About Airplanes & Rockets

Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and Rockets
Kirt Blattenberger
Carpe Diem!
(Seize the Day!)

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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Copyright 1996 - 2016
Webmaster:
Kirt Blattenberger
BSEE - KB3UON
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Modeling Resources

Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) - Airplanes and Rockets
Academy of Model Aeronautics

Tower Hobbies logo - Airplanes and Rockets
Tower Hobbies

Horizon Hobby logo - Airplanes and Rockets
Horizon Hobby

Brodak Manufacturing - Airplanes and Rockets
Brodak Mfg.

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- Welcome to the Airplanes & Rockets Website -
"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." Lord Kelvin, 1895

Midget Motor Mania: Vintage Model Car Racing Video

Midget Motor Mania: Vintage Model Car Racing Video - Airplanes and Rockets"Adventures of a Newsreel Cameraman" was a series of short documentary films produced by 20th Century Fox in the 1930s. They covered topics including the relatively new technologies of airplanes, rockets, and electronics. The video is posted on YouTube by The Best Radio Controlled Car Reviews website titles it "History of Radio Controlled Cars Classic and Vintage RC Cars," which is a misnomer because there is nothing about R/C in the film (thanks to them, anyway). It does have ...

UAV Makes Record Endurance Flight

UAV Makes Record Endurance Flight - Airplanes and Rockets"Vanilla Aircraft's VA001 combustion-powered UAV has achieved a world record with a non-stop, unrefuelled 56-hour flight. The flight of the 36' wingspan ultra-long endurance aircraft was submitted for a world duration record for combustion-powered UAVs in the 50-500 kg subclass. A representative from the US National Aeronautic Association was present to witness the record. The flight was planned as a 120-hour mission but ended prematurely due to forecasted severe icing and range restrictions. Despite this, the Falls Church ..."

Tower Hobbies Deluxe Power Panel

Tower Hobbies Deluxe Power Panel - Airplanes and RocketsSomething about using electric power systems for model airplanes has never filled sufficiently the 'hole' left by not hearing an internal combustion engine screaming. I switched over to electric more than a decade ago when the energy output of brushless motors and Li-Po batteries hit parity with glow engines. I have to admit that the reliability and ease of use of electric systems has its attractive features, not to mention no fuel mess to clean off the model. After finally deciding to start using Cox .049 engines again, I needed to re-acquire the field ...

National Model Aviation Museum Adds Plans

National Model Aviation Museum Adds Plans & Articles - Airplanes and RocketsAccording to the January 2017 issue of the Academy of Model Aeronautics' (AMA) Model Aviation magazine, the National Model Aviation Museum has acquired the right to the plans and articles published by Mr. Ed Sweeney's Potomac Aviation Publications, between July/August 1966 and March 1975. That includes American Modeler and American Aircraft Modeler magazines. Interestingly, posted in the announcement is the provenance of titles for the AMA's official monthly magazine. I have collected many editions over the years through purchases on eBay, and have ...

Safety Test Proposal for Drone Users

Safety Test Proposal for Drone Users - Airplanes and Rockets"That could be the outcome of a government consultation on strict new drone safety rules. There could also be tougher penalties for anyone who flies a drone in a no-fly zone, with the possibility of a new criminal offence of misuse of a drone. Drone use has become widespread in the past few years, with drones available cheaply in high street shops. The government says drones have enormous economic ..."

Safe Shooting For Your High School Rifle Team

Safe Shooting For Your High School Rifle Team, July 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsIn the 1950s and even up through around the early 1970s, many public schools had rifle clubs as extracurricular activities for students. Believe it or not, even schools in the big cities - like Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, New York - hosted rifle clubs. I have heard stories from guys who used to take their .22 rifles to school while riding on the subway with them on the way to and from school. Do you recall news reports of the day involving inner city shootings as a result of it? Me neither. This was a generation of kids whose parents fought in World War II and Korea ...

