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About Airplanes & Rockets

Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and Rockets

Kirt Blattenberger


My Engineering Web: RF Cafe

Carpe Diem! (Seize the Day!)

Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which all began in Mayo, MD ...

Airplanes And Rockets Copyright 1996 - 2026

All trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other rights of ownership to images and text used on the Airplanes and Rockets website are hereby acknowledged.

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Home Page Archive (page 28)

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.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20
21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29


Mo-Bipe Article & Plans

Mo-Bipe Article & Plans, January 1973 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsA lot of careful thought and detail went into planning and rationalizing why a biplane version of the venerable MO-1 control line carrier model should fly better than the traditional monoplane platform. It was January of 1973 when this article appeared in American Aircraft Modeler magazine. Time has shown that the old adage about if something isn't broken, don't fix it must ring true here. That is not to say efforts should not be undertaken to improve on a design, just that in this case going to a biplane configuration was not the answer. Maybe website visitor Duke J., who wrote to ask for this article, can pick up where Mr. Gerber and Mr. Higley (yes, THE Harry Higley) left off. Maybe a MO-Tripe...?

High-School Students Build Plane Models

High-School Students Build Plane Models, March 23, 1942 Life - Airplanes and RocketsWhen this issue of Life magazine came out in March of 1942, America was only a couple months past when the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service executed the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor shortly before Christmas on a quiet Sunday morning. As with when a group of Muslim extremists attacked America on September 11, 2001, the vast majority of the country pulled together and delivered a significant response to the perpetrators. During Word War II, in order to help train our troops recognize and differentiate between Allied aircraft and Axis aircraft, models were built at a scale which would fairly represent what the real thing would look like in the sky at a distance that placed it within range of anti-aircraft munitions. The Boy Scouts and other community organizations joined in on the effort, as well as commercial companies that manufactured identification models (see Uncle Sam's Plastic Air Force, September 1973 American Aircraft Modeler). Occasionally, a group of the production models appear on eBay...

Bristol "170" Freighter Article & Plans

Bristol "170" Freighter Article & Plans - 1961 Annual Edition American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Robert C. wrote to request that I post the article and plans for the British Bristol "170" Freighter that appeared in the 1961 Annual edition of American Modeler magazine. This control line version has a 40" wingspan and is powered by a pair of .049s for scale-like flight characteristics or a pair .09s if you want aerobatics. Diesels are shown installed in the original. The fuselage, wing, and tails surfaces are all built-up and sheeted with balsa, so she is a sturdy bird. As with most of these vintage models that used glow engines, conversion to electric can be easily made, and lightening of the structure can be safely done since motors do not create the extreme vibration loads of internal combustion engines. For instance, the balsa sheeting of the entire wing could be reduced to only the root area at the fuselage, and then maybe add a stringer or two along the leading edge top area...

Stratospheric EuroHAPS Programme Kicks Off

Stratospheric EuroHAPS Programme Kicks Off - Airplanes and Rockets"Led by Thales Alenia Space (TAS), the EuroHAPS consortium features 21 partners across 11 EU countries, including CIRA, Elettronica and Leonardo from Italy, ONERA and CEA from France, INTA from Spain, and ESG with TAO from Germany. The programme will seek to develop and demonstrate three separate yet complementary high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms, including a solar powered airship, a hybrid airship with an aerofoil, and a stratospheric balloon system. Under development since 2016 at Thales Alenia Space, Stratobus is the solar powered stratospheric airship at the core of the programme. According to TAS, its design has been optimised around an airship roughly 140 metres in length, though EuroHAPS will see the company delivering 'a reduced-scale Stratobus.' A large solar array powers the vehicle's four electric motors, with Stratobus capable of operating..."

Southern Senior High School Class of 1976 Yearbook

Southern Senior High School Class of 1976 Yearbook Photos - Airplanes and RocketsThese images were scanned from my 1976 yearbook for Southern Senior High School in Harwood, Maryland. Only pages with information on Seniors is included. Birthdates have been covered over, but everything else remains. Please let me know if you would like your picture and/or information removed. On the other hand, if you would like to send additional information for posting or would like me to send you the full-resolution scan of your page, then please send me an e-mail at . You can also post messages on my website. A full list of all the names that go with these photos can be found at the bottom of this page. Having them in text format (versus a photo) will allow search engines to find your name and associate it with Southern Senior High School. Oh, and yes, all the photos are in B&W; there are only eight pages with color in the entire book!

