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.
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.
Prior to the advent of the Internet, receiving
information on foreign modeling activity was pretty much limited to what the U.S.
publications like American Modeler and Model Airplane News decided
to print. Even that was limited to things like flying events and not to specific
products. Before a few years ago, I had never heard of PEP engines, a product of
Electronic Development, Ltd., of Surrey, England. This full-page advertisement from
a 1960 issue of Aero Modeller magazine promotes PEP's line of diesel engines.
Along with the English spelling of words like "aluminium," it mentions a type of
metal called "Mehanite" and another called "Hiduminium." Another advantage of the
Internet is the ability to look up unfamiliar terms like that which would never
be found in the Webster's Dictionary on my bookshelf. Mehanite ...
How Flying Cars Could Change the Aerospace
"A new study of the environmental sustainability
flying cars (electric vertical takeoff and landing
aircraft, or VTOLs) finds that they wouldn’t be suitable for a short commute but
could be valuable in congested cities or in places where there are geographical
constraints. The found that for trips of 62 miles, a fully loaded VTOL carrying
a pilot and three passengers had lower greenhouse gas emissions than ground-based
cars with an average vehicle occupancy of 1.54. Emissions were 52% lower than gasoline
vehicles and 6 percent lower than battery-electric vehicles ..."
Fighter Jets with Missile-Killing
"U.S. Air Force says a ground-based laser
downed multiple test missiles over New Mexico. A successful ground test has moved
the U.S. military one big step closer to putting anti-missile lasers on its aircraft.
A ground-based laser shot down 'several' missiles in flight during an April 23 test
at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, Air Force officials said. Run by
the Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, the test was part of the
Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator,
or SHiELD, a program intended to protect aircraft from incoming missiles. AFRL officials
said security reasons prevented them from saying how many missiles were downed in
the test. The laser that the Air Force lab used for the test was ground-based ..."
Berkeley Models Privateer
Mr. Steven Krick wrote to ask a question
about my method for applying Silkspan on an open frame area on a vintage
seaplane model he is in the process of building. After imparting some of my limited
knowledge on such matters, he responded with some photos of the framed-up Privateer.
A few days he followed with a photo after the Silkspan has been applied. Hopefully,
more images will be made available as the progress continues. A Cox .049 is being
used for power. The Privateer was - and still is- a very popular amphibious model.
When Berkeley first produced the kit, modelers built it for radio control, control
line, and free flight ...
Drones Swarms Piloted by AI to Patrol
"Imagine you’re hiking through the woods
near a border. Suddenly, you hear a mechanical buzzing, like a gigantic bee. Two
quadcopters have spotted you and swoop in for a closer look. Antennae on both drones
and on a nearby autonomous ground vehicle pick up the radio frequencies coming from
the cell phone in your pocket. They send the signals to a central server, which
triangulates your exact location and feeds it
back to the drones. The robots close in. Cameras and other sensors on the machines
recognize you as human and try to ascertain your intentions. Are you a threat? Are
you illegally crossing a border? Do you have a gun? Are you engaging in acts of
terrorism or organized crime? The machines send video feeds ..."
3D Rocket Factory Takes Flight
"A rocket manufacturer pioneering 3D printing
technology is scheduled to loft its first payload into orbit as early as 2021 under
terms of a deal between the aerospace startup and a launch services provider. Relativity
Space said this week it has signed a launch services agreement with Spaceflight,
a satellite rideshare and mission management specialist. The deal calls for Spaceflight
to book satellite launches to low-earth orbit using Relativity's Terran 1 rocket,
an entirely 3D-printed rocket. Relativity bills itself as
the aerospace industry's first autonomous rocket factory and launch service integrating
machine learning and intelligent robotics with 3D autonomous manufacturing technology.
The startup claims it can build a rocket using additive manufacturing ..."
Vintage Northrop Flying Wing Crashes
"A restored one-of-a-kind 1944 flying-wing
airplane owned by the Planes of Fame Air Museum crashed April 22 during a flight
to prepare for an upcoming airshow, killing the pilot. The crash of the
Northrop N-9MB on the grounds of a state prison
near the Chino Airport, where the museum is located, occurred under unknown circumstances.
News accounts reported that the pilot had stopped responding to calls from the Chino
Airport control tower about seven minutes after takeoff from the airport. There
were no serious injuries of persons on the ground reported at the California Rehabilitation
Center in Norco ..."