Artificial Feathers Let Drones Morph Their Wings Like Birds

Artificial Feathers Let Drones Morph Their Wings Like Birds - Airplanes and Rockets"Birds have been developing winged flight technology ever since they stole it from the dinosaurs back in 160 million years ago. Early on, top bird aeronautical engineers realized that wings have a fundamental problem: They give you both lift (which you want) and drag (which you don’t). Lift is important for take-offs and landings and maneuverability, but once you get off the ground and are going fast enough in a straight line, mostly wings just keep you from going even faster. The solution ..."

Lowell Observatory to Renovate Pluto Discovery Telescope

Lowell Observatory to Renovate Pluto Discovery Telescope - Airplanes and Rockets"The instrument at Lowell Observatory used by Clyde Tombaugh to discover Pluto will soon undergo renovation. The year-long project, set to begin on January 12, will include restoration of both the historic telescope and the wooden dome that houses it. While the telescope will be removed from the dome during this work, the dome will be open from time to time for public tours as work allows. The Pluto Telescope and its dome date ..."

Paper Towel Holder Project

Paper Towel Holder Project (supermodel Melanie) - Airplanes and RocketsOne of the first woodworking projects I remember doing after Melanie and I were married and in our own house was making a paper towel holder out of some scrap pieces of oak flooring. The wood was in the basement of the house, probably from when it was originally installed sometime in the 1950s. A few pieces were glued together along their tongue and groove edges, and then scraped and sanded to a smooth, flat surface. The bottom curved relief shape was retained for character. At some point during our many household moves, the paper towel holder ...

Commercial Spaceflight Hits a Milestone

Commercial Spaceflight Hits a Milestone - Airplanes and Rockets"When Chris Ferguson commanded the final space shuttle mission in July 2011, he and his crew members left behind something on the International Space Station: a small American flag that had flown on the first shuttle mission three decades earlier. 'It will hopefully maintain a position of honor until the next vehicle launched from U.S. soil brings U.S. astronauts up to dock with the space station,' Ferguson explained. As the director for crew and mission operations at Boeing, Ferguson is one of the leaders ..."

Earn Your CAA Remote Pilot in Command License

CAA-Approved Drone Flying Courses - Airplanes and Rockets"Sky-Futures' Basic Drone Certification Course will enable persons and organizations in the UK to reach the basic standard required to operate drones under a CAA Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO). For the past two years, Sky-Futures has trained Emergency Service and Enterprise clients in the safe use of drone technology in the UK. Sky-Futures holds CAA National Qualified Entity (NQE) status. Under these privileges, Sky-Futures will provide an all new online ground school ..."

Airports: Biggest and Busiest

Airports: Biggest and Busiest (March 1940 Boys' Life Article) - Airplanes and RocketsLaGuardia Airport was dedicated on October 15, 1939 as the New York Municipal Airport, and opened for business on December 2 of that year. It was built on the site of the old Gala Amusement Park at a cost of $40 million. This aerial photograph was taken within a couple months of when LaGuardia first opened since it appeared in the March 1940 issue of Boys' Life magazine. The Google map satellite view is below the page scan, and I superimposed the 1940 runways and taxiways on top of it for comparison. You can see where expansions were built into the water to accommodate longer runways ...

Dxers: See Neil Carleton's (VE3NCE) Worldwide Radio Stamp Collection

Neil Carleton's (VE3NCE) Radio Stamp Collection, Kirt's Cogitation #279 - RF CafeAs you might expect, Ham radio operators tend to be the type of people who engage in more than one pastime. Many are handy with tools and like doing challenging home improvement projects and renovations of cars, trucks or antique furniture. Others enjoy hobbies like flying model airplanes and/or rockets, boating, fishing, baseball, and other endeavors of skill and prowess. Some, like Canadian amateur radio operator Neil Carleton (VE3NCE), count stamp collecting amongst their extracurricular activities. Stamp collectors are known properly as philatelists. Neil does not collect just any kind of stamps ...

Amazon Files Patent for Flying Warehouse

Amazon Files Patent for Flying Warehouse - Airplanes and RocketsAmazon has filed a patent for massive flying warehouses equipped with fleets of drones that deliver goods to key locations. Carried by an airship, the warehouses would visit places Amazon expects demand for certain goods to boom. It says one use could be near sporting events or festivals where they would sell food or souvenirs to spectators. The patent also envisages a series of support vehicles that would be used to restock the flying structures ...

