"Another step towards
space exploration from UK soil has been unlocked, with the passing of the spaceflight
regulations, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced 29 July 2021. The legislation
provides the framework to regulate the UK space industry and enable launches to
take place from British soil for the very first time. It will unlock a potential
4 billion pounds of market opportunities over the next decade, creating thousands
of jobs and benefiting communities right across the UK. This also puts the UK in
a unique position as the first country in Europe able to launch spacecraft and satellites
from home soil..."
AIRMEET 2021 is happening today, Saturday,
August 14th, 2021. The Horizon AIRMEET has stood for top-class RC action for 13
years now. The non-stop air show with the best pilots on the scene has developed
over the past decade into an RC festival that is unique worldwide. The combination
of spectacular RC displays with breathtaking full-size acts makes the hearts of
all flight enthusiasts beat faster every year. Once a year, Horizon Hobby turns
the airfield in Donauwörth, Bavaria, into the absolute RC hotspot.
Here are detailed drawings for the
A-20 Boston / Havoc Bomber that I electronically scanned from my purchased copy
of the November 1970 American Aircraft Modeler magazine. Per Wikipedia: "The Douglas
A-20 Havoc (company designation DB-7) is an American medium bomber, attack aircraft,
night intruder, night fighter, and reconnaissance aircraft of World War II. Designed
to meet an Army Air Corps requirement for a bomber, it was ordered by France for
their air force before the USAAC decided it would also meet their requirements."
Because the drawings span two pages, you will need to adjust the size and alignment
a bit to get halves to line up properly. From there, with some extra effort you
should be able to create plans for a model if plans can no longer be purchased or
you just enjoy drawing plans (I do). Line drawings for this fine model were created
by Mr. Björn Karlström...
I was surprised to find in this 1934 issue
of Flying Aces magazine that the European countries of Finland and Latvia
used Swastika insignia. The Germans were not the only country that used a Swastika
for military markings. According to Wikipedia, many Asian nations and religions
used the swastika (pointing clockwise) or the sauwastika (pointing left) long before
the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi Party) decided to adopt it as
their organizational symbol. It would have been nice if Flying Aces had
supplied the chart of
early 20th Century aircraft country insignia in color, but back in the day color
on anything other than the cover was very rare. Fortunately, they labeled many areas
with what their color should be. I was going to colorize the symbols, but without
knowing the true shades, doing so might do more harm than good if someone were to
search for a color scheme...
in the sky fly above drones and below satellites. Alphabet's enthusiasm for balloons
deflated earlier this year, when it announced that its high-altitude Internet company,
Loon, could not become commercially viable. But while the stratosphere might not
be a great place to put a cellphone tower, it could be the sweet spot for cameras,
argue a host of high-tech startups. The market for Earth-observation services from
satellites is expected to top US $4B by 2025, as orbiting cameras, radars, and other
devices monitor crops, assess infrastructure, and detect greenhouse gas emissions.
Low altitude observations from drones could be worth.
Balloons in the stratosphere, 20 kilometers above Earth (and 10 km above most
jets), split the difference..."
Don Berliner, who published many articles
and even books on scale model and full-sized aircraft, provided this article on
SAAB J 21 fighter in a 1971 issue of American Aircraft Modeler
magazine. Most people nowadays associate the company name SAAB with high quality
automobiles, although Saab the car company went defunct in 2012. From the World
War II era through to today, they produce(d) aircraft. Here is an excerpt from
their current "About Us" webpage; "When Saab was founded in 1937, our primary aim
was to provide military aircraft for Sweden. Today, we serve the global market with
world-leading products, services and solutions from military defence to civil security.
With operations on every continent, Saab continuously develops, adapts and improves
new technology to meet customers' changing needs." The SAAB J 21 went through
multiple design iterations as both a pusher-prop and a jet fighter aircraft...
