Flying model helicopters of any sort were
fairly rare in 1952, when this edition of Air Trails magazine hit the news
stands. The sophisticated, miniaturized, smart stabilization systems of today's
models were not available at any price, and radio control was the realm of military
research vehicles. Methods for driving the rotors included glow and gas engines,
rubber bands, and even Jetex engines. Many free flight helicopters sported the
arrangement of a pair of engines at the end of a moment arm which caused rotation.
Cox .010 and .020 engines were a popular choice, as were the Jetex engines. I always
wondered what happened when …
years a Crosley 03CB console radio shows up on
eBay. I keep a Saved Search
to get an e-mail when one becomes available, mainly to get an idea of how many are
still around. My research based on Newspaper.com issues of old newspaper advertisements
indicates the Crosley 03CB models were primarily sold in the PA, NJ, NY, DE, CT,
OH, and MD areas. Per the eBay listing: "Working condition, lights up and plays
some stations. Need some refinishing on the cabinet." If you are looking for a restoration
project, this would be a good subject for only $50. As can be seen from
my restored Crosley 03CB radio, the cabinet and electronics are
very robust and attractive. It's worth a look …
"It was a beautiful Sunday morning, and nobody
was flying. My open-cockpit biplane, a Great Lakes 2T-1A-1, was just the answer
for a relaxing start to the day. It's a great airplane for sightseeing. It flies
low and slow, and turns on a dime. I departed Montgomery Airport (KMYF) in San Diego
and put down at nearby Gillespie Field (KSEE) for a delicious cheese omelet. When
I departed, it was still a ghost town; the Gillespie controller even offered an
intersection departure on the perpendicular runway, just for fun. I departed into
the clear, gorgeous empty sky. What could possibly go wrong? I let my instincts …"
1962 AMA Nationals competition was considered the first major contest for scale
radio controlled airplanes. To wit, this article from the 1963 Annual edition of
American Modeler, says R/C scale "finally 'came of age.'" Proportional
radio sets were becoming common and the reliability of the airborne electronics
and batteries was going up while weight and size was coming down. Modelers were
much more willing to trust the radios to safely control models that often took many
hundreds of hours to build. Sharing frequencies at or near to the 27 MHz band
allocated by the FCC to R/C was still a huge risk, but the venues of major contests
provided protected areas that were far enough from most interference …
"Drones are not, as is often assumed, a 21st-century
development. Far from it. Their history goes back more than 100 years, but the
rate at which they are changing our everyday life continues to accelerate. So we
thought it is worth looking back and seeing where the concept came from, how it
developed, and where it stands today. Given the current rate of change, it's obvious
we're only seeing the tip of what is going to turn out to be a very big technological
and cultural iceberg. Drones constitute a fundamental transformation in both military
and civilian realms. In an unmanned air system (UAS), the miniaturization in technologies …"
1938 was still two decades away from when
America would launch its first Earth-orbiting satellite and three decades from when
man would first walk on the moon, yet work was well underway by enthusiastic aerospace
engineers, scientists, astronomers, project managers, and others to accomplish those
goals. While this
Boys' Life article boasts of rockets attaining speeds of 800 miles per
hour, leaving Earth's gravitational pull for a trip to the moon would require a
escape velocity of 25,000 miles per hour. Telescopes powerful enough to survey the
moon's surface for determining a safe location for landing were being readied with
telescopes like constructed 200-inch Hale reflector …
"MIT engineers have designed a robotic glider
that can skim along the water’s surface, riding the wind like an albatross while
also surfing the waves like a sailboat. In regions of high wind, the robot is designed
to stay aloft, much like its avian counterpart. Where there are calmer winds, the
robot can dip a keel into the water to ride like a highly efficient sailboat instead.