Aerospace Headline News

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archives -

Flame Retardant in Li-Ion Batteries Could Quench Fires

Japan's Low-Cost Rocket Fails at 1st Launch

Report Outlines Risks for Drones Flying Beyond Line of Sight

21 HS Students Win AOPA Scholarships

RC Planes Take Flight in Dayton

Register for the UAS4STEM Search & Rescue Challenge!

Ouch! Going to Space Is Bad for Astronauts' Backs

Lithium-Metal Battery Doubles Energy Density of Existing Technology

Gilbert Erector Set Ad in the December 1935 Boys' Life Magazine

Gilbert Erector Set Advertisement (December 1935 Boys' Life) - Airplanes and RocketsThe the A.C. Gilbert Company was incorporated by founder Alfred Carlton Gilbert, in 1916, in New Hartford, Connecticut. Erector Sets were a very popular learning toy for young boys who liked using their hands and minds to build working models of bridges, towers, cranes, trucks, and all sorts of electro-mechanical contraptions. I owned a couple small Erector Sets as a kid because my parents figured I had a penchant for construction and destruction ;-) This advertisement appeared in the December 1935 issue of Boys' Life magazine. If you ever peruse vintage magazines of ...

Inside the Spruce Goose

Inside the Spruce Goose - Airplanes and Rockets"Acres of blueberry, hazelnut, and hop farmland 60 miles from the Pacific Ocean in northwest Oregon seem an unlikely home for one of aviation's giants. The Howard Hughes-designed H-4 Hercules dubbed the Spruce Goose, a mammoth eight-engine flying boat that flew only once nearly 70 years ago, sits land locked in McMinnville, about 1,000 miles north of its birthplace in Southern California. The aircraft attracts a steady stream of visitors to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, a sleek glass ..."

X-Ray Video Show How Lithium-Ion Batteries Explode

X-Ray Video Show How Lithium-Ion Batteries Explode - Airplanes and Rockets"Lithium ion batteries are the go to energy source for gadgets, powering everything from our smartphones to our laptops. But too much use can cause them to run down, overheat, and in the case of some faulty phones, explode. Now scientists have used X-rays to peer inside lithium batteries to find out why some of them swell like a pillow. They revealed that when the batteries are overheated or overcharged, chemical reactions produce gas inside the cells causing the pillowing effect. A team from ..."

Cox Model 789-3, 1½-Volt Starting Battery

Cox Model 789-3, 1½-Volt Starting Battery - Airplanes and RocketsLong before rechargeable NiCad and nickel-NiMH batteries were used for starting model airplane engines, we used standard primary type (non-rechargeable) 1.5-volt dry cells. In fact, the nominal 1.2-volt-per-cell potential of NiCad and NiMH batteries were barely high enough to sufficiently light the ignition coils in the glow heads and/or glow plugs, which were designed for 1.5 volts. Today's glow plugs work just fine on 1.2 V or 1.5 V. I have written before about how as a kid on a very small modeling budget, I would often spend a long time flipping the propeller of my Cox .049 engines ...

Daisy BB Gun Ad in the December 1935 Boys' Life Magazine

Daisy Air Rifle Advertisement (December 1935 Boys' Life) - Airplanes and Rockets"Be careful or you'll shoot your eye out." That is the famous line from A Christmas Story, where the plot centers around Ralphie Parker scheming to get a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun, aka the "official Red Ryder carbon action 200-shot Range model air rifle with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time." This Daisy BB gun advertisement appeared in the December 1935 issue of Boys' Life magazine.

Tern Tailsitter Drone: Pilot Not Included

Tern Tailsitter Drone: Pilot Not Included - Airplanes and Rockets"One of the oddest military drones aborning reinvents a stillborn technology from 1951. That's because the unmanned aircraft revolution is resurrecting configurations that were tried more than a half century ago but proved impractical with a human pilot inside. The case in point: Northrop Grumman's new Tern, a drone designed to do everything armed MQ-1 Predators or MQ-9 Reapers can, but to do it flying from small ships or rugged scraps of land – i.e., no runway needed. 'No one has flown a large, unmanned tailsitter ..."

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Kirt Blattenberger