SpaceX to Launch Most Powerful Rocket Ever Built

SpaceX to Launch Most Powerful Rocket Ever Built - RF Cafe"SpaceX plans to carry out its first test flight on Monday of Starship, the most powerful rocket ever built, designed to send astronauts to the Moon and eventually beyond. The launch is scheduled to take place at 7:00 am (1200 GMT) from the sprawling Texas base of the private space company owned by billionaire Elon Musk. Fallback times are scheduled later in the week if Monday's attempt is postponed. The US space agency NASA has picked the Starship capsule to ferry its astronauts to the Moon as part of the Artemis III mission, set for late 2025 at the earliest. Starship consists of a reusable capsule that carries crew and cargo and the first-stage Super Heavy booster rocket. The 164-foot (50-meter) tall Starship spacecraft sits atop the 230-foot tall Super Heavy rocket. SpaceX conducted a successful test-firing of the 33 Raptor engines on the first-stage booster of Starship in February. The Super Heavy booster was anchored to the ground during the test-firing, called a static fire, to prevent it from lifting off. The rocket has never flown in its full configuration, powered by the first stage..."

85% Aquila Sailplane

85% Aquila Sailplane Supermodel Melanie - Airplanes and RocketsYou might have noticed that I have a "thing" for the Aquila glider. Having built two - one from plans and one from a kit - back in the mid-1970s when the article first appeared in RC Modeler magazine, I developed an appreciation for the graceful lines and the flight performance. In later years I modified a Great Planes 2-Meter Spirit glider to look a bit like the Aquila, and dubbed it the Aquila Spirit. Next, never having had a glider with a wingspan greater than 99", I scaled up the Aquila plans to 105% and built that. That one, which was a lot of work to build, was sold to a guy in Maryland before making a household move. Now, desiring another Aquila, I decided to build a version with a one-piece wing, but did not want it to be 99" long. Two meters was too short, so I went with an 85" wingspan. That is the one pictured and described here. Because large flying sites are so hard to come by, I elected to install a motor in the nose, but also provided for a tow hook just in case. Note the unique method for attaching the wing. I didn't want a removable cut-out section in the fuselage, so instead the wing passes through the fuselage and is held fast with a couple small rubber bands. The rubber bands only keep the wing in alignment. I've never seen anything like it before, so maybe I've just invented a new method of wing attachment (patent pending)...

Bell Telephone Company - Airlines Communications

Bell Telephone Company - Airlines Communications (December 1961 Boys' Life) - Airplanes and RocketsBell Telephone Company played an important role in the development of the aviation industry by providing communications systems for airlines. As intimated in this promotion in Boys' Life magazine, in 1961, Bell introduced the "air-ground-air" radio system, which allowed pilots to communicate directly with air traffic controllers on the ground, improving safety and efficiency in air travel. This system was a major technological advancement, as it replaced the earlier system of communicating via Morse code, which was slow and prone to errors. The air-ground-air system allowed pilots to communicate in real-time with controllers, enabling faster and more accurate instructions for takeoff, landing, and navigating airspace. Bell Telephone Company continued to innovate in the aviation industry, introducing new technologies such as satellite-based navigation systems and weather radar systems, which have greatly improved air travel safety and efficiency...

Please Support

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Winning the National Radio Control Meet

Winning the National Radio Control Meet, March 1940 QST - RF CafeYou might wonder why an article entitled "Winning the National Radio Control Meet" for model airplanes would appear in the ARRL's QST magazine. The answer is that back in 1940 when it was published, a Ham license was required to operate a radio control (R/C) transmitter. There were no license-free bands for hobbyists as there are now. In fact, it wasn't until 1976 that the FCC suspended their requirement for registration as an operator, which has returned in the form of an FAA "drone" (aka USAS) pilot directive. The author, William E. Good, was the twin brother of Walter A. Good, both of whom held doctoral degrees in and physics and Ham licenses, and were referred to as "the fathers of radio control." The photo of Bill shows his station identification (W8IFD) displayed on the transmitter enclosure, as required by the FCC. They were born in 1916 and won the R/C championship in 1949, at the age of 33. In the early days, R/C operators built (and often designed) their systems, including the electronics and mechanics. They were the pioneers that took the figurative arrows while forging the frontiers of this hobby. A couple notable items mentioned in the article are the needing a QSA "5" level signal (the highest quality of reception) in order to assure reliable control of the aircraft, and of how Hams helped advance the design of small internal combustion engines. Also, Fig. 4 shows the rudder escapement located in the vertical fin, with the wound rubber there as well...

