"Harbour Air's all-electric-powered de Havilland Beaver took off for an inaugural flight test just after daybreak December 10 to the cheers of about two dozen people huddled on a chilly dock in Vancouver, British Columbia, as the distinctive seaplane ushered in a new era of aviation. Several thousand more also watched online as the yellow-and-navy magniX-powered seaplane retrofitted with a 750-horsepower magni500 propulsion system thundered into the air during a live social media broadcast. The fossil fuel-free aircraft partnership between North America's largest seaplane airline and Redmond, Washington-based electric propulsion venture magniX was announced in March..."
"A highly anticipated ASTM International standard is designed to satisfy the growing demand for better identification and tracking of unmanned aircraft systems - commonly known as drones. Similar to the function of a car license plate, the Remote ID standard supports technology that allows the general public and public safety officials to identify a drone using an assigned ID, while preserving the privacy of the drone pilot’s personal information. The standard, which will be published in the coming weeks with the designation F3411, was developed by the ASTM International unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) committee (F38)..."
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Mya Rae Nelson has an excellent article in the current issue of Fine Woodworking magazine entitled, "The Science Behind Epoxies." I was surprised to read that epoxy has only been around since the 1940s, so when I first used it in the early 1970s, it was only a three decade old technology. As with cellphones, now that we have epoxy, how did we ever get along without it? Ms. Nelson uses layman terms to describe the molecular makeup of both the epoxy resin and the hardener, and describes how the bonds between the resin atoms are broken then reestablished with the insertion of hardener atoms into the matrix. If you attended classes for and understood the basics of chemistry, that will help with understanding the technical side of epoxy curing and strength, but even without the nerd knowledge you will still gain a better understanding of how this indispensible modeler's brew works.
"The Great War triggered a trend toward big flying machines. Really big. I had been warned that there wasn’t much left of the airplane that designer Gianni Caproni had intended to be a transatlantic flying boat - the Noviplano - which had crashed and broken apart concluding its first and final flight, on March 4, 1921. There wasn't. I'd trekked up into the Italian Alps to the Caproni museum in Trento only to learn that a small section of the hull and other pieces from the wreck of the Noviplano were in storage, awaiting conservation. Next I took the train to the Volandia Museum of Flight, just outside the perimeter fence of Milan's Malpensa international airport. I was ushered inside to meet Gregory Alegi, a Yale-educated Italian journalist, defense analyst, and aviation historian..."
"At one time or another, you've probably supported your local high school by buying candy. Now you have another option: purchasing an airplane, built by the students themselves. The students are participants in a program created in 2016 by the nonprofit Tango Flight, which got its start by raising $90,000 in Georgetown, Texas. Since then, Tango Flight has expanded to five other cities across the country, boosted by funding from Airbus and local sponsors, such as the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire. 'It's really amazing to see the aviation community come together and support this,' says Tango Flight co-founder Dan Weyant. 'Most of the folks in this business recognize that we are in desperate need to bring younger new folks into it either as a hobby or as a career..."
"Researchers in the U.S. have developed a high speed digital twin of a custom built drone to monitor its reliability and predict potential failures. The Dynamic Data-Driven Application Systems (DDDAS) digital twin project includes researchers from University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), MIT, Akselos and drone maker Aurora Flight Sciences. The twin represents each component of the UAV, as well as its integrated whole, using physics-based models that capture the details of its behaviour. The digital twin also uses on-board sensor data from the UAV and integrates that information with the model to create real-time predictions of the health of the vehicle. 'It's essential that UAVs monitor their structural health..."
This is the Sunday, January 30, 1944, "Flyin' Jenny" comic strip. The Baltimore Sun newspaper, published not far from where I grew up near Annapolis, Maryland, carried "Flyin' Jenny" from the late 1930s until the strip ended in the mid 1940s, so I saved a couple dozen from there. The first one I downloaded has a publication date of December 7, 1941 - that date "which will live in infamy," per President Roosevelt. Many Americans were receiving word over the radio of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor while reading this comic at the breakfast table. I expect that soon there will be World War II themes. "Flyin' Jenny," whose real name was Virginia Dare (what's in a name?), was a test pilot for Starcraft Aviation Factory who divided her time between wringing out new airplane designs and chasing bad guys...
Website visitor Barb H. wrote to ask that I provide her with a copy of the page in the January 1972 issue of American Aircraft Modeler that her brother, David Downey, had a suggestion of his printed. It appeared in the "Where the Action Is: Control Line" column. John Blum wrote the "Carrier and Stunt" section and mentions David's idea of using a section of neoprene tubing around the outside of the elevator pushrod in order to minimize flexing under load. The tubing is to be glued to the fuselage structure in three inch or less interval along its length. Interestingly, Mr. Downey submitted his entry from Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil, which today is the seventh largest city in Brazil. The column also has a report which is funny in retrospect, but was potentially very dangerous at the time...
