- Model Aviation in the News -
Lawmakers Eye Regulating Domestic Surveillance Drones
Gloved Hand Controls Airplane's Flight
Monster Asteroid 1998 'QE2' Misses Earth by Mere 3.6M Miles on May 31
Huge Asteroid Crashes into Moon
Pilotless Flight Trial Success in UK Shared Airspace
Ohio Nonprofit to Run NASA Civilian Drone Contest
Colossal Solar Flare, Strongest of 2013, Shoots from Sun
Air-Breathing Engine in Boeing's X-51A WaveRider May Pave Way to Mach 20 Planes
Flight of the RoboBee: Tiny Hovering Robot
'Ring of Fire' Solar Eclipse on Thursday
Creates BuzzRussian Space Junk Almost Destroys NASA Telescope
Solar-Powered Plane Begins Historic Cross-Country Flight
New App Measures Light Pollution Level
NASA Eyes Monster Hurricane on Saturn
Russia Now Charging NASA $70 Million Per Seat to Fly U.S. Astronauts
Cleveland: Air-Model Capital
Up until about the 1960s, it was commonplace for big city newspapers to have 'aviation reporters' to keep the public abreast on the latest developments in aviation technology and air travel. At some point the 'wow' factor kind of disappeared, budgets were cut, and now most of the reporting is done by people who can barely spell 'airplane,' much less know anything about them. This 1962 edition of Model Aviation features a column by The Cleveland Press columnist Charles Tracy that extolls the virtues of model aviation in the area. The next month had a story on my town of Erie, Pennsylvania's, Morning News' reporting on control line clubs in the area.
Sunspot Group via
Celestron CPC800 Deluxe
The sky finally cleared and the wind finally calmed down enough to try out my new solar filter on my Celestron CPC800 Deluxe telescope ...by the time the sky cleared the sun was only about 30 degrees above the western horizon, so the seeing quality was not so great. Still, the view through the eyepiece was awesome when the atmosphere steadied occasionally for a split second. It was good enough to prompt me to go ahead and hook up the Celestron NexImage 5 camera. ...The large image of the entire solar disk was made by simply holding a point-and-shoot type camera up to the 32 mm eyepiece ...I figured the best chance of obtaining a good image was to use the video function of the NexImage 5 and run the results through RegiStax software...
Bean Hill Flyers Newsletter
The Bean Hill Flyers is Erie, Pennsylvania's, only organized control line flying group. It operates under sanction of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), charter #4673. Two main flying sites are maintained, one in Albion, PA, and the other in Millcreek, just west of the Erie city line. This is their May/June 2013 newsletter.
Fifth RC World Champs
An article covering a major R/C competition in one of today's modeling magazines would be 90% color photos and 10% text. In 1967 it was just the opposite, as this coverage of the "Fifth World Championships of Air Gymnastics for Remote Controlled Aircraft" shows - and there is no color to be found. Maybe the old adage about a picture being worth a thousand words balances the equation. 43 pilots represented 17 nations on the French island of Corsica. Phil Kraft and his own design Kwik Fli IV ruled the day. France and Germany took second and third place, respectively. If you like reading about how the early pattern radios, airplanes and engines were combined to wow the crowds, this one is for you.
Mr. 'G' Goes to Ecuador
to Visit a Balsa Operation
Midwest Products has been selling high quality balsa to modelers for a very long time - since 1952 according to their website. Theirs and Sig's are the two names that come to mind when I think of balsa, since they dominated the market back in the 1960s and 1970s when I first started building airplane models. Balsa USA and the many house brands sold by hobby distributors are now available, but Midwest and Sig are still to balsa what Coke and Pepsi are to soft drinks, at least to many my age (54) and older. This story from the July 1970 edition of American Aircraft Modeler recounts an expedition by Mr. Frank Garcher, of Midwest, to the Balsa Ecuador Lumber Corporation, in Guayaquil, Ecuador. A search of Balsa Ecuador Lumber did not turn up any results, but I did find a modern-day mill called Lumber Industries, in Samborondon, Ecuador, in case you want to see an example of how your balsa is processed today.
