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"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." Lord Kelvin, 1895

Aerospace Headline News

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archives -

Nitrogen Line Explodes at Wichita Beechcraft Plant

Piper Accepting 2020 Apprenticeship Program Applications

• NTSB to End Tourist Helicopter Flights with Open Doors

• Research Highlights Future Hypersonic Flight Challenges

Electric Aircraft in Everyday Flights to Become a Thing Soon

• U.S. Has Paid Russia $4B to Transport Astronauts to ISS (a national disgrace)

• 5 Best Online Aviation Degrees

• Porsche, Boeing Partner on Urban Air Mobility Market

• Making Jet Fuel from Seawater

How Drones Protect Civilians in Armed Conflict

How Drones Protect Civilians in Armed Conflict - RF Cafe"Drones are usually in the news for bad reasons, like controversial killings of suspected terrorists in the Middle East, bombings of Saudi oil facilities or an assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. What many people may not know is that United Nations peacekeepers use drones to protect civilians from violence. These drones are different: They don't carry weapons. I have followed the U.N.'s use of drones since its beginning in 2013 and have spoken with peacekeepers and U.N. officers who are familiar with their use. I believe drones have the potential to save lives. But that doesn't mean they necessarily will..."

Covering Up - Tissue and Dope, by Peter Bowers

Covering Up - Tissue and Dope, May 1941 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsPeter Bowers was a well-known designer and builder of both full-size and model airplanes. As an aeronautical engineer working for Boeing in Seattle, he was well qualified for his hobby pursuits of homebuilt airplanes and competition-class free flight airplanes. He was also an aviation photographer and historian with many books and magazine articles to his credit. Bowers' most famous creation is undoubtedly the Bowers Fly Baby monoplane, which won the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) contest in 1962 for the best low-cost, folding-wing plane that can be towed or trailered from home to and from the airport - the goal being to avoid expensive hanger or tie-down fees. The Fly Baby was much in the fashion of a large model as it was constructed almost entirely of wood...

Harbour Air Flies 1st Electric Beaver

Harbour Air Flies 1st Electric Beaver - Airplanes and Rockets"Harbour Air's all-electric-powered de Havilland Beaver took off for an inaugural flight test just after daybreak December 10 to the cheers of about two dozen people huddled on a chilly dock in Vancouver, British Columbia, as the distinctive seaplane ushered in a new era of aviation. Several thousand more also watched online as the yellow-and-navy magniX-powered seaplane retrofitted with a 750-horsepower magni500 propulsion system thundered into the air during a live social media broadcast. The fossil fuel-free aircraft partnership between North America's largest seaplane airline and Redmond, Washington-based electric propulsion venture magniX was announced in March..."

Drone Tracking Standards Developed by ASTM

Drone Tracking Standards Developed by ASTM - Airplanes and Rockets"A highly anticipated ASTM International standard is designed to satisfy the growing demand for better identification and tracking of unmanned aircraft systems - commonly known as drones. Similar to the function of a car license plate, the Remote ID standard supports technology that allows the general public and public safety officials to identify a drone using an assigned ID, while preserving the privacy of the drone pilot’s personal information. The standard, which will be published in the coming weeks with the designation F3411, was developed by the ASTM International unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) committee (F38)..."

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

The Science Behind Epoxies

The Science Behind Epoxies - Airplanes and RocketsMya Rae Nelson has an excellent article in the current issue of Fine Woodworking magazine entitled, "The Science Behind Epoxies." I was surprised to read that epoxy has only been around since the 1940s, so when I first used it in the early 1970s, it was only a three decade old technology. As with cellphones, now that we have epoxy, how did we ever get along without it? Ms. Nelson uses layman terms to describe the molecular makeup of both the epoxy resin and the hardener, and describes how the bonds between the resin atoms are broken then reestablished with the insertion of  hardener atoms into the matrix. If you attended classes for and understood the basics of chemistry, that will help with understanding the technical side of epoxy curing and strength, but even without the nerd knowledge you will still gain a better understanding of how this indispensible modeler's brew works.

