3D-printed Terran 1 rocket from Relativity
Space will fly from Florida's space coast, and will also mark the first natural
liquid natural gas booster in space if all goes to plan. The world's first 3D-printed
rocket may soar to space as soon as March. Relativity Space says it has launch licenses
ready for its expendable, 3D-printed Terran 1 rocket to attempt its orbital debut
on March 8, no earlier than 1 p.m. EST. Company officials confirmed on Twitter Wednesday
that the launch will proceed from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Florida's
space coast [March 23rd]. The mission is called GLHF (Good Luck, Have Fun) and will
assure the readiness of the 110-foot Terran 1 before it flies customer payloads..."
Humor in the 1930s was a bit different than
it is today. Times were simpler and thought processes were not as complex as in
today's world where information is attacking you every moment of the day. Public
discourse and personal decorum were held to a higher level, so even stinging jokes
and references usually didn't require lowering yourself into the cultural gutter
to comprehend and appreciate. As you read through these "Wisecrack-Ups"
from the May 1934 issue of Flying Aces magazine, some of the quips will
seem corny or downright dumb. Most can be appreciated even by modern humor standards,
and all will be repeatable to any audience regardless of age or gender. An occasional
nod is given to Lt. Phineas Pinkham, of the the "turbulent and inimitable Ninth
Pursuit Squadron," during World War I (known simply as "the World War" at the
time since #II had not occurred yet.)...
If you have only ever known a time in the
R/C era when 2.4 GHz, spread spectrum radios were in use and not only were there
no interference issues, but there were no licenses required, either, for legal operation,
then it might be hard to imagine when this was not so. Most people in the R/C realm
at least remember the 72 MHz frequency band where each system operated on a
specific center frequency, where no two systems could be operated in the same vicinity.
Before that there was the 27 MHz band, which is where I began, more specifically
on 27.195 MHz. Only five frequencies were reserved by the FCC exclusively for
radio control use. That meant never more than five planes in the air, or even being
worked on with the radio on, at a time. The band was part of the original Citizens
Band (CB) radio allocation. Commercial CB radios were notoriously lousy at controlling
bandwidth and often overlapped the R/C bands with enough power to cause deadly (to
a model) interference. My FCC operator's permits (Class
C and Class D), obtained sometime around 1972, is long gone...
Walter Ashe Radio Company, featured in this 1955 issue of Radio & Television
News magazine, was a British radio manufacturer that operated from the 1920s
to the 1950s. The company was founded by Walter Ashe, who was an engineer and inventor.
In the early days, the company produced crystal radios, which were simple radios
that used a piece of crystal to detect radio waves. However, the company quickly
expanded its product range to include valve radios, which were more advanced and
offered better sound quality. During World War II, the company produced radios for
the British armed forces, including the famous "Gibson Girl" portable radio, which
was used by soldiers in the field. After the war, the company continued to produce
radios for the civilian market, including the popular "Waverley" series of radios.
In the 1950s, the company began to face increasing competition from foreign manufacturers,
and it struggled to keep up with the rapidly changing technology in the radio industry...
Saturn V rocket is a model that I really wanted to have as a kid, but never
could justify spending the money. In those days, I launched everything that I built,
so I could not see spending a huge amount of my paper route money only to take the
risk of destruction due to the parachutes not deploying properly or maybe an engine
malfunction. I had launched enough rockets to know that the probability of something
going wrong was directly proportional to the cost and time spent building. Instead,
I stuck mostly with models that cost no more than about $3 (in 1960s-1970s dollars).
The photo to the left is one of my favorites since it shows the Estes Saturn V...
This "Midget Radio-Controlled
Auto" article from a 1952 issue of Radio & Television News magazine
was a major feat of engineering by Mr. William Minor. He designed and built the
car for his 6-year-old son. The amount of electronics and mechanics he crammed into
such a small volume in that R/C car would have qualified him for an engineering
position at a Japanese SLR (single lens reflex) camera company. Although not explicitly
mentioned, operating the car by radio control back in those days required an amateur
radio operator license. Interestingly, he mentions that when choosing a frequency,
he opted for one above the television broadcast channels so as to avoid interference
with nearby TV sets. I've mentioned before how turning on my 27.195 MHz R/C
system I had as a kid in the early 1970's would cause the neighborhood women to
scream at me for messing up their daytime soap operas. Even though nobody would
deign to undertake such an extensive project nowadays, I thought the extreme effort
by Mr. Minor was worth honoring with a posting of his article...
