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

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Supersonic Laser-Propelled Rockets

How WWI Changed Aviation Forever

Air Traffic Control for Drones

3D-Printed Telescope Takes Pix of the Moon

Once in a Million Year Comet Barely Miss Mars on Sunday

USAF Scraps 16 C-27As Worth $500M for Just $32k

Smartphone-Controlled Drone That Folds up into Pocket Size

Philae Lander Snaps a Selfie as It Passes by Comet Philae

'Unusual' Unmanned Aircraft Being Built at the U of M Aerospace Department

Amazon.com Billionaire Wants to Leave His Mark on Space

Jim Rice Inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame

Final Powered Tests Beckon for SpaceShipTwo

WWI Airplanes Not Forgotten by Ohio Men

Finally, the Flying Car May Have Landed

Smartphones Turned into Pocket Cosmic Ray Detectors

What is the Pentagon's Secret Space Plane Doing? (news morons referring to everything as drones)

NASA App Teaches Kids About Rocket Launches

FAA Gets More Applications for Drone Use Exemptions

Drone Exemptions for Hollywood Pave the Way for Widespread Use (you must donate to the right people)

Swiss Police Use Drones to Document Car Crashes

Saturn's Weird Fast-Changing Ring Baffles Scientists

ULA, Bezos Join Forces on New Rocket Engine


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Mystery Air Force

Mystery Air Force - II, November 1948 Air Trails - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)With the advantage of having had many decades pass since these wannabee airplanes were developed, it is easy to see that there are a lot of familiar shapes and configurations that are recognizable in ones that were eventually mass produced. The Martin XA-22 (and the Boeing XB-17 for that matter), for example, is the spitt'n image of the AT-6 Texan, and the XB-39 is undoubtedly the inspiration for the venerable B-17 bomber. The Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster's profile reminds one a lot of the A-10 Warthog, if you ignore the ...

"Squeaker" Class A Speed Plane

"Squeaker" Speed Plane, November 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsControl line speed models do not appear very often in modeling magazines, and as far as I know you cannot buy a manufactured kit for one, so when I run across an article it gets posted. C/L speed is an event where, assuming you can proficiently fly an airplane in level flight, your success is most dependent on your skill as an airframe builder and an engine mechanic. I have never witnessed a control line speed model flying in real life, but there are a few on YouTube that show the rigorous couple minutes a speed flyer spends in the center of the flying circle. One of the coolest ...

Flying Models Magazine Is No More

"Flying Models" magazine shuts down - Airplanes and RocketsIf you thought you heard "Taps" playing in the background recently as you bought a copy of Flying Models at the local hobby shop, it might be because it is now out of publication. Carstens Publications recently sold its other two magazines, Railroad Model Craftsman and Railfan & Railroad, (which will be continued) to White River Productions. It is a sad end to a great magazine - probably the first model airplane magazine I ever read back in the late 1960s. Its demise is reportedly due to a dying (literally) population of modelers who build kits and/or build from plans. Chinese-built RTF and ARF rule the world now. Thanks to the good folks at Carstens who produced Flying Models since 1928!

Antique Ansonia Mantel Clock Restoration

Antique Ansonia Mantel Clock Restoration - Airplanes and RocketsThis mantel clock is a multi-generational heirloom. It was not expensive, but had emotional value. Melanie's family hearkens from the York, Pennsylvania, region and this clock, I discovered, was manufactured by the Ansonia company and sold by Will K. Rebert, Watchmaker and Jeweler, in York. Her parents gave it to me for Christmas of 2006, and I decided to refinish it and return it to them the next Christmas. Unfortunately, Melanie's father passed away from cancer last summer, but we were able to present it to her ...

Troop Glider & C-46 Tow Plane

Troop Glider and C-46 Tug, May 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)Here is a really unique control line scale model project. This one involves two separate airplanes and two separate pilots - one to fly the twin-engined C-46 Commando tow plane and the other to fly the CG-15 troop glider while it is attached via towline, and then released for landing. Doing so is no different than two aerial combat pilots chasing each other around the sky. The troop glider has its own elevator control and also uses a third line to release the tow line attached to the C-46. Anyone who has seen an R/C power plane tow an R/C glider knows that ...

