"Today it's impossible to think of the golden
age of air racing without an
R-1 or R-2 Gee Bee roaring across the mind's eye. To the aviation
public, the Gee Bees air racing - and vice versa. And that's only right. When
Granville engineer, Pete Miller, drafted the first lines for the 'R' series of Super
Sportsters, there was no way he could have known that he was designing a legend.
And an airplane that would have people shaking their heads for the next 70 years.
In fact, since the last Gee Bee roared around a pylon in 1933/34 there have been
no serious challengers to the Gee Bee's position as King of Weird. However, there
is one fact no one argues: Gee Bees were fast. Very fast. And that was not by accident ..."
"Much of the skepticism about whether the
Aerion SST 12-seat business jet might ever fly was probably
squashed when Boeing NeXt said this week it was making a significant investment
into the Reno, Nevada, aircraft builder. Boeing NeXt's portfolio includes autonomous
air vehicles and passenger-carrying hypersonic aircraft. Founded in 2003 to develop
new, more efficient aerodynamic technologies for supersonic aircraft, Aerion Supersonic
introduced its AS2 12-passenger business jet design in 2014. The company unveiled
the AS2's GE Affinity engine design in 2018. Boeing will provide engineering, manufacturing
and flight test resources, as well as strategic vertical content, to bring Aerion's
AS2 supersonic business jet to market ..."
Ace R/C was in its heyday in the 1970s. It
was manufacturing one of the nicest single channel proportional radio control systems
available and had a small line of models to go along with it. The models - Ace All
Ace High Glider, Ace Pacer, and the Ace Simple Series - all used the very popular
Ace foam wing set, which had both straight and tapered chords. This Ace High glider
is one of the first I remember seeing and wanting in American Aircraft Modeler
magazine in 1971 when I about 13 years old and penniless. Grass mowing jobs could
pay for the glider kit, but the R/C system was way out of reach. Ace High glider
kits still show up on eBay occasionally for less the $100, which is a pretty good
price these days for a vintage kit ...
"The urban air mobility concept employs an
electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle with a design range of up to 50 miles. If proponents
of the rooftop urban air taxi concept have their way, in the not-so-distant future
you'll be able to go to the top of a skyscraper and board a 'flying car' for a short
trip to another landing site either on the outskirts or on the other side of town.
All the while, you avoid the ground traffic on the streets and highways below. Boeing recently
took a step toward that vision of the future when the company's autonomous passenger
air vehicle (PAV) prototype completed a controlled takeoff, hover, and landing during
its first flight test ..."
"The FAA issued an Interim Final Rule today
require drone pilots and model aircraft
pilots to display their FAA-issued registration number on the outside surface of
their aircraft. The rule will take effect on Monday, February
25, which means the markings must be in place for any outdoor flight beginning on
that date. Although most AMA members already have their FAA registration number
posted on the outside of their aircraft, AMA will be submitting comments to the
FAA requesting a waiver process for those who might be burdened by external markings,
such as members who fly scale replica model aircraft. Most importantly, this rule
does not change the original acceptable methods of external marking ..."
Movieland of the Air museum, once located at the Orange County Airport, seems
to be no more according to Google searches I did to try to find it. There are few
archive photos on an Orange County, California, website, but not much else. Tallmantz
Aviation, Inc., was formed in 1961 by pilots Frank G. Tallman and Paul Mantz. The
scant information available indicates that sometime around 1991 the museum was closed
and the aircraft and other exhibits were sold or donated to various collectors and
museums. The photos from this 1971 issue of American Aircraft modeler, which will
now be discoverable on the Web, might well be the only accessible ones of their
kind. Most, if not all, of the planes in these early photos were used in Hollywood
movie productions like "Dawn Patrol," "North by Northwest ..."
"Some of the world's most prestigious airlines
are on tenterhooks as the first flight of an aircraft that could change long-haul
travel for decades looms ever closer. Executives at Singapore Airlines, Emirates
and Qatar Airways, among others, will have their eyes cast to the skies this spring
when Boeing is expected to fly one of its new
777X planes for the first time. The 777-9, the first of the
X family to be developed, will have the biggest jet engines ever seen, attached
to the longest wings of any aircraft ever made by the Seattle-based manufacturer.