Peanuts Stars in Ford Falcon TV Commercials

Peanuts Characters Star in Ford Falcon TV Commercials - Airplanes and Rocketshe first-ever appearance of animated Peanuts characters came in the form of television commercials for the 1960 Ford Falcon. I learned about them in a book titled Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz. To me, Peanuts represents a more innocent time in America, where neighborhood kids played together, were moral in their actions, and even "crabby" kids like Lucy were not evil. Cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, pirates and naval mariners did battle with makeshift weapons and only one ball team at a time won a trophy. My sisters and I rode in basic cars like the Ford Falcon, without the benefit of seat belts, crawling up onto the package shelf in the back to watch the world pass by, standing on our heads in the back seat, and thinking it a privilege to get to ride up front on the rare occasions when Mom was not in the car, too. It takes me back to my boyhood days in the 1960s and 70s when similar activities were a part of life, without all the computer-based activities...

Super Sabre Trainer Plans & Article

Super Sabre Trainer Plans, May 1972 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsAirplanes and Rockets visitor Jochen S., a school teacher from Germany, wrote to request that I scan this Super Sabre Trainer (SST) article that appeared in the May 1972 edition of American Aircraft Modeler magazine. The SST reference had marketing gravitas in the day because of the public fascination with the Supersonic Transport (SST). The Super Sabre Trainer is a ½A control-line model designed by Dean Swift for his 6-year-old son to learn to build and fly C/L airplanes. It is a simple, profile fuselage with sheet balsa surfaces. Jochen wants to use the SST in a program to introduce students to aircraft modeling. He says they will also benefit from trying to read the article in English and to convert inches to metric units...

Propeller for Quiet, Efficient E-Plane

Propeller for Quiet, Efficient E-Plane - Airplanes and Rockets"Electrification is seen as having an important role to play in the fossil-free aviation of tomorrow. But electric aviation is battling a dilemma: the more energy-efficient an electric aircraft is, the noisier it gets. Now, researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have developed a propeller design optimization method that paves the way for quiet, efficient electric aviation. In recent years, electrification has been described as having an important role in reducing emissions from future aviation. Due to the challenges posed by longer ranges, interest is chiefly focused on electric propeller planes covering shorter distances. Propellers connected to electric motors are considered the most efficient propulsion system for regional and domestic flights. But while the airplanes are electric, propellers cause another kind of emission - noise. The noise from the propeller blades wouldn't just disturb air passengers. Future electric aircraft will need to fly at relatively low altitudes, with noise disturbance..."

Graupner Cirrus Glider Kit

Graupner Cirrus Glider Kit - Airplanes and RocketsBack in the early 1970s when first entering the realm of radio control, I loved sailplanes because of their graceful appearance. Gliders were also the only reasonably priced models with long wingspans, so there was that, too. My first glider was a Sterling Cirrus (87" wingspan), which was not meant for R/C other than a very compact and lightweight escapement system with a single channel on rudder. I made the tragic decision to install two servos from my newly acquired, used OS DP−3, 3-channel radio. It made the model so heavy that the thin wings could barely support it. About three or four flights did it in. From there I graduated to a Marks Windward glider, then to the Windfree. My ultimate experience was with an Airtronics Aquila sailplane with a third channel operating wing flaps. This Cirrus model by Graupner, with its amazing 118" wingspan and an ABS molded plastic fuselage was one of the kits that was not within reach of my meager budget. At the time (c1976) the retail price was somewhere in the $60 range, which in today's highly inflated dollars is the equivalent of about $285...

Radio Control Hall of Fame & Museum

Radio Control Hall of Fame - Airplanes and RocketsThere is probably no more extensive a collection of radio control systems in the world that the one assembled at the Radio Control Hall of Fame and Museum. It is located in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Information on the website about its history and current efforts appear to be out of date. At the time of the last entry the About Us page says: "Our 'museum' is just our private collection of equipment and other artifacts, together with our 'encyclopedia' of radio control, this website, and other books, literature and documents. The collection (over 1600 transmitters and many more receivers and actuators) has grown to where it may now be the largest in the world. The encyclopedia has a chapter for each manufacturer, even many obscure ones, containing a chronology of advertisements, product reviews, schematics, historic photos and other documentation..."