I never built an
Honest John rocket model when
I was a kid, and to this day still do not own one. The vintage kits on eBay are
through-the-roof expensive. I always liked the unique design and the look of the
nose cone where it bulges out a bit from the diameter of the main body tube. Both
Estes and Centuri made versions of the Honest John. Intentionally or not, there
was an advertisement for the Centuri Honest John model on the page opposite of the
past part of the article in this September 1968 edition of American Aircraft Modeler
magazine, from which this page was scanned. The Honest John M-31 artillery rocket
was a surface-to-surface rocket that was developed by the United States Army during
the Cold War era. It was named after President John F. Kennedy's campaign pledge
to be an "honest" president...
Believe it or not, there was a day when
building your own electronics was a good way to save money if your budget was smaller
than your appetite for R/C systems, radios, even TV sets. Heathkit comes to mind
for all us old-timers as a source of pre-kitted products, but like most electronics
companies of yore, they no longer offer kits; it is much cheaper to have complete
systems built overseas. Besides, modern components - resistors, capacitors, ICs,
etc., are far too small for most people to work with successfully. Here is a two-part
article from the April and May 1972 editions of American Aircraft Modeler
magazine showing how it was done with a custom 2-channel digital proportional radio
control system dubbed the
AAM Commander. It still
makes a good read because of the theory of operation that is covered...
"Two teams - General Atomics working with
Maritime Applied Physics Corporation and Aurora Flight Sciences working with Gibbs &
Cox and ReconCraft - will develop designs for DARPA's
Liberty Lifter Seaplane Wing-in-Ground
Effect full-scale demonstrator. The Liberty Lifter program aims to demonstrate
a leap-ahead in operational capability by designing, building, floating, and flying
a long-range, low-cost X−Plane capable of seaborne strategic and tactical heavy
lift. The planned Liberty Lifter demonstrator will be a large flying boat similar
in size and capacity to the C−17 Globemaster III transport aircraft. Goals include
takeoff and land in Sea State 4, sustained on−water operation up to Sea State 5,
and extended flight close to the water in ground effect with the capability to fly
out of ground effect at altitudes up to 10,000 feet above sea level..."
The Jetco Shark 15 was my very first
built up control line airplane. Before that they had all been plastic Cox models.
As did many kids in the 1960's and 1970's I learned to fly on a Cox PT−19 Trainer
(summer of 1969, about the time Apollo 11 landed on the moon). Before building
the Shark 15, my experience with built-up models was with rubber-powered free
flight. Mustering enough money for a Shark 15, a Fox 15 C/L engine, and
covering materials was not easy in those days. The Shark 15 flew very nicely
when I could get the Fox 15 started and running properly. Loops, wingovers,
and inverted flight were much more satisfying than with the Cox models, whose .049
engines had a nasty habit of quitting during inverted flight. I resolved to someday
step up to a
once I had enough spare cash, but to this day I still have never owned one. The
largest engine I've ever had on a C/L model was a Fox 35 (equally temperamental
and frustrating) on a Sterling Ringmaster...
Following an extensive seven-month analysis
of data collected from the Aug. 11, 2011, second flight of
Hypersonic Technology Vehicle (HTV-2), an independent engineering review board
(ERB) investigating the cause of a flight anomaly completed its report. The findings
of the ERB validated the vehicle's aerodynamic design and uncovered new information
regarding the thermal material properties of the vehicle. "The greatest achievement
from Flight Two, which the ERB's findings underscored, was that we successfully
incorporated aerodynamic knowledge gained from the first flight into the second
flight," said Air Force Maj. Chris Schulz, DARPA program manager, who holds a doctorate
in aerospace engineering. A technology demonstration and data-gathering platform,
the HTV-2's second test flight was conducted to validate current models and increase
technical understanding of the hypersonic regime...
The topic of
R/C system reliability rarely is mentioned in model airplane magazines these
days. Many of the high-end, big dollar planes like jets (turbines), giant scale
and giant 3D, do use redundant receivers and batteries because the pilots have thousands
of dollars worth of equipment and hundreds of hours of personal time invested in
them. Operating at 2.4 GHz with spread spectrum modulation, there is little
to no chance of radio interference, which was a huge problem back when this article
appeared in a 1955 issue of Popular Electronics magazine. William ("Bill")
Winter, who would later serve as president of the Academy of Model aeronautics (AMA),
was editor of Model Airplane News magazine at the time. Vacuum tube receivers
and electromechanical escapements and relays were being used in model airplanes.
The very nature of construction of those components made them extremely vulnerable
to vibration and shock induced intermittent or total failures. The models themselves
were necessarily large and often underpowered for carrying such heavy loads aloft.
We owe the R/C pioneers a lot for taking the arrows of trial and error to ultimately
give us the carefree systems we enjoy today...