The 777X has been said to be the result of the very best of the existing 777 plane,
as favored by the likes of British Airways et al, and the game-changing 787 Dreamliner ..."
Steven Swinamer has, with this
Bee-Tween project, probably entered
the realm of the prolific model airplane builder class of fellow hobbyists. Maybe
it is an addiction to balsa dust or the sound of a Cox .049 engine screaming at
18,000 rpm that causes the compulsive need to create model airplanes. There
seems to be no cure - not that those affected have a desire to be ridded of the
condition ;-) As is readily apparent by the photos below, Steven's well-honed
skill at building and finishing ½A size radio control models has been applied to
the Bee-Tween. Being a life-long lover of Charles Schulz's Peanuts comic strip,
I especially appreciate Steven's wise selection of World War I flying ace Snoopy
as the pilot ...
AMA Expo East will be held February 22-24
at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucas, New Jersey. The AMA Foundation
will be hosting a live auction at 3 PM during AMA Expo East on Sunday, February
24. Airplanes will be sold as well as products donated by Graupner USA, Slimline
Products, and SpecCNCat. Join Rovan RC at booths 409 and 411 from 2-2:30 PM for
their own live auction. Money earned from the auctions will support many of AMA’s
PicaSim, created and provided as a free download
by Danny Chapman,
is an amazing flight simulator that runs on Windows, Android, and iPhone platforms.
What began as a flight simulator for radio control slope soaring has evolved to
include powered planes, helicopters, and drones. The graphics quality rivals that
of RealFlight, and PicaSim has a sophisticated aircraft flight dynamics editor,
a growing hanger full of aircraft models, and even racing and aerobatic course challenges.
Smartphone versions use finger motions for control and the PC version uses keyboard
and transmitter interface control. If you use PicaSim, please be sure to donate
to Mr. Chapman to reward him for his great work ...
"NASA's Glenn Research Center developed a
novel means of articulating the outboard portion of an aircraft wing to create the
optimal geometry for given flight conditions. The
Spanwise Adaptive Wing (SAW) concept employs a high-force, solid-state
Shape Memory Alloy (SMA)-based actuator to develop a structurally efficient and
reliable method of deflecting a portion of the wing in flight. This ability enables
significant increases in lateral-directional stability and control augmentation,
thereby enhancing aircraft efficiency by reducing the rudder motion to control yaw.
Particularly in supersonic flight, the SAW's benefits include increased compression
lift and reduced wave drag. Compared to prior hydraulic-based actuators, the SMA-based
This is the Tuesday, October 10, 1939, "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 bad guys ...
"We've often heard the expression 'that won't
fly,' but an MIT-based experimental model literally contradicts that statement for
one type of flight propulsion. Like a science-fiction story come true, what's claimed
to be the first-ever heavier-than-air craft with no moving parts has flown using
ion-based propulsion (formally called electroaerodynamics and
commonly known as sonic wind). While ions have been used for demonstrations of small
toy-like devices hovering over a desktop while still tethered to a power cable,
this aircraft - with a wingspan of about 5 meters and weighing 2.5 kg - made 10
successive nine-second-long indoor flights of about 60 meters distance at a height
of about a half meter, while cruising at about 10 mph. The silent aircraft ..."
"Boeing delivered a record 806 commercial
passenger jets in 2018 to retain the title of the world's biggest plane maker for
the seventh straight year but missed its full-year target of 810-815 due to supplier
woes that delayed shipments. European rival Airbus SE, which will report its numbers
later this week, met its own 800-jet target pending final audit, but is certain
to lag behind Boeing due to engine delays, industry sources said earlier.
Boeing also looked set to beat Airbus for aircraft and avionics
orders on a like-for-like basis in 2018 after booking 893 net orders, excluding
cancellations in the year. Meanwhile, Airbus ended November with 380 net orders,
to which it has since added confirmed deals for another 220 aircraft. Orders for
Boeing and Airbus are seen down compared to 2017 as airlines fret over trade ..."
