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:
Radio Control Installations
Anyone who has been in aeromodeling for more than a decade or so is familiar with the name William (Bill) Winter. Bill has been in the model airplane realm for longer than a lot of us have been alive and is one of the true pioneers of the sport. He has served as editor for a couple aircraft modeling magazines, and has written countless articles both for the magazines he edited and for other special interest magazines. When Popular Electronics came on the scene in the mid 1950s, Bill was editor of Model Airplane News. Radio control was beginning to mature from its infant state when only hobbyists with an intimate knowledge <more>
Too Much Conformity Among Today's Model Builders
In this article from the August 1959 American Modeler, Ford's Director of Research, Dr. Andrew A. Kucher, laments, as the title suggest, the lack of originality and invention on the part of "today's" aero modelers. He was one of the pioneers of the lifting body concept, having applied for a patent in 1926 based on his research. Dr. Kucher magnanimously offered the technology to anyone interested in developing aircraft that can exploit the phenomenon. Dr. Kucher's goal was not necessarily a pure lifting body, but the inclusion of the feature into fuselages in order to assist the wings in generating lift. Look at any of today's fighter aircraft and you will see evidence of his work.
"Rocket College" for Model Makers
See anyone you know here? If so, he's probably in his 70s now. This article from the August 1959 edition of Model Aviation tells the story of a "Rocket College" where the Army allowed some of its officers to give instruction on some of the technical concepts of model rocketry from a professional perspective, including some hands-on activity at Camp A.P. Hill, in Bowling Green, Virginia. This was a time when the military very actively promoted youth aeronautical activities rather than sponsoring "Save the Earth" and diversity seminars in school classrooms.
Kawasaki Ki-61 "Tony"
It's hard to imagine back when it had only been 14 years - to the month - since the Japanese surrendered to the U.S., that this article was written in the August 1959 edition of American modeler. The Imperial Japanese Air Force, like the German Air Force (Luftwaffe), was made up of highly skilled pilots and increasingly capable aircraft. The Japanese were a notable more terrorizing enemy since many were willing to sacrifice their lives in battle, whereas the Germans were more of the mindset of living to fight another day.
Wee-38 Lightning Profile C/L
I have always indented to build a multi-engine model of some sort, but never have gotten around to it. With the plethora of ready-to-fly (RTF) and almost RTF (ARF) models on the market today at very reasonable prices, there is no real good excuse for not doing it; so I'll have to stick with my bad excuses. But I digress. This simple twin "Wee-38" Lightning uses a pair of Cox .020 or .049 engines and solid balsa components. You could electrify the model with equivalent power. P-38s make one of the nicer looking profile scale subjects because of the twin tail booms and short fuselage.
Ramblin' Wreck - Vintage R/C Combat
Radio control combat flight is a huge sport these days. You might be tempted to think that it is a late-comer to the model airplane sport realm, but if so, you'd be wrong. Here is an article from the December 1959 American Modeler magazine that describes the successful effort of modelers half a century ago pioneering R/C combat. Per author H. Donald Brown, "With us, mid-air crashes have out-numbered cut steamers but the damage minor in most eases." The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The Buckets Comic Strip Model Rocket Episodes
A daily comic strip titled "The Buckets" has been running a series of "Rocket Shootin' Day Handy Rules." It began on July 25 and is still running as of July 30. The artists is obviously familiar with model rocketry as the Scout troops feature some familiar themes.
Jetex Fuel Pellet Cache Increase!
I had the good fortune of being contacted by a famous modeler in Oklahoma who offered me a rather large stock of Jetex fuel pellets for a very reasonable price. Most are for the Jetex "35" and the Jetex "200" model engines, but there are a few packages for the Jetex "350" and the Jetex "400." As a bonus, there was a Jetex PAA Loader 150 engine, too!
