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

Aerospace Headline News

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archives -

• Geico Skytypers Pilot Dies in Long Island Crash

• P–51 Dead-Stick, Off-Airport Landing

Hobby Drones Banned Near Hawaii Volcano

• How Much of the World's Population Has Flown in an Airplane?

• Interior Department Awards 1st Contract for Small UAS Services

FAA: Fly Under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft

WomenVenture Returns to Oshkosh

Time to Change 50-Year-Old Aviation Curriculum

Companies Team to Develop Avionics for Drones

FAA to Discontinue DUATS Program in May

Webb Telescope Launch Delayed Until 2020

Aviation, Social Mobility, and the American Dream

Sailing Drone Measures Oceans Autonomously for 12 Months

Sailing Drone Measures Oceans Autonomously for 12 Months - Airplanes and Rockets"Saildrone is a Californian company which designs and manufactures wind and solar powered autonomous surface vehicles, called Saildrones, designed to monitor the ocean for months on end. The hard wind design emerged from a decade-long pursuit of the land speed record – company founder Richard Jenkins ultimately achieved 126.2mph in 2009, having started his Windjet Project in 1999 while studying mechanical engineering at Imperial College. Using wind power for propulsion, a Saildrone fleet travels at 3-5kts, with each drone collecting high-resolution data either by holding station or following a survey pattern. The drones sail autonomously ..."

Free Flight Rocket, Jr. Jetex PAA-Load and PAA Load Jet

Free Flight Rocket, Jr. Jetex PAA-Load and PAA Load Jet, June 1959 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThis article provides a really good look at how varied model airplane designs can be for a defined contest event - in this case Free Flight Rocket, Jr. Jet PAA-Load and PAA Load Jet. Wing, fuselage, and tail outlines, pylons or not, sub-rudders, and engine mounting locations are all over the map, figuratively speaking. "Jet" as used here refers almost universally to the Jetex engines that were popular at the time. Jetex motors, fuel, and accessories were imported from England and distributed in the U.S. by Aristo-Craft Distinctive Miniatures, in Newark, New Jersey. Jetex rocket engines were quite popular with model airplane, boat, and car builders through the early 1970s, at which point the fuel supplies began to disappear ...

China Aims to Beat NASA with Super-Powerful Rocket

China Aims to Beat NASA with Super-Powerful Rocket - Airplanes and Rockets"China is working on a super-powerful rocket that would be capable of delivering heavier payloads into low orbit than NASA, a leading Chinese space expert was quoted as saying Monday. By 2030, the Long March-9 rocket under development will be able to carry 140 tonnes into low-Earth orbit - where TV and earth observation satellites currently fly - said Long Lehao, a senior official from the Chinese Academy of Engineering, according to the official Xinhua news agency. This compares to the 20 tonnes deliverable by Europe's Ariane 5 rocket or the 64 tonnes by Elon Musk's Falcon Heavy ..."

Facebook's Project Aquila Arial Base Station Crashes

Facebook's Project Aquila Arial Base Station Crashes - Airplanes and Rockets"Facebook has cancelled its UK-based high altitude unmanned aircraft project, Aquila. The project, based in Somerset, aimed to provide Internet basestations that could stay in the air for weeks at a time at an altitude of 60,000 ft. However the 2 kW power requirements and the laser communications technology that was intended to link aircraft in the sky and to the ground were both significant challenges. 'The only spectrum available for these platforms wasn't suitable for broadband due to technical and geographical limitations,' said Yael Maguire, director of engineering at Facebook ..."

Heathkit 3-Channel for Cars, Boats, or Lanier's Hawk Glider

Heathkit 3-Channel for Cars, Boats, or Lanier's Hawk Glider, February 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsA long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there existed a modeling civilization that enthusiastically embraced the concept of building kits for the personal satisfaction of being able to hone craftsmanship skills, to learn about the make-up of the products being built, and to save money. Radio control systems were expensive on a per channel basis compared to today's systems. Heathkit, as it did with a very wide assortment of electronics products, sold a few radio control systems in kit form. The buyer built everything - transmitter, receiver, and servos. I do no remember whether the NiCd battery packs came pre-assembled. Note that Heathkit servos used capacitive feedback ...

JWST Launch Delayed to 2021 at Extra Cost of ~$1B

JWST Launch Delayed to 2021 at Extra Cost of ~$1B - Airplanes and RocketsI'm looking forward to JWST data, and sure hope it doesn't suffer a HST-type failure. "An independent panel has informed NASA that the James Webb Space Telescope will not be ready for launch until March 2021, and Congress will have to reauthorize the long-delayed, over-budget mission after breaching an $8B cost cap, officials said Wednesday. Blunders made by Webb's manufacturing and test team at Northrop Grumman, the mission’s prime contractor, are largely responsible for the launch delay, according to Thomas Young, a former Lockheed Martin executive and NASA program manager who chaired the review board examining the mission's development ..."

