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Airplanes & Rockets

Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and Rockets

Kirt 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 ...


1996 - 2026


Kirt Blattenberger


Family Websites:

RF Cafe | Equine Kingdom

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

Home Page Archive (page 21)

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


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

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

Lightness Is a Virtue

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

Landing Blind - the Instrument Landing System

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

Model Car Show - 1963 American Modeler Magazine

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

eCalc Electric Flight Software

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

Charybdis Plans & Article - October 1972 AAM

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

R/C Model Boats - And Aweigh They Go!

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

Ugliest Airplane: the Transavia AirTruk

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

Antique Cobbler's Bench Restoration

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

The Nearly Effortless Flight of the Albatross

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

Phantom Motors Christmas Ad

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

Model Making Offers Money Making Opportunities

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

W9USB Third Open American Soaring Contest

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

Coupled Aileron Ruddered System for Radio Control

"CAR: Coupled Aileron Ruddered System for Radio Control, Annual 1960 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsWhen I run across articles like this "CAR: Coupled Aileron Ruddered System for Radio Control" which appeared in the 1960 Annual issue of Air Trails magazine, dial cord, I am in awe of some people for the genius, creativity, and willingness to do the hard work involved in advancing the state of the art in a given field. Not surprisingly, Maynard Hill is the author and progenitor of this - at the time - breakthrough method of combining aileron and rudder control to enable at least some semblance of coordinated turns with radio controlled model airplanes. Mr. Hill was a metallurgist in his day work at Johns Hopkins' Applied Physics Laboratory. Distance and altitude records for R/C models were among his many accomplishments. Looking at the complication of the electromechanical coupled aileron-rudder control system...

Novel Field Kit for a Free Flighter 

Novel Field Kit for a Free Flighter from August 1970 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsHere is novel idea from well-known free flight modeler Bill Hannan and hobby shop owner Russ Barrera. It appeared in a 1970 issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine. The pair converted an unused transmitter case into a handy field box for use with free flight models. In addition to adding a hinge and latch to the cover, the retractable antenna sports a small wind sock for judging launch times and even a compass in place of the RF power meter to note the direction of your model as it drifts off into the wild blue yonder when the dethermalizer fails to trigger. Without the convenience of eBay, finding an unused transmitter would have been a bit difficult for most free-flighters back in the day...

Electric Spirit of Innovation Sets World Records

Electric Spirit of Innovation Sets World Records - Airplanes and Rockets"Rolls-Royce has submitted data to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale to verify claims for three new world records set by the company's all-electric Spirit of Innovation aircraft. On 16 November 2021, Spirit of Innovation is claimed to have reached a top speed of 555.9 km/h (345.4 mph) over 3km, beating the existing record by 213.04 km/h (132 mph). Rolls-Royce added that further runs at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down experimental aircraft testing site saw the aircraft achieve 532.1 km/h (330 mph) over 15km - 292.8 km/h (182 mph) faster than the previous record – and broke the fastest time to climb to 3000m by 60 seconds with a time of 202 seconds.  During its runs, Spirit of Innovation achieved a maximum speed of 623 km/h (387.4mph) which according to Rolls-Royce..."

Reaching for the Moon

Reaching for the Moon (April 1938 Boys' Life Article) - Airplanes and Rockets1938 was still two decades away from when America would launch its first Earth-orbiting satellite (Explorer 1, 1958) and three decades from when man would first walk on the moon (Apollo 11, 1969), yet work was well underway by enthusiastic aerospace engineers, scientists, astronomers, project managers, and others to accomplish those goals. While this Boys' Life article boasts of rockets attaining speeds of 800 miles per hour, leaving Earth's gravitational pull for a trip to the moon would require a escape velocity of 25,000 miles per hour. Telescopes powerful enough to survey the moon's surface for determining a safe location for landing were being readied with telescopes like constructed 200-inch Hale reflector, having seen first light just nine years earlier. This type illustrated feature page was common each month...