During our frequent walks around the neighborhood
here in Erie, Pennsylvania, Melanie and I would see houses that had
flower boxes installed beneath
the windows and vowed that some days we would do the same for our house. Finally,
as a present to Melanie for her birthday, I made measurements and drew up some plans
for a set to put on the front of our house. After doing a search on the Internet
for ideas, I decided on a fairly unique configuration where the boxes themselves
sit on a shelf that is mounted to the house. That allows the boxes to be easily
removed for servicing, and per one website, to be replaced in the fall and winter
with an arrangement of gourds, small evergreens, and various other seasonal decorations...
"Hans-Helmut Gerstenhauer earned a place
in history. He would have settled for a job. A cold wind cuts across the boggy heathland
of the New Forest on the southern coast of England. Wild ponies drink from the puddles
that the heavy rain has left behind. At first there appears to be nothing left of
RAF Beaulieu and the
Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment (AFEE) that covered the heath in
concrete. The British Parachute Regiment was established in 1942, and the AFEE was
the unit tasked with researching and testing parachutes and the aircraft that would
carry the jumpers - gliders, and beginning in 1945, helicopters. From the air, the
ghostly A-shape outline of the crisscrossing runways can still be seen, but on the
ground, traces are hard to find..."
This full-page advertisement for
Sabre 44 control line "gas" model appeared in the January 1955 issue of Model
Airplane News. Ready-to-fly "gas" models were just entering the market at the time.
The "All Plastic" model preceded Cox's popular line of ready-to-fly plastic control
line models. Whereas the Cox models used their own line of .049 and .020 glow fuel
engines, Comet used the 1/2A-Herkimer 049B engine. The $9.95 price tag in 1995 is
the equivalent of $101.25 today, which is really about what such a model with engine
would cost now if anyone made such a product (which they don't)...
Here are the plans and article for Charles
Curtiss P-40 Warhawk control line stunt model as they appeared in a 1963 issue
of American Modeler magazine. It sports a 38" wingspan and is powered by an inverted-mounted
Fox .35 Stunt engine fed by a modified Veco 3.5 ounce fuel tank. There was
an effort in the era to have competition stunt models resemble real-life airplanes,
even though exaggeration of fuselage, wing, and tail surfaces were required to facilitate
stunting. As is evidenced by today's top control line stunt models, the fad gave
way to structures designed specifically for accommodating the needs of flight. Even
full-size aircraft design moves in that direction over time, where traditional features
and methods give way to modern technology and materials. Compare the look of a production
composite frame general aviation airplane from Diamond Aircraft or Cirrus Aircraft...
takes us on a spooky tour of abandoned aircraft. We can't help being tantalized
by the sight of derelict airplanes. Their mere presence represents a mystery, a
backstory of abandonment we yearn to hear. Award-winning Russian photographer Dmitry
Osadchy knows that well, and uses his drone cameras to take us on a world tour of
aviation's ghostships. Some of the airplanes rest alone in barren landscapes,
like the F104 Starfighter pictured above, on an abandoned airfield near Crete. Others
are clustered together in mass graves. Either way, they all possess a strange, forlorn
beauty. Here's a selection of Osadchy's imagery..."
Airplanes and Rockets website visitor Peter W.
wrote to ask that I scan and post this "'The Langely'
Mulvihill Winner" article that appeared in the July 1962 issue of American Modeler
magazine. Designer and flyer Frank Parmenter wrote the article. Per the Academy
of Model Aeronautics website on the history of the Mulvihill free flight competitions:
"Major Bernard Mulvihill, born June 8, 1890, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was a
full-scale and model aviation enthusiast at the beginning of the era of flight.
In the model aviation world, Mulvihill was a member of the Aero Club of America
and served as president of the local Aero Club of Pittsburgh. He helped the Pittsburgh
club negotiate permission to fly at the nearby Government Aerial Field. Mulvihill
saw the value in encouraging youth to build models...
""It uses elytra, a
beetle-inspired set of wings, to self-right itself. When life knocks you down,
you’ve got to get back up. Ladybugs take this advice seriously in the most literal
sense. If caught on their backs, the insects are able to use their tough exterior
wings, called elytra (of late made famous in the game Minecraft), to self-right
themselves in just a fraction of a second. Inspired by this approach, researchers
have created self-righting drones with artificial elytra. Simulations and experiments
show that the artificial elytra can not only help salvage fixed-wing drones from
compromising positions, but also improve the aerodynamics of the vehicles during
flight. The results are described..."
While not specifically drawn as plans for
building a model of the
Air Camper, all the detail and dimensions necessary for scaling to any size
is possible using these sketches which appeared in the March 1961 issue of American
Modeler magazine. The "Piet" has been as popular a subject for modeling as is was
and still is for building full-size aircraft. Originally designed in 1930 by Bernard
Pietenpol, the craft borrowed many of its metal parts from Ford automobiles, including
the engine and suspension spring for a tail skid. Aircraft Spruce & Specialty
Company still sells Sitka spruce wood kits for the full-size Pietenpol Air Camper;
the total as of this writing is less than $4,000. You can be sure the information
contained in this article is trustworthy because it was authored by Mr. Pietenpol
Ray-Jets advertisement appeared in the November 1946 issue of Air Trails
magazine. The name is unfamiliar to me. The company claims to have the first jet-propelled
models, which use their brand of "Rocket Units" that use "no fire," "no chemicals,"
and are "absolutely harmless." It was obviously not some form of the Jetex rocket
engine since they did not enter the marketplace until 1958. According to the Model-Plans.co.uk.com
website, which has good info on the Ray Models kits, the "Rocket Unit" was a CO2
cartridge that get punctured at launch. The Jetex.org website has a mention of the
Ray Jet−Racer, describing the launch method, and another page on CO2-powered
jet models. On rare occasion one of the Ray Models kits will appear on eBay...
Here is a big part of the reason the FAA
is punishing R/C hobbyists with draconian rules and regulations. Thank a druggie
near you. "Drug cartels attack enemies and spread terror with
weaponized drones in U.S. Mexican police were clearing blockades placed by organized
crime groups in El Aguaje, a western Mexico town that has become a battleground
for drug cartels. Suddenly, authorities said, a drone flew over, dropping a gunpowder
bomb and wounding two members of the Michoacán state police force in the arms and
It seems most every old time rubber-powered
free flight model has been converted by someone to electric-powered radio control.
The availability of motors and R/C airborne systems weighing in the grams - or fraction
thereof - is making R/C flight for even the tiniest models possible. It would be
interesting to see somebody convert these
Fliers, which appeared in the April 1962 issue of American Modeler
magazine, to at least single-channel R/C using one of the nano-size radio systems
available today. Heck, there's probably a way to even mount a camera to a model
this small these days...
Plans with minimum instructions for the
free flight model were published the July 1961 issue of American Modeler
magazine. Bryant A. Thompson (AMA 2697 - USAF Team Member), of Wichita Fall,
Texas, placed third in the Open Clipper event at the 1960 Dallas Nationals using
his Miss Max cargo design. It lifted 40−½ ounces. The "300" ½A Free Flight and Clipper
Cargo versions are both shown in the plans. Scaling factors for "300" (Class ½A),
"450" (Class A), and "900" (Class B) model sizes are provided. A Cox Pee Wee .020
is drawn on the plans for the Cargo Clipper version. In the top view, note that
the wing is shown "flattened" (without polyhedral). "Flat span" dimensions are what
appear in the table.
If you didn't know that the famous
Red Head engine was made by a firm named Duro-Matic Products Company, you're
not alone. Duro-Matic made a lot of models and accessories in its early days, including
tethered model cars, engines for airplanes, boats and cars. According to an article
on The Internet Craftsmanship Museum website: "Starting in the late 1930's, Dick
[McCoy] produced about 35 race car engines on his own before having them made by
Duro-Matic Products Co. in Hollywood starting in 1945. From 1953 to 1956 the engines
were made by McCoy Products Co. in Culver City before turning production over to
Testors in April, 1956." Accordingly, this advertisement in a 1946 issue of
Air Trails magazine appeared not long after Duro-Matic Products Co. began making
the McCoy engines...
Per Merriam-Webster, the word "quiz" as a
noun means: 1) an eccentric person, 2: a practical joke, or 3: the act or action
of quizzing specifically - a short oral or written test. As a verb it means: 1)
to make fun of - mock, 2) to look at inquisitively, or 3) to question closely. Since
this "Quiz on Aeronautical Engineering Education" from a 1946 issue of Air Trails
magazine is directed toward the reader, its content does not seem to meet any of
the definitions. It can only really be called a "quiz" if it is directed toward
Northrop Aeronautical Institute, which it is. It is clearly a case of the reader
asking the questions, not the reader being quizzed on his aeronautical knowledge.
I point this out only because it seems like a deceptive technique for grabbing the
reader's attention by implying a test of technical prowess - in which the kind of
people who read this sort of magazine typically love to participate. Instead, it
is merely an advertisement...
"These engines will allow upper stage rockets
for space missions to become lighter, travel farther, and burn more cleanly. Researchers
have developed a rocket propulsion system, known as a
rotating detonation rocket engine, that will allow upper stage rockets for space
missions to become lighter, travel farther, and burn more cleanly. Rotating detonations
are continuous, Mach 5 explosions that rotate around the inside of a rocket engine.
The explosions are sustained by feeding hydrogen and oxygen propellant into the
system at just the right amounts. This system improves rocket engine efficiency..."
Website visitor Eduardo wrote to ask that
I scan and post this construction article for the
Beechcraft Bonanza Debonair. It appeared in the July 1971 issue of American
Aircraft Modeler magazine. I am glad to do so for anyone, at no charge, as
time permits. Usually, I am able to get requests completed within a couple days.
If plans are still available through the AMA Plans Service, then only lower resolution
versions are posted (typically 1500 pixels wide) in order to not cheat the AMA out
of needed revenue. Besides, there are distortions in the scaled-up magazine version
that would not be present in the AMA's reproductions from the originals. The AMA
Plans Service will provide a version of the plans at a size different from the original,
so, for instance, if you want a 48" wingspan rather than 60" like the one featured...
This article for the rubber-powered free
flight Penni Helicopter,
by John Burkam and Gene Rock, was scanned from my purchased copy of the January
1970 American Aircraft Modeler magazine. The Penni Helicopter is fairly unique in
that it has a functional tail rotor to counter the main rotor torque rather than
just a big flat vertical surface. It also features a flybar on the rotor head to
help stabilize flight. Main rotor span is 16 inches. Because the plans spanned two
pages, I had to adjust the size and alignment a bit to get halves to line up properly.
The AMA Plans Service does not carry the Penni Helicopter, so if you need a larger
version, e-mail me and I will send you a 4.5 x 3.0 kpixel version. You should be
able to scale up the image below, though...
Control Line Flying Scale" article in the 1960 Annual Edition of Air Trails
magazine is still a good primer on how to go about getting into scale flying model
competition. Some of the contest rules have changed over the decades since, but
the basics are the same. The table of model sizes and engines might need to be adjusted
for electric powered models, but in the scale world there are still many modelers
who use internal combustion engines - especially in the large airplanes. A quietly
humming motor does not give quite the same real-world affect as a screaming engine.
Even with all the research going into full-scale electric aircraft, we're still
many moons away from have a viable military fighter, transport, or commercial commuter.
