About
Airplanes & Rockets

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 ...

Copyright
1996 - 2026

Webmaster:
Kirt Blattenberger
BSEE - KB3UON
Family Websites:
RF Cafe | Equine Kingdom

All trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other rights of ownership to images and text used on the Airplanes and Rockets website are hereby acknowledged.

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

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Model Aviation & Aerospace Headline News

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archives -

• RotorWay International Helicopter Sold to Rotor X Aircraft

• Remarkable Aviators Honored During Hoover Presentation

• The Long, Frustrating Saga of the Mole on Mars

• EAA AirVenture Will Look a Little Different This Year

• NASA Test of Mega Moon Rocket Engines Cut Short

• 1966 Surveyor 2 Centaur Rocket Booster Found in Orbit

• Need for Pilots and Technicians Worldwide Continues Despite Wuhan Virus

• Researchers Look to Reduce Rotorcraft Noise

• China's Chang'e 5 Returns Moon Rock Samples to Earth

"Simplex" Airfoil Templates

"Simplex" Airfoil Templates, Annual 1960 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsHere is an ingenious method for mechanically generating properly proportioned ribs for wings that are not rectangular - including sing and double straight tapers and even elliptical planforms. Of course today you can print out a perfectly dimensioned set of ribs to accommodate any planform and root-to-tip thickness taper profile. In 1960 when this "'Simplex' Airfoil Templates" article appeared in the 1960 Annual issue of Air Trails magazine, such conveniences were in the purview of universities and government research facilities. Even if you have no need of cutting ribs for tapered wings, it is worth your time to read this brief article about the mathematical principle - logarithmic (aka equiangular) spirals - behind the scheme. There are no formulas, so don't be scared off ;-)

USAF's New B-21 Bomber

USAF's New B-21 Bomber - Airplanes and Rockets"A second B−21 bomber is now under construction at Northrop Grumman's facility in Palmdale, California. The B−21 is expected to make its inaugural flight next year. Randall Walden, director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, told Air Force Magazine that while the fifth-generation stealth aircraft hasn't yet reached final assembly, it is 'really starting to look like a bomber.' B−21 Number Two has a slightly different purpose than the first. 'The second one is really more about structures, and the overall structural capability,' Walden explained. 'We'll go in and bend it, we'll test it to its limits, make sure that the design and the manufacturing and the production line make sense.' Capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear weapons, the Air Force expects the B-21 to enter service in 2026 or 2027. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the cost of developing and buying the first 100 aircraft to be $80 billion..."

Mathematical Puzzles, 1974 Old Farmer's Almanac

Mathematical Puzzles, 1974 Old Farmer's Almanac - RF CafeAs mentioned in an earlier post, a while back I bought a box full of vintage Old Farmer's Almanacs (OFA) at a yard sale, figuring there would be a bunch of good items to post here on RF Cafe and on my Airplanes and Rockets hobby website. Chief amongst the postworthy features is the Mathematical Puzzles section. They are a fair challenge to an engineer's cerebration, contemplation, and deliberation. These particular mathematical posers appeared in the 1974 issue of OFA. #10, while rated a difficulty of 4 (where 5 is most difficult), is really not even a mathematical challenge when you think about it (hint - it's an old riddle you've probably seen before). Enjoy!

The C/L Peppy Trainer

The Peppy Trainer, October 1950 Air Trails - Airplanes and Rockets The Peppy Trainer control line (C/L, or U−C) model airplane was designer with multiple factors in mind - low cost, easy construction, easy to fly, ability to perform basic stunts, light weight, and ruggedness for withstanding beginner's mistakes. Lower cost was achieved by specifying only easily obtained, standard components - like using sheet balsa parts for the wing leading and trailing edges rather than pre-formed types. Its built-up 28" wingspan, flat−bottom airfoil, with a solid balsa fuselage and tail surfaces is pulled along by a .09 engine. Construction and rigging is kept simple by not using wing flaps. The author also suggests 17 commercially available C/L trainer kits that are roughly the equivalent of the Peppy Trainer...

Learjet Production Ending

Learjet Production Ending - Airplanes and Rockets"It's almost the end of the line for one of the most famous names in business aviation, or in aerospace altogether, with the news that manufacturer Bombardier is bringing production of the Learjet to an end this year. It's a blow for the company's 1,500-strong Wichita-based workforce, which will be cut back as a result, and it also brings the curtain down on what's perhaps the world's most familiar bizjet. 'With more than 3,000 aircraft delivered since its entry into service in 1963, the iconic Learjet aircraft has had a remarkable and lasting impact on business aviation,' said Éric Martel, Bombardier's president and chief executive officer, in a statement today. 'However, given the increasingly challenging market dynamics, we have made this difficult decision to end Learjet production..."

