In order to provide for a reasonable homepage loading time, it is impractical to just keep adding items to the top of the stack and keep all the old stuff there too. Therefore, I have created these Airplanes and Rockets Homepage Archives to maintain a historical snapshot of everything once on the homepage. Unfortunately, I did not think to keep a record until around Fall of 2009; I had just been deleting items from the bottom of the stack. No more, though. Hence forth, if you recall seeing something on the homepage but it is no longer there, please check out these archive pages. I also keep an archive of all the modeling news additions:
Homepage Additions Archive:
Modeling News Archive:
Not yet posted above this line
New Radio Control Gear for Model Airplanes
Often when I see photos of some of the early radio control gear for model airplanes, I have a simultaneous reaction of aghastness and marvel at the crudity and ingenuousness, respectively, of the electromechanical devices - the same kind of reaction I have to stories about early surgical procedures and equipment. In 1940, when this article appeared in the ARRL's QST magazine, successful takeoffs and landings were considered notable events not so much because of pilot ability (or inability), but because of the low reliability of available electronic and mechanical gear ...
Cobalt's 'Affordable' Personal Jet
"Any pilgrimage through TSA is sure reminder why you hate flying. The nettlesome wait on the runway until it's finally your plane's turn to take off makes you rethink your AMTRAC options. Your neighbor's impressive ability to pour himself into your personal space, while you promise yourself to next time just eat the costs and upgrade your seat. All of this would be avoided if you just ..."
World's 1st Jet-Powered 3D Printed Aircraft
"This week's video comes from the US where Aurora Flight Sciences and Stratasys have teamed up to build the world's first jet-powered, 3D printed aircraft. Using 80% 3D printed parts, the UAV is composed of Stratasys' ULTEM 9085 lightweight material to help achieve flight speeds of over 150 mph. The high-speed system boasts an impressive 9ft wingspan and weighs in ..."
Research Work Attracts Bachelors
to West Coast Naval Laboratories
$11,800 per year for engineers working in defense laboratories in 1955 is the equivalent of about $104,300 in 2016, according to the Inflation Calculator hosted by the BLS. That's probably a pretty accurate reflection of today's average salary for an experienced engineer. Now, as then, some of the most technically challenging and interesting research projects are done under the auspices of the Federal government - primarily because they have the most money to throw ...
Plane Can Detach Entire Cabin in Event of an Emergency
"Engineers have revealed a radical new way to save plane passengers in the event of an emergency. The design shows an aircraft with a detachable cabin that releases in emergency situations. During take-off, landing or flight, the redesigned cabin detaches from the plane and safely lands on the ground or water– saving everyone's lives on board. Parachutes are attached to the roof of the cabin that are ..."
In the same March 1959 issue of American Modeler as the feature story on Mr. Nils Testor, founder of the eponymously named company, is this 2-page advertisement for Testors paints and glue. As pointed out in the Testors article, Nils Testor's first product was household glue, which, as it turned out, was perfect for building model airplanes. Anyone older than about 40 who is also reading this is almost certainly familiar with the Tests enamel paint kits sold in department stores and hobby shops for decades. I remember paying 19¢ for a 1/4-ounce bottle of paint back ...
Astronomers Peer into 'Zone of Avoidance' for 1st Time
"Hundreds of hidden nearby galaxies have been spotted for the first time thanks to a highly-sensitive telescope in Australia. A total of 883 galaxies were found in a region of sky normally hidden from view by our own Milky Way, and a third of these were previously unknown to science. This concentration of galaxies, and their movement, is now being used to study a phenomenon called the Great Attractor that pulls the Milky Way ..."
Jetpack Pilot Flys Past the Statue of Liberty
"JetPack Aviation chief David Mayman is the first person to fly around New York City's signature statue in a 'controlled and sustained' way with a jetpack. He wasn't exactly brushing past Lady Liberty's nose, as you'll see in the video below, but it's still a noteworthy feat. Is this ultimately a publicity stunt meant to draw attention to the company's upcoming, mainstream-oriented JB-9 jetpack? You bet. However, there's no denying that this is also a childhood wish ..."
