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Home Page Archive (page 30)

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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Skiddin' II R/C Hydroplane

Skiddin' II R/C Hydroplane, from August 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsModel boat plans are more difficult to come by than model airplane plans, so seeing this article in the August 1954 issue of Air Trails magazine for a small, free-running hydroplane was a nice find. Its simple, inexpensive construction makes it a quick build for those rare modelers that still build their own models out of wood. The Skiddin' II can easily accommodate a modern miniature radio control system and a brushless motor setup. The original model was designed for a transom-mounted glow fuel outboard engine, but those things make model boat plans look plentiful. If you really want an outboard, try eBay, and be prepared to pay a couple hundred bucks for it...

Cox Sky Copter Free Flight Helicopter

Cox Sky Copter Free Flight Helicopter - Airplanes and RocketsIn the late 1960s when I received a Cox Sky Copter free flight helicopter for Christmas, there was very little in the way of commercially available flying model helicopters. It was modeled after the Bell 47−G, which was later made famous by the M.A.S.H. television series. Victor Stanzel sold its tethered ElectroMic "Copter" that was powered by a pair of "D" cell batteries. As far as I know, Cox made the only nitro fuel powered free flight helicopter, named "Sky Copter." It was powered by a Cox .020 engine mounted to the top-center of the main rotor shaft, and caused the rotors to turn due to the counter torque cause by the propeller on the .020. It worked very well. After getting the engine started, you would give the rotors a spin in the clockwise direction (looking down from the top), and the gently push the model straight up. My guess is that most of the lift was provided by the engine's propeller pushing air down, and that the spinning rotors served primarily to stabilize the model during powered flight. Once the engine quit, the spinning rotors essentially went into a counter-rotation mode to gently bring the Sky Copter back to terra firma...

Craftsman 7-Drawer Machinist's Toolbox

Craftsman 7-Drawer Machinist's Toolbox - Airplanes and RocketsEarly in 1982, fresh out of the USAF as an Air Traffic Control Radar Repairman, I was fortunate to land a job as an electronics technician at the Oceanic Division of Westinghouse in Annapolis, MD. It turned out being more of a high level electronics assembly job building printed circuit boards, chassis, wire harnesses, sonar transducers, and integrated systems, mostly for the U.S. Navy. A fairly extensive collection of high quality hand tools were required in order to get results which would pass rigorous Navy inspection standards. Snap-On was the supplier of choice because at the time they made extremely high quality (and expensive) small pliers, wire cutters, screwdrivers, wrenches, nuts drivers, etc. I don't know whether there are still roaming Snap-On tool trucks visiting businesses anymore, but at the time we got a weekly visit. Onboard was a tool refiguring workbench for sharpening cutters, repairing screwdriver tips, and other things. Restored components of the c1976 Craftsman 7−Drawer Machinist's Tool Chest. Craftsman 7−Drawer Machinist's Toolbox - top open. Cleaned and groomed felt surfaces...

Lithium Ion Polymer (Li-Po or Li-Poly) Battery Characteristics

Lithium-Polymer (Li-Po or Li-Poly) Battery Characteristics - RF CafeLightweight lithium ion polymer (Li-Poly) batteries have made a huge impact on the performance, and subsequently the acceptance of electric systems as a replacement for the traditional nitromethane (nitro) and gasoline power systems in model airplanes and helicopters. Their energy density (Wh/kg is the most common unit of measure), combined with the relatively new and extremely powerful brushless motors, electric power systems are rivaling the internal combustion systems in terms of both energy and duration. Development of both the brushless motors and the advanced battery technologies has been, both officially and unofficially, a joint venture between government and civilian research and development efforts. If you keep up with the news headlines for NASA, defense contractors, green energy researchers, and similar organizations, you have witnessed the plethora of new vehicles that have been built tested, and in may cased deployed in the field. These range from micro air vehicles that carry surveillance equipment for the military, to hybrid and fully electric passenger vehicles, vastly improved...

