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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 23)

These archive pages are provided in order to make it easier for you to find items that you remember seeing on the Airplanes and Rockets homepage. Of course probably the easiest way to find anything on the website is to use the "Search AAR" box at the top of every page.

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


Milestone in Mankato: Ninth Rocketry Nats

Milestone in Mankato: Ninth Rocketry Nats, from January 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWhenever I look at articles like this one in American Aircraft Modeler magazine of the 1967 model rocketry nationals (NARAM-9) showing people from 40+ years ago, I always wonder what they are doing today. Kids that were 16 in 1967 are 60 today! Many of the adults, if they are still living, are in their 80s. Are they still flying model rockets? Are they in good health? Has life been good to them? Time can be a cruel master, or it can also be a benevolent guardian. But, at the time nobody was thinking about where they would be or what they would be doing in the year 2011; their only concern was the competition at hand and having a good time. Note the number of Ph.Ds in the crowd! Back in the day, model rocketry was a big part of preparing young men (and a few young women) for a career in astronautics...

HY4 Hydrogen-Electric Airplane Sets Altitude Record

HY4 Hydrogen-Electric Airplane Sets Altitude Record - Airplanes and Rockets"Stuttgart, Germany-based H2Fly has set what it believes represents a new world altitude record for a hydrogen-powered passenger aircraft, the developer of hydrogen fuel cell applications for aviation reported on April 19. Besides flying its HY4 demonstrator on April 13 to an altitude of 7,230 feet, H2Fly took the aircraft on a 77-mile journey between Stuttgart and Friedrichshafen on April 12, marking the first time anyone has piloted a hydrogen-electric passenger aircraft between two major airports, the company added. The aircraft flew the mission to Friedrichshafen to participate in the Aero Friedrichshafen airshow, scheduled to take place from April 27 to April 30. The appearance will mark the first time the company has displayed the HY4 to the general public. Testing of the aircraft has taken place exclusively in an area around Stuttgart Airport, which serves as a long-term partner of H2Fly and plays a key role in supporting the company with its infrastructure..."

Super Flower Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse Tonight

Super Flower Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse Tonight - RF CafeDon't miss this chance to observe one of the longest possible lunar eclipses tonight, Sunday, May 15th - a super flower blood moon. The earth's umbral shadow first touches the edge at 10:27 pm EDT, then totality begins at 11:29 pm. The 85-minute-long total eclipse is midway at 12:11 am, then leaves the umbral shadow at 12:53 am. A lesser darkening of the moon happens on both sides of the eclipse while in the earth's penumbral shadow, but it is not as stark. A second, nearly identical, lunar eclipse will occur in November of this year, so if the weather does not cooperate in allowing you to see this one, maybe you will get luckier in half a year. The skies here in Greensboro, NC, are forecast to be clear tonight. I hope yours are, too.

Gliding in Russia - What the USSR Has Done to Develop Gliding

Gliding in Russia, May 1934 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsThe spell checker sure gets a workout with stories from these vintage magazines, specially ones from in the 1920s and 1930s. Common words were sometimes spelled a bit differently than today, and other words are rarely seen anymore. And then there is the mix of foreign words and names of people and places relating to World War I, which had only ended ten to fifteen years prior (1919). Such is the case here in this 1934 issue of Flying Aces magazine in a piece called "Gliding in Russia," and even more so in the fictional wartime stories like "The Ghost from G−2." The "Iron Curtain" is a term adopted at the end of World War II to describe the imaginary line through Europe that divided Russia's Communist world from the Western Democracies; however, Iron Curtain was also used in World War I. Russia had for a long time endeavored to keep its citizens from learning about the benefits earned by peoples of free nations, including superior medical care, food, clothing, appliances, transportation, housing, mental health, etc. At the same time it kept outsiders from reporting on the internal situation of its territories. You can be sure that stories like this one were orchestrated by the Bolsheviks of the Politburo...

Sketchbook, April 1960 American Modeler

Sketchbook, April 1960 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThe April 1960 issue of American Modeler magazine provided this octet of handy tricks and tips for model airplane building in its monthly "Sketchbook" feature. Readers write in with ideas they came up with to solve commonly encountered issues with hardware, framework construction and covering, painting, trimming out a model for good flight characteristics, engine operation, and others. Many might seem obvious, but such is often the case after you see a solution, kind of like in school when working a math or physics problem and looking at the answer in the back of the book. A couple of the suggestions here are things I have done, such as running a nut up on a bolt prior to cutting the bolt so that it can then clean up the threads as it is removed. I also used to put a piece of fuel tubing between the fuel/air nipples on the fuel tanks of Cox Babe Bees to facilitate flying inverted. The homemade long drill bit trick was made in order to make holes through lamps I turned on my lathe...

3 and 4 Finger R/C Escapements

3 and 4 Finger R/C Escapements, January 1955 Popular Electronics - Airplanes and RocketsIf you're still using the "old" one-arm escapements in your radio controlled model airplane, you're probably also still using that "greasy kid stuff" in your hair as well. Just like the hip guy has switched to Vitalis, the hip modeler has switched to multi-arm escapements that allow more than just full left/right or full up/down throw on the rudder or elevator, respectively. Today's equivalent would be advocating for the use of digital servos versus the "old" analog servos. The more things change, the more they stay the same. This article entitled, "3 and 4 Finger R/C Escapements," appeared in a 1955 issue of Popular Electronics magazine.