Radial Arm Saw Dust Collector

Radial Arm Saw Dust Collector - Airplanes and RocketsThere are many videos on YouTube showing some pretty ingenious dust collectors for radial arm saws. Most use a fairly small enclosure located just behind the fence, with a shop vac attachment for forcefully inhaling the sawdust. They appear to work extremely well for cuts that are at 90° to the fence and to the table surface. Maybe my interpretation of the dust collectors is wrong and they adapt to any angle. Since I only have a small shop vac and do not like to have to turn it on every time I make a cut, my ...

David W. Update Us on His on Astron Falcon

David W. Update Us on His on Astron Falcon - Airplanes and RocketsHad two very good flights with the Astron Falcon two weeks ago. Both almost 90 seconds. Like most rocket gliders, it is very sensitive to CG balance. But once dialed in, it will just float.  Last Saturday at the sod farm in Moriarty, we put up a flight with an A8-3, as usual. Very light breeze, but it was enough to slowly move it off the field while in a thermal. Slowly coming out of the ...

Dynamic Soaring and Pumped Laser Systems

Dynamic Soaring and Pumped Laser Systems - Airplanes and RocketsYou have heard of the pumped laser and maser. Here is a new type of pumped energy system: the vaser. 'Laser' is an acronym for 'light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation,' and 'maser' is an acronym for 'microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.' I coined the term 'vaser' after reading an article in the June 2014 edition of Model Aviation about a relatively new form of radio controlled model sailplane sport - dynamic soaring - that, using a specially developed technique to exploit geography and prevailing winds, produces aircraft speeds of more than 400 miles per hour. Per my definition ...

Killer Combat Kites

"Killer" Combat Kites, July 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThe object with these stick and tissue fighter airplane shaped kites is to use the sharp-edged sand that is glued to the kite string to saw through your opponent's string until it breaks. Part of the trick is that there is a long section of rubber in the kite string so that the kite is continually zooming back and forth, up and down. This provides the sawing motion needed to cut the string. The original plan calls for a single string, but it might be possible to work out a dual string control so that the kites can be maneuvered, thereby ...

"Stormer" Plans & Article

"Stormer" Plans & Article from April 1961 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsAirplanes and Rockets website visitor Jack A. wrote to request this article and plans for Doug Spreng's "Stormer" radio controlled airplane model. It appeared in the April 1961 edition of American Modeler, where you read the opening line that says, "'Stormer' is a return to the older style R/C jobs ..." R/C had not really been around all that long by 1961, so reference to "older style" is kind of funny. It is interesting to read the author's discussion on airframe design and control surface shape and deflection amount. The reed-type radio equipment required careful consideration to such details in ...

The Gere Sport Biplane

The Gere Sport Biplane, May 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)Here is a nice set of drawings for building a scale model of the Gere Sport biplane. The tail surfaces are large so that it would probably not be necessary to enlarge them as is often necessary for rubber powered models. The Gere Sport, with a wingspan of only 19 feet, was originally designed by 19-year-old Bud Gere (one foot per year, I suppose). An R/C version of the Gere Sport with a 36" wingspan was published in R/C Modeler in 1976.


Auto Progress Memory Lane Collection

Auto Progress Memory Lane Collection No. 2, from August 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsIn a time before massive overregulation by the government, even starting your own car manufacturing business was a lot simpler. In the early part of the 20th century there were dozens of independent car companies that vied for the hard-earned money of a public growing increasingly demanding of modern conveniences both in the home and outdoors. Unlike recent history where an overreaching government decides who the winners (e.g., Chevrolet - aka Obama Motors) and losers (e.g., Pontiac) are, market forces (i.e., the public) decided which companies deserved to thrive and which ...

Getting Started in R/C 

Getting Started in R/C (July 1968 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)This installment of Howard McEntee's Getting Started in R/C column introduces electronic schematic symbols commonly found in transistorized radio control equipment. In 1968, when this article was printed, nearly all solid state circuitry was built from individual discretely packaged transistors and diodes; integrated circuits (ICs) were still a few years off for R/C equipment. If you look at a modern transmitter or receiver schematic, you might not see a single transistor ...