Estes Altiscope / AltiTrak

Estes Altiscope / AltiTrak - Airplanes and RocketsThis is the vintage Estes AltiTrak. The one I had back in the 1970s was made of wood that went by the name Altiscope (Cat. No. 651−A−1). The AltiTrak one is a newer incarnation made of plastic and is held like a pistol. Both models work on the right triangle completion principle. You stand off a predetermined distance from where you expect the rocket to be at apogee (its high point of flight), and then follow it up with your instrument. At the highest point, you lock the angle indicator on the protractor. You can see the concept in the picture to the left (click for a larger version). The base of the right angle angle is the side adjacent to the measured angle (θ), which makes the vertical line to the apogee the side opposite the measured angle. Since the tangent of an angle is equal to the quotient of the side opposite divided by the side adjacent (which you determined at the beginning), that leaves the altitude being...

Ode on a Radio Controlled Model Airplane

Poems of Flight - Aviation Poems Poetry - Airplanes and RocketsThis poem, including the title, "Flying High: Ode on a Radio Controlled Model Airplane," was generated automatically by ChatGPT based on the following request: "write a rhyming poem about radio controlled model airplanes." That was it; no other prompting. There is nothing profound about the prose itself; the profundity is in the capability of a computer program to take a simple request and then intelligently (artificial though it may be; i.e., AI) and assimilate all the pertinent information to come up with every word shown below. ChatGPT created all five verses exactly as shown...

Radio Measurements in Space

Radio Measurements in Space, May 1967 Electronics World - Airplanes and RocketsThe first thing I learned (or re-learned) in reading this article is that in 1967, "Hertz" had only recently been assigned as the official unit of frequency. According to Wikipedia, International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) adopted it in in 1930, but it wasn't until 1960 that it was adopted by the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) (Conférence Générale des Poids et Mesures). Hertz replace cycles per second (cps). The next thing that happened was that I was reminded of how images such as the op-art tracing of antenna oscillation that are routinely generated today by sophisticated software, required huge amounts of setup time and trials to yield just a single useful and meaningful image using actual hardware...

World's 1st 3D-Printed Rocket

Relativity Space to Launch of World's 1st 3D-Printed Rocket - RF Cafe"The 3D-printed Terran 1 rocket from Relativity Space will fly from Florida's space coast, and will also mark the first natural liquid natural gas booster in space if all goes to plan. The world's first 3D-printed rocket may soar to space as soon as March. Relativity Space says it has launch licenses ready for its expendable, 3D-printed Terran 1 rocket to attempt its orbital debut on March 8, no earlier than 1 p.m. EST. Company officials confirmed on Twitter Wednesday that the launch will proceed from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Florida's space coast [March 23rd]. The mission is called GLHF (Good Luck, Have Fun) and will assure the readiness of the 110-foot Terran 1 before it flies customer payloads..."


Wisecrack-Ups, May 1934 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsHumor in the 1930s was a bit different than it is today. Times were simpler and thought processes were not as complex as in today's world where information is attacking you every moment of the day. Public discourse and personal decorum were held to a higher level, so even stinging jokes and references usually didn't require lowering yourself into the cultural gutter to comprehend and appreciate. As you read through these "Wisecrack-Ups" from the May 1934 issue of Flying Aces magazine, some of the quips will seem corny or downright dumb. Most can be appreciated even by modern humor standards, and all will be repeatable to any audience regardless of age or gender. An occasional nod is given to Lt. Phineas Pinkham, of the the "turbulent and inimitable Ninth Pursuit Squadron," during World War I (known simply as "the World War" at the time since #II had not occurred yet.)...

Radio Control: How to Get an F.C.C. License

Radio Control How to Get F.C.C. License, from September 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsIf you have only ever known a time in the R/C era when 2.4 GHz, spread spectrum radios were in use and not only were there no interference issues, but there were no licenses required, either, for legal operation, then it might be hard to imagine when this was not so. Most people in the R/C realm at least remember the 72 MHz frequency band where each system operated on a specific center frequency, where no two systems could be operated in the same vicinity. Before that there was the 27 MHz band, which is where I began, more specifically on 27.195 MHz. Only five frequencies were reserved by the FCC exclusively for radio control use. That meant never more than five planes in the air, or even being worked on with the radio on, at a time. The band was part of the original Citizens Band (CB) radio allocation. Commercial CB radios were notoriously lousy at controlling bandwidth and often overlapped the R/C bands with enough power to cause deadly (to a model) interference. My FCC operator's permits (Class C and Class D), obtained sometime around 1972, is long gone...

