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Model Aircraft Museum, AMA - Airplanes and Rockets



Plastic Scale Model Kits - Airplanes and Rockets

Counted Cross Stitch Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio

Counted Cross Stitch Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio - Airplanes and RocketsBack when Melanie had more time (around 1984), she made a lot of counted cross stitch pictures. This one remains her most ambitious project ever - a large nautical map of the ancient world, fashioned after the works of famed cartographer Gerard Mercator and titled with "Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio," which is, loosely translated, Latin for "A Comprehensive Description of the World." Melanie's work was done on 22-count fabric, and measures approximately 13" by 8" (not including white border). Such a fine effort needed a special frame, so I set about making a custom 23" by 17" frame out of teak wood bought at World of Hardwoods in Baltimore. The fancy fluting was done on my Craftsman radial arm saw with the molding head. Teak, as you might know, is used extensively on boats because it weathers well. It is an oily type wood that starts out life with a shiny golden patina...

Model Aircraft Covering Weight Comparison

Model Aircraft Covering Weight Comparison - Airplanes and RocketsWhen deciding which type of covering material to apply to a model airplane structure, it would be helpful to have a table of covering density for comparison. Here is such a table which shows, for instance, that 21st Century Fabric is the heaviest type of covering you can use. MicroLite covering is the lightest weight. Not shown are most doped or painted coverings because finished weights are so dependent on substrate type (silk, Silkspan, tissue, etc.), paint or dope type, and number/thickness of coats. To calculate the covering weight, multiply the density by the total surface area of your model. Unfortunately, most of these coverings are no longer manufactured, but a lot of it can still be found on eBay...

Radio Control News

Radio Control News, May 1954 Model Airplane News - Airplanes and Rockets1954 was just a decade after World War II, during which time the Army Signal Corps introduced a method of printing - or etching - metallic circuit conductors on an insulator substrate, and thus was born the printed circuit board (PCB). The first boards used a phenolic-paper laminate, which is the shiny brown substrate material that is still found in some industrial applications like motors and control panels. Ferric chloride was used to etch away the copper foil not masked off with photoresist chemicals. I made many crude PCBs using a resist ink pen to draw circuit traces and component mounting pads, then etched away the exposed copper with ferric chloride purchased at Radio Shack. This line from the article is reminiscent of people who remarked similarly about the first televisions and computers: "One of the first questions that arises is: 'What good is it and what do I gain by using it?'" Printed inductors were already being used, as the photo shows...

Find the Scale Wingspan & Area

Find the Scale Wingspan & Area - June 1969 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsDave Platt - aka "Mr. Scale" - is one of the world's most accomplished scale model airplane builders and flyers. He somehow manages to turn out magnificently detailed scale models year after year. If you haven't seen his "Platt's Laws of Scale Modeling," derived from his decades of experience, you'll want to do so. He has built and flown his scale models in the realms of free flight, control line, and radio control, using internal combustion engines with propellers, ducted fans, and turbine jets for propulsion. There might be someone somewhere equally qualified to comment on scale airplane modeling, but none more qualified. When this "Find the Scale Wingspan & Area" article appeared in a 1969 issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine, slide rules were the de rigueur...

Airmen of Vision Design Competition

Airmen of Vision Design Competition, February 1949 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsWhen Air Trails magazine was running these airplane design contests in the 1940s and 1950s, the world was fascinated with the concept of flight. Revolutionary airplanes like the Douglas DC−3, introduced in the 1930s, opened up the skyways to middle class citizens, and a plethora of surplus World War I biplanes made learning to fly affordable. Great advances were made in aircraft design and manufacturing during World War II, and those lessons were rapidly being applied to civilian aircraft to make flying accessible to average people. Model aviation was also a huge interest to the young and old alike. Static display models, simple free flight gliders and propeller driven models, control line models with screaming internal combustion engines (ICE) were the passions of hundreds of thousands - maybe millions. Most enthusiasts built models from kits or plans, but others preferred to design and build their own models. They were the visionaries...

The BOMARC IM-99 Story

The BOMARC IM-99 Story, August 1958 American Aircraft - Airplanes and RocketsIs the BOMARC an airplane or a rocket? If it is an airplane, then it is the pilotless type (aka "drone"). If it is a rocket, then it is the ultimate in controlled trajectory hardware - at least in its day. The DoD referred to it as a surface-to-air guided missile. The name is a combination of "BOeing Airplane Company" and "Michigan Aeronautical Research Center." Clever, non? If memory serves me correctly (it's been 30+ years), the AN/TPX-42 IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) secondary radar system (built by Gilfillan) I maintained as an air traffic control radar technician reserved a special "X" bit in its data packet to designate the BOMARC - and maybe other guided missiles. That might have been a military secret at the time, because the Air Force instructors acted like they were divulging proprietary information when discussing why that bit was present in an otherwise...