Dornier Do-335 A-6 Scale Model by Steven Krick
One of the advantages of publishing a website
like AirplanesAndRockets is that occasionally I get contacted by modelers of exceptional
skill and, in sometimes, renown within the modeling universe. Such was the case
recently when Mr. Steven Krick (a USAF jet engine mechanic many moons ago)
wrote to ask a question about my method for applying Silkspan on an open frame area
on a vintage Berkeley Privateer seaplane model. After receiving my response, he
mentioned his other model airplane building aspect - that of highly detailed plastic
scale kits like this
Dornier Do−335 A−6, a World War II era twin engine craft in
a pusher-tractor configuration. According to the Wikipedia entry on the Do−335,
the "A−6" version was a "two-seat night fighter aircraft, with completely separate
second cockpit located above and behind the original." A few years back at the Erie
International Airport ...
Model Aviation Comics, January 1961 American Modeler
model aviation-related comics appeared in the January 1961 American Modeler
magazine. I'm not quite sure what message the first one is attempting to convey,
with the guy peering through a seafarer's spyglass to see his model airplane at
the end of the control lines. Maybe it is meant to imply the lines being used are
really long, or that his model it really tiny. Note the telescope dome in the background.
D-Day, June 6, 1944 - 75th Anniversary
Time heals all wounds, as the
saying goes. Since the days of gruesome wars, both victor and loser countries have
managed to establish civil relations and forgiveness for past actions. Some have
thrived, as between the U.S. and Japan and Germany, while others have not. Ultimately,
it is the greed for money, quest for power, and/or religious zeal of a relative
few at the top of national offices who cause the problems while their people pay
the price. So, too, do
people of countries that choose to oppose tyranny and free the world's oppressed.
Time also erases memories of those actions of men and women that caused the wars
and attendant suffering and loss. Today, very few people can tell you anything about
Socialism and its many forms are gaining popularity again based on ignorance.
= National Socialism. Beware. Listen to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's D-Day
prayer from June 6, 1944.
How to Make a Propeller in Six Days
This is pretty amazing. "Culver Props specializes in making custom, fixed-pitch,
two-blade, wood propellers. Lewis makes about 120 propellers a year. The path: Lewis
was taught by her grandfather, a mechanical engineer. 'I worked here while I was
going to college,' says Lewis, 'doing the things nobody else wanted to do, like
answering the phones. My grandpa taught me everything as we went along, and I've
been doing this now for 10 years. He passed away in 2016, so I continued the business
- me and my 84-year-old granny, who comes in every day and helps me. We specialize
in the larger-diameter propellers, a lot of World War I replicas. That's our sweet
Du-Bro Tri-Star Review, December 1975 RC Modeler
Du-Bro was the first American company to
produce a radio control helicopter kit - the Whirlybird 505. That was sometime
around 1972 It was modeled after the way free flight helicopters were built an the
engine and propeller sitting on top of the main rotor, using a free-wheeling rotor
that turned in response to the counter torque of the engine. Fixed pitch rotor blades
were controlled via a flybar assembly as was the case prior to the advent of flybarless
rotor heads. Du-Bro's next helicopter was a much-improved and very popular Hughes 300,
using a driven rotor with the engine mounted in the fuselage. It also used a flybar
for rotor control. Building off that success, they next introduced this
TriStar R/C helicopter. It was smaller than the Hughes 300 and modeled
after the RotorWay Scorpion homebuilt ...
Chinese Hypersonic Vehicle Model
for Future Weapon System
"The hypersonic vehicle appears similar to
an American hypersonic weapon development project, HAWC. Images on Chinese social
media appear to show a hypersonic test vehicle that is a likely prototype for a
weapon system. The
Jia Geng No. 1 rocket, allegedly built for hypersonic
research, appears very similar to an American concept for a hypersonic cruise missile.
The images, which recently surfaced in Chinese language media, show the Jia Geng
No. 1 rocket, a collaboration between Xiamen University Aerospace Academy and Beijing
Lingkong Tianxing Technology Co., Ltd. The images show a rocket 28.5 feet long by
2.5 8.2 feet wide ..."