How to Select the Proper Glow Plug

How to Select the Proper Glow Plug ... and Why (1963 Annual Edition American Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsAs with most aspects of every type of hobby, there is a plethora of different types of glow plugs available for your selection. The same goes for engines in which to use them. The quandary that haunts many modelers is which glow plug is the best for a certain engine, fuel, ambient temperature, altitude, etc. In the April 2012 edition of Model Aviation magazine, Bob Aberle addressed just that topic and provided a website for an extensive treatise on glow plug specifications and usages. In it James McCarty, Brian Cooper, and Brian Gardner list the major glow plug manufacturers and present voltages, heat ranges, applications, intended fuel nitro content, short versus long, idle bar, etc. Fifty years earlier, William Netzeband published an extensive article in the 1963 Annual Edition of American Modeler magazine that employs a very methodical and scientific approach that resulted in extensive graphs and tables that are still largely applicable to today's equipment...

Sonic Thump Not Sonic Boom: NASA's X-59

Sonic Thump Not Sonic Boom: NASA's X-59 Quiet Supersonic Aircraft - Airplanes and Rockets"NASA's X-59 aircraft, capable of supersonic flight while reducing sonic booms to quieter 'thumps,' has been moved for testing in California. The collected data on human reactions to supersonic noise will potentially assist in enabling commercial supersonic flight over land. The following series of images shows NASA’s X-59 as it sits on the flight line - the space between the hangar and the runway - at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, CA, on June 19, 2023. The move from its construction site to the flight line is one of many milestones that prepare the X-59 for its first and subsequent flights. Next up, the team will conduct significant ground tests to ensure the aircraft is safe to fly. The X-59 aircraft - the centerpiece of NASA’s Quesst mission - is designed to demonstrate the ability to fly supersonic, or faster than Mach 1, while reducing the loud sonic boom to a quiet sonic thump. NASA will then fly the X-59 over several communities to gather data on human responses to the sound generated during supersonic flight..."

"The Better to See With..." Plexiglas Machine Gun Turrets

"The Better to See With..." Plexiglas Machine Gun Turrets, October 1941 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsOf course the allusion in this title, "'The Better to See With...' Plexiglas Machine Gun Turrets" is to "Little Red Riding Hood." Do you remember the scene in "It's a Wonderful Life" where Sam Wainright's new factory has a busy production line turning our Plexiglas canopies? "I have a big deal coming up that's going to make us all rich. George, you remember that night in Martini's bar when you told me you read someplace about making plastics out of soybeans?" George passed it up and Sam got rich. Plastics were rarely found in products prior to World War II. A shortage of metal, glass, and rubber (recall the surplus materials collections) gave birth to a thriving plastics industry that included aircraft canopies. Prior to that, you will note the flat glass window panes used in windshields and canopies built in segments using metal frames. The one photo of the line worker applying a coat of Simoniz to the Plexiglas canopy reminds me of the company's slogan "Motorists wise, Simoniz," which was made famous again in the original story version of "A Christmas Story," by Gene Shepherd, entitled "Duel in the Snow, or Red Ryder Nails the Cleveland Street Kid."

Maxey's Marvelous P-63 Kingcobra

Maxey's Marvelous P-63 Kingcobra Article & Plans, March 1962 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThose of us fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on your point of view) to have been in the model airplane realm back in the 1960s and 1970s (and earlier) are very familiar with Maxey Hester and his award-winning models. Mr. Hester designed many of the fine scale models sold (some still) by Sig Manufacturing of Montezuma, Iowa. In fact, if you don't know, Maxey later married Hazel Sigafoose after her first husband and company co-founder (Glen) died (during an aerobatic performance). This P−63 Kingcobra was designed for "multi" radio (what we refer today as 4 or 5 channels) and a K&B .45 engine. The wingspan is about 64".