Straight out of Happy Days and American
Graffiti are these reader-submitted
from Air Trails - Hobbies for Young Men magazine in the year 1954. In 2023
dollars, the $50, $25, and $10 monthly prizes are worth $556, $278, and $111, respectively
(per the BLS Inflation Calculator). That was a lot of dough. About the only requirement
placed on designs was that the auto designs be realistic based on current technology
- no anti-gravity floaters or rocket powered roadsters. All classifications were
allowed - military vehicles, hot rods, family sedans, station wagons, etc., etc...
"The Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency has taken a major step forward toward creating an experimental airplane that
maneuvered without traditional ailerons or other mechanical devices, instead
using short bursts of air. DARPA announced Tuesday it had selected Aurora Flight
Sciences to start detailed design of an aircraft that uses a technology called active
flow control to direct it, as part of the Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with
Novel Effectors, or CRANE, program. Aurora is a subsidiary of Boeing headquartered
in Manassas, Virginia, that specializes in developing advanced innovative designs
for aircraft and uncrewed systems. 'Over the past several decades, the active flow
control community has made significant advancements that enable the integration
of active flow control technologies into advanced aircraft..."
Re-timing, cleaning up (air and fuel flow
passages), freeing up (sliding friction), lightening and balancing (removing unnecessary
material), and breaking in (initial running with rich fuel mixture while interfacing
metal parts fit themselves to each other) are all part of the effort necessary to
create winning engines for model racing events. This 1962 American Modeler
magazine article predates Schnuerle porting (in model engines), ABC (aluminum, brass,
chromium) cylinder liners, and modern metal alloys, but still the concepts are applicable
to today's engines. It purpose is to instruct on proper
engine break-in so that it
will have a long lifespan. Wankel lovers will appreciate the homemade engine shown...
This article was scanned from the 1961
American Modeler Annual edition. The magazine has been out of print for
decades, and is difficult to access unless you are fortunate enough to buy one off
of e-Bay. Hopefully the original authors won't mind my reprinting "Secrets of 'Winning' Airfoils" here, but
if they do, I will remove it. Airfoil plotting goes back to the NACA (National Advisory
Committee for Aeronautics) days of white shirts, neck ties, thick−rimmed glasses,
and slide rules. Drawing boards, straight edges, and French curves which were in
use since the days of the Wright Brothers eventually got replaced by software, but
all the pioneering work was done by engineers with shirt cuffs smudged with pencil
lead. Consider this a window for a look back in history...
"Birds fly more efficiently by folding their
wings during the upstroke, according to a recent study led by Lund University in
Sweden. The results could mean that wing−folding is the next step in increasing
the propulsive and aerodynamic efficiency of flapping drones. Even the precursors
to birds - extinct bird-like dinosaurs - benefited from
folding their wings during the upstroke, as they developed active flight. Among
flying animals alive today, birds are the largest and most efficient. This makes
them particularly interesting as inspiration for the development of drones. However,
determining which flapping strategy is best requires aerodynamic studies of various
ways of flapping the wings. Therefore, a Swedish-Swiss research team has constructed
a robotic wing that can achieve just that - flapping like a bird, and beyond. 'We
have built a robot wing that can flap..."
Although originally designed and built for
free flight, this fairly large scale mode of the
Scout monoplane could easily be adapted for control line or radio control flying.
With a wingspan of 46 inches and a robust airframe, it can withstand the rigors
of aerobatic flight. Replacing the glow fuel engine with a modern brushless motor
and LiPo batteries helps keep the vibration and therefore wear and tear to a minimum,
and also avoids getting messy fuel all over your nice airplane. It would also allow
you to lighten the airframe a bit to reduce the wing loading. Seeing the younger
boy looking in awe at the airplane reminds me of how I would have regarded it at
that age if given the opportunity even to hold it. Since these plans are no longer
available, you can click the one presented below to get the full resolution version.
It was only one page wide, so it is a bit fuzzy...
Melanie and I have been trying to recall
toys and games we had as kids and then searching for them on eBay to see what is
available. If the price isn't too outrageous, we go ahead and by them. Melanie remembered
having a battery-powered
electromechanical toy dachshund that had a hand-held controller (not much in
the way of radio control back in the 1960s). She finally managed to find one, so
we bid on it and got it for a decent price (I don't recall exactly how much, but
around $30 + shipping). It was advertised as not working, but I figured how hard
can it be to fix something that simple? The dog, controller, and box looked to be
be in excellent condition for its age (manufactured in the later 1950's from what
I can find). The problem ended up being that a wire had broken off the motor. A
little solder fixed that, and now it works as good as new. While apart for repair,
I saw that the front and rear body halves are connected with a large spring, and
the wheels and motor a on a freely rotating...