Artist "Roland" (not sure if that was his first or last name) drew a series of comics for American Modeler in the 1960s that played off of typical humorous scenarios that occurred then - and now - in the modeling world. See if any of these themes are familiar from your own experiences.
Sketchbook: Modeling Tips
Hot Knife, Field Repair
Here is another of American Modeler's Sketchbook series of helpful hints and tricks for making your model building efforts a bit easier. An example is showing how to attach an X-acto blade to a soldering gun to make a hot knife. It uses a #11 blade, but you could attached any type blade, depending on your need. A hot knife is good for shaping Styrofoam, but I have found one of the best uses for a hot knife is to cut through hardened epoxy. If you need to remove a firewall or landing gear mounting block, this is the way to go. It will slice through that gob of epoxy like... well... a hot knife through butter.
Aquitivity Roundup was a monthly column in American Modeler (the precursor to American Aircraft Modeler, precursor to the current Model Aviation). American Modeler covered many aspects of modeling other than airplanes (helicopters were for experimenters) including rockets, boats, cars, and to a lesser extent, trains. Radio control for models boats was in full swing by 1962, both for powered and sail boats.
Open Source RC System
"The OSRC project is Open Source and completely community driven. The goal is to create and maintain the most advanced and up to date array of tools for many different fields of Remote Control applications. Since the system is closer to a portable Ground Station than a simple control unit and can be configured through accessories and modules to be as complex as the application requires it, it is important to understand the basic functionality and role of each available component of the system. Please check the Blog section for documentation about each part of the system and read the Product descriptions available on the site. "
Mitsubishi Type 96
Accompanying the article "Sakai: Japanese Ace" is a building article with plans for Sakai's "Claude" airplane. It is designed by none other than Walter Musciano, with a 36" wingspan for use with an OK Cub .19 engine. The elliptical wing planform is reminiscent of Britain's beautiful Supermarine Spitfire. There is an interesting arrangement of three bellcranks used for the control line configuration in order to accommodate the wing's 3-piece section for dihedral.
Cardinal FAI Pattern Airplane
Airplanes and Rockets visitor Wells S. requested this article and plans of the Cardinal, from the February 1972 issue of AAM. The Cardinal, per its designer, Dan Santich, was created in order to have a competitive pattern ship that could not only fly the entire FAI course, but do it gracefully and effortlessly. A search did not reveal whether he ever went on to win an FAI contest with his Cardinal.
Chance Vought "Corsair"
F4U-1a Control Line Model
Walter A. Musciano is a name very familiar to early control line modelers. His beautifully detailed plans and cut-away construction drawings are pieces of art suitable for framing. This Chance Vought F4U-1a Corsair is designed to a scale of 1" equals 1 foot. A Fox .59 engine powered the original. The article has a little bit of historical data about the development process, beginning with the FX4U-1 prototype. Another example of Walter A. Musciano's fine scale detailed plans and construction article appeared in the December 1947 edition of Air Trails, for a DC-3 / C-47 titled "Build Your Own Douglas C-47 World's Most Famous Plane."
Canards are another form of aircraft that causes people to stop and stare. Most people have never seen an airplane with the wing in the back and the horizontal stabilizer up front, and the pusher propeller configuration just adds to the amazement. For all the hoopla canards have enjoyed over the years, except for an occasional Long EZ at the local airport, you don't see very many. There are a couple military jets with a small supplemental forward control surface, but I don't really consider them canards in the truest sense. If you would like to try modeling a canard, plans and a construction story appeared in the October 1967 edition of Model Aviation. The 64" wingspan make it a fair size model; the original was powered with an Enya .45.
on the International Scene
The fictitious 'Plaster of Paris Aircraft Corporation,' comprised of a couple university of Michigan professors and a handful of students constructed three giant scale models of what were probably originally Guillows rubber powered model airplane plans. They were intended as outdoor display models and were the basis of a study in materials and construction. The Fokker DR-1 spanned 16', and two 18' span SE-5 Scouts were built, and then auctioned off. Also in the story is a British model airplane contest.
