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 -

India Performs Successful Space Shuttle Test Launch

Airbus Awarded Patent for 293 mph 'Hypercopter'

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

Thunderbirds, Blue Angels Have Accidents on Same Day

Low-Boom Supersonic Jet in Development

FAA Grants 1st Approval for Night Commercial UAV Flights

Robot Bee with Electrostatic Adhesion Pad

Japan Succeeds in Test Flight of 1st Stealth Fighter Jet

'Doc' Boeing B-29 Superfortress Nearing 1st Flight

'Doc' Boeing B-29 Superfortress Nearing 1st Flight"Doc's Friends reported on Friday that their restoration team working to return the Boeing B-29 Superfortress known as 'Doc' to flying condition is making the final push to get the aircraft ready for the FAA inspection. They recently collaborated with Pedron Aircraft Works of Denton, Texas, to run the dynamic propeller balance on each of the World War II bomber’s four, 16 1/2 foot diameter Hamilton-Standard propellers. The sophisticated calibration technique uses lasers to analyze the swing of the propeller under power, allowing the engineers to more evenly adjust ..."

'Spirit of Artemis' Stearman Crashes in Arizona

'Spirit of Artemis' Stearman Crashes in Arizona - Airplanes and Rockets"'Spirit of Artemis,' a Boeing Stearman biplane piloted by Tracy Curtis-Taylor, who was using the airplane to retrace old airmail routes across the United States, crashed in Arizona last week. Fortunately, Curtis-Taylor and her passenger, Ewald Gritsch, both walked away from the accident, but the airplane is in need of major repair. In her own newsletter, Curtis-Taylor reported that the airplane suffered a partial power loss shortly after lifting off from the runway at the Winslow-Lindbergh Regional Airport in Winslow, Arizona, which sits at nearly 5,000 feet ..."

Historic Boeing 47D Airliner Makes Final Flight

Historic Boeing 47D Airliner Makes Final Flight - Airplanes and Rockets"With the final flight of the oldest flyable twin-engine Boeing airliner, the world has witnessed a little bit of aviation history. Pilots Mike Carriker and Chad Lundy wrote the final chapter Tuesday in the story of Boeing's 247D. They touched down for a smooth landing at Boeing Field outside Seattle's Museum of Flight in Washington. Welcomed by aviation enthusiasts, the crowd broke out in applause as the plane - sporting a mid-1930s United Air Lines livery - went wheels down after a 15-minute hop from nearby Paine Field in Everett ..."

Flying Tigers Group Readies C-47 for Chinese Museum

Flying Tigers Group Readies C-47 for Chinese Museum - Airplanes and Rockets"Guilin, China's Flying Tiger Guilin Heritage Park, beautifully designed and comparable to any of the more modern Smithsonian buildings in Washington, D.C., will receive a Douglas C-47 Skytrain in August like those that flew the Hump, if everything goes right. Everything must go right because there is barely enough money to bring it from Australia, where it was restored by a former owner. The planned date for the flight is Aug. 15. The aircraft, nicknamed Buzz Buggy, was acquired two years ago by the Flying Tiger Historical Organization headed by Larry ..."

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Twin Free Flight .020 Helicopters

Twin .020 Helicopters, March 1961 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsFlying model helicopter development understandably took a lot longer than airplanes because of the complex aerodynamic and mechanical issues that needed to be conquered for successful operation. A few direct drive rotor systems appeared early on, with the engine mounted in the fuselage, but a counter-torque force needed to be dealt with as the fuselage wanted to rotate in the opposite direction as the rotors. Ken Norris' implementation solved that problem by mounting a pair of engines on a boom that was part of the rotor head assembly. Doing so meant the only torque transferred to the fuselage was due to any friction ...

The Wright Brothers National Memorial

The Wright Brothers National Memorial - Airplanes and Rockets
It only took 57 years, but I finally visited the site of Orville and Wilbur Wright's first flights from Kill Devil Hill on the shore of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina - now commemorated by the Wright Brothers National Memorial. I must admit that the place looked nothing like I expected based on photographs made at the turn of the last century. Wilbur's words to his father, "At Kitty Hawk, which is on the narrow bar separating the Sound from the Ocean, there are neither hills nor trees, so that it offers a safe place for practice," in no way describes the surroundings of 2016. The last time I was as surprised to witness such a startling difference between 'then' and 'now' settings was when getting off the tour bus in front of The Alamo, in San Antonio, Texas, and not recognizing it. That's not to say I was disappointed; more than a century of progress has changed most landscapes the world around. Barren sand dunes have been replaced with a forest of trees and grassy knolls, and the coastline that used to provide those steady winds ... 

