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

Custom R/C Canard Model Airplane by Alain Pons

Custom R/C Canard Model Airplane by Alain Pons - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Alain Pons, of France, wrote with this great information on his decades-long involvement with designing, building, and flying radio controlled canard model airplanes. Alain graciously agreed to allow me to post his story, photo. and video. He hopes to soon submit plans for his canard, which I am sure will be welcome by modelers looking for a proven design to build, so stay tuned.  "Dear Kirt, Very happy to know you are interested of my work on my canards. I think I am an old dinosaur in aeromodelism. I was born in 1953 and began to glue balsa when I was 10 years old, following my father in free flight, fly by wire and later R/C. And now jets and war birds with big radial ..."

Plane and Fancy Shooting

Plane and Fancy Shooting, September 1957 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsI first learned of Peter Bowers because of news coverage of his winning the Experimental Aircraft Associations (EAA) 1962 design contest for his single-seater Fly Baby homebuilt airplane with its unique foldable wings. That allowed the plane to be easily towed to and from the airport rather than needing to pay for hangar or tiedown space. Another unique feature is its all-wood construction - including the landing gear undercarriage. I actually bought a set of plans and construction manual for the Fly Baby Biplane that Bowers later designed based on the Fly Baby monoplane; alas, I never did build it. Peter Bowers was an aviation historian for Boeing Aircraft in Seattle ...

Towed Twin-Fuselage Glider Satellite Launch System

Towed Twin-Fuselage Glider Satellite Launch System - Airplanes and Rockets"NASA successfully flight-tested a prototype, twin-fuselage towed glider that could lead to rockets being launched from pilotless aircraft at high altitudes—a technology application that could significantly reduce cost and im- prove efficiency of sending small satellites into space. The one-third-scale twin fuselage towed glider’s first flight took place Oct. 21, 2014, from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California. The towed glider is an element of the novel rocket-launching concept of the Towed Glider Air-Launch System (TGALS). NASA Armstrong ..."

Motor of the Month: K&B Torpedo .049 Engine

K&B Torpedo .049, November 1950 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThe 1950 Academy of Model Aviation (AMA) regulations listed four model engine displacement ranges: Class A: .000-.200 cu. in., Class B: .201-.300 cu. in., Class C: .301-.500 cu. in., and Class D: .501-.650 cu. in. Notice that there was no Class ½A or Class ¼A. That jives with this 1950 article in Air Trails magazine where the K&B Torpedo .049 engine is highlighted. It claims, "Half-A engines started out a short time ago as a mere novelty, but they caught on fast and every manufacturer was in a hurry to get one on the market." It is hard to imagine a time when the .049, .020, and .010 engines were not around, but machinery capable of achieving high production levels of engines with such tight tolerances were ...

Check List New Products, September 1967 American Modeler

Check List New Products, September 1967 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsModel aviation magazines have a long-held tradition of dedicating a page or two of each issue to reporting on new products. When I happen to notice an instance of the first announcement of a model, engine, radio, or device that is now in common use, I like to post it along with everything else on the page(s). This September 1967 edition of American Modeler introduced Su-Pr-Line Products' "Nyrod." That was 60 years ago! I know I have been using Nyrod and its clones for as long as I can remember, which is since at least the mid 1970s. When properly supported along its length, Nyrod results ...

Breed of the Hellfire

Breed of the Hellfire, February 1941 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsArch Whitehouse authored many aviation-related techno-thriller mysteries for Flying Aces magazine. He was a British World War I veteran with the RAF as a mechanic and observer. In this adventure, Hale Aviation Company's intrepid chief test pilot Crash Carringer took on the challenge of identifying the cause of an unreasonably high number of deaths of Hellfire aircraft fighter pilots while in the air. I won't spoil the plot by giving any details of the story. It's a good way to kill 20-30 minutes ...

If I Were Air Corps Chief...

If I Were Air Corps Chief..., January 1941 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsThe Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was a year away when this article would have been written, given that it appeared in the January 1941 issue of Flying Aces magazine. Major Frederic Ives Lord preferred a light-weight, inexpensive, more expendable type of aircraft like the P-40 Warhawk than something like a P-51 Mustang. His thinking being that it would be more effective to overwhelm the enemy with massive squadrons of airplanes that could be quickly replaced (and pilots, too?) rather than recovering and repairing battle-damaged aircraft (and their air crew). In fact, the major envisioned mostly enlisted pilots, akin to the expendable crewmen in Star Trek - usually identifiable by their red ...

A Great Resource for Model Engine Performance Tests

Sceptre Flight Model Engine Test Data - Airplanes and RocketsMany thanks to Airplanes and Rockets website visitor Pat S. (who happens to also live here in Erie, Pennsylvania) for letting me know about the Sceptre Flight website with its huge list of model engine test data. Per the webmaster, "This list of tests is continually added to on a monthly basis due to the hard work of Zoe Quilter who completely scans 3 old magazines each month and also to Colin Usher who has collected all of Zoe's scans. My thanks to both of them as this list would otherwise be nowhere near as large. Thanks also to Ray Jennings in Northern Ireland for his help in scanning many test reports." There are links to 600-700 magazine articles reporting on glow and diesel engines. Amazing! ...

The Lilium EDF "Jet"

The Lilium EDF Jet - Airplanes and RocketsLilium enables you to travel 5 times faster than a car by introducing the world's first all-electric vertical take-off and landing jet: an air taxi for up to 5 people. You won't have to own one, you will simply pay per ride and call it with a push of a button. It's our mission to make air taxis available to everyone and as affordable as riding a car. In 1894, Otto Lilienthal began experimenting with the first gliders and imagined a future in which we could all fly wherever we want ..."

Cox Model 789-3, 1½-Volt Starting Battery - Scans

Cox Model 789-3, 1½-Volt Starting Battery - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor George A. wrote to ask for the dimensions of the Cox model 789-3, 1½-volt starting battery box so that he can create one using his printer. He also needed high resolution images of all sides. The photos below show both sides of the flattened box, along with a ruler for scale. The scans have not been edited except to move the terminal clips closer to the box to keep file size down, so edit color and sharpness as you deem fit ...

North Korea's Antonov AN-2 Biplane

North Korea's Antonov AN-2 Biplane - Airplanes and Rockets"Kim Jong-un could launch nuclear bombing raids on South Korea using 70-year-old biplanes so slow they cannot be tracked by modern radars. North Korean despot Kim Jong-un is preparing his special forces for suicide parachute missions across the border on 70-year-old Stalin era biplanes. The dictator has a fleet of 300 Antonov An-2 transport aircraft which are capable of flying as slow as 30 miles-per-hour and can even go backwards into a heavy headwind. Footage has emerged of North Korean paratroops jumping from the aged aircraft ..."

NASA Tests Could Lead to FAA Integration of UAVs

NASA Tests Could Lead to FAA Integration of UAVs - Airplanes and Rockets"NASA's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration in the National Airspace System, or UAS in the NAS, project is attracting international attention as increasingly complex flight tests take place over NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California. The project is designed to develop recommendations for the FAA to safely open the skies to allow UAS to fly in the same airspace with human-piloted aircraft. Using NASA's remotely piloted Ikhana aircraft as a demonstration platform  ..."

Reliable Perching Makes Fixed-Wing UAVs Much More Useful

Reliable Perching Makes Fixed-Wing UAVs Much More Useful - Airplanes and Rockets"UAV designs are a perpetual compromise between the ability to fly long distances efficiently with payloads (fixed-wing) and the ability to maneuver, hover, and land easily (rotorcraft). With a very few rather bizarre exceptions, any aircraft that try to offer the best of both worlds end up relatively complicated, inefficient, and expensive. A group of researchers from the University of Sherbrooke in Canada have come very close to making that happen, with a little airplane that uses legs and claws to reliably perch on walls ..."

Cheaper, Lighter, Quieter: The Electrification of Flight Is at Hand

Bye Aerospace Sun Flyer - Airplanes and Rockets"Our small electric plane, which uses light and powerful batteries and motors, is less costly than its gasoline-engine rivals. When you first sit in the cockpit of an electric-powered airplane, you see nothing out of the ordinary. However, touch the Start button and it strikes you immediately: an eerie silence. There is no roar, no engine vibration, just the hum of electricity and the soft whoosh of the propeller. You can converse easily with the person in the next seat, without headphones. The silence ..."

Mills "Brothers" ½A Diesel Engines from England

Mills "Brothers" - ½A Diesel Engines from England, January 1952 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsHere is an interesting bit of history. According to this article from a 1952 issue of Air Trails magazine, the reason British model engine designers switched from ignition type engines to diesel was due to a shortage of copper element wire and other components brought about by World War II. Diesels are still very popular in Europe both for model airplanes and full-size automobiles. The Alternative Fuels Data Center claims that diesel fuel has a 13% greater energy density that gasoline, which jives with many other independent sources, some of which say overall efficiency is up to 20% greater. Diesel just has never really "caught on" here in the U.S. for some reason - maybe its the stinky exhaust. One nice aspect ...

WWII, As It Really Looked

WWII, As It Really Looked - Airplanes and Rockets"There are many iconic photographs from World War II: An aircraft spotter standing atop a London building with St. Paul's Cathedral rising in the background, taken by LIFE photographer George Strock; Alfred Eisenstaedt's photo 'The Kiss,' shot in Times Square the day Japan surrendered. They're all powerful - and they're all in black and white. While color images of the war exist, they aren't extremely common. Yet official photographers serving with the British armed forces shot nearly 3,000 color photographs, using Kodachrome film obtained ..."

"AT" Interceptor Article & Plans

"AT" Interceptor Article & Plans, from April 1951 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThe "AT" Interceptor is a very nice control line twin. Designed for a pair of .049 engines, its 30" wingspan and tricycle landing gear provides a solid platform that could easily be adapted for twin brushless motor setup. A common fuel tank feeds both engines. If you are trying to decide whether the "AT" Interceptor is a takeoff of the P-38 Lightning or the P-61 Black Widow, you'd be right in either case, since both inspired the model, per Walt Hughes. Both tail booms, the fuselage, and the wings are built-up construction with balsa sheeting over all ...

Aerospace Headline News

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archives -

Commercial Airliner Hits Drone in Canada

FAA Seeks 'Emergency' Action on Drones

What's Wrong with Experimental Pilots?

Drone Hits Army Helicopter Flying over Staten Island

Tragedy of Americana: California Wildfire Destroys 'Peanuts' Creator's Home

Drones Deliver Storm Response

Vintage Aviation Publications Acquires Warbirds News

'Strega' Dethrones 'Voodoo' at Reno Air Races

NASA and Industry Take Next Step Toward X-Plane

Funds Sought to Build Hangar for 'Doc' B-29 Superfortress

Funds Sought to Build Hangar for 'Doc' B-29 Superfortress - Airplanes and Rockets"Rescued from a desert bombing range then painstakingly restored over many years, the B-29 Superfortress Doc brought vintage strategic air power to EAA AirVenture in July. Doc and crew flew away from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with the 'Best Bomber Award,' among others, returning home to temporary quarters as Doc’s Friends Inc., pass the hat to build a permanent home for the beloved bomber in Wichita, Kansas ..."

Pogo Rubber-Powered Free Flight

Pogo, March 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsRick Rabe's rubber-powered free flight "Pogo," not to be confused with Bob Morse's glow fuel-powered R/C 1/4 Midget racer "Pogo" that appeared five months later in American Aircraft Modeler, is a quick-building stick and tissue job for modelers of all ages and interests. Rabe adds a little pizzazz to the craft with a "V" shaped vertical fin. The flat, stick-framed wing and stabilizer are built directly on the Jap tissue, which speed the already minimal construction time ...