The drawing is by the famous Cal Smith (as is the cover image), but the text of
the article is not attributed to any named author...
you ask most people what a birth
star is, almost certainly he/she will relate it somehow to astrology. The thought
makes me cringe. Although there really is no such thing as a birth star, there is
such a thing as a star whose distance from Earth is equivalent in light-years to
the day you were born. That means the light leaving the star actually began radiating
in the direction of Earth within a few months of the day you were born. For instance,
I was born on August 18, 1958, which was 54.5 years ago. All that's needed to find
my birthday star is to find one that is 54.5 light-years away. Fortunately, there's
an app for that. Per the Joint Astronomy Center website's birthday star finder:
(the original website is gone) "Your birthday star is in the constellation Taurus...
While living in Colorado Springs, CO, in
the 1990s, our family decided to build a compact
N-gauge model train layout that
looked like the northwestern Nebraska landscape that we had driven through many
time. It represents the old west that comes to mind from the Oregon Trail days,
although that pre-dated the train routes of the day. An inexpensive Lionel N-gauge
train set was purchased, along with a few extra sections of track. Since space was
very limited, a 4' x 4' platform was used, and was cut out of 3/4" plywood in order
to make it rugged enough to be moved around. Three sides were cut from the remaining
4' x 8' sheet. Unfortunately, digital cameras were not the norm then, so I didn't
take a lot of photos throughout the process. Styrofoam sheets were cut and sanded
to form the track underlayment, the hills, and tunnel, then gauze impregnated with
a plaster mix was applied over top of it all. Trees and underbrush, the pond water,
and faux grass...
Microfilm-covered indoor models is one (of
many) aspects of model airplane building and flying that I've always wanted to try,
but never found the opportunity. You might be tempted to think this is the exclusive
realm of white-haired old men, and admittedly it nearly is, but when you look at
contest coverage in the modeling magazines, it is heartening to see a good showing
of youngsters. For that matter, the same holds true for just about all forms of
model aircraft these days except for radio controlled airplanes and helicopters.
As recently as a couple decades ago, radio equipment was too expensive for many
younger modelers to buy, so those who aspired to hobbies involving airborne craft
had to settle for free flight and control line. Now, the department store shelves
hold no control line or free flight models, but a nice selection of miniature R/C
helis and airplanes...
"Two pilots flew Virgin Galactic's
SpaceShipTwo rocketplane to the edge of space Saturday over New Mexico on the
first human spaceflight from the company's new home base at Spaceport America. Commercial
astronauts Rick 'CJ' Sturckow and Dave Mackay were aboard the flight deck of Virgin
Galactic's VSS Unity spaceship for the test flight. After release from Virgin Galactic's
carrier aircraft VMS Eve at an altitude of about 50,000 feet (15,240 meters), the
SpaceShipTwo rocketplane fired a hybrid motor Saturday for a minute-long burn to
boost the ship above the dense atmosphere to a maximum velocity about three-and-a-half
times the speed of sound..."
familiar with Dahlgren history has almost certainly heard of Carl Norden and Dahlgren's
role in the development of his famous bombsight. It's less well known that he came
to Dahlgren two years before his first bombsight tests and almost five years before
testing the first version of his famous bombsight in 1924. This earlier visit was
related to the development and testing of a 'flying bomb' for the Navy. This work
was an outgrowth of a project started by Elmer Sperry to build a
gyro stabilized, unmanned airplane for the Navy. Several years after he came
to the United States Norden went to work for Elmer Sperry ('Old Man Dynamite'),
fell out with Sperry over patent rights..."
Fresh off the Flying Aces magazine
press (in 1934) is this article and plans for a rubber-powered free flight
Reliant model. The 26-inch wingspan craft drawn and built by author Avrum Zier
is of customary construction with balsa sticks and Jap tissue covering. A carved
cowl and wheel pants, and paper landing gear fairings make for a very nice look.
There five plans sheets that can be scaled up or down to suit your needs. Send me
an e-mail if you need higher resolution plans files.
Your knowledge of model aircraft kits, engines,
and equipment will need to stretch back a couple decades to score 10 out of 10 on
quiz. Winners get a free 1-year subscription to the Airplanes and Rockets website
;-) Good luck!
Here is a clever
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...