FAA Approves Electric Flying Car for Testing

FAA Approves World's First Electric Flying Car for Testing - Airplanes and Rockets"A California-based company, Alef Aeronautics, is building a flying electric car that now has approval for testing. The company said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted it certification to begin testing the car on the road and in the air, Fox Business reported Saturday. Although it remains in the experimental phase, the company is taking preorders, according to USA Today. The outlet also shared an image of the sleek, black vehicle called 'Model A'. The low-speed fully electric car can be driven up to 200 miles on roadways and also launch vertically into the air and boasts a flying range of 110 miles, the Fox report said..."

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Douglas DC-3 Control Line Model Maiden Flight

Douglas C-47 (DC-3) Control Line Model (Dakota or Skytrain) - Airplanes and RocketsBreaking News!!! - My electric-powered, control line DC−3 model completed its maiden flight on August 2, 2023. It flew beautifully! The lines kept nice and tight even with slight wind gusts. I was unsure whether the motors and propellers would provide sufficient thrust, but 4−cell LiPo battery, it will climb nearly straight up. In fact, though, the maiden flight only used a 3-cell LiPo and it flew fine. The propellers are counter-rotating jobs meant for a drone. They are the only 3−bladed props I could find that were small enough in diameter with wide blades and high pitch. Allegheny Airlines livery was chosen because of a photo I have of one sitting on the tarmac at Erie International Airport sometime in the 1970s. A video will be posted soon...

4-Level Wooden Bleachers Plans - Update

4-Level Wooden Bleachers Plans - Airplanes and RocketsThese 4-level wooden bleacher plans are the latest version. I was going to write up a hardware parts list, but never got around to it. Both sections of the bleachers shown in the photo (built in fall of 2011) are still in service and are in excellent condition. Pressure treated lumber was used for everything, and all the nuts, bolts, and washers are galvanized. Screws for the planks are outdoor deck grade. Pressure treated landscaping timbers are sitting on the ground between the soil and bleachers. My daughter sold the property a couple years ago, so I don’t have access to it to take any other photos. My son-in-law and I built both sections of bleachers in one weekend. Since many of the parts are duplicates, we cut out and drilled the first of each type, then used them as templates for the rest. If you have half a dozen people available to cut and drill, that will speed the process considerably. We also built up the first seat/step frame, then built the others on top of it to assure all were identical (using screws temporarily so the bolts didn’t get in the way). Get the first one as perfect as possible. Prior to erecting the entire assemblies, the ground area was leveled and the landscaping timbers laid into position. We used long deck screws to hold them together to prevent shifting during assembly. The completed bleachers will be as level as the foundation. Adjustments can be made, if needed, with shims cut from the pressure treated wood. Note that if the ground is wet/moist, the landscaping timbers will quickly begin to bow upward as the wetter bottom expands...

It Takes a Rocket Scientist...

Dimorphos DART Strike - Airplanes and Rockets

Didymos - Earth orbits - Airplanes and RocketsFor nearly two decades, a collaborative effort between amateur and professional astronomers has been scanning the night sky for massive bodies whose trajectories cross the Earth's orbital path, thereby creating a potential collision someday. Software compares images of the entire sky (acquired in small areas) to look for newly appearing and/or moving points of light. As with amateur radio, which has contributed mightily to the knowledge of wireless communications, so too have amateur astronomers significantly pioneered the field (pun intended) of primarily visual wavelength astronomy. Indeed, they routinely discover asteroids, planet and moon impacts by asteroids and meteorites, and even novae missed by professionals. Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) does the heavy lifting for finding near-earth objects (NEO), but NASA has a dedicated program called Near-Earth Object Observations (NEOO) Program. It includes devising methods to divert the trajectory of a massive body capable of potentially devastating damage on impact. To do so, an explosion is used to jolt the object enough to alter its orbit. It requires detection while far enough away that a small nudge will create an acceptable margin of safety. NASA recently tested its method on asteroid Dimorphos. Control room operators cheered when the onboard camera show it making a direct hit. Score one for science. It did alter the orbit, while also blowing off hundreds of smaller chunks, some of which are now themselves NEO's, Oops. Q: Of all the asteroids out there, why would they select one whose trajectory crosses Earth orbit, not knowing what might happen if something went wrong? It took a rocket scientist to do that.

