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

Aerospace Headline News

Tech Industry Headlines - RF Cafe- Archives -

• 5 Best Online Aviation Degrees

• Porsche, Boeing Partner on Urban Air Mobility Market

• Making Jet Fuel from Seawater

• NASA, U.S. Industry Aim to Electrify Commercial Aviation

AMA Drone Report

• Honeywell Predicts Single-Pilot Commercial Airline Future

Russia to Give Cosmonauts Guns to Fend off Animals on Landing (and ETs in space)

Model Plane Hobbyists Flying into Mesa Park

James Webb Space Telescope Fully Assembled in California

Dream Chaser Structure Arrives at Factory for Outfitting

Dream Chaser Structure Arrives at Factory for Outfitting - Airplanes and Rockets"The composite structure of Sierra Nevada Corp.'s first space-rated Dream Chaser space plane has arrived at the company's Colorado factory for integration with computers, a heat shield and mechanical systems before launch to the International Space Station in late 2021. The spaceship has been more than 15 years in the making for Sierra Nevada - also known as SNC - a family-owned, privately-held company based in Nevada with a space unit headquartered in Louisville, Colorado, near Denver. Originally conceived as a human-rated vehicle to ferry astronauts to and from low Earth orbit, the Dream Chaser is now under development under contract to NASA as a cargo freighter for the space station. Sierra Nevada is contracted to fly ..."

NTSB Offers Preliminary Information on B−17 Accident

NTSB Offers Preliminary Information on B-17 Accident - Airplanes and Rockets"As the Collings Foundation's crippled B−17, N93012, was approaching Runway 6 at Bradley Windsor Locks, Connecticut, a few weeks ago, the crew was already desperately pressed for altitude to try and align the World War II bomber with the runway for landing. Shortly after takeoff from Runway 6 just minutes before, the airplane never climbed above 500 feet AGL before it began a return to the field with a mechanical problem reported in the number four engine. By the time the airplane was on downwind, its altitude had dropped to 300 feet. During the turn from base to final, the Boeing continued losing altitude, eventually striking the airport approach lights 1,000 feet short of the hard surface ..."

Mercury Transit on Monday, November 11

Mercury transit November 11, 2019 - Airplanes and RocketsMercury will pass across the face of the sun. The astronomical term is "transit." What makes this transit of Mercury so spectacular is that it passes nearly in the center of the sun. It will take Mercury approximately 5-1/2 hours to move from the eastern edge to the western edge, from 7:35 am to 1:04 pm EST. Both the sun and the moon subtend an angular width of about half a degree. Of course will should never look directly at the sun with your naked eyes, and particularly not with any sort of magnification, be it binoculars or a telescope. The safest way to observe this Mercury transit it by using a white projection screen with any telescope generate an image large enough to make the black dot of Mercury stand out relative to the sun. Weather permitting, I'll have my 1969 era 60 mm Sears Model 6305A refractor set up. The next transit of Mercury will be in 2032!

Veterans Day 2019: A Pittance of Time

Veterans Day 2016 (Snoopy copyright) - RF CafeThis is my annual Veterans Day tribute. On November 11 (the 11th day of the 11th month), at 11:00 am (the 11th hour), we observe 2 minutes of silence in honor of countrymen who "gave the last full measure of devotion." A Pittance of Time is performed by Canadian citizen Terry Kelly (he went blind at an early age). It was written after an experience he had on Veterans Day in 1999. It is done in the finest Celtic tradition.

Professor Phugoid and His Contribution to Modeling

Professor Phugoid and His Contribution to Modeling, from April 1951 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsAn ability to trim a model aircraft for proper flight with no supplementary control surface input has, since the advent of precise, reliable radio control (R/C), been the domain mostly of the relatively small number of free flight (F/F) and competition fliers of control line (C/L) and R/C. Most models can be made to fly very well when a human or electronic pilot is able to make corrective deflections of control surfaces. Warped and twisted wings, misaligned tail surfaces, and even a dangerously mislocated center of gravity can have their otherwise detrimental - even dangerous - effects mitigated by a skillful flyer. Authors have written that a properly trimmed model of any sort will fly more precisely and successfully ...

UK Drone Operators Must Register by End of November

UK Drone Operators Must Register by End of November - Airplanes and Rockets"The UK government is requiring drone operators to register their aerial vehicles. In a press release, the UK Civil Aviation Authority announced that in conjunction with the mandatory registration it is launching a new service to help drone owners find their lost drones. Under the scheme, all drone owners and operators in the UK that have droves that weigh more than 250g have to register them. Registration costs £9 which the UK government argues is a lot cheaper than replacing a lost drone. UK drone owners have until 30 November to register or they can face a fine of as much as $1290, according to one report ..."

