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
Kirt Blattenberger
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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

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 ..."

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 ..."

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 ...

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 ..."

Giant R/C Airbus A-320 Flown Indoors at Stuttgart, Germany

Giant R/C Airbus A-340 by Airstage Flown Indoors at Stuttgart, Germany - Airplanes and RocketsThis giant Airbus A-320 lightweight is the creation of Airstage craftsman. CEO Rainer Mugrauer is himself an active R/C modeler. Airstage says, "Our expertise lies in the design of remote-controlled flying objects and their eye-catching presentation for events and show productions." It has a 189" wingspan and weighs only 13 oz (filling the model with helium helps reduce the flying ...

Morphing Wing Changes Shape to Boost Performance

Morphing Wing Changes Shape to Boost Performance - Airplanes and Rockets"A new type of composite wing that can change its shape according to flight conditions has been made from a lattice of small, lightweight components. This morphing ability could allow for more aerodynamic, maneuverable and fuel-efficient aircraft that are also simple to construct. Described as a 'digital-material' approach to aeronautical design, the technology was developed by a collaboration involving NASA and several U.S. ..."

Baby Boom Set for Supersonic Debut

Baby Boom Set for Supersonic Debut - Airplanes and Rockets"Boom Technology's XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator has been designed to cruise at Mach 2.2 and is a one third subscale prototype of a supersonic passenger airliner proposed by the Denver-based company. '60 years after the dawn of the jet age, we're still flying at 1960s speeds,' said Blake Scholl, chief executive officer and founder of Boom. 'Concorde's designers didn't have the technology for affordable supersonic travel, but now we do. Today, we're proud to unveil ..."

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 ...

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 ..."

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.

Bob Hoover, Flying Legend, Dies at 94

Bob Hoover, Flying Legend, Dies at 94 - Airplanes and Rockets"News of the death of legendary test pilot and aerobatics pioneer Bob Hoover this morning has brought grief to the aviation community. Hoover, known among his many fans as the 'pilot's pilot,' died at about 2 a.m. PT, according to reports. He was 94 years old. Hoover's flying career began when he was a teenager. He soon enlisted and flew in World War II as a fighter pilot. After being shot down off the coast of southern France and spending 16 months in a German POW camp, he famously ..."

Wankel Engine Appearance in World Engines Advertisement

Airplanes and Rockets website visitor Barry D. from Belgium, wrote to ask whether I had a copy of an advertisement run by World Engines that featured the OS-Graupner Wankel rotary engine. I remember seeing those ads way back in the 1970s, so I began looking at the World Engines ads in the January 1970 issue. Finally, in the March 1972 edition, there it was. The entire ad and a full-size scan of just the Wankel engine are shown below.

Feature: Maxwell's Hobby Shop in Erie, Pennsylvania

Maxwell's Hobby Shop in Erie, Pennsylvania - Airplanes and RocketsMaxwell's Hobby Shop is owned and run by Joe Maxwell and wife, Mary. Joe (a very nice guy) has been operating his eponymously named hobby shop in Erie, Pennsylvania, for many decades. The 600 sq. ft. shop is stuffed to the gills with kits and equipment for all types of aeromodeling, including free flight, control line, and radio control. There are many supplies for boats, helicopters, multirotor drones, and cars as well. Joe is an avid control line flyer and a member of the Bean Hill Flyers control line club, so there is a very nice stock of control line ...

Wright Experience Honors Original 1903 Flyer

Wright Experience Honors Original 1903 Flyer - Airplanes and Rockets"Orville and Wilbur Wright were secretive and extremely protective of the designs for their new flying machines, said The Wright Experience's Ken Hyde, an aircraft restorer who unlocked their mysteries. 'If they hadn’t been so secretive there would be nothing for us to discover,' Hyde said from his working museum in Warrenton, Virginia. His sleuthing led to the modern-day Wright Flyer and Wright Glider re-creations that are now hanging in several well-known aircraft museums. Hyde explained ..."

Aerospace Headline News

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archives -

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

AOPA Announces >$156k in Scholarships

Russian Hypersonic Glider Can Penetrate Any Missile Defense

National Museum of the USAF Opens 4th Building

Estes TRANSROC Model Rocket Locator Beacon

Estes TRANSROC Model Rocket Locator Beacon, Estes Model Rocket News, v11-n2, 1971 - Airplanes and RocketsAirplanes and Rockets website visitor wrote to ask that I scan and post this article from a 1971 edition of the Estes Model Rocket News publication. "Hey, this is GREAT!" Can't you just hear your friends when you fly your model rocket with the Estes TRANSROC -- the latest in miniature Space Age electronics? You'll have lots of fun, too, becoming an expert with this multi-purpose transmitter that will literally transform your model into a "talking bird" ...

Nats-Winning Carousel C/L Stunter

Carousel C/L Stunt, March 1961 American Modeler Magazines - Airplanes and RocketsThe Carousel is one of those C/L model airplane designs that, after reading the description, you wonder how it was able to flown to a first place finish at the Nats. It is full of oddball gadgetry and implementation techniques, beginning with the twin boom configuration and a long nose moment arm. The flaps are a 3-piece deal with the center section coupled directly to the elevator bellcrank as is normal, but the outboard flap sections were controlled independently by a weighted pendulum arrangement that is intended to adjust automatically based on the direction the model ...

1970 RC Nationals

1970 RC Nationals, December 1970 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Doug H. wrote to ask that I post this article on the AMA's 1970 Radio Control Nationals. He is collecting information on Don Coleman's accomplishments in the modeling world. If you have any information to that extent, please send it to me and I will see that Doug gets it. Don Coleman designed the Cutlass and Sweettater RC pattern aircraft. Lots of familiar names appear in the winners list ...

Sheer Nonsense? No, Sir!

Sheer Nonsense? No, Sir!, September 1957 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsMr. Richard Von Berg wrote this great introduction to the basics of shear forces within an airplane wing. It appeared in a 1957 issue of American Modeler, but the principles have not changed since then. If you are familiar with the terms wing loading, shear, compression, tension, and bending moment but are not quite sure exactly what they mean, this short piece is exactly what you need ...

Two Guys in Jetpacks Fly over a Massive Airliner in Dubai

Two Guys in Jetpacks Fly over a Massive Airliner in Dubai - RF CafeThis is a really cool video, but my first thought when seeing it was how now we have a new method of explosives delivery by dedicated suicide bombers. The turbine jet engines used by the jetpack guys are from the model airplane industry. If you haven't seen the radio controlled (R/C) jets in action, do a YouTube search and be amazed at the talent of what is out there. Anyway, the next time you're on a flight and have a window seat, you have a responsibility to keep a watch for a jetpack guy or gal on your wingtip ...

Lionel Train Set Ad in the December 1935 Boys' Life Magazine

Lionel Trains Advertisement (December 1935 Boys' Life) - Airplanes and RocketsWho among us that is older than 45 or 50 did not have an HO-gauge Lionel model train set as a kid? I know I did... well, at least I think it was Lionel, but given our family's low financial status, it was probably a knock-off brand of some sort. Still, we've all had a mode train set at some point. Lionel Corporation started in business in 1900 and stopped production of its original line of model trains in 1969. When my kids were about 12 years old, we made an N-gauge model train layout on a 4'x4' hunk of 3/4" plywood ...

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