Unicopter Article & Plans

Unicopter Article & Plans from the May 1973 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsHere is a nifty little project for those of you who still actually build your models. Finding plans for a flight-proven rubber band-powered helicopter is rare. This construction article and plans for the Unicopter, a one-bladed chopper by Mr. Bill Hannan, appeared in the May 1973 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. It can be made out of a handful of materials that are probably laying around your hobby bench area. It might not be as exciting as a Blade MCX2 coaxial rotor RC helicopter, but... oh wait, it actually might just be as exciting after all...

Air Progress, April 1960 American Modeler

Air Progress, April 1960 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsBy the time these aeroplanes arrived on the world's airfields, barely a decade had passed since Wilbur and Oliver Wright made their famous flight in 1903 at Kitty Hawk. World War I broke out in the middle of 1914, and planners quickly realized the value of air power as soon as daring pilots proved the unmatched ability (by ground forces) ability to conduct surveillance and attacks well behind enemy lines. Avoiding ground fire was a relatively simple matter of flying high enough to keep out or range of bullets and rockets. However, it was not long before opposing forces found themselves battling each other high above the ground battle. Air-to-air combat had begun, proving the ruggedness of both man and machine. A time period of 1908 through 1919 is presented in this installment of "Air Progress" appearing in a 1960 issue of American Modeler magazine. Biplanes stilled ruled the day, with monoplanes being too fragile to hold up under the demands of high-G aerobatic maneuvering...

SpinLaunch Centrifugal Suborbital Injection

SpinLaunch Centrifugal Suborbital Injection - Airplaness and Rockets"SpinLaunch is an innovative new space technology company that has created an alternative method for putting 200 kilogram class satellites into low earth orbit. Unlike traditional fuel-based rockets, SpinLaunch uses a ground-based, electric powered kinetic launch system that delivers a substantially less expensive and environmentally sustainable approach to space access. On October 22nd, 2021, the Suborbital Accelerator came to life. Comprised of the key components needed for the Orbital Launch System, the Suborbital Accelerator is a critical stepping stone in SpinLaunch's path to orbit. SpinLaunch is building enterprise class satellites that are compatible with kinetic launch without compromising cost, performance, or mass.​​ We've developed a catalog of optimized subsystems and fully integrated turnkey solutions to deliver less expensive, more scalable access to space... "

Proper One Air-Prop Racing Boat

Proper One Air-Prop Racing Boat, April 1960 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThere is no simpler introduction to functional model boating than an airboat - especially if you are already familiar with the operation of glow fuel (or diesel) engines that have airplane propellers mounted to them. They are started and adjusted that same way as with an airplane, and all the mechanical complexity and need for waterproofing prop shafts and rudder connections is avoided. It is for those very reasons that my first-ever radio-controlled craft back in the mid 1970s was an airboat that I carved out of blue foam and covered with Solarfilm (remember that stuff?). It had a Cox Babe Bee .049 mounted on a pylon in a pusher configuration. We lived two blocks from Bear Creek in Mayo, Maryland, so there was easy access to water. For that matter, whenever we had a really big rain, the water would pool way up in the road and surrounding yards so that was available for use as well (not that the grown-ups were happy about all the water - or the noise my boat made). This cleverly named "Proper One" airboat article and plans appeared in a 1960 issue of American Modeler magazine. It is much nicer than the kludge...

Drones - Prelude to "Push-Button" Warfare?

Drones - Prelude to "Push-Button" Warfare?, October 1946 Radio News Article - RF CafeThe term "drone" is relatively new to being common parlance throughout society. Prior to the early 2000s, a drone was thought of as either the mate to a queen bee or a special remotely controlled aircraft used by the military for target practice or for carrying out special missions not deemed safe for human pilots. When this article appeared in a 1952 issue of Radio & Television News magazine, drones were the exclusive purview of the military and research institutions because of high procurement and operational costs. With the advent of inexpensive, highly advanced spread spectrum radio control systems by the hobby community, lightweight and powerful brushless motors and lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries, sophisticated miniature stability and guidance integrated circuits (processors and sensors), and advanced computer simulation, incredibly capable and relatively inexpensive multirotor drones are widely available. From simple toys for erstwhile non-pilots to serious R/C flyers to professional operators, drones are everywhere. A couple days ago I saw a utility company worker using one to inspect power lines along a country road...

Northrop SM-62 Snark Missile

Northrop SM-62 Snark Missile, January 1957 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThis 4-view drawing of the Northrop SM-62 Snark was scanned from page 21 of my purchased edition of the December 1957 American Modeler magazine. It is another example of Walter Jefferies' fine scale drawings. First U.S guided missile with intercontinental range, the tailless turbojet powered weapon cruises at high sub-sonic speeds. With nuclear warhead and range of strategic jet bombers, its range can be extended by addition of large pylon-mounted, underwing auxiliary fuel tanks. Combination ailerons and elevators, called elevons, are mounted on trailing edge of wing about mid-span...