Boeing's Concept Jet Could Fly New York to London in 2 Hours

Boeing's Concept Jet Could Fly New York to London in 2 Hours - Airplanes and Rockets"Boeing has unveiled a concept jet that will be capable of whisking passengers from New York to London at a blistering Mach 5 - making it capable of crossing the pond in just two hours. The hypersonic plane would fly almost three times faster than the legendary Concorde - which was decommissioned in 2003 - and cruise at 95,000 feet, about 3,000 feet higher than its supersonic predecessor, according to Aviation Week. The concept aircraft, which was unveiled at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Aviation 2018 conference in Atlanta, is part of a long-range development plan with both commercial and military applications, the news outlet reported ..."

Sketchbook, January 1952 Air Trails

Sketchbook, January 1952 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsCreativity and ingenuity was needed more often by aircraft modelers back when various aspects of the hobby were in the development stages and access to a prefabricated device was not as ready as today. If you need a special-purpose product or method nowadays, a Google search will usually turn up a solution in the form of an off-the-shelf item and/or instructions on how to do it yourself - sometimes even with a video to show you how to do it. In the middle of the last century, if you wanted a component or gizmo other than common things like wheels, propellers, and bell cranks, you had to make them yourself from on-hand materials or do without. I often am amazed at the ideas presented in these Sketch Book installments. Check out the device designed by Mr. Mustafa K. Artam, of Istanbul, Turkey, for checking relative thrust ...

More Precise GPS Coverage Now Available Across U.S.

More Precise GPS Coverage Now Available Across U.S. - Airplanes and RocketsThis might benefit some GPS-directed drones. "There is now more precise GPS coverage across the U.S., thanks to the recent deployment of the FAA's Geosynchronous Earth Orbiting 5 Wide Area Augmentation System navigation payload, which was developed by Raytheon's Intelligence, Information and Services business. The GEO 5 payload joins two others already on orbit in correcting GPS satellite signal ionospheric disturbances, timing issues, and minor orbit adjustments, giving increased coverage, improved accuracy, and better reliability, according to Raytheon officials. 'GPS alone can't meet the FAA's stringent requirements for accuracy, integrity ..."

Flying Jenny

"Flying Jenny, by Theasa Tuohy - Airplanes and RocketsAlthough not directly related to the mid-last-century aviatrix Virginia Dare, aka "Flyin' Jenny," the "Flying Jenny" book written by Theasa Tuohy is a novel about a daring tabloid newspaper reporter named Jenny Flynn. This Jenny was inspired by real-life barnstorming female pilot Elinor Smith, aka "The Flying Flapper Freeport." The author's mother and namesake (Theasa Tuohy) was a contemporary of Will Rogers and friend of Wiley Post ...


Atomic-Power Air Transport

Atomic-Power Air Transport, January 1952 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsAtomic-powered aircraft was another dream of mid-last-century visionaries. It was the post World War II era where, following the demonstration of nuclear energy's awesome capacity demonstrated in Japan, plans were being made to harness its capacity for peaceful uses. Large scale atomic power electricity and steam generation stations were being designed and built. So, too, were personal nuclear power packs, atomic-powered car, boats, submarines, airplanes, rockets, and trains envisioned. Unfortunately, designers soon learned that safe containment of the fuel made small form factor generators impractical. Unfortunately, a few accidents in power stations has spooked ...

Student Pilot Crashes During Unauthorized Solo Flight

Student Pilot Crashes During Premature Solo Flight - Airplanes and RocketsNotice the tail number has been blotted out. "A student pilot who was training at Fullerton Airport in southern California is in major trouble after an incident on Sunday. Too eager for his first solo, the man took a Cessna 172 from a local flying club without permission, but was unable to successfully complete his mission. Fullerton's airport manager Brendan O’Reilly said the student pilot had recently joined the RI Flying Club, which had the Cessna 172 as part of its fleet. O'Reilly said the flying club has been operating at the airport for more than 30 years without any incidents. The student pilot was not qualified to fly the airplane solo, but somehow snagged the keys and took the airplane to the skies. The student pilot made not one, not two, not three, not four, but five attempts at landing, each time messing up the airplane more ..."

An Interview with The Paper Airplane Guy, John Collins

An Interview with The Paper Airplane Guy, John Collins - Airplanes and RocketsJohn Collins is the undisputed Paper Airplane Guy. He set a new world record flight distance of 26 feet, 10 inches, in 2012. He wrote a book titled, The World Record Paper Airplane and International Award Winning Designs. This article is from an appearance on the Conan O'Brien show, and includes a video of Mr. Collins demonstrating how to fold and launch paper airplanes ...