Walter Ashe Radio Company

Walter Ashe Radio Company, July 1955 Radio & Television News - RF CafeThe Walter Ashe Radio Company, featured in this 1955 issue of Radio & Television News magazine, was a British radio manufacturer that operated from the 1920s to the 1950s. The company was founded by Walter Ashe, who was an engineer and inventor. In the early days, the company produced crystal radios, which were simple radios that used a piece of crystal to detect radio waves. However, the company quickly expanded its product range to include valve radios, which were more advanced and offered better sound quality. During World War II, the company produced radios for the British armed forces, including the famous "Gibson Girl" portable radio, which was used by soldiers in the field. After the war, the company continued to produce radios for the civilian market, including the popular "Waverley" series of radios. In the 1950s, the company began to face increasing competition from foreign manufacturers, and it struggled to keep up with the rapidly changing technology in the radio industry...

Estes Saturn V Rocket

Estes Saturn V Rocket - Airplanes and RocketsThe Estes Saturn V rocket is a model that I really wanted to have as a kid, but never could justify spending the money. In those days, I launched everything that I built, so I could not see spending a huge amount of my paper route money only to take the risk of destruction due to the parachutes not deploying properly or maybe an engine malfunction. I had launched enough rockets to know that the probability of something going wrong was directly proportional to the cost and time spent building. Instead, I stuck mostly with models that cost no more than about $3 (in 1960s-1970s dollars). The photo to the left is one of my favorites since it shows the Estes Saturn V...

Midget Radio-Controlled Auto

Midget Radio-Controlled Auto, October 1952 Radio & Television News - Airplanes and RocketsThis "Midget Radio-Controlled Auto" article from a 1952 issue of Radio & Television News magazine was a major feat of engineering by Mr. William Minor. He designed and built the car for his 6-year-old son. The amount of electronics and mechanics he crammed into such a small volume in that R/C car would have qualified him for an engineering position at a Japanese SLR (single lens reflex) camera company. Although not explicitly mentioned, operating the car by radio control back in those days required an amateur radio operator license. Interestingly, he mentions that when choosing a frequency, he opted for one above the television broadcast channels so as to avoid interference with nearby TV sets. I've mentioned before how turning on my 27.195 MHz R/C system I had as a kid in the early 1970's would cause the neighborhood women to scream at me for messing up their daytime soap operas. Even though nobody would deign to undertake such an extensive project nowadays, I thought the extreme effort by Mr. Minor was worth honoring with a posting of his article...

Honest John Rocket

Honest John Rocket, September 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsI never built an Honest John rocket model when I was a kid, and to this day still do not own one. The vintage kits on eBay are through-the-roof expensive. I always liked the unique design and the look of the nose cone where it bulges out a bit from the diameter of the main body tube. Both Estes and Centuri made versions of the Honest John. Intentionally or not, there was an advertisement for the Centuri Honest John model on the page opposite of the past part of the article in this September 1968 edition of American Aircraft Modeler magazine, from which this page was scanned. The Honest John M-31 artillery rocket was a surface-to-surface rocket that was developed by the United States Army during the Cold War era. It was named after President John F. Kennedy's campaign pledge to be an "honest" president...

AAM Commander RC System

AAM Commander RC System Article, Part 1, April 1972 AAM - Airplanes and RocketsBelieve it or not, there was a day when building your own electronics was a good way to save money if your budget was smaller than your appetite for R/C systems, radios, even TV sets. Heathkit comes to mind for all us old-timers as a source of pre-kitted products, but like most electronics companies of yore, they no longer offer kits; it is much cheaper to have complete systems built overseas. Besides, modern components - resistors, capacitors, ICs, etc., are far too small for most people to work with successfully. Here is a two-part article from the April and May 1972 editions of American Aircraft Modeler magazine showing how it was done with a custom 2-channel digital proportional radio control system dubbed the AAM Commander. It still makes a good read because of the theory of operation that is covered...

