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Welcome to the Airplanes & Rockets Website
"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." Lord Kelvin, 1895

Model Aviation
in the News

- Archives -

Swiss Police Use Drones to Document Car Crashes

Saturn's Weird Fast-Changing Ring Baffles Scientists

ULA, Bezos Join Forces on New Rocket Engine

• Stamp Collector Offering $100G for Stolen 'Inverted Jennies'

GBR F2A Team Take World Championship Team Gold

Final Fly-In Honors Art Scholl

Google Tests Drone Deliveries in Project Wing Trials

Mars Probes from U.S. and India Arrive at Red Planet This Month

GBR F2A Team Take World Championship Team Gold

FAA - Lithium Batteries Pose More Danger Than Thought

UAVs Collaborate Autonomously

Russia Reignites Its Rocket Industry with New Angara Booster

NASA Explains Why You Won't Get a Drone Delivery Anytime Soon

Paul Harvey: Bob Hoover Has Crashed (audio)

Space Plane Tech Could Power Hypersonic Aircraft for U.S. Military

Drone Delays Medical Helicopter Landing at OH Hospital

Aircraft to Be Given 'Human-Like Skin' to Sense Damage

Drone Drops Mobile Phones over Prison Walls

Northrop Grumman Developing XS-1 Spaceplane for DARPA

Death of the Original Jumbo Jet, Boeing's 747-400

U.S. Names New York Test Site for Small Drones

New Hacking Scenario: Wi-Fi Signal-Sniffing Drones

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Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and Rockets

Charles M. Schulz (Peanuts) Memorial Cake

Charles M. Schulz (Peanuts) memorial cake by Melanie Blattenberger - Airplanes and RocketsI had totally forgotten about this nice cake to memorialize the life and works of Charles M. Schulz when he died in the year 2000. His Peanuts characters have been a lifelong favorite of mine. Neither of us remembers why she choose this particular comic strip. In retrospect, the one where Snoopy ate the carrot nose of his 'best friend' snowman after it melted might have been more fitting (just as we ate the cake).

Modelers at Work in Aviation, Space and Electronics

Modelers at Work in Aviation, Space and Electronics from August 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)This wide view of the Martin (now part of the Lockheed-Martin conglomerate) model shop brings back memories of when I worked as an electronics technician at the Westinghouse Oceanic Division in Annapolis, Maryland. We had a bunch of guy in lab jackets sitting around at benches with out machinist's tool boxes open. Most people had the Gerstner, Craftsman, or Union brand. Serious tool accumulators had the large model with the big drawer in the middle for hold a machinist's reference manual (my shop did electronics assembly and prototype building, so we kept other things in ours). As with so many other things, I eventually sold my toolbox, but, fortunately, there is almost nothing you cannot buy on eBay, so a couple years ago I bought one like what I had before. I'm not sure how much model...

5th Annual R/C Soaring NATS

Fifth Annual R/C Soaring NATS (October 1974 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsIn 1974, I was flying some of my first R/C gliders - probably a Mark's Models Windward or maybe the Windfree (in that order). During that time, I tried hard to locate a group of sailplane flyers in my area around Mayo, Maryland, but to no avail. The nearest R/C flying field was about 30 miles away in Upper Marlboro, MD, where the PGRC club field used to be. My family's car was held together with chewing gum and bailing wire, so it wasn't often that I could talk my father into driving me out there, and the few times that he gave in to my whining, there were never any gliders present. So, when I would see articles like this in the modeling magazines, my envy level would increase...

Model Paradise: PACAF

Model Paradise: PACAF from December 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and Rockets - Airplanes and RocketsAccording to this article from a 1962 edition of American Modeler, the U.S. Air Force had a great policy for its overseas bases whereby it made sure that, where possible, airmen interested in engaging in just about any form of hobby activity had supplies and facilities available. Everything from a well-stocked hobby shop to building and flying facilities were provided on base, and often nationals from the host countries were allowed to participate as well. Japan evidently was an exceptionally good assignment for guys looking to fly model airplanes, run model boats, and shoot off model rockets. When I was in the USAF stationed both at Keesler AFB in Mississippi and at Robins AFB, the bases had very nice hobby facilities. While in radar tech school at Keesler, my friend, Jim Flinn, and I...

Rocket Trails
- We Lead the Russians

Rocket Trails - We Beat the U.S.S.R., July 1962 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsSometime around 1962, none other than Dr. Wernher von Braun became a member of the National Association of Rocketry (NAR), as reported in this edition of American Modeler. The Iron Curtain was still in place as the United States of American and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics battled it out for leadership in space. Model rocketry was involved in the contest every much as the big boys who designed ICBMs and satellites. That "us versus them" attitude shone through often in the "Rocket Trails" articles of the era. Oh. BTW, we won.

Notable Quote

Beginner's Book of Model Airplanes (They Fly!) [eBay image] - Airplanes and Rockets"The best way to carve a propeller is to use a knife on a block of wood for as long as it is pleasant and then buy a propeller someone else has carved." - Carl H. Claudy in Beginner's Book of Model Airplanes (They Fly!). I saw this in the August 2014 edition of Model Aviation (p12, "Making Propellers").

Riverside Aeromodelers
(RAMS) 2014 Swap Meet

Riverside Aeromodelers (RAMS) 2014 Swap Meet - Airplanes and RocketsThe Riverside Aeromodelers (RAMS) flying club hosts a major swap meet meet each year at the Winston-Salem, NC Fairgrounds. I was surprised to learn that it was only the eighth in a series, because back in 2007 I rented a table at it to sell some of my stuff, so that must have been only the first or second event. Melanie and I just moved back to NC after being away for six years and decided to attend. My main interest at this point is control line, but I only saw one C/L model for sale. It is a safe bet by now that I did not win either of the raffles because no phone call has been received. Here are some photos of what was there. If you see something in these photos that you are interested in, try calling someone listed on the RAMS club website...

Canard Design Pointers

Canard Design Pointers, April 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsCanard airplanes - those with the horizontal stabilizer forward of the wing - have been around for a long time. In fact, the Wright Brothers' airplanes were canards. They tend to go in and out of style. It seems all of a sudden articles will appear in all the model magazines for a couple months, and then they disappear for a few years until something makes them popular again. For full-size airplanes, it probably wasn't until Burt Rutan came on the scene in the early 1970s with his Varieze (and later the Long-EZ). That started another wave of canard models. Than, as usual, they faded from view. A decade later, the Beechcraft Starship emerged...

Sketchbook - Construction,
Adjustment, Workshop Ideas

Sketchbook - Hints and kinks, November/December 1963 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsOne of the best ideas in this installment of Sketchbook, IMHO, is a method to quickly select balsa sheets of approximate equal density. It involves a flashlight and a light intensity meters (a phone app for the meter can be downloaded for that these days). Another neat suggestion is a way to make simulated rivets in thin aluminum foil. There is a list at the bottom of every Sketchbook page that has hyperlinks to all other Sketchbook editions published thus far.

20th U.S. Air Force Championships

20th U. S. Air Force Championships (April 1971 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)It is amazing to ponder that as recently as the 1970s that the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy officially sponsored model aviation events. Hmmm... it just occurred to me that the 1970s was 40 years ago - amazing! 1970 was the year of the 20th annual base championships where the winners were sent to represent the USAF team. These guys were in the middle of the Vietnam War at the time which, along with being called upon to move to new bases every few years, made impressive showings in spite of difficulties not imposed upon their civilian competitors. Note that Sgt. Gordon Ford, who was featured in "One-Man Air Force" in the March 1970 edition of AAM, had entered his C-5A Galaxy...

Map of Where Hitler's V2s Killed 1,000s of Britons

Interactive map of V2 rocket targets in Great Britain - Airplanes and RocketsHiler's V2 Rocket on Launcher - Airplanes and RocketsUK's Mail Online website has a big story for the 70th anniversary of Hitler's forces raining approximately 1,500 V2 rockets (the 'V' is for 'Vergeltungswaffe,' or 'Vengeance Weapon') down upon British cities during the final months of World War II. Included is an interactive Google map that shows locations and displays statistics on deaths, injuries, destruction, etc.; e.g., "Axminster Road , January 13, 1945, ~48 Dead."