It is hard to believe there was a time that
a production-level VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft would be a big
deal, but that was the case in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the
Harrier "Jump Jet" arrived on the scene. British aircraft manufacturer Hawker
Siddeley was the innovator. I remember being TDY at Fort Campbell, KY, while in
the USAF, having gone there to pick up a mobile TACAN unit that was on loan from
our Robins AFB, GA home base. We were going to load the hardware into a pickup truck
when we saw a couple jets zoom overhead and then go around for a landing. It was
very strange to notice how they seemed to be taking much longer than normal to arrive
over the runway, and then it occurred to me that they must be Harriers. It was fascinating
to watch the pair hover side-by-side, and then softly touch down and then taxi to
the tarmac area ...
"A Bill Gates-funded
startup is seeking permission to test a new kind of
drone detector at Sunday's Super Bowl game between the Los Angeles
Rams and the New England Patriots in Atlanta, Georgia. Echodyne, a Seattle-based
company, filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on
Sunday to operate two experimental radars 'in the immediate vicinity' of Mercedes-Benz
Stadium to 'alert security personnel, including federal officers, of any unidentified
drone activity during Super Bowl LIII.' The drone tests would be conducted under
the guidance and direction of the FBI. Atlanta police have said there will be a
zero-tolerance policy for drones near the Super Bowl stadium, with hundreds of local,
state and federal law enforcement ..."
"Drone usage is expected to soar over the
next several years. As legal regulations evolve, many industries will embrace drones
for a multitude of tasks from infrastructure inspections to commercial fishing and
beyond. And despite the potential for enormous growth, this revolutionary technology
has an Achilles heel that is rarely mentioned - it is fully dependent on
Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)/GPS navigation. All
drones rely on GNSS to maintain a stable position and/or to navigate between waypoints.
At the same time, all small drones use MEMS sensors to estimate their altitude.
These sensors are accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers that provide data
on the aircraft's three axes ..."
Even with the many decades of attempts to
girls and women interested in flying model airplanes, the sport still has a
very small percentage of them involved. The same is true of model cars, boats, trains,
helicopters, and even the newfangled drones. It certainly cannot be blamed on a
lack of trying to encourage participation since anytime a girl or lady shows up
at the flying field or has a modeling story to tell, the media are all over it.
The same phenomenon is true of amateur (Ham) radio, and probably for many other
historically male-dominated activities. Could it be that girls / women in general
just are not as interested in such things? To even suggest such a possibility in
today's hostile social environment could lead to threats of physical harm, doxing,
Twitter and Facebook flaming, and other forms of extreme harassment. Surely, documented
history is wrong and must be altered to achieve the desired outcome. I personally
welcome all comers, but refuse to be blamed for those who choose not to engage ...
"The U.S. Air Force announced in September
that Boeing will be building the service’s brand-new jet trainer, ending a fiercely
fought competition. Under a contract worth up to $9.2 billion, Boeing's St. Louis
factory will construct at least 350 of the aircraft, designed jointly with Sweden's
Saab, to replace the worn-out
Northrop T-38 Talon. Boeing will also provide training simulators.
The T-38 has served as the Air Force's primary fighter pilot trainer since 1961.
Obsolete electronics aside, the T-38s are today so well-used that they are restricted
from making the tight turns of today's fighters, lest they disintegrate in midair;
pilots training on the F-22 and F-35 undergo additional training in F-16s to verify
that they can handle the G-forces. Boeing's win was a surprise, given that versions
of its primary ..."
"B-29 Doc Hangar and Education Center is
getting ready for opening. One year after the construction began on the
B-29 Doc Hangar and Education Center at the Eisenhower National
Airport in Wichita, Kansas, the stunning Superfortress named Doc has moved in to
its new home. The bricks and granite tiles that have been purchased by Doc’s supporters
to raise funds for the project have arrived and are being installed outside the
32,000 square-foot facility. But the work isn't done yet. Doc’s Friends spokesman
Josh Wells said the organization still needs to raise $800,000 to complete the $6.5M
facility. 'While we have successfully raised enough money to build the structure,
there's still plenty of work to be done ..."
January's first full moon, known as the
is the biggest and brightest full moon of 2019 - a 'supermoon' in modern parlance.
It was also a long duration (1 hour and 2 minutes) total lunar eclipse. The technical
name for this special combination is the perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system.
