Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and Rockets
Kirt Blattenberger
Carpe Diem!
(Seize the Day!)

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

Aerospace Headline News

- Archives -

Russian Hypersonic Glider Can Penetrate Any Missile Defense

National Museum of the USAF Opens 4th Building

Army Mulls Hybrid Electric for Next Gen Drones

Unusual Alloy Brings Magnesium-Ion Batteries Closer

Georgia Tech Student Designs Fuel-Cell Plane

India Performs Successful Space Shuttle Test Launch

Airbus Awarded Patent for 293 mph 'Hypercopter'

British Drone-Freezing Ray Gets U.S. Airports Trial

BAE Claims Aviation 1st with Laser Airspeed Sensor

BAE Claims Aviation 1st with Laser Airspeed Sensor - RF Cafe"The Laser Air Speed Sensing Instrument (LASSI) which is being exhibited at this year’s Farnborough International Airshow sets itself apart from conventional methods as it accurately measures velocity even at low speeds. Air speed is normally determined using pitot tubes – which protrude from aircraft and sense variations in air pressure with speed. Although usually heated, these tubes are vulnerable to blockage in icy conditions. They could also be damaged by collisions with birds and when the aircraft is on the ground. Operating on the same principle ..."

Hang Glider Aims to Break Long-Distance Flight Record

Hang Glider Aims to Break Long-Distance Flight Record - Airplanes and Rockets"Hang glider aims to break long-distance flight record | Fox News A daring hang glider known for his extreme stunts and record-setting flights will soon attempt to set another record for the longest open-distance flight. On or soon after Monday (June 20), Jonny Durand will attempt to glide from Zapata, in southern Texas, to Lorenzo, in northern Texas, a distance of about 475 miles. Aiding him on his journey — on (or around) the summer solstice, the longest ..."

ESA's 4,000 mph Hypersonic Plane Does London-to-Sydney in Hours

ESA's 4,000 mph Hypersonic Plane Does London-to-Sydney in Hours - Airplanes and Rockets"The European Space Agency has invested $11 million toward the development of the Sabre engine that could one day allow aircraft to fly anywhere in the world in just four hours. Oxfordshire-based Reaction Engines has been developing a turbine that combines both jet and rocket technologies to achieve rates five times the speed of sound. According to the firm, the new agreement with the ESA and the UK Space Agency, along with the existing partnership with BAE Systems, means that the first ground demonstrator engine could be ready for testing by 2020 ..."

The Great Pickett Slide Rule Apollo Conundrum

The Great Pickett Slide Rule Apollo Conundrum - RF CafeLong after shirt pocket sized electronic calculators and glass cockpits became the norm for both professional and recreational aviators, Colonel J. Michael Gibson, a career pilot and navigator with the Canadian Civil Aeronautics Search and Rescue (now retired) carried a Pickett N600-ES slide rule in his flight jacket. Its diminutive size (only 5" long), sharply marked scales, and sturdy construction made it a favorite for on-the-go users. A special purpose Pickett N700-T USAF Aerial Photo slide rule lived in his flight suit sleeve pocket. Colonel Gibson is passing along his appreciation for the art of slide rule usage to his granddaughter. She routinely uses her Pickett 1010 model ...

Rocket Trails: Rockets, Guided Missiles, Space Ships

Rocket Trails, March 1955 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsBefore the Vernon Estes began selling solid propellant model rocket engines in 1958 - three years after this article appeared in Air Trails magazine - accidents were commonplace amongst backyard rocketeers. G. Harry Stine addressed the issue in many of his early "Rocket Trails" columns. I remember reading about blown off fingertips and blinded eyes in the technical publications by Estes. The National Association of Rocketry (NAR) has a report titled, "Forty Years of Model Rocketry - A Safety Report," written by Stein in 1997 ...

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What's Ahead for You in Engineering?

What's Ahead for You in Engineering?, July 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsSaid Jimmy Stewart's character in "It's a Wonderful Life," George Bailey, "I'm shakin' the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I'm gonna see the world. Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Colosseum. Then, I'm comin' back here to go to college and see what they know. And then I'm gonna build things. I'm gonna build airfields, I'm gonna build skyscrapers a hundred stories high, I'm gonna build bridges a mile long..." It was common dream for an era when Americans were tired of the struggling economy of The Great Depression and great advances were being made in technology. The world was still a mystery to most people whose familiarity with foreign lands ...

Navy Blue Angeles Get New F/A-18E/F Super Hornets

Navy Blue Angeles Get New F/A-18E/F Super Hornets - Airplanes and Rockets"Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration team are upgrading their aircraft from the decades-old Boeing F/A-18A, C, B, and D models to the newer and larger F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., announced a $12.1 million contract Monday to the Boeing Co. Defense, Space & Security segment in St. Louis to adapt F/A-18E/F aircraft to the needs of the Blue Angeles ..."

Shark 35 Control Line Airplane Plans

Shark 35 Control Line Airplane Plans - Airplanes and RocketsLew McFarland's series of 'Shark' control line stunters are favorites to many vintage and classic design flyers. They were all very simple to build and were excellent fliers. The Shark 15, which featured a profile fuselage and built-up wing with flaps, was my first 'real' stunt airplane, and my first control line model that used an engine larger than the Cox .049. Jetco produced the Shark 15 and the Shark 45 kits, but to my knowledge the Shark 35 never made it to production. I didn't even know it existed until I saw ...

ATT Using Drones for Cell Tower inspections

ATT Using Drones for Cell Tower inspections - RF Cafe"Flying drones might sound like a fun hobby, but some RF engineers are making it part of their job, going so far as to envision flying COWs, or Cells on Wings, to provide LTE coverage at concerts or during emergencies. Earlier this month, AT&T announced the launch of a national trial involving drones in a program being overseen by Art Pregler, who serves as AT&T's drone program director and began his tech career in the U.S. Air Force. More trials are continuing, including this week. AT&T started its LTE drone program investigation a year ..."

