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               "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." Lord Kelvin, 1895

Model Aviation in the News

- Archives -

NASA Prototypes Drone Aircraft Destined for Mars

SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Anomaly Apparently in Booster's 2nd Stage

Airline World's Tiny secret: Infatuation with Model Planes

Russia Tested Hypersonic Glide Vehicle in February

Solar Impulse Japan to Hawaii Flight Postponed Again

Plane Sailing: The Seaplane of the Future?

Jack King, 'Voice of NASA,' Dies at 84

Self-Healing Aircraft Wing Technology One Step Closer

Plane Spotting at the Paris Airshow

OKU UAV Woos Paris Air Show

Self-Healing Aircraft Wing Technology One Step Closer

Silent Flight: Developing Hybrid Aircraft

Boeing Patents Drone That Can Fly Forever

Google's Solar-Fueled Cyber Drone Crashes

NASA Wants to Build the Most Powerful Rocket That Ever Was

Drone Catches Cheating Students in 'World's Toughest Exam'

Radio-Operated Airplanes

Radio Operated Airplane, January 1946 Radio News - RF CafeWhen I first saw this article from a 1946 edition of Radio News, I did a double-take on the author's name, thinking it was written by long-time model aviation author and magazine editor William 'Bill" Winter. It was actually done by a fellow named Winters, not Winter. An enthusiastic radio control (R/C) evangelist in his day, Bill Winter wrote many pieces for electronics magazines such as Popular Electronics. As I have noted in the past, hobbyists in the electronics realm, as well as in the fields of aircraft and rocket design, contribute mightily to the state of the art. Such is also the case in many other arts and sciences. Here we have a report of some of the earliest radio controlled flying 'drones,' as we call them today. They are a far cry from the

Collins Radio Company Advertisement

Collins Radio Company Ad, June 1946 Radio News - Airplanes and RocketsArthur Collins founded the Collins Radio Company in 1933 to enter the fledgling domestic AM broadcast market. His equipment instantly became renowned for high quality and reliability. Collins gained early notoriety as the result of being selected by Admiral Richard Byrd for his South Pole expedition. The U.S. military took notice and the company quickly earned a reputation as a preferred supplier of aviation communications equipment both for commercial and military aviation. As seen in this 1946 advertisement in Radio-News, Trans World Airlines proudly employed Collins radio equipment in its fleet of Lockheed Constellation (aka 'Connie')

Critter R/C Sailboat by Larry J.

Critter R/C Sailboat modified with mizzen mast, by LarryJ. - Airplanes and RocketsLarry J. sent photos of his completed Critter R/C sailboat - amazing craftsmanship on display! Larry added a mizzen mast (the rear mast) to the original, which was a standard sloop configuration with a mainmast holding the mainsail and jib. He scaled it to a 48" hull length, and it uses a little over 13 pounds of lead ballast. I will ask him for a photo of the radio compartment

L.M. Cox Manufacturing Advertisement
1953 Air Trails

Cox Thimble Drome Ad, November 1953 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsLiving one's whole life in the past is never a good thing, but it doesn't hurt to spend a little time harkening back to the roots of our fine hobby of aeromodeling. One of the most readily accessible venues is vintage magazines like American Modeler, Air Trails, etc. Looking at the of the old advertisements really brings back memories of the items I drooled over as a kid. $6.95 for a Space Bug isn't much in 2015 money, but according to the BLS's Inflation Calculator, that amount was equivalent to $61.10 in 1953. A newspaper delivery boy's pay made such purchases a little difficult, and my parents certainly were in no position to buy stuff for me

Bill Bell's Nats Winning "Javelin"
F.A.I. Free Flight Plans

Bill Bell's Nats Winning "Javelin" F.A.I. Free Flight Plans, October 1962 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsIf Bill Bell was 35 years old when this plans sheet for his "Javelin" free flight airplane was published in American Modeler in 1962, that makes him a ripe old age of 88 today. He may well still be flying models. There was no article accompanying the plans; it appeared kind of randomly on a page within an article titled, "How to Add Radio Control to Your Scale Model Auto." The wingspan appears to be around 64", with a Cox .15 TeeDee

XXL Bücker Jungmeister Scale 1:1.25

Helmut Müller's 85% scratch-built Bücker Jungmeister - Airplanes and RocketsThis 85% scratch-built Bücker Jungmeister, built by Helmut Müller, sports a 17.5-foot wingspan and weighs a hefty 286 pounds. It is powered by an ultralight aircraft engine turning a Fiala 60x20 wood propeller. The video from the ICARE Airmeet in Rohrbach Les Bitche in France was posted by RCScaleAirplanes. Those Europeans really love big model airplanes - and do a magnificent job with both building and flying.

For the Tenderfoot: Hi-Climber

Hi-Climber Article & Plans, December 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)Website visitor Pat M. wrote to ask that I scan page 14 of this Hi-Climber article that appeared in the December 1968 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. I was glad to oblige, and while at it, I processed the entire article. If the rubber-powered free flight Hi-Climber interested Pat enough to build it, then chances are someone else might like to as well. Hi-Climber is one in a long series of "For the Tenderfoot" models promoting the entrance of kids into the aeromodeling hobby

Another Round of Aeromodeling Comics

Page 7 of Model Aviation Comics of Yore, Comics from 1950s through Mid 1970s Vintage Model Aviation Magazines (page 6) - Airplanes and RocketsThere have been many very humorous comics published in various editions of American Modeler during the late 1950's and early 1960s. Some subjects are dated, but many are as familiar today as back 50 yeas ago. Where available, I scanned the comics and replicated them here so that everyone can enjoy the long-ago work of a great artist. Enjoy!

