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About Airplanes & Rockets
AMA 92498 | ©1996-2015

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

Model Aviation in the News

- Archives -

ULA Wants You to Help Pick Name of New Rocket

Siemens' Full-Scale Electric Airplane Motor

SpaceX Rocket Tips over after ISS Delivery

NASA Details Plans to Fly Spacecraft into Sun's Atmosphere (going at night to not burn up ;-)

Amazon Drone Trial Gets US Regulator Approval

Proton Rocket Launches with Russian Telecom Satellite

Planes Without Pilots

Proton Rocket Launches with Russian Telecom Satellite

Mysterious Mini Space Plane the Next Atlas 5 Payload

New Crater on the Moon Named for Aviator Amelia Earhart

University Wants App for Safe Drone Flying

Night Vision Eye Drops Allow Sight of up to 50m in Darkness

Amazon Drone Trial Gets US Regulator Approval

Pentagon Wants Unhackable Drone Helicopters by 2018

Flying Car Could Go on Sale in 2017

High-Tech Airships Could De NASA's Next Challenge

What Future Army Aircraft Could Look Like

NoFlyZone Aims to Keep Airspace over Your Home Drone-Free

Unprecedented Detail

National Model Meet Under Way

National Model Meet Under Way, November 1948 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsOnce again, I think about all the young lads and men I see in these middle of the last century articles and wonder whether their lives went well and are they still around today, engaged in aeromodeling? Most probably have kids and grandkids who would love to run across one of these photos that probably nobody in the family even knows exists. What about the models, too? How many are sitting in an attic or garage somewhere, and will be discarded by disinterested kin or estate buyers? No doubt many (not just those shown here) met their demise while being flown, transported to or from a flying field, in a house fire, during a flood, in a tornado or hurricane

Simple Dual Proportional
R/C System

Simple Dual Proportional R/C System, September 1956 Popular Electronics - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)If you are relatively new to radio control (R/C) operation, whether for the latest 'drone' craze (technically multi-rotor aircraft), model cars, model boats, helicopters, or airplanes - or even robots, then you might be interested in discovering a little about the systems which pioneers in the sport had to work with. In the mid 1950s when this article appeared in Popular Electronics magazine, multi-rotors and helicopters were not even in the list of model types. As with radios and television sets, before the convenience and performance increase brought about by the advent of solid state components, R/C modelers struggled with vacuum tube equipment, too. If you are old enough to remember needing to re-tune your radio or TV occasionally due to

Air Progress: The Bristol Story

Air Progress: The Bristol Story, November 1948 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThe Bristol Aircraft company was one of Britain's first commercial and military airplane manufacturing firms. Less than a decade after the Wright Brothers made their successful flight, the entire civilized world was scurrying to develop airplanes and vie for the lead position. World War I broke out in Europe 1914, which created a huge demand for aerial fighting platforms. Sir George White's company was willing and able to do so. Many famous designs came from his factory, including the Bristol Scout and Bristol Bulldog. Scarcely a major scale model contest is held where you do not find at least one of Bristol's designs. This two-page spread from a 1948 edition of Air Trails gives some history on 20 

Italian Macchi "Saetta" Fighter

Italian Macchi "Saetta" Fighter, September 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsWalter Musciano designed and built this fine control line version of the Italian Macchi "Saetta" Fighter that can be configured either as the C-200 or the C-202 version. At a scale of 3/4":1', the wingspan came out at 36", and a Fox .29 inverted-mounted engine was used. Italy never was a big producer of aircraft in either of the world wars, but the Saetta (Google translates it to "lightning" or "arrow") did its part in helping the Allies achieve air superiority over its country's skies and in North Africa. As with nearly models of the era, construction is on the rugged side in order to withstand constant impulses from the internal combustion engine. If you elect to build the Saetta and use electric power, some weight can be saved by selecting

Therapeutic Horse Riding
Mounting Ramp

Therapeutic Horse Riding Mounting Platform & Ramp (Ride Above Disability Therapeutic Riding Center) - Airplanes and RocketsNote received from Mr. Wayne Jackson (January 2015) "Kirt, Here is your ramp slightly modified. We made the deck height 33" vice 29", widened it by six inches, omitted some of the hand rails, added offside steps, and reversed it so that the student mount the horse from the left side. It was easy to build and your plans are amazing. Thank you so much. Yours in Service, Wayne T. Jackson, Executive Director Ride Above Disability Therapeutic Riding Center.

