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

Model Aviation in the News

- Archives -

Boeing to Continue Work on Developing XS-1 Reusable Hypersonic Unmanned Spacecraft

Long Island Man Parks Plane in Driveway 433 Hot Air Balloons Soar into the Record Books

EM Rocket Drive Could Get to Moon in 4 Hours

AltusMetrum - Open Source Hardware & Software for High-Powered Model Rockets

Dreams of Legally Slapping Drones out of the Sky May Come True

Microsoft Open-Sources Its Worldwide Telescope

Downsized Rutan Designs at Oshkosh

Spain and Chile Will Host Next-Generation Gamma-Ray Observatory

Battery Damage Grounds Solar Impulse 2 Until 2016

U.S. Astronomers Call for Space

Homebuilt Aircraft Designer Jim Bede Passes at 82

Commercial Drones at the Cusp

Tiny Man-Carrying Electric Plane Flies (w/video)

Utility Drones Could Inspect Equipment, Scan for Outages

Airbus E-Fan All-Electric Plane Crosses English Channel (w/video)

Sources for Servos & Non-Standard
Flight Hardware

Sources for Servos & Non-Standard Flight Hardware - Airplanes and RocketsMost of us, especially pre-Millennials- in the aeromodeling hobby are accustomed to frequenting a handful of traditional distributors for flight hardware - Tower Hobbies, Hobby Lobby (now Hobby Express), Brodak, Sig, Hobby People, Horizon Hobby, etc. Except for lines of proprietary kits, motors, and equipment, most offer the same assortment of goods. That's fine if you are building and/or flying standard models with standard parts. If, however, you are one of the precious few modelers these days who builds and operates unique models with special needs, as with scale, research, or ad hoc experimentation, then you may be frustrated with the normal suppliers. Fortunately for you, there is a whole separate world of people who need and use components similar to ours

Netzeband Reports on the Aero 35
Horizontal Piston Engine

Netzeband Reports on the Aero 35 Horizontal Piston Engine, from September/October 1963 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsLike the Wankel rotary engine, the horizontal piston engine seems like a good idea on paper. Both engines were masterpieces of outside-the-box thinking, and were successfully implemented in both prototype and production. Unfortunately, both engines suffered from technical issues that ultimately excluded them from being widely adapted. This report on the Aero 35 horizontal piston engine appeared in a 1964 edition of American Modeler, and also happens to be the year (maybe the only year) that it was available from its manufacturer, Aero Research and Development, of Buffalo, New York. The ingenuity that went into designing and implementing this engine is amazing. Here is an incredibly in-depth analysis on the Aero 35 on the Model Engine News website that is worth your

Count-Down: Soviet MR-1 Meteo
Sounding Rocket

Count-Down: Soviet MR-1 Meteo Sounding Rocket, March 1967 American Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)A combination of the Space Race and the Cold War with the U.S.S.R. in the 1950s and 1960s generated a lot of interest in rocketry - both full-scale and hobby models. The shroud of secrecy (aka the Iron Curtain) surrounding all aspects of the Communist regime served to increase the fascination with any form of technology that emerged in the public. Keeping prying eyes of of ground-based entities was difficult enough for the Ruskies, but it is nearly impossible to prevent observations of things in the air - like rockets, helicopters, and airplanes. A lot of information can be gleaned about a rocket, for instance, by its physical size and shape; exhaust temperature, chemical composition, and sound signature; flight path, etc. Military rockets were of greatest interest to the Free Worlds'

Stanzel Electromic Tethered Helicopter

Stanzel Electromic Tethered Helicopter - Airplanes and RocketsFor most people my age (born in 1958), the first experience with a 'real' flying model helicopter was this Electromic "Copter" by Stanzel. I've been hoping to acquire one via eBay, but thus far the prices have been beyond my willingness to pay (typically ~$40 + shipping). The "Copter" used two D-cell batteries in the plastic handle to power a motor, also in the handle, which in turn drove the center wire of a coaxial cable that connected to the helicopter rotor. It's been a long time, so I don't recall whether the cable drove the rotors directly, or spun a gear inside the fuselage to drive the rotors ...

Down Memory's Runway 

Down Memory's Runway, February 1941 Flying Aces - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)Flying Aces magazine, which preceded Air Trails, ran a regular feature titled "Down Memory's Runway" that highlighted older airplane designs from way back in the 1920s a 1930s, which in this case was a mere 10 to 20 years ago. Full cantilever wings were just coming into reality as were non-rotary engines. Retractable landing gear models were starting to move into production, as was a lot of the mix of old and new technology in preparation for America's entrance into World War II. So far I only have 12 editions of Flying Aces, but I hope to build the collection over time and post some key items here on Airplanes and Rockets ...