Al Rabe's C/L Sea Fury

Sea Fury Article & Plans, March 1973 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)Oddly enough, this extremely long article on Al Rabe's famous Sea Fury control line scale stunt model does not include plans. I checked the AMA Plans Service website and do not see plans listed there, either, so unfortunately for anyone wanting to build this model, there won't be any help available from the AMA. The main purpose of this article seems to be the extensive research and empirical testing Al Rabe did with airfoils, planforms, control surfaces, etc., in arriving at his final winning design. He even performed live runs of test airfoil sections to determine lift and drag with and without flaps. I scanned this article at the request of

Porterfield Collegiate

Porterfield Collegiate, August 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThe Porterfield Collegiate is not a name that nearly everyone is familiar with like the Piper Cub is. In fact, the Cub is so well-known that, like "Coke" is for mentioning colas, "Piper Cub" is often the generic term used to identify an single-engine light airplane whether it be high wing or low wing. According to this article, the Collegiate was a contender for the Cub in the pilot training realm due to the relatively low cost of ownership and the very favorable performance in terms of stall recovery, low landing speed,

Battery Connector Usage Chart:
Model Aircraft, Boats & Cars

Battery Connector Usage Chart - Model Aircraft, Boats & Cars - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)There are many high quality types of connectors available nowadays for use with battery packs for model airplanes, helicopters, boats, and cars. A wide range of current handling capacities are required depending on the demands of electric power setups. Smaller park flyer types only might need connectors and wires that can handle 10 amps, whereas larger scale models and 3D helicopters can easily need more than 100 amps for acceptable performance. Connector failure is often the culprit in crashes due to inappropriate contact ratings. It is well worth your investment in time to research and implement proper connector usage considering the time and money invested in your model. Specifications used for the following table were obtained from

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

Radio Control How to Get F.C.C. License, from September 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsIf you have only ever known a time in the R/C era when 2.4 GHz, spread spectrum radios were in use and not only there no interference issues, but there were no licenses required, either, for legal operation, then it might be hard to imagine when this was not so. Most people in the R/C realm at least remember the 72 MHz frequency band where each system operated on a specific center frequency, where no two system could be operated in the same vicinity. Before that there was the 27 MHz band, which is where I began, more specifically on 27.195 MHz. Only five frequencies were reserved by the FCC exclusively for radio control use

The Real Helicopter Parents

The Real Helicopter Parents - Airplanes and RocketsThis article from the May 2015 edition of the Smithsonian Institution's Air & Space magazine reports on the latest trend amongst the überwealthy in California where their children are encouraged to earn helicopter pilots licenses. Doing so has become a major status symbol. Price, which can range from $100k to $½M depending on the age the kid begins, is no object for those folks. "Instead of sports after school, parents are putting their kids in helicopters. They think having a helicopter pilot's license on an application will help their kids get into college." "As soon as he gets his pilot's license, his dad wants to buy a helicopter so his son can chauffeur him around." It gives a new meaning to the term 'helicopter parent.'

Early Wankel Engine Models

Wankel Engine Models - July/August 1963 American Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)Felix Wankel's rotary engine design was going to set the internal combustion world on fire and make traditional piston-driven engines obsolete. Aside from being revolutionary (no pun intended) from a technology perspective, they just looked cool, and they would be ideal pseudo radials for vintage aircraft models. They operate at high RPMs, have relatively few moving parts, and are lower in both weight and size than equivalent power traditional piston engines. Unfortunately, reality never quite caught up with theory due to heating issues, frequent rotor seal failure, poor fuel economy with attendant poor emissions quality, and other nagging problems

Ritz on Airfoils

Ritz on Airfoils, from September/October 1963 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsNew airfoils today are designed by computer - literally. As with circuit and mechanical simulator software, aerodynamic fluid flow algorithms exist that will run thousands of iterations on an initial design until it reaches the goal set by the engineer. Limits are defined on parameters such as chord, wingspan, airspeed, thickness, manufacturing tolerances, temperature coefficients, material stiffness, to name a few, and then a mouse click sends the computer into its happy place while obeying convergence rules and arriving (hopefully) at a solution that provides the performance characteristics desired. If it fails to produce the expected result, a new set of starting points, limits, and convergence algorithms can be stipulated and then the process is

Author: Kirt Blattenberger on Google+
Author: Kirt Blattenberger

Tower Hobbies logo - Airplanes and RocketsCall me a Tower Hobbies groupie, or maybe I'm just lazy, but I have been ordering most (probably >90%) of my modeling supplies from Tower Hobbies since they first opened in the 1970s. I remember anxiously awaiting delivery of my first Carl Goldberg 1/2A Skylane from them. That was before the Internet, when mail order involved hand-writing your order on a form and enclosing a check or M.O. in an envelope, then dropping it in the mailbox. 3-4 weeks was a typical turn-around time. No, I do not get any perks for posting this.

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