- Home Page Archive: #39 (Current) -
"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." Lord Kelvin, 1895

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:

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Modeling News Archive:

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Review of Russian Airpower

Review of Russian Airpower, February 1942 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsAircraft historians might find the information from this 1942 edition of Flying Aces magazine useful. As has long been the case on many Russian airplanes and helicopters, the basic outlines - and often even the details - are recognizable from the original versions designed by the United States, England, and Germany. The Russkies have been short on design and test capabilities and long on materials, manpower, and espionage agents. It wouldn't be so bad if the copying was not so obvious. Even their attempt at a space shuttle was a carbon copy of ours. If not for their leaders' commitment to Communism and Socialism, Russia could be ...

Float Like a Robot, Think Like a Bee

Float Like a Robot, Think Like a Bee - Airplanes and Rockets"Cornell University engineers have been experimenting with a new type of programming that mimics the mind of an insect. The developed sensors and algorithms may soon support autonomous, small-scale robots like Harvard University's RoboBee, an 80-milligram flier that could perform a variety of roles in agriculture and disaster relief. Even the most lifelike bug-bot could be thrown off by a gust of wind or a mid-air obstacle. Cornell's sensing system aims to steer a RoboBee around trouble, adjusting its flight to avoid ..."

James Webb Space Telescope Completes End-to-End Test

James Webb Space Telescope Completes Critical End-to-End Test - Airplanes and Rockets"NASA's $8.8B James Webb Space Telescope has completed critical end-to-end testing in a giant vacuum chamber at the Johnson Space Center, proving the telescope will work properly in the deep cold of space, bring starlight to a sharp focus and precisely track its astronomical targets when launched in 2019, engineers said Wednesday. 'The successful completion of this test represents a very significant milestone for JWST,' said Bill Ochs, the telescope's project manager at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. 'It verified the alignment of the telescope ..."

How to Bend Music Wire Landing Gear (video)

How to Bend Music Wire Landing Gear (video) - Airplanes and RocketsI am in the process of building a control line C-47 Skytrain model using plans drawn by Walter Musciano. I knew making the scale landing gear was going to be a challenge because it requires bending two pieces of 1/8" music wire with six 90° bends apiece. It seems easy enough in theory, but in practice getting the opposing axel end to line up in opposition is not trivial. Making the first one took two tries, as did the second one. the problem was that the two did not match each other very well. I tried fudging it by bending some weird angles to get the spacing right, but the lengths of the legs were different enough ...

Model World on the International Scene - January 1968

Model World on the International Scene (January 1968 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsDecember 1967 was the last edition of the Academy of Model Aeronautics' American Modeler magazine, and this January 1968 edition of American Aircraft Modeler was the first with the new name. Interestingly, editor Bill Winter does not mention the name change in his monthly "Straight and Level" column. For that matter, I checked up through the May issue and still no mention. Printing and distribution lagged publication for many months back in the day, but usually comments of previous editions began appearing within three or four months. Nothing. Anyway, here are some ...

Video: Model Rocketry - "The Last Frontier" - 1977

Video: Model Rocketry - "The Last Frontier" - 1977 - Airplanes and RocketsWilliam Shatner (aka "Captain Kirk" of the original "Star Trek" television series) hosted this 1977 video produced by Estes Industries. Titled, Model Rocketry - "The Last Frontier", it shows not only snapshots of various Estes model rockets, but also video of actual launches from cameras mounted on the rockets and cameras mounted at the base of the launch pad - pretty cool for the day! ...

Flyin' Jenny Comic Strip - December 28, 1941

Flyin' Jenny Comic Strips: December 28, 1941 Baltimore Morning Sun - Airplanes and RocketsThe Baltimore Sun newspaper, published not far from where I grew up near Annapolis, Maryland, carried Flyin' Jenny from the late 1930s until the strip ended in the mid 1940s, so I saved a couple dozen from there. The first one I downloaded has a publication date of December 7, 1941 - that date "which will live in infamy," per President Roosevelt. Many Americans were receiving word over the radio of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor while reading this comic at the breakfast table ...

