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.

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- 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 -

• Triple Tree Aerodrome Event on for September 2021

• Drone Chases down Border Patrol Chopper

• AOPA Awards $1.1M to 2021 Scholarship Winners

• Would a Fighter Pilot Shoot Down a Private Airplane?

• Reno Air Races Announces Performer Line-Ups

• Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins Passes

• China Begins Building Its First Advanced Space Station

• Air Force Spills Some Secrets About Its New Bomber

• RotorWay International Helicopter Sold to Rotor X Aircraft

AAR Quiz: Models and Manufacturers

Quiz #1: Models and Manufacturers - Airplanes and RocketsYour knowledge of model aircraft kits, engines, and equipment will need to stretch back a couple decades to score 10 out of 10 on this model-aircraft-themed quiz. Winners get a free 1-year subscription to the Airplanes and Rockets website ;-)   Good luck!

Portable Control Line Aircraft Carrier Deck

Portable Control Line Aircraft Carrier Deck (March 1962 American Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsHere is a clever control line airplane carrier deck design that derives it lightness from sparse construction and its compactness from making the modular components stowable within each other sort of like the familiar Russian matryoshka nesting dolls. Appearing in the March 1962 issue of American Modeler magazine, it is designed to accommodate a 60' circle, but slight modifications to the deck components can be easily made for other radii. Not shown in the plans but likely possible without sacrificing strength and rigidity would be to drill lightening holed in the 1"x6" and 1"x8" frame members...

Gyrenes Pocket Copter

Gyrenes Pocket Copter, May 1957 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsThis Hiller Helicopters XROE-1 "Rotor-cycle" looks a lot like the Bensen Gyrocopters that seemed to be in every magazine in the 1960s and 1970s (including this May 1957 American Modeler edition), either as a feature story or in the advertisements in the back. A couple James Bond movies even featured them as high-tech, futuristic flying machines. The U.S. military experimented for a while with the personal gyrocopter concept for surveillance and search and rescue operations, but it never really went anywhere. Remote-controlled drones do a lot of that work these days. Significant improvements have been made in airworthiness over the years and now there are many personal gyrocopters in use around the world - both homebuilt and commercially built...

Cleaner, Faster Flight on the Horizon

Cleaner, Faster Flight on the Horizon - Airplanes and Rockets"Aerospace innovators from government, commercial, and university arenas are developing technologies that would make supersonic flight over land possible, dramatically reducing travel time anywhere in the world. With these advances, engineers also are working to make aircraft more environmentally friendly, eliminating toxic emissions and reducing the amount of energy required for flight. NASA, for decades, has led the effort to study sonic booms - the loudness of which is considered the key barrier to enabling a future for overland, commercial supersonic aircraft. That future will be closer to reality when the agency's X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) airplane takes to the skies in 2022, taking the first steps to demonstrating the ability to fly..."

Flyin' Jenny Comic Strips: January 16, 1944

Flyin' Jenny Comic Strips: January 16, 1944 Baltimore Morning Sun - Airplanes and RocketsThis is the Sunday, January 16, 1944, "Flyin' Jenny" comic strip. The Baltimore Sun newspaper, published not far from where I grew up near Annapolis, Maryland, carried "Flyin' Jenny" from the late 1930s until the strip ended in the mid 1940s, so I saved a couple dozen from there. The first one I downloaded has a publication date of December 7, 1941 - that date "which will live in infamy," per President Roosevelt. Many Americans were receiving word over the radio of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor while reading this comic at the breakfast table. I expect that soon there will be World War II themes. "Flyin' Jenny," whose real name was Virginia Dare (what's in a name?), was a test pilot for Starcraft Aviation Factory who divided her time between wringing out new airplane designs and chasing bad guys. She was the creation of artist and storyteller Russell Keaton...

Blade 230 S V2 Heli & Spektrum DX6 R/C System for Sale

Blade 230 S V2 R/C Helicopter and Spektrum DX6 G3 R/C System for Sale - Airplanes and RocketsMy Blade 230 S V2 R/C Helicopter and Spektrum DX6 G3 R/C System are For Sale as a package deal at a bargain price. The video shows the heli and radio in use just prior to packing everything into the original boxes. I promise you it is in excellent condition and ready to fly. The helicopter has never had a crack-up and has always been flown with the training gear, so the even the rotor blades are excellent. I have put about 75−100 flights on it using the two 800 mAh LiPos. Here is more info and a flight video...

Stratolaunch Aircraft Makes 2nd Test Flight

Stratolaunch Aircraft Makes 2nd Test Flight - Airplanes and Rockets"The gigantic Stratolaunch aircraft flew Thursday for its second time, taking to the skies over the Southern California desert The six-engine jet with the world's longest wingspan took off from Mojave Air and Space Port two years after its maiden flight, following a change in ownership and purpose. 'We are airborne,' the Stratolaunch company tweeted at about 7:30 a.m. The behemoth safely touched down on its 28 wheels about three hours later and Stratolaunch called the flight test a success. Named Roc, the twin-fuselage aircraft has a wingspan of 385 feet (117 meters). It was developed by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, who died just months before it flew for the first time in April 2019..."