Victor Stanzel Electromic Tethered Helicopter

Victor Stanzel Electromic Tethered Helicopter - Airplanes and RocketsFor most people my age (born in 1958), the first experience with a "real" flying model helicopter was this ElectroMic "Copter" by Stanzel. I finally acquired one via eBay for a fair price. The "Copter" uses two D-cell batteries in the plastic handle to power a motor, also in the handle, which in turn drives the center wire of a coaxial cable that connects to the helicopter rotor. Flying the Copter is a matter of pressing the power button and then manipulating the handle to direct the model in flight. With fully charged batteries, the helicopter generates a lot of lift and requires angling the control cable downward to prevent the thing from performing the equivalent of a wingover. Forward and reverse flight involve angling the controller left and right. After a few moments of practice, precise control is fairly easy...

Air Progress: Development of Gun Turrets

Air Progress: Development of Gun Turrets, February 1949 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsPilots of the very first airplanes used for military purposes simply fired pistols and rifles from their open cockpits toward ground targets, and even other airborne targets (airplanes and balloons). Soon thereafter, machine guns were mounted to the upper wing and/or wing struts of biplanes. Once synchronization mechanisms were developed to permit firing through the propeller, guns were mounted directly in front of the cockpit, on the fuselage, giving the pilot the advantage of directly sighting for firing. When the target is large and/or the size of the ammunition is large enough to inflict significant damage regardless of where it hits, then being able to draw a visual bead on the sweet spot is not as important. Next came separate gunners who were stationed above, below, in front of, and behind the pilot, depending on the design and size of the ship. The gunner had freedom of movement to move the gun around relative to the way the airplane was pointing, and he was not encumbered with having to fly the plane at the same time ... Master artist Douglas Rolfe provided this group of drawings representing the evolution of aircraft gun turrets. It appeared in a 1948 issue of Air Trails magazine...

Steve Wooley's Control Line Argus

Argus Article & Plans, August 1961 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Mark Radcliff (yes, THE Mark Radcliff, of 75-77-79-81 USA F3a RC Aerobatic Team fame, and until recently, VP of that AMA's District III) wrote to request that I scan the article for Steve Wooley's control line Argus, which, appeared in the August 1961 American Modeler magazine. The Argus was the star of the 1960 world championships in Hungary. Note the unique wing construction where rather than using full ribs, upper and lower outlines are used that sit over and under the beefy solid wing spar. The entire article is very short...

1955 Air Force Model Airplane Championships

Air Force Modeling, Model Annual 1956 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThe 1956 Annual edition of Air Trails magazine reports here on the 1955 Air Force Model Airplane Championships held at Travis Air Force Base, in California. Check out that B-29 control line model entry, and then see this B-29 model inherited by Boyd Steffe. Back in the good 'ole days, the U.S. armed forces spent taxpayer money supporting sporting events and hobby pursuits. It helped increase morale, esprit de corps, technical prowess, physical fitness, and very importantly, it promoted the service as a career and lifestyle. Both the Air Force and the Navy were heavily into model aviation by sponsoring competitions on bases worldwide. The Navy was a prime sponsor of the Academy of Model Aeronautics' Nationals competition for many years, using its exposure to young men as a recruitment effort. Today, sadly, such activity is looked upon by our Woke armed forces as White Privilege and money is instead applied toward gender change operations and lifelong medical and psychological support...

Bilgri Patching and Covering Methods for Microfilm

Bilgri Patching and Covering Methods for Microfilm, March 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsIndoor airplane models covered with microfilm seem to have always been for a very particular, dedicated group of modelers who possess the patience, steady hands, and eyesight (aided or not) to build and maintain very delicate structures. A directed sneeze can literally blow them to pieces. It is an aspect of aeromodeling into which I have never ventured. Mr. Joseph Bilgri, AMA #4393, was a contest-winning pioneer of the craft. The AMA History Project has a biography of Joe that is worth reading if you have an interest in indoor modeling. Of course today, with the advent of nano-size radio controlled and free flight models, the realm of indoor flying has increased considerably beyond wire-framed surfaces covered with bubble-thin sheets of microfilm. This 3-part series on indoor models begins with a construction article and ends with proven methods for successfully repairing damage. It appeared in the March 1971 issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine... 

How the New 200 Inch Telescope Works

How the New 200 Inch Telescope Works, April 1938 Boy's Life - Airplanes and RocketsThe [George Ellery] Hale 200−inch telescope saw first light (first official observation) atop Palomar Mountain, in southern California, on January 26, 1949. That was a decade after this early report on its planning appeared in a 1938 issue of Boy's Life magazine (the official publication of the Boy Scouts of America, BSA). It held the title of the world's largest telescope until Russia commissioned its 605 cm (238 in.) BTA-6 in 1976. As of this writing, the telescope with the largest light collecting capacity is the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) on Mount Graham, in the Pinaleno Mountains of southeastern Arizona. When using both 330 inch mirrors, the LBT has the same light-gathering ability as a 464 inch single telescope and the resolution of a 897 inch wide one...

