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Drones - Airplanes and Rockets

R/C Airplane Records Video While Flying over New York City

August 1957 American Modeler

August 1957 American Modeler Table of Contents

These pages from vintage modeling magazines like Flying Aces, Air Trails, American Modeler, American Aircraft Modeler, Young Men, Flying Models, Model Airplane News, R/C Modeler, captured the era. All copyrights acknowledged.

If you saw the "shocker" headline this week (December 4, 2010) about the R/ C airplane that recorded a video while flying over the New York Harbor, you might think that this is a first. It is not. The August 1957 edition of American Modeler had a story on page 8 about a QL-17 drone, operated by the Army's Signal Corps Engineering Labs at Fort Monmouth, being remotely piloted while filming an area of New York City.

RC plane over Statue of Liberty - Airplanes and RocketsHere is the video that was posted on YouTube on November 30, 2010. The video shows Team Black Sheep flying in New York, over the Brooklyn and Verazano Bridge, around Downtown Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. It all began with their post on the RC Groups website, and evidently caused quite a stir with Homeland Security, but no charges were filed...yet anyway.

It is undoubtedly a cool video and demonstrates superb piloting, but the AMA will probably not look too favorably at the event since it is constantly fighting the FAA to keep R/C aircraft from being regulated under its airspace rules for remotely piloted unmanned aircraft.

Nullo QL-17 Radio-Controlled Drone Video Over New York City - Airplanes and Rockets

Hey, R/C'ers, how would you like to fly something like this? "This" is a remote controlled job fitted with a TV camera shooting out of its belly. L-17B 4┬Ěplace liaison craft built in 1948 recently modified into QL-17 drone by Temco for Army's Signal Corps Engineering Labs at Ft. Monmouth.

The QL-17 operates R/C on "auto" pilot by means of on-off type radio signal and a ground-control station that can be' transported in a jeep. For "sight unseen flight,". plane's operation is coupled with a new Signal Corps radar. Babcock equipment (shown in cockpit below) is also used in transmitter.

At altitudes of 5000 ft., the 50-lb, high-quality TV camera transmits pic-ture of the terrain up to 40 miles away. As a combat vehicle, the craft would serve as an airborne TV "eye" permit-ting pilotless surveillance of difficult-to-reach enemy installations. A photo re-corder at the receiving station can take still pix or movies of the continuous ter-rain picture TV'd back for "future ref-erence."

Signals from ground station to 42-lb auto-pilot brain regulate stability, altitude and airspeed. Special control provision prevent stalls, overspeeding, excessive loss of altitude, other hazardous conditions. When drone mission is completed, ground controller flicks "approach" switch which automatically posi-tions landing gear, flaps, prop pitch and power in proper sequence for landing.

Further advanced NULLO (no living pilot) tests will be at Army's Ft. Huachuca, Ariz., Electronic Proving Grounds.

As the photo above indicates the editorial offices of American Modeler are but a half block from the United Nations buildings in New York City. So we find ourselves in a lot of photographs these days. But to our knowledge this is the first time we, or the UN, have been "shot" via R/C.

Aircraft shown on the cover, Army 71344, has been undergoing extensive flight tests to determine how violent the turbulence caused by jet aircraft on takeoff can be to a light plane. The drone is subjected to sonic shock waves in flight.

Nullo QL-17 Radio-Controlled Drone Vide Equipment - Airplanes and Rockets


Team Black Sheep's viral video

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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 ...

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