Control-Line Aerodynamics Made Painless

Control-Line Aerodynamics Made Painless, July / August 1966 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThe Academy of Model Aeronautics is granted tax-exempt status because part of its charter is for activity as an educational organization. I think as time goes on, it gets harder for the AMA for fulfill that part of its mission because presenting anything even vaguely resembling mathematics or science to kids (or to most adults for that matter), is the kiss of death for gaining or retaining interest. This article, "Control-Line Aerodynamics Made Painless," was printed in the July/August 1966 edition of American Modeler, when graphs, charts, and equations were not eschewed by modelers. It is awesome. On rare occasions a similar type article will appear nowadays in Model Aviation for topics like basic aerodynamics and battery / motor parameters. Nowadays, it seems, the most rigorous classroom material that the AMA can manage to slip into schools is a box of gliders and a PowerPoint presentation...

Mars Ingenuity Helicopter Makes 4th Flight

Mars Ingenuity Helicopter Makes 4th Flight - Airplanes and Rockets"After proving powered, controlled flight is possible on the Red Planet, NASA's Mars Ingenuity helicopter has new orders: scout ahead of the Perseverance rover to assist in its search for past signs of microbial life. The next phase extends the rotorcraft's mission beyond the original month-long technology demonstration. Now, the goal is to assess how well flyers can help future exploration of Mars and other worlds. 'We're going to gather information on the operational support capability of the helicopter while Perseverance focuses on its science mission,' Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division, told reporters Friday. "

Flying Aces Super R.O.G.

Flying Aces Super R.O.G. - Article & Plans, May 1934 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsIf you are looking for a simple stick and tissue model airplane to build, the Flying Aces Super R.O.G. fits the bill. The fuselage is a stick like the (former) dime store Comet wind-up rubber band models, and the empennage components are built up from 1/16" square balsa. Interestingly, the wing ribs are made from thin bamboo strips that are bent to an airfoil shape, which results in a high lift undercambered cross-section. You can probably substitute medium to hard 1/16" square balsa if bamboo is not available. If you want to stick with the original construction, bamboo shish kebab or chop sticks are pretty cheap at Walmart. Covering is Jap tissue. The R.O.G.'s wingspan is about 16".

DARPA AI-Equipped Jet Fighters for Dogfighting

DARPA AI-Equipped Jet Fighters for Dogfighting - Airplanes and Rockets"DARPA's mission to develop AI fighter jets has moved a step closer to take-off. The agency recently tested algorithms in two-on-one aerial combat simulations. The military research agency's algorithms took down an Air Force pilot in a virtual dogfight last year. In February, the Pentagon's 'mad science' unit tested how they'd perform as a team. The battle pitted two friendly F-16s against a single enemy aircraft. Each fighter jet was equipped with a gun for short-range engagements and a missile for more distant targets. Colonel Dan 'Animal' Javorsek, program manager in DARPA's Strategic Technology Office, said testing multiple weapons..."

The Great Electric Airplane Race

The Great Electric Airplane Race, PBS - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Kurt S. let me know about a PBS show entitled "The Great Electric Airplane Race," which first aired on May 26th. It covers a wide range of developments on electric aircraft - from early stages of development to models in or near the commercial production stage. Ingenuity and commitment amongst participants is amazing. The state of the art of electric motors and controllers has advanced significantly in the last two decades to the point where is seems there is not room for much more in that realm. Aircraft structures are necessarily incredibly lightweight and strong. The Achilles Heel of the effort is battery weight, bulk, and safety. Pointed out in the show is how a long distance airliner would require more than 100x the weight of jet fuel in equivalent batteries, and then they wouldn't fit. We (they, actually) will eventually get there, but some radically new type of energy storage will be needed.

Model Aircraft Covering Weight Comparison

Model Aircraft Covering Weight Comparison - Airplanes and RocketsWhen deciding which type of covering to apply to a model airplane structure, it would be helpful to have a table of covering material density for comparison. Here is such a table which shows, for instance, that 21st Century Fabric is the heaviest type of covering you can use. MicroLite covering is the lightest weight. Not shown are most doped or painted coverings because finished weights are so dependent on substrate type (silk, Silkspan, tissue, etc.), paint or dope type, and number/thickness of coats. To calculate the covering weight, multiply the density by the total surface area of your model...