Science Knowledge from April 8th Solar Eclipse

Science Knowledge from April 8th Solar Eclipse - RF Cafe"When a rare total solar eclipse sweeps across North America on April 8, scientists will be able to gather invaluable data on everything from the Sun's atmosphere to strange animal behaviors - and even possible effects on humans. It comes with the Sun near the peak of its 11-year solar cycle, setting the stage for a breathtaking display: The corona will glow spectacularly from the Moon's silhouette along the path of totality, a corridor stretching from Mexico to Canada via the United States. Total solar eclipses offer 'incredible scientific opportunities,' NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy told a press conference this week about the celestial event. The U.S. space agency is one of the institutions at the ready for the eclipse, with plans to launch so-called 'sounding rockets' to study the effects on Earth's upper atmosphere. Here is a look at what researchers are hoping to learn from the upcoming eclipse. 'Things are happening with the corona that we don't fully understand,' she said. The heat within the corona intensifies with distance from the Sun's surface - a counterintuitive phenomenon that scientists struggle to fully comprehend or explain..."

Peacetime Uses for V2 Rocket, by Arthur C. Clarke

Peacetime Uses for V2 Rocket, by Arthur C. Clarke - RF CafeThis article by science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, of 2001: A Space Odyssey fame, suggested the use of surplus German V−2 (Vergeltungswaffe 2; i.e., Retribution Weapon 2) rockets for launching scientific payloads into space rather than for launching terrorizing attacks on European cities. The October 1945 publishing date was after Germany had surrendered in the spring of that year and Allied forces were rounding up war criminals and confiscating documents and equipment. Clarke describes how an "artificial satellite" could be caused to circle the earth "perpetually" and was published in the October 1945 edition of Wireless World magazine. The pilot-less V−2, along with the V−1 "Buzz Bomb," were launched from within Germany and caused massive structural damage and human death and suffering. For war progenitor and aggressor, Germany, to call it a retribution weapon was a gross misnomer, especially considering it was the second time (WWI and WWII) in three decades that the country had attempted to bring Europe under its dominance with brutal assaults...

3D-Printed Formers Sterling F4U-1 Corsair

3D-printed formers Sterling F4U-1 Corsair (Boyd Steffen) - Airplanes and RocketsAirplanes and Rockets website visitor Boyd Steffen sent me this photo of the formers he made using a 3D printer. People are building entire flyable model airplanes using 3D printing, including detailed scale airplanes, aerobatic and super fast models, lightweight Park Flyers, and training types. The science/art has come a long way in the last decade. A YouTube search on 3D printed model airplane will have you amazed at what is being done, if you aren't already aware. The guys designing and building them have a very impressive knowledge of what is needed to maximizing strength and rigidity while maintaining minimal weight - no doubt as a result of trial and error...

He (Igor Bensen) Rides a Kite

He (Igor Bensen) Rides a Kite, July 1954 Popular Science - Airplanes and RocketsMany guys my age (65) remember seeing advertisements back in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s for the Bensen Gyrocopter in the pages of magazines like Mechanics Illustrated, Popular Mechanix, Science and Mechanics, etc. Bensen stopped kit production in 1988. This 1954 issue of Popular Science magazine featured a story on Igor Bensen's early towed version of his gyrocopter (model B−6), which he referred to as a gyro−glider. According to later published information, the round tubing used here was replaced with square tubing due to difficulties in building experienced by owners. Prior to opening Bensen Aircraft Company, Dr. Bensen designed gyroplanes and related aircraft for General electric and Kaman. I never had any hopes of being able to build a gyrocopter, but did hold out some hope for maybe building one of the lawn mower engine powered hovercraft that also showed up all the time. Alas, neither was ever done...

R/C "'Los Angeles" Article & Plans

R/C "'Los Angeles" Article & Plans, December 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsAn Airplanes and Rockets visitor wrote requesting that I post this article on the R/C Los Angeles airship, so here it is. There have been a few articles in the last year or so reporting on radio-controlled blimps (airships, dirigibles, etc.). The advent of super-light radio gear, powerful little brushless motors, and high energy density batteries has made them practical in almost any scale. This "Los Angeles" model is 53" long and 11½" in diameter, and will lift 8-10 ounces of gear. In 1968, when this article was published in American Aircraft Modeler magazine, there was no lightweight film covering material that was both strong enough and gas-tight enough to do the job, so thin silk and butyrate dope were used. Modern covering and equipment should let this baby fly to the moon...

Handy-Mac 50-mc R/C Transmitter

Handy-Mac 50-mc R/C Transmitter (July/August 1963 American Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsWhen I wax nostalgic about old tube radio sets, it is not because I don't appreciate the performance and quality of modern electronics. It is just that a lot of the technology was still mainstream when I was young (born in 1958). I remember having it in my parents' house and seeing even older stuff in my grandparents' house. Some people's midlife crisis takes the form of wearing age-inappropriate clothing, gold jewelry, and chasing after strange women. The manifestation of my "crisis," if you want to call it that, has been collecting memorabilia from days of yore. There is a huge demand for it, so I make as much as I have time for posting available for others to enjoy. Articles like this one are from old editions I bought on eBay, a 1963 edition of American Modeler magazine in this instance. Even though nobody will go out and buy parts to build this tube-based R/C transmitter, there are useful descriptions of circuit design considerations, including the use of a center-loaded, half-wave antenna. Hams eat this stuff up...

Radio Circus Real Laugh Riot

Radio Circus Real Laugh Riot (December 1957 American Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsIt's hard to imagine a time when radio control was such a novelty that contests included events where models were steered around on the ground to weave through obstacles, as was the case when this 1957 American Modeler magazine article was published. The thing is, when I got my first R/C system, an OS Digital 3−channel set, I had not yet learned to fly so I "drove" my S−Ray around the yard and in the street in front of my house. The noise from the OS .20 engine and the RF interference on television VHF channel 5 annoyed the neighbors at times. My transmitter was at 27.195 MHz, and the harmonics fell squarely into the RF and audio bands. My best friend back in the day had one of the Smog Hogs referred to in the article. In 1957, radio systems only approximated proportional control, so smooth maneuvers were not easy to do. Receiver tuning was necessary between flights for a lot of systems, and interference from other users in or near the 27 MHz band was a constant threat to models...

Jets Hit the Deck for U. S. Navy

How New Jets Hit the Deck for U. S. Navy, June 1948 Popular Science - Airplanes and RocketsWorld War II had only been over three years when the U.S. Navy began jet fighter operations from aircraft carriers. Angled decks had not even entered service when the North American FJ-1 Fury jet fighters made the first takeoffs and landing on the straight−deck USS Boxer. The USS Forrestal, our first angled deck carrier, was commissioned in 1951. This story appeared in a 1948 issue of Popular Science magazine. Note the huge clock on deck which was photographed upon being triggered by the airplane hooking an arrestor line, so that a precise lending time would be recorded. The way the picture is taken, it looks like a perspective trick to make a small clock look much larger than it actually was. I like the fact that Lt. Comdr. Robert Elder took a wave−off on a first approach in order to give his skipper, Comdr. Evan (Pete) Aurand the honor of the first−ever jet aircraft landing at sea. Nowadays, computers routinely fly jet−powered drones off of and onto carrier decks...

Russia Avangard Hypersonic Glide Vehicle

Russia Avangard Hypersonic Glide Vehicle - RF CafeA lot has been in the news recently about Russia's new hypersonic glide vehicle capable of delivering nuclear (and conventional) warheads across the globe at over than Mach 20 (14,822 mph) in the atmosphere. That's 4.1 miles per second. From a 150 mile high apogee, that's less than 40 seconds from space to target. Not even a high power laser can stop that. The great circle path from Siberia to San Francisco is 5,900 miles, for a flight time of less than a minute after launch phase. Moscow to D.C., (4,900 miles) takes a little less time. Here is a recent interview with Putin on Russia's state of the union regarding social, economic, and military issues - including hypersonic weapons. Oh, and they're not fixing their low birth rate by importing felons, psycho patients and cannibals from the third World. Interestingly, he addresses the rampant embezzlement schemes that U.S. defense contractors and their management perpetrate. Sure, a lot is propaganda, but so is what comes out of Washington.

How to Make Scale-Model Planes for Government Use

How to Make Scale-Model Planes for Government Use, May 1942 Popular Science - Airplanes and RocketsWith the entry of the United States into World War II came the need for service members to be trained on many new technologies - among them being airplanes and the ability to identify them quickly. Electronics technicians and airframe and powerplant mechanics were in need, of course, but everyone had to be able to tell friend from foe when airplanes were approaching. In order to assist the war effort, a call went out to civilians to begin producing thousands of models at a 1:72 scale so that at 35 feet away they appeared in size to be that of a full-scale version at about half a mile. Detailed paint jobs were not required - only that the profile from all angles look exactly like the real thing. In fact, the models were painted flat black so as to look like a distant airplane against the background sky. Both Allied and Axis airplane models were needed so that soldiers and sailors could quickly spot a potential danger and decide whether to take cover and prepare to fight, or to continue with business as usual. This article appeared in the May 1942 edition of Popular Science, meaning that it was probably written sometime around February, only a few months after the Japanese attacked our naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941...