Practical Electric Airplanes Decades Away

Practical Electric Airplanes Decades Away - Airplanes and Rpockets"Electric Airplanes Won't Make Much of a Dent in Air Travel for Decades to Come. Reason: Batteries are nowhere near able to sustain wide-body airliners over flights measuring in the thousands of kilometers. Exaggeration has become the default method for news reporting, and the possibility of commercial electric flight has been no exception, with repeated claims that these new planes will utterly change how we live. In 2017, Boeing and JetBlue funded Zunum Aero, a U.S. company that promised nothing less than transforming air travel with short-haul electric planes capable of carrying 12 people - and doing it by 2022. Two years later Boeing declined to continue funding the project. At the Paris Air Show..."

Contest Capers, March 1955 Air Trails

Contest Capers, March 1955 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsIf you're anything like me, you have an appreciation for the older comic strips. Getting the message being conveyed sometimes requires a knowledge of the events of the era, but for the most part the humor and/or satire comes through even when you assume it relates to current events. WWI and WWII timeframe comics, for instance, often alluded to the evils of Fascist governments overseas, while today they may be likened to the deeds of our own government. These "Contest Caper" comics from a 1955 edition of Air Trails magazine are timeless...

Two Traditions. One Wish.

Christmas & Hanukkah: Two Traditions. One Hope. - Airplanes and RocketsI saw this image posted on LinkedIn and thought it would be good to show here, too. Given that Christmas and Hanukkah are inexorably connected by historical events. The clever combining of a Christmas tree and a Hanukkah Lamp (not an original Menorah, which has seven candles). "Two Traditions. One Wish. On Earth Peace, Good Will Toward Men."

Japan's OMOTENASHI to Put Ham Radio on Moon

World’s Smallest Moon Lander from Japan will Put Ham Radio Transmitter on the Moon - Airplanes and Rockets"Japan's OMOTENASHI, the world's smallest moon lander, will have an X-band and UHF communication system, although it will not carry an amateur band transponder. OMOTENASHI is a 6U CubeSat set for launch via a NASA SLS rocket as early as February 2022. It will have a mission period of from 4 to 5 days. The name is an acronym for Outstanding Moon Exploration Technologies demonstrated by Nano Semi-Hard Impactor. Wataru Torii of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Ham Radio Club, JQ1ZVI, said radio amateurs can play a role in gathering data from the spacecraft. The spacecraft is made up of two separable components, both having independent communication systems - an orbiting module and a surface probe. The orbiting module will take the surface probe to the moon. It will transmit beacon or digital telemetry data on UHF (437.31 MHz)..."

AMA Museum Donations Viewable Online Now

AMA Museum Donations Viewable Online Now - Airplanes and RocketsThe December 2021 issue of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) Model Aviation magazine contained an article about the AMA Museum's effort to post model aircraft related historical items on their website. I check to see whether the two kits I donated in 2019 are there, and indeed they are. One is a Parris-Dunn Little Bobby Helicopter Kite Kit and the other is a Guillow's D-4 Menasco Trainer Kit. Both were gifted to me by Mr. Steven Krick. Realizing their historical significance, I contacted the AMA Museum and they gratefully accepted the donation offer. I have not been to the AMA Museum since 1999, not long after the initial building was commissioned, so it would be nice to make another trip there and see the incredible collection on display now - especially the vintage hobby shop.

Roland D-2 Wahlfisch Control Line Plans

Roland D-2 Wahlfisch C/L Plans, September 1949 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsNot a lot of information is available about the Roland D-2 "Wahlfisch" (Whale) on the WWW (World Wide Web). Wikipedia has a entry for the C-II Wahlfisch, but nothing on the D-II. The C-II was also a biplane, but its wing configuration had a lower and a shoulder location on the fuselage, whereas this D-II has a lower wing and a high wing mounted on a centrally located solid pylon. It seems that would be a real annoyance to the pilot with an obstruction that hinders stereoscopic vision when looking straight ahead. The dual, wood stick cabane strut arrangement must have been a lot better, although more difficult to construct. The plans are nicely done by the author, D.A. Newell, but I do not see a rib pattern...