An article appeared in the January 2020 issue of Model Aviation magazine extolling the virtues of Indoor Free Flight Supply for their making available an assortment of hard-to-find accessories. Some are specialty hardware items and others are high precision tools and devices for assisting the serious indoor free flight competitor gain an edge over others in the challenge. Examples include all-metal geared winders with a dial indicator tracking the number of winds, a torque meter, and a contest rubber cutter with micrometer adjustments and a self-sharpening blade that achieves perpendicular (vs. undesirable trapezoidal) edges.
"An Indian software developer and mechanical engineer combing through high-resolution imagery captured by a NASA spacecraft has located debris scattered on the lunar surface in September by the crash of the Vikram lander, India's first probe to attempt a soft touchdown on the moon, NASA said Monday. A camera mounted on NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has recorded images of the Vikram spacecraft's target landing site since Indian ground controllers lost contact with probe Sept. 6 during final descent to the moon. The robotic Vikram lander was descending toward a landing zone around 373 miles from the moon's south pole..."
Most magazines, whether hobby, professional, news, or otherwise focused, contain a section that features what its readers are up to. Typically included is some combination of reader comments, photos, editorial contents, contest reports, etc. Flying Aces magazine's version of that was "With the Model Builders." There was not much in the way of radio control in 1941 when this column appeared, so it had free flight and control line models. One photo showed a guy who was getting ready to go into the Army to fight Hitler's and Tojo's minions passing his penchant for aeromodeling on to his little sister...
BlackBird appears to be an airborne version of Über car ride service. If you need to quickly get from point A to point B and can't do it by scheduled planes, trains, or automobiles, hail your ride with Black Bird. I was not familiar with the service prior to seeing in a news item regarding the FAA being concerned over whether the pilots and airplanes are properly certified to provide flights. BlackBird believes its participating pilots know the law and comply as needed. If you elect to use the service, be sure to inquire whether your escort is fully qualified by the FAA.
"China has performed a hover and hazard avoidance test on a model the country's first Mars rover, while engineers ready the real spacecraft for launch toward the red planet in mid-2020. Comprising an orbiter, lander and rover, the mission aims to become the first Chinese spacecraft to reach Mars after lifting off aboard a Long March 5 rocket - the country's most powerful launcher - during a several week window opening in July 2020. The mission will launch from the Wenchang space center on Hainan Island, China's newest spaceport. China invited ambassadors and envoys from 19 countries..."
"Airbus Defence and Space has invested in US-based battery technology company Amprius, to boost the development of new generation batteries based on silicon nanowire anode technology. The investment will help drive the development of higher volume production capacity, and cells with higher energy density for programmes such as the Zephyr high altitude pseudo satellite and Urban Air Mobility innovation initiatives. Amprius was the first company to introduce 100% silicon anodes in lithium ion batteries to the market in 2013. It manufactures the highest energy density commercial batteries in the industry. The company's products and technology include a 100 per cent silicon nanowire anode, silicon-graphite composite anodes, lithium-rich cathodes..."
The U.S. Navy's relationship with model aviation used to be very significant, even to the extent that for many years the service sponsored the Academy of Model Aeronautics' (AMA) annual National Model Airplane (the Nats) contest. Navy bases served as the venue for the meets and a large number of Navy personnel provided assistance with organization, facilities preparation and management, promotion, event management, and awards ceremonies. The stated purpose was to foster the love of aviation in young men along with a familiarity with the Navy's environment so that when they came of age, enlistment - or commission - would be a natural progression...
"Human forces are relying more on UGVs, UAVs, and other robotic systems to perform critical and dangerous tasks plus serve as intelligent machine partners. Machines no longer require the press of a button to start the power, especially for military missions. Autonomy is coming rapidly to robots and unmanned machines for military applications. They come in the forms of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) that can function without an operator, with the aid of artificial intelligence (AI) and environmental sensors. Significant investments by governments on behalf of military robotic applications are literally driving autonomous robotic technologies full speed ahead toward the vision of a battlefield where humans and machines team as partners..."
"In response to recent threats of rogue and errant drones launched against airports and other critical facilities, infrastructure and events, 34 North Drones, a leading commercial drone service provider, has partnered with IDS North America to offer and install the NO-DRONE radar counter drone system for all government and civilian clients in need of protection. IDS is a leading software company that designs, develops, and distributes software for air navigation, security, and the defense sector. The NO-DRONE radar detection system evolved from a proven and existing military battlefield solution originally tuned to recognize small objects such as incoming mortar, artillery and rocket fire..."
Beginning in the mid 1960s, Sears catalogs contained some pretty nice equatorial mount, refractor telescopes. The f15, 60 mm (2.3") "Discoverer" Model 6305 appeared in the 1967 catalog for $99.98, which in 2019 money is the equivalent of $763.49 (per the BLS CPI calculator). Then, in 1970 this f15.5, 90 mm (3.5") Model 6345 was offered for $499.95, or the equivalent of $3,401.88 (per the CPI calculator). Yow, I'm guessing not many of those were sold, especially as evidenced by the lack of available 6345 models that show up on astronomy forums and on eBay. Although not mentioned in the description, there appears to be a motor drive on the right ascension axis. Five oculars (0.975" ?) are included along with a special rotatable prism that holds all five - pretty convenient if it works well. Otherwise, it has the same set of accessories...