Aerodynamics Scientists Turn to Paper Airplanes

Aerodynamics Scientists Turn to Paper Airplanes - Airplanes and Rockets"A series of experiments using paper airplanes reveals new aerodynamic effects, a team of scientists has discovered. Its findings enhance our understanding of flight stability and could inspire new types of flying robots and small drones. 'The study started with simple curiosity about what makes a good paper airplane and specifically what is needed for smooth gliding,' explains Leif Ristroph, an associate professor at New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and an author of the study, which appears in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 'Answering such basic questions ended up being far from child's play. We discovered that the aerodynamics of how paper airplanes keep level flight is really very different from the stability of conventional airplanes.' 'Birds glide and soar in an effortless way, and paper airplanes, when tuned properly, can also glide for long distances..."

Academy of Model Aeronautics License & Membership

Academy of Model Aeronautics License & Membership, September 1949 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsSince this membership application for the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) brings up the subject of inflation, I figured it would be interesting to find out what the inflation rate was in 1949 when it appeared in Air Trails magazine. According to the CPI Inflation Calculator, the rate in 1949 was actually negative (-1.2%) due to a multi-year economic recession triggered by President Truman's "Fair Deal"; however, in the previous year (1948) it was a whopping 8.1%, and the year before that (1947) it was an incredible 14.4%!!! So, massive inflation was definitely still on the minds of Americans at the time. The current inflation rate (March 2022) is sitting at 8.5%, with no sign of things getting any better. In fact, economists say if the inflation rate was calculated the way it was in 1949, it would be in the 15% realm. According to the BLS Inflation Calculator, what would have cost you $1.00 in September 1949 will cost you $12.03 in March of 2022. That's 1,203% inflation in about 73 years, which averages to about 1.102% per year (1.102^73 = 1,200). Clearly, we are currently in a period of significant inflation, but that's what we get when the government prints money like mad and dilutes the value of every dollar in your pocket...

1974 League of Silent Flight (LSF) Tournament

1974 League of Silent Flight (LSF) Tournament, December 1974 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsI remember back in the 1970s when I first got into radio control flying, one of my planned accomplishments for life was to polish my glider flying skills to the point that I could earn an LSF Level 5 rank. Well, here I am at 62 and am lucky to get in a 20-minute thermal on a good day. The reason for not attaining the lofty goal could blamed on lack of time, lack of money, lack of opportunity, and lack of a lot of things, but the real cause is lack of commitment. The guys who occupy the top slots are there because they have sacrificed other things in order to be the best at RC soaring. It was as true in 1974 as it is today in (gasp) 2022! In this December 1974 American Aircraft Modeler magazine coverage of the League of Silent Flight Tournament, Mark Smith emerges as the winner and debuts with his self-designed Windfree glider. He later marketed the Windfree (99" wingspan) and the Windward (72" wingspan) as part of his Mark's Models business...

Supersonic Engine Breakthrough

Supersonic Engine Breakthrough - Airplanes and Rockets"Almost 75 years ago, U.S. Air Force pilot Chuck Yeager became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound. Engineers have been pushing the boundaries of ultrafast flight ever since, attaining speeds most of us can only imagine. Today, military fighter jets like the F−15 routinely surpass Mach 2, which is shorthand for twice the speed of sound. That's supersonic level. On a hypersonic flight - Mach 5 and beyond - an aircraft travels faster than 3,000 miles per hour. At that rate, you could make it from New York to Los Angeles on a lunch break. The same propulsion technology that goes into rockets has made hypersonic speeds possible since the 1950s. But to make hypersonic flight more common and far less expensive than a rocket launch, engineers and scientists are working on advanced jet engine designs. These new concepts represent an enormous opportunity for commercial flight, space exploration and national defense..."

Retracting Gear B-17G Control Liner

Retracting Gear B-17G Control Liner Article & Plans, July/August 1963 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsCan you imagine what a sweet sound it must be with four Cox .049 engines running at the same time on the same airplane? Keith Laumer and John Simmance didn't have to wonder once they teamed up to design, build, and fly this 45" wingspan, control line B-17 Flying Fortress. As if that wasn't enough, they added a custom electrical retractable landing gear (including the tail wheel), navigation lights, throttles on all four engines, and flaps! An 800:1 reduction gear box was coupled with a 3 volt motor to drive the retract mechanism, flaps, throttles, and light switches. A third control line and a Roberts 3-line bellcrank controlled everything. Operation of the retracts is a bit dicey since they are triggered to go up at full throttle, then go back down at low throttle. That means the pilot has to be careful not to command full throttle while the model is on the ground or the landing gear will fold up on him. I would not have wanted the task of trying to get all four Babe Bee .049 engines running at the same time. Today we have commercially available electric starters for the small engines, but in 1963 when this article appeared in American Modeler magazine, it was either use the spring starter on the engine or flip it by hand...

Why Not Authentic, Prefabricated Husbands?

Why Not Authentic, Prefabricated Husbands?, April 1960 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWives poking fun at their hobby-obsessed husbands is not a new thing. Good-natured articles contributed by wives have appeared in all kinds of specialty magazines for decades. This one entitled "Why Not Authentic, Prefabricated Husbands?" was written by the wife of a model airplane, rocket, and boat builder. Her name is Laurie Cunningham, which makes me wonder if she is the better half of Chuck Cunningham, who wrote the "Cunningham on R/C" column for R/C Modeler magazine for many years. Mrs. Cunningham's experience is not unlike my own wife's (Melanie) dilemma living with me going on four decades. Throughout our house on display are Estes rocket models, plastic and balsa model airplanes and boats, and even a helicopter or two. Most of them are ones I've never flown or floated for fear of messing up the carefully applied finish. Fortunately, the in-service models are now all electric so there is not a mess of glow fuel dripping onto the floor - just an occasional tire mark on the wall. In exchange for her tolerance...