WWI Ace von Schleich & His Roland C-II Wahlfisch

World War-1 Ace von Schleich and his Roland C-II "Wahlfisch" Plans for U/Control C-II, September 1962 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsDouglas Rolfe's sketch of this Roland C-II biplane is another example of his amazing ability not just to create a drawing, but to depict the model's construction features in a manner helpful to builders. That, coupled with the masterfully detailed and laid-out plans by Walter Musciano and a brief history on the airplane along with its most famous pilot, Eduard von Schleich, makes this an article you won't want to miss - especially if you are a World War I historian. I have to wonder whether Eduard von Schleich's fellow Flieger (aviators) referred to him as "verrückte Augen" ("crazy eyes")?...

Kawasaki Ki-61 Tony Plans

Kawasaki Ki-61 Tony Plans & Article, August 1959 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsIt's hard to imagine back when only 14 years had passed - to the month - since the Japanese surrendered to the U.S., that this article with plans for a control line Kawasaki Ki-61 Tony model was written in the August 1959 edition of American Modeler magazine. The Imperial Japanese Air Force, like the German Air Force (Luftwaffe), was made up of highly skilled pilots and increasingly capable aircraft. The Japanese were a notable more terrorizing enemy since many were willing to sacrifice their lives in battle, whereas the Germans were more of the mindset of living to fight another day. It is now 52 years hence since this article was written and very few of the men who fought WWII - on all sides - are still alive to bear witness to the action. As long as there are people who want to dominate the world, there will be wars...

Curtiss P6-E Hawk for Control Line Fans Article & Plans

Curtiss P6-E Hawk for Control Line Fans Article & Plans, November 1957 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsIf you like cutting and gluing wing ribs, this scale control line model of the Curtiss P6−E Hawk is the job for you. Let me know after doing these 92 ribs for two wings if you still feel the same way. These plans and building article appeared in the November 1957 issue of American Modeler magazine. Designed for a .19 to .29 engine, this 31" wingspan model will certainly present a challenge even to the experienced modeler. Of course you need to be able to apply and finish the covering with a high level of perfection in order to fully appreciate the amount of work put into building it. Personally, I would hate to have to use opaque paint for a scale color scheme in order to not have to hide the framework. Then, I would be afraid to ever fly it...

China Tests World's Largest Solid-Fuel Rocket Engine

China Tests World's Largest Solid-Fuel Rocket Engine - Airplanes and Rockets"China says it fired up the world's largest single-segment solid-fuel rocket engine for the first time, at a ground testing facility in the country's northwest on Tuesday. The rocket’s 3.5-metre (11.5-foot) wide engine can generate 500 tonnes of thrust, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). That is more than four times as powerful as the liquid fuel engine on the Long March 5, the largest launch vehicle in China's space programme at present. With its high mobility and near-instant launch capability, solid-fuel rockets are mainly used to deliver missiles or on other military platforms. Most solid rockets are relatively small, in part because, in most circumstances, the delivery of a warhead to destination does not require so much thrust..."

Super Tanks from Simple Change?

Super Tanks from Simple Change?, Annual 1960 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsIn this article appearing in the 1960 Annual edition of Air Trails magazine, author Robert Angel introduces his "Uni−Flow" concept for U-Control (aka control line, C/L) model airplanes. His method modifies the standard wedge type metal fuel tank to operate on the same principle as an office water cooler. By adding a strategically placed additional brass tubing vent, Mr. Angel contends the pressure on the inside of the tank remains fairly constant as the vacuum from the engine's carburetor draws fuel. This is preferred to pressurizing the fuel tank via either a tap on the crankcase or off the muffler (which there were not a lot of in 1960. Whether or not the Uni−Flow arrangement is any better than a standard vent line or pressurization is still a matter of debate half a century later, as can be seen in this forum thread. In fact, it seems the standard C/L metal fuel tank is a form of uni−flow...

