"Stratolaunch offered a glimpse of
the future when, in October, it posted a photo of the prototype upper composite
skin of its
Talon-A hypersonic research vehicle on Twitter. When completed, it will
test hypersonic payloads at speeds up to Mach 6. While Talon-A can take off
horizontally, it will primarily be launched by Stratolaunch's enormous jet
carrier aircraft. Originally designed to launch satellites, the company pivoted
to providing a test-bed for hypersonic vehicles following the death of founder
Paul Allen in 2018 and its acquisition by new investors. Company spokesperson
Art Pettigrue says the carrier offers unique advantages: 'We are able to provide
a wide hypersonic flight envelope for our customers...
It is surprising that today there is
no equivalent to the Jetex type motors that provide a simple and safe form
of jet propulsion for small airplane models. you can still buy Jetex engines
on eBay for not too much money, but the fuel pellets are quite expensive.
Over the years, a couple companies have manufactured Jetex-compatible fuel
pellets, but all of those are gone now, too. A couple decades have probably
passed since Jetex fuel pellets were available. American Modeler and a few
other magazines used to run build and fly articles for Jetex powered model
airplanes. This April 1960issue included plans for the JexJet, which uses
the Jetex 35 or Jetex 50 size engine. A built-up wing (23" wingspan)
and horizontal stabilizer helps keep the weight down. If anyone knows of an
available Jetex fuel pellet source, including instructions for safely making
this is another article that will probably appeal to a small percentage of
RF Cafe visitors, but please countenance my indulgence in things aeronautical
as well as things electrical. The early 1930s was a time when both
airplanes and electronics were a wonder and a mystery to most of the public
worldwide. Of course today both are still a mystery to the public but the
wonder is gone - it's merely taken for granted. Many idiosyncrasies of airborne
electronic communications were encountered for the first time, like the need
for proper grounding and static electricity dissipation. Ruggedization of
chassis assemblies in terms of mechanical vibration and shock as well as for
temperature extremes was a real challenge to engineers, technicians, and pilots...
Mars Helicopter (Ingenuity) will take off, navigate, and land on Mars
without human intervention. Tucked under the belly of the Perseverance rover
that will be landing on Mars in just a few days is a little helicopter called
Ingenuity. Its body is the size of a box of tissues, slung underneath a pair
of 1.2m carbon fiber rotors on top of four spindly legs. It weighs just 1.8kg,
but the importance of its mission is massive. If everything goes according
to plan, Ingenuity will become the first aircraft to fly on Mars. In order
for this to work, Ingenuity has to survive frigid temperatures, manage merciless
power constraints, and attempt a series of 90 second flights while separated
from Earth by 10 light minutes. Which means that real-time communication..."
Macchi MB−308 (or MB.308), designed by Ermanno Bazzocchi, was one of the
most popular light planes in Italy in the 1940s. Although it appears to be
of Cessna type construction with an aluminum skin, in fact the MB−308 was
of made entirely of wood - just like this free flight model of it by Cristo
Russo. With a wingspan of 24", it is a medium size rubber-powered (or CO2)
model built in stick and tissue form. The tricycle landing gear was unusual
in the era, and is not found very often even in more contemporary free flight
models. These plans and building article appeared in the September 1949 issue
of Air Trails magazine...
"The big silver airplane parked in
an open field was the only worthy target for miles. The Japanese bombers quickly
sieved the exposed
Douglas DC-3 with hundreds of machine gun bullets. Hugh Woods, a pilot
with China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC), was watching from a nearby
hillside. His heart sank as a 100-kilogram bomb detonated under the right
wing of his aircraft, throwing dirt, grass, and splintered aluminum across
Suifu airfield. His crew and passengers were alive and unharmed, but his precious
airplane was gone. With the wing mangled, there would be no chance of escape.
More attackers would soon return to finish the job. The best Woods and his
men could do was to hide the wounded airliner among the trees..."
For some odd reason the venue for the
1954 F.A.I. World Model Air Olympics was not mentioned in this pictorial
featured in the November 1954 issue of Air Trails magazine. However, an article
appeared in the July 27, 1954 edition of The New York Times newspaper stating
that the event took place at Suffolk County Air Force Base in New York state.
The 1955 event also occurred there according to this 1955 Air Trails article
entitled "International Meets: Rubber Power Wakefield F.A.I. Free Flight 'Gas'."
Do you recognize anyone here?
My first 45 logged hours were in a
Piper Colt! "Browsing the web in search of an airplane to buy is not unlike
taking a stroll through your local bookstore; the newest and trendiest items
tend to be featured prominently, with substantial fanfare. Carbon Cubs, Kitfoxes
and Cessna 170s dominate social media and are featured front and center, while
commanding ever-increasing prices on the usual classified sites. But hiding
in the quiet, less-traveled aisles toward the back of the store, treasures
can be found: older, less-flashy editions that, while frequently passed over,
nonetheless faithfully continue to provide wonderful experiences. Such is
the case with the Piper Colt. Often overlooked as a lower-powered..."