When Giant Airplanes Ruled the Sky

When Giant Airplanes Ruled the Sky - Airplanes and Rockets"The Great War triggered a trend toward big flying machines. Really big. I had been warned that there wasn’t much left of the airplane that designer Gianni Caproni had intended to be a transatlantic flying boat - the Noviplano - which had crashed and broken apart concluding its first and final flight, on March 4, 1921. There wasn't. I'd trekked up into the Italian Alps to the Caproni museum in Trento only to learn that a small section of the hull and other pieces from the wreck of the Noviplano were in storage, awaiting conservation. Next I took the train to the Volandia Museum of Flight, just outside the perimeter fence of Milan's Malpensa international airport. I was ushered inside to meet Gregory Alegi, a Yale-educated Italian journalist, defense analyst, and aviation historian..."

Tango Flight Turns High Schoolers into Airplane Builders

Tango Flight Turns High Schoolers into Airplane Builders - Airplanes and Rockets"At one time or another, you've probably supported your local high school by buying candy. Now you have another option: purchasing an airplane, built by the students themselves. The students are participants in a program created in 2016 by the nonprofit Tango Flight, which got its start by raising $90,000 in Georgetown, Texas. Since then, Tango Flight has expanded to five other cities across the country, boosted by funding from Airbus and local sponsors, such as the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire. 'It's really amazing to see the aviation community come together and support this,' says Tango Flight co-founder Dan Weyant. 'Most of the folks in this business recognize that we are in desperate need to bring younger new folks into it either as a hobby or as a career..."

Digital Twin of UAV Provides Predictive Maintenance

Digital Twin of UAV Provides Predictive Maintenance - Airplanes and Rockets"Researchers in the U.S. have developed a high speed digital twin of a custom built drone to monitor its reliability and predict potential failures. The Dynamic Data-Driven Application Systems (DDDAS) digital twin project includes researchers from University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), MIT, Akselos and drone maker Aurora Flight Sciences. The twin represents each component of the UAV, as well as its integrated whole, using physics-based models that capture the details of its behaviour. The digital twin also uses on-board sensor data from the UAV and integrates that information with the model to create real-time predictions of the health of the vehicle. 'It's essential that UAVs monitor their structural health..."

Flyin' Jenny Comic Strips: January 30, 1944 Baltimore Sun

Flyin' Jenny Comic Strips: January 30, 1944 Baltimore Morning Sun - Airplanes and RocketsThis is the Sunday, January 30, 1944, "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...

Where the Action Is: Control Line

Where the Action Is: Control Line - January 1972 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Barb H. wrote to ask that I provide her with a copy of the page in the January 1972 issue of American Aircraft Modeler that her brother, David Downey, had a suggestion of his printed. It appeared in the "Where the Action Is: Control Line" column. John Blum wrote the "Carrier and Stunt" section and mentions David's idea of using a section of neoprene tubing around the outside of the elevator pushrod in order to minimize flexing under load. The tubing is to be glued to the fuselage structure in three inch or less interval along its length. Interestingly, Mr. Downey submitted his entry from Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil, which today is the seventh largest city in Brazil. The column also has a report which is funny in retrospect, but was potentially very dangerous at the time...

Indoor Free Flight Supply

Indoor Free Flight Supply - Airplanes and RocketsAn article appeared in the January 2020 issue of Model Aviation magazine extolling the virtues of Indoor Free Flight Supply for their making available an assortment of hard-to-find accessories. Some are specialty hardware items and others are high precision tools and devices for assisting the serious indoor free flight competitor gain an edge over others in the challenge. Examples include all-metal geared winders with a dial indicator tracking the number of winds, a torque meter, and a contest rubber cutter with micrometer adjustments and a self-sharpening blade that achieves perpendicular (vs. undesirable trapezoidal) edges.

