was one of the earliest models produced by L.M. Cox Manufacturing. For many years
the models went by the trade name of Thimble Drome, but later were know simply as
Cox models. It was featured in magazine advertisements as early as 1961 when it
appeared in American Modeler. The Prop-Rod came it a Babe Bee .049 engine that had
an inverted cylinder. It was designed to run either on a tether stretched along
a sidewalk, on a tether mounted in the center of a circle (see video below), or
it could just run free. These couple photos were captured from an eBay auction a
while back. The Prop-Rod was a little over 12 inches long and 6 inches wide ...
the high desert of California, where some of the most important aircraft in aviation
history have been built and flown, the next airplane destined to make history continues
to take shape on a legendary factory floor. That airplane is
NASA's X-59 QueSST (Quiet Supersonic Technology),
an experimental piloted aircraft designed to fly faster than sound without producing
sonic booms. The factory is better known as the Skunk Works, a renowned Lockheed
Martin division that for the past 76 years has used an out-of-the-box approach to
design and manufacturing that has produced some of the nation's most advanced airplanes.
Now that legacy ..."
On May 8, 1945, with the capitulation of
Germany, Italy, and local Axis forces, World War II ended in the European Theater.
Then, on September 2, 1945, with the surrendering of Japan, World War II ended
in the Pacific Theater and in its entirety. A mere five years later, on June 25,
1950, The U.S. entered into the
Korean War (Conflict). China and Russia, both of which were allied with us during
World War II - and both of which we saved from Japanese and German, respectively,
conquering - backed North Korea in its attempt to take South Korea by force. There's
appreciation for you. During that half-decade interval, military aircraft had
undergone an extreme evolution from propellers and piston engines to turbines and
jet engines. The U.S. Air Force underwent a major reduction in force shortly after
the end of WWII ...
Leroy M. Cox built his glow fuel powered
model empire by being not only an innovator and skilled craftsman, but also by possessing
marketing savvy. This advertisement from a 1961 issue of American Modeler
magazine is a prime example. Here,
Cox encourages modelers to spend the money they might have received for Christmas
from friends and relatives to buy some the many alluring models the company has
to offer. I know that as a kid, I drooled over every Cox airplane, helicopter, boat,
and car seen in magazines or in a store. A lot of the more models like the Prop
Rod air-powered car, the Super Sabre F-100 jet, the Water Wizard air-powered hydroplane,
and the original Super Cub 105 sell for high prices on eBay, especially if they
are in new or excellent condition and come with the original boxes and accessories.
These predated my flying days by about six or seven years. It would be nice to have
a couple of them ...
The FAA just sent out a notice of updating
to its Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) system. It is the cellphone-based
system that provides drone pilots with access to controlled airspace at or below
400 feet and awareness of where pilots can and cannot fly (among other things).
"The FAA UAS Data Exchange is an innovative, collaborative approach between government
and private industry facilitating the sharing of airspace data between the two parties.
Under the FAA UAS Data Exchange umbrella, the agency will support multiple partnerships,
the first of which is LAANC."
When is the last time you saw an advertisement
motorcycles in a model airplane magazine? This ad appeared in a 1951 issue of
Air Trails. Harley Davidson was established way back in 1903, so even in 1951 it
was nearly half a century old. Early models looked like - and essentially were -
bicycles with beefed up frames and an engine nestled between the rider's lower legs.
Interestingly, the Wikipedia article notes that Harley-Davidson and Indian were
the only two major motorcycle manufacturers who survived the Great Depression that
began in 1929. Equally interesting - for those who remember the TV show "Happy Days"
- is that quintessential 1950s biker figure Fonzi rode a British-made Triumph motorcycle,
not one of the American brands ...
"Astronomers are elated with the first X-ray
images from a German telescope on Russia's Spektr-RG astronomy mission, demonstrating
the instrument's ability to observe galaxies near and far as scientists seek answers
to questions about dark energy. German officials released the 'first light' images
eROSITA instrument Tuesday. The German-built
instrument is the primary payload on the Russian Spektr-RG X-ray astronomy observatory,
which launched in July on a Proton rocket and headed for an observing post nearly
a million miles from Earth. 'These first images from our telescope show the true
beauty of the hidden universe ..."
"New measurements [of the
Hubble Constant] of the rate of expansion of
the universe add to a growing mystery: Estimates of a fundamental constant made
with different methods keep giving different results. New measurements of the rate
of expansion of the universe, led by astronomers at the University of California,
Davis, add to a growing mystery: Estimates of a fundamental constant made with different
methods keep giving different results. 'There's a lot of excitement, a lot of mystification
and from my point of view it's a lot of fun,' said Chris Fassnacht, professor of
physics at UC Davis and a member of the international SHARP/H0LICOW collaboration,
which made the measurement using the W.M. Keck telescopes in Hawaii ..."