Victor Aerosearch AeroGloss

Victor Aerosearch AeroGloss, September 1949 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsJust as with the Douglas Model Distributors ad appearing on the same page of the September 1949 issue of Air Trails magazine, you can see how marketing people knew how to get the attention of men and boys. Victor Aerosearch ("aerosearch" possibly being an allusion to "aeronautical research"?), maker of the very popular (at the time) AeroGloss hot fuel-proof dope, employed the same eye-catching technique. Of course both companies leveraged the dual meaning of the word "model" to their advantage. Some people like to say you only need to use an attractive model to get people to notice your product if the product is not attractive enough on its own to garner interest. Others say the girl serves two purposes - to get the attention of men in the business and to suggest that if you use this particular product, you will naturally draw the attention of girls who look like the one in the ad. Both arguments have merit, but I'm guessing the most prevalent one is the latter rather than the former.

Sears, Roebuck Museum in Greensboro, NC

The Sears, Roebuck Museum in Greensboro, NC - 2022 - Airplanes and RocketsCall me a hopeless nostalgist when it comes to favored institutions I grew up with. I miss Pontiac dealerships, Montgomery Ward, and Radio Shack stores. I miss Uncle Ben on the converted rice package, and the Indian squaw on the Land O'Lakes margarine package. I miss trips to Blockbuster Video stores on Saturday to pick up a movie on VHS tape, and walking through Toys R Us during the Christmas season. General Foods, Woolworth, Eastern Airlines, Circuit City, Western Auto, Drug Fair, Read's Drug, Britt's Department Stores, Lafayette Radio, A&P Grocery, Northern Reflections, Hechinger Home Improvement, and Babbage's Software. All those and more were part of my growing up in the Annapolis, Maryland area (with Parole Plaza being the prime shopping complex in the era). One of the things I miss the most is the old Sear, Roebuck and Co. stores - particularly the Craftsman tools and lawn and garden sections. My parents bought just about everything from Sears, from us kids' (five of us) school clothing, to household appliances, to lawn mowers, to furniture. Sears' Open Hearth sofas, chairs, end tables, etc. (pretty sure we had this), were nice wood and cloth designs which wore well and were fairly inexpensive. Of course the Sears Wish Book and Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogs...

Douglas Model Distributors

Douglas Model Distributors, September 1949 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsIn looking at this advertisement by Douglas Model Distributors in the September 1949 issue of Air Trails magazine, you might wonder what type of models Douglas was distributing. Of course if you want to sell products and service to men (and boys), one of the best gimmicks to use is a pretty - and shapely - girl (see the AeroGloss ad also on the page). Marketeers have been onto that angle since the dawn of civilization. The company was located in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the time of this advertisement, but a search for Douglas Model Distributors shows they are now (if it is the same company) set up in Liberty, Missouri. On their webpage there is a note about their retail distributor business called Sprue Brothers Models, which is funny because a "sprue" is the little section of plastic on a model kit injection molded parts tree that connects the parts to the tree. I'm guessing the company name is a play on the process...

Rocket Trails: Boost/Glider on Upswing

Rocket Trails: Boost/Glider on Upswing (July/August 1963 American Modeler) - Airplanes and Rockets"Red birds are much like our own." That was written of a Ruskie publication reporting on a model rocketry contest in the USSR. Of course, this story is from a 1963 edition of American Modeler. Back then Communists (Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, etc.) were colloquially referred to as "Reds". The main topic of the article, though , is the growing popularity of rocket boost gliders. A few attempts have been made over the years to try rocket boost R/C models, but without much success. Also covered is the obstacle being faced by groups trying to recruit new rocketeers because of the "killer" reputation homemade model rocket engines had acquired from careless and/or ignorant handling of the explosive components. Vernon Estes single-handedly changed the fate of the model rocket hobby by introducing preloaded, solid propellant motors...

Lightweight Proportional Servo

Lightweight Proportional Servo, from September 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsGlass-filled nylon and other types of high strength plastic for gears and structural components were things of the future in 1962 - about a decade or so at least - when this article appeared in a 1962 issue of American Modeler magazine. Likewise for high torque, miniature motors that used powerful rare earth magnets - at least at a price affordable to hobbyists. Not only were early servos big and heavy, but they drew a lot of current from the airborne battery, were slow, and were driven by analog proportional circuits (i.e., low positional precision). Servos available today are modern marvels of materials, mechanical, and electrical engineering. While it was not too hard to imagine in the 1950s and 1960s how a servo might be improved over the (then) state of the art, it is hard to imagine how the ones we have today could be significantly better, at least in terms of how any further improvement would greatly benefit radio controlled flying models...