Flite Kite  .049-Powered Box Kite

Flite Kite, April 1957 American Modeler - Airplanes and Rocketshere is an old adage about aircraft that says with enough power just about anything can be made to fly. The F-4 Phantom and F-104 Starfighter jets are prime examples. In 1957, kids and adults were still obsessed with flying machines and created all sorts of crazy craft. Flying dog houses, witches on brooms, flying doors, flying lawnmowers, and flying outhouses were popular novelty projects. Ken Willard even created a Flying Bandana. This Cox .049-powered box kite doesn't fall into the same category as an F-4 Phantom, but it does apply as far as making anything fly if you hang an engine on it. Although author McLarty claims you can adapt a toy store box kite ...

Quiz #1: Models and Manufacturers

Quiz #1: Models and Manufacturers - Airplanes and RocketsYour knowledge of model aircraft kits, engines, and equipment will need to stretch back a couple decades to score 10 out of 10 on this model aircraft themed quiz. Winners get a free 1-year subscription to the Airplanes and Rockets website. Good luck ...

Unmanned Helicopter Enables Rapid Resupply

Unmanned Helicopter Enables Rapid Resupply - Airplanes and Rockets"Autonomy options for the Marine Corps have taken a major step forward, as the Office of Naval Research completed a helicopter flight demonstration with autonomous capability that will enable the Marine Corps to rapidly resupply forces on the front lines. The system consists of a sensor and software package that can be integrated into any manned or unmanned rotary-wing aircraft to detect and avoid obstacles in unfavorable weather conditions ..."

RC Hobbies on Air, by Jose Lozano

RC Hobbies on Air, by Jose Lozano - Airplanes and RocketsMr. Jose Lozano wrote recently to let me know about his RC drone resources website called RC Hobbies on Air. As with many people these days, Jose appears to have really become a drone (multirotor) enthusiast - enough so to create an entire website dedicated to helping others decide what is the best way to get started with RC drones. He gives a rundown on features and characteristics of various modern drone models. If you have been considering getting into RC drones, then you might want to give his site a looking over ...

Queen of the R/C Fleet: U.S.S. California Battlewagon

Queen of the R/C Fleet: U.S.S. California Battlewagon, March 1957 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsRadio-controlled battleship combat is a major sport these days with serious "players" investing thousands of dollars into their craft. The all-electric model boats are scale replicas of actual battleships and sport multiple screws (propellers), bilge pumps, gyro stabilizers, fully motorized and steerable gun turrets complete with CO2-powered BB-shooting guns. The models take hundreds of hours to build, rig, and test. The objective is, after all, to literally sink your opponent's ship! The California model in this American Modeler magazine article actually carried "twelve 38-cals and ten 22s" - something you won't find today ...

The Best of EAA's 2017 AirVenture

The Best of EAA's 2017 AirVenture - Airplanes and Rockets"If you were there in person, you already know: AirVenture 2017 was a big success. If you missed this year's excitement in Oshkosh, let the numbers tell you everything you need to know. More than half a million people attended, making this the biggest AirVenture ever, and those guests were treated to more than 10,000 aircraft and so many thrilling air shows. We'd say EAA has its work cut out to make the 2018 show better than this one, but we won't be shocked when it happens. So much happened at this year's AirVenture that it was almost impossible to cover it all, but here's a look back at some of our favorite ..."

Gee Bee R-1 and R-2: Air Racing with World's Fastest Pony Kegs:

Gee Bee R-1 and R-2: Air Racing - Airplanes and Rockets"Today it's impossible to think of the golden age of air racing without an R-1 or R-2 Gee Bee roaring across the mind's eye. To the aviation public, the Gee Bees air racing - and vice versa. And that's only right. When Granville engineer, Pete Miller, drafted the first lines for the 'R' series of Super Sportsters, there was no way he could have known that he was designing a legend. And an airplane that would have people shaking their heads for the next 70 years. In fact, since the last Gee Bee roared around a pylon in 1933/34 there have been no ..."

Sites Are Great in Kansas City

Sites Are Great in Kansas City from August 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsKansas City Radio Control Association (KCRC) has been around for many decades. Its AMA club number of #390 was assigned in 1954. That was 66 years ago as of this writing, but it was only 8 years old when this feature article appeared in American Modeler magazine. Since at least 1962, the KCRC flying field (now named "Charles W. Reed III Flying Field") has been located just west of Lake Jocomo, in Kanas City. This article discusses not just the KCRC flying site, but many of the others in the surrounding area. I count 11 on the included map, including parks, schools, and parking lots. It is interesting to compare the maps ...