Here is Melanie with my vintage, circa 1967
Sears "Discoverer" Model 4 6305A 60 mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope
(focal length 900 mm, f15 optics). Purchased on eBay for a very reasonable
price, it was in excellent condition optically and physically. There are a few minor
paint scratches that I plan to repair. After disassembling all the mechanical parts,
cleaning, greasing, and reassembling them, operation is very smooth. The sun projection
screen will come in handy for the April 2024 total solar eclipse, and incredibly
enough my house in Erie, Pennsylvania sits almost dead center in the path of totality.
The shipping / carrying case came with the telescope. It is constructed with a mahogany
plywood top and bottom surface and with solid mahogany frame pieces. All the hardware
was removed and either polished or painted. The wood was sanded just enough to get
it smooth and remove a couple very minor scratches. I was careful to not erase any
of the original already faded ink stamping on the inside bottom; it has "JAS," with
the rest being Japanese. Then, three coats of semigloss polyurethane ...
"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 ..."
"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 ..."
This 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
(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.
Mercury 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!
An 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 ...
"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 ..."
The 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
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 ...
Jet airplanes were still somewhat of a novelty
with actual flying models when this article about a free flight North American
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
The 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 ...
"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
"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 ..."
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'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 ..."
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 ..."
"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 ..."
"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 ..."
Bill (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 ...
"To take off from the water, this drone uses
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 ..."
Falcon 9 booster assigned to launch two NASA
astronauts on an orbital test flight of SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule has been test-fired
in Texas, but the schedule for the long-awaited mission remains unclear. SpaceX
announced the static fire test of the Falcon 9's first stage in a tweet August 29.
The launch vehicle's nine Merlin 1D first stage engines ignited on a test stand
at SpaceX's test site in McGregor, Texas, for a hold-down firing before the booster
is shipped to Cape Canaveral for final launch preparations. The 15-story booster
produces some 1.7 million pounds of thrust from its nine Merlin engines, which consume
Flying Aces magazine, which was
published in the middle of the last century, had for a while a monthly featured
Memory's Runway," where vintage (at the time) aircraft were featured in pictures
and captions. Of course those same airplanes are practically prehistoric today.
By 1942 when this column was published, biplanes had been replace by monoplanes
as the standard commercial and military design. A 14-passenger Boeing 80-A passenger
biplane is included, along with the statement that it is believed to be the only
tri-motored biplane built in the U.S. Of course there was the famous Ford Trimotor,
but it was a monoplane. Also included is a photo of Claude Ryan with his company's
first M-1 monoplane. The swirled finish ...
Oh, for the days when American big airplane
manufacturers rightfully claimed air superiority. Boeing, of course, was arguably
the leader of the pack, although Douglas and McDonnell ran close at Boeing's heels.
The unfortunate incidences of the 737 MAX Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation
System (MCAS) software issue has delivered a huge black eye to Boeing at a time
when they are desperately trying to compete with Airbus in the commercial airline
transport market. Boeing enthusiasts who used to recite the "If it's not Boeing,
I'm not going," mantra have been forced to reconsider their brand loyalty. This
brief inset piece in a 1941 pre-war issue of Air Trails magazine extolled
the virtues of
Boeing's 314 Clipper amphibious airplane that facilitated Pan American Airway's
(PAA) domination of transoceanic passenger and cargo operations. Similar to the
manner in which the U..S. Navy used to sponsor ...
Volocopter air taxi has flown a test flight at
Helsinki International Airport while integrated with both traditional and unmanned
air traffic management (ATM) systems. Managing the skies in urban environments is
a pressing concern as drone and air taxi technology rapidly advances. Developing
safe systems to allow unmanned vehicles to operate alongside piloted planes has
become a priority for countries and regions hoping to embrace this new wave of aerial
innovation. The latest Volocopter flight, which took place on 29 August, is part
of the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Programme, which aims to create
a single coordinated airspace for commercial, general and drone aviation ..."
This advertisement for the
Casalaire control line (C/L) model airplane appeared in the November 1946 issue
of Air Trails magazine. The Casalaire was designed and marketed by Louis Casale
of the AMA Nationals fame. Its fuselage is made of stamped aluminum components that
are held together with rivets which were set with a pair of pliers - no air hammer
or bucking bar required. Wings and empennage are built from standard balsa and plywood
parts. With a wingspan of 45" and a B- or C-size engine, it is a fairly large model.
For more background information and magazine appearances of the Casalaire, look
about half-way down this page on the Collect Air website. Another advertisement
for the Casalaire shown at Collect Air includes a twin-cylinder Viking 65 engine
that came with a 3-blade, variable-pitch propeller ...
This is the Sunday, January 2, 1944, "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 ...
vice president did his best to sound stirring. The podium, the flag, the ringing
cadences - all were meant to convey that this moment in the spring of 2019 was a
significant one, a turning point in the history of space exploration. 'It is the
stated policy of this administration and the United States of America to
return American astronauts to the moon within
the next...five...years.' Hardly had Mike Pence concluded his March 26 speech to
the National Space Council in Huntsville, Alabama, when the doubts and second-guessing
began. Even at NASA headquarters, where Administrator Jim Bridenstine took questions
from his troops at a televised town hall a few days later, the applause was tepid,
and the questