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Home Page Archive (page 22)

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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PA-6 Control Line Stunt Model

PA-6 Control Line Stunt Model Article & Plans, July 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Joshua H. wrote asking me to scan and post this article on Bob Baron's "PA-6" control line stunt design that appeared in the July 1968 edition of American Aircraft Modeler magazine. Per the airplane's designer, "Cleverly blended design factors - notably engine/prop combination - make this a truly great stunt design." Great care in planning was used to obtain a model that was lightweight and would fly relatively slowly on 70-foot, 0.015" diameter (low drag) steel lines. Its 56" wingspan and Super-Tigre .35 BB engine with a 50-oz. flying weight on 70' lines reportedly results in a near-perfect stunter...

Top 50 NASA Photographs

Top 50 NASA Photographs - Airplanes and RocketsThis "Earthrise" photograph take by Apollo 10 astronauts is probably the most iconic in NASA's scrapbook. Another is Neil Armstrong's bootprint in the lunar surface. The first launch of a Space Shuttle (Columbia) in 1981 and Viking II's image of the Martian in 1976 (America's bicentennial year) surface are also included in this slideshow entitled Top NASA Photos of All Time. These are mostly 20th century images and do not include some of the spectacular images obtained since 2000. We old guys remember when all those photos in the slideshow were first shown to the public.

Teleguided Missiles

Teleguided Missiles, February 1947 Radio-Craft - Airplanes and RocketsHere is yet another example of how hobbyists laid the groundwork for technical innovations that were eventually adapted for use and improved by professional organizations - the military, universities, corporations. Radio control of model airplanes was first successfully achieved by a pair of brothers, Dr. Bill Good and Dr. Walt Good (kind of like the Wrights), who experimented with what were at the time rather crude engines and electronic and electromechanical devices. The year was 1936, only eleven years before this article appeared in Radio−Craft magazine reporting on the U.S. Army Air Force's and Navy's use of radio-controlled drones, or as the title says, "Teleguided Missiles." Some systems were designed from the ground up to be missiles while others were systems installed in existing aircraft which had been decommissioned for normal human-piloted use. They were sort of a Kamikaze craft without the expendable airman inside...

Thales & Airbus Perlan Glider Test Extreme Altitude Communications

Thales & Airbus Perlan Glider Test Extreme Altitude Communications - Airplanes and Rockets"Thales has partnered with the climate and aerospace research project Airbus Perlan Mission II, with plans to create the 'highest ever Wi-Fi hotspot.' Airbus Perlan Mission II Through the partnership, Thales will aim to fly its latest mobile satellite communications system, FlytLink, in a zero-emission glider to more than twice the altitude of a commercial airline flight. Based in Nevada, the Airbus Perlan Mission II team is planning for a possible return to flight this year in the US and El Calafate, Argentina. The group has already set aviation world altitude records in the Perlan 2 glider, which was designed, built and deployed to fly to 90,000ft. Launched in 2015, the Perlan 2 achieved its highest record-setting flight of above 76,000 in 2018. The organisation's mission is to conduct climate, atmospheric and aeronautical research at extreme high altitudes. Applications of its research include informing more accurate climate change models, innovating zero-emission aviation and demonstrating feasibility of using energy-efficient winged aircraft on Mars..."

Hydro Hints - Pontoons for Airplanes

Hydro Hints - Pontoons for Airplanes, September 1949 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsGiven the "Hydro Hints" title of this article from the September 1949 issue of Air Trails magazine, I though it would be about model hydroplanes, but it turned out to be about designing and building floats (pontoons) for free flight and control line airplanes. Rise Off Water (ROW) has been a popular sport flying and contest event for about as long as model airplanes have been around. Unlike with R/C water flying, these floats needed only to function as launching devices since unless you are flying off a large body of water, it is unlikely that the model would also be landing on water. In fact, many ROW flights are initiated from a make-shift "puddle" consisting of a child's plastic wading pool or a small area in the ground that has been filled with water specifically for the event. Take-off run distances are extremely short unless the model runs into trouble or the floats and/or airplane are poorly designed...

Canard Pointers

Canard Pointers, April 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsCanard airplanes - those with the horizontal stabilizer forward of the wing - have been around for a long time. In fact, the Wright Brothers' airplanes were canards. They tend to go in and out of style. It seems all of a sudden articles will appear in all the model magazines for a couple months, and then they disappear for a few years until something makes them popular again. For full-size airplanes, it probably wasn't until Burt Rutan came on the scene in the early 1970s with his Varieze (and later the Long-EZ). That started another wave of canard models. Than, as usual, they faded from view. A decade later, the Beechcraft Starship emerged as the first commercial jet canard. The Eurofighter is now the most prominent canard. For a particular configuration to really rule the model airplane scene, it needs to win big at national and international contests. So far, that has not happened...

James Webb Space Telescope Shield Deployed

James Webb Space Telescope Shield Deployed - Airplanes and Rockets"The most powerful space telescope ever built completed a tricky two-week-long deployment phase Saturday, unfolding its final golden mirror panel, as it readies to study every phase of cosmic history. Engineering teams in the James Webb Space Telescope's control room cheered as confirmation came back that its final wing was deployed and latched into place. 'I'm emotional about it - what an amazing milestone,' Thomas Zurbuchen, a senior NASA engineer, said during the live video feed as stargazers worldwide celebrated. Because the telescope was too large to fit into a rocket's nose cone in its operation configuration, it was transported folded up..."

Fleetwon Control Line Combat Model

Fleetwon Control Line Combat Model, Annual 1960 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThese plans for the Fleetwon control line combat model was sort of crammed into the 1960 Annual edition of Air Trails magazine. I say that because the article accompanying it is rather terse, and there are no photos of the actual built model. Bob Peru designed it for a .35 size engine, but says it can get along with a .19 if ultimate performance is not required. Wingspan is about 38", so a .19 would definitely be on the low side for power unless the model is built extremely light. Construction employs a typical balsa main framework with plywood and hardwood used for engine and bellcrank support...

Models + Marquardt = Ramjets

Models + Marquardt = Ramjets, September 1949 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsAs with most careers in technology fields, many of the most successful and imaginative people engaged in some lesser form of the craft as a hobby in their younger years. Burt Rutan, famous for his canard airplane designs and as founder of Scaled Composites with its SpaceShipOne suborbital craft, is a very familiar example of that. Roy Marquardt, a Caltech graduate who initially worked for Northrop Corporation, is not quite as well-known; however, his aerospace company, Marquardt Aircraft Company, was widely regarded for its founder's "outside-the-box" thinking with his unique jet-powered designs. The Whirlijet shown in this 1949 issue of Air Trails magazine was likely the motivation for the JETicopter Jetex engine powered model distribute in the early 1950s by American Telasco. Marquardt's ramjets typically had no moving parts except for the fuel pump, and could run on low octane gasoline...

Joby Aviation Reaches Dual FAA and USAF Milestones

Joby Aviation Reaches Dual FAA and USAF Milestones - Airplanes and Rockets"Joby Aviation, the developers of eVTOL aircraft for commercial passenger service, has received FAA Special Airworthiness Certification and US Air Force Airworthiness Approval for a second pre-production prototype aircraft. The first pre-production prototype generated 65TB of test data in 2021, flying over 5,300 miles, including what is believed to be the longest flight of an eVTOL aircraft to date, at 154.6 miles on a single charge. Joby said the second aircraft will ‘significantly accelerate' its capacity for flight testing in 2022, further supporting company ambitions to certify its aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in time to launch commercial operations in 2024..."

"Battling Grogan" - Hawks of Nippon

"Battling Grogan" - Hawks of Nippon, May 1934 Flying Aces - Airplanes and Rockets"Battling Grogan" was one Flying Aces magazine's series of sagas of World War I and post-World War I flying aces. Robert Burtt was the author. Other included "G−2" secret agent Captain Philip Strange, by Donald Keyhoe, and Arch Whitehouse's Kerry Keen (aka "the Griffon"). Battling Grogan tales took place in the run-up to America entering officially into World War II, when many nation's fighter pilot hired on to foreign air forces as what were essentially mercenaries. Some flew for China to defend the country from Japan's brutal onslaught, while others signed on with Japan. Political and patriotic emotions often had nothing to do with which side a pilot was on; it was primarily a factor of pay and flying opportunity. Grogan was of course on the good-guy side as he elected to assist China. He was not part of the Flying Tigers (formally called the First American Volunteer Group), but instead commanded the Dragon Squadron...

Wanted: A&P Mechanics - Part II

Wanted: A&P Mechanics - Part II, March 1967 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWith the commercial airline industry and military strategic and logistic air operations moving inexorably into the jet age, demand was high for skilled airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanics. The military took care of its own training, but the civilian world also desperately needed technicians to maintain their hardware. For that matter, even highly experienced veterans usually needed to receive specialized training to qualify for working on the models of engines and airframes sold for civilian use. As you probably know, many models of both airplanes and engines had both military and civilian versions, so a lot of similarity existed, but with the huge investment in equipment and human lives at stake, total familiarity with complete systems was (and still is) essential. Model and full-size aviation magazines published many articles like this one in a 1967 issue of American Modeler in order to coax people into the field. Promises of good pay...

R/C Triplex: 3 Controls on 1 Channel

R/C Triplex: Three Controls on One Channel, November 1956 Popular Electronics - RF CafeThis "R/C Triplex: Three Channels on One Channel" article that appeared in a 1956 issue of Popular Electronics magazine was written by a fellow who was well known in the aeromodeling world at the time - Claude McCullough. Claude won many titles in precision scale for both control line (C/L) and radio control (R/C). As was the case with many R/C modelers of the era, he did a lot of experimentation with transmitters, receivers, and electromechanical devices used to move control surfaces. Rubber-band-powered escapements dominated the field, but some servomechanisms were being developed to provide a means for proportional control and/or a more powerful means of multiposition control. As can be seen in the video I produced showing how a typical escapement worked, the output drove the airplane's rudder to either neutral, full left, or full right deflections, with no position in-between. To actuate the control, the R/C pilot pushed a button on the transmitter the number of times required to affect the desired control movement. That made for somewhat jerky flights...

Palomar Survey Quantifies Interference of Starlink Satellites - Airplanes and RocketsBoth professional and amateur astronomers have warned of the severe negative impact the presence of thousands (or tens of thousands) of Earth-orbiting satellites will have on optical astrophotography. Bright streaks running through the field of view are an impediment to obtaining quality long time exposure images. An occasional airplane or single satellite is bad enough, but a matrix of regular lines can be debilitating. While Starlink is the first of the companies deploying a constellation of birds for implementing global Internet coverage, others are beginning to launch and many more are in the planning and manufacturing stages. This news item reports on a quantitative study conducted by Caltech's Palomar Observatory, using the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), of current and projected future interference...

Starting Free Flight

Starting Free Flight, Annual 1960 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsWhile credit is not explicitly given to a particular author for this "Starting Free Flight" article in the 1960 Annual issue of Air Trails magazine, Cal Smith's name is on the drawing, so it might be him. It was an era when many modelers were transitioning from gasoline-fueled ignition engines to the newer glow fuel type. Smaller and lighter engines and proportionally smaller and lighter models quickly became popular both because smaller fields could be used and the costs were lower, thereby providing greater affordability to no more people. The same change was true for other forms of modeling - control line and radio control airplanes, boats, and cars. An evolution in configurations of engine, fuselage, wing, and empennage was occurring as well based on decades of experimentation by the hobby's pioneers...

Big Twin R/C Outboard Motorboat

Big Twin R/C Outboard Motorboat, May 1957 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsAirplanes and Rockets visitor Kevin B. requested that I scan and post this article on the "Big Twin" R/C outboard motorboat model. It appeared in the May 1957 edition of American Modeler magazine. American Modeler was one of the forerunners of today's Model Aviation (the official AMA publication), and was more all-encompassing in regards to modeling as it included model boats, cars, rockets, and trains. It also was known to occasionally have articles on full-size aircraft. Anyway, the Big Twin is 32" long and is built of traditional model boating materials like mahogany plywood and spruce. This model's claim to fame is the use of balsa planking on the hull - which is much easier to form than spruce - and then a layer of fiberglass is laid over it for strength and waterproofing. An Allyn Twin outboard motor is specified for power...

SpaceX's Starbase to Launch 100s of Rockets a Year

SpaceX's Starbase to Launch 100s of Rockets a Year - Airplanes and Rockets"SpaceX arrived in Boca Chica, TX, in 2014. Seven years later, thousands of company employees and contractors are working nearly around the clock to build and launch the most powerful rocket in history, called Starship. The first launch to Earth orbit could happen within the next few months. The ultimate destination is Mars. Outside the gates of Starbase, as the rapidly expanding facility is called, a mini-press corps of amateur and professional photographers watches every move. Enough cameras are pointed at Starship at any given moment that SpaceX founder Elon Musk jokes about going online whenever he wants to see how work on his new rocket is coming. runs a 24/7 YouTube channel called 'Starbase Live.' Most times all you see is a distant tableau of rocket parts, storage tanks, and gantries..."

Lightness Is a Virtue

Lightness Is a Virtue, Annual 1960 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThese tips for building lighter, more effective model airplanes were submitted by Air Trails magazine readers in time for the 1960 Annual edition. They are all as valid and useful today as they were six decades ago. Free flight in all forms - gliders, rubber power, and gas power - are still very popular, so if you are involved in the sport, you might pick up a good idea here. Even the suggestion for using a popsicle stick for a Jetex engine mounting pad might still come in handy since they can be found on eBay (although with ever-increasing difficulty). Believe it or not Pliobond is still sold, although by the Ruscoe Company and not Goodyear. I added a touch of color to the original B&W make everything a bit more interesting...

Landing Blind - the Instrument Landing System

Landing Blind - Instrument Landing System, July 1938 Radio News - RF CafeOnly three and a half decades had passed since the Wright Brothers made the first flight of an aeroplane taking off under its own power when this "Landing Blind" article appeared in a 1938 issue of Radio News magazine. By then, an entire World War had been fought with air power having been determined to be a primary strategic force, and a commercial airline industry was thriving as travelers everywhere entrusted pilots and air traffic controllers with their very lives. The main impediment to further progress from an navigational and scheduling perspective was inclement weather. Pilots had long ago learned to fly by instruments, and taking off into nearly zero visibility was not a problem, but landing confidently and safely under the same conditions was still impossible. Aviation researchers were hard at work...

Model Car Show - 1963 American Modeler Magazine

Model Car Show (May/June 1963 American Modeler Magazine) - Airplanes and RocketsFor some reason I was never big into building model cars, although my teenage years best friend, Jerry Flynn, was. Jerry and I flew lots of model airplanes and rockets together, but he was the car modeler. Jerry had a bit of an artist's touch with models and would build top fuel dragster models from scratch using plastic sheet stock. He won a couple contests back in the 1970s at the big hot rod show held in the Washington, D.C., Armory. As a body-fender repair shop technician and eventually body shop owner, he could repair dents so perfectly that you couldn't tell the repair from the original. The models shown in this 1963 American Modeler magazine are not too far removed from the kinds of car models on the store shelves when I was a kid. A lot of the models can probably be bought today on eBay...

eCalc Electric Flight Software

 eCalc Electric Flight Software - Airplanes and RocketsThere is a very nice suite of software apps for performing electric flight calculations your PC called "eCalc." Separate performance and setup programs are provided for airplanes, helicopters, multirotors (drones), ducted fan jets, weight & balance, center of gravity, a propeller finder, and battery charging. The demo versions are free, but for full functionality a subscription ($12.95/year) is required. eCalc simulations have appeared in many modeling magazines since it first appeared more than a decade ago. Per the eCalc website: "Since 2004 eCalc provides web-based quality services to simulate, calculate, evaluate and design electric brushless motor drives for RC pilots of airplane, multi rotor, UAV, helicopter and EDF jets. eCalc's motor database is the most comprehensive on the web."

Charybdis Plans & Article - October 1972 AAM

Charybdis Plans & Article, October 1972 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsFrom what I can remember, this October 1972 edition of American Aircraft Modeler magazine is the first I received after joining the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA). I was thrilled to be having a monthly modeling magazine delivered to my rural home because it was rare that a copy of Flying Models or Model Airplane News would appear on the rack in our local convenience store. Unlike today's age of instant and ubiquitous information, getting ahold of desired reading material was not nearly as easy before the Internet. Somehow, I managed to retain possession of that issue for nearly 40 years now. With few exceptions, everything else from my childhood has vanished. I remember being particularly interested in the Charybdis because it satisfied the desire for a lot of different modeling interests - helicopters, airplanes, and nitro-powered engines. In 1972 I was 14 years old and didn't have a lot of walking around money - only what I scraped as profit from my paper delivery route...

R/C Model Boats - And Aweigh They Go!

R/C Model Boats - And Aweigh They Go!, Annual 1960 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsBy 1960 when this "And Aweigh They Go!" article appeared in the Annual edition of Air Trails magazine, radio control systems had advanced to where they were providing a semblance of proportional control, were smaller in volume and weight (thanks to semiconductors rather than vacuum tubes), and were more affordable and reliable. Model engines, too, were more convenient and easier to operate thank to the advent of glow fuel and glow plugs rather than gasoline and spark ignition systems. Some modelers still employed the older equipment or a mix of old and new, but the serious contenders did then as they do now by tending to go with the latest and greatest engines, electronics, hardware, and construction techniques. The model boats featured here are examples of the latter...