Cox .020-Powered Sky Copter

Cox Sky Copter Helicopter - Airplanes and RocketsIn the late 1960s when I received a Cox Sky Copter for Christmas, there was very little in the way of commercially available flying model helicopters. Victor Stanzel sold its tethered ElectroMic "Copter" that was powered by a pair of "D" cell batteries. As far as I know, Cox made the only nitro fuel powered free flight helicopter named "Sky Copter." It was powered by a Cox .020 engine mounted to the top, center of the main rotor shaft, and caused the rotors to turn due to the counter rotation cause by the propeller on the .020. It worked very well. After getting the engine ...

Robot Helicopter

Robot Helicopter, November 1956 Popular Electronics - Airplanes and RocketsThis angled, twin rotor, no-tail-rotor (NOTAR) configuration for a remotely controlled helicopter was pioneered by Kaman Aircraft Corporation in the 1950s, and is still a unique part of their product lineup today. Per their website, "The Unmanned Aerial Truck (UAT) continues a Kaman tradition of pioneering unmanned helicopters. In 1957, Charles Kaman, founder of Kaman Corporation, created the first pilotless aircraft." The embedded video is a 1957 edition of the "You Asked for It" television show, where host ...

12th Nordic Champs

"12th Nordic Champs", June 1960 Aero Modeller - Airplanes and RocketsWakefield competition requires some of the highest skill level in all of model-dom with regards to aircraft structure and covering details, engine and fuel system tuning, dethermalizer setup, trim for uncontrolled flight during launch, transition, glide, and dethermalized phases. That. of course, is not to minimize the skill sets required for other realms of model aircraft, but it seems to me Wakefield requires expertise in all disciplines in order to be a consistent winner. The 12th Nordic Championships we held in winter on Lake Vasijarvi at Tampere, Finland - above the Arctic Circle, at 61.5°N. This is a robust bunch ...

FAA Approves Virgin Galactic to Fly into Space

FAA Approves Virgin Galactic to Fly into Space - Airplanes and Rockets"Space tourism is dawning upon us with Virgin Galactic obtaining an 'Operational License' from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA-AST) after successfully running taxi tests with their new spaceship, SpaceShipTwo. On August first, Virgin Galactic achieved two significant milestones by receiving permission to operate commercially by the FAA, and successfully running a taxi test. The license awarded by the FAA ..."

Brodak Manufacturing & Distribution Videos & Photos

Brodak Manufacturing & Distribution, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania - Airplanes and RocketsWhile talking to a lady working one of the tables at the 2016 Brodak Fly-In, she happened to mention that the Brodak Manufacturing & Distribution operations plant is located about a mile away, right behind Brodak's Hobby Shop in Carmichaels, PA. Brodak, unarguably the largest seller of control line models and flying supplies, has the advantage of being its own manufacturer for most of its products. Because of that, they are able to sell at the lowest prices possible for a proprietary line of goods. Control line model airplane kits, nuts and bolts and washers and other assembly hardware, flying ...

Some of My Stuff Is for Sale

I am selling few items. All are in new or like-new condition and are priced very fairly. If you are planning to purchase any of these items anyway, please consider buying them from me to help support the Airplanes and Rockets website. A complete list is here. Thanks for your help.

Did ESD Blow the Hatch on Liberty Bell 7?

Astronaut Grissom Didn't Hit the Chicken Switch - RF CafeCharles Murray, of Design News just posted a piece about a new book called Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom, by George Leopold." Anyone knowing the history of America's manned space flight program is familiar with the hatch blowing off the capsule (which quickly sunk) of the Mercury Redstone 4 mission while awaiting a helicopter rendezvous for pickup in the Atlantic Ocean. Grissom insisted he did not activate the firing mechanism, and now, 55 years later, a forensic investigation suggests that possibly an ESD event was the cause. An electrical spark, ironically, is believed to have ignited the fire on Apollo 1 that claimed Grissom's life.

China Unveils World's Largest Amphibious Aircraft

China Unveils World's Largest Amphibious Aircraft - Airplanes and Rockets"China has completed production of the world's largest amphibious aircraft which will be used to fight forest fires and perform marine rescues. The aircraft, dubbed the AG600, is around the size of a Boeing 737 - far larger than any other plane built to take off and land on water. It has a maximum flight range of 2,800 miles and can collect 12 tonnes of water in 20 seconds. Its maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tonnes. The state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China unveiled the first ..."

8-Rotor Flying Chair Uses 2-Cylinder Model Airplane Engines

Swedish Maker Creates 8-Rotor Flying Chair - Airplanes and Rockets"Manned multicopter build part 12 For the very first time I'm actually flying around, and just enjoying myself. Yes, it is in the smallest scale possible and no the control system is not optimal but still; the fun and excitement factors are way off the official scale….! "

Jetex Free Flight Beginners Project

Jetex Free Flight Beginners Project, July 1961 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsJetex engines enjoyed wide popularity in the 1950s and 60s, even into the 1970s. Unlike using a model rocket engine for propulsion which produces a short duration of high thrust, Jetex engines were a relatively long burning, low thrust propulsion source. Rather than launching a model vertically at great initial velocity, the Jetex engine allowed a mode to be launched my hand in a slightly nose high attitude and the model would gradually build speed for climbing - like a jet-powered aircraft. Various size Jetex engines were made over the three or so decades they were manufactured, ranging from the diminutive Jetex Atom 35 to the powerful Jetex Scorpion 600 ...