Glass-Plastic Aircraft Challenge the "Heat Wall"

Glass-Plastic Aircraft Challenge the "Heat Wall", June 1953 Science and Mechanics - Airplanes and RocketsThe type of glass referred to in this 1953 Science and Mechanics magazine article is not the solid sheet type made from sand (silicon), but fiberglass. It has strands of glass mixed into the plastic weave, hence the name. It is the glass component that causes itching as it pricks your skin. Breathing it into your lungs is dangerous as the minute particles of glass can lodge in the tissue. Typical of the era, the workers shown handling the fiberglass have no protection for eyes, nose, mouth, or skin. Fiberglass ended up not being the material hoped for because it ultimately could not stand up to the extreme structural and thermal loads typical of high speed aircraft. It was also not tolerant of being exposed to intense sunlight while sitting on a tarmac. The few commercial and homebuilt fiberglass airplanes need to be painted white to reflect as much ultraviolet light as possible to prevent delamination and deterioration of the components...

Peck-Polymers Is Back in Business

Peck-Polymers Is Back in Business !!! - Airplanes and RocketsPeck-Polymers has been around for as long as I can remember, which was in the late 1960s to early 1970s, when I would have bought my first aeromodeling magazine (we relied on magazines back then for information since Al Gore had not yet invented the Internet). In fact, Peck-Polymers was founded in 1971 by engineer and free-flighter Bob Peck. According to the "About" page on their website, Bob designed many of the models in the original Peck product line. He and his wife Sandy we soon kitting designs by Bill Hannan, Bill Warner, Dick Baxter and many others. Peck-Polymers has also long been at the forefront of design and engineering of the many small parts that are so critical to free flight rubber airplanes, such as the bearings and prop shafts. Bob passed away in 1991, and his wife Sandy kept the company going until late 2007 when she sold it to Tim Goldstein of A2Z Corp. (now defunct) Tim created the laser-cut kits. In January of 2015, Chuck Imbergamo of Wind-It-Up Enterprises took ownership of the company and thankfully is committed to carrying on the tradition of producing Peck-Polymer kits and accessories...

New Balloons Explore Roof of the Airways

New Balloons Explore Roof of the Airways, May 1948 Popular Science - Airplanes and RocketsAs a kid living in Holly Hill Harbor, Maryland, I managed to find many uses for those thin plastic bags that protected garments returned from the dry cleaner. The two most often were for parachutes and for filling with hot air to use as a balloon. I'd tape my mother's sewing thread to a cut-out circle for a parachute, then tie a small rock to the ends of the "shroud lines." Then, I'd fold it and wrap the lines around it like with my Estes rockets, and chuck it as high into the air as possible. Only when my arm got sore did the repetitions stop. The hot air balloon exercises were not very impressive. Forming a two-dimensional piece of plastic into a three-dimensional sphere(oid) resulted in a less than optimal enclosure, with excess material that only added weight without adding volume for hot air. A hair dryer borrowed - usually without permission - provided the hot (more like warm) air for buoyancy. The thin plastic easily wrinkled if the end of the hair dyer touched it...

Thimble Drome Cox Prop-Rod Air-Powered Car

Thimble Drome Cox Prop-Rod Air-Powered Car - Airplanes and RocketsThe Prop-Rod car was one of the earliest models produced by L.M. Cox Manufacturing. For many years the models went by the trade name of Thimble Drome, but later were know simply as Cox Models. It was featured in magazine advertisements as early as 1961 when it appeared in American Modeler. The Prop-Rod came with a Babe Bee .049 engine mounted with its cylinder inverted, which could make starting it difficult since fuel could pool in the glow head. As with airplanes having inverted cylinders, starting it was often done by holding the model upside down. It was designed to run either on a tether stretched along a sidewalk, on a tether mounted in the center of a circle...

How High™ Electronic Altimeter Teardown

How High™ Electronic Altimeter Teardown Report - Airplanes and RocketsWinged Shadow Systems has developed a solid state electronic altimeter called the How High™ that plugs into a spare receiver channel for power, and provides altitude readings between 50 feet and 7,000 feet above ground level. The heart of the system is the SM5420 pressure sensor, by Silicon Microstructures. It is a micromachined structure molded in an 8-pin SOIC plastic package. Here is the datasheet. Per the manufacturer, "The SM5420C is a small outline SO-8 packaged pressure sensor. The sensor uses SMI’s SM5108C micromachined, piezoresistive pressure sensing chip that has been optimized to provide the highest possible accuracy for a package of this size..." News Flash: I set a personal thermalling altitude record of 1,267 feet in my 85% Aquila glider on May 23, 2024!

Radio Control on the Citizens Band

Radio Control on the Citizens Band, March 1952 Radio and Television News - Airplanes and RocketsRadio control (R/C) of a model doesn't get much simpler than the transmitter and receiver circuits shown in the schematics of Figure 2. Of course the cleanness of the transmitted signal and the selectivity of the receiver of that signal leaves a lot to be desired. In 1952 when this article appeared in Radio & Television News magazine, the airwaves weren't cluttered with wireless communications devices, but given that these radio systems were sharing the electromagnetic spectrum with Citizens Band (CB) radio, the chances of getting "shot down" from nearby operators was pretty high if you lived within a few miles of where CB'ers were communicating. More sophisticated R/C equipment was available from commercial manufacturers, but this system targeted the do-it-yourself types and those with limited hobby budgets...