Ugliest Airplane: the Transavia AirTruk

Ugliest Airplane: the Transavia AirTruk - Airplanes and Rockets"It is one of the most bizarre looking aircraft ever to reach production. Its conception occurred in Australia, its gestation in New Zealand, and its growth and maturation back in Australia. This geography, and unfettered thinking about the TransAvia AirTruk's mission, drove the airplane's unusual appearance. In the mid-1950s, the largely agricultural country of New Zealand found itself in need of new aircraft for 'topdressing' - spreading soil enhancers and fertilizers by air - what we on this side of the world call 'cropdusting.' The old airplanes they had inherited from the British Commonwealth, mostly converted de Havilland Tiger Moths and Piper Cub-like Austers, were wearing out. A few new American designs were imported, but currency restrictions of the day made them very expensive. New Zealanders needed a locally built airplane specifically designed..."

Antique Cobbler's Bench Restoration

Antique Cobbler's Bench Restoration (Supermodel Melanie) - Airplanes and RocketsThis cobbler's bench has been in Melanie's family for a couple generations. We don't know whether it belonged to a family member who used it for as a cobbling tradesman. It was in pretty rough shape when it was given to us a couple decades ago. It is constructed of pine wood, with the main surface being about 2 inches thick. I chose to sand the finish off rather than use chemical stripper because it was fairly brittle and came off easily, and also because the wood is somewhat soft, so I did not want to risk gouging it with a scraper. One of the legs had been broken and needed repair, and some drawer joints needed re−gluing. All of the square strips on the work surface were removed for sanding to avoid dark residual finish in the corners...

The Nearly Effortless Flight of the Albatross

The Nearly Effortless Flight of the Albatross - Airplanes and RocketsThe July 2013 edition of IEEE's Spectrum magazine had a really good article on a high tech study that is being done on the manner in which an albatross manages to fly great distances and for long periods of time while rarely needing to flap its wings. As shown in the thumbnail (and in the article), an albatross performs a series of rapid climbs into very strong wind, turns, and dives leeward nearly to the water's surface, then repeats the process over and over as it makes its way to its destination. The process is called dynamic soaring. R/C soaring pilots have been doing the same sort of thing for a few years now. Obviously the albatross figured out how to fly like that long before mankind was able to mimic it, but the researchers in the article seem to not have knowledge of the R/C soaring technique. They are capturing albatrosses in their nests and attaching GPS-based sensors with data recorders to the birds' back feathers and retrieving the units when the birds return to their nests...

Phantom Motors Christmas Ad

Phantom Motors Christmas Ad, November 1946 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsPhantom Motors, out of Los Angeles, California, was one of the early manufacturers of ignition motors for model airplanes, boats, and cars. This full-page advertisement appeared in the November 1946 issue of Air Trails magazine. This particular ad had a Christmas theme, as did many of the other ads in that edition. If you do a search on eBay for vintage Phantom Motors ignition engines, not much shows up, so that probably means there were either not too many of them made, or they were not sturdy enough to survive hard landings and frequent usage so that the engines were trashed. Oh well. The $14.95 price tag in 1946 is the equivalent of $288.31 in 2021 per the BLS inflation calculator...

Model Making Offers Money Making Opportunities

Model Making Offers Money Making Opportunities (January 1957 American Modeler Magazine) - Airplanes and RocketsPrior to the advent of commonplace high-speed digital computers, designing advanced aircraft structures required a lot of effort building scale models and testing them in wind tunnels and, when possible, in actual flight. The process was both expensive and time-consuming. As computer simulations have been fine tuned, the need to build models have been nearly entirely eliminated. Modern aircraft can go from computer monitor to production with the full-size prototype being the first actual version of the plane to be built. This article from a 1957 issue of American Modeler magazine reports on some of the very labor-intensive experimental and scale models built for testing and concept verification. Many of the technicians who did the planning and building were hobbyists who were fortunate enough to gets jobs to get paid for engaging in their passion...

W9USB Third Open American Soaring Contest

W9USB Third Open American Soaring Contest, November 1940 Radio News - Airplanes and RocketsThis particular article from a 1940 issue of Radio News magazine touches on two of my hobbies - airplanes and Amateur radio. Whereas most of my flying experience is with all forms of models, here is a group of Hams who provided logistical radio communications during the 3rd Open American Soaring Contest, held in Lockport, Illinois. W9USB was the call sign granted by the FCC especially for the event. Such a contest requires administration and coordination of air and ground aircraft movement, tow winch operation, pilot status, event scheduling, and emergency services if required (fortunately, none were). Being an all volunteer effort, the "Prairie Dogs" subdivision of the "Hamfesters Club" of Chicago. As pointed out in the article, the highly successful operation was a great public service demonstrating the capability and utility of Amateur radio. Many major Ham equipment manufacturers...



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