Race Cars in Your Living Room
Surprisingly (or maybe not), electric slot car racing is still fairly popular amongst kids. I say surprisingly because with radio control electric cars being under $10 in some cases, it is a wonder that anyone these days wants anything that confines a car to a specific course or has to plug into the wall to work. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, slot car racing was very popular. I can remember even into the 1970s that some of the bigger hobby shops still had slot car tracks set up where you could rent time on the track for a buck or so an hour. If you didn't have your own car, you could rent one there. My good friend, Jerry Flynn, was a slot car aficionado and would lend me one of his spares. I think the hobby shop we went to was in either Bethesda or Rockville, Maryland. It was quite a drive from our neighborhood around Annapolis. While typing out these words I can remember the smell of the electrical arcing of the motor brushes heating the oil we put on the axels and motor bushings. Ah, those were the days...
- Homepage Archive -
Remember seeing something here but now it is gone?
Please Try Looking Here
It wasn't until the mid 1930s, thanks largely to Douglas Aircraft's DC-3, that the public began taking to the airways in large numbers. It was a combination of trust in a rugged, proven airframe and the low (relatively) operating cost of operating the aircraft that made passenger travel affordable. By 1949, when these advertisements appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, the airline industry was in full swing worldwide. Successful jet airliners were still a few years off, as evidenced by all the airplanes in the ads being propeller driven. De Havilland's Comet claiming the title of 'first' in that realm, but the in-air breakup of many due to window failures soured the public on jetliners. Boeing's 707 restored the trust and went on to become the first 'successful' commercial jet airliner.
For the Tenderfoot
Website visitor Bob wrote to ask that I scan and post the construction article and plans for the F-84G Thunderjet control line model. The unique feature of this model is that the power is supplied by the pilot. A fishing pole and line is used to drag the airplane around the flying circle and a separate, standard two-line elevator control is used to maneuver the model. Construction is sheet balsa. Author Joe Wagner (well-known in the modeling world) claims that with a bit of practice just about any aerobatic maneuver can be accomplished except for the overhead routines like the figure 8.
Rx for R.O.W.
Seaplanes have always been a popular topic with modeler and full-size pilots alike. There's something about watching an airplane take off from or land on the water that is awe-inspiring. Flying without the constraints of a narrow runway certainly has its advantages, but there is an added element of risk with seaplanes because of potential damage that can be caused by water entering the airframe or even damaging it. The possibility of drowning, even after making an otherwise perfect landing, exists for the full-scale pilot, and the modeler can lose equipment that otherwise might be salvageable. This article is pretty extensive and give a lot of food for thought concerning taking on rise-off-water (ROW) operation. I looked up the tail number (N3763C) of the Cessna 150 shown, but either it has been retired or it hasn't changed owners in lo these many years.
1961 American Control Line
As time marches on, names like Jim Vornholt, Bud Tenney, Bill Werwage, and Lew McFarland are, unfortunately, fading into the ether of yesterday's memories. They were the pioneers of control line stunt flying. Unlike modern day radio control extreme 3-D and precision aerobatics models, the overall planform of control line aerobatic models has not changed all that much. Proportion changes are hardly noticeable to the untrained eye. Engines are now built better and structural components like carbon fiber are now used, but the most important element of winning control line contests was and still is pilot skill, which has gotten better over time like most other forms or sports.
Sakai: Japanese Ace
Professional courtesy and respect for each other's piloting abilities has always been a part of the military aviation culture - even amongst and betwixt enemies. A combination of fear and awe followed the legendary Baron Manfred von Richthofen in the skies over Germany during World War I. Erich Hartmann may have been the WWII equivalent for Germany. Japan had Saburo Sakai, with 64 official victories, and who is rumored to have never lost a wing man.