Testor: From Here to Hogboda - The Name is Well Known
Nils Testor, an early 20th century immigrant from Sweden, is a classic American success story. Having begun his management career at Woolworth as a stock boy (although he had a college degree from Stockholm), his business acumen and love of the arts - including airplane modeling - quickly propelled him into the position of entrepreneur as owner and progenitor of the Testor Chemical Company. Beginning with selling household glue, he soon added nitrate and butyrate dope, balsa, airplane kits, paint-by-number sets, and ...
Orbital, NASA Scramjet Might Enable Hypersonic Commercial Flight
"The dream of flying from New York to London in just one hour has come a step closer to reality. Orbital ATK has successfully tested a 3D printed hypersonic engine combustor at NASA Langley Research Centre in Virginia. The breakthrough could lead to planes that can travel 3,425mph (5,500km/h) - 4.5 times the speed of sound ..."
World's Biggest Aircraft 'Takes off' for 1st Time
"The world's biggest aircraft has lifted off from the ground in Britain for the first time - but it will not be ready to leave the hangar where it is being developed until next year. The Airlander, which is a cross between an airship and an aeroplane, was originally developed as part of a U.S. Army project but was scrapped by military bosses. It is now being converted to provide business and leisure flights in a hangar in ..."
Mike Bryan Checks in with His Memories of the 1959 National Model Airplane Championships
AirplanesAndRockets.com website visitor Mike Bryan wrote with a little background on his participation in the 1959 National Model Airplane Championships. He saw the "America's First 'National' Championship Air-Model Meet" article I have posted from the November 1959 issue of American Modeler. Mike won 1st place in Control Line Scale that year. Read his comments ...
The Long Project
Perhaps it is fitting that a man named "Wright" should have been so successful in setting model airplane endurance records. Being from New Zealand dismisses any possibility of a direct relationship to Wilbur and Orville, though. Les Wright attributes a large part of his success to having personally designed, built, and operated a reliable radio control system for both his powered and non-powered series of 'Mark' aircraft. His models were essentially very large free-flight ...
Dutch Police Training Eagles to Take Down Drones
This article on the IEEE Spectrum website reports on Dutch police training eagles to snatch drones out of midair. While clever, it does raise the issue of potential harm to the bird by multiple, very sharp-edged, rapidly spinning rotor blades. As usual, reader comments are as good or better than the story itself. To wit, "Chopping up eagles, hawks & falcons in the U.S. is legal, as long as it's a windmill that's doing the chopping," and "It's also legal in the U.S. to turn Eagles into streamers when they fly over solar panel farms." ...
Chance Vought VE-7, VE-9 & UO-1 Army and Navy Types 3-Views
Here are two highly detailed 3-view drawings of the Chance Vought VE-7, VE-9 & UO-1 Army and Navy biplane types, as inked by Mr. Willis L. Nye. It has a classic biplane profile that, at least with the VE-7 reminds me a lot of Peter Bower's Fly Baby Biplane. The second sheet has the top plan view showing wings and horizontal stabilizer ...
Lloyd's Train & Hobby Shop Owner Ed Dorn
Not too often, but every once in a while I am fortunate to have someone seen my request for a response to an article posted on the AirplanesAndRockets.com website. This time, no less than the grandson of Lloyd's Train & Hobby Shop owner Ed Finn submitted this amazing information: "Hi Kirt, My name is Chris Dorn and I live in Eden Prairie, MN. And in response to your question, "Yes", I certainly do remember Lloyd's as my grandfather, Edward (Ed) Finn was the owner from the early 50's until the late 70's ..."
SpaceX 'Hover Test' of Dragon Capsule
"SpaceX has revealed new footage of its Dragon capsule hovering it above the desert in its latest test. The manned capsule will be used to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station - and could one day even take man to Mars. As the footage shows, the thrusters all fire up together to raise the spacecraft for a five-second hover, 'generating approximately 33,000 lbs. of thrust before returning the vehicle to its resting position.' SpaceX said ..."