Keck Telescopes Get a Motion Control
"In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii
Island is surrounded by thousands of miles of thermally stable seas. The 13,796-foot
Maunakea mountain summit has no nearby ranges to roil the upper atmosphere, and
for most of the year, this atmosphere is clear, calm, and dry, enabling the
W. M. Keck Observatory, with its twin 10-meter-mirror
telescopes, to observe our galaxy and beyond at levels special to it since opening
in the early 1990s. Now, after the completion of a significant nine-year motion
control upgrade project, the Keck Observatory telescopes, each standing 30 meters
(almost 100 feet) tall, are offering data and observations with new and impressive
nanometer precision. And all changes were made without experiencing any downtime
on either telescope ..."
NASA Unveils Radically New Airplane
"Most planes use rigid wings with moving
parts. But what if there was a wing that was not only completely flexible, but could
be programmed to change on the go? A wing that could adapt to the most efficient
shape for any flight, wind conditions or scientific mission? MADCAT is making that
wing a reality. The Mission Adaptive Digital Composite Aerostructure
Technologies, or MADCAT, team at NASA's Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon
Valley, uses carbon fiber composites - a strong and light material made of carbon
atoms - to design and test efficient, ultra-light wings that can adapt on the fly ..."
Cunningham on R/C: Edsel Murphy's Law
One of the monthly columns in R/C Modeler
magazine, written by Chuck Cunningham, entitled "Cunningham on R/C," that reported
on the current state of radio control, which had only fairly recently evolved into
fully solid state, proportional control systems. Anyone involved in electronics
is painfully familiar with the weird kinds of issues that crop up in complex circuits
that operate in hostile environments. The March 1970 issue contained part of an
article authored by D. L. Klipstein, Director of Engineering, Measurement Control
Devices, entitled, "Murphy's Law:
The Contributions of Edsel Murphy to the Understanding of the Behaviour of Inanimate
Objects.*" Only a few of the items were printed in Cunningham's column, but
I managed to locate a copy of the full article ...
Alain Pons' Turbojet "Duck" Canard
The turbojet-power version of "Alain's Duck" canard
has made its maiden flight. As you can see in the video (on the page), it handles
as smoothly as the other versions. Of course Alain's piloting skills play at least
a small part in how well she flies. More details will follow once Alain supplies
McCall's Pattern #8346 Miniature House, Furniture and
Sometime back in the 1990s when our daughter,
Sally, was around three years old, her grandmother (Melanie's mother) made one of
these Rabbit Family House sets from the
McCall's pattern #8346. Grandma was a very craftsy person who had decades of
experience making rugs, wall hangings, quilts, clothes, and decorative items. You
can see from the pattern instructions that a lot of work is involved with many different
types of skills required. Now that we have a five-year-old granddaughter, Melanie
decided it would be nice to make a Bunny House for her. Sally found the pattern
package at a Goodwill store, and it was of the same vintage as the one Melanie's
mother used. At first, the plan was to make one that looked like Sally's ...
AMA Notice: Exception for Limited Recreational
Operations of Unmanned Aircraft
Earlier today, the FAA issued a notice that
provides temporary guidance for recreational fliers.
AMA is already working with the FAA to make accommodations for our members, and
we wanted to let you know what to expect. First, we’ll share a bit of background.
Throughout the past few years, thousands of new recreational drone users and more
than 400,000 new commercial drone operators have entered the airspace. Late last
year, Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed into law the FAA Reauthorization
Act of 2018. This law gives the FAA more authority to address the surge of new users
and changing airspace. Part of the law includes Section 349, which outlines eight
statutory requirements for the recreational operation of all unmanned aircraft,
including all drone and model aircraft hobbyists ...
Jean Shepherd's Model Airplane Radio Broadcast
Jean "Shep" Shepherd, most recently known for the movie "A Christmas Story," spawned
by his book entitled "In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash," was widely known in
the 1950s through 70s for his ad hoc story telling on AM radio stations like WOR
in NY City. Shep was an avid amateur radio enthusiast his entire life, and told
anecdotes about it often while on the air. He was also an airplane modeler in his
younger days. This May 3, 1973
Model Airplanes broadcast
by Shep recounts the time he and his friend Schwartz (a real guy and one of The
Christmas Story" characters), as teenagers, pooled their paper route money to buy
and build Flying Quaker R/C airplane from plans, with a Brown engine and home-built
radio gear (they were both Hams with electronics skills). It was nearly a year-long
project for them. On the Flying Quaker's maiden flight, it got caught up in a strong
thermal. Listen to his story to learn how it turned out ...