The robotic system, which borrows from both nautical and biological designs, can
cover a given distance using one-third as much wind as an albatross and traveling
10 times faster than a typical sailboat. The glider is also relatively lightweight,
weighing about 6 pounds. The researchers hope …"
Less than a year before the U.S. was officially
drawn into World War II with surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, American fighter
pilot Lieutenant Thomas McBride provided this first-hand report on what he perceived
to be the current status of the
German air force (Luftwaffe). While in France he noted bizarre behavior of young
German pilots, often with no more than a few hours of flight instruction, making
deadly rookie flying mistakes and strafing ambulances and farm animals for sport
and blood lust. Older pilots with slower reflexes were put in higher performance
aircraft and could not compete with younger British pilots, while plebes in the
same airplanes could not, due to insufficient training, handle the power and maneuverability.
Blacking out under high G forces and not allowing sufficient altitude for vertical
bombing runs spelled the end to many Luftwaffe airmen …
Having been a typical kid in the 1960s and
70s, I had an
It was Set 3 per my memory, based on remembering the box lid picture. You might
recall a set or two of your own. Alfred Carlton Gilbert founded the A.C. Gilbert
company in 1909 in Westville, Connecticut, and produced many varieties of Erector
Sets, as well as other educational hobby items like chemistry sets (I had one of
those, too). The A.C. Gilbert Engineering Society website has a really nice history
on the company and lots of photos - including likely one of the Erector Set your
parents gave you …
"For robots of all sizes, power is a fundamental
problem. Any robot that moves is constrained in one way or another by power supply,
whether it's relying on carrying around heavy batteries, combustion engines, fuel
cells, or anything else. It's particularly tricky to manage power as your robot
gets smaller, since it's much more straightforward to scale these things up rather
than down - and for really tiny robots (with masses in the hundreds of milligrams
range), especially those that demand a lot of power, there really isn't a good solution.
In practice, this means that on the scale of small insects …"
SIG Manufacturing, forever located in Montezuma,
Iowa, is among the ranks of a dwindling number of America's original model airplane
kit and accessories makers and distributors. Sig's catalog from the early 1970s
was the first hobby catalog I ever owned. You can bet I read it cover-to-cover many
times, wishing to own everything on its pages. In case you don't know, the name
SIG is a shortened version of Sigafoose, which is the last name of the company founders,
Glen and Hazel Sigafoose. According to a press release, "In February 2011 SIG Manufacturing
Co., Inc. was purchased by Herb Rizzo (President), David Martin (VP and General
Manager), and Ron Petterec (VP) …
This is the January 25, 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 themes.
"Flyin' Jenny," whose real name was Virginia Dare (what's in a name?), was a test
pilot for Starcraft Aviation Factory who divided her time between wringing out new
airplane designs and chasing …
"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 …"
Website 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,
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 …
"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 …"
"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 …"
Rosie 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
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 …
"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 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,
After 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,
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 …
"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 …"
Competitive 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 …
Today, 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
Stepan 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 other on YouTube.
"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 ants,
penguins, kangaroos, seagulls …"
Typical 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 …
This 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 price …
"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 …"
"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 …"
Air 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 …
This 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 …
This 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 …
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. It took a lot of patience to be able to get good quality items at
an affordable price. The "Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz" book was very helpful
in identifying which Peanuts memorabilia items were made. The author mentioned that
the rarest Hungerford doll piece was
the piano that came with Schroeder, so a saved search was placed on eBay and after
about a year …
Ah, 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
"The death of pilot Harry Brooks 90 years
ago ended dreams of an 'air Flivver.' Long before Elon Musk, there was Henry Ford.
Never satisfied to revolutionize just one industry, he typically worked on several
at once. Over the course of his career, beside mass-producing Model Ts, Ford dabbled
in shipbuilding, home construction, rubber planting in Brazil, radio broadcasting,
soybean farming, and, for a brief period in the 1920s and early 1930s, aviation.