UAV Coach: How to Buy a Drone

UAV Coach: How to Buy a Drone (Alan Perlman) - Airplanes and Rockets"I started this website to help people avoid the mistakes I made during that first flight, to show people how amazing the UAV industry is, how to get involved, and most importantly, how to properly fly a quadcopter. I'm not going to pretend to be an expert. I'm here to help push the drone community forward. To interview aerial videographers, professional drone pilots, and UAV manufacturers. To share stories and tips and tricks. To connect with others and to showcase the surge in technology and applications we're seeing in the UAV industry each week." - Alan Perlman. UAV Coach features specialized areas for a Buying Guide, UAV Pilot Training, Aerial Videography , and Industry News.

Jetco "Sabre Stunt" Kit

Jetco Sabre Stunt Control Line Kit - Airplanes and RocketsWhile perusing an antique shop in Boone, NC, this weekend, I spotted this Jetco "Sabre Stunt" kit sitting on a shelf. The box is in very good condition and the wood and plans are as well. Whoever owned the kit previously must have built the wing because all those parts are missing. It does appear that most of the rest of the wood components are present. I did not do a complete inventory, but a couple other things obviously gone are the canopy, landing gear wire. The complete plans set is there, and there are five full sheets of authentic Silkspan covering - worth a small fortune these days. I bought the kit mainly to keep it from eventually getting relegated to the trash heap of history. It is not one of the ones that I owned as a kid, so it does not have any particular sentimental value to me, but it does make a very nice display piece since the box is in such fine shape. Jetco

"Guppie" Gas Job

"Guppie" Gas Job - Article and Plans, January 1941 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsIn 1941, model airplane engines invariably were gasoline-driven ignition systems. As such, onboard batteries were required to light the spark plug. If you are relatively new to the aeromodeling hobby, then when you think of an airborne battery, you likely envision NiCad, NiMH, or Li-Po cells that are relatively compact, lightweight, and trouble-free. Back in the day, though it could mean anything from a few carbon cells to a lead-acid storage battery. In the case of the Guppie, a 20-second motor run rule for its competition class allowed a smaller cache of cells to be carried. Its 6-foot wingspan and classic construction would make the Guppie a great vintage conversion project using an electric propulsion systems and R/C ...

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
Assembly Line

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Assembly Line, January 1941 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsIn the interest of sparing Major Fred Lord major embarrassment, I have not reproduced his entire article outlining what he would do if he were appointed head of the Army Air Corps. Almost without exception, everything he posited in this January 1941 piece from Flying Aces magazine turned out to be wrong - as evidenced by the way events unfolded after America entered World War II. Reading the predictions and suggestions offered in just the opening paragraphs makes you wish you could have given the poor guy a crystal ball to spare himself the humiliation that often comes with proclaiming a knowledge superior to everyone else's. One good thing to come out of the article is a cool photo of the Boeing plant where B-17s were being assembled. If anyone wants ...

Patriot Free Flight Rubber Model

The Patriot Article & Plans, December 1969 American Aircraft Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsA website visitor wrote to ask that I scan and post this article for the Patriot rubber-powered free flight model. It is a simple stick and sheet balsa job that can be built for about three bucks worth of parts. The wings uses a couple ribs on the underside to form an undercambered airfoil for a little extra lift. Enjoy! 

Southwest Champion's Winning
Towliner "Honker"

Southwest Champion's Winning Towliner "Honker", September/October 1963 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsAs open space becomes more and more scare in populated areas all up and down the East Coast, the Great Lakes region, and similar sections of the country, free flight activities are increasingly difficult to contemplate. The same goes for model rocketry. All of the fields I used to fly from in the Mayo, MD, area when in my teens back in the early to mid 1970s were long ago turned into housing developments, commercial office or retail outlet stores. It used to be a simple matter of loading an airplane or rocket into my 1969 Camaro and driving a few miles to a school yard or an empty lot behind a strip mall, but not so much anymore. Even if you do manage to locate a suitable flying area, there are usually signs posted warning of prosecution for trespassing. School athletic fields are typically cluttered with soccer nets

World War-1 Ace von Schleich and His
Roland C-II "Wahlfisch"

World War-1 Ace von Schleich and his Roland C-II "Wahlfisch" Plans for U/Control C-II, September 1962 American Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets (and Telescopes, Cars, Helicopters, Boats)Douglas Rolfe's sketch of this Roland C-II biplane is another example of his amazing ability not just to create a drawing, but to depict the model's construction features in a manner helpful to builders. That, coupled with the masterfully detailed and laid-out plans by Walter Musciano and a brief history on the airplane along with its most famous pilot, Eduard von Schleich, makes this an article you won't want to miss - especially if you are a World War I historian

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 M.O. 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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Kirt Blattenberger, BSEE

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Supermodel Melanie Blattenberger holding my Aquila Spirit glider - Airplanes and Rockets
My lovely enabler, Melanie