Antique Coat Rack
Refinishing Project

Antique Coat Tree Restoration - Airplanes and RocketsFor as long as both Melanie and I can remember this old coat tree has been standing in her parent's house - first in Hagerstown, Maryland, then in two locations in West Virginia, and finally back in Hagerstown, Maryland. After her mother moved into a senior care home, we 'inherited' it, which was great for me because, being obviously old, I really liked it. As you can see from the 'before' picture, it was in pretty rough shape and having been heavily used for who knows how many decades? Any glue that might have been used had long since disintegrated, and the finish was heavily worn. A few small nails held everything together in a very wobbly manner. It probably started out life in York, Pennsylvania. from whence her parents both harkened

Borrowed "Bucks" for
College Years

Borrowed Bucks" for College Years, September 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsIf you are in college now or contemplating such a thing, it is probably hard to imagine a time when people fretted over the extravagant costs of obtaining a degree when a full-time semester at State U. ran as much as $200-300. The entire school scholarship fund, to be doled out to hundreds of hopeful applicants, totaled a few tens of thousands of dollars for state schools and half a million for a place like Princeton. A four-year degree might have set you back $4,000-5,000 including books. Nowadays, of course, freshman courses can run $200-300 per credit hour and Princeton costs north of $50,000 per year. The cost of a college education has risen over the years, almost every year, at a rate much greater than inflation. That

Royal Marine Amphibious
Twin Engine R/C Airplane

Royal Marine (May 1970 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsAirplanes and Rockets website visitor Jeff A. wrote to ask that I scan and post this constructions article for the Royal Marine twin-engine amphibious model from the May 1970 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. I was glad to oblige. The aircraft's designer, builder, and article's author, Mr. Yuji Oki does not exaggerate when he claims that the Royal Marine is "The world's most beautiful flying boat." Sure he might be a bit prejudiced in his assessment, but there's no denying the ship's attractiveness. Undertaking the building of this model is no yeoman's task, if I may appropriately borrow from seaman's terms. The plans are a work of art in themselves. Hopefully, Jeff will send a photo or two of his Royal Marine

Cox F2U-1 Corsair
Control Line Model

Cox F2G-1 Corsair C/L Airplane - Airplanes and RocketsThe Cox F2U-1 Corsair was one of the first control line models I owned as a kid back in Holly Hill Harbor, Maryland. It has a break-away wing that is held on with rubber bands, but that was not enough to save it from the same demise at least one other Cox model had experienced prior to that: unrepairable damage after one or two utterly uncontrolled laps around the circle. My mistaken method for attempting to fly the airplane was to hold up elevator to keep it from hitting the ground, except I would keep holding up elevator until the model eventually did a wingover into terra firma. It was not until I bought a Cox PT-19 trainer and developed a slow-go, staged training method that I finally learned to properly fly a control line airplane

Klockit Wall Clock PL-20

Clockit Wall Clock PL-20 - Airplanes and RocketsWhile visiting Melanie's sister and her husband recently, they asked me to take the wall clock I made for them in 1983 back home with me for repair. A little investigation showed that the culprit was sweep second hand rubbing against the door glass for part of its rotation. After seeing it, I remembered needing to insert a shim on the back of the wood panel that the clock movement mounted to because the shaft was so long. Over time the thick rubber washer that came with the movement compressed enough to cause the interference. Adding another thin washer has remedied the situation with enough room to spare for another 30 years of trouble-free timekeeping

Enterprise-E Control Line
Stunt Model Maiden Flight

Enterprise-E Control Line Stunt Model - Airplanes and RocketsMy Enterprise-E finally had its maiden flight today, and all went very well. The electric power system seems very appropriately fitted and provides way more than enough thrust. There is a lot of control surface throw available so the first flight was a bit shaky for the first few times around the circle, but the craft settled down after I got accustomed to it. Three flights were put in and I brought her home unscathed - that's success in anyone's book! A short video is posted on the web page