Testor's Piper Cub Super Cruiser

Testor's Piper Cub Super Cruiser, September 1949 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsCox is undoubtedly was the world's largest manufacturer of ready-to-fly control-line model airplanes. Nearly all used some form of their equally famous .049 glow fuel engine. A couple used the .020 engine. Back in the 1960s through probably the 1980s, most kids who learned to fly control line did so with a Cox model - most notably the Cox PT-19 Trainer, which is the one with which I learned to fly. The other contender for control line flyers was Testors, famous in its own right for model dope, enamel spray and brush-on paint, and glow fuel, also produced a few ready-to-fly control line models. Both Cox and Testors used molded plastic construction. This advertisement from a 1949 issue of Air Trails magazine pitches a stick and tissue free flight kit for a Piper Cub Super Cruiser model. That 25¢ price in 1949 is the equivalent of $2.97 in 2022 money (a 12x increase), with is still way less that you would pay for a kit of that type today...

Ephemeris - Class A and FAI Free Flight Model

Ephemeris - Class A and FAI Free Flight Article & Plans, March/April 1963 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThe "Ephemeris" Class A and FAI free flight model was somewhat of a sensation in the modeling world back in 1963 when it appeared in the March/April issue of American Modeler magazine because it featured up thrust. Its designer, R. Jess Krieser, was "thinking outside the box" before the term was even coined. Mr. Krieser took an engineering approach to redesigning the Carl Goldberg "Sailplane" model and after examining tables and graphs on L/D curves on airfoil drag coefficients, settled on the final form factor that became the Ephemeris. Read about it here...

Battery Problems

Battery Problems, September 1957 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsAs with most electrical and electronic equipment, performance increases have come often and significantly in the six and a half decades wince the article was written. In 1957 when this article appeared in American Modeler magazine, battery technology was still crude by today's standards, but much advancement had been accomplished during the war years of WWII and Korea for the sake of field portable communications gear. Chemistry and packaging improved to where if the user was knowledgeable and applied certain precautions, a high degree of reliability could be garnered from various cell types. Having the right battery for the task at hand was and still is paramount to achieving success. It is interesting that vibrator type DC-to-AC power supplies were still being used to supply the high plate voltage for electron tubes. Some higher voltage batteries could be connected in series instead, but that often resulted in too heavy and too bulky packs that could not be readily accommodated by the airplane model...

NASA to Roll out Artemis Moon Rocket

NASA to Roll out Artemis Moon Rocket - Airplanes and Rockets"After years of delay, NASA plans to roll its massive new Artemis SLS moon rocket out of the historic Vehicle Assembly Building and onto it's launch pad for the first time Thursday. The rollout will be the first time a NASA rocket so large -- 322 feet tall -- has moved to a launch pad since Apollo 17's Saturn V rocket did so before launching astronauts to the moon in 1972. Space shuttles also made the same roll from the VAB to the launch pad from 1981 to 2011, but the new moon rocket will tower above the shuttle height, which was 184 feet when stacked on its large exterior fuel tank..."

Sketch Book, September 1949 Air Trails

Sketch Book, September 1949 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThis "Sketch Book" collection of handy tips appeared in the September 1949 issue of Air Trails magazine. The monthly series ran for many years, as you can see from the big list of other Sketch Book (aka Sketchbook) features at the bottom the the page. One of the more technical tips has to do with locating the center of lateral area (CLA) of a model. The author does not mention that it is important to make sure the model profile cut from cardboard can rotate freely on the pin (or nail) so that gravity will have it settle in the correct position. Otherwise, the location of the weighted string relative to the model profile will not be accurate. With the tip for remotely locating the engine needle valve, the magazine editor seems to be a bit dubious about the scheme, and asks, "How about it, experts - think it'll work?" Since then a number of glow fuel engines have been made with essentially that scheme, so it must be feasible...

Flagship Niagara Day Sail

Flagship Niagara Day Sail on July 3, 2009 - Airplanes and RocketsOn July 3, 2009, Melanie and I treated our daughter, Sally, and her husband, Matt, to a day sail adventure aboard the Flagship Niagara, based here in her home port of Erie, Pennsylvania. The day was perfect, with winds at around 10 knots on Lake Erie, temperatures were in the mid 70s, and an overcast sky that kept the sweat factor to a minimum. We set sail from Dobbins Landing, which is next-door to the Brig Niagara's home dock at the Erie Maritime Museum. Pictures of our adventure are below, and a nice overview video produced by Edinboro University of Pennsylvania is at the bottom. There is also a video I made of an actual cannon firing demonstration. Captain Walter Rybka was in command. From the ship's website: "Flagship of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Flagship Niagara is also a major museum "exhibit" when in homeport. The Niagara in Erie, Pennsylvania, is a reproduction of the relief flagship of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry in a major naval battle of the War of 1812. On September 10, 1813, nine small ships...

Approxi-Meter... for When Close Is Good Enough

Approxi-Meter... for When Close Is Good Enough, July 1958 Flying Models - Airplanes and RocketsHere is an example of just how far we have come in the realm of electronics. In a world where you can go to Harbor Freight and buy a digital multimeter with an accuracy of 1% or better for a mere $3, this article from the July 1958 edition of Flying Models illustrates the dedication that was necessary in order to outfit yourself with even the most fundamental tools for flying radio control airplanes. It was part of era where building your own electronic device was less expensive than buying one prefabricated. Such was the case for the aircraft radios, too, as evidenced by the number of advertisements in magazines of the day for kits. As is often true, there are good and bad aspects of building versus buying. Building gives you the intricate knowledge of how everything goes together and functions along with actually using the stuff you build. However, the ability to buy your equipment pre-built leaves more time for honing flying skills...