Antique Clothes Chest Restoration

Antique Clothes Chest Restoration - Airplanes and RocketsAnother of Melanie's family's relics is this pine clothes chest. After more than 100 years of use and abuse, this chest was in dire need of restoration. Construction is very low density pine, with dovetailed corners. Finish was a clear varnish with no stain. The bottom, back, and inside had no finish at all. Restoration consisted of knocking apart and re-gluing most joints, sanding, and filling in the multiple dings and scratches where they were really deep. Minor imperfections were kept for the sake ...

Curtiss C-46 Commando

Curtiss C-46 Commando at Winston-Salem Airshow - Airplanes and RocketsThe last flying (according to the attending crew) Curtiss C-46 Commando made an appearance at the 2014 Winston-Salem Airshow. It looks like a bloated C-47 Skytrain. They were only asking for a $3 donation to look around inside, which is a shame since other aircraft like the C-54 were fetching $5 or more. When costs for keeping it airworthy and touring run the in neighborhood of $3,000 to $5,000 per hour, it takes a lot of visitors to pay the bill. Of all the worthless garbage the government wastes money on (both human and otherwise), letting these relics of our past disappear is shameful ...

Channel Winger Control Line Pusher

Channel Winger C/L Pusher, July 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsHere is a model airplane design that should prove to be very interesting to try out in order to determine whether its designer, Roy Clough, Jr., is correct about his theory of the aerodynamics of the curve wing center section. The pusher configuration with the reward-facing engine between twin tail booms probably kept a lot of people from trying it back in the 1950s when small electric starters were not commercially available for .049 engines. Today, the issue can be mitigated entirely simply by converting ...

Consolidated PBY-5A Canso at Erie Int'l Airport

Consolidated PBY-5A Canso / Catalina - Airplanes and RocketsOn August 26 2013, Melanie and I toured the inside of this Consolidated PBY-5A Canso (PBY-5 is the Catalina) while it was on display at the Erie International Airport. It was on tour by a crew from Canada, which is appropriate since it was this particular airplane was manufactured in Canada in 1944 by the Vickers company. World War II ended before it could ever see combat reconnaissance duty. The PBY-5A has a wingspan of 104 feet 0 inches and is powered by a pair of 1200 horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp radial ...

Estes Skydancer Rocket-Boost R/C Glider

Skydancer Rocket Boost R/C Glider, March 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsEstes does not sell the D-13 engine line anymore, but it does sell a D-12. The D-13 produced 9 pounds of thrust according to this article and the 1971 Estes catalog, whereas according to the 2014 Estes catalog the D-12 produces only 7.4 pounds. If you want similar performance with readily available rocket engines, you will need to get them from a company like Aerotech, which makes an F30FJ-6 model that produces 9 pounds of thrust. With that solution you're look at about $12 per launch. I believe that with modern materials like graphite for spars and/or leading edges, and the lightweight airborne systems, the flying weight ...

Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio

Counted Cross Stitch Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio in Teak Frame - Airplanes and RocketsOne of the nice things about having a website is that people from all over the world are able to see what you post. This very nice lady from Spain saw Melanie's picture and wrote to us in the year 2011 about obtaining the pattern for it. We found the booklet on eBay, and since she could not purchase it from Spain, she sent us the money and we procured it for her and mailed it to her in Spain. Honestly, we had forgotten about it and then voila! A week or so ago Miss Mortes e-mailed these two pictures to...

Crosses and Roundels

Crosses and Roundels (January 1968 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsToday's ubiquitous presence of cameras in cellphones, worn around necks to capture entire days of activity, and compact models that fit in a shirt pocket for easy retrieval, has resulted in billions of images being captured in the last decade. You have probably seen the time lapse videos of kids and pets growing from newly born to 12 or 15 years old after daily pictures had been snapped. Nobody from this time forward will have any problem finding a visual record of him/herself. In the 1960s, the only people who had the benefit of photographic progressions of their lives were the famous and...

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