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Home Page Archive (page 18)

These archive pages are provided in order to make it easier for you to find items that you remember seeing on the Airplanes and Rockets homepage. Of course probably the easiest way to find anything on the website is to use the "Search AAR" box at the top of every page.

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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 and aircraft introduced new dynamics to the trials..."

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 - RF CafeA 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 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...

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...

Balsa Weight for Various Densities

Balsa Weight for Various Densities - Airplanes and RocketsThis information appeared in a 1970s era Sig Manufacturing catalog that I had as a teenager. Sig also had an extensive article on balsa tree foresting and harvesting. They are as useful today as it was many moons ago. Also, Al and Rod Clark created a very nice set of graphs that plot balsa density versus weight for wide variety of balsa sheet thickness, width, and length combinations. There is also a brief discussion on balsa grain (A, B, and C) and how it affects the wood's characteristics. It is hosted on the AMA's website. Balsa is one of the lightest woods available, and in many respects has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any wood - even oak. The chart at the right gives a comparison of a few familiar wood types...

Aeronca Model L Series Article & 4-View

Aeronca Model L Series, May 1969 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsLow-wing airplanes had not quite caught on with the flying public prior to World War II, so Aeronca had an uphill battle in gaining acceptance of its "Model-L" series of planes. It ended up being a complete success. The article has an interesting tale of salvaging partially-complete airplanes during a flood in Cincinnati in 1937 using techniques that would never be allowed in today's highly regulated and monitored world. Interestingly website visitor Glen M. sent me a photo of an Aeronca LC on floats - the "LCS" model the author of this American Aircraft Modeler article suggests might have never been built. To be fair, finding obscure information was a lot more difficult in 1969, long before the Internet put petabytes of data at everyone's fingertips...

David J. Holland's "Flying Men" Cover Art

David J. Holland's "Flying Men" Cover Art Model Article & Plans, 1962 Annual Edition American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsOne nice thing about having a website like Airplanes and Rockets is that every once in a while a famous person will contact me with some great information. It happened again recently when David J. Holland wrote about how he still has the original artwork of his "Flying Men" models from the cover of the 1962 Annual Edition of American Modeler. He sent a photo of the magazine cover next to the framed original, along with a photo of his actual control line model. Says Dave, "The picture is of a magazine cover and article about my funny face models in the '50s and early 1960s. The model pictured is the third version as I wore out the first two. The story and cover were the result of a demonstration flight I did during the Sunday air show at the 1961 Nationals at the Willow Grove, PA, naval air station. I have the original art work of the cover, four times the size of the magazine..."

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..."



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