Night Witches Female Pilot Crew Struck Fear into Nazis

Night Witches All-Female Pilot Crew Struck Fear into Nazis - Airplanes and Rockets"A stamp printed by Russia which shows Marina Raskova, a Soviet pilot- and the commander of the 'Night Witches.' Stories of heroes with almost superhuman abilities are not new aerial combat. During World War II, German soldiers on the Russian Front talked about supernatural women pilots who terrorized them on the front lines. At the time, women were banned from combat. However, when Adolf Hitler launched the offensive against Russia, Major Marina Raskova - the first woman in the Soviet Union to earn national attention as a pilot, navigator, and aviation record-setter - approached Joseph Stalin with the suggestion of training women for aerial combat. The 588th Night Bomber Regiment, known later as the 46th 'Taman' Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment, of the Soviet Air Force..."

Coronal Loops May Be Solar Illusion

Coronal Loops May Be Solar Illusion - Airplanes and Rockets"Many coronal loops - ropey strands of plasma that scientists have long thought existed in the Sun's atmosphere - may actually be optical illusions, according to a new paper that challenges prevailing assumptions of what we know, and don't know, about the Sun. The research, led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and published in The Astrophysical Journal, relied on a cutting-edge, realistic 3D simulation of the solar corona. The simulation, carried out at NCAR several years ago, allowed the scientists to slice the corona in distinct sections in an effort to isolate individual coronal loops. What they found is that many of the loops weren't loops at all. While the research team was able to pinpoint some of the coronal loops they were looking for, they also found that in many cases what appear..."

Disqus Commenting Added to Airplanes and Rockets!

Disqus Commenting Added to Airplanes and Rockets!I just began a trial run for the Discus (discuss - get it?) commenting system. It is hosted off-site and is served directly to webpages here in Years ago I used the PHPBB forum software that was hosted directly on the server, but it was a lot of work clearing out spammers and webbots. Subsequently, I took it down back around 2014. PHPBB was free whereas Disqus is a paid subscription. If it proves to be useful (i.e., a good amount of interaction), then I will keep it running. Otherwise, away it goes, too. You can sign in either with a Disqus account or with your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account. Please keep your contributions polite and relevant to Airplanes and Rockets' theme. Happy commenting!

½A Cub Controller Article & Plans

Cub Controller Article & Plans, September 1949 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsWalter A. Musciano is a name familiar to most people reading model airplane magazines anytime from the 1940s through about the 1970s. He was  prolific model designer and artist / draftsman. His detailed drawings of full scale aircraft are deemed to be amongst the best. This Cub Controller is a 1/2A job sporting a 19" wingspan. It uses both a built-up fuselage and wing, so building requires a tad more work than the typical profile fuselage and sheet wing often found on models of this size. The effort pays off, though, in a much nicer looking craft. Mr. Musciano intended the Cub Controller to be a beginner level project for building and flying, but having a model or two under your belt prior to this would definitely be an advantage. If anyone builds a Cub Controller today, he would probably use electric power rather than the glow fuel Cub .049 or Cox .049 engine. You just can't beat the scream of an old fashioned 1/2A engine, but the ease of operation and no messy oil to clean off afterward is definitely nice...

U.S. Army to Demo Offensive Drone Swarms

U.S. Army to Demo Offensive Drone Swarms - Airplanes and Rockets"The U.S. Army is preparing to demonstrate an offensive drone swarm capability at its next Project Convergence experimentation effort this fall, according to the service's Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office. The Army awarded a $14 million contract to BlueHalo in February to develop the capability over a 30-month period, the company announced in a Feb. 24 statement. The Army moved out on a plan to prototype and demonstrate an offensive unmanned aircraft systems swarm capability in March 2021, Stan Darbro, the RCCTO's deputy director, told Defense News in a March 1 statement. The swarm capability is intended to be low-cost and will have the ability to identify and engage threats with the use of a single controller, he said..."

Auto Progress: The Steam Car

Auto Progress: The Steam Car, March 1955 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsSteam-powered cars of yesteryear were the equivalent of today's electric cars - they reached fairly respectable speeds, but the range between refills wasn't very far. Side note: There were actually electric cars in the early 1900s, but their underperformance made the steamers look like marathoners. The Stanley Steamer is probably the most recognized steam-powered car. Late night host and automobile aficionado Jay Leno features his totally restored Stanley Steamer on his Jay Leno's Garage website (click on thumbnail to visit his website). In an edition of Popular Science a couple years ago, Jay reported on another of his steam cars: The 1925 Doble once owned by Howard Hughes. Advantages of steam power were many, including quite operation, no gear box, very few moving parts in the engine, ease of manufacturing, great acceleration, and an operational efficiency of around 90%. If OM (Obama Motors, formerly GM) gets wind of this, next year's top tax-payer-subsidized car could be a steamer called the BTU...