The moon reached fullness at 00:16 EST and perigee at 14:59 EST on the 21st.
The moon is full when the earth is between the sun and the moon, and the moon is
new when it is between the sun and Earth. The picture below was taken out of my
back door, at around 9:30 pm local time (Erie, PA), at the beginning of the penumbral
phase of the eclipse (not apparent in the photo). The outside temperature was about
5 °F and the wind was howling pretty good - quite appropriate for this Wolf
I love the concept, but the hypocrisy by
a big-time Greenie like Branson is hard to take - the carbon footprint per passenger
must be huge. "Virgin Galactic's
spaceship climbed more than 50 miles high above California's Mojave Desert on
Thursday, reaching for the first time what the company considers the boundary of
space. The rocket ship hit an altitude of 51 miles before beginning its gliding
descent, said mission official Enrico Palermo. It landed on a runway minutes later.
'We made it to space!' Palermo exclaimed. The supersonic flight takes Virgin Galactic
closer to turning the long-delayed dream of commercial space tourism into reality.
The company aims to take paying customers on the six-passenger rocket, which is
about the size of an executive jet ..."
If you have been in the modeling world since
at least the 1990s, you have witnessed the slow but steady evolution of
electric propulsion systems to the point where we are today with the technology
having overcome and largely replaced glow engines. During that time, the resentment
and jealousy of glow engine modelers has been very apparent. I must admit to having
some feelings of betrayal to the power source to which I owed my early days of model
flight, but by the early 2000s I was using electric power in my gliders - before
brushless motors and lithium-polymer batteries were household words. By 2005 or
2006, power-to-weight ratios of brushless motors and LiPos were on par with and
pushing past glow engines. Now, with 40C batteries, incredibly powerful outrunner
motors, and finely engineered electronic controllers, there is no reason other than
for nostalgic satisfaction ...
My very first radio control system was an
OS Digital Digitron
DS−3, 3−channel system. I have wanted to get one for nostalgia's sake for a
long time. I had a saved search on eBay for years and finally a few months ago,
one came up for auction, which I won. My plan is to replace the original 27.195 MHz
electronics with that of my 6−channel 72.750 MHz Futaba system, with necessary
modifications to the gimbal potentiometers, NiCad battery, antenna mount, etc. I
will need to add a dual rate switch somewhere inconspicuous so as to not detract
from the original look. The results will be posted here when done ...
"Why a rare British sailplane survived. In
1937, up on the windy heights of the Yorkshire moors, British sportsman Frank Charles
taught himself to fly in primitive gliders. He soon tired of their limited capabilities,
and went in search of something that could actually soar instead of simply glide
downhill. The best sailplanes of the day were being designed and built in Germany,
so Charles asked a local firm,
Slingsby Sailplanes Limited, to build an airplane based on German
designs. Between-the-wars British airplane manufacturers - de Havilland, Percival,
Miles -had developed wood aircraft construction into a high art, and Slingsby continued
the tradition by ..."
"A robotic Chinese spacecraft named
Chang'e 4 braked out of lunar orbit and slowed to a controlled
touchdown on the far side of the moon Thursday, a first in the history of space
exploration. The lander later deployed a small rover to explore the surrounding
landscape. The spacecraft landed at 0226 GMT on January 3 in the 110-mile-wide Von
Karman crater, located in the southern hemisphere on the back side of the moon.
Chinese websites released several images captured during the lander's descent, and
then revealed several more pictures taken of the mission's six-wheeled rover as
it drove down a ramp and onto the lunar surface. But Chinese state television did
not provide a live broadcast of the landing ..."
1971 Toledo R/C trade show as a major event in large part because of the new
generation of transistorized pulse proportional radio control systems being introduced
that were rapidly replacing legacy vacuum tube and some solid state reed and escapement
systems. A large selection of new model designers were also offered to accommodate
the lighter weight, smaller, and more highly functional radios. Fast forward nearly
half a century to what will soon be the 2019 Toledo Show and you will find an incredible
array of high technology electronics and airframes. Most models will be factory-built,
with balsa and plywood kits being mostly extremely small or extremely large models.
Glow fuel engines will barely have a presence, having been replaced by large gasoline
engines and brushless motors. Transmitters are highly programmable and have no extendable