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
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
Every couple 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
"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.
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
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
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
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 Erector
Set. 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, 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
"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 ..."
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 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 ...
"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, another ..."
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, "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 ...
"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
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 bill ...
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
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 ..."
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
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 ...
"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 items
"Dutch company PAL-V prepares to bring the world's
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
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 ..."
model aviation 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
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 ...