U.S. Air Force Save the A-10 Warthog
"The U.S. Air Force is shelving plans to retire the aging A-10 'Warthog' aircraft, a heavily armored tank killer, because of its role in the fight against Islamic State. The 40-year-old ground attack aircraft is popular with soldiers, Marines - and some U.S. lawmakers. Defense One quoted the Air Force officials as saying that, while the A-10 would still need to be retired, the service would put aside immediate plans to take it out ..."
Get into Free Flight Competition
Technical details of gas-powered free flight have changed since this article was published in a 1968 issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine, but the basics of construction, rigging, and flight trim are the same. Free flighters like to say that their particular facet of aeromodeling is the purest form since success or failure depends on the practitioner's ability to master all the 'natural' forces acting on their craft. I agree to a point, except that unless you are considering the whirlybird flight of a maple tree seedling heading earthward or a similar airborne inanimate object, the fact is most flight in nature is controlled either by the animal exercising the ability ...
NRL Tests Low-Power, Long-Endurance Sail Drone
"The Naval Research Laboratory is taking a cue from nature in developing unmanned surveillance aircraft that don't use much power to stay aloft for hours at a time - and still communicate with each other to work in concert. Working with the Air Vehicle Intelligence and Autonomy Lab at Pennsylvania State University, NRL has tested a cooperative autonomous soaring algorithm, called the Autonomous Locator of Thermals (ALOFT) autonomous soaring algorithm, that can keep sailplanes airborne for much longer than ..."
Lazy Susan Cabinet Converted to Shelves
Our kitchen is pretty small by 2016 standards. For that matter, our entire 920 sq. ft. rancher house is pretty small by 2016 standards. Immediately after moving in in 2008, we set about performing a complete renovation that included replacing all the kitchen cabinets (and just about everything else). Melanie does a lot of baking and needed to store a lot of supplies in the basement because they would not fit in our cabinets. We considered trying to shoehorn another cabinet into the kitchen area somehow, but there was no reasonable location. So, she came up with the idea of converting the base corner cabinet from its original Lazy Susan configuration to fixed shelves.Lazy Susan units are convenient in terms of not having ...
Airbus Reveals 'Drone Killer' Camera System
"Now, Airbus has revealed a new 'drone killer' system that can automatically monitor an area - and disable the drone by jamming its signals if it spots one. The system can even analyse signals from the drone to work out exactly where it is being controlled from. It uses operational radars, infrared cameras and direction finders from Airbus Defence and Space's portfolio to identify ..."
I Designed the Zeke
Amazingly, Jiro Horikoshi himself, the actual designer of the famed Mitsubishi 00 'Zeke' fighter, wrote this article in the November 1950 issue of Air Trails magazine in response to an article that was published in the April 1949 issue titled, "The Great 'Zeke' Mystery." A little on his background and a lot on the airplane's background is presented in this extensive story. A lot of lessons-learned improvements were integrated into the design. World War II aircraft historians will surely be interested in this first-hand account that was written very shortly after then end of the war.
Radical 'AirMule' Takes to the Air
"A unique vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft completed its first untethered flight last week. The 'AirMule', designed to carry about 1,000 pounds every 31 miles, has the ability to drop supplies to the Israeli army and carry the wounded soldiers to safety. The prototype has taken two years to complete, but its creators are hopefully it will be able to reach places traditional helicopters ..."
Reliance Controls 3006HDK Transfer Switch Kit Installation
A couple weeks ago, Erie, Pennsylvania experienced a major wind storm with lots of rain. Living just a mile from the shores of Lake Erie means that we typically get the worst of the winds. The street we live on has overhead power distribution, telephone, and Internet lines, so they are more vulnerable than underground buried lines. During the aforementioned storm, a very tall pine tree in the yard right on the corner where the main feeder branches to our road snapped about halfway up and pulled the lines right out of their connections on the mains as it fell. To make a long (45 hours to be exact) story short, our entire street was without power for nearly two days. That is an unacceptable situation when you run your business from home, as I do for both ...
