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Aerospace Headline News

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FAA: Fly Under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft

WomenVenture Returns to Oshkosh

Time to Change 50-Year-Old Aviation Curriculum

Companies Team to Develop Avionics for Drones

FAA to Discontinue DUATS Program in May

Webb Telescope Launch Delayed Until 2020

Aviation, Social Mobility, and the American Dream

Amazon, Google, Others Developing Private Air-Traffic Control for Drones

Helicopter to Accompany NASA's Next Mars Rover to Red Planet

Helicopter to Accompany NASA's Next Mars Rover to Red Planet - RF Cafe"Promising results from recent ground testing and a funding boost provided by a new NASA budget passed by Congress earlier this year helped NASA leadership decide that the 4-pound Mars Helicopter could be ready in time for launch with the space agency's next rover mission in July 2020. 'You should see the big smile on my face right now,' said Mimi Aung, project manager for the Mars Helicopter mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. 'It's phenomenal because this has never been done before.' In an interview with Spaceflight Now on Friday, Aung said nearly 5 years ..."

Easily Made Fiberglass Cowls

Easily Made Fiberglass Cowls, 1962 Annual Edition American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Dan T. (see his photos from a decades-ago use of this method) wrote to ask that I scan and post this article, which appeared in the 1962 Annual edition of American Modeler magazine, on making fiberglass cowls. It is a variation on vacuum bagging that exploits the even tension applied by the elasticity of a rubber balloon. Although limited to relatively small forms, it has the advantage of low cost and complexity, and it eliminates the potential nuisance of the mold release agent not being fully coated and causing separation issues. This method will probably not work too well with shapes that need localized indented areas more than 1/32" to maybe 1/16" deep (like cooling fins). The article did not originally make ...

Research Examines Wing Shapes to Reduce Vortex and Wake

Research Examines Wing Shapes to Reduce Vortex and Wake - RF Cafe"Recent research demonstrated that, although most wing shapes used today create turbulent wake vortices, wing geometrics can be designed to reduce or eliminate wingtip vortices almost entirely. In the study, the vortex and wake characteristics were computed for three classic wing designs: the elliptic wing, and wing designs developed in classic studies by the researchers. It's common to see line-shaped clouds in the sky, known as contrails, trailing behind the engines of a jet airplane. What's not always visible is a vortex coming off of the tip of each wing - like two tiny horizontal tornadoes - leaving behind a turbulent wake ..."

How to Buy a Warbird

How to Buy a Warbird - RF Cafe"By today's standards, warbirds are clunky, noisy, dirty, inefficient and expensive to operate, not to mention almost completely impractical. Despite those drawbacks, owning and operating a warbird can be thrilling. Flying an ex-military airplane demands pilots update their flying experience to ready themselves for the challenges of handling an airplane that’s often configured with conventional landing gear and connected to power plants that create sizable amounts of torque. Most warbird pilots told us they began their warbird experience by logging time in either a T-6 or Stearman ..."

Women's Work

Women's Work, from April 1951 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsRosie the Riveter is perhaps most recognized symbol of wartime aircraft production, having come about in World War II (although women also built trucks, tanks, guns, sewed uniforms, made boots,...). She is also symbolic of women entering the workforce en masse. After WWII, many women went back to being housewives and raising families with war-weary servicemen looking to resume peaceful lives. The respite didn't last long, as the Korean conflict began within a week of the time the first atom bomb was dropped on Japan in August of 1945. The U.S. entered the fray in fall of 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea. Once again, America's women answered ...

Zunum Aero's Hybrid Electric Airplane Aims to Rejuvenate Regional Travel

Zunum Aero's Hybrid Electric Airplane Aims to Rejuvenate Regional Travel - Airplanes and Rockets"The startup is building short-haul aircraft for Boeing and JetBlue that combine gas turbines and batteries. In the century that's elapsed since the dawn of commercial aviation, air transportation has become pretty well refined. Yet paradoxically, it's easier to fly halfway around the world than to travel to a nearby city. As a result, many people shun air travel when taking short trips. ..."