Museum Launches 100th Anniversary of Airmail Exhibit Online

Museum Launches 100th Anniversary of Airmail Exhibit Online - Airplanes and Rockets"The San Diego Air & Space Museum's Library & Archives recently launched a new online exhibit commemorating the 100th Anniversary of U.S. Airmail. On a fog-shrouded May 15th, in 1918, the first airplane to provide regularly scheduled airmail service in the United States took off from the Potomac Park polo grounds in Washington, D.C., headed to New York City, a 218-mile route. Sponsored by the U.S. Post Office, and personally sent off by President Woodrow Wilson, this has proven to be a most important day in our nation's history ..."

JETicopter Advertisement, January 1952 Air Trails

JETicopter Advertisement, January 1952 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsFlying model helicopters of any sort were fairly rare in 1952, when this edition of Air Trails magazine hit the news stands. The sophisticated, miniaturized, smart stabilization systems of today's models were not available at any price, and radio control was the realm of military research vehicles. Methods for driving the rotors included glow and gas engines, rubber bands, and even Jetex engines. Many free flight helicopters sported the JETicopter's arrangement of a pair of engines at the end of a moment arm which caused rotation. Cox .010 and .020 engines were a popular choice, as were the Jetex engines. I always wondered what happened when ...

Alpha Male Flirts with Bravo Airspace on a Sightseeing Excursion

Alpha Male Flirts with Bravo Airspace on a Sightseeing Excursion - Airplanes and Rockets"It was a beautiful Sunday morning, and nobody was flying. My open-cockpit biplane, a Great Lakes 2T-1A-1, was just the answer for a relaxing start to the day. It's a great airplane for sightseeing. It flies low and slow, and turns on a dime. I departed Montgomery Airport (KMYF) in San Diego and put down at nearby Gillespie Field (KSEE) for a delicious cheese omelet. When I departed, it was still a ghost town; the Gillespie controller even offered an intersection departure on the perpendicular runway, just for fun. I departed into the clear, gorgeous empty sky. What could possibly go wrong? I let my instincts ..."

Who Flew What in the 1962 American Radio Plane Championships

Who Flew What in the American Radio Plane Championships, 1963 Annual Edition American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThe 1962 AMA Nationals competition was considered the first major contest for scale radio controlled airplanes. To wit, this article from the 1963 Annual edition of American Modeler, says R/C scale "finally 'came of age.'" Proportional radio sets were becoming common and the reliability of the airborne electronics and batteries was going up while weight and size was coming down. Modelers were much more willing to trust the radios to safely control models that often took many hundreds of hours to build. Sharing frequencies at or near to the 27 MHz band allocated by the FCC to R/C was still a huge risk, but the venues of major contests provided protected areas that were far enough from most interference ...

Drones Technology Changes the Face of Combat

Drones Technology Changes the Face of Combat - Airplanes and Rockets"Drones are not, as is often assumed, a 21st-century develop­ment. Far from it. Their history goes back more than 100 years, but the rate at which they are changing our everyday life continues to accelerate. So we thought it is worth looking back and seeing where the concept came from, how it developed, and where it stands today. Given the current rate of change, it's obvious we're only seeing the tip of what is going to turn out to be a very big technological and cultural iceberg. Drones constitute a fundamental transformation in both military and civilian realms. In an unmanned air system (UAS), the miniaturization in technologies ..."

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 and three decades from when man would first walk on the moon, 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 ...

Albatross Robot Takes Flight

Albatross Robot Takes Flight - Airplanes and Rockets"MIT engineers have designed a robotic glider that can skim along the water’s surface, riding the wind like an albatross while also surfing the waves like a sailboat. In regions of high wind, the robot is designed to stay aloft, much like its avian counterpart. Where there are calmer winds, the robot can dip a keel into the water to ride like a highly efficient sailboat instead. The robotic system, which borrows from both nautical and biological designs, can cover a given distance using one-third as much wind as an albatross and traveling 10 times faster than a typical sailboat. The glider is also relatively lightweight, weighing about 6 pounds. The researchers hope ..."

Debunking Hitler's Luftwaffe

Debunking Hitler's Luftwaffe, May 1941 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsLess than a year before the U.S. was officially drawn into World War II with surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, American fighter pilot Lieutenant Thomas McBride provided this first-hand report on what he perceived to be the current status of the German air force (Luftwaffe). While in France he noted bizarre behavior of young German pilots, often with no more than a few hours of flight instruction, making deadly rookie flying mistakes and strafing ambulances and farm animals for sport and blood lust. Older pilots with slower reflexes were put in higher performance aircraft and could not compete with younger British pilots, while plebes in the same airplanes could not, due to insufficient training, handle the power and maneuverability. Blacking out under high G forces and not allowing sufficient altitude for vertical bombing runs spelled the end to many Luftwaffe airmen ...

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Kirt Blattenberger
Carpe Diem!
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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 - 2018
Kirt Blattenberger
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