Website visitor David S., who
wrote a while back to let me know about the line of Atlantis Models* re−manufactured
vintage plastic kits, recently sent these photos of his amazing collection
of model airplanes
and rockets. As you can seem, most of the airplanes are rubber-powered
free-flight. A few electric-powered R/C models are hangared in the garage
over the door (a good use of the space). Let's see, for airplanes I spy a
P−47 Thunderbolt, an L−4 Grasshopper, a J−3 (or maybe a J−5) Cub, a couple
P−51 Mustangs, A Focke-Wulf, a Beechcraft Bonanza, a Supermarine Spitfire
(or two), a Sopwith Camel, a Fairchild something-or-other, a P−40 Warhawk,
and a Stearman PT−17. In the rocket category is an Estes Mars Lander, an Alpha
(of course), a Gyroc, an Honest John, an Aerobee, a Big Bertha, and an Avenger.
How many can you identify? David didn't mention whether he flies the free-flight
models and rockets or if they're primarily hangar queens...
"Sony unveiled its
Airpeak drone at CES, the world’s largest consumer electronics and information
technology show, which opened over the internet Monday. The 2021 Consumer
Electronics Show, which is scheduled to run through Thursday, aims to create
connections and showcase the latest in robotics, smart devices, digital health
and more. Some 1,800 exhibitors are participating in the show, forced to go
online by the coronavirus pandemic. Airpeak marks Sony’s entry into the drone
business. It can wield Sony's Alpha mirrorless cameras and is expected to
allow creators to shoot high-definition aerial videos. 'With Sony's technology,
creativity has no limits..."
"I treat Bloodhound as a very low-flying
airplane,” says Ron Ayers, the chief aerodynamicist for the
Bloodhound Land Speed Record project - a Mach-busting car designed to
exceed 800 mph. 'We're trying to go faster at ground level than any jet fighter
has,' says the project's driver, Andy Green, a retired Royal Air Force fighter
pilot. 'No jet airplane has demonstrated sustained speed at low-level over
1,000 mph.' Ayers and Green are no strangers to land-speed records. They were
part of the team that worked on the Thrust SSC (supersonic car), which blazed
across Nevada's Black Rock Desert in 1997, setting the current world land-speed
record of 763 mph..."
If the distributor name, American Telasco,
seems familiar, it is because they were the importers of the very popular
line of Jetex engines.
Allbon engines were the product of Mr. Alan L. Allbon, of Sunbury-on-Thames,
England. As with in automobiles, Diesel engines were quite popular in Europe,
and most of the Diesels available in the United States were imported from
overseas. A few of the Allbon engines were a huge success - notably the 0.5 cc
Dart and the 1.49 cc Javelin Mk I - and challenged production capacity
to a point that jeopardized the company's market position as competitors moved
in to fill the void. Allbon operated independently from 1948 through 1952,
after which it partnered with Davies-Charlton. That means this 1954 advertisement
in Air Trails magazine appeared in the partnership era. For a deep dive into
the history of Allbon, check out The Early Years at Allbon, by Adrian Duncan...
Here is an unusual project for the
control line enthusiast. Bob Tennenbaum's
Jumpin' Giro is an autogyro craft that due to its potential for slow,
helicopter-like flight, can be flown in a small area. That makes Jumpin' Giro
a good subject for old-timers who don't suffer spinning in circles well anymore.
It is designed for an .020 glow fuel engine, but a small electric setup can
be easily substituted. The rotor span is only about 14-15 inches, and as designed
there is no form of control; it simply flies in circles on its own. There
is probably not enough centrifugal force on the tether line to provide positive
control, but use of an R/C controlled electric motor would add to the fun.
My guess is it should only be flown in no wind or very light wind conditions.
That leaves out most days in my Erie, Pennsylvania locale...
Considering that only three-and-a-half
decades had passed since the brothers Wright first flew their eponymous "Flyer"
off the sands of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, it is pretty impressive to think
that by 1938 the majority of commercial air transport planes were under the
able control of electromechanical apparatus(es?). Rudder, elevator, aileron,
and throttle, driven by electrical servomechanisms rather than human hands
and feet, responded to the signals to analog computers fed data from onboard
barometer, accelerometer, level, and compass sensors, and from ground-based
radio directional beams. That was for mostly straight and level flight from
one fixed waypoint to another. An ability to program vectored flight paths
came later. This "Radio
Lands the Plane" article discusses progress being made in the realm of
completely automated landings. As can be seen, the framework for modern instrument
landings systems was being laid...