Virgin Galactic Completes 1st Rocket-Powered Unity Spacecraft Launch

Virgin Galactic Completes 1st Rocket-Powered Unity Spacecraft Launch - Airplanes and Rockets"Virgin Galactic successfully launched and landed its Unity spacecraft by rocket power, completing its first powered flight in almost four years. Richard Branson's space company shared a photo of the SpaceShipTwo model spacecraft as it blasted into the air above the Mojave Air and Space Port before going supersonic and landing safely. "VSS Unity completed her first supersonic, rocket-powered flight this morning in Mojave, California. Another great test flight, another ..."

A Status Report of Aviation and Aerospace Education in California

A Status Report of Aviation and Aerospace Education in California - Airplanes and RocketsAfter seeing an article titled, "High School Aviation: California Style," from the June 1968 issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine, website visitor Janice H. sent me a copy of this 1972 document titled, "A Status Report of Aviation and Aerospace Education in California," by Earl W. Sams, California State Department of Education, Sacramento. Janice is working to get the Anderson Valley High School in Boonville, California, to create a memorial to the program and its administrators and students ...


Boats: Speed, Scale, Radio Control

Boats: Speed, Scale, Radio Control, January 1961 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsCompetitive model boating was a popular sport in the 1960's as radio control systems became more affordable and reliable. Of course if you have a glitch in your radio with a boat, the consequences are usually much less that with an airplane. This report in a 1962 edition of American Modeler magazine tells of one California model boating club that lost its "field" (a park lake) due to "excessive and unnecessary noise." Yep, it was happening way back then. On the other hand, it also reports on a club in New Jersey where the parks department constructed a pier for them to use. As usual, your fortunes depend on the preferences and sentiments of government bureaucrats. Many people these days are using brushless motor setups in their ...

NASA X-Plane Aims to Stifle Sonic Booms

NASA X-Plane Aims to Stifle Sonic Booms - Airplanes and Rockets"NASA has given Lockheed Martin a $247.5M contract to build a supersonic airplane that might help speed up air travel. The Concorde was fast. Indeed, it was capable of speeds up to just over twice the speed of sound (Mach 2.04 or 1,354 mph) and flying from New York to Paris took just over 3.5 hours. But that speed came with issues, the biggest of which were the loud sonic booms created by the Concorde when flying faster than the speed of sound. The FAA banned overland supersonic commercial flights in 1973 because of the noise and complaints created by sonic booms. This meant supersonic flight was only allowed over oceans ..."

3-D Printed R/C Spitfire

3D Printed R/C Spitfire Video - Airplanes and RocketsStepan Dokoupil and Patrik Svida founded 3DLabPrint in 2015 in Brno, Czech Republic. Since that time, they have literally revolutionized flyable model airplanes. The 3D-printed models like this Spitfire are utterly amazing. There are currently 14 scale designs including a P-38, P-51D, F4U, P-47, BF-109, MIG-15, and PT-17, plus a trainer. The guys at FliteTest put together this video and one for the P-38 Lightning. You'll find many others on YouTube. 

House of Representatives Passes FAA Reauthorization Act

News Alert! - Airplanes and RocketsNews Alert! - Airplanes and RocketsToday, the House of Representatives passed the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R.4), a long-term reauthorization of the FAA. We are happy to share that Section 336, also known as the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, is included in this bill with meaningful refinements that we supported to help make it stronger. We especially want to thank the thousands of members who participated in our Call to Action in the last few weeks to let Congress know the importance of protecting our hobby. Your efforts during this critical time have made a significant impact. While much of what we fought for was included in this bill ...

Art Chester Racer

Art Chester Racer, January 1952 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsTypical of the era, this Art Chester Racer control line model is very curvaceous and ruggedly constructed. Modelers of the day enjoyed crafting models of full-size airplanes, often requiring months of building an finishing. For many, it was their only means of participating in the exciting realm of aerospace - at least until old enough to earn the money required to engage in full-scale aviation. Hobbyists lived the lives of their pilot heroes vicariously through models. In the time between then (1950's) and now, private aviation has gone through a cycle of being relatively expensive to own and/or fly airplanes, to a time ...