AM-FM Clock Radios from the 1969 Sears Christmas Wish Book

AM-FM Clock Radios from the 1969 Sears Christmas Wish Book - Airplanes and RocketsHere on page 388 of the Sears 1969 Christmas Wish Book is a wide selection of modern AM-FM clock radios. The ad says, "Instant sound solid state table and clock radios." In 2011, most people use their cellphone clocks for everything from appointment keeping to wakeup alarms. Displays are LCD with a few LED straggles still around. The model shown here can only be found at the Salvation Army store or a thrift shop... maybe at a yard sale. Use the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation calculator to see what items cost in today's dollars. That $19.50" AM-FM clock radio would cost...

CallAir Snowcar Will Liven up Winter Contests

Control Line or Radio Control CallAir Snowcar Will Liven up Winter Contests (January 1957 American Modeler Magazine) - Airplanes and RocketsPropeller-driven air cars and boats were popular in the 1950 and 1960s. They solved the problem of complicated and failure-prone transmissions and had no traction issues regardless of terrain. Recall the James Bond movies of the era that featured these vehicles regularly. As a teenager, I built an air boat out of a block of styrofoam and a Cox .048 Babe Bee engine. A rudder was controlled by my OS 3-channel RC system. It ran pretty well - nothing to get excited about but it was my first radio-controlled model of any sort. This CallAir Snowcar is a much more sophisticated type of vehicle and is actually modeled after a full-scale propeller-driven vehicle. Call Aircraft made a few lightplane models, including agricultural (Ag) types, under the CallAir moniker...

Celera 500L May Revolutionize Business Aviation

Celera 500L May Revolutionize Business Aviation - Airplanes and Rockets"Its unusual shape helps it travel more miles on a single tank of gas. Sky watchers in the windswept high desert town of Victorville, California, have seen a dazzling array of airplanes over the past 80 years, from the fighters and bombers that flew into the local airfield when it was George Air Force Base to hundreds of about-to-be-mothballed airliners after the former military installation became the Southern California Logistics Airport. But they've never seen anything like the Celera 500L. Nobody has. Shaped like an elongated egg with wings and a stubby propeller hanging off the tail, the 500L is designed to leverage the benefits of laminar flow - an aerodynamic advantage that increases efficiency in flight by minimizing drag..."

U-Control Corner

U-Control Corner, Annual 1960 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsU-Control, aka U/C, aka Control Line, aka C/L, is still very popular today even with radio control available. It is a great model of modeling for those of us with bad eyesight who have trouble with tracking airplanes at a distance. With control line your model is never more than about 70 feet from you and there is never a problem with knowing which direction the model is headed and whether it is right-side-up or upside-down. In 1960 when this Annual issue of Air Trails magazine was published, R/C was mostly a rich man's sport, or at least an electronics man's sport. Free flight and control line dominate aeromodeling. Monthly features like "U-Control Corner" ran in model aviation magazines of the era, and offered many great tips...

Covering a Compound Curve with MonoKote

Covering a Compound Curve with MonoKote - Airplanes and RocketsI took the occasion of having to cover the wingtips of my AAR-X1 electric control line model to make a short video of how I cover a compound surface (one that curves in two or three dimensions) with MonoKote. The only "trick" involved is being daring enough to apply the amount of heat needed to exploit MonoKote's extreme ability to shrink, while pulling on it to stretch it. By daring I mean that it can take quite a bit of heat, even to the point of being dangerously close to the melting point. It can also put the phalanges is peril while attempting to stretch the MonoKote while heating it. In the case of these wingtips, there is an open framework, but the method works equally well on solid compound surface. I have smoothly covered carved sailplane nose blocks and curved wingtips using this method...

Cassutt III Converted to e-Power

Cassutt III Converted to e-Power - Airplanes and Rockets"The research project at Nottingham University has been funded by the Propulsion Futures Beacon of Excellence, directed by Professor David Grant in collaboration with Air Race E, an electric air race series, to investigate alternatives to the use of fossil fuels in global transportation systems. In a statement, project lead Professor Michael Galea said: 'Electric flight is one of the fastest developing technological areas and is seen as the third-generation of aviation. The rigors of air motorsport, with its demand for speed, performance and power management, has provided us with the perfect conditions to develop and promote cleaner, faster and more technologically advanced electric motor drives.' The Cassutt III petrol-powered single-seater racing aircraft..."

