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

Aerospace Headline News

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archives -

• SpaceX Parachute Test Goes Wrong, Could Affect Schedule

•  DARPA Launch Challenge Closes With No Winner

• SoT Chao Presents Solution for "Mystery Drone" Problem at CES

FAA Investigating BlackBird Air Transportation Service (a la Uber)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)

The Man Who's Flown Everything

The Man Who's Flown Everything - Airplanes and Rockets"Robert 'Hoot' Gibson's priorities: (1) Fly. (2) Fly some more. An hour before the doors of the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center opened to visitors, the vast, multi-level space was filled with a theatrical pre-curtain hush. Only a few docents were here, getting reacquainted with the 170-some air- and spacecraft on display, machines that had made some of the most important history of the last hundred years. The docents were there to tell their stories. So was the man I'd traveled to Chantilly, Virginia, to meet: Robert 'Hoot' Gibson. Hoot (the nickname originated with cowboy movie star Edmund 'Hoot' Gibson) knew many of these flying machines personally. From light piston aircraft to thundering World War II fighters to supersonic jets to the space shuttle, Gibson had flown them - 111 types so far..."

Spartan School of Aeronautics Advertisement

Spartan School of Aeronautics Advertisement, December 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsNowadays know as Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology, the Spartan School of Aeronautics was founded in 1928 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by oil magnate William G. Skelly. Skelly believed air transportation was the way of the future and to be successful would require skilled aircraft technicians and pilots. Spartan claims to have trained more than 100,000 technicians and pilots for careers in the aeronautics industry. They now have branches in Denver, Colorado, and Los Angeles and Inland Empire, California. The Spartan Black Cat logo, which includes the number 13, and the slogan "Knowledge and Skill Overcome Superstition and Luck," was the original insignia of the Spartan College Dawn Patrol. The fact that Spartan School of Aeronautics began only a year before of the stock market crash of 1929 and survived the ensuing decade-long Great Depression and Dust Bowl years is a testament to its tenacity. This advertisement appeared in a 1954 issue of Air Trails - Hobbies for Young Men magazine...

Critical Test for NASA's Monster Rocket

Critical Test for NASA's Monster Rocket - Airplanes and Rockets"Facing immense challenges, the agency bulls ahead with its Space Launch System. From a test-stand catwalk almost 300 feet above the ground at NASA's Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi, Maury Vander and I take in a view of the 14,000-acre rocket propulsion test complex, its 200-square-mile acoustical buffer zone, and distant New Orleans. Vander, who started at Stennis in 1989 after graduating from the University of New Orleans with a degree in mechanical engineering, is the chief of test operations for the approaching Green Run, a long-awaited test that will certify for flight the core of a rocket that has been in development for a decade..."

Bob Violett, October 30, 1941 - March 21, 2020

R.I.P. Bob Violett - Airplanes and RocketsAn icon of the radio control model airplane sport, Bob Violett passed away on March 21st. He first made his mark on model aviation in the 1970s as a champion R/C pylon contender. Bob later revolutionized the R/C EDF and turbine jet world with his first-of-their-kind kits produced by BVM Jets. "U.S. Navy jet carrier pilot flying the F-8 Crusader and the A-4 Skyhawk during the Vietnam War. Bob was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with Gold and Silver Stars, Navy Commendation Medal with Gold Star, National Defense Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal. After being honorably discharged from the Navy, Bob started a career as a commercial Airplane Pilot for Eastern Airlines. In 1981 Bob merged his long-time love for model airplanes into a new business venture BVM Jets." I first saw Bob in action at the PGRC club flying field in the mid-1970s and at club meetings. Here is a tribute to Bob Violett by Model Airplane News magazine, and another from the Dignity Memorial. R.I.P.

AAMCo Andrews MiniMaster Kit

AAMCo Andrews MiniMaster Kit - Airplanes and RocketsWhen I was a teenager living in Holly Hill Harbor, Maryland, a man down the road from me was an avid R/C modeler and had a carport chock full of airplanes, engines, radio systems, and assorted modeling tools and accessories. I've mentioned him before; I bought my 3-channel OS Digitron DP-3 radio system from him for a cool $100 (earned from my paper route and cutting grass). He was kind enough to give my flying buddy, Jerry Flynn, and me a couple pieces of his excess inventory. A broken but repairable Andrews MiniMaster was handed to me one day, which was a real thrill for me in the day. I fixed what needed fixing and installed my 3-channel radio in it. Although the MiniMaster is a full house (4-channel) ship...