Festo Engineers Unveil Robotic Flying Fox

Festo Engineers Unveil Robotic Flying Fox - Airplanes and Rockets"Engineers at German automation giant Festo have unveiled a flying semi-autonomous robot based on one of nature's most unusual mammals: the flying fox. The robot was developed by the group's Bionic Learning Network, a cross-disciplinary group of scientists and engineers tasked with developing a handful of concepts each year, in order to explore concepts that may help shape manufacturing in the future. The firm typically unveils the fruits of these labours ahead of each year's Hannover Messe. Previous creations have included robot ..."

UK Spaceports Set for Lift-off with Passing of Space Industry Bill

UK Spaceports Set for Lift-off with Passing of Space Industry Bill - Airplanes and Rockets"British businesses will soon be able to compete in the commercial space race using UK spaceports following the passing of the Space Industry Bill. Receiving Royal Assent on 15 March 2018, the bill is hoped to build on Britain’s existing expertise in the space sector by unlocking a new era of space innovation, exploration and investment. It is envisaged that British businesses and institutions will be able to launch small satellites and scientific experiments from UK spaceports, which are also expected to facilitate future developments ..."

Peanuts Skediddler Collection

Peanuts Skediddlers Collection - Airplanes and RocketsThis is the complete set of Peanuts Skediddlers, sold by Mattel. Linus is extremely difficult to find, and when you do, he typically sells for $200 or more. If you find a Linus Skediddler with the original box, expect to pay $400. Over time, our (Melanie and me) Peanuts collection of memorabilia has grow from the few items she had left over from her girlhood to complete sets. Everything was gotten via eBay auctions. It took a lot of patience to be able to get good quality items at an affordable ...


Mechanics Technology Science Photo Revue

Mechanics Technology Science Photo Revue, December 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsAir Trails - Hobbies for Young Men magazine covered a wide variety of subjects of both model and full-scale. All things fast and/or exotic were of great interest to America's youth in the day, and everything was fair game for modeling. Lockheed's now long-famous C-130 Hercules was just making its maiden flight as a prototype YC-130 in 1954 when this edition was published. Grumman's F9F-9 Tiger jet fighter became the F11F Tiger while the F9F designation became the significantly different-looking F9F Cougar - no confusion there. The Cessna 620, a 4-engine version of their successful 310 (get it? - 2 x 310 = 620), never made it past the prototype phase ...

Record-Setter Aviator Fran Bera Remembered

Record-Setter Aviator Fran Bera Remembered - RF Cafe"Pilot Frances 'Fran' Bera, who accumulated more than 25,000 flight hours, ferried surplus military aircraft after World War II, set a world altitude record, and taught and examined pilots for more than seven decades, died February 10 in San Diego, California, at age 94. According to recognition posted on the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Wall of Honor, Bera's aviation feats included a tryout for the astronaut program, flying as a chief pilot for aircraft manufacturers Beechcraft and Piper, numerous air races, and more than 3,000 check rides as an FAA ..."

Burgess Salutes United on 20th Anniversary of Transcontinental Airmail

Burgess Salutes United on 20th Anniversary of Transcontinental Airmail, January 1941 QST - RF CafeThis thankful commemoration of the 20th anniversary of U.S. Air Mail service from Burgess Battery Company, which appeared in a 1941 issue of QST magazine, encompasses most of my major lifetime interests. First and foremost, from my earliest memories, is a love of airplanes (and all things that fly for that matter). A DC−3 (my favorite multi-engine propeller plane) is shown in one of the photos as is a Ford Trimotor, which Melanie and I have flown on. Next comes the electrical, electronics, and radio communications aspects, which encompasses the aircraft wiring ...

Flyin' Jenny Comic Strips: January 18, 1942

Flyin' Jenny Comic Strips: January 18, 1942 Baltimore Morning Sun - Airplanes and RocketsThis is the January 18, 1942, "Flyin' Jenny" comic strip. The 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. I expect that soon there will be World War II ...

International Miniature Racing

International Miniature Racing, August 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsAh, the simpler times when enjoyment, competition, and industry could be found on a slot car race track in a musty basement. Pre-fab models were rare in the day, and those that could be bought couldn't hold a candle to those hand crafted by young men like the ones in these photos. It was not a pastime only for the younger set, though. Older guys with metal lathes and fine crafting tools created museum quality masterpieces ...

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Kirt Blattenberger