The more things change, the more they stay
the same, as the saying goes. In 1942, when this featured appeared in Flying
Aces magazine, the participation of
women and girls in model aviation was very limited. Being that it was more than
75 years ago, it might have been attributable to a lack of encouragement or even
outright discouragement by men and boys. However, here it is 75 years later and
the participation rate by women and girls is not that much greater. About the only
time you see them in photos in modeling magazines is when they are young girls who
are part of a schoolroom group activity conducted by an AMA member. the same goes
for model rockets. For that matter, the same goes for model cars, boats, and helicopters.
A lot of money and time ...
When I got this
Comet Super Stars P−40E
Tiger Shark kit #3649 I assumed it was like the one I built as a kid in the
late 1960s or early 1970s, but after seeing it I'm thinking maybe I had the Guillows
P-40 Warhawk kit. Unlike the kit I had which included injection molded plastic parts
for only the complex parts like the spinner and engine exhaust manifold, this Comet
kit uses plastic for a large portion of the fuselage. Comet dubs it "SuperXSpeed
Construction." The entire area for the top and underside of the fuselage / wing
intersection is now plastic. It takes a lot of work out of the building process
and probably makes covering that area with Jap tissue easier. Wing ribs are configured
in a geodetic manner, which adds great rigidity to the wing, particularly for preventing
spanwise twist. It is a fairly large model for rubber power ...
It's hard to imagine the first
RC Model Helicopter Championship Contest - nearly 40 years ago. This report
from the April 1973 edition of American Aircraft Modeler has man-on-the-scene
Larry Hoffman's account of the events. There were only 22 contestants flying that
day, and all but one flew the Hueycobra made and sold by Kalt, of Tokyo. There were
no heading hold gyros or programmable transmitters with pitch and throttle curves
- just good old-fashion pilot skill and lots of body language. I certainly don't
long for those days - I can barely fly an R/C chopper with all the modern electronic
assistance - but the fortitude of the helicopter pioneers is worthy of note and
Airplanes and Rockets website visitor Tony B.
wrote to ask that I scan and post this McDonnell F-4 Phantom article, written by
noted aviation historian Don Berliner and having a highly detailed drawing by Björn Karlström.
Berliner provides a lot of history on the Phantom, beginning with the FH-1 Phantom 1,
designed and built by the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in the days before it merged
with Douglas Aircraft Company in 1967. The F-4M was the most recent version when
this article was published in the May 1970 issue of American Aircraft Modeler.
The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels demonstration team flew F-4J models during airshows
from 1969 to 1974. Having grown up in Mayo, Maryland, just a few miles south of
Annapolis, I watched the Blue Angels perform for the U.S. Naval Academy graduation
ceremonies. Most of the time it was from my back yard where ...
This notice just appeared on the AMA's
National Model Aviation Museum website: "New
Addition: Helicopter Kite Kirt Blattenberger (AMA 92498) and Steven Krick recently
donated two older kits to the museum, including this
Little Bobby Helicopter Kite kit." The second kit, not yet featured on the AMA
website, is the Guillow
No. D4 Menasco Trainer kit. Both were generously given to me by
Mr. Steven Krick, who is an accomplished modeler of highly detailed plastic
static scale model airplanes and a collector of vintage balsa free flight models.
In response to my providing some Silkspan covering information, he offered to let
me select from a list of kits, and seeing these two and the likely rarity of them,
I submitted them the the museum for consideration. They appreciatively accepted
India's Chandrayaan 2 Spacecraft
Entered Lunar Orbit
Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft entered lunar orbit
on Tuesday, executing one of the trickiest maneuvers on its historic mission to
the Moon. After four weeks in space, the craft completed its Lunar Orbit Insertion
as planned, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said in a statement. The
insertion 'was completed successfully today at 0902 hrs IST (0332 GMT) as planned,
using the onboard propulsion system. The duration of manoeuver was 1738 seconds,'
the national space agency said. India is seeking to become just the fourth nation
after Russia, the United States and China to land a spacecraft on the Moon ..."
While perusing a box filled with miscellaneous
old items at a local garage sale, I spotted this
Herkimer OK CO2 motor
buried under door hinges, bags of nails, and light bulbs. It was pretty dirty, but
it seemed fine otherwise. Half the propeller was missing, so I assume when it broke,
that was on the motor's last flight. The motor had been mounted to the still-attached
plywood firewall with three small brads! Price" $1. After carefully disassembling
the OK CO2 motor, it was soaked overnight in Evapo-Rust, an excellent
water-soluble, non-toxic rust remover which I have used often. It cleaned up very
nicely. A few drops of Cox after-run motor oil was used when reassembling the motor.