New Horizons Spotted 'Snail' Object in Pluto's 'Heart' Region
"They say it is 'floating' in denser solid nitrogen, and which has been dragged to the edge of a convection cell. Also visible are thousands of pits in the surface, which scientists believe may form by sublimation. Transmitted to Earth on December 24, this image from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) extends New Horizons' highest-resolution views of Pluto to the very center of Sputnik Planum ..."
Anyone Remember Lloyd's Hobby Shop in Baltimore, Maryland?
Sometime in the very early 1970s I had purchased and built my first 'real' control line model, a Jetco Shark "15." It needed a metal fuel tank, some wheels, and fuel line larger than the thin plastic type I had been using with the Cox control line models. Being young an ignorant, I did not bother to include such items in my purchase order from America's Hobby Center. There were no local hobby shops in my small town area of Mayo, Maryland, so I was faced with the prospect of waiting weeks for another order to arrive. Back then you typically placed a paper order form and a personal check in the mail, hoping to receive your supplies within a month. Fortunately, father, Art Blattenberger, who was the Classified Advertising Department manager at the Evening Capital ...
AAM Glider Winch Construction Article
A long time ago I bought a used glider winch at an auction held by the Prince Georges Radio Club, in Maryland. It cost me somewhere around $25, which was a lot for me in the mid 1970s. The motor and control circuitry was contained in a plywood box, with a jack for the foot switch and terminals to clamp jumper cable to from a car. In looking at these plans for the AAM Glider Winch shown here from the April 1973 American Aircraft Modeler, it looks a lot like mine, only in a box. It worked extremely well for my 99" Windfree and 99" Aquila sailplanes. Unfortunately, I sold it shortly after getting married in 1983 (couldn't eat the winch). I would love to have it back ...
Human-Size Personal Drone
"A Chinese drone maker has revealed a giant quadcopter big enough to fit a passenger. EHang claims to be building the world's first 'Autonomous Aerial Vehicle' for transporting people. Unveiled at CES in Las Vegas and called the 184, the all-electric vehicle has four arms with a total of eight propellers at the end. 'You know how it feels to sit in a Ferrari? This is 10 times better,' George Yan, co-founder of Ehang said in an interview with DailyMail.com ..."
Claude McCullough's "Chariot"
Website visitor Rob P. wrote to ask that I scan and post this article and plans for Claude McCullough's "Chariot" radio control model. The 58" wingspan high wing model features a pylon-mounted .23-size engine. Although the original used rudder-only control, no doubt Rob will use at least three channels, and maybe even add ailerons for a fourth. He may even decide to adapt the Chariot to electric power. Simple stick and sheet balsa construction helps to make for easy, inexpensive building. Hopefully, Mr. P will send a photo of his completed Chariot for posting ...
Adjustable Throw Control Line Handle
When building my Enterprise-E control stunt airplane, I knew that the amount of control surface throw available for both flaps and elevator was extreme, but I wanted to have the reserve capability in case it was needed. It was definitely NOT needed! Fortunately, because of the way the top fuselage hatch is designed for removal there is easy access to the flap control horn, and thereby the ability to move pushrod clevises around to decrease throws. Even with doing that, however, the model is still very sensitive to control handle movements. My only solution was to obtain a control handle with line spacing less than the 4-1/4" on the stock Sullivan handle. That spacing has been a little too much for other models as well, so an alternate handle would be nice anyway. I have always admired the custom wooden control line handles other ...
SkyDeck Will Give Passengers 360° View During Flight
"If you are the kind of person who always gets a window seat when flying, just to drool over the beautiful view from the top, then you will definitely love SkyDeck. Windspeed Technologies, an American aerospace engineering company, is patenting the SkyDeck, a glass capsule that can be installed in a wide variety of aircraft to provide passengers with a panoramic 360° ..."
Craftsman 4-1/8" Jointer/Planer Cutter Head Height Adjustment
When testing the operation of my Craftsman 4-1/8" jointer/planer, I noticed immediately that the cut along the length of a board resulted in a curved edge rather than a perfectly straight edge. I had already verified that the in-feed and out-feed table surfaces were parallel by laying a steel straight edge along them, and I knew I was feeding the wood properly. The only way to get a straight, even cut was to press down really hard on the wood as it passed over the cutter head - a really dangerous practice since a slip could cause my hand to fall into the cutters. What was happening didn't make sense because theoretically the cutter head removes material at a thickness equal to the difference between the in-feed and out-feed table heights ...