JWST Telescope Will Change Astronomy

JWST Telescope Will Change Astronomy - Airplanes and Rockets"After years of delay and frustration, the James Webb Space Telescope is ready to launch. Sometime this fall, if the launch date doesn’t slip again, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope - the most powerful, expensive, and eagerly anticipated telescope ever to gaze out into the universe - will lift off from French Guiana on an Ariane 5 rocket. Twenty-six years in design, delayed countless times, the JWST, as astronomers typically refer to it, will dwarf the Hubble Space Telescope in size, resolution, and ability to see very faint objects. Unlike Hubble, which operates primarily in the visible spectrum, Webb will use cameras and spectrographs tuned to near- and mid-infrared wavelengths to view some of the oldest objects in the cosmos, with a sensitivity 1,000 times better than past infrared space telescopes..."

Workshop Tips for Modelers

Workshop Tips for Modelers, Annual 1960 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThese half-dozen hand-dandy model building tips are as useful today as they were in they appeared in the 1960 Annual issue of Air Trails (Hobbies for Young Men) magazine. Readers submitted their brilliant ideas to the editor, who then created drawings and brief descriptions. I find myself doing many of the things that appear in this and of editions of the vintage modeling magazines - of course that might have something to do with my being "vintage" at this point in life (born in 1958). Back when these items were published, availability of most tools and material was nowhere near as abundant as today. It's hard to imagine anyone nowadays making a drill bit out of a nail, but in a pinch you never know...

Chameleon Field Box™

Chameleon Field Box™ - Airplanes and RocketsDepending on the phase of the moon, the prevailing wind, stock market activity, or the color socks I have on, my interest in airplane activities alternate between radio control, free flight, control line, static display, or any other aspects of modeling. Over the years, I have designed and built probably four or five different field boxes to accommodate the mood du jour. Each was sold before moving on to the next design iteration. Finally, I decided that rather than keeping on making new field boxes, it would make more sense to design a one-size-fits-all version. The Chameleon Field Box™, as I have dubbed it, comes pretty close to achieving that goal. The design work was done on Autodesk's AutoSketch release 6. I still have the file, but upon opening it again after many years, I discovered that I never did put in all the detail for the hardware...

OpenRocket v15.03 Now Available for FREE

OpenRocket v15.03 Now Available for FREE - Airplanes and RocketsOpenRocket is a free, fully featured model rocket simulator that allows you to design and simulate your rockets before you build and flying them. Everything you need to design, simulate and fly better rockets. Reliable simulations. Leverage state of the art 6-degrees-of-freedom flight simulation with over 50 variables. Analyze all aspects of your simulation with advanced plotting and exporting. Easily design your models with CAD technology. Replicate all features of your existing model or new design. Everything from the density of materials to the quality of finish on the outside of your model. Choose from a massive catalog of existing components...

Ingenuity's Flight 15 to Home Base

Ingenuity's Flight 15 to Home Base - Airplanes and Rockets"With conjunction over and our first flight at 2,700 RPM behind us, Ingenuity is ready to begin the journey back to the Wright Brothers Field at the Octavia E. Butler landing site, before venturing beyond. The above figure depicts the mission ahead of Ingenuity, which is to join Perseverance in the trek north along the east edge of Seitah, before traveling west to reach the Jezero ancient river delta. To accomplish this feat, the Ingenuity team is planning a series of 4-7 flights to return to Wright Brothers Field. Along the way the project is considering preparing a flight software upgrade for our helicopter which will potentially enable..."