Unmanned Solar Aircraft Competes with Satellites and Drones

Unmanned Solar Aircraft Competes with Satellites and Drones - Airplanes and Rockets"BAE Systems' new plane has the potential to fly without landing for a year, and can maintain its position over a specific point for monitoring purposes. At 35 meters, the wingspan of the new BAE Systems aircraft equals that of a Boeing 737, yet the plane weighs in at just 150 kilograms, including a 15 kg payload. The unmanned plane, dubbed the PHASA-35 (Persistent High-Altitude Solar Aircraft), made its maiden voyage on 10 February at the Royal Australian Air Force Woomera Test Range in South Australia. 'It flew for just under an hour - enough time to successfully test its aerodynamics, autopilot system, and maneuverability,' says Phil Varty, business development leader of emerging products at BAE Systems. 'We'd previously tested..."

Monokote Sealing Iron Handle Repair

Monokote Sealing Iron Handle Repair - Airplanes and RocketsMy original Top Flite Monokote Sealing Iron, purchased in the mid-1970s, lasted until the late 1990s, when the heating element burned out. A quarter century of use was not too bad. To replace it, I bought a Tower Hobbies iron, and the first time I used it the handle started to bend where it transitions from a hollow round shape to a flat shape. The metal was noticeably softer than the Top Flite handle, which never even hinted at bending. For two decades I have had to be very careful not to press too hard on the iron lest it bend. After many times of bending and straightening the handle, a major stress crack had formed, and it was pretty evident that the handle would not last much longer. I would either need to buy a new Monokote sealing iron, which in all likelihood would be equally cheaply built since Top Flite does not make them anymore, or come up with some kind or repair for this one...

AAMCo Andrews Aeromaster Too Biplane Kit

AAMCo Andrews Aeromaster Too Biplane Kit - Airplanes and RocketsWhile I never had the pleasure of owning an AAMCo Lou Andrews Aeromaster Too biplane, it was one of the many kits I though someday I would build. After 61 years of existence, there still is no Aeromaster Too kit in my collection, and at this point likely never will be. The Aeromaster Too was a four-channel ("full-house" as it was known back in the day) aerobatic biplane with a 48" wingspan for .45 to .61 in3 displacement glow fuel engines. It used balsa, plywood, and hardwood construction along with music wire components for the landing gear and cabane struts. The photos presented here were downloaded from multiple Aeromaster Too kits listed on eBay. They typically sell in the $125 to $200 price range, which is very comparable to what a new kit of similar size and complexity would sell for today...

Simple, Fuel-Efficient Rocket Engine for Cheaper, Lighter Spacecraft

Simple, Fuel-Efficient Rocket Engine for Cheaper, Lighter Spacecraft - Airplanes and Rockets"It takes a lot of fuel to launch something into space. Sending NASA's Space Shuttle into orbit required more than 3.5 million pounds of fuel, which is about 15 times heavier than a blue whale. But a new type of engine called a rotating detonation engine promises to make rockets not only more fuel-efficient but also more lightweight and less complicated to construct. There's just one problem: Right now this engine is too unpredictable to be used in an actual rocket. Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a mathematical model that describes how these engines work. With this information, engineers can, for the first time, develop tests to improve these engines..."

Marvelous Miniatures: Aeromodeling in the 1970s

Marvelous Miniatures: Aeromodeling in the 1970s - Airplanes and RocketsSome of my favorite YouTube aeromodeling videos are converted from movies of vintage contesting events. This "Marvelous Miniatures" documentary is a prime example for showing the state of aircraft modeling in the 1970s, when I got into radio control (R/C). See Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) President John Worth at the Toledo show, soaring at Torrey Pines, Maxy Hester and his famous Ryan STA, techno-modeler Maynard Hill, digital proportional R/C system pioneer Phil Craft, along with many other "unknowns" are shown doing their thing. Something that always stands out in these vintage films is how devoid of residential and commercial development the surrounding areas are.