"As the largest state public power
organization in the U.S., New York Power Authority (NYPA) operates more than
1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. Live lines can now be inspected
drone-mounted cameras connected to a private LTE network, the utility
said recently. Currently, humans have to fly by the lines in order to inspect
them. NYPA said its drone test also demonstrated that high-definition video
and thermal imaging can be live-streamed from drones using private LTE. 'It
is extremely gratifying to see the progress of this drone test,' said Gil
Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. 'The pilot program to install private LTE
wireless technology across our generation and transmission network is integral
to NYPA's transition..."
This slideshow stepping through the
years of the Camaro holds special meaning for me since my first car was a
'69 Camaro SS. "Chevrolet introduced its
Mustang-fighting Camaro selling the first one on September 29, 1966. The
first episode of Star Trek debuted on NBC TV three weeks earlier. For the
1968 model year, the just-introduced Camaro saw changes mainly for regulatory
issues, such as the newly mandated side marker lights in the fenders. For
1969, Chevrolet stylists toughened the Camaro, widening the rear fenders and
adding crisp character lines atop the wheel arches, rendering the openings
trapezoidal rather than rounded. After a late production start, the second-generation
As the old saying goes, a picture is
worth a thousand words. That being the case, here are 8,000 of some of the
most amazing words that I've ever seen regarding
Cox control line airplanes.
These photos were sent to me by Airplanes and Rockets website visitor Charlie H.
According to his e-mail, there are around 300 models in all, many of which
are still in their original boxes. I see some pretty unique examples in the
photos. If my understanding is correct, he is interested in selling his collection.
It must be worth a small fortune. I will let you know how to contact him if
he does want to sell part or all of the models...
needs a sensor from the manufacturer? Researchers from the University of Washington
have equipped their drone with one of nature's finest detectors: a
moth antenna. 'Nature really blows our human-made odor sensors out of
the water,' said UW doctoral student Melanie Anderson , lead researcher of
the aerial vehicle known as the 'Smellicopter.' 'By using an actual moth antenna
with Smellicopter, we're able to get the best of both worlds: the sensitivity
of a biological organism on a robotic platform where we can control its motion.'
The live antenna responds to chemical signals, allowing the flying vehicle
to navigate toward specific odors..."
For the last dozen years or so, I have
been working to re-acquire some of the items I remember having as a kid and
teenager back in the 1960s and 1970s. Dittos for Melanie's stuff. Very few
of the original articles survived my handling, but fortunately many other
people took better care of their stuff (or their parents did), so much of
it is available on eBay. Back in the early days of eBay, a lot of the vintage
gears could be purchased at a decent price, but nowadays the costs have skyrocketed.
This 1960s era Carrom (aka
Carom) Game Board came from our daughter, who found it in a Goodwill store
for just a couple bucks. Even Goodwill and Salvation Army store prices have
gone through the roof, but she got this at one of the specialty "Bins" outlets...
Japanese involvement in World War I
is generally not as well known as it is for World War II. The surprise
attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, has permanently implanted itself
as one of the nation's most memorable events, and obviously the U.S. and Japan
were mortal enemies until the Japs' unconditional surrender on September 2,
1945, following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Conversely, Japan
was part of the Allied (aka Entente) powers in World War I, and was considered
an ally of America, Great Britain, Italy, and France (primarily) in their
war against Germany, Austria, and the Ottoman Empire. It was one of those
"the enemy of my enemy is my friend" scenarios. Japan played a major role
in barricading German sea lanes in the South Pacific...
aircraft systems have the potential to save lives, and NASA Armstrong
Flight Research Center's Resilient Autonomy project is at the forefront of
development. These advanced software systems are preventing air-to-ground
collisions in piloted aircraft and the project is now focusing on developments
to prevent aircraft from colliding with other aircraft in the air. The software
can better manage the mission intent of the flight while always maneuvering
within the acceptable performance limits of the aircraft, much like how a
pilot manages a safe flight. Autonomous aircraft systems have the potential
to save lives..."
Buhl Aircraft Company, founded in 1925
in Detroit, Michigan, really had just two successful airplane designs - the
CA−6 Airsedan and the
LA−1 Bull Pup. The Buhl A−1 Autogyro was a novelty aircraft that never
gained popularity. It came out in 1931, a year before the company went out
of business. This 1/2A size Bull Pup construction by Charles Hollinger article
and plans appeared in a 1950 issue of Air Trails magazine. The Bull Pup began
life as a rubber powered model, and Mr. Hollinger adapted it for powered
free flight at a request from Air Trails editors. Its 35" wingspan is a convenient
size and makes for an economical building project, even more so with today's
balsa prices. A conversion to electric power with three-channel R/C would
be easily accomplished...