How to Build Better Wings

How to Build Better Wings, July 1962 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsHal deBolt was a well known and respected model aircraft designer in the early days of radio control. By 1962, when this "How to Build Better Wings" article appeared in American Modeler magazine, there were some proportional radio systems coming on the market, but a lot of fliers still used escapement, galloping ghost, or reed systems. With somewhat limited control , having an airplane that was inherently stable or neutrally stable was important for success. Negative stability usually meant disaster. One way to minimize airframe related issues is to build on a well-designed jig - especially for the wing and tail surfaces. Even today's laser cut, perfect fitting kit parts are of no use in obtaining a true airframe if the surface they are built on is twisted or bowed. This article offers a simple jig that can be used for building any normal wing...

Air Progress: The Hawker Story TMD

Air Progress: The Hawker Story, October 1950 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsEven when you are supremely talented as both an artist, researcher, and writer, as was Douglas Rolfe, producing the infographics, paintings, and articles like this 1950 Air Trails magazine piece for the "Air Progress: The Hawker Story" feature, requires an enormous amount of time and effort. Unlike today where most of the information (accurate or not) you want is available on the Internet, back in Rolfe's day, a library of books and magazines was needed to assimilate so much information on a single subject - in this case the lineage and evolution of the Hawker line of aircraft from its beginnings in 1912 under the name of Sopwith. In 1950, Hawker's newest airplane was the P-1050 jet (c1949), which followed Tempest (c1947) Typhoon (c1940), which became famous during World War II. Hawker merged with Siddeley (Hawker Siddeley Aircraft) in 1963. Their latest model is the Hawk (now BAE Systems), introduced in 1976...

Fox 15x Engine

Fox 15x Engine, November 1961 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsFox model airplane engines had a reputation for ruggedness and contest-winning performance, but were also notoriously difficult to get started - at least without an electric starter. In 1961, when this full-page advertisement appeared in American Modeler magazine, electric starters were not in many modelers' field boxes, and particularly those owned by youngsters whose modeling budget came from meager allowances and paper routes. Born in 1958, I was 15 or 16 years old before being able to afford the luxury, and I remember relentlessly flipping the propellers on my Fox 15 and Fox 35 control line engines. Half the time when they started, they were running backwards and had to be stopped with a rag thrown into the prop, then the process started over again. Ugh. ...but I digress. Fox prided itself on their use of Meehanite iron for the piston. Per Wikipedia: "Meehanite is a trademark for an engineering process to make a range of cast irons produced under specific and carefully controlled conditions to precise internationally recognized specifications." I don't know what the difference is between the standard Fox engines and the "X" series. My Fox 15 and Fox 35, which I still have, are the standard non-X variety...

Boeing's C-137 Jet Stratoliner

Boeing's C-137 Jet Stratoliner, July 1954 Popular Science - Airplanes and RocketsBoeing's Stratoliner was America's answer to Britain's The de Havilland DH.106 Comet commercial airliner. The Comet's maiden flight occurred on July 27, 1949, and it entered into commercial service with British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) on May 2, 1952. This 1954 Popular Science magazine article reported on the first test flight of the Stratoliner. The article is not clear what its production designation would be, but the best information I can find, based on maiden flight dates, indicates it was the Boeing 367-80, which became the basis for the Boeing 707. The Wikipedia entry shows the factory-roll-out photo included in this article. There was also a Boeing C-137 Stratoliner military version. While Boeing's top test pilot Alvin "Text" Johnston is mentioned in the article, what is not mentioned is the unauthorized barrel roll he performed in the Stratoliner during a demonstration flight over Lake Washington, near Seattle, with the company president watching from his yacht!

Solar Eclipse from Greensboro, NC, April 8, 2024

Solar Eclipse from Greensboro, NC, April 8, 2024 - Airplanes and RocketsOn April 8, 2024, one of the best total solar eclipses of the last century crossed the United States from Texas to Maine. Because the moon was near its closest orbital point to the Earth, and the Earth was about midway between its orbital apogee and perigee, the sun appeared relatively small and the moon appeared relatively large. That combination caused the moon's shadow to be very wide across the face of the Earth. Note in the NASA eclipse map at the right how much narrower the path of totality was for the August 17, 2017 eclipse. Maximum eclipse for this location was just shy of 81%. That was enough to cause an eerie feel in the sky, but it was nowhere near dark. Let me state that when I first became aware of this solar eclipse, it was sometime around 2016, when I was living in Erie, Pennsylvania. Due to scheduling issues, Melanie and I decided to not travel to South Carolina to view the August 21, 2017 eclipse, figuring we would have a front-row seat to it on April 8, 2024, from our house, which was only a few miles from the center of the path of totality. Life happened, and we ended up moving back to North Carolina in 2022. Because hotel rooms just about anywhere in the path of totality were in the $300+ per night range, we stayed here and missed totality...