Africa's Lake Kivu Drone Challenge

Africa's Lake Kivu Drone Challenge - Airplanes and Rockets"Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We'll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. These videos show some highlights from the Lake Kivu Drone Challenge, which took place in Rwanda, earlier this month. In addition to a conference and forum, international teams and their drones competed in emergency delivery, sample pick-up, and find and assess tasks."

AOPA Q&A with U.S. Rep. Sam Graves

AOPA Q&A with U.S. Rep. Sam Graves - Airplanes and RocketsAOPA's government affairs team had the chance to catch up with U.S. Representative Sam Graves, a longtime general aviation pilot, advocate, and AOPA member, about his aviation background and GA [General Aviation] issues that he is working on in Congress. "You've flown a lot of different airplanes over the years, but which is your favorite? Honestly, I don't have a particular all-time favorite. I own a 1947 PA–11 Piper Cub Special, and I'm a part-owner of a T–6 Texan and Vultee BT–13. I'm also working on restoring a 1943 Beech AT–10. It's hard to beat the P–40 or P–51, but whichever plane I'm flying at the moment—that's my favorite. You have established yourself as an effective leader and key advocate for transportation and certainly for general aviation while in Congress. You serve as the top Republican on the powerful House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Please tell us a little about yourself, your career, and your passion for flying..."

Axiom Test Equipment Blog – Keep UAVs Flying High with Proper Testing

Axiom Test Equipment Blog – Keep UAVs Flying High with Proper Testing - RF CafeAxiom Test Equipment, an electronic test equipment rentals and sales company headquartered in North County San Diego, has published a blog post entitled "Keep UAVs Flying High with Proper Testing." This blog is the first in a series of four planned articles that will take a closer look at the global fascination with UAVs and how they are used, whether for farming or for warfare, and some of the best test tools that can be applied to ensuring the best UAV performance possible. "Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), popularly known as drones, have been a part of military operations for decades, often paving the way for an operation with their remote intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance (ISR) capabilities. Those familiar with military drones may think of million-dollar UAVs like the Predator with comprehensive electronic weapons payloads, including radar and sophisticated navigation and guidance systems. The military demand for fixed- and rotary-wing UAVs has grown steadily over the past decade...

Outward Bound

Outward Bound, November 1946 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsBy 1946, nobody had ever even launched an unmanned rocket into outer space, much less a manned one. Nevertheless, plenty of people were working toward it. With World War II having been over for a year and much of the technology developed being applied toward future wars and societal advancement, the dream of exploiting a presence in orbit around the earth was hotly pursued. The world's superpowers were engaged in a race into space both for prestige and military advantage. As is the case today, countries pretended to get along well enough to cooperate on shared goals, but we all know behind the scenes scheming was going on about how to apply lessons learned to the disadvantage of "them" and to the benefit of "us." It is a survival of the fittest scenario. Unfortunately, when you cannot trust "them" to not do the same to "us," offensive and defensive plans are required - it has always been so and probably always will be ...but, I digress. This article by Will Ley delves into some of the then-anticipated issues...

How Things Work: Cabin Pressure

How Things Work: Cabin Pressure - Airplanes and RocketsThis article from the January 2020 issue of Air & Space magazine explains why you remain conscious at 30,000 feet. "We humans need air to breathe, so we do best around sea level. Airplanes are at their best up high, where the air is thin and smooth. And therein lies the rub: We invented a machine that thrives where we don't. This became obvious as soon as engine power increased to a point at which aviators could reach altitudes where they lost consciousness. At first, fliers coped by filling tanks with pressurized oxygen and inhaling the gas through rubber tubes; later, form-fitting face masks made oxygen delivery more reliable. In many high-flying light airplanes and military aircraft, oxygen systems and face masks..."

Airbus Design Could Revolutionize Flying

Airbus Design Could Revolutionize Flying - Airplanes and Rockets"The plane looks more like an air force jet, but it could make flying much more efficient. One big difference between land-based vehicles and aircraft is that there's been much less innovation for airplanes in the last few decades than there has been for cars. Aerospace company, Airbus, is looking to change that. Their MAVERIC is not set to fly in the skies anytime soon, but the prospects certainly look promising, and more efficient than current airplane models. You may have noticed that most aircraft have a similar design: a single or double aisle long fuselage that has wings attached on either side. There are exceptions, of course, namely when it comes to military aircraft..."

 

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Kirt Blattenberger
Carpe Diem!
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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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