Personal Aerial Vehicle Pilot Training

Personal Aerial Vehicle Pilot Training - Airplanes and Rockets"California-based JetPack Aviation (JPA) recently announced a world-first following the signing of an agreement to provide JetPack pilot and maintainer training to a military customer in Southeast Asia. This is the first time that professional JetPack training has been delivered to a team of serving military personnel and represents a critical advancement in the use of personal aerial vehicles for government use. Following the signing of an $800,000 order for two JB12 JetPacks, the customer contracted JetPack Aviation to train two pilots and two maintenance technicians at its California facility, with future options to teach additional personnel, including an instructor. The student pilots, already experienced military personnel but without flying experience, will initially receive on-tether instruction, subsequently moving off-tether for advanced training, following an FAA-approved syllabus created by JPA and the US Navy..."

Air Progress - The Stinson Story

Air Progress - The Stinson Story, September 1949 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsMost aviation enthusiasts, including moi, think of the Reliant series of airplanes when the name Stinson is mentioned. Edward "Eddie" Stinson was born in 1893 and at the time of his death due to an airplane crash, he was the highest time pilot in the world with about 16,000 hours of logged flight time. The Stinson Aircraft Company merged with Vultee Aircraft in 1932 and was eventually bought out by the Piper Aircraft Corporation. Here is some interesting trivia I discovered while researching this 1949 Air Trails magazine article: In 1943, Consolidated Aircraft and Vultee merged, creating Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, popularly known as Convair. Convair (ConVAir) manufactured the F-106 Delta Dart, the B-36 Peacemaker bomber with six pusher propeller engines (and later four jet engines), and also made that familiar XF Pogo vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) airplane that had counter-rotating propellers and sat on its tail...

Du-Bro Whirlybird 505 Helicopter Review

Du-Bro Whirlybird 505 Helicopter Review, March 1972 RC Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThere is no doubt that Du−Bro set the stage for commercially produced radio controlled (R/C) helicopters with the Whirlybird 500. Its use of a top-mounted engine that relied on counter-torque to set the main rotor blades spinning was unique. There were a few published articles on homebrew free-flight helicopters that used the arrangement, and Cox even marketed a ready-to-fly model that had a Cox .020 engine mounted on top called the Sky Copter (I owned one as a kid in the late 1960s). To my knowledge all other R/C helicopter models used a gear or belt drive from the engine to the main rotor shaft. It is amazing that this quite top-heavy configuration flew at all. Du−Bro engineers deserve a lot of credit. Note extensive use of common Du−Bro products like wheel collars, pushrods...

Jodrell Bank to Mitigate Satellite Constellation Impacts on Astronomy

Jodrell Bank to Mitigate Satellite Constellation Impacts on Astronomy - Airplanes and Rockets"The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has announced details of its new IAU Centre for the Protection of the Dark and Quiet Sky from Satellite Constellation Interference. As the name suggests, it will be concerned with coordinating action to help mitigate the impact of satellite constellations on ground-based optical and radio astronomy observations. Specifically, it will coordinate 'collaborative multidisciplinary international efforts with institutions and individuals and works across multiple geographic areas.' The IAU has selected the SKA Observatory (SKAO) and the U.S.'s NSF's (National Science Foundation) NOIRLab as co-hosts of the new IAU Centre..."

Cordless Electric Flight Motors

Cordless Electric Flight Motors from American Aircraft Modeler - July 1973This article from the July 1973 issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine will be of great interest to the modern e-power modeler who wants to get a feel for what the early pioneers in electric powered aircraft we doing to forge the trail to today's highly powerful, brushless, outrunner motors that use microprocessor-controlled electronic speed controls (ESCs). Lithium-Polymer (Li-Po) and lithium ion (Li-Ion) batteries have almost completely replaced the nickel cadmium (NiCad) and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries back in the day. American Aircraft Modeler ceased publication in March of 1975, and is no longer in print by the copyright owner, the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA)...

World's Largest Model Airplane Meet

World's Largest Model Meet, September 1949 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsFor what was probably one of the first major model aircraft contests following the end of World War II, the New York Daily Mirror's "Model Flying and Air Fair" drew a thousand contestants and a quarter of a million spectators to it Grumman Airport*, Long Island, venue. That gives you a good idea of how popular not just full-scale, but model airplanes were in the era. People were still fascinated with the concept of human flight, and the vast majority of people worldwide had never flown on an airplane of any sort. Note in the aerial view photo of the airport the huge number of cars - it's so obvious that it's easy to miss. Note Lew Andrews, who later went on to manufacture model airplanes under the name of AAMCo, was the Plymouth International Stunt Champion. One thing that occurred to me when examining the model photos is how the basic form of the control line speed model has not changed much over the decades...

Air Trail's Post-War Motor Roundup

AT's Post-War Motor Roundup, September 1949 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsFeatured here in the September 1949 issue of Air Trails magazine are no fewer than 52 model aircraft (or boat or car) engines on the market at the time. As with most items considered non-essential that required critical resources (material and/or manufacturing capacity), the modeling industry took a hit during the World War II years. Much print space was consumed by tips and tricks for how to make your own components or substitute material for what had been customary. Balsa was in short supply because it was (and still is) used in the construction of air-dropped equipment pallets. Rubber, metal, plastic (still relatively new at the time), and even some cloth and paper was often difficult to procure for building or repairing models. Once the war was over, companies went as fast as they could in converting from wartime production back to peacetime production...