I do not have a CO2 cylinder small enough to fit into the holder, so
I have not been able to run it yet ...
"ZeroAvia says electric efficiency, fewer
onsite hydrogen production can make zero-emissions
flight cheaper than burning jet-fuel. The aviation industry's global trade group
says electric airplanes are unlikely to be flying commercial routes before 2040.
That pessimism from the International Air Transport Association is off by nearly
two decades according to ZeroAvia, a fast-moving electric flight startup popping
out of stealth mode today. For six months already, the Hollister, California-based
firm has been flying the world's largest zero-emissions aircraft - the fuel cell
equipped prop-plane pictured above - and ZeroAvia vows that its powertrain design
will be cutting both carbon and costs for regional flights in just 3 to 4 years ..."
While visiting our daughter in North Carolina,
we ran across someone who had a vintage
6-player croquet set for sale for just a few dollars. As the photos below show,
it has been completely restored. All components (except the balls) were stripped
down to bare wood or metal, sanded, primed, and then painted with four coats of
enamel spray paint for color areas and three coats of polyurethane clear on the
natural finish portions. The balls would have been too difficult to get to bare
wood, so I sanded down to the point where the paint was stable and strongly adhered
to the underlying wood. The two end pegs were fabricated from new wood because there
was only one original and I wanted them to look alike ...
autonomous robot is based on the observation
that both rotors and wheels spin. There is great potential in using both drones
and ground-based robots for situations like disaster response, but generally these
platforms either fly or creep along the ground. The flying sprawl-tuned autonomous
robot (Flying STAR) does both through a mechanism based on the elementary observation
that both rotors and wheels spin. The hybrid was created using high-powered, lightweight
drone components. The result is a robot that can easily fly when it needs to, then
land softly and by tilting the rotor arms downwards, direct that same motive force
into four wheels ..."
November 9, 1978,
a date which
will live in infamy - for me, anyway. That was the day I left my comfortable,
oblivious 20-year-old existence as an electrician in Mayo, Maryland, and boarded
a Delta Airlines flight to San Antonio, Texas. About six months earlier I had signed
up under the Delayed Enlistment program. I was on my way to becoming a fully trained
and qualified Weather Equipment Specialist, a career field chosen based on my keen
interest in weather phenomena, aviation, and aerospace (aka airplanes and rockets).
The plan was to survive six weeks of Basic Training (BT) at Lackland Air Force Base
and then go on to technical school at Chanute AFB in Illinois. My first assignment ...
"Airbus has revealed a new conceptual aircraft
design known as 'Bird of Prey,' intended to inspire the next generation
of aeronautical engineers. bird of prey (Credit: Airbus) The hybrid-electric turbo
propeller plane takes design cues from eagles and falcons, featuring individually
controlled feathers on the wings and tail for precision flight control. Its body
also includes a blended wing to fuselage joint that mimics the sweeping aerodynamic
arch of predatory birds. Unveiled at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford,
the aircraft's primary goal is to encourage young people into aerospace but also
marks the 50th anniversary of Airbus ..."
"A man who
climbed onto the wing of a plane as it prepared
for takeoff at the airport in Nigeria's Lagos city has been arrested, authorities
said. The man, who has not been identified, walked towards the aircraft on the runway
and was spotted by the pilot, who slowed down and later turned off the engine as
the man continued to wander around the aircraft, Azman Air said in a statement.
He then jumped onto a wing of the plane and tried to access the cabin, the airline
said. The pilot radioed the tarmac to report the incident, according to the airline.
The incident happened Friday morning at the domestic wing of the Murtala Muhammed
International airport in Lagos ..."
Balsa wood was a special thing to me as a
kid. To me, it represented the essence of model airplanes and model rockets. At
the time - the 1960s and 70s - plastic and foam as model components were considered
a sign of cheapness, low quality, amateurishness. It was like having "Made in Japan"
stamped on it. Now, of course, it's a different world where Japan is renowned for
some of the highest quality electronics and cars and the plastic and foam ARFs represent
some of the highest-performing aircraft at the flying field. I have owned a few
of those foamies, but still, at least for my tastes, nothing beats the look, feel
and aroma of balsa. Somehow the tell-tale surface texture of foam, even with a nice
paint job, ruins the authenticity of an otherwise beautifully factory-finished scale
F4-U Corsair or P-38 Lightning. Sorry, that's just the way it is. Sig Manufacturing
"'Flying soldier' arrives at Bastille Day
parade on an 118 mph Back to the Future-style hoverboard as Macron shows off
France's military innovation in front of world leaders including Angela Merkel.