Drone Delivery Service Launched in Australia
"Alphabet's subsidiary Wing announced this
week that it has officially launched a
commercial drone delivery service 'to a limited
set of eligible homes in the suburbs of Crace, Palmerston and Franklin,' which are
just north of Canberra, in Australia. Wing's drones are able to drop a variety of
small products, including coffee, food, and pharmacy items, shuttling them from
local stores to customers’ backyards within minutes. We've been skeptical about
whether this kind of drone delivery makes sense for a long, long time, and while
this is certainly a major milestone for Wing, I'm still not totally convinced that
the use-cases that Wing ..."
Up until sometime in the early 2000s, Ace
R/C manufactured a very popular set of injection molded foam wings for ½A size models
- the Ace R/C Mini Foam Wing. There was
a constant chord and a tapered chord version. Up until fairly recently, a third-party
firm was selling equivalent foam wing panels eBay. Of course you can often buy original
Ace R/C Mini Foam Wings on eBay so you might want to check periodically to see if
they appear. Laser Design Service and Balsa Builder both offer a balsa built-up
version of the foam wing. Andy Kunz has a free plan for cutting and building your
own Ace tapered chord mini foam wing replica. Owen Kampen and others designed and
kitted many ½A airplanes using his Mini Foam Wing cores ...
Mach 25 'Spaceplane' Passes Crucial Test
"A 'spaceplane' that flies 25 times faster than the
speed of sound has successfully passed a crucial testing milestone. The hypersonic
plane is so fast it could jet from London to New York in less than 60 minutes and
transport you from the UK to Australia in four hours. Oxford-based Reaction Engines
has been working with the European Space Agency and the UK Space Agency, along with
BAE Systems, to make the powerful aircraft. Reaction Engines has recently been testing
a 'pre-cooler' for the plane, which is technology that would allow it to travel
faster than ever before. The pre-cooler is critical in the plane's development because
it is required to stop the engine from melting by lowering the temperature of compressed
air in the engine ..."
Hobby Lobby International Advertisement
Founded in 1964 and located in Brentwood,
Hobby Lobby International closed its doors a couple years ago. Born in an era
when many - if not most - products used by aircraft, boat, and car modelers were
manufactured here in the United States, Hobby Lobby served the entire spectrum of
modeling. Hobby Lobby did offer many hard-to-get foreign kits as well, though. It
was the first mail-order hobby shops that I remember using. There were not any "real"
hobby shops near my Mayo, Maryland, home as a kid, so unless I could whine enough
to get my father to drive me the 20+ miles to the nearest hobby shop, the only alternative
was to cut out the order form, fill it out, have my mother write a check (from money
I earned on my paper route), stuff it all in an envelope ...
Growing Drone Industry Spawns a
Growing Antidrone Industry
"Drone sightings at London's Gatwick Airport
disrupted operations there for three days last December, and in January, rumored
sightings near Newark [N.J.] Liberty International Airport delayed incoming air
traffic temporarily. These incidents highlighted a growing problem with
small drones: Miscreants, or just clueless operators,
can make real trouble by flying these machines where they're not allowed. Rogue
drones have been a long-standing worry for regulators, who have pursued a wide array
of ideas to address the issue. Now, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is
preparing a new report on the matter ..."
Airtronics Aquila Product Review in the December 1975
It was in the May 1975 issue of R/C Modeler
magazine that I first saw the
Aquila sailplane (she's way too graceful to refer to her merely as a glider).
Airtronics had not introduced a kit yet, but they were selling a canopy and hardware
kit along with plans, so I ordered them and scratch built my first Aquila. I was
17 years old then. It was covered to look like the one in the photo above (which
would become the kit box label photo). Not having lite ply for the fuselage, I used
hard balsa. Somehow I eventually managed to destroy Aquila #1, but by that time
a kit was available, so I bought one and also the ABS plastic fuselage. A standard
Hi-Start was used for launching. Back in the 1970s, there were still plenty of areas,
even near small cities, to stretch out a Hi-Start ...
Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow
"Inspired by birds that fold their wings
in the air when space is limited, researchers from the
University of Zurich and EPFL have developed
a new foldable drone. The researchers designed the
quadrocopter with four independently rotating propellers. The propellers are mounted
on mobile arms that can be pivoted around the main frame with the help of servomotors.
The control system regulates, in real time, each new position of the arms and adjusts
the propeller speed depending on the center of gravity. The drone's default configuration
is X-shaped, but it can adapt into H, O, and T shapes ..."