Douglas O-31A Observation Plane

Douglas O-31A Observation Plane, February 1942 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsThe February 1942 issue of Flying Aces magazine contained a quadruplet of 3-view scale drawings of early airplanes: The German Fokker D.V Albatros fighter biplane, the American Army Air Force's Douglas O-31A observation monoplane, the Ryan Navy Seaplane, and Russian I-16 Mosca fighter low wing monoplane. Per Wikipedia, "The Douglas O-31 was the Douglas Aircraft Company's first monoplane observation straight-wing aircraft used by the United States Army Air Corps. Anxious to retain its position as chief supplier of observation aircraft to the USAAC, Douglas developed a proposal for a high-wing monoplane successor to the O-2. A contract was signed on January 7, 1930 for two XO-31 prototype aircraft ...

Free Flight Sensation: Bob Linn's B-70

Free Flight Sensation: Bob Linn's B-70 Article & Plans, May 1961 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsJet airplanes were still somewhat of a novelty with actual flying models when this article about a free flight North American XB−70 Valkyrie appeared in a 1961 issue of American Modeler magazine. This rather large - 21" wingspan and 45" long at 15 ounces - craft is built of 3/32" and 1/4" balsa sheet and is powered by a Cox .049 engine in a pusher configuration. That's not a lot of power for such a large ship, but it must have been. The plans are easily scaled up or down with pencil and paper thanks to a 1" square grid provided. Today, the B−70 could probably be built lighter and be powered by an electric propulsion setup ...

Albatros D.V Biplane Fighter Scale Drawing

Albatros D.V Biplane Fighter Scale Drawing, February 1942 Flying Aces - Airplanes and RocketsThe February 1942 issue of Flying Aces magazine contained a triplet of 3-view scale drawings of early airplanes: The German Fokker D.V Albatros fighter biplane, the American Army Air Force's Douglas O-31A observation monoplane, and Russian I-16 Mosca fighter low wing monoplane. Per Wikipedia, "The Albatros D.V was a fighter aircraft built by the Albatros Flugzeugwerke and used by the Luftstreitkräfte (Imperial German Air Service) during World War I. The D.V was the final development of the Albatros D.I family and the last Albatros fighter to see operational service. Despite its well-known shortcomings and general obsolescence, approximately 900 D.V and 1,612 D.Va aircraft were built before production halted in April 1918." Here is an official outline drawing of the Albatros ...

Only Flying YL-15 Scout in the World

Only Flying YL-15 Scout in the World - Airplanes and Rockets"Nine years after the end of World War II, Keith Brunquist's father, Norm, took him out to an airstrip near their Anchorage, Alaska home and showed Keith, who was nearly three years old, a Boeing YL-15 Scout. Sixty-three years after his first glimpse of the odd little airplane, Keith landed the fully restored Scout at the world's biggest gathering of aircraft: the Experimental Aircraft Association's 2017 AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. By the time the show was over, the YL-15 was recognized as the grand champion for post-World War II warbirds. In addition, Keith's workmanship in restoring the Scout earned him a Gold Wrench award ..."

NASA Opens Competition to Build Human-Rated Lunar Landers

NASA Opens Competition to Build Human-Rated Lunar Landers - Airplanes and Rockets"Companies have until November 1 to submit proposals to NASA for a human-rated lander that could be ready in time to carry astronauts to the moon's surface by the end of 2024, and the agency is leaving open the option for contractors to develop a descent craft that would bypass the planned Gateway mini-space station in lunar orbit, at least for the first landing attempt. The lunar lander, or Human Landing System, is critical to the Trump administration’s goal of returning humans to the moon’s surface by the end of 2024. NASA named effort after Artemis, the twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology, after Vice President Mike Pence announced the 2024 goal ..."

The Berliner-Joyce OJ-2

The Berliner-Joyce OJ-2, May 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThe Berliner-Joyce OJ−2 was a multi-purpose biplane built for naval service. Its maiden flight was in 1931. As this American Aircraft Modeler magazine article photos show, it could be configured with wheels or floats. Berliner-Joyce Aircraft Corporation had is main offices in Baltimore, Maryland, which was a popular location for defense contractors then and now. The Glen L. Martin Company, manufacturer of the famous Martin B−10 Bomber, was also in Baltimore. The OJ-2 was in heavy competition with the Vought O2U Corsair, which, unlike its eventual and much more famous successor gull-wing, all-metal F4U Corsair, was a fabric-covered biplane. Someone at Vaught must have really been stuck on using the Corsair name ...

