aeroplanes arrived on the world's airfields, barely a decade had passed since Wilbur and Oliver Wright made their famous flight in 1903 at Kitty Hawk. World War I broke out in the middle of 1914, and planners quickly realized the value of air power as soon as daring pilots proved the unmatched ability (by ground forces) ability to conduct surveillance and attacks well behind enemy lines. Avoiding ground fire was a relatively simple matter of flying high enough to keep out or range of bullets and rockets. However, it was not long before opposing forces found themselves battling each other high above the ground battle. Air-to-air combat had begun, proving the ruggedness of both man and machine. A time period of 1908 through 1919 is presented in this installment of "Air Progress" appearing in a 1960 issue of American Modeler magazine. Biplanes stilled ruled the day, with monoplanes being too fragile to hold up under the demands of high-G aerobatic maneuvering...

SpinLaunch Centrifugal Suborbital Injection

SpinLaunch Centrifugal Suborbital Injection - Airplaness and Rockets"SpinLaunch is an innovative new space technology company that has created an alternative method for putting 200 kilogram class satellites into low earth orbit. Unlike traditional fuel-based rockets, SpinLaunch uses a ground-based, electric powered kinetic launch system that delivers a substantially less expensive and environmentally sustainable approach to space access. On October 22nd, 2021, the Suborbital Accelerator came to life. Comprised of the key components needed for the Orbital Launch System, the Suborbital Accelerator is a critical stepping stone in SpinLaunch's path to orbit. SpinLaunch is building enterprise class satellites that are compatible with kinetic launch without compromising cost, performance, or mass.​​ We've developed a catalog of optimized subsystems and fully integrated turnkey solutions to deliver less expensive, more scalable access to space... "

Proper One Air-Prop Racing Boat

Proper One Air-Prop Racing Boat, April 1960 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThere is no simpler introduction to functional model boating than an airboat - especially if you are already familiar with the operation of glow fuel (or diesel) engines that have airplane propellers mounted to them. They are started and adjusted that same way as with an airplane, and all the mechanical complexity and need for waterproofing prop shafts and rudder connections is avoided. It is for those very reasons that my first-ever radio-controlled craft back in the mid 1970s was an airboat that I carved out of blue foam and covered with Solarfilm (remember that stuff?). It had a Cox Babe Bee .049 mounted on a pylon in a pusher configuration. We lived two blocks from Bear Creek in Mayo, Maryland, so there was easy access to water. For that matter, whenever we had a really big rain, the water would pool way up in the road and surrounding yards so that was available for use as well (not that the grown-ups were happy about all the water - or the noise my boat made). This cleverly named "Proper One" airboat article and plans appeared in a 1960 issue of American Modeler magazine. It is much nicer than the kludge...

Drones - Prelude to "Push-Button" Warfare?

Drones - Prelude to "Push-Button" Warfare?, October 1946 Radio News Article - RF CafeThe term "drone" is relatively new to being common parlance throughout society. Prior to the early 2000s, a drone was thought of as either the mate to a queen bee or a special remotely controlled aircraft used by the military for target practice or for carrying out special missions not deemed safe for human pilots. When this article appeared in a 1952 issue of Radio & Television News magazine, drones were the exclusive purview of the military and research institutions because of high procurement and operational costs. With the advent of inexpensive, highly advanced spread spectrum radio control systems by the hobby community, lightweight and powerful brushless motors and lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries, sophisticated miniature stability and guidance integrated circuits (processors and sensors), and advanced computer simulation, incredibly capable and relatively inexpensive multirotor drones are widely available. From simple toys for erstwhile non-pilots to serious R/C flyers to professional operators, drones are everywhere. A couple days ago I saw a utility company worker using one to inspect power lines along a country road...

Northrop SM-62 Snark Missile

Northrop SM-62 Snark Missile, January 1957 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThis 4-view drawing of the Northrop SM-62 Snark was scanned from page 21 of my purchased edition of the December 1957 American Modeler magazine. It is another example of Walter Jefferies' fine scale drawings. First U.S guided missile with intercontinental range, the tailless turbojet powered weapon cruises at high sub-sonic speeds. With nuclear warhead and range of strategic jet bombers, its range can be extended by addition of large pylon-mounted, underwing auxiliary fuel tanks. Combination ailerons and elevators, called elevons, are mounted on trailing edge of wing about mid-span...

