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About Airplanes & Rockets

Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and Rockets

Kirt Blattenberger


My Engineering Web: RF Cafe

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 ...

Airplanes And Rockets Copyright 1996 - 2026

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- Welcome to the Airplanes & Rockets Website -
"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." Lord Kelvin, 1895


Model Aviation & Aerospace Headline News

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archives -

• Norway Irked over Swedish Rocket Crash on Its Turf

• Chinese Scientists Hold Conference on Crewed Moon Base

• Best-Selling Turboprops in 2022

• Enstrom Shows off Latest Models at Heli-Expo

• 10 Facts About the B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber

•  Laser-Powered Drone Can Stay Aloft "Forever"

• Flight Schools Consider Dropping FAA Knowledge Tests

• FCC Begins Rulemaking for Drone Spectrum Allocation

• Legendary High-Altitude Record-Setter Dies

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Flight 50 Means for Ingenuity Mars Helicopter

Flight 50 Means for Ingenuity Mars Helicopter - Airplanes and Rockets"JPL's Ingenuity helicopter is preparing for the 50th flight of its 5-flight mission to Mars. Flight 49, which took place last weekend, was its fastest and highest yet - the little helicopter flew 282 meters at an altitude of 16 meters, reaching a top speed of 6.50 meters per second. Not a bad performance for a tech demo that was supposed to be terminated two years ago. From here, things are only going to get more difficult for Ingenuity. As the Perseverance rover continues its climb up Jezero crater's ancient river delta, Ingenuity is trying its best to scout ahead. But, the winding hills and valleys make it difficult for the helicopter to communicate with the rover, and through the rover, to its team back on Earth. And there isn't a lot of time or room to spare, because Ingenuity isn't allowed to fly too close to Perseverance..."

Days of the Americans

Days of the Americans, December 1945 Flying Age Including Flying Aces - Airplanes and Rockets"Days of the Americans" is one chapter out of a book entitled "The Big Distance." Per this article which appeared in the December 1945 issue of Flying Age magazine, "The Big Distance, the official story prepared by the AAF, is to the struggle in the Pacific what Germany was to the European phase of the war." Unlike the European Theater of World War II, much of the populations of South Pacific islands were inhabited by people who were barely out of the Stone Age in terms of cultural and scientific evolution. The arrival of Northern hemisphere Western and European Anglo Saxons brought a culture of sophistication never dreamed of by the backwards civilizations indigenous to the islands. That was a common theme of the villages visited by the McHale's Navy crew in the 1960s TV series. While reading the story, I was a bit taken aback by the narrative of Americans having come to the island paradises and bringing their gigantic machines and inexplicable habits, but then the author states, "There always will be a faction among the elders who will attempt to establish the basic facts of the legend of the Americans through use of pure logic, simply pointing out that if the Americans had not been there, the Japs still would be. If the Americans weren't actually present, the question will be posed...

Radio Controlled Flight

Radio Controlled Flight, January 1947 Radio News - RF CafeEven though the U.S. Army Air Force and other research agencies around the world were at the forefront of experimenting with remote control airplanes, helicopters, tanks, trucks, cars, boats, and rockets, hobbyists were forging their own paths in the electronic art. I did not know until reading this article that drones were flown through the radiation field at the Bikini Atoll atom bomb test site for data collection. In fact amateur radio operators have long had the privilege of broadcasting for the purpose of remotely controlling a vehicle - the only scenario of Earth-based transmission whereby the "control operator" is not required to identify his/her call sign at an interval prescribed by the FCC (currently at least once every 10 minutes and at the end of the broadcast). Vintage modeling magazines have articles on early radio controlled (R/C) airplane experimentation. Target drones subject to remote control were not just small models, but also full-size aircraft that were deemed not airworthy enough to carry a human crew...

Phantom Article & Plans

Phantom Article & Plans, June 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Richard P. wrote to ask for me to scan articles from the June 1971 edition of American Aircraft Modeler magazine. The two articles, subtitled "A Study in Design Ideas," feature two control line stunters, the F-4 Phantom and the B8 Crusader, presented together as complimentary models but with varied construction techniques. Designed and built by two separate modelers, Bill Suarez and Vic Macaluso, respectively, they are similar in that both represented at the time "the Navy's best current jet fighters," both have tricycle landing gear, have wingspans in the 55-60" range, and use inverted mounting for a .35-size engine. The big difference between the two is that the Phantom ahs a built-up wing while the Crusader has a foam core wing...

Please Support

Amazon Prime - Airplanes and RocketsThe AirplanesAnd website exists entirely on the support of its visitors by way of a small percentage earned with your purchases, which typically works out to less than $10 per month. That barley covers the domain registration and secure server fees for If you plan to buy items via, please click on this link to begin your shopping session from here so that I get credit for it. Doing so does not cost you anything extra. Thank you for your support.