First Helicopter Flight, November 13, 1907

First Helicopter Flight, November 13, 1907 - Airplanes and Rockets"On 13 November 1907, French engineer and bicycle maker Paul Cornu made history by becoming the first man to fly in a rotary wing aircraft. The primitive helicopter - a twin-rotor craft powered by a 24-horsepower engine - only lifted Cornu about 1.5m off the ground, holding him there for 20 seconds at Coquainvilliers, near Lisieux in France. But that was enough for Cornu to take his place in the history books as the first man to successfully fly a rotary wing aircraft. Paul Cornu was born in 1881 in the French town of Lisieux, where the local high school is named after him to this day. Once he reached working age, he joined his father ..."

The Wasp Engine's Great Leap Forward

The Wasp Engine's Great Leap Forward - Airplanes and Rockets"The only aircraft engine to be designated an historic landmark. Advances in propulsion are what drive aviation development. Innovative airplanes almost always start with innovative engines, and the airframes follow. In 2016, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers celebrated just such an engine. The society designated the Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp a technology landmark, the organization’s highest award, because the Wasp singlehandedly brought about a leap forward in aircraft performance and economics. The tale of its development is still ...

Hobbico Files for Bankruptcy - Goodbye Tower Hobbies & Great Planes?

Hobbico Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Airplanes and RocketsTower Hobbies and Great Planes Bankruptcy - Airplanes and RocketsAnother great American company is circling the drain! I've been a contented Tower Hobbies customer since the 1970s. "Hobbico filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday, which could result in 332 layoffs at its Champaign facility. In a statement, Hobbico said that it plans to sell the company and will continue operating throughout the bankruptcy process. Hobbico also said that as it has grown, it has added too much debt and hasn’t been able to successfully restructure, especially facing 'an increasingly competitive industry, market headwinds and a series of one-off events with key suppliers." Hobbico was formed in 1986 when Clint Atkins combined two companies he bought: Don Anderson's Great Planes Model Distributors and Bruce Holecek's Tower Hobbies, which was founded in 1971 ...

Short Snorter Flying Wing C/L Model

Short Snorter, October 1958 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsIf you are looking for a little bit different type of control line model, then Short Snorter might fit the bill. It was designed by George Hinz and appeared in the October 1958 issue of American Modeler magazine. Short Snorter is .20 to .35-size stunt or combat model that is essentially a flying wing, and features a built-up fuselage and wing. The wingspan is around 40", but of course since you will be printing the plans, you can make the model larger or smaller. standard construction materials and methods are used throughout. Mr. Hinz cautions about making certain that the center of gravity is properly located since a tail ...

Flyin' Jenny Comic Strip - December 21, 1941

Flyin' Jenny Comic Strips: December 21, 1941 Baltimore Morning Sun - Airplanes and RocketsThe Baltimore Sun newspaper, published not far from where I grew up near Annapolis, Maryland, carried Flyin' Jenny from the late 1930s until the strip ended in the mid 1940s, so I saved a couple dozen from there. The first one I downloaded has a publication date of December 7, 1941 - that date "which will live in infamy," per President Roosevelt. Many Americans were receiving word over the radio of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor while reading this comic at the breakfast table ...

Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) Registration Service

Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) Registration Service - Airplanes and RocketsOn December 12, 2017, President Trump signed legislation that has the effect of reversing the earlier court ruling in the John Taylor case and restore the FAA's sUAS registration requirement, including for AMA members. "AMA believes that registration makes sense at some level, but has pushed for a more reasonable threshold. While we address these issues, members will be legally required to comply with the FAA registration requirement." It does not make sense to me because as usual, law-abiding people suffer the inconvenience and cost of legislation, while the majority do as they please. Fortunately, I kept my registration card from January of 2016 when this outrageous scheme began ...

Modeling Magazines: Past and Present

Modeling Magazines: Past and Present - Airplanes and RocketsHere is a list of many classic modeling magazines that are now or have been in print within the last decade or so. Unfortunately, most of these magazines are now out of print. Some have disappeared altogether while others have online-only editions. Fortunately, though, a few benevolent souls have taken it upon themselves to scan hundreds of past issues and made them available in PDF format at no charge to everyone. The Archive.org website's Wayback Machine™ has captured many years worth of the magazines' webpages, so all ...