Amateur Sleuth Helps Locate Crash Site of India's Vikram Moon Lander

Amateur Sleuth Helps Locate Crash Site of India’s Vikram Moon Lander - Airplanes and Rockets"An Indian software developer and mechanical engineer combing through high-resolution imagery captured by a NASA spacecraft has located debris scattered on the lunar surface in September by the crash of the Vikram lander, India's first probe to attempt a soft touchdown on the moon, NASA said Monday. A camera mounted on NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has recorded images of the Vikram spacecraft's target landing site since Indian ground controllers lost contact with probe Sept. 6 during final descent to the moon. The robotic Vikram lander was descending toward a landing zone around 373 miles from the moon's south pole..."

With the Model Builders, May 1941 Flying Aces

With the Model Builders, May 1941 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsMost magazines, whether hobby, professional, news, or otherwise focused, contain a section that features what its readers are up to. Typically included is some combination of reader comments, photos, editorial contents, contest reports, etc. Flying Aces magazine's version of that was "With the Model Builders." There was not much in the way of radio control in 1941 when this column appeared, so it had free flight and control line models. One photo showed a guy who was getting ready to go into the Army to fight Hitler's and Tojo's minions passing his penchant for aeromodeling on to his little sister...

BlackBird: The Airborne Version of Über

BlackBird: The Airborne Version of Über - Airplanes and RocketsBlackBird appears to be an airborne version of Über car ride service. If you need to quickly get from point A to point B and can't do it by scheduled planes, trains, or automobiles, hail your ride with Black Bird. I was not familiar with the service prior to seeing in a news item regarding the FAA being concerned over whether the pilots and airplanes are properly certified to provide flights. BlackBird believes its participating pilots know the law and comply as needed. If you elect to use the service, be sure to inquire whether your escort is fully qualified by the FAA.

Chinese Mars Rover Landing Trial Ahead of 2020 Launch

Chinese Mars Rover Landing Trial Ahead of 2020 Launch - Airplanes and Rockets"China has performed a hover and hazard avoidance test on a model the country's first Mars rover, while engineers ready the real spacecraft for launch toward the red planet in mid-2020. Comprising an orbiter, lander and rover, the mission aims to become the first Chinese spacecraft to reach Mars after lifting off aboard a Long March 5 rocket - the country's most powerful launcher - during a several week window opening in July 2020. The mission will launch from the Wenchang space center on Hainan Island, China's newest spaceport. China invited ambassadors and envoys from 19 countries..."

Airbus-Amprius Partnership Boosts Zephyr Project

Airbus-Amprius Partnership Boosts Zephyr Project - Airplanes and Rockets"Airbus Defence and Space has invested in US-based battery technology company Amprius, to boost the development of new generation batteries based on silicon nanowire anode technology. The investment will help drive the development of higher volume production capacity, and cells with higher energy density for programmes such as the Zephyr high altitude pseudo satellite and Urban Air Mobility innovation initiatives. Amprius was the first company to introduce 100% silicon anodes in lithium ion batteries to the market in 2013. It manufactures the highest energy density commercial batteries in the industry. The company's products and technology include a 100 per cent silicon nanowire anode, silicon-graphite composite anodes, lithium-rich cathodes..."

The Air Navy

The Air Navy, from April 1951 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThe U.S. Navy's relationship with model aviation used to be very significant, even to the extent that for many years the service sponsored the Academy of Model Aeronautics' (AMA) annual National Model Airplane (the Nats) contest. Navy bases served as the venue for the meets and a large number of Navy personnel provided assistance with organization, facilities preparation and management, promotion, event management, and awards ceremonies. The stated purpose was to foster the love of aviation in young men along with a familiarity with the Navy's environment so that when they came of age, enlistment - or commission - would be a natural progression...


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Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and Rockets
Kirt Blattenberger
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 ...
1996 - 2018
Kirt Blattenberger
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