230 Ultra-Rare Classic Cars in Barn

230 Ultra-Rare Classic Cars in Barn - Airplanes and RocketsSome guy in the Netherlands has a collection more than 230 classic autos, many in showroom condition, that have just gone up for auction. I would love to be able to afford just one nice pickup truck from the 1960s or 1970s. My 1st choice would be a 1952 Ford F−1 stepside like the one on the Sanford and Son TV show (I have the DVD set). "An elderly car enthusiast’s astonishing collection of 230 rare classic cars has been discovered by a Dutch auction house, and the lot, including European and American cars collectively worth millions, is soon to be sold at auction. One particular, 'undeniably stylish and sophisticated' sports car from the 1950s is expected to fetch in excess of 675,000 euros ($729,432). Former professional car dealer Ad Palmen of the Netherlands, 82, had been collecting cars for decades. He stored them in a church and two 'dry but dusty' warehouses in Dordrecht until his ailing health forced him to sell them all ... Mr. Palmen started collecting cars approximately 40 years ago, with a yellow Lancia B20 being the first car..."

FCC Launching Space Bureau

FCC Launching Space Bureau - Airplanes and Rockets"The Federal Communications Commission will officially launch its Space Bureau tomorrow, reflecting the agency's reorganization to deal with increased interest in satellite-based communications. Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel proposed the reorganization late last year and the Commission unanimously approved it in January. The change splits the International Bureau into two 'separate, cooperative units' within the FCC: The Space Bureau, which will focus on 'policy and licensing matters related to satellite and space-based communications and activities,' and Office of International Affairs (OIA), which will coordinate FCC work with foreign and international regulatory authorities. The FCC has already received applications for 64,000 new satellites, indicating just how much the sector is booming - particularly in the area of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. In the coming years, tighter integration between 5G terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks is expected to emerge. Early use cases for smartphone-based satellite connectivity are already in play, such as T-Mobile US' deal with Starlink to share spectrum..."

Decade of Progress - Propellers

Decade of Progress - Propellers, December 1945 Flying Age Including Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsIt really is amazing how quickly aeronautics evolved in the mere four decades between when the Wright brothers first flew their Flyer until when this 1945 issue of Flying Age magazine printed a history of development of propellers. The technology went from fixed pitch, hand-carved wooden models to variable pitch, machine formed and finished high strength metal alloy variants. Those c1945 props needed to withstand the incredible forces of not just 1000-plus horsepower engines, but the centrifugal force and bending moments imposed on them by high speed rotation and rapid changes in axial orientation as the airplanes they were attached to performed high−G maneuvers. Research and development from American, European, Russian, Chinese, and Japanese engineers and scientists are to be primarily credited...

AK1-3 Kit Helicopter Coming to America

AK1-3 Kit Helicopter Coming to America - Airplanes and Rockets"The Aerokopter AK1-3 is a Ukrainian-designed and built helicopter distributed by Warsaw, Poland’s Manufaktura Lotnicza as the Argon AK1-3 Sanka. The aircraft is supplied as both a kit and a complete, ready-to-fly helicopter. In several Slavic languages, Sanka is the term for sled. Designed to comply with Ukrainian AP-27 rules - which approximate the European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) CS-27 standards - the AK1-3 is a conventional helicopter featuring an enclosed, two-occupant cabin; a single main rotor; and a boom-mounted anti-torque rotor. The aircraft is powered by a four-cylinder, air-cooled, four-stroke, 156−horsepower Subaru EJ25 engine designed to run on automotive gasoline..."

Straighten Bowed and Cupped Laminated Countertops

How to Straighten Bowed and Cupped Laminated Countertops - Airplanes and RocketsHere is the method I came up with to straighten what were initially very bowed (lengthwise) and cupped (depthwise) laminate countertops. An Internet search on recommended ways to correct it turned up nothing. Many suggested that with as severely curved as mine were, the best thing to do is to discard them and buy new countertops. That was not an option for two reasons. First, after the COVID scamdemic the cost was double what it had been just two years prior. Second, the scamdemic, in early 2022, was still causing a major shortage of building materials, so finding a suitable selection was nearly impossible. Having been a woodworker for many decades, there have been a few times I needed to remove warps, twists, or bows from wood surfaces. Cutting a crosshatch pattern on the underside for stress relief and then flattening and bracing the surface always did the trick. Attempting to flatten the countertop by weighing down the edges and screwing the top to the base cabinets would not work because the tension in the curve would likely have caused the laminate on the top to split. Cutting slots in the bottom surface made the less-thick wood easily bend back into a flat surface. The slots were cut about a third of the way through from the bottom, and were spaced 2 inches apart...