Bean Hill Flyers - July 2011 Control-Line Fly-In
On July 17, 2011, the Bean Hill Flyers help an informal control-line fun fly at their field located in Albion, Pennsylvania. The club has members from as far east as Erie and Meadville, PA, and stretching west all the way to Cleveland, OH. It was a perfect summer day with temperatures in the low to mid-80s, light winds, and a clear, blue sky. Field proprietor Dalton Hammett graciously keeps the flying area mowed with a closely cropped circle to facilitate aircraft with smaller wheels. <more>
Lost Aircraft Photographs from World War II
XenonProject.com Model Distributors
Kevin H. ,of XenonProject.com, wrote to ask whether his company could be featured on the Airplanes and Rockets homepage. While I have not personally dealt with them, they appear to have a great selection of R/C helicopters, airplanes, boats, cars, and trucks - both electric and nitro. You can even buy an R/C tank or snowmobile. I didn't see any submarines, though. Please take a look.
Sketchbook - February 1968 AAMThis Sketchbook was scanned from the February 1968 American Aircraft Modeler, page 44. Most building tips are timeless. Even in this era of ready-to-fly (RTF), almost-ready-to-fly (ARF), bind-and-fly (BAF), etc., there are still many modelers who build their own aircraft. Nearly all top tier competition fliers build their own models, as do aficionados of vintage (aka old-timer) models. Some guys just would rather build than buy a pre-build airplane, whether from a kit or from plans.
Rubber Motor Testing
Rubber-powered free flight, to the uninitiated, might appear to be a simple sport. Maybe even to the casual free flighter is simple. Wind the rubber band, launch the model, recover the model, repeat. Truthfully, that's about the way it has always been for me. However, many free flight enthusiasts are more competitive and like to know how to get the most performance out of every inch or ounce of rubber. As with most aspects of every hobby, the science of rubber motors has become quite precise. Even as far back as 1968, when this article appeared in AAM, hobbyists were experimenting with rubber dimensions, <more>
The Lorenz Transmitter - December 1954 PE
This article is from the December 1954 edition of Popular Electronics, written by E. J. Lorentz about his transmitter design. It used a single 3A4 vacuum tube. As was the technique of the day, point-to-point wiring was used in the chassis; printed circuits boards were yet to become ubiquitous. Of course all the components are leaded, since surface mount packages did not become common place until the late 1980s. The good thing about those methods is that just about anyone with a soldering iron could build the circuits.
Flying the R/C Plane - December 1954 PE
I purchased a couple batched of vintage Popular Electronics magazines off of eBay for use on my engineering website, RF Cafe; however, upon scanning through the pages I was pleasantly surprised to find that many articles on radio controlled airplanes were included. The 1950s and 1960s were relatively early in the R/C sport, and such things were still considered a novelty. This article was written by none other than Bill Winter, former editor of American Modeler, American Aircraft Modeler, and Model Airplanes News.
Thimble Drome TD-1 Control Line Airplane
Thimble Drone - later to become Cox - sold its first ready-to-fly control line model beginning around 1959. The wings were of built-up construction with ribs and thin, molded sheets of aluminum skins. A modified Space Bug .049 engine was used for power. There was no spring starter on the early .049 engines, but a rubber finger guard was provided to help spare the modeler's finger.
A Triplet of Tenderfoot Models
visitor Kenneth E. wrote to say that he is working to build a complete collection of the Tenderfoot models that were
published in American Aircraft modeler. The Tenderfoot series was an attempt to provide motivation to young newcomers
to the hobby. They were a mix of freeflight rubber, gliders, and 1/4A &
control line designs that built simply and cheaply. Kenneth requested reprints of the following three models:
Saucerer, Ray Malmström: C/L 1/2A, Jan 1970
Bonanza and Mustang, David Thornburg: HLG, Jan 1971
Clodhopper, Paul Denson: FF Rubber Feb 1973
Vintage RC Helicopters WebsiteJoe Richardson, located in the UK, has created a very nice resource for Vintage RC Helicopters. He has put a lot of effort into collecting and organizing data on some of the earliest RC helicopters, including magazine articles, advertisements, and other bits from around the Web and personal material. Joe asked for and received scans of helicopter-related articles from my collection of magazines.