Luscombe Silvaire 3-View

Luscombe Silvaire 3-View, June 1959 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThis expertly rendered 3-view drawing of the Luscombe Silvaire appeared in the June 1959 issue of American Modeler magazine. Draftsman Jim Trigs provided many such detailed drawings for modeling and full-scale aircraft publications. According to this 2012 Capital Journal newspaper piece on Jim Riggs, he flew from 1953 through 2008, with 28 of those 52 years devoted to United Airlines. Being a South Dakota native, he was inducted in to the South Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2012. Jim soloed in a Cessna 140 in 1953 when he was 16, then went on to log nearly 22,000 hours of flight time over his career. He flew helicopters in Vietnam, and spent decades in the Civil Air Patrol - a true aviation enthusiast. Jim left us in 1995...

Adjusting the Power R/C Plane

Adjusting the Power R/C Plane, January 1955 Popular Electronics - Airplanes and RocketsIf you ever had any doubt whether Bill Winter was one of the model airplane hobby's earliest and most prolific contributors, check out this article that appeared in the January 1955 edition of Popular Electronics magazine (only the third issue since its inception). Radio control systems were just beginning to be commercialized and priced at a point where a lot of the public could afford it. Quirks and high unreliability that plagued early systems had become less of an issue so that airplane and power plant design efforts could take priority with aeromodelers. In this article, Bill addresses setting proper wing incidence and engine thrust angles for good, repeatable, stable flight...

Airships Rise Again

Airships Rise Again (AirLander 10) - Airplanes and Rockets"Tom Grundy, the CEO of Hybrid Air Vehicles, started his career working on fighters and drones for BAE Systems, and he was a project engineering manager for Airbus during the development of the A380. But these days his focus is on a type of aircraft that can do things the fixed-wing fliers he has spent his life admiring can't - even though the basic technology keeping them aloft is substantially older. Welcome to the second age of the airship. Grundy’s company is promoting its striking, pillow-like AirLander 10, initially designed for military surveillance, as a pleasant, low-emission alternative means of regional air travel. In May the company announced plans to begin service for up to 100 passengers per flight on a handful of short-haul routes (Liverpool to Belfast, Oslo to Stockholm, Seattle to Vancouver, among others) in 2025. A Scandinavian company is in talks about using the AirLander..."

1st Mercury Photos from BepiColombo Probe

1st Mercury Photos from BepiColombo Probe - Airplanes and RocketsTwo spacecraft built by Europe and Japan captured their first up-close look at the planet Mercury in a weekend flyby, revealing a rocky world covered with craters. The two linked probes, known together as BepiColombo, snapped their first image of Mercury late Friday (Oct. 1) during a flyby that sent them zooming around the planet. The encounter marked the first of six Mercury flybys for BepiColombo, a joint effort by the space agencies of Europe and Japan, to slow itself enough to enter orbit around the planet in 2025. BepiColombo took its first official photo of Mercury at 7:44 p.m. EDT (2344 GMT) with its Mercury Transfer Module Monitoring Camera 2, a black-and-white navigation camera, as the probe was about 1,502 miles (2,418 kilometers) away from the planet...

1974 National Miniature Aircraft Championships

Behind the Scenes at the 'Most' Nats (November 1974 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsWere you or anyone you know - father, brother, son, uncle, nephew, grandfather, friend, enemy - attend the 1974 National Miniature Aircraft Championships (NATS) at Lake Charles, Louisiana? Why that location was chosen for a mid-summer event is beyond me, but the NATS were held there a few times. John Clemens was Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) president at the time. I had just become aware of the AMA a few years earlier at the ripe old age of about 13. After 63 years on Earth I still have never experienced a NATS - or the Toledo Show for that matter (which, alas, is no more). I have managed to visit the AMA Headquarters in Muncie, Indiana, twice, though, but that was nearly two decades ago shortly after they opened. ...but I digress. Here is a thorough accounting of the goings-on at the 1974 AMA NATS as presented in the November 1974 issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine...