Plane Views - December 1945

Plane Views, December 1945 Flying Age Including Flying Aces - Airplanes and Rockets"Plane Views" was a monthly feature of Flying Age magazine, with this installment being from the December 1945 issue. Flying Aces changed its name to Flying Age in the middle of 1944, probably to focus on the rapidly advancing aeronautical technology prompted by World War II. Whereas Flying Aces was full of fictional stories of flying aces during World War I and the interim up though the middle of World War II - along with plans for airplane models - Flying Age was essentially an entirely new magazine with very little in the way of model aviation and none of the adventure stories. Many Flying Aces readers were highly upset at the extreme change, especially since it essentially abandoned the Flying Aces Club as well. The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) had no involvement with either the Flying Aces or the Flying Age magazines. In fact, I don't recall the AMA ever being mentioned. The AMA had its own magazine that went by various titles over the years, including American Modeler, American Aircraft Modeler...

Aircraft Designed Using Advanced Supercomputing

Aircraft Designed Using Advanced Supercomputing - Airplanes and Rockets"No, it's not hypermodern art. This image, generated by NASA's high-performance computers, shows a Transonic Truss Braced Wing (TTBW) aircraft concept being tested in a virtual wind tunnel, showing how its wings interact with the air around them. In this case, the dark red area along the front of the wing represents higher-speed airflow as the TTBW's wings, which are thinner than those of today's commercial airliners, pierce the air. The tan-colored area shows the relatively smooth wake generated by the aerodynamic wings. A TTBW aircraft produces less drag due to its longer, thinner wings supported by aerodynamic trusses. In flight, it could consume up to 10% less jet fuel than a standard airliner. The Advanced Supercomputing Division of NASA's Ames Research Center in California created this image as part of an effort by the Transformational Tools and Technologies project to develop computational tools for TTBW research..."

Drone Tag Announces New $49 UAV ID

Drone BS $49 UAV "Remote ID" Device - Airplanes and RocketsThe "BS" part of this device's name must refer to the FAA's outrageous requirement that R/C hobbyists carry identification devices aboard every model - not just drones but even gliders and power planes. The $89 (+ tax and shipping) price tag is a far cry from the FAA's promise of "inexpensive" devices. This is yet another unnecessary tax upon citizens. "Dronetag has announced their 'Dronetag BS' system as a cost-effective method to bring consumer UAVs into Remote ID compliance. Dronetag BS is, of course, short for 'Dronetag Basic Solution,' though the company is sure to draw in some eyes with their brash take on the normally staid UAV market. The firm will offer Dronetag BS for an introductory price of $49 upon its May 22 drop date, offering the special for the first 24 hours of its release. For those that miss the intro rate, the standard retail price will remain at $89. The firm obviously has its feet in the trenches with the average drone pilot, admitting that many don’t quite think much positive regarding the new Remote ID regulations. The Dronetag BS allows operators to easily bring their small aircraft into compliance with a compact..."

Celestron NexStar 8SE Telescope

Celestron NexStar 8SE Telescope - Airplanes and RocketsHere I am in my back yard in Erie, Pennsylvania, "playing" with my newly acquired (in June) Celestron NexStar 8SE telescope. City lights are fairly bright here to the east and west, but farm land is to the south and Lake Erie begins two miles to the north, so that limits the light pollution somewhat. Erie is not that large of a city, so that also helps. Still, compared to the truly dark skies in areas I have lived in Vermont and Colorado, the seeing is noticeably bad. I haven't had a chance to try any of the filters that came with the eyepiece and filter kit that came with the scope. I also bought a Celestron NexImage camera for use with the telescope. It is only good for really bright objects like planets and the moon, mainly because the stock interface does not allow long time exposures. However, there is a hack online that modifies it for longer settings. The pixel resolution...

Good Haunting with Phineas Pinkham

Good Haunting with Phineas Pinkham, December 1934 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsWhen I first began perusing the large collection of Flying Aces magazines that I bought on eBay, I enthusiastically read all the fictional adventure stories of, well, flying aces, like Richard "Dick" Night, Kerry Keen (aka "The Griffon"), "G−2" secret agent Cap. Philip Strange, Battling Grogan and his Dragon Squadron, and others. For some reason I skipped over the adventures of Lt. Phineas Pinkham, of the 9th Pursuit Squadron. Maybe it was because of the way he was drawn that I figured it was just a dumb story about a hayseed doofus and wouldn't be very good. One day I decided to actually read through one of the stories, and much to my surprise discovered that the series was as good as any of the other aforementioned yarns - with a lot of humor to boot. Lt. Pinkham is sort of the Boonetown, Iowa, World War II version of LA police detective Lt. Columbo (whose first name we were never made privy to). As did I, people assume he is a bumbling fool who couldn't figure out the simplest of schemes by nefarious evil-doers, but in actuality he is an extremely clever strategist and prankster who, in the manner of the famous Canadian Mountie Dudley Do−Right, "always get his man." See if you agree...