ScanEagle Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)
Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPVs) have been around for a long time. They started out in about the 1930s when remote control was beginning to be reliable enough to trust an expensive airborne platform with its equipment. Most early RPVs were target practice drones, but by World War II, top secret programs were using them as decoys and for flying reconnaissance into dangerous areas. The craft were large, heavy, noisy, and <more>
Inside the Two-Cycle Engine
Even while electric propulsion systems are gaining ground in the modeling realm, 2- and 4-cylinder engines are still quite popular amongst modelers. I have made a switchover totally to electric, but I sure miss the sound and smell of the nitro engines. For those who still use internal combustion engines, and for those who just want to learn a little more about how these model engines work, this article by Glenn Lee will be a very useful read.
Northrop Grumman X-47B Maiden Flight
Is this cool or what? Unmanned aerial dog fighting is not far off. I suppose taking the human pilot out of the equation greatly reduces risk to the mission and aircraft, but the drama is not quite there anymore without the guy in the cockpit. Even in Star Trek and Star Wars there were still humans (or aliens) flying the battle craft. I must say it was always a bit strange that such high tech guns seemed to miss their targets more often than they hit them; surely automated systems acquired and tracked targets with infinitely greater <more>
Imperial War Museum
This article for the Imperial War Museum appeared in the September 1968 edition of American Aircraft modeler. "The Imperial War Museum, London, England, was founded by the War Cabinet in March, 1917, and established by Act of Parliament in 1920 as a memorial to the effort and sacrifices made by men and women of the British Empire during the First World War." Among the array of weapons there are displayed about ten semicutaway aircraft models of World War II.
I Finally Got a Cox Fokker DR.I Triplane!Back in the 1970s, the Evening Capital newspaper, for which I delivered newspapers and my father, Art, was the classified ad department manager, had a contest where if you signed up a certain number of new customers, you got to chose from a list of prizes. The one I coveted was a set of Cox WWI airplanes. I know it included a Fokker DR.I triplane, a Fokker Dr.VII biplane, and a Sopwith biplane. If you can find any of those models now, they are selling for a couple hundred dollars each on eBay. <more>
Outboard Model Boat MotorsOutboard motors for model boats have been available for a long time. Advertisements in modeling magazines from the 1950s (as far back as my collection goes) has plenty of them. Ailyn's Sea Fury outboard motor and the Fuji outboard motors are just a couple examples for which I have copies of the ads. As of this writing, there is a Fuji .15 outboard motor up for bid on eBay. It appears to me in remarkably good condition. <more>
"Insect" Free-Flight Tenderfoot Model
Here is the article and plans for the "Insect" that I electronically scanned from my purchased copy of the April 1970 American Aircraft Modeler magazine. Rogallo Wings were all the rage in the 1970s as hang gliding was really gaining in popularity, so the modeling world joined in the fun. An article for the R/C Flexi-Flier, complete with a G.I. Joe pilot, was published four years after this free flight model.
Astro-Jeff Vintage Open Class Sailplane
If you are looking for a large, Open Class vintage sailplane to build, it's hard to imagine a better subject than the Astro-Jeff. It was featured in the August 1974 edition of AAM, and is now offered in full and short kit options by Mr. Jim Ealy, at the Vintage Sailplaner website. I'm looking forward to the day an Aquila kit, with fiberglass fuselage, is finally available. Mr Ealy?
Sketchbook | Lafayette Radio Ad
These hints and tips from the Sketchbook feature of vintage American Modeler magazines are timeless. Many of the techniques are useful today, even in the era of ready-to-fly models. Radio control equipment manufacturing was a wide open field up through the 1960s. Here is an old Lafayette Radio ad from the June 1959 American Modeler.
Model Motor Museums
Model engines that were just being released for production in the year this article was written are now 52 years old, and would therefore now qualify as vintage engines in any modern model engine museum. The article's author, Pete Chinn, probably did not even conceive of the possibility while writing his piece in November 1959. He has some enviable model engines from as far back as the Stagner 7.4 cu.in. V-4, circa 1909. At the time, the Wright Brothers were developing engines not a lot larger than that for their full-size craft <more>
Here is the follow-on article for Model Motor
Museums in the December 1959 edition of American Modeler. It has a couple dozen more photos.
America's First "National" Championship