In 1925, Ford introduced the all-metal Tri-Motor …"
This is a complete set of the
Peanuts Bobblehead (Nodder) figures. They're
not perfect, but in pretty good condition. Over time, our Peanuts collection of
memorabilia has grown 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 price. The "Peanuts: The Art
of Charles M. Schulz" book was very helpful in identifying which Peanuts memorabilia
"Dutch company PAL-V prepares to bring the
world's first flying car to the market next year. The production version of the
flying car PAL-V Liberty has made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland.
The Dutch company said that it is working on the final certification process to
make the car legal. PAL-V also said that the certification process would begin after
the Geneva Motor Show. The PAL-V Liberty looks more like a race car than an aircraft,
according to automotive experts. The car has a narrow body and has two side-by-side
seats on the front. The car …"
"A bankruptcy court judge approved Horizon
Hobby's $18.8M purchase of Hobbico's remote-control business Monday, which means
Hobbico employees must reapply for their
jobs at Horizon before the purchase is completed Friday. Hobbico's more than 300
employees were made aware of this possibility last week, after Horizon was the lone
bidder in a bankruptcy auction for Hobbico, which filed for Chapter 11 protection
in January with the goal of finding a new buyer. 'As mentioned in yesterday's Town
Hall Meetings, Hobbico employees who are interested in being considered to work
at Horizon Hobby are …"
themed comics appeared in the September and December 1962 issues of American
Modeler magazine. I am scanning new model aviation comics as they become available
- and as time permits. If you have editions of any of these old magazines and would
either scan the comics and e-mails them to me, or perhaps send me the magazine (I'll
pay shipping), I'll be glad to post them …
"A Chinese research team has developed an
ultrafast plane which can also carry dozens of people and tonnes of cargo. The team
says the plane can travel at hypersonic speed and can fly between New York and Beijing
in two hours, which usually takes 14 hours on a passenger jet. The two cities are
approximately 11,000km apart. This means the plane will travel at more than 6,000km/h
(3,700mph), 5x faster than the speed of sound. The team is also involved in China's
top-secret hypersonic weapons …"
Every week Model Airplane News sends
out an e-mail that includes a link to a page of tips and tricks for building models.
There are usually about 10. This week's has a great tip about using your X-acto
knife handle to get a fixed-depth cut - pretty clever! There are also a trick for
stopping your propeller from slipping while tightening, a West Virginia airplane
trailer, and ballast …
"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 …"
Model rocketry was a big deal in the 1960's
as America and Russia pursued the great Space Race. The U.S.S.R. had effectively
trumped us by launching the Sputnik a year before we put the Explorer 1 into
orbit. Yuri Gagarin made it into space before Alan Shepherd blasted of atop the
Mercury Redstone rocket in his Freedom 7 capsule for a couple orbits around
the earth. Boys (and a few girls) around the world proudly referred to themselves
as "rocketeers." Since the Academy of Model Aviation (AMA) usually allocated space
(no pun intended) for model rocket-relate news and evens, it is no surprise that
the sport was included in the "Model
World on the International Scene" features. Single-channel radio control …
"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 …"
"This video is
part of a series of video clips make while on my way to watch Mad Mike Hughes launch
his steam-powered Flat Earth rocket on March 24th, 2018. I first met 'Mad Mike'
and his friend 'Pioneer Pat' back in 2017 during one of Mike's first launch attempts.
I decided to ride my motorcycle out to the desert to root him on for today's planned
launch. Go Mike!!! The launch was a perfect success!! 1872 feet! Mike's hurt, but
he will be alright. This was one of the most interesting and moving <video>"
model airplane comic
on this page appeared in the January / February 1963 combined issue of American
Modeler. The bottom on is from the June 1960 issue of the British model aviation
magazine Aero Modeller. I am scanning new model aviation comics as they
become available - and as time permits. If you have editions of any of these old
magazines and would either scan the comics and e-mails them to me, or perhaps send
me the magazine (I'll pay shipping), I'll be glad to post them …