Electric Power Unlikely for Long Range Aircraft

Electric Power Unlikely for Long Range Aircraft - Airplanes and Rockets"Of all the elements in the periodic table, silicon has the highest capacity for combining with lithium. It can hold ten times more lithium ions than the graphite anodes common in today's lithium-ion batteries. Several carmakers and battery startups are looking at silicon anodes for the next generation of long-range, lightweight EV batteries. And now Amprius Technologies in Fremont, Calif. reports a silicon-anode battery with almost twice the energy density of most EV batteries today. The new battery's record-high 500 Wh/kg energy density was verified by Mobile Power Solutions, an independent test and verification lab in Beaverton, Oregon. 'Typical batteries used by Tesla and others are in the 250 to 300 Wh/kg range,' says Ionel Stefan, CTO of Amprius. 'With our cells, you will have double the driving range for the same vehicle weight. Or you could keep the same range and have a lighter battery so the mileage efficiency of the car increases.' But cars are further down the road for Amprius. The company is initially targeting aviation applications geared towards defense..."

The Insect Article & Plans

The Insect Article & Plans, April 1970 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsHere is the article and plans for the "Insect" that I electronically scanned from my purchased copy of the April 1970 American Aircraft Modeler magazine. Rogallo Wings were all the rage in the 1970s as hang gliding was really gaining in popularity, so the modeling world joined in the fun. An article for the R/C Flexi-Flier, complete with a G.I. Joe pilot, was published four years after this free flight model. Plans for this fine model were drawn by Bill Warner. Because they spanned two pages, I had to adjust the size and alignment a bit to get the halves to line up properly. They were printed full-size in the magazine, so to get the right size when printing, you will need to do some trial and error. There really is no need to even print plans, because dimensions for the parasol components are shown, and the remaining few pieces can be scaled accordingly...


Propellers, December 1945 Flying Age Including Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsIn the mid-1940s, toward the end of World War II, Flying Aces magazine changed its name to Flying Age, while changing its focus from model aviation to aviation in general. Much to the consternation of many of its readers, that included no longer including the much-loved fictional stories of flying superstars like Kerry Keen, Dick Knight, Capt. Philip Strange, Battling Grogan and his Dragon Squadron, Crash Carringer, and of course Lt. Phineas Pinkham. The good aspect of the change is that Flying Age published a lot of stories about full-size aircraft and flying which were geared toward their audience of modelers who were interested in all aspects of aeronautics. This piece discussed primarily variable pitch, constant speed propellers being used on military, commercial, and civilian airplanes. You, like I, though that by now there would be similar propellers available for model aircraft use, but apart from a few homebuilts, no commercially made products are available (there was one for indoor electrics, but nothing for powerful engines / motors). Given the number of variable-pitch rotor heads for helicopters, it shouldn't be so hard to implement for airplane propellers...

Mo-Bipe Article & Plans

Mo-Bipe Article & Plans, January 1973 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsA lot of careful thought and detail went into planning and rationalizing why a biplane version of the venerable MO-1 control line carrier model should fly better than the traditional monoplane platform. It was January of 1973 when this article appeared in American Aircraft Modeler magazine. Time has shown that the old adage about if something isn't broken, don't fix it must ring true here. That is not to say efforts should not be undertaken to improve on a design, just that in this case going to a biplane configuration was not the answer. Maybe website visitor Duke J., who wrote to ask for this article, can pick up where Mr. Gerber and Mr. Higley (yes, THE Harry Higley) left off. Maybe a MO-Tripe...?

High-School Students Build Plane Models

High-School Students Build Plane Models, March 23, 1942 Life - Airplanes and RocketsWhen this issue of Life magazine came out in March of 1942, America was only a couple months past when the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service executed the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor shortly before Christmas on a quiet Sunday morning. As with when a group of Muslim extremists attacked America on September 11, 2001, the vast majority of the country pulled together and delivered a significant response to the perpetrators. During Word War II, in order to help train our troops recognize and differentiate between Allied aircraft and Axis aircraft, models were built at a scale which would fairly represent what the real thing would look like in the sky at a distance that placed it within range of anti-aircraft munitions. The Boy Scouts and other community organizations joined in on the effort, as well as commercial companies that manufactured identification models (see Uncle Sam's Plastic Air Force, September 1973 American Aircraft Modeler). Occasionally, a group of the production models appear on eBay...

Plastic Scale Model Kits - Airplanes and Rockets