"So What's a Propnik?"
Less than two years before this issue of American Modeler went to print, the Russkies launched the first Sputnik orbiting satellite. The Space Race was on, and America was scurrying to show the Commies that we could out-do them. It wasn't until August of 1960 that NASA finally launched Echo, but after that the rest, as they say, is history. That bit of background is needed to understand the creation of the name 'Propnik' by Bill Baughman for his air boat. This is a free running or tethered model that uses a Cox Babe Bee .049 for power. I've always liked air boats, and in fact my very first radio controlled model was a crudely built air boat using an .049 engine and rudder-only control ...
Airbus Patent Reveals Latest Design for Mach 4.5 SST
"Airbus is getting serious about its plans to fly passengers from London to New York in just one hour. The aircraft manufacturer today filed a second patent for a supersonic plane that could take people between the two cities faster than it takes to drive across London. The patent outlines designs for a huge rocket engine that would allow it to travel at more than 3,425 mph - more than four times the speed of sound ..."
Square Hare from Delaware
Website visitor Steve R. wrote requesting that I scan and post this article from the September 1962 issue of American Modeler magazine. Says, Steve, "I built one of these back then on Galloping ghost and it went great till servo failed (modified mighty Midget motor). Later I built another for Class one Aerobatics fitted with OS 40 and Kraft Propo, this was very successful. Nostalgia strikes and I'd like to build another as a sport model." Square Hare from Delaware is a bit unique in that its wing has no spar and is constructed from diagonally arranged ribs sandwiched between 3/32" balsa sheeting. Looking at all the hardware required just for the elevator control really makes you appreciate modern radio gear with servos. Hopefully ...
America's Top Flyers Reveal Their Contest-Winning Secrets
Most avid gas free-flighters - even younger enthusiasts - will immediately the names in this list of Who's Who from a 1957 article in American Modeler. Carl Goldberg, Stanley Hill, Frank Ehling, John Tatone, and the others were pioneers of the free flight realm. Unlike many other model aircraft types, the variety in fuselage, wing and empennage shapes, engine downthrust and overall configurations is quite wide. These 11 profile silhouettes, even without top views to show wing and tail planforms, amply illustrates my point. Even today's winning model exhibit a similar diversity ...
Air Force to Allow Enlisted Airmen to Fly Global Hawks
"In a further move to ease the strain on increasingly taxed remotely piloted aircraft crews, the Air Force announced recently that enlisted personnel will be integrated into the fold. However, enlisted soldiers will only pilot the unarmed, high-altitude, long-endurance RQ-4 Global Hawks surveillance aircraft. The Air Force is not considering measures to allow enlisted airmen to fly armed RPAs such as the MQ-1 Predator and ..."
Stanzel ElectroMic "Copter" Ad in Montgomery Ward X-mas Catalog
Since originally posting information on my newly-acquired Stanzel ElectroMic "Copter," I ran across an advertisement for it in the 1969 edition of Montgomery Ward's Christmas catalog. The one my parents bought me was probably gotten sometime a bit earlier - maybe 1965 or 1966. I plan to eventually post a short video of the Copter flying, but just haven't gotten around to it yet. Stay tuned ...
Dial-A-Type Type Bar Print Head for Engineering Characters
Here on page 402 of the Montgomery Ward 1969 Christmas catalog is a special type bar print head for the company's 'Signature' line of electric typewriters that permits special characters for engineering, mathematics, international language, and medicine. If you look down the page here, you'll see a red key on the keyboard that activates the Dial-A-Type type bar. The 'type bar,' BTW, is the arm with the embossed character on the end that strikes the inked ribbon to print a character on the paper. Although I could not find any instructions online, it appears the two rows of characters are accessed with the normal and shifted key presses, and a twist of the Dial-a-Type head ...