Smaller, Lighter Cessna 327 Mini Skymaster

Smaller, Lighter Cessna 327 Mini Skymaster - Airplanes and Rockets"The 327 was Cessna's solution to a downsizing opportunity. Then it ended up in a NASA wind tunnel. Once upon a time, GA aircraft manufacturers pursued market niches with the ferocity of wild dingos. When marketing teams identified a potentially underserved customer segment, they wasted no time introducing minor variations to existing models to accommodate it. Compared to today's offerings, the resulting variety of aircraft was spectacularly broad and varied. When Cessna determined some customers would be willing to pay a bit more for a slightly more powerful 172, for example, the company introduced the 175 Skylark. This was little more than a 172 with a different engine, but the company was in pursuit of new market segments and opted to advertise it as an entirely different model. Similarly, Beechcraft identified markets for both full-sized and smaller light twins in the forms of the Baron and Travel Air. With four seats instead of five or six, thriftier 4-cylinder engines, and significantly lighter weight..."

Short-Wave Radio Lands Army Plane

Short-Wave Radio Lands Army Plane Without Human Aid, December 1937 Radio-Craft - RF CafeWhat was considered in 1937 to be a breakthrough feat for a full-size airplane is today accomplished regularly in model airplanes. What took hundreds of pounds of generators, radio gear, sensors, and actuators to perform the first-ever fully automatic landing is now done with a few ounces of microminiaturized GPS receiver, processor, MEMS sensors, servos, and a LiPo battery. The HobbyZone Sportsman S+RTF (see video at bottom) is an example. Most modern commercial aircraft are capable of landing themselves in an emergency situation. Just today there was a news report of an American Airlines pilot that died in flight and the copilot took over to land the airplane; however, that Airbus A320 could have handled the job if necessary...

Lazy Susan Salt, Pepper & Napkin Holder

Lazy Susan Salt, Pepper & Napkin Holder - Airplanes and RocketsMany moons ago I designed and built a combined salt & pepper and napkin holder for use on a round oak table we had when first married (1983). It had a Lazy Susan turntable for the base to facilitate easy access by anyone sitting at the table. At some point during our many household moves, we sold both the table and the turntable at a yard sale. For a long time I have been planning to build another to replace it. Finally, I used some leftover hickory wood from my Grandmother clock project and built what you see here. It is about 11½" in diameter; the size was kept as small as practical so as not to take up too much room on the table. One improvement over the first iteration was only placing vertical supports near the four corners, which keeps the back open for inserting napkins without needing to remove the salt and pepper shakers...

Build This "Flying Volkswagen" for Less than $600!

Build This "Flying Volkswagen" for Less than $600! , May 1968 Popular Mechanics - Airplanes and RocketsUsing converted Volkswagen engines to power boats, dune buggies, airplanes, water pumps, electricity generators, fans, and other things was a popular meme in the 1960s. Hippies crashing their Bugs, Beetles, and Vans while high on drugs made surplus engines readily available at a good price ($250, per this article, which is about $2,200 in 2023 money). The Evans Volksplane, which began appearing in full-size aviation magazines sometime around 1968 or 1969, was very popular. I thought it was in Popular Mechanics that I first saw it on the cover, back in the day, but I cannot find it in a Google search. This "Flying Volkswagen," unlike the Volksplane, looks pretty scary. It calls for piano hinges on the control surfaces, and I'm thinking they were actual piano hardware rather than certified flightworthy gear. The $600 project cost in 1968 is the equivalent of around $5,300 today, which is about what a fully equipped radio controlled turbine-powered jet model costs...