DARPA Liberty Lifter X-Plane Program

DARPA Liberty Lifter X-Plane Program - Airplanes and Rockets"Two teams - General Atomics working with Maritime Applied Physics Corporation and Aurora Flight Sciences working with Gibbs & Cox and ReconCraft - will develop designs for DARPA's Liberty Lifter Seaplane Wing-in-Ground Effect full-scale demonstrator. The Liberty Lifter program aims to demonstrate a leap-ahead in operational capability by designing, building, floating, and flying a long-range, low-cost X−Plane capable of seaborne strategic and tactical heavy lift. The planned Liberty Lifter demonstrator will be a large flying boat similar in size and capacity to the C−17 Globemaster III transport aircraft. Goals include takeoff and land in Sea State 4, sustained on−water operation up to Sea State 5, and extended flight close to the water in ground effect with the capability to fly out of ground effect at altitudes up to 10,000 feet above sea level..."

Lew McFarland's Shark "45"

National Champion Lew McFarland's Shark "45", October 1961 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThe Jetco Shark 15 was my very first built up control line airplane. Before that they had all been plastic Cox models. As did many kids in the 1960's and 1970's I learned to fly on a Cox PT−19 Trainer (summer of 1969, about the time Apollo 11 landed on the moon). Before building the Shark 15, my experience with built-up models was with rubber-powered free flight. Mustering enough money for a Shark 15, a Fox 15 C/L engine, and covering materials was not easy in those days. The Shark 15 flew very nicely when I could get the Fox 15 started and running properly. Loops, wingovers, and inverted flight were much more satisfying than with the Cox models, whose .049 engines had a nasty habit of quitting during inverted flight. I resolved to someday step up to a Shark 45 once I had enough spare cash, but to this day I still have never owned one. The largest engine I've ever had on a C/L model was a Fox 35 (equally temperamental and frustrating) on a Sterling Ringmaster...

DARPA Concludes Review of HTV-2 Test Flight

DARPA Engineering Review Board Concludes Review of HTV-2 Second Test Flight - Airplanes and RocketsFollowing an extensive seven-month analysis of data collected from the Aug. 11, 2011, second flight of DARPA's Hypersonic Technology Vehicle (HTV-2), an independent engineering review board (ERB) investigating the cause of a flight anomaly completed its report. The findings of the ERB validated the vehicle's aerodynamic design and uncovered new information regarding the thermal material properties of the vehicle. "The greatest achievement from Flight Two, which the ERB's findings underscored, was that we successfully incorporated aerodynamic knowledge gained from the first flight into the second flight," said Air Force Maj. Chris Schulz, DARPA program manager, who holds a doctorate in aerospace engineering. A technology demonstration and data-gathering platform, the HTV-2's second test flight was conducted to validate current models and increase technical understanding of the hypersonic regime...

R/C Reliability

R/C Reliability, March 1955 Popular Electronics - Airplanes and RocketsThe topic of R/C system reliability rarely is mentioned in model airplane magazines these days. Many of the high-end, big dollar planes like jets (turbines), giant scale and giant 3D, do use redundant receivers and batteries because the pilots have thousands of dollars worth of equipment and hundreds of hours of personal time invested in them. Operating at 2.4 GHz with spread spectrum modulation, there is little to no chance of radio interference, which was a huge problem back when this article appeared in a 1955 issue of Popular Electronics magazine. William ("Bill") Winter, who would later serve as president of the Academy of Model aeronautics (AMA), was editor of Model Airplane News magazine at the time. Vacuum tube receivers and electromechanical escapements and relays were being used in model airplanes. The very nature of construction of those components made them extremely vulnerable to vibration and shock induced intermittent or total failures. The models themselves were necessarily large and often underpowered for carrying such heavy loads aloft. We owe the R/C pioneers a lot for taking the arrows of trial and error to ultimately give us the carefree systems we enjoy today...

Auto Design Competition

Auto Design Competition, from August 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsStraight out of Happy Days and American Graffiti are these reader-submitted car designs from Air Trails - Hobbies for Young Men magazine in the year 1954. In 2023 dollars, the $50, $25, and $10 monthly prizes are worth $556, $278, and $111, respectively (per the BLS Inflation Calculator). That was a lot of dough. About the only requirement placed on designs was that the auto designs be realistic based on current technology - no anti-gravity floaters or rocket powered roadsters. All classifications were allowed - military vehicles, hot rods, family sedans, station wagons, etc., etc...