Tiny Outboards Howl Like the Big Ones

Tiny Outboards Howl Like the Big Ones, July 1954 Popular Science - Airplanes and RocketsAhhhh, the days before electric powered everything. I will be the first to admit that the ease of operation, cleanliness, and quietness of an e-powered model is convenient and helps keep neighbors happy, but the undeniable fact is that from a motivational perspective, nothing in modeling compares to a screaming internal combustion engine (ICE) with blue smoke pouring out of the exhaust - especially when no muffler is installed. Go on, you can admit it, unless of course you have never partaken in that aspect of our hobby. When I was a kid, if I could hear even the slightest hint of a glow engine running, I'd be on my bicycle pedaling as fast as I could toward the source of the beautiful sound. Sometimes it was a kid down the road with his Cox tethered car, or on rare occasions a fellow model airplane flier. A man a couple blocks away flew R/C airplanes and helicopters, and my sudden presence every time he started up an engine probably made him cringe (although I did stay out at the street unless invited over). I would be content to sit on the side of the road and listen to the engine run and if lucky, get a whiff of the exhaust. I've told Melanie that if I ever lapse into unconsciousness and cannot otherwise be revived, fire up a Cox .049 in front of me or wave a spent Estes rocket engine under my nose. I there still is no response...

Plasma Stealth Device Takes Aircraft off the Radar

Plasma Stealth Device Takes Aircraft off the Radar - RF Cafe"A new-generation plasma stealth device that can make almost any military aircraft vanish from a radar screen is claimed to have been developed by a team of scientists and engineers from western China. Unlike its predecessors, which generate a cloud of plasma draped over a plane, this innovation can be tailored to fit a sensitive section of a military aircraft - areas like the radar dome, cockpit or other spots that are most prone to enemy radar detection. This 'closed electron beam plasma stealth device,' which focuses on protecting key areas instead of the entire aircraft, can be switched on at a moment's notice to fool radar operators. It has many advantages such as 'simple structure, wide power adjustable range and high plasma density,' Tan Chang, a scientist involved in the project, wrote in a peer-reviewed paper published in the Chinese Journal of Radio Science in December. Chinese scientists say they can use foreign military radar to track ships. Plasma, composed of electrically charged particles, interacts with electromagnetic waves in a unique way. When electromagnetic waves - such as those emitted by radar - interact with plasma, they cause the particles to move rapidly and collide, dissipating the waves' energy and reducing the strength of the reflected signal. This interaction converts the energy of the electromagnetic waves into mechanical and thermal energy of the charged particles, diminishing the waves' strength and subsequently weakening the radar signal reflected back. The concept of plasma stealth technology traces back to the Cold War era, where both the United States and the Soviet Union poured resources into its research and development. However, due to technological constraints, it never progressed beyond the laboratory phase... (line 546 in page source view for non-subscribers)

Fairchild 22 C-7-F (1934) 4-View

Fairchild 22 C-7-F (1934) 4-View, July 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThis 4-view drawing of the Fairchild 22 C-7-F (1934) was scanned from page 38B and 38C of my purchased edition of the July 1968 American Aircraft Modeler (AAM) magazine. It is another example of Björn Karlström's fine scale drawings. In the pre-Internet days, this sort of detailed documentation was harder to come by, so AAM provided a great service by publishing these. Per Wikipedia: "The aircraft was designed by Kreider-Reisner during negotiations by Sherman Fairchild to take a major share in the company. Marketed as the Fairchild 22 Model C7 the aircraft was certified in March 1931. The Fairchild 22 was a mixed-construction braced parasol-wing monoplane with a fixed tailwheel landing gear and a braced tail unit. It had two tandem open cockpits and was initially powered by a 80hp (60kW) Armstrong Siddeley Genet radial engine. After test flying the prototype the first production aircraft were re-engined with a 75hp (56kW) Michigan Rover inverted inline engine. The aircraft was fitted with both inline and radial piston engines...

Sora Cinimatic AI Generator

Sora Cinimatic AI Generator - RF CafeI, for one, do not fear the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI). The fact is we have been living through an evolutionary process in AI since the beginning of the computer age - it just wasn't called AI at the time. Electronic and mechanical CAD/CAE software with optimization routines are AI. PCB layout autorouting is AI. Weather prediction algorithms are AI. MRI and x-ray images processing is AI, as is tax preparation software. I'd say "get used to it," but you already have. This Sora project by OpenAI (the ChatGPT folks) is basically a real-life rendition version of what Pixar is for cartoon animation. "We're teaching AI to understand and simulate the physical world in motion, with the goal of training models that help people solve problems that require real-world interaction. Sora can generate videos up to a minute long while maintaining visual quality and adherence to the user's prompt. Sora is able to generate complex scenes with multiple characters, specific types of motion, and accurate details of the subject and background. The model understands not only what the user has asked for in the prompt, but also how those things exist in the physical world. The current model has weaknesses. For example, a person might take a bite out of a cookie, but afterward, the cookie may not have a bite mark..." The movie industry is crying foul, but honestly, would many people care if the egotistical, largely ignorant, bloviating Hollywood actors went away?