Aerial Hot-Rods: History of the Thompson Trophy Race

Aerial Hot-Rods: History of the Thompson Trophy Race, September 1949 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsBeing held from 1929 to 1961 (with the exception of World War II years), the Thompson Trophy Race was one of the longest running airplane speed events. The closed course was 10 miles long and used 50-foot-high pylons. Through 1949 hen this article appeared in Air Trails magazine, most events were held in Cleveland, Ohio. Museum photos of many of the airplanes can be seen on Wikipedia. Looking through the list of winners' names, the most recognizable to most people is Jimmy Doolittle, famous for his air strike on the Japanese mainland using B-25 bombers launched from the USS Hornet aircraft carrier. That was in 1942, but Doolittle won his Thompson Trophy Race title in 1932, a full decade earlier...

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..."

Electronics at Redstone Arsenal

Electronics at Redstone Arsenal, May 1957 Radio & TV News - RF Cafe"The fact that every part of this ship was built by the lowest bidder." That, according to Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director during the Gemini and Apollo missions), was Alan Shepard's reply when asked what he thought about as he sat atop the Mercury Redstone rocket*, waiting for liftoff. Shepard knew the boost vehicle, the "Redstone," was originally designed as an expendable ballistic missile and not for safely launching humans into space might have had something to do with it, too. This 1957 vintage article (5 years prior to Shepard's flight), describes some the electronics systems that were used in the program both onboard for stabilization and on the ground for guidance. "A new type computer can solve in five minutes a ballistic trajectory problem which would require a man more than a year to complete." Today, a cellphone app can do it in less than a second...

"Clo-Clo" Terror in a Tempest Article & Plans

"Clo-Clo" Terror in a Tempest Article & Plans, March 1962 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsHere is a short story about French flying ace Pierre Clostermann who, after his country capitulated to the German Wehrmacht, went to England to fly for the Royal Air Force (RAF). It appeared in the March 1962 issue of American Modeler magazine. His service for the French resistance was spent downing German Focke-Wulfs, Junkers, and Messerschmitts - 23 confirmed kills, 5 "probables," and 30 aircraft damaged. His fabled aircraft was a Hawker Tempest, sister craft to the beautiful Hawker Hurricane. This control line model is designed for a .60 size engine. A separate full construction article for the Hawker Tempest was also published in this issue....

Drones - Putting R/C into War Games

Drones - Putting R/C into War Games, April 1956 Popular Electronics - RF CafeThe term "drone" these days for most invokes the image of a little plastic spider-looking thing with propellers mounted at the ends of the arms - usually with a toothless bumpkin at the controls. Those same people often think drones are relatively new devices. People with a just a little more information automatically classify all radio control (R/C) models, be they traditional fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters, as drones. Pilots of the aforementioned models are even likely, per observers, to have all their teeth and bathe regularly. I happen to be one of the latter type R/C modelers and while I no longer possess all 32 teeth I had at birth, I do bathe regularly. Drones have been around since World War I where they were used for target practice by ground-based marksmen. Once radio remote control became practical, adopting it for use in pilotless aerial platforms was a natural evolution. I have written in the past about what a large contribution hobbyists have made to "drone" technology both through their technical prowess and flying ability...

Omnirange = Air-Safety

Omnirange = Air-Safety, February 1951 Radio-Electronics - Airplanes and RocketsIf you are familiar with aircraft electronic navigation systems, reading in this 1951 Radio−Electronics article's opening paragraph about how "Omnirange aircraft navigation will make air travel safe, dependable, and predictable regardless of visibility, and volume of air traffic," really makes you realize how far we have come in the last seven decades. The network VOR (VHF Omnidirectional Range) station revolutionized aviation by enabling precision navigation using relatively simple, reliable, and inexpensive equipment in the cockpit which enables pilots to fly from waypoint to waypoint across the country. Eventually, five variations of VOR evolved with ranges going from 25 nautical miles (~29 statute miles) up to 130 nm. The addition of TACAN (TActiCal Air Navigation) provided slant distance information to or from the VORTAC station. Since the introduction of full precision GPS, when the U.S. government unclassified the "P-code"...


Consolidated PBY-5A Canso / Catalina

Consolidated PBY-5A Canso / Catalina - Airplanes and RocketsOn August 26, 2013, Melanie and I toured the inside of this Consolidated PBY-5A Canso (PBY-5 is the Catalina) while it was on display at the Erie International Airport. It was on tour by a crew from Canada, which is appropriate since it was this particular airplane was manufactured in Canada in 1944 by the Vickers company. World War II ended before it could ever see combat reconnaissance duty. The PBY-5A has a wingspan of 104 feet 0 inches and is powered by a pair of 1200 horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp radial engines. Top speed is 179 mph. It sported six .303 Vickers machine guns and could carry up to 2000 pounds of bombs and depth charges. Hopefully, these photos will be of use to scale model researchers...















Temco TT-1

 Need to scan p17 of May 1967 American Modeler for Temco TT-1





Marks Models P-51 Mustang Kit

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House of Balsa P-51 Mustang Kit

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Leveque Flying Boat Kit

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Graupner Cirrus Glider Kit

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Casalaire Tyson Kit

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Berkeley Buccaneer Kit

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Bird of Time Kit


Skymasters Comics

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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

Apollo 11 on Washington Monument


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