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 -

• 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

• Remarkable Aviators Honored During Hoover Presentation

• The Long, Frustrating Saga of the Mole on Mars

• EAA AirVenture Will Look a Little Different This Year

• NASA Test of Mega Moon Rocket Engines Cut Short

• 1966 Surveyor 2 Centaur Rocket Booster Found in Orbit

Sterling Cirrus Sailplane Kit

Sterling Cirrus Sailplane Kit - Airplanes and RocketsBack in the early to mid 1970s, I built a Sterling Cirrus Sailplane kit. Shortly thereafter I bought my first radio control system (a used 3-channel OS Digitron set), and in a somewhat desperate attempt to fly an RC glider, actually managed to crammed two of its huge servos, a huge metal-cased receiver, and a NiCad airborne battery pack (the only part that has not gotten smaller in the intervening 40 years) into the cockpit area. Although the cockpit was very spacious, the balsa frame construction was way too weak to support a radio system, but that didn't stop me... well, not right away anyway. The ready-to-fly weight was probably three times the recommended 12 ounce nominal. Although the Cirrus has a generous 87-5/16" wingspan, with it 25:1 aspect ratio, the root chord is only a little over 4" and the wingtip chord is around 1"...

Just Right Pee Wee F/F

Just Right Pee Wee F/F, November 1958 American Modeler American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Danny B. wrote to ask that I scan and post this article and plans for the "Just Right" (aka J.R.) pee wee size free flight model. It appeared in the November 1958 issue of American Modeler magazine. J.R. is a simple built-up balsa airplane with a 29" wingspan that uses a Cox Pee Wee .020 engine for power. As with most other vintage models, the J.R. could fairly easily be converted to electric power. I did not have the November 1958 issue, but fortunately there was a batch of the entire year of 1958 on eBay, so I bought them. The Post Office gave itself 10 days to deliver a 2-Day Priority Mail package from two states away, and of course blamed it on the Wuhan Virus. When they finally arrived, I discovered the seller had mistakenly sent 1957...

Uncle Sam's Plastic Air Force

Uncle Sam's Plastic Air Force (September 1973 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsAn Airplanes and Rockets website visitor asked me to make good on my offer to scan articles of interest to visitors - in this case one from the 1973 edition of American Aircraft Modeler magazine. Titled, "Uncle Sam's Plastic Air Force," it details the ambitious project the military undertook to provide visual aids to servicemen to help them identify enemy aircraft and, equally as important, to identify friendly aircraft. This private collection of World War II plastic identification airplane models is owned by the estate of a former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy who was a Class of 1953 U.S. Naval Academy graduate...

Massive Swarms of Deadly Drones

Massive Swarms of Deadly Drones - Airplanes and Rockets"The Pentagon has announced that one of its offices has completed planned research and development work on a number of unmanned drone swarming technologies and has now turned them over to the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps to support various follow-on programs. The systems in question are the Block 3 version of Raytheon's Coyote unmanned aircraft and an associated launcher, a jam-resistant datalink, and a software package to enable the aforementioned drones to operate as an autonomous swarm. These developments give us a glimpse into what has been a fairly opaque, integrated development effort to field lower-end swarming drones across the services that leverages common components. All of these technologies were developed under the auspices of the LCCM effort, led by the Pentagon's JCTD program office..."

The Duo-Mono

Duo-Mono, October 1950 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsCal Smith's semi-scale control-line model of the Duo-Mono bi/monoplane is certainly an unusual-looking airplane that might make a good subject for an electric power conversion. It is based on one of Maurice Henri Delanne's designs featuring a larger primary wing and an offset smaller secondary wing. The model shown here has a 31" span for the main wing and about 22½" of span for the secondary wing. The fuselage is around 25¾" from tip of the spinner to back of the rudder. A .30-size engine is used, yielding 70 mph flights at full bore. Construction is standard balsa and plywood, with fully sheeted wings. Burt Rutan, a couple decades later, was famous for his canard and dual-wing (not biplanes) designs such as the very unique and popular Quickie.

How Did Microsoft Make Flight Simulator Seem So Real?

How Did Microsoft Make Flight Simulator Seem So Real? - Airplanes and Rockets"Last August, Microsoft released the latest version of its Flight Simulator, extending the run of that franchise to 38 years and making it the longest-running product line in Microsoft's history. Published by the technology giant's Xbox Game Studios, the new Flight Simulator treats gamers to vastly greater detail and texture in both environment and aircraft, far better lighting, and much more realistic flight characteristics than in previous versions. The precise renderings of all 20 airplanes (which include the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Cessna 172, and Beechcraft B350) and the particulars of individual airports are stunning. Aircraft cockpits are functional down to the position of almost every switch. Air traffic (both actual and that of other users) is reproduced in real time, as is the weather..."