Mathematical Puzzles, 1976 Old Farmer's Almanac

Mathematical Puzzles, 1976 Old Farmer's Almanac - RF Cafe1976 is the year I was emancipated (aka graduated) from high school, and this issue of The Old Farmer's Almanac (OFA) happens to be from that year. For as long as I can remember, the OFA has included a set of Mathematical Puzzles in its annual publication. They range in difficulty from 1 (very easy) to 5 (sometimes quite difficult). Having been a faithful buyer and reader of the OFA for as long as I can remember, I have spent many hours toiling with some of the more challenging examples. In fact, there were a lot which I never did figure out and needed to look up the answers in the back (come to think of it, I experienced the same dilemma with my college engineering textbooks). Because quite a few of the Mathematical Puzzles are worthy of an engineer's cerebration, contemplation, and deliberation, all I have will be eventually posted here on RF Cafe. Enjoy!

Flyin' Jenny Comic Strip: February 8, 1942

Flyin' Jenny Comic Strips: February 8, 1942 Baltimore Morning Sun - Airplanes and RocketsThis is the February 8, 1942, "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. She was the creation of artist and storyteller Russell Keaton...

Joby Aviation Selects Garmin G3000 for eVTOL Aircraft

Joby Aviation Selects Garmin G3000 for eVTOL Aircraft - Airplanes and Rockets"Joby Aviation has selected the Garmin G3000 integrated flight deck - which first debuted in 2009 - for its eVTOL aircraft, bringing proven avionics into the program to develop commercial operations - which it expects to launch by 2024. The G3000 avionics suite was selected in part for its lightweight, adaptable architecture and high-resolution displays. Garmin anticipates future development in the urban air mobility space, and the Joby platform will allow the company to proceed with further work in creating communications, navigation, and flight sensor solutions as UAM progresses into more advanced phases..."

1954 National Modelplane Championships

National Modelplane Championships, November 1954 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsThese are some really great action photos from the 23rd Annual National Modelplane Championships held in Chicago. Considering it was from a time when auto-focus, auto-exposure, auto-f-stop, auto-shutter-speed, and other modern features were not available on cameras, photographer John W. Schneider did an incredible job of obtaining shots with one one chance of getting each instance. The F4U Corsair take-off is a prime example. Most events were held at Chicago's Glenview Naval Air Station, compliments of the U.S. Navy. Some free flight events were held at the Chicagoland Airport, while indoor flying took place in Chicago's 132nd Infantry Armory. The quality of construction and finishing is apparent, even in the grainy, black and white photos. Coverage of the event appeared in the November 1954 issue of Air Trails magazine. Do you recognize any of the names and/or faces here?

Voltaero's Cassios Hybrid Electric Airplane

Voltaero's Cassios Hybrid Electric Airplane - Airplanes and Rockets"It's developing what it calls its Cassio series of hybrid-powered four- to 10-seat aircraft, two of which are aimed at the air taxi, charter, and utility markets. Hybrid power systems make sense because they use both batteries and gasoline-burning internal combustion engines (ICEs). This can provide benefits beyond system redundancy and higher power ratings. Battery and ICE power can be teamed up for takeoffs, or for high-speed cruising. When low-noise takeoffs and landings are priorities, battery power alone can drive any electric motors. And after an electric-only takeoff, ICEs can be fired up to both recharge batteries and boost en route speed and range. VoltAero's concepts use sleek fuselages, forward canards, straight wings, and twin-boom tails supporting wide-span horizontal stabilizers..."

America's Top F.A.I. Free Flight "Saturn"

America's Top F.A.I. Free Flight "Saturn", Annual 1960 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsFlying in a contest with 35 mile per hour winds is hard to imagine, but that was the case at the 1954 Nats FAI Free Flight semi-finals. Fortunately, on the day of the actual event the winds had calmed down. I would never consider flying even an radio-controlled model airplane in 35 mph winds, much less a free flight. Howard Timlin was the designer, builder, and flyer of this beautiful "Saturn," which appeared in the November 1954 issue of Air Trails magazine. It sports a wingspan of about 60 inches with a Goldberg G-10 undercambered airfoil (same as the Carl Goldberg Viking free flight model). Although not specified, I assume this is a Class A model since the F1C class allows up to 0.15 cubic inches (2.5 cc). Howard had another successful contest design - the 50" wingspan ½A "Solar"...