DARPA X-Plane Maneuvers with Air Bursts

DARPA X-Plane Maneuvers with Air Bursts - Airplanes and Rockets"The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has taken a major step forward toward creating an experimental airplane that can be maneuvered without traditional ailerons or other mechanical devices, instead using short bursts of air. DARPA announced Tuesday it had selected Aurora Flight Sciences to start detailed design of an aircraft that uses a technology called active flow control to direct it, as part of the Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with Novel Effectors, or CRANE, program. Aurora is a subsidiary of Boeing headquartered in Manassas, Virginia, that specializes in developing advanced innovative designs for aircraft and uncrewed systems. 'Over the past several decades, the active flow control community has made significant advancements that enable the integration of active flow control technologies into advanced aircraft..."

Hot Engines!

Hot Engines! (January/February1963 American Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsRe-timing, cleaning up (air and fuel flow passages), freeing up (sliding friction), lightening and balancing (removing unnecessary material), and breaking in (initial running with rich fuel mixture while interfacing metal parts fit themselves to each other) are all part of the effort necessary to create winning engines for model racing events. This 1962 American Modeler magazine article predates Schnuerle porting (in model engines), ABC (aluminum, brass, chromium) cylinder liners, and modern metal alloys, but still the concepts are applicable to today's engines. It purpose is to instruct on proper engine break-in so that it will have a long lifespan. Wankel lovers will appreciate the homemade engine shown...

Secrets of "Winning" Airfoils

Secrets of "Winning" Airfoils - 1961 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThis article was scanned from the 1961 American Modeler Annual edition. The magazine has been out of print for decades, and is difficult to access unless you are fortunate enough to buy one off of e-Bay. Hopefully the original authors won't mind my reprinting "Secrets of 'Winning' Airfoils" here, but if they do, I will remove it. Airfoil plotting goes back to the NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) days of white shirts, neck ties, thick−rimmed glasses, and slide rules. Drawing boards, straight edges, and French curves which were in use since the days of the Wright Brothers eventually got replaced by software, but all the pioneering work was done by engineers with shirt cuffs smudged with pencil lead. Consider this a window for a look back in history...

Feathered Robotic Wing for Flapping Drones

Feathered Robotic Wing for Flapping Drones - Airplanes and Rockets"Birds fly more efficiently by folding their wings during the upstroke, according to a recent study led by Lund University in Sweden. The results could mean that wing−folding is the next step in increasing the propulsive and aerodynamic efficiency of flapping drones. Even the precursors to birds - extinct bird-like dinosaurs - benefited from folding their wings during the upstroke, as they developed active flight. Among flying animals alive today, birds are the largest and most efficient. This makes them particularly interesting as inspiration for the development of drones. However, determining which flapping strategy is best requires aerodynamic studies of various ways of flapping the wings. Therefore, a Swedish-Swiss research team has constructed a robotic wing that can achieve just that - flapping like a bird, and beyond. 'We have built a robot wing that can flap..."

Bristol Monoplane Scout Article & Plans

Bristol Monoplane Scout Article & Plans, June 1960 Aero Modeller - Airplanes and RocketsAlthough originally designed and built for free flight, this fairly large scale mode of the Bristol Scout monoplane could easily be adapted for control line or radio control flying. With a wingspan of 46 inches and a robust airframe, it can withstand the rigors of aerobatic flight. Replacing the glow fuel engine with a modern brushless motor and LiPo batteries helps keep the vibration and therefore wear and tear to a minimum, and also avoids getting messy fuel all over your nice airplane. It would also allow you to lighten the airframe a bit to reduce the wing loading. Seeing the younger boy looking in awe at the airplane reminds me of how I would have regarded it at that age if given the opportunity even to hold it. Since these plans are no longer available, you can click the one presented below to get the full resolution version. It was only one page wide, so it is a bit fuzzy...

Vintage Electromechanical Dachshund Toy 240-B

Vintage Electromechanical Dachshund Toy 240-B (Supermodel Melanie) - Airplanes and RocketsMelanie and I have been trying to recall toys and games we had as kids and then searching for them on eBay to see what is available. If the price isn't too outrageous, we go ahead and by them. Melanie remembered having a battery-powered electromechanical toy dachshund that had a hand-held controller (not much in the way of radio control back in the 1960s). She finally managed to find one, so we bid on it and got it for a decent price (I don't recall exactly how much, but around $30 + shipping). It was advertised as not working, but I figured how hard can it be to fix something that simple? The dog, controller, and box looked to be be in excellent condition for its age (manufactured in the later 1950's from what I can find). The problem ended up being that a wire had broken off the motor. A little solder fixed that, and now it works as good as new. While apart for repair, I saw that the front and rear body halves are connected with a large spring, and the wheels and motor a on a freely rotating...