As a lifelong admirer of Charles Schulz's
Peanuts comic strip, I occasionally buy a collectible item like a Snoopy music
box that plays "It's a Long Way to Tipperary," a plastic Schroeder and piano
figurine, a Charlie Brown Skediddler, or a Snoopy astronaut from the Apollo
era. This time I bought the edition of TV Guide that announced the first
showing of the "A Charlie
Brown Christmas" cartoon. Also in this edition is the announcement of
plans to preempt regular programming to televise the launch of the Gemini VII
spacecraft, which carried astronauts Frank Borman and James A. Lovell. It
launched right on time at 2:30 pm on December 4th. "As his millions of fans
long since have discovered, under that inept, ineffectual, bumbling exterior
of Charlie Brown's there beats a heart as soft and sweet as a marshmallow.
In the sequence on these pages, drawn exclusively for TV Guide by Charlie's
creator, Charles Schulz, he becomes concerned about the true meaning of Christmas...
intelligent parachute system deploys itself an emergency to bring the
damaged drone safely to the ground. The system can be easily mounted to a
drone at any time using a bayonet lock. Intelligent electronics monitor the
flight condition, independent of flight control; an algorithm implements automatic
crash detection. In an emergency, the pilot no longer has to react and press
a release button. The system operates without explosive, pyrotechnical components.
Drone Rescue Systems GmbH, awarded by the European Space Agency (ESNC-2016),
developed the fastest and most efficient parachute safety solution for drones
available on the market right now..."
Airplanes and Rockets website visitor
L. Ross wrote to request that this article featuring
Warren Kurth's Jetstream A-1 towline glider be posted. I recently purchased
the November 1960 issue of American Modeler magazine, where it appeared, so
I scanned and processed the images and text. Detailed building, covering,
and flying instructions are provided by Mr. Kurth. The Jetstream's projected
wingspan is given on the plans as 47", with a wing area of 269 square inches.
The fuselage is 31" long with a balsa box construction, while the wing an
tail surfaces are sticks and sheet ribs. The wing airfoil is undercambered,
which makes covering with Jap tissue a little tricky, but the horizontal stabilizer
uses a flat bottom lifting airfoil. Instructions for making the regulation
A-1 towline is even given. The model is built so light that it requires more
than 1.5 ounces of ballast to bring it up to the A-1 class minimum of 5.08 oz
The old adage about pioneers taking
the arrows is true in many realms - not just the exploration and settling
of the wild west. This story entitled "Sparks
on Ice" recounting the trials and tribulations of the troops who installed
and debugged the first arctic directional beacons appeared in a 1945 issue
of Flying Age magazine. "Sparks" (or "Sparky") was an endearing nickname given
to early radio operators who used spark gap transmitters to send out their
Morse code messages. It stuck around for many years after better transmitter
systems were developed - although it is not very often heard today. The most
interesting part of Mark Weaver's article is a discussion of the many atmospheric
phenomena that affect radio waves of various wavelengths. A lot of smart people
- enlisted, commissioned, and civilian - sacrificed mightily...
Experts and news outlets told
Americans and people of the world not use hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as on off-label
treatment for the Wuhan Flu, in spite of its being safely prescribed for decades.
We were told by "experts" that no vaccine could possibly be developed in less
than a year. Now, the American Medical Association (AMA) has changed its mind
on HCQ and a vaccine is being distributed today. Politically motivated fake
science has likely caused suffering and death for an untold number of people.
Resolution 509 (p18), November 2020: "RESOLVED, That our American Medical
Association rescind its statement calling for physicians to stop prescribing
hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine until sufficient evidence becomes available
to conclusively illustrate that the harm associated with use outweighs benefit
early in the disease course..." Careful who you listen to - it could kill
"In smaller spacecraft such as CubeSat
salt-based monopropellant is showing promise. The propellant, called FAM-110A,
is a mixture of two commercially available salts. It can be used in a combined
chemical-electric thruster. A rocket engine using the propellant could be
practical at almost any pressure level; however, it also leaves a significant
amount of liquid residue after it burns. This is undesirable because it means
that the combustion is incomplete. The formulation requires changes in order
to improve efficiency of its combustion..."
This "Mactuator," or
actuator for radio controlled models, may be a form of the very first
truly digital servo - that is to say that a digital input consisting of ones
and zeroes determines the position of the control arm. Analog servos and their
"digital" cousins of the types employed by R/C modelers use the relative position
and width of a pulse in a train of pulses to determine what the position of
the control arm will be. The main difference between the two types is the
refresh rate of analog versus digital - about 20 milliseconds vs. 0.3 milliseconds,
respectively. Most people not familiar with hobby type servos would probably
assume - and understandably so - that a digital servo takes as a signal input
a binary word of some length instructing it where to position the control
arm. For instance, the receiver might output a 10-bit word that represents
210 = 1024 discrete positions for the servo...