Walt Mooney on Free Flight - Scale

Walt Mooney on FF - Scale (January 1974 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsSince there is a lot of wisdom conferred each month upon the model aircraft magazine reading public, I thought it would be of service to scan, OCR (so you can search the text), and post some of the articles from vintage American Aircraft Modeler magazines. This first is the "Walt Mooney on Free Flight," from the January 1974 issue. One item is how a flying club near the Miramar Naval Air Station (of Top Gun fame) lost its site because someone (a non-member) flew an R/C glider at high altitude during a full-size training exercise, thereby disturbing the program. Eventually, all kinds of aeromodeling will be covered including free flight, control line, and radio control. Stay tuned for more to come...

652 Miles Per Gallon - New FAI Record

652 Miles Per Gallon (November 1975 Model Aviation Article) - Airplanes and RocketsWay back in 1975, my friend, Jerry Flynn, and I (Kirt Blattenberger) assisted Mr. Dick Weber in his successful flight on June 14, 1975, that set a new FAI Closed Course Record of 225 miles in 5 hours and 38 minutes. We were both flaggers to signal when the Tortoise has passed the distance markers. See the credits on page 37 in the actual magazine. The Tortoise got its name by virtue of the craft having landed near a turtle on the runway. It was a long day, with everyone being sunburned by the end of it. We were all members of the Prince Georges Radio Control Club (PGRC)...

Jetson One Personal eVTOL

Jetson One Personal eVTOL - Airplanes and Rockets"If anyone can think of a more perfect name for a personal eVTOL, we're listening! Sweden's Jetson Aero has already sold out the 2022 production run of this cute little single-seat kit build, which is capable of zooming along at 63 mph (102 km/h). The Jetson One is a simple design purely dedicated to muckin' about and having fun. Its single seat is suspended in an aluminum/carbon fiber spaceframe. It's a straight-up drone-style multicopter, with eight props mounted coaxially on four arms, putting out a total peak of 88 kW (118 horsepower). Jetson says it'll fly safely if one motor dies, but frankly I'd be more interested in landing safely at that point. The pilot flies it with a throttle lever on the left, a joystick on the right, and a pair of pedals, presumably controlling yaw. There's some very basic system information displayed on a little dash that frankly looks like a smartphone in a cradle..."

University Scholarships Go to Top Car Modelers

University Scholarships Go to Top Car Modelers, December 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsWhile the originality and craftsmanship exhibited in the model car designs entered in this contest sponsored by Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild is unassailable, I find myself being grateful that most of them never hit the car lot showrooms (although some designs are not too far off of what has been produced here and in Europe). The date of this Air Trails - Hobbies for Young Men magazine article was 1954 and imaginations ran wild with concept car configurations, and while just about anything goes in such competitions, some were downright, dare I say it?, ugly. Of course a look at some of today's concept cars register the same emotions, so I suppose the old adage about the more things change, the more things stay the same holds true here. Scholarships handed out...


Big Twin R/C Outboard Motorboat

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














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Skyroads Comics

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Skyroads Newspaper Comics Archive

Tailspin Tommy Comics

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1971 FAI Pattern Championship

  1971 FAI Pattern Championship Doylestown PA

Apollo 11 on the Washington Monument

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

Joby Aviation Reaches Dual FAA and USAF Milestones

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

James Webb Space Telescope Shield Deployed

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

Thales & Airbus Perlan Glider Test Extreme Altitude Communications

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

AutoFlight Bringing eVTOL Air Taxis to Europe

AutoFlight Bringing eVTOL Air Taxis to Europe - Airplanes and Rockets"AutoFlight, a Chinese eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) company, is set to accelerate its global expansion by launching in Europe. Led by former Airbus manager Mark R. Henning, the Europe team is establishing itself in Augsburg, Germany. Its first task will be to achieve European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification for AutoFlight's airtaxi 'Prosperity I,' an eVTOL aircraft with a range of around 250km. Prosperity I sets up to three passengers in addition to the pilot and the certification programme will begin this year, with completion expected by 2025. Prosperity I is the company’s first manned aircraft, having previously focused on unmanned cargo drones. AutoFlight said that safety is its 'top commitment,' and will be working closely with European authorities to ensure its airtaxi is as safe as a commercial airliner..."











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