3D Printed Rocket Engine Parts Survive 23 Hot-Fires

3D Printed Rocket Engine Parts Survive 23 Hot-Fire Tests - Airplanes and Rockets"Future lunar landers might come equipped with 3D printed rocket engine parts that help bring down overall manufacturing costs and reduce production time. NASA is investing in advanced manufacturing - one of five industries of the future - to make it possible. Through a series of hot-fire tests in November, NASA demonstrated that two additively manufactured engine components - a copper alloy combustion chamber and nozzle made of a high-strength hydrogen resistant alloy - could withstand the same extreme combustion environments that traditionally manufactured metal structures experience in flight..."

Suspected Problem with Mylan Pharmaceuticals' Estradiol Dosage

Contender Article & Plans

Contender Article & Plans, July 1970 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Doug W. wrote to ask that I scan and post this article on Dave Platt's familiar Contender. It mentions at the end of the article that Top Flite would soon be kitting the Contender, which indeed it did. The man down the street from me when I was a kid flew radio controlled models and he had a Contender (early 1970s). It was covered in yellow and light blue MonoKote - kind of a strange color scheme. When he crashed it beyond repair, he gave me the carcass. That was a treasure to me at about 13-14 years old. It was the closest I had ever come to owning an R/C airplane. Occasionally, American Aircraft Modeler magazine printed plans in blueprint format, which is very difficult to use as a model building plan. They definitely do not convert well to graphical format...

Making Quieter Drone Propellers

Making Quieter Drone Propellers - Airplanes and Rockets"Researchers have published a study revealing their successful approach to designing much quieter propellers. The team used machine learning to design their propellers, then 3D printed several of the most promising prototypes for experimental acoustic testing at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's specialised 'echo-free' chamber. Results now published in Aerospace Research Central show the prototypes produced around 15dB less noise than commercially available propellers, validating the team's design methodology. RMIT University aerospace engineer and lead researcher..."

NASA to Begin Ground Testing on All-Electric X-57

NASA to Begin Ground Testing on All-Electric X-57 - Airplanes and Rockets"NASA is set to start high-voltage functional ground testing of the agency's first all-electric X-plane, the X-57 Maxwell, which will perform flights to help develop certification standards for emerging electric aircraft. NASA is also supporting these new electric aircraft by developing quiet, efficient, reliable technology these vehicles will need in routine use. Testing is expected to start with low power, checking the startup and shutdown sequences and verifying that the new motor control software boots up and controls the motors as expected. The first pair of electric cruise motors to fly on the X-57 will be powered up and activated, allowing engineers to ensure that the vehicle's propellers spin as designed..."

World War II in Color

World War II in Color - Airplanes and Rockets"World War II is one of the most documented conflicts in history. Millions of photographs and miles of motion-picture film stock provide a rich visual record of its brutal violence and celebrate its martial purpose. Color photography, though not new, had only just become widely available when the war began in 1939. Color images of the war are not hard to come by, but they are considerably rarer than black-and-white images. As the lived experience of World War II fades -  because of the passing of those who participated in it and of those who observed it from the home front - the use of original color imagery provides a sense of immediacy for younger generations, for whom the war is often a vague and distant event from the last century. As part of the National Air and Space Museum's ongoing renovation, which includes creating new exhibits in our flagship location on the National Mall in Washington, D.C..."

Crossword Puzzle from December 4, 1965 TV Guide

Crossword Puzzle from December 4, 1965 TV Guide - Airplanes and RocketsTV Guide crossword puzzles were always my mother's favorite Sunday evening pastime. It's not that she couldn't handle the New York Times' notoriously challenging crossword, it's just that The Evening Capital newspaper didn't have a Sunday edition so we didn't get the puzzle. My father worked as the classified advertising manager at The Evening Capital so we received a free subscription tot he paper. This particular crossword puzzle appeared in the edition of TV Guide that featured the first-ever airing of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" which I bought on eBay, so I figured I might as well scan and post it. Enjoy! Back in the day I was not an avid crossword puzzler, but I am now a daily worker of crossword puzzles and once a week I even create a custom crossword for visitors of my RF Cafe engineering website...

Mathematical Puzzles, 1981 Old Farmer's Almanac

Mathematical Puzzles, 1981 Old Farmer's Almanac - RF CafeEach autumn I used to anxiously await the appearance of the newest edition of The Old Farmer's Almanac on the store shelf, and such was the case with this 1981 issue. It is not that I was/am an avid farmer, just that I enjoy reading the anecdotes, tales, and interesting historical tidbits included amongst the pages along with tables of high and low tides, moon and sun rising and setting times, astronomical events, and weather patterns expected for the year that lay ahead. Most of all, I liked working the puzzles and riddles. Over the years the difficulty levels gradually got lower and lower (aka dumbed down), to the point where for the last decade or so I have not even bothered buying the OFA. Now it is full of numbnut stuff...

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