O.S. Digitron DP-3 R/C System w/Packaging & Documentation

O.S. Digitron DP-3, 3-Channel Radio Control System with original packaging & documentation - Airplanes and RocketsThis is a rare find. After having a Saved Search on eBay for years, looking for an O.S. Digitron DP-3, 3-Channel Radio Control System with original packaging and documentation, one finally came up for sale. It was listed with inexact wording in the title, so maybe that's why I found it before others. It had only been listed for a few minutes, and I bought it instantly. This has got to be one of the primo examples left in the world. All the original packaging and documentation is here, even including a set of O.S. Digital decals. Why the enthusiasm, you might ask? This was my very first R/C system that I bought from a neighbor for $100, back in 1974, when I was a mere 15 or 16 years old. To my best recollection, it came with everything here. The fitted leather transmitter case was very nice, and it kept the metal chassis in excellent condition. My radio was on 27.195 MHz (green flag), and at the time, an FCC license was required to operate it...

Liberty Lifter X-Plane

Liberty Lifter X-Plane - Airplanes and Rockets"Aurora Flight Sciences said it is progressing through Phase 1B of the project, a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program to design, build, float, and fly the aircraft. To meet heavy-air-lift capability from the sea the vehicle will operate efficiently in ground effect at high sea states and demonstrate affordability using low-cost manufacturing and unique design features. Virginia-headquartered Aurora Flight Sciences added that a major focus during Phase 1B is testing for risk reduction. ReconCraft, an Oregon-based shipyard, will build full-scale structural test articles, including a portion of the fuselage. The Aurora team also tested a scale model of the hull in the tow tank at Virginia Tech, which offers a unique capability to study the slamming of craft during landing. Upcoming testing includes flying sensors and software for wave detection and prediction, which will feed the X-plane's advanced control system for safely flying in ground effect over high sea states..."

First German Helicopter Championships

First German Helicopter Championships, March 1969 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets$25 R/C helicopters are available from Amazon that climb and turn on demand (kinda). For under $60 you get a fully controllable model with counter-rotating rotors that anyone can fly like a pro in after an hour or two of practice. Double that amount and a 3-D-capable, ready-to-fly helicopter is available to you, complete with a spread spectrum radio, gyro stabilization, a brushless motor, and Li-Poly batteries... with a computerized charger. Engineers have labored endlessly to bring this state of the art technology to all corners of the world. It was not that way all so long ago. To wit, take a look at this article from the March 1969 edition of American Aircraft Modeler magazine, that reported on Germany's first ever R/C helicopter competition that was held in the fall of 1968. There were no kits (let alone RFTs), no special heli engines, no gyroscopes, no carbon fiber blades, to "how-to" manuals, not even any reserved frequencies for the newly arrived proportional radio control systems. All helicopters there were designed and built from scratch, and no two looked alike; large number or unique color schemes were not necessary to keep track of a cookie-cutter production craft...

View-Master: Tour Theatre Projector & Viewer (Repair & Refurbishment)

Supermodel Melanie, View-Master: Tour Theatre Projector & Viewer (Repair & Refurbishment) - Airplanes and RocketsHere is Melanie with her gaf View−Master "Tour Theatre" set that she had as a little girl. She took better care of her stuff than I did, so a lot of her toys and dolls are still around decades later. It came with a Standard 30−watt projector and a hand−held stereo viewer. Also included was a nice case and a few reel sets with various places around the world*. Being a Peanuts fan like me, she had a couple 3−reel sets: "Snoopy and the Red Baron," and Peanuts." We have a "Little Drummer Boy" and "Dennis the Menace" set, too. The others are long gone. I had just a hand−held viewer. See my space program reel sets. The hand−held View−Master viewer that created a 3D scene by using a pair of stereoscopic images fed individually to each eye. One of the Peanuts reels has a frame showing how those stereoscopic images were created using two cameras set up a distance apart so that each had a slightly different perspective on the subject, just as your eyes have. There are 14 frames in each reel, so using two frames per 3D scene, that makes 7 scenes per reel. Replacement 7-14-scene reel selector lever installed on mechanism. Home-brew 7-14-scene reel selector lever. 6-32 bolt is soldered to steel lever, and then the head ground down to provide needed clearance. 7-14-scene reel selector mechanism. Side view of projector reel advance mechanism. Westinghouse RVR115, 120V, 30W light bulb for View−Master Standard projector. The projector, on the other hand, cannot create a 3D image on the screen (or wall). Therefore, a standard 3D reel only has 7 unique scenes on it. Special reels were sold for the projector that had 14 unique scenes on it. As such, the projector designers provided a lever to be positioned for either a 7-scene or a 14-scene reel. We discovered that the lever was missing...

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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 ...

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