A 'flying soldier' wowed crowds in Paris today when he arrived at France's Bastille
Day parade on an 118 mph 'Back to the Future'-style hoverboard. Franky Zapata,
40, brandished an unloaded rifle as a he raced at high speed above world leaders
including President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Then he
landed comfortably on his so-called
Flyboard, which he hopes to sell to the French
Genius takes on many forms, not the least
of which is the ability to concoct and compose an [almost] believable a story describing
in the utmost detail the technical workings of a complex mechanical gadget. Items
such as a mizule wrench, meta-phasic shielding, blinker fluid, a left-handed screwdriver,
and - one of my favorites - the muffler bearing, have been heard in comic routines...
er... routinely. No matter how many times you hear them you always laugh again.
Some are actually a portmanteau and just sound funny while others are completely
made up. This
Digital Decabulator article that appeared in a 1966 issue of R/C Modeler
magazine is amazing; it pegs the B.S. detector from beginning to end ...
"Each year on the third week of April, seniors
at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) present their Major Qualifying Projects
(MQPs) to the WPI community and to the public. No classes take place this day, seniors
dress in business clothing, and each team gives a 15-minute presentation. Some 20
teams from the WPI Robotics Department participated, showing their robots that fly,
collect fish, sail, crawl, sort objects, and roll. One such project, the
Oddisy Drone Dispatch System, has commercial
potential in that the drone comes in a weather-protective box that opens and closes
to allow takeoffs and landings while keeping the drone safe and dry ..."
"Today in remarks at an Innovation Panel before
Paris Air Show attendees, FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell said the U.S. will
ensure and enable safer and more innovative technologies to enter new aviation segments.
As an example, Elwell announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that modifies
and clarifies existing regulatory procedures to obtain FAA approval to test
supersonic aircraft. The NPRM is a first, necessary milestone
toward the reintroducing civil supersonic flight. 'The U.S. Department of Transportation
and the FAA are committed toward the safe and environmentally-sound research and
development of supersonic aircraft ..."
"The Defense Department is trying new acquisition
strategies when it comes to
unmanned aerial systems. Kevin Fahey, the assistant
secretary of defense for acquisition, said his office is trying to steer DOD away
from the habit of developing new technologies and training requirements at the same
time. 'We, to a large extent, have done urgent requirements and not a lot of programs
of record to think through how do you train, how do you equip, how do you do the
techniques and procedures, and how do you operate' across the services, Fahey said
during Defense One's June 27 Tech Summit. That's especially the case with unmanned
aerial systems (UAS) ..."
Being a lover of vintage electronics and
aircraft modeling equipment, I had the bright idea that I would buy a vintage Packard
Bell desktop computer like I had many moons ago and transplant the innards of my
ASUS G750JX Republic of Gamers (RoG) notebook computer into it. After carefully
measuring the notebook computer's outside dimensions and estimating the size of
the various models of PB computers, I settled on a
Bell Legend 406CD and bought it from a guy on eBay. I wanted the type that actually
sits on the desktop, with the monitor sitting on top of it. The computer arrived
as advertised - dirty but in good mechanical condition, and cleanable. Having never
opened the ASUS G750JX ...
Roughly fifty years after my first failed
attempt at building a 1/4th−scale
Visible V−8 Engine
kit, I decided to buy another and try again. It is amazing that the kit is still
produced (by Revell now, not the original by Renwal), especially given that very
few of the old V-8s - the ones with points and condenser ignition, mechanical carburetor,
belt-driven cooling fan, etc. - are running anymore. Many, unfortunately, were destroyed
as part of the heinous Cash for Clunkers program in 2009 that served primarily to
remove from service classic cars and trucks from U.S. manufactures ...but I digress.
If memory serves me properly, back in the era by the time I had all the moving parts
assembled and installed, none of them moved anymore ...
"As useful as conventional fixed-wing and
quadrotor drones have become, they still tend to be relatively complicated, expensive
machines that you really want to be able to use more than once. When a one-way trip
is all that you have in mind, you want something simple, reliable, and cheap, and
we've seen a bunch of different designs for drone gliders that more or less fulfill
those criteria. For an even simpler gliding design, you want to minimize both airframe
mass and control surfaces, and the maple tree provides some inspiration in the form
samara, those distinctive seed pods that whirl
to the ground ..."
"NASA has selected a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket
- flying with a reused first stage booster - to launch the
Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer mission from
pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in April 2021, bypassing Northrop
Grumman's air-launched Pegasus rocket for the task. The $50.3M contract with SpaceX
announced Monday covers 'the launch service and other mission-related costs,' NASA
said in a press release. The value of the IXPE launch contract is one of the most
concrete examples of SpaceX's progress in reducing launch costs by recovering and
reusing first stage boosters. NASA awarded its most recent launch contract ..."
For as long as I can remember, the instructions
for assembling eyelets to
control line leadout wires has been the one depicted in the image to the right.