Membrane Mirrors Revolutionize Astronomy

Membrane Mirrors Revolutionize Astronomy - Airplanes and Rockets"Scientists have developed a new method to produce and shape large, high-quality mirrors, significantly thinner than the primary mirrors traditionally employed in space telescopes. These resultant mirrors possess enough flexibility to be rolled up and packed efficiently within a spacecraft during launch. 'Launching and deploying space telescopes is a complicated and costly procedure,' said Sebastian Rabien from Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany. 'This new approach - which is very different from typical mirror production and polishing procedures - could help solve weight and packaging issues for telescope mirrors, enabling much larger, and thus more sensitive, telescopes to be placed in orbit..."

1933 Boeing P-26A Peashooter 4-View

1933 Boeing P-26A Peashooter 4-View, June 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThis 4-view for the 1933 Boeing P−26A Peashooter was scanned from my purchased copy of the June 1968 American Aircraft Modeler magazine. 4-view for this fine model was drawn by Mr. Björn Karlström. All copyrights (if any) are hereby acknowledged. "The all-metal, single-wing P−26, popularly known as the "Peashooter," was an entirely new design for Boeing, and its structure drew heavily on the Monomail. The Peashooter's wings were braced with wire, rather than with the rigid struts used on other airplanes, so the airplane was lighter and had less drag. Its initial high landing speeds were reduced by the addition of wing flaps in the production models...

This Is Where It All Began...

This Is Where It All Began (114 River Road, Edgewater, MD 21037) - Airplanes and Rockets114 River Road, Edgewater, MD 21037 (originally Rt. 4 box 504) is where I grew up - or more appropriately, got older - and spent as much time as possible building and flying every kind of airplane, rocket, and helicopter I could get my hands on. It has been close to 20 years since going back there, but thanks to the miracle of Google Earth, I was able to grab this satellite image of the old stomping grounds. It looks pretty much the way I remember it. My father and I built the addition on the southwest end, and the porch on the southeast side. That section of sidewalk that goes nowhere now used to terminate at a 10'x10' steel shed. Those two outbuildings in the back yard are new. In the zoomed out view of the Google map (below) you can see the entire neighborhood of Holly Hill Harbor. Explanations of the markings will be given later in the story. The yellow circle is approximately where I flew and eventually crashed many control line airplanes. After destroying the first couple Cox plastic models I received as presents at Christmas and/or birthdays, I finally got wise and bought a Cox PT-19 Trainer. It was with the PT-19 Trainer that I finally learned to fly a control line airplane...

Carpet-to-Tile Transition Molding

Carpet-to-Tile Transition Molding - Airplanes and RocketsWe needed some nice, strong, low profile wooden carpet-to-tile transition molding strips to install between very dense carpet (w/padding) and thick vinyl floor tiles. An area inside our front door, and also the two bathroom doorways needed the molding. Commercially available transition strips made of solid wood are very expensive, and even the el cheapo variety made of "wood products" with a faux grain layer on top is expensive. None that I could find would have done a good job, anyway, because the dimensions were not right. I wanted the molding to make intimate contact with the underlayment while allowing the floating vinyl floor tiles to have freedom to expand and contract, with minimal thickness on top to minimize tripping hazards. The carpet side needed to compress the piles enough to hold the edge securely on the tack strip while not distorting the piling excessively. I have the tools required to do a custom molding, but really didn't want to put in the effort unless absolutely necessary. Ultimately, doing it myself was the best choice, and I'm glad of it now that it's done...

Full Sturgeon Supermoon

Full Sturgeon Supermoon, Greensboro, NC - Airplanes and RocketsNo doubt you've heard the old saying about something happening "once in a blue moon," meaning rarely. A blue moon is the second full moon occurring in a given calendar month. The time between new moons is about 29½ days, so February can never experience a blue moon. Last night, on August 1st, the Full Sturgeon Moon (a supermoon) graced the southern sky. I took the photo above at around 9:30 pm EST; it was very yellowish due to atmospheric dust (probably from Canada) - not apparent in this B&W rendering. A repeat performance happens on August 31st, making that occasion a blue moon. The concept of a monthly blue moon is a relatively recent thing, supposedly have begun with the March 1946 edition of Sky & Telescope magazine. A supermoon is when the full moon happens at or near perigee in its orbit, placing it closest to Earth and thereby appearing to be at its largest. Hopefully, the restoration of my Criterion RV-6 Newtonian telescope will be done in time for the Blue Moon.

Man Into Space?

Man Into Space?, June 1961 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeAccording to the postscript to this editorial, Hugo Gernsback wrote his opinion on the then current state of space exploration and his recommendation for how future efforts should proceed, a month before Alan Shepherd made his historic suborbital flight aboard the Freedom 7 Mercury capsule. That May 5, 1961, feat marked mankind's first foray into space. Surprisingly, Gernsback was not in favor of a manned space program. He believed the resources and expense required to support human life in space would be better invested in developing autonomous and remotely controlled robotic systems. Many people agreed with him then and today. Although I do not oppose manned space flight, I tend to agree with Gernsback that much more can be accomplished with machines than with humans. NASA's many successes on Mars are evidence of the accomplishments possible with robots, and the long-term missions possible. At some point it might be necessary to explore sending men to other planets, but there really is no imperative at this time - just a desire to do so. Coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally), Mr. Gernsback refers to his vision of a lunar probe as "surveyor," which was name of NASA's series of robotic lunar lander probes deployed...

Construction Details of the Messerschmitt Jaguar

Construction Details of the Messerschmitt "Jaguar", October 1941 Flying Aces When this detailed construction of the Messerschmitt "Jaguar" bomber appeared in the October 1941 issue of Flying Aces magazine, not many Americans suspected that within weeks the Japanese would bomb Pearl Harbor and draw the country formally into World War II. That included the other primary "Axis" power, Germany. Jaguars had been routinely dropping bombs all over Europe for years. News of the increasing aggressiveness of Hitler's hoards fill newspaper front pages and nightly news on radio (not many televisions at the time), but that was "over there," not on our shores. Out of sight, out of mind, as the saying goes. As with so many other areas of technology, the Germans were very good aircraft designers and builders. The Jaguar was considered a medium range bomber. It had a wingspan of 55 feet, similar to the De Havilland Mosquito bomber with a 54 foot wingspan. By comparison, the Mitchell B−25 had a 67 foot wingspan...

Air Strength of the Soviet Union

Air Strength of the Soviet Union, October 1941 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsDuring World War II, Russia was considered an ally, being part of the Allied forces battling the Axis powers. The Allied countries were primarily the USA, England, the Soviet Union, China, and France. The Axis of evil was primarily Germany, Japan, and Italy. Interesting, isn't it, that after saving Russia from the Germans and China from the Japanese, they almost immediately became our arch enemies, seeking to destroy the "Capitalist Pigs." Reportedly, Stalin was originally to join with Hitler, but the two could not agree on how to share power in the event of victory. Negotiations went awry after both countries invaded Poland in 1939, which in spite of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, effectively triggered the beginning of World War II. For a deep dive into behind-the-scenes WWII actions, be sure to watch the entire six season of Hogan's Heroes ;-)...

Sunbeam FP-11A Electric Frypan Thermostat Adjustment

Sunbeam FP-11A Electric Frypan Thermostat Adjustment - Airplanes and Rockets(add other photos) A nice vintage Sunbeam Model FP−11A electric frypan, like one we had decades ago, showed up at an estate sale. I plugged it in and it heated up quickly, so I paid the man $5 and brought it home. The magazine advertisement shown on the left is from 1956, so it's more than sixty years old! Melanie and I have been on a mission for many years to find Made in the USA products for use rather than support Red China. That goes for appliances, tools, electronics, clothing, household goods, and whatever else can be found. Before investing time into cleaning it up, I wanted to give it a good going over. A quick check with the thermocouple showed that the temperature was out of alignment with the dial. I removed the protective cover and found the adjustment screw provided for setting the temperature. After a few iterations of adjusting and measuring, I arrived at a place where the frypan would heat up to about 20° degrees above the set point, turn off, then turn back on about 20° degrees below...