Are Flying Cars Coming to the Skies?

Are Flying Cars Coming to the Skies? by John Hawthorne - Airplanes and RocketsMr. John Hawthorne contacted me recently about an article he published on the IQS Directory website titled "Are Flying Cars Coming to the Skies?" It reviews two most notable examples of research and development by companies - AeroMobil, Terrafugia (Latin for "escape the earth") - and mentions Uber's ambition of providing rooftop taxi service in high traffic urban areas. We are still a long way off from the goal of flying cars being a common sight, or ever a rare one for most of us. There are still many technical, safety, and regulatory obstacles to overcome before you or I will be transitioning our person ride from an automobile to an airplane or helicopter anytime soon.

AMA Now Offering Commercial Drone Insurance

AMA Now Offering Commercial Drone Insurance - Airplanes and RocketsThe Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) just announced in the January 2018 issue of Model Aviation that they are now offering commercial drone insurance. Liability insurance with protection of $½ million, $1 million, $2 million or more is available, plus you can also get hull insurance on the drone platform itself. AMA Membership is required for purchase, but you do not need to be a member to get a quote using the online form. ...

Stealth Drone Has No Moving Surfaces at All

Stealth Drone Has No Moving Surfaces at All - Airplanes and Rockets"BAE Systems has unveiled a new aircraft design that could be a major advance in stealth technology. The new MAGMA drone does away with aircraft control surfaces, resulting in an aircraft whose shape remains constant throughout its entire flight. The small demonstration aircraft, which has completed a successful first flight, uses blown air to change direction instead of complex mechanical controls. Most airplanes look unmoving in flight, like a wing hanging off a giant tube plowing through the sky. Look more closely however and you'll see smaller ..."

R/C at the Nationals, November 1953 Air Trails

R/C at the Nationals, November 1953 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsRadio controlled aircraft were really still in their infancy in 1953. Many R/C transmitters, receivers - all vacuum tube circuits - were beginning to appear in hobby magazines, but other than operating in FCC-designated frequency bands, there was not much in the way of standardization in modulation schemes. Therefore, intercompatibility between brands - or even between model types within a brand - was not guaranteed. The names you see mentioned here - Hal deBolt, Walt Good, Howard McEntee, Claude McCullough - were for a long time the most prominent figures ...

Reconstructing NASA's Moon-Mission Audio

Reconstructing NASA's Moon-Mission Audio - RAirplanes and Rockets"You've heard, 'One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind,' but how about a lesser-known quotation from the Apollo lunar mission like: 'Ok, we still got radar landing guidance.' The University of Texas at Dallas launched a project to make all of the moon-mission audio accessible, from the memorable to the mundane. Dr. John H.L. Hansen, Chengzhu Yu, Dr. Abhijeet Sangwan, and Lakshmish Kaushik pose with a model of an astronaut at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. The four oversaw the project to ..."

Flyin' Jenny Comic Strip - December 14, 1941

Flyin' Jenny Comic Strips: December 14, 1941 Baltimore Morning Sun - Airplanes and RocketsThe Baltimore Sun newspaper, published not far from where I grew up near Annapolis, Maryland, carried Flyin' Jenny from the late 1930s until the strip ended in the mid 1940s, so I saved a couple dozen from there. The first one I downloaded has a publication date of December 7, 1941 - that date "which will live in infamy," per President Roosevelt. Many Americans were receiving word over the radio of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor while reading this comic at the breakfast table ...

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A.C. Gilbert Engineering Society (add to Erector Set page)

Video: A Conversation with Vern and Gleda Estes

A Conversation with Vern and Gleda Estes

Home of Jim Walker & The American Junior Aircraft Company

Home of Jim Walker & The American Junior Aircraft Company - RF Cafe

3-D Printed R/C Spitfire

3D Printed R/C Spitfire Video - Airplanes and Rockets 

 

Ronald Valentine's Smallest Engines in the World

Ronald Valentine's Smallest Engines in the World - Airplanes and RocketsRonald Valentine engines is one f the very few manufacturers remaining of miniature model aircraft engines - both glow fuel and diesel, single- and multi-cylinder. Prices are amazingly reasonable, too. "We are the manufacturers of the world's smallest model engines. We have been manufacturing miniature model engines for over 30 years. We specialized in 2-stroke diesel engines for model airplanes, boat and cars. Next to this we manufacture multi-cylinder engines 2-stroke and 4-stroke as glow or diesel engines. Our challenge is to develop and present the world's finest ..."