Aerodynamics Scientists Turn to Paper Airplanes

Aerodynamics Scientists Turn to Paper Airplanes - Airplanes and Rockets"A series of experiments using paper airplanes reveals new aerodynamic effects, a team of scientists has discovered. Its findings enhance our understanding of flight stability and could inspire new types of flying robots and small drones. 'The study started with simple curiosity about what makes a good paper airplane and specifically what is needed for smooth gliding,' explains Leif Ristroph, an associate professor at New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and an author of the study, which appears in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 'Answering such basic questions ended up being far from child's play. We discovered that the aerodynamics of how paper airplanes keep level flight is really very different from the stability of conventional airplanes.' 'Birds glide and soar in an effortless way, and paper airplanes, when tuned properly, can also glide for long distances..."

Academy of Model Aeronautics License & Membership

Academy of Model Aeronautics License & Membership, September 1949 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsSince this membership application for the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) brings up the subject of inflation, I figured it would be interesting to find out what the inflation rate was in 1949 when it appeared in Air Trails magazine. According to the CPI Inflation Calculator, the rate in 1949 was actually negative (-1.2%) due to a multi-year economic recession triggered by President Truman's "Fair Deal"; however, in the previous year (1948) it was a whopping 8.1%, and the year before that (1947) it was an incredible 14.4%!!! So, massive inflation was definitely still on the minds of Americans at the time. The current inflation rate (March 2022) is sitting at 8.5%, with no sign of things getting any better. In fact, economists say if the inflation rate was calculated the way it was in 1949, it would be in the 15% realm. According to the BLS Inflation Calculator, what would have cost you $1.00 in September 1949 will cost you $12.03 in March of 2022. That's 1,203% inflation in about 73 years, which averages to about 1.102% per year (1.102^73 = 1,200)...

1974 League of Silent Flight (LSF) Tournament

1974 League of Silent Flight (LSF) Tournament, December 1974 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsI remember back in the 1970s when I first got into radio control flying, one of my planned accomplishments for life was to polish my glider flying skills to the point that I could earn an LSF Level 5 rank. Well, here I am at 62 and am lucky to get in a 20-minute thermal on a good day. The reason for not attaining the lofty goal could blamed on lack of time, lack of money, lack of opportunity, and lack of a lot of things, but the real cause is lack of commitment. The guys who occupy the top slots are there because they have sacrificed other things in order to be the best at RC soaring. It was as true in 1974 as it is today in (gasp) 2022! In this December 1974 American Aircraft Modeler magazine coverage of the League of Silent Flight Tournament, Mark Smith emerges as the winner and debuts with his self-designed Windfree glider. He later marketed the Windfree (99" wingspan) and the Windward (72" wingspan) as part of his Mark's Models business...

Supersonic Engine Breakthrough

Supersonic Engine Breakthrough - Airplanes and Rockets"Almost 75 years ago, U.S. Air Force pilot Chuck Yeager became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound. Engineers have been pushing the boundaries of ultrafast flight ever since, attaining speeds most of us can only imagine. Today, military fighter jets like the F−15 routinely surpass Mach 2, which is shorthand for twice the speed of sound. That's supersonic level. On a hypersonic flight - Mach 5 and beyond - an aircraft travels faster than 3,000 miles per hour. At that rate, you could make it from New York to Los Angeles on a lunch break. The same propulsion technology that goes into rockets has made hypersonic speeds possible since the 1950s. But to make hypersonic flight more common and far less expensive than a rocket launch, engineers and scientists are working on advanced jet engine designs..."

Retracting Gear B-17G Control Liner

Retracting Gear B-17G Control Liner Article & Plans, July/August 1963 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsCan you imagine what a sweet sound it must be with four Cox .049 engines running at the same time on the same airplane? Keith Laumer and John Simmance didn't have to wonder once they teamed up to design, build, and fly this 45" wingspan, control line B-17 Flying Fortress. As if that wasn't enough, they added a custom electrical retractable landing gear (including the tail wheel), navigation lights, throttles on all four engines, and flaps! An 800:1 reduction gear box was coupled with a 3 volt motor to drive the retract mechanism, flaps, throttles, and light switches. A third control line and a Roberts 3-line bellcrank controlled everything. Operation of the retracts is a bit dicey since they are triggered to go up at full throttle, then go back down at low throttle. That means the pilot has to be careful not to command full throttle while the model is on the ground or the landing gear will fold up on him. I would not have wanted the task of trying to get all four Babe Bee .049 engines running at the same time. Today we have commercially available electric starters for the small engines, but in 1963 when this article appeared in American Modeler magazine...

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

Model Aviation Magazine, AMA - Airplanes and Rockets

Model Aircraft Museum, AMA - Airplanes and Rockets
Modeling Resources

Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) - Airplanes and Rockets

Academy of Model

Tower Hobbies logo - Airplanes and Rockets

Tower Hobbies

Horizon Hobby logo - Airplanes and Rockets

Horizon Hobby

Sig Manufacturing - Airplanes and Rockets

Sig Manufacturing

Brodak Manufacturing - Airplanes and Rockets