Unpiloted Aerial Vehicle Inspired by Science Fiction

Unpiloted Aerial Vehicle Inspired by Science Fiction - Airplanes and Rockets"Imagine a world where science fiction meets reality, where cutting-edge technology brings to life the awe-inspiring scenes from movies like Prometheus. This is the groundbreaking research led by Dr. Fu Zhang, at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), who has developed a Powered-flying Ultra-underactuated LiDAR-Sensing Aerial Robot (PULSAR) that is poised to redefine the world of unpiloted aerial vehicles (UAVs). UAVs are already playing an increasingly vital role in search and rescue, cave surveying, and architectural mapping. The PULSAR, aptly named for its similarities to an astronomical pulsar's self-rotation and scanning pattern, takes UAV technology to new heights. With a micro-computer and a LiDAR sensor, PULSAR boasts full onboard perception, mapping, planning, and control capabilities in both indoor and outdoor environments, all without requiring any external instruments. The secret to PULSAR's incredible functionality lies in its single actuator, which powers the swashplateless..."

Oak Rolling Pin Turned on Craftsman Wood Lathe

Oak Rolling Pin Turned on Craftsman Wood Lathe - Airplanes and RocketsMelanie inherited a very old rolling pin from her grandmother, and at some point in our many household moves it either got lost or we gave it away. It has been gone for many years. The one she has been using was bought at Kohl's - nothing special. Unlike Melanie's grandmother's rolling pin which was turned from a single piece of wood, including the handles, the replacement roller is on an axel between separate handles. A couple years back I finally found a 12" Craftsman wood lathe like the one I had bought soon after separating from the USAF in 1982, but I sold it in 1992 prior to a cross-country move. A little over a year ago, we built a house on our daughter and son-in-law's farm, and needed to cut down a couple very large red oak and white oak trees. They were cut into 10-foot by 10" wide by 1" thick fence boards and stacked to dry for a year. I chose some of the best examples of boards and ran them through my Craftsman planer to have in store for future projects. Window ledges were made for the house from some of it, and there were a lot of 1-1/2" wide strips left over. I decided to laminate in alternate strips of red and white oak. The contrast is not extreme like when using maple and walnut...

Auto Progress Memory Lane Collection

Auto Progress Memory Lane Collection No. 2, from August 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsIn a time before massive overregulation by the government, even starting your own car manufacturing business was a lot simpler. In the early part of the 20th century there were dozens of independent car companies that vied for the hard-earned money of a public growing increasingly demanding of modern conveniences both in the home and outdoors. Unlike recent history where an overreaching government decides who the winners (e.g., Chevrolet - aka Obama Motors) and losers (e.g., Pontiac) are, market forces (i.e., the public) decided which companies deserved to thrive and which deserved to push up corporate tulips. This "Auto Progress Memory Lane" series of sketches by Douglas Rolfe, in a 1954 issue of Air Trails magazine, gives you an idea of some of the early contenders...

Paper Airplane Sets Guinness World Record

Paper Airplane Sets Guinness World Record - Airplanes and Rockets"Boeing engineers' handmade airplane shatters a record by flying nearly the length of an American football field. It's a classic activity everyone learns during their childhood. Fold a piece of paper into an airplane and send it soaring into the sky with a flick of the wrist. Boeing engineers Dillon Ruble and Garrett Jensen grew up folding paper airplanes, but never thought they would one day break world records. As second- and third-generation Boeing employees, Jensen and Ruble vividly remember attending company Family Day events as children. "We would fold paper airplanes back then as a fun childhood activity," Ruble said. "Origami, or the art of folding paper, became a long-term passion." That passion ignited a dream, one that would become record-breaking reality for the duo. "It was hard to believe..."