Designing RC Helicopters

Designing RC Helicopters, March 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsJohn Burkam was one of the few true pioneers in free flight and particularly R/C model helicopters. His experiments date back into the 1940s. His rubber-powered Penni Helicopter appeared in the January 1970 issue of American Aircraft Modeler. John was an engineer with the Boeing Company. His attention to detail and lack of fear in tackling design issue with numbers, graphs, and formulas is apparent in his work, although any type of design in previously unexplored or little explored areas of technology requires some degree of seat-of-the-pants guestimates. Both philosophies are present in this article. The "Super Susie" is powered by a Cox .049 Tee Dee engine ...

Pilot's Death Defying Photoshop Skills Shocking the Internet

Pilot's Death Defying Photoshop Skills Shocking the Internet - RF CafeThis is great! "This Brazilian pilot is in big trouble for taking selfies thousands of feet up, even though the photos are fake. Pilotganso is a well-known Instagrammer with 72K followers; he's gained a rabid following thanks to the incredible selfies on his page showing the aviator hanging out the cockpit of a Boeing 737 thousands of feet above the earth. His shots have many scratching their heads as to whether they are in fact real. No, they're not. The Instagrammer, real name Daniel Centeno achieves these aerial shots using ..."

Notes from the Workbench - February 1942 Flying Aces

Notes from the Workbench, February 1942 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsContest-minded aeromodelers, or for that matter competitive types of all disciplines, are most often the people who advance the state of the art in any field. Never content with good enough, they continually strive to come up with new and better ways of doing things. That's not to say everyday sportsmen don't innovate; they just don't usually do it with the vim and vigor of competitors. Although I cannot know for sure, I suspect that the tip offered here for a suggested way to carve rubber power free flight propellers to maximize thrust under a continually changing amount of torque from the twisted motor is the result ...

Prevent Slipping of Plastic Clamps with Simple Modification

Prevent Slipping of Plastic Clamps with Simple Modification - Airplanes and RocketsThose inexpensive spring-loaded plastic clamps are ubiquitous on model builders' and woodworkers' workbenches across the world. With swiveling jaws that accommodate almost any pair of surfaces needing to be held together while sanding, measuring, painting, cutting, or many other tasks, these things are one of the best deals in the tools universe. They are so great that I feel bad even criticizing them in any way, but I shall. Aside from the occasional snapping of the plastic handles ...

The Pittman Letters Project

The Pittman Letters Project - Airplanes and Rockets1st Lt. Walt "Pitt" Pittman was the father of our neighbor, Barbara. He flew a P-51 Mustang as a fighter pilot in WWII and Korea. "Pitt" wrote more than 350 letters and sent many photos to his wife (Barbara's mother) prior to being shot down in 1951. It wasn't until 2012 that she finally decided to create "The Letters Project" to document the life story of her father. Historians interested in the Korean War (a conflict, technically, not a declared war) will find the content useful. Says Barbara, "If you are wondering why I am doing this project now or why I waited so long, I don't think I have the answer ..."

Stop-Rotor Rotary Wing Aircraft

Stop-Rotor Rotary Wing Aircraft - Airplanes and Rockets"The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has developed a patented system and method of transitioning an aircraft between helicopter and fixed wing flight modes. The stop rotor aircraft is capable of both a helicopter mode vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and efficient high speed fixed wing flight by flipping the left wing/rotor blade 180 degrees between flight modes. Conversion between flight modes will take about 1-2 seconds and simulations indicate altitude deviations of less than 50 feet ..."

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About Airplanes & Rockets

Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and Rockets
Kirt Blattenberger
Carpe Diem!
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Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which all began in Mayo, MD. There is a lot of good information and there are lot of pictures throughout the website that you will probably find useful, and might even bring back some old memories from your own days of yore. The website began life around 1996 as an EarthLink screen name of ModelAirplanes, and quickly grew to where more server space ...

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