It appears to be a copy of a copy of a copy of a scanned image from a printed version
of the Academy of Model Aviation (AMA) rulebook. This particular rendition comes
from the "Control Line General 2017-2018" publication from the AMA (Figure 3. Two-Line
Construction, on page 8). Its simple presentation is fairly easy to follow, but
actually accomplishing the feat can be a little tricky when using the multistrand
steel leadout wire. I am no master of the task, but have constructed many leadout
eyelet ends in my six decades. A pictorial representation of the process I use is
given below ...
"Set to launch in 2020,
Airspeeder will see 10 pilots from five teams
face off in purpose-built flying vehicles capable of hitting speeds up to 200 km/h.
Each quadcopter will be four meters long, weighing in the region of 250 kg. They
will be propelled by eight 50 kW motors driving 60-inch blades, with power provided
by swappable 500 kW battery packs that can provide full thrust for around 15 minutes.
It's envisioned that races will mirror the early years of Formula E, with a single
pit stop / battery swap enabling sprint-style ..."
I have been wanting to build another Jetco
Shark 15 control line model airplane for a long time and finally decided to
take the dive into the project. Having sold all of my glow fuel engine support equipment
(power panel, fuel pump, electric starter, etc.) in exchange for electric power
equipment, it would be necessary to modify the airframe to accommodate a brushless
outrunner motor, an electronic speed controller (ESC), a motor timer, and a LiPo
battery. I dubbed it the "E-Shark 15."
Without a whole lot of engineering calculations, I settled on one of the two ElectriFly
Rimfire .10 motors I purchased to power my Douglas DC−3 / C−47
twin engine control line models. A 30 A ESC with a 3-cell (3S), 1300 mAH
LiPo completed the package ...
"Unlike large commercial airports, smaller
airstrips lack the infrastructure to ensure the safe navigation of aircraft for
automatic landings. Now, researchers at the Technical
University of Munich (TUM) and TU Braunschweig say they have demonstrated a completely
automatic landing with vision assisted navigation that functions properly without
the need for ground-based systems. The research is detailed in the Journal
of the Institute of Navigation. The team point out that large airports are equipped
with an Instrument Landing System (ILS) which allows ..."
X-59 QueSST, a new supersonic demonstration aircraft
that US-based aerospace firm Lockheed Martin is building for NASA that the agency
hopes will reduce the ground-level intensity of sonic booms over land, has another
interesting design feature besides the updated aerodynamics: it went with a 4k display
in the front of the cockpit instead of a forward-facing window. Opting for a 4k
instead of a window certainly seems like an unorthodox choice when it comes to the
cockpit of a plane, but that's what Lockheed Martin has done with their new X-59
Quiet Supersonic Technology, or QueSST, aircraft. NASA released an image of the
cockpit of the X-59 QueSST that shows three displays at the front of the cockpit ..."
Airplanes & Rockets website visitor David T.
wrote asking about locating an article where the author reports on having initially
tried aero−towing by a
powered airplane with the tow line connected to the tail of the tow plane. I have
never seen that method tried, and this article demonstrates why it is not commonplace.
Disaster evidently resulted, so the author ended up connecting the tow line to the
wing hold-down bolts and success ensued. This is the only aero-tow article I could
find in the 1975 year range that David referenced, but it is not what he was looking
for. If you know of an article that contains the experience he requested ...
"Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designers
at Insitu Inc. in Bingen, WA, will build 34
ScanEagle small UAVs for the governments of Malaysia;
Indonesia; the Philippines; and Vietnam under terms of a $47.9 million U.S. Navy
order in late June. Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River
Naval Air Station, MD, are asking Insitu to provide 12 ScanEagle UAVs for Malaysia;
eight for Indonesia; eight for the Philippines; and six for Vietnam. Insitu also
will provide spare sensor payloads, spare and repair parts, support equipment, tools,
training, technical services, and field service. Insitu is a subsidiary of the Boeing
No. D4 Menasco
Trainer kit was manufactured by the Paul K. Guillow Company beginning in
the late 1930s. The date on the plans is 1939. It was given to me by Mr. Steven
Krick from part of his very large collection of vintage model airplane kits. It
might be one of the earliest surviving Guillow kits. The Menasco Trainer has a diminutive
wingspan of just 7-9/16 inches. No box accompanied the kit parts. The only balsa
provided was square strips die cut from 0.050" (3/64") sheet, and a block for the
nose. The hardwood thrust button arrived broken into four pieces, so I carefully
glued it back together. The remaining parts including wing ribs, curved tip pieces,
fuselage formers (0.032" material), and even the propeller blades (0.012" material)
are printed on stiff card stock ...