Free Flight Action, January 1975 AAM

Free Flight Action, January 1975 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsMaterials and methods for free flight aeromodeling have changed significantly since this "Free Flight Action" column appeared in the January 1975 issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine, but the enthusiasm has not. Carbon fiber tubing now constitutes a large portion of modern free flight duration model airframes, electronic timers have replaced mechanical wind-up timers (and even dethermalizer fuses), electric motors have joined (but not replaced) glow fuel engines, and lighter and stronger covering has supplanted tissue and/or silkspan and dope. More efficient airfoils, and wing, empennage, and fuselage planforms combine to produce new record flights in all competitive classes. Even modern weather detection and forecasting is being used to predict the best moment for launching. You've come a long way, baby...

Chinese Flying Wing Drone Raises Bar for Radar Evading

Chinese Flying Wing Drone Raises Bar for Radar Evading - Airplanes and RocketsWhy go to the trouble and expense when you can get away with floating a cheap balloon over all North America? "In the sky over southwest China, a team of researchers has been testing a new wing design that they said could help unmanned aircraft better evade radar. The drone, which has no tail, appears to be a scaled-down version of the United States Air Force's B2 Spirit bomber, and can fly without the use of elevators, ailerons or flaps - the hinged moving parts known as elevons that help control flight direction - according to the researchers. 'Our work is a first,' the team from the China Aerodynamics Research and Development Centre in Sichuan province said in a paper published on January 19 in the peer-reviewed journal Acta Aeronautica et Astronautica Sinica..."

Temco TT-1, 4-View

Temco TT-1 4-View, May 1957 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsWalter M. Jefferies, Jr., was one of the premier illustrators for model aircraft magazines in the era that this 4-view drawing of the Temco TT−1 "Pinto" jet appeared in American Modeler magazine. The Pinto was designed to be a rugged military trainer. Temco (Texas Engineering & Manufacturing Company ) was in competition with Cessna Aircraft's T−37 "Tweet" ( an embarrassing name) which we all know by now based on its familiarity won the bid. Once you have heard the loud, extremely high pitched sound of the T−37 sitting on the tarmac, you'll never forget it. A primary difference between the two airplanes is that the Pinto was a tandem seating arrangement, while the Tweet was side-by-side. I would have given a month's pay when I was in the USAF to be able to get a ride in a T−37. Of course month's pay for a non-NCO airman back in the 1970's was a pittance, so it would have been a cheap ride...

Ornithopter Lands Like a Bird

Ornithopter Lands Like a Bird - Airplanes and Rockets"EPFL researchers have developed a method that allows a flapping-wing robot to land autonomously on a horizontal perch using a claw-like mechanism. The innovation could significantly expand the scope of robot-assisted tasks. A bird landing on a branch makes the maneuver look like the easiest thing in the world, but in fact, the act of perching involves an extremely delicate balance of timing, high-impact forces, speed, and precision. It's a move so complex that no flapping-wing robot (ornithopter) has been able to master it, until now. Raphael Zufferey, a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) and Biorobotics ab (BioRob) in the School of Engineering, is the first author on a recent Nature Communications paper describing the unique landing gear that makes such perching possible..."

Chinese Spy Balloon Finally Shot Down

Chinese Spy Balloon Shot Down - RF CafeAs of September 16, 2022, if I fly my radio-controlled model airplane, helicopter, or drone even an inch off the ground anywhere in the U.S. without having a specially designed and certified electronics device - at my expense - broadcasting identification and position data ("Remote ID of Unmanned Aircraft"), I can be fined and/or jailed and/or have my equipment confiscated by the U.S. government. The stated justification is concern for safety of property, persons, and national security. However, if a country established as a military and economic threat to the U.S. flies a huge uncontrolled (other than by altitude in air currents) aircraft burdened by maybe 1000 pounds of equipment, including batteries, from coast to coast across populated areas, no action is taken. Here is a video of the Chinese balloon finally being shot down over the ocean after it was allowed to collect and relay data, and even possibly release pathogens over wide areas for days (NOAA HYSPLIT trajectory). Here's Trump impersonator Shawn F. with his take on the Chinese spy balloon debacle. Another victory for China!