R/C Reliability:
Escapements and Batteries

R/C Reliability Escapements and Batteries, April 1955 Popular Electronics - Airplanes and RocketsBill Winter is one of the best-known names in the aeromodeling realm since he has been around writing columns on modeling events, construction, flying, and product features, serving as editors of modeling magazines, and participating in modeling events throughout the country since the middle of the last century. He went above and beyond the call of duty in his attempt to introduce people to the model aircraft and model rocketry hobbies. This particular article is one of a handful Bill wrote for Popular Electronics magazine in the 1950s and 1960s. An amazing transformation has occurred in the radio-control aspect in that when this article was published, participation required knowledge of electronics, a larger hobby budget than your average modeler, and a willingness to be continually battling problems

R/C Notes

R/C Notes, January 1956 Popular Electronics - Airplanes and RocketsWhen Popular Electronics began publication in October of 1954, its editors included both radio control modeling and amateur radio as regular features. The magazine's target audience was made up of professional, student, and hobbyist electronics aficionados who often mixed their interest in electronics with another hobby; e.g., the aforementioned R/C and Ham radio, but also counted amongst readers were audiophiles looking for top-notch systems, do-it-yourselfer (DIY) domestic gadget makers, and automotive enthusiasts. It might seem like today there is not as much interest in such endeavors  as in times past, but the plethora of hobby type magazines still being published in hard copy, electronically,

Dolly Wischer's "Yeti" Radio
Controlled Pilatus Porter

Dolly Wischer's "Yeti" Radio Controlled Pilatus Porter from September/October 1963 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsThe Pilatus Porter, manufactured in Switzerland, is now just a part of Pilatus' considerably expanded product line. Since its original STOL flying machine, the company now makes business jets and military trainers. Various iterations of the Porter are seen at scale model contests worldwide, and there are multiple kits and ARF versions available for free flight, control line, and radio control. What makes this particular Pilatus Porter noteworthy is its builder and pilot, Mrs. Dolly Wischer, who appeared with it in an article in a 1963 edition of American Modeler magazine. She researched the design, drew the plans, built the airplane, and flew it with one of the earlier proportional radio control systems. Its 68" wingspan and a wing loading

Poll: What Type of Aeromodeling Do You Prefer?

Official Airplanes and Rockets Website Poll
Radio Control:
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Aeronca C-3 Kit
by Sterling Models

Aeronca C-3  Kit by Sterling Models - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)I remember as a kid in Mayo, Maryland, tying a string to the nose of my Sterling Models Aeronca C-3 model and towing it behind my Huffy bicycle, up and down the street in front of my house. It would weave and dodge back in forth in a sort of gyrating motion a few feet off the ground and then settle into a fairly decent landing. Assuming the Aeronca C-3 met the same ultimate demise as most of my models of the era, it probably succumbed to an airframe failure after early success fed the human desire to go higher and faster than the last time. One thing that stands out in my mind about the Aeronca was that it was one of the most complex models I had attempted to date - especially with building the wing support assembly on top and adding all the flying wires

McWatts Comic Strip

McWatts Comic Strip, December 1956 Popular Electronics - RF CafeMcWatts was an electronics-themed comic that appeared in Popular Electronics back in the 1950s. Artist Carl Kohler's main character is a stereotypical Joe Sixpack (actually a Joe McWatts)electronics hobbyist who dreams up unique ways to deal with situations. This edition shows McWatts in a scenario where, presciently enough, he experiences having his radio controlled airplane treated to what modern day 'drone' pilots are experiencing on a more and more frequent basis - being shot down. In this case the hostile fire came from some kids with slingshots. Fast-forward to 2015 and we are now seeing reports of people using shotguns and rifles to down the privacy-invading craft being piloted by unqualified pranksters. Back in the McWatts era, getting 'shot down' was much more likely

Author: Kirt Blattenberger on Google+
Author:
Kirt Blattenberger
Tower Hobbies logo - Airplanes and RocketsCall me a Tower Hobbies groupie, or maybe I'm just lazy, but I have been ordering most (probably >90%) of my modeling supplies from Tower Hobbies since they first opened in the 1970s. I remember anxiously awaiting delivery of my first Carl Goldberg 1/2A Skylane from them. That was before the Internet, when mail order involved hand-writing your order on a form and enclosing a check or money order in an envelope, then dropping it in the mailbox. 3-4 weeks was a typical turn-around time. No, I do not get any perks for posting this.
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