SR-72 "Son of Blackbird" Could Be Back - and Hypersonic

SR-72 Hypersonic Spy Plane - Airplanes and Rockets"For years, Lockheed Martin Corp. has been developing a successor to one of the fastest aircraft the world has seen, the SR-71 Blackbird, the Cold War reconnaissance craft that the U.S. Air Force retired almost three decades ago. Lockheed officials have said the hypersonic SR-72 - dubbed the 'Son of Blackbird' by one trade journal - could fly by 2030. But a rather curious talk last week at an aerospace conference by a Lockheed Skunk Works executive implied that the SR-72 might already exist ..."

Shape Memory Alloy Key to Morphing Wings on Experimental Aircraft

Shape Memory Alloy Key to Morphing Wings on Experimental Aircraft - Airplanes and Rockets"NASA has successfully used a heat-activated shape memory alloy to morph an aircraft's wings in flight tests, an advance with potential benefits for subsonic and future supersonic aircraft. The flights which took place at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, was part of the SAW (Spanwise Adaptive Wing) project that aims to validate the use of a lightweight material to fold the outer portions of aircraft wings and their control surfaces to optimal angles in flight. SAW ..."

Rocket Lab's Electron Rocket Successfully Reaches Orbit for 1st Time

Rocket Lab's Electron Rocket Successfully Reaches Orbit for 1st Time - Airplanes and Rockets"RocketLab has successfully launched their Electron Rocket. It took three small satellites into orbit. The company is preparing for a possible Moon mission later this year. U.S.-based spaceflight startup company, Rocket Lab completed their second successful test flight this weekend reaching orbit for the first time. The company's Electron rocket launched from New Zealand at 2:43 PM local time on Sunday, and successfully deployed three commercial satellites about eight and a half minutes later. This was Electron's first full ..."

C–47 That Led D-Day Flies Again

C–47 That Led D-Day Flies Again - Airplanes and Rockets"With photographers poised to capture the moment and spectators watching in person and from all over the world online, the C–47 "That's All, Brother" took off from Wittman Regional Airport on a clear, blustery afternoon, circling the airport and concluding the brief flight with an overhead pass, accompanied by a Beechcraft Bonanza chase plane. The flight crew included pilot-in-command Doug Rozendaal, second-in-command Tom Travis, and engineer Ray Claussen. According to the Commemorative Air Force, which acquired and restored the airplane. The Oshkosh flight, the first ..."

Super Wood Could Replace Steel

Super Wood Could Replace Steel - RF Cafe"Engineers at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) have found a way to make wood more than 10 times times stronger and tougher than before, creating a natural substance that is stronger than many titanium alloys. 'This new way to treat wood makes it 12 times stronger than natural wood and 10 times tougher,' said Liangbing Hu of UMD's A. James Clark School of Engineering and the leader of the team that did the research. 'This could be a competitor to steel or even titanium alloys, it is so ..."

Cleo Robotics Demonstrates Uniquely Clever Ducted Fan Drone

Cleo Robotics Demonstrates Uniquely Clever Ducted Fan Drone - Airplanes and Rockets"This donut-shaped drone, not technically known as a dronut, offers a tasty combination of safety and ease of use. At last year’s CES, Cleo Robotics was showing prototypes of a palm-sized drone with a design unlike anything we’d ever seen. Shaped like a donut, the Cleo drone is essentially a ducted fan, with a pair of completely enclosed propellers (one on top of the other) and then a camera, battery, and electronics housed inside the shell. Its compact ..."

Shark Inspired Airfoil Improves Lift and Reduces Drag

Shark Inspired Airfoil Improves Lift and Reduces Drag - Airplanes and Rockets"A shark skin-inspired design can dramatically improve the lift of an aerofoil, according to researchers in the US. The tiny tooth-like scales on a shark's skin called denticles have previously been shown to reduce drag, this latest research shows that they also boost the lift-to-drag ratio of an aerofoil. As well as offering paths to improved aerodynamic design, the researchers say that their work provides important insight into the role of shark morphology on swimming efficiency. Like most fish, shark's ..."