Beechcraft T-34 Mentor

T-34B Mentor Plans - February 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)A couple years ago I scanned and posted just the plans for this Beechcraft T-34 Mentor from the February 1974 American Aircraft Modeler magazine. It is a fully aerobatic 60-size scale model. Finally, I went back and scanned the article, too. It mentions availability of a fiberglass cowl and a formed plastic canopy from Sig, but I seriously doubt they are available today. Standard balsa and aircraft plywood construction is used otherwise. Plans for this fine model were draw...

R/C Sailplane Quiz

R/C Sailplane Quiz (October 1974 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsAlan Druschitz, winner of this quiz and also the young man holding the trophy in the photo, wrote recently to request that I scan and post this R/C Sailplane Quiz that appeared in the October 1974 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. It is always nice to get a note from someone who appears in image and/or print form in the old articles. It has been 40 years since the event, which makes Mr. Druschitz about st two years older than me. To win the contest, he answered 9 out of 10 of the questions correctly, and also took 1st place in the Jr./Sr. Team event.

Buccaneer B Special R/C Job
in "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."

Buccaneer B Special Appeared in "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." - Airplanes and RocketsMelanie and I were watching an episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. when what to my wondering eye should appear but a scene where a Buccaneer B Special was being used as a terrorist weapon delivery system. The model was launched in a park a little ways from U.N.C.L.E. headquarters (cleverly hidden below Del Floria's Tailor Shop in New York City), and then flown on a "suicide mission" to blow up Napoleon Solo, Illya Kuryakin, and their fellow fighters for truth, justice, and the American way. Anyway, there was no indication that the controller used by the pilot utilized any sort of First Person View (FPV) system...

Drone-Based Field
Measurement System (dB-FMS)

Drone-Based Field Measurement System™ (dB-FMS)™ - Airplanes and RocketsHere is a million dollar idea for you to consider. I hereby dub it the "Drone-Based Field Measurement System™" (dB-FMS™). The concept came to me while reading a column in QST magazine discussing the use of the EZNEC antenna radiation pattern prediction software. As you know unless a antenna is situated in a perfect, unobstructed environment like in the middle of a desert with a perfectly uniform ground or on a space-based platform, physical obstacles and variations in surface conductivity can significantly alter the 3-dimensional field distribution. Columnist Joel Hallas is a master at EZNEC and is routinely called upon to model antenna systems for people. As important as length and orientation of antenna elements are, the ground plane configuration can have a profound impact on the radiation pattern... 

Build and Fly This ...
Spinning Disc Saucer

Build and Fly This ... Spinning Disc Saucer from August 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsIf you have been searching for a project to build and fly that will generate a "ululating whine," then the Spinning Disc Saucer is the model for you. Measuring 38" from tip to tip, this ½A powered alien craft uses a unique configuration with the engine mounted on a outboard pod and a counterweight on the opposite side to generate the rotation - which causes the Doppler effect that creates the weird sound. Mr. Clough designed a timer device that slows the engine after a preset period to bring the Spinning Disc Saucer down under power rather than...

AMA C/L Stunt Video
Narrated by Bill Mandakis

Control Line Stunt Pattern Flown at Hobby Park, NC - Airplanes and Rocket - Airplanes and RocketsI don't recall ever seeing a video of the AMA control line stunt pattern being flown while a narrator announces each maneuver and describes how it should look. BJM Enterprises owner Bill Mandakis tells the story while I video the flight. Bill is an avid C/L stunt flier and meets a couple times a week with a local cadre of club members at Hobby Park in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. As time permits (which unfortunately is not very often), I am currently building an electric-powered Enterprise-E control line model that was designed by and is kitted by Bill...

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About Airplanes and Rockets Homepage - Supermodel Melanie Blattenberger holding my Aquila Spirit glider
My lovely enabler, Melanie