Criterion RV−6 Dynascope Restoration

Criterion RV-6 Dynascope Telescope Restoration Project - Airplanes and RocketsA few years back, I wrote about the Criterion RV−6 Dynascope, 6" Newtonian telescope I attempted to buy whilst serving in the USAF at Robins AFB, Georgia, in from 1978-82. Now, half a decade later, I finally found one at a reasonable price, where the owner was willing to pack and ship it. He did an excellent job with it, and even used a harvy cardboard SonoTube for protecting the optical tube. After performing a quick mirror alignment and using the original Criterion eyepieces, I looked at the moon and Saturn and was amazed at the quality of the image. A pert−near polar alignment was done and the clock drive was turned on. With Siruis centered in the eyepiece to begin with, it was still well within the field of view 20 minutes later. The success of those two tests convinced me that undertaking a complete restoration would be worthwhile. The plan is to remove all the original crakle type black and silver paint, sand and/or sandblast the surfaces, then repaint as clost to original as possible. The green felt material lining the main tube holder rings will be replaced with Teflon tape, which I already have. The felt does not allow the tube to rotate easily, so hopefully the Teflon will work out better...

Phantom P-30 Motor

Phantom P-30 Motor, October 1941 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsLittle did most people know that two months after this October 1941 issue of Flying Aces magazine arrived in their mailboxes, the U.S. would be drawn into what would become World War II, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941. Flying Aces was chock full of factual and fictional stories about the last war (War War I), and the things the Krauts and Nips were already pulling across Western Europe, North Africa, China, and the South Pacific. Much more subject material was near at hand. Oddly, the magazine changed its theme and title to Flying Age shortly before the end of WWII, electing to focus more on full-scale aircraft rather than models. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Inflation Calculator, the $9.75 Phantom P-30 engine would cost you about $194 in 2023. In 2020 it would have been $163. That means the total rate of inflation for the last three (3) years has been around 19% (~6.3%/year). In 2016 the equivalent price would have been about $153, so from 2016 to 2020 the increase was just 6.5% for the entire four years (~1.6%/year)...

How to Build George Harris' Radio Controlled Spitfire

How to Build George Harris' Radio Controlled Spitfire Article & Plans, February 1962 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Wells S. just wrote asking for another article to be posted - this time it is a very nice scale radio controlled Spitfire IX. It appeared in the February 1962 issue of American Modeler magazine published by the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA). As was common in the era (1962), construction is very robust and therefore heavy (10 pounds with a 64" wingspan). A Super Tigre .56 powered the model in the article, and an Orbit radio with Bonner servos were used. My favorite line in the article is, "In flight the Spitfire is very stable but snaps through maneuvers and will tie knots in itself if you can operate transmitter switches fast enough." We've come a long way, baby...

FAI 2023 World Space Model Championship

FAI 2023 World Space Model Championship - Airplanes and RocketsWhen did "Model Rocketry" morph into "Space Models?" I missed that important milestone. Everything on those tables look like rockets to me. Maybe the term "rocket" sounds too military... or too White. Bureaucrats ruin everything. "The 2023 FAI S World Championships for Space Models have officially kicked off! With over 200 competitors from 17 different countries, this exciting large scale FAI event is taking place in Austin, Texas, USA from Sunday, 2 July, to Friday, 7 July." That was last week, but there are not many photos posted yet of the flying phase of the competition. The National Association of Rocketry, the Academy of Model Aeronautics and the National Aeronautic Association organized and conducted the event...

Plastic Scale Model Kits - Airplanes and Rockets

About Airplanes & Rockets 

Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and RocketsKirt Blattenberger

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 ...

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