In Aircraft Modelers' Friendly Skies, Drones Bring Turbulence

In Aircraft Modelers' Friendly Skies, Drones Bring Turbulence  - Airplanes and RocketsNational Public Radio (NPR) recently did a feature titled "In Aircraft Modelers' Friendly Skies, Drones Bring Turbulence," in which correspondent Alina Selyukh reported on how the relatively sudden and very overwhelming appearance of radio controlled drones (multi-rotor aircraft, actually), have made life for traditional fixed wing and helicopter modelers a living heck. Whereas a modicum of skill is required to pilot the aforementioned aircraft, even the tiniest of drones are equipped with stabilization technology that makes them so simple to fly that a caveman could do it. Many Neanderthals throughout the world have proven that claim true ...

Near Miss Reported with R/C Plane Near Columbus Airport

Pilots Report Near Miss with Model Plane Near Columbus Airport - Airplanes and Rockets"Federal authorities were called after two airline pilots on approach to Port Columbus reported seeing a model plane in their flight path. It happened around 11 pm Tuesday at the Brentnell Community Center, which is near Port Columbus International Airport. According to Columbus police, two pilots saw the remote controlled plane flying dangerously close. One of those pilots described it as a ‘near miss,’ according to police. Columbus police and Port Columbus police responded to the initial report. Officers interviewed the pilot, Eric Snyder, and ..."

The Silent Raider

The Silent Raider, January 1941 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsKerry Keen and Barney O'Dare - how do like those names for tales of daring and heroism written into a series of short novels published in Flying Aces magazine by author Arch Whitehouse? Kerry was a sort of Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, inasmuch as he was a young, flamboyant Long Island millionaire in public and crime fighter in private. Instead of a cape and driving a Batmobile, "The Griffon" (a vulture) wore an airman's attire and flew his supercharged Black Bullet seaplane. Was The Griffon responsible for the destruction of the USS Vermont? Did our hero Kerry Keen stage the entire event to get paid for information about the attack? "The Silent Raider" will keep you guessing right up to the end ...

Solar Aircraft Test Flight Paves Way for Internet Drones

Solar Aircraft Test Flight Paves Way for Internet Drones - Airplanes and Rockets"Luminati Aerospace has conducted a public test flight of its prototype solar aircraft, the VO-Substrata, that represents a stepping stone toward drones that supply internet access. While this early design has a pilot, Luminati eventually wants to make pilotless vehicles that fly as high as 60,000 feet and never need to land. If all goes well, manufacturing starts soon as the end of 2016 ..."

NASA Unveils Plans for Electric-Powered Plane

NASA Unveils Plans for Electric-Powered Plane - Airplanes and Rockets"A new experimental airplane being built by NASA could help push electric-powered aviation from a technical curiosity and pipe dream into something that might become commercially viable for small aircraft. At a conference on Friday of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in Washington, the NASA administrator, announced plans for an all-electric airplane designated as X-57, part of the agency’s efforts to make aviation more efficient ...

***  104" Aquila Sailplane for Sale  ***

105% Airtronics Aquila sailplane for sale - Airplanes and Rockets

It is apparent that my eyesight, even with new glasses, is still too poor to comfortably fly my Aquila at the distances often required during thermal flights. Therefore, rather than risk losing or damaging this beautiful craft, I have decided to offer it for sale. Please see details ... Price reduced to $650!

Telasco RMA Aircraft Accessories Ad

Telasco RMA Aircraft Accessories Ad, June 1960 Aero Modeller - Airplanes and RocketsI've been posting some advertisements from vintage Aero Modeller for the sake of British model aircraft and boat enthusiasts who appreciate a reflection back to a time when a stroll through London to visit a hobby shop didn't make you think you had been transported through a Einstein-Rosen space-time bridge (aka wormhole) to Saudi Arabia. I read in the news that the town is quite the different experience these days, but I digress. A couple weeks ago, I posted a listing of some of those area hobby shops that you might remember. More will follow ... 

Electromotive Power Plants

Electromotive Power Plants, March 1974 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThe old saying about the pioneers taking the arrows might be a little frowned upon in today's overly sensitive society, but it is apt when considering the trials and tribulations endured by early adapters of electric powered flight. Compared with today's extremely high energy density lithium polymer (LiPo) battery packs, the old nickel cadmium (NiCad) batteries were impotent, heavy, and bulky. Nevertheless, guys like Kenichi Mabuchi forged new frontiers (continuing with the pioneer theme) that got people thinking about the benefits of powering models with silent motors and batteries ... 

Portable Two-Way Radio Phone

Portable Two-Way Radio Phone, March 1955 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThis 1955-era photo of the "Portaphone" might be considered one of the world's first commercially available portable phones. It cannot be considered to be a cellphone in that there were no "cells" of transceiver stations capable of servicing sets moving between cell coverage boundaries. Early portable - or mobile - phones were serviced by a central tower that performed a relay service between the RF device (handset) and the local telephone service. The earliest of those systems, prior to automation, relied on a human operator to patch through calls just like ...