A Radio Controlled Model Airplane

A Radio Controlled Model Airplane, February 1939 Radio News - RF CafeMost people familiar with the history of radio control (R/C) airplanes credit twin brothers Walt and Bill Good for the first truly successful R/C airplane, which they dubbed "Big Guff," in 1938. Interestingly, this YouTube interview with the Good brothers mentions, as does Mr. Isberg in his 1939 article in Radio News magazine article, the first sanctioned R/C contest where the Good's model was the only one to fly. Ross Hull and Clinton DeSoto were two other prominent early R/C'ers. Transmitter operators were licensed Hams who designed and built their own equipment at 56 MHz, unlike modern turn-key R/C systems operating in unlicensed ISM bands. Vacuum tubes were used in the transmitter and the airborne receiver. Lead-acid batteries often provided power for the receiver and control surface actuators (pseudo-servos) in the airplane, which unfortunately would burst during a crash...

Centaur Upper-Stage Rocket Booster Found with Telescope

Centaur Upper-Stage Rocket Booster Found with Telescope - Airplanes and Rockets"Astronomers have confirmed that a small object temporarily captured by Earth's orbit is the Centaur upper-stage rocket booster that helped lift NASA's ill-fated Surveyor 2 spacecraft toward the moon in 1966. The object, designated 2020 SO, was initially detected by the Panoramic Survey Telescope And Rapid Response System, which monitors near-Earth objects such as asteroids that might pose a threat to Earth. Upon closer examination, scientists at the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) realized that this was no ordinary asteroid. Typically, the orbit of an asteroid is more elongated and tilted relative to Earth's orbit. However, before 2020 SO was captured by this planet's gravity, it was orbiting around the sun in a near circle and in an orbital plane that almost matched Earth's. Adding to the mystery..."

Jetex Job Article & Plans

Jetex Job, February 1949 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsWhen this article appeared in a 1949 issue of Air Trails magazine, the Jetex engine line was relatively new to America. It had just been introduced in England in 1947 by Wilmot, Mansour & Company Ltd., of Southampton, consisting of Wilmot brothers, Charles Mandeville Wilmot, John Wilmot, and Joseph Naimé Mansour. In 1950, American Telasco became the U.S. importer and distributor of the Jetex line of motors, fuel, and model airplane kits. Henry Struck's "Jetex Job" uses the Jetex 100 engine, which was bigger and more powerful than the Jetex 50 model. Tailless airplanes were popular because the lack of a vertical fin minimized the influence of wind on flight since weathervaning was less pronounced. Jetex Job is a fairly large model with a 21" wingspan, but you can see how lightweight the construction is. The fuselage uses a formed 1/16" balsa tube in the rear engine...

Message in NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover

NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover Has Message in Parachute - RF CafeHow come nobody told me about this? With all the articles I've read about the Perseverance rover recently landed on Mars, none come to mind which mentioned a message on the underside of the parachute used to lower the atmospheric entry spacecraft and its load to the point where retrorockets took over just above the surface. It only took a moment to figure it all out - much simpler than Carl Sagan's team's cryptic message on the Pioneer 10 and 11 interplanetary explorer, but a bit more tricky than "We come in peace for all mankind" on Apollo 11's Eagle lunar module. Très cool, IMHO.

NASA Helicopter Will Soon Fly on Mars

NASA Helicopter Will Soon Fly on Mars - Airplanes and Rockets"The Perseverance rover's Mars Helicopter (Ingenuity) will take off, navigate, and land on Mars without human intervention. Tucked under the belly of the Perseverance rover that will be landing on Mars in just a few days is a little helicopter called Ingenuity. Its body is the size of a box of tissues, slung underneath a pair of 1.2m carbon fiber rotors on top of four spindly legs. It weighs just 1.8kg, but the importance of its mission is massive. If everything goes according to plan, Ingenuity will become the first aircraft to fly on Mars. In order for this to work, Ingenuity has to survive frigid temperatures, manage merciless power constraints, and attempt a series of 90 second flights while separated from Earth by 10 light minutes. Which means that real-time communication..."

Modeling Resources

Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) - Airplanes and Rockets
Academy of Model
Aeronautics
Tower Hobbies logo - Airplanes and Rockets
Tower Hobbies

Horizon Hobby logo - Airplanes and Rockets
Horizon Hobby
Sig Manufacturing - Airplanes and Rockets
Sig Mfg
Brodak Manufacturing - Airplanes and Rockets
Brodak Mfg