China Unmanned Rocket-Powered Aircraft for Recon When Satellites Down

China Unmanned Rocket-Powered Aircraft for Reconnaissance When Satellites Are Down - Airplanes and Rockets"China's big 70th anniversary parade marking the founding of the PRC has come and gone. There were a number of revelations, some of which we are still analyzing, but the biggest ones were in the unmanned space. In the days leading up to the parade, we had covered both of the most impressive unmanned vehicles that were to be displayed. It's time to follow up with our analysis now that we have seen them in far greater detail. We posted our analysis on the GJ-11 Sharp Sword UCAV earlier today, now here are my takeaways from the official unveiling of the WZ-8 - also referred to as the DR-8 - high-speed reconnaissance drone. Before we get started, it's important to note that the two WZ-8s ..."

Airplane Wing Assembled from Tiny Identical Pieces

Airplane Wing Assembled from Tiny Identical Pieces - Airplanes and Rockets"A radically new kind of airplane wing, assembled from hundreds of tiny identical pieces, can change shape to control the plane’s flight, and could provide a significant boost in aircraft production, flight, and maintenance efficiency. The new approach to wing construction could afford greater flexibility in the design and manufacturing of future aircraft. Instead of requiring separate movable surfaces, such as ailerons, to control the roll and pitch of the plane as conventional wings do, the new assembly system makes it possible to deform the whole wing or parts of it by incorporating a mix of stiff and flexible components in its structure. The tiny subassemblies ..."

UK Space Organisations Develop Self-Aligning Orbital Telescopes

UK Space Organisations Develop Self-Aligning Orbital Telescopes - Airplanes and Rockets"Oxford University and Surrey Space Centre and Surrey Satellite Technology embark on a joint project to develop space telescopes that are more compact for launching. The design of all space hardware tries to minimise two factors: launch weight and launch volume. But for space telescopes, minimising launch volume is particularly tricky, because the physics underlining the operation of telescopes depends on their size - the area of the primary mirror has to be maximised to collect the largest amount of light possible, and the space between primary mirror and secondary mirror is fixed by the size of the primary. With the Earth observation market growing, and already at the multibillion dollar level ..."

Could Airships Rise Again?

Could Airships Rise Again? - Airplanes and Rockets"Transportation produces about one-fourth of global anthropogenic carbon emissions. Of this, maritime shipping accounts for 3%, and this figure is expected to increase for the next three decades even though the shipping industry is actively seeking greener alternatives, and developing near-zero-emission vessels. Researchers with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), in Austria, recently explored another potential solution: the return of airships to the skies. Airships rely on jet stream winds to propel them forward to their destinations. They offer clear advantages over cargo ships in terms of both efficiency and avoided emissions. Returning to airships, says Julian Hunt, a researcher at the IIASA and lead author ..."

The Boom in R/C Boats

The Boom in R/C Boats, May 1955 Popular Electronics - Airplanes and RocketsBill (William) Winter served as the editor of the Academy of Model Aeronautics' (AMA's) American Modeler and American Aircraft Modeler magazines from 1966 through 1974, but his efforts to promote all form of modeling - airplanes, helicopters, cars, boats, trains, and rockets - covered many decades. His first recorded article, "Building the Famous Udet Flamingo," (co-authored by Walter McBride), was published in the March 1935 issue of Universal Model Airplane News magazine. His 264th, "The Soft Touch," appeared in Model Aviation (the latest incarnation of the AMA's flagship magazine) in 1996. This article entitle "The Boom in R/C Boats" appeared in a 1955 edition of Popular Electronics magazine which, during the early ...

Water Jet Powered Drone Takes Off

Water Jet Powered Drone Takes Off - Airplanes and Rockets"To take off from the water, this drone uses an explosion-powered water jet. At ICRA 2015, the Aerial Robotics Lab at the Imperial College London presented a concept for a multimodal flying swimming robot called AquaMAV. The really difficult thing about a flying and swimming robot isn’t so much the transition from the first to the second, since you can manage that even if your robot is completely dead (thanks to gravity), but rather the other way: going from water to air, ideally in a stable and repetitive way. The AquaMAV concept solved this by basically just applying as much concentrated power as possible to the problem, using a jet thruster to hurl the robot out of the water with quite a bit of velocit ..."

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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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