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Expert Advice for Amateur Rocketry
August 1958 American Modeler

August 1958 American Modeler

August 1958 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.

Just as, in order to promote aerospace careers to young men and women, the U.S. Navy sponsored the National Aeromodeling Championships (Nats) in conjunction with the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), the Defense Department decided to promote science interest in the nation's youth through a program titled "Youth Science Corps." Army, Navy, and Air Force commands would all participate, per the plan. Unfortunately, things didn't progress much farther than the planning stage, although big things were envisioned. This article from the August 1958 edition of American Modeler provides some insight into what had been planned. When searching online for more information on the Youth Science Corps, an article from the Cincinnati Tribune appeared titled "Armed Services to Help U.S. Youth in Study of Science."

Expert Advice for Amateur Rocketry

By Kendall K. Hoyt

Military people at thousands of sites across the country may now take part in local efforts to encourage technical studies. Responsibility has been accepted by the Department of Defense.

 - Airplanes and Rockets

Colonel Hoyt was the organizer of the Civil Air Patrol cadet program, 100,000 strong, in World War II. He urges the same plan for a national Youth Science Corps. Recent Washington decisions have cleared the way for local action.

The Army, Navy, and Air Force in turn will notify all their offices and commands. It will take time to shape a uniform working plan.

But the door is open for help and advice to anyone interested in amateur rocketry or other scientific studies within the knowledge of military men in the area.

These advisers will not be permitted to conduct rocket firings unless there is proof of scientific value in each case. Amateur groups can reach this stage by study and hard work. Many safe types of experiments can be developed.

Meanwhile, rocketry is so complex that beginners can well avail themselves of all the help they can get, to learn the fundamental principles, and not run off impatiently to play with dangerous forces.

What can be done now?

Military aid can include lectures, training films, instructional material, safe demonstrations, and visits to defense installations such as non-secret rocket sites.

Defense industries are encouraged to cooperate. They need scientists and engineers as much as the military. Missile contracts are spread among hundreds of companies. There is something to see in almost any area.

Area Programs.

The new Defense Department policy has resulted from many appeals for help in youth rocketry. The three services asked the Department what they should do. Now they can act. Local groups .may take these steps:

1. Get Together-To avoid pestering busy officers with too many requests it is wise to form a committee representing youth groups, schools, civic interests, and others most interested. There may already be a local action group formed by the President's Committee on Scientists and Engineers, at work since 1956 to encourage technical education.

2. Find Who Can Help - Not every military post can help effectively; few can do the whole job. An area program may draw aid from several military sources as well as from schools and youth leaders. Bear in mind that the armed forces are in no way taking over direction of youth training or organizing; they are merely extending aid to responsible organizations that ask for it. Reserve officers, who are civilians with a military status, can be a good connecting link.

3. Use Existing Groups - It should not be necessary to form new organizations for rocketry and allied studies; the existing ones have the backing and know-how for the job. There are 18,000 clubs with 400,000 members of high-school age, affiliated with the Science Clubs of America. Such groups as the Boy Scouts and Civil Air Patrol also may help. None of these groups is ready to offer a full rocket program. But military cooperation can fast change the picture.

4. Find Facilities - Canvass the area to find the best meeting places. Re sources include thousands of facilities for the part-time training of local reservists. Assembly rooms and training aids, unused a large part of the time, may be borrowed.

5. Plan a Program - It is easy to get crowds of young people to come to a meeting or two, attracted by the glamor of rockets. But they will not keep coming unless there is a good program of interesting information and activities.

What to Study. Rocketry is a complex subject. It takes knowledge of a wide field of technical subjects. The problem is to find someone in the area competent to advise and instruct; someone for each of several fields.

The fundamentals of physics, backed by high school mathematics, must be grasped to understand why a rocket flies and what great forces may be let loose, even by a small model. Advice from a rocket scientist is best, but a professional engineer or physics teacher can get the idea over.

To prepare for rocketry, it is well to review the whole sweep of science - the first principles of, physics, chemistry, electronics, theory of flight, and structural design. After that, some choice of specialties may be offered, to include:

1. Chemistry - Some concept of the reactions of chemicals that produce rocket thrust are necessary to compute how much or what kind of fuel should be used, and to avoid the dangers of mixing explosive or inflammable materials.

scale model of the Vanguard is Carolyn Shafer, 16, of Knoxville, Tennessee - Airplanes and Rockets

Shown with her scale model of the Vanguard is Carolyn Shafer, 16, of Knoxville, Tennessee, an 11th grade student at the Central High School. Carolyn's model is of metal, hinged in two sections to show the interior parts which are made from balsa. It received an award at the local Science Fair.

2. Electronics - For remote control firing, tests, guidance, and telemetering, even model activities can take a lot of advanced technique.

3. Aeronautics - Flight principles obviously apply, whether for a manned airplane or an unmanned space vehicle.

4. Engineering - Structural design, use of materials, construction, and handling require precision at all stages.

A good local program might start with a few weeks of over-all study; then divide into four groups for the above subjects, but with joint projects and experiments combining the specialties of all groups.

Students with enough interest and energy may shift between groups and learn all four branches. Many attracted by rockets may find their careers in one of these fields as a result.

Youth Science Corps. Local initiative along these lines may lead to a national Youth Science Corps, now favored by many authorities and brought closer by the Defense Department approval of aid by the services.

This would not be a new youth organization but a standard "package of training" that can be used by existing groups - Science Clubs, Boy Scout troops, and others.

The nation must have more scientists and engineers. Russia has 800,000 compared with our 750,000 and is gaining year by year. Regardless of Russia, the growth of American industry demands many more technologists than we are producing.

Without waiting for a uniform national program, whatever may be done anywhere by rocket enthusiasts for real learning, rather than unsafe thrill seeking, will deserve the best help that government and private sources can provide. Under the policies approved from the White House down, the help is there for the asking.

Model rocketry comic - Airplanes and Rockets

Model rocketry comic




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