New Wave of e-Boats Taking to the Seas

New Wave of e-Boats Taking to the Seas - RF CafeIs this cool or what? Of course I'll never be able to afford one (maybe an R/C model someday, though). "Electric boats of all shapes and sizes are beginning to make a splash in the maritime sector. It's estimated that maritime greenhouse gas emissions account for around 2.5% of the global total, marginally ahead of the 2% that aviation contributes. If shipping were a country, it would be the sixth largest emitter of CO2 after China, the USA, India, Russia and Japan. International shipping - much like long-haul flight - will not be electrified any time soon, as the energy density of batteries simply cannot facilitate it. And for an industry that’s recently committed to halve its emissions by 2050..."

Ready to Try Towline Gliding?

Ready to Try Towline Gliding?, April 1960 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsIn 1960 when this article appeared in American Modeler magazine, radio control (R/C) was still in its infancy and was a rich man's sport (mostly). R/C also required an amateur radio operator's license in order to use the transmitters. Control line and free flight constituted the purview of the vast majority of aeromodelers. Towline gliders were very popular in areas where enough open area was available - and back then there was a whole lot more open area than there is today. Take a look at the backgrounds of photos and movies in the 60's and before and notice how relatively undeveloped the land was, even around larger metro regions. Anyway, this article offers sage advice to modelers considering getting into towline gliders. Many kits were available in the day...

Ingenuity Helicopter "Muscles Through" Glitch on 6th Flight

Ingenuity Helicopter "Muscles Through" Glitch on 6th Flight - Airplanes and Rockets"NASA's Ingenuity helicopter safely landed after wobbling, suffering power spikes, and enduring velocity fluctuations on its sixth flight at Mars, officials said Wednesday. The helicopter took off May 22 on its sixth automated flight and completed the first leg of a planned 705-foot excursion without a hitch. But Ingenuity started tilting back and forth in an oscillating pattern, encountering roll and pitch excursions of more than 20 degrees, registering large control inputs, and suffered spikes in power consumption, according to Havard Grip, the helicopter's chief pilot at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Ingenuity overcame the glitch, which engineers traced..."

Hobby Shack Spirit of 76 Glider Kit

Hobby Shack Spirit of 76 Glider Kit - Airplanes and RocketsThis "Spirit of 76" glider from Hobby Shack was another of the models I always planned to buy someday, but never got around to it. Hobby Shack is long gone now, and finding one of these vintage kits is nearly impossible. Now, as then, my funds limit what I can justify buying (and a 920 sq.ft. house limits storage), so I didn't bid on this "Spirit of 76" that showed up a few months ago. This model is particularly memorable since it is named the same as the theme for my Southern Senior High School graduating class yearbook for 1976. The photos presented here were downloaded from an eBay sale. They typically sell in the $75 to $150 price range when in good condition and all the parts are included...

May 26th Supermoon Total Eclipse 

May 26th Supermoon Total Eclipse - Airplanes and RocketsA total lunar eclipse will happen on May 26th, but I won't be able to see it from my [disad]vantage point in Erie, PA. It will coincide whit when the moon is near its closest approach to Earth, so it will appear very large, aka a "supermoon." While the supermoon is usually a good thing for those wishing to view the surface features, it makes for a lousy eclipse because it is in the Earth's shadow (the umbra) for a shorter period of time, making totality shorter - in this case a mere 15 minutes. Oh well, maybe you will get to see it. The longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century has already occurred, on 7/27/2018 (1h42m57s), and the shortest was 4/4/2015 (4m43s).

The Gravity Plane

The Gravity Plane, December 1954 Popular Electronics - Airplanes and RocketsI purchased a couple batches of vintage Popular Electronics magazines off of eBay for use on my engineering website, RF Cafe; however, upon scanning through the pages I was pleasantly surprised to find that many articles on radio controlled airplanes were included. The 1950s and 1960s were relatively early in the R/C sport, and such things were still considered a novelty. Of course, today the toy shelves of even Walmart are full of R/C products. Kids today take them for granted... as I suppose my generation took for granted Erector Sets and Lincoln Logs. Anyway, I have begun scanning and OCRing (Optical Character Recognition) some of the articles and posting them here on AirplanesAndRockets.com. This first Popular Electronics, from the December 1954 edition, was written by none other than Bill Winter...

The "Scotch Monoped" - Article & Plans

The "Scotch Monoped" - Article & Plans, December 1939 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsHere is a fairly unique free flight rubber model named the "Scotch Monoped" partly due to its having a single wheel and partly due to its designer being of Scottish heritage. It is of simple stick and tissue construction, and full-sized planes were published in the December 1939 issue of Flying Aces magazine. "Scotty" Mayors says he made it inherently stable under all conditions by providing lots of side area in the fuselage and dual vertical fins. The airfoil is a rather thick flat-bottomed section. A look at the open framework reveals that minimum weight was a goal, since even the wing ribs have lightening holes cut in them. I forgot to scan the wing plan sheet...

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 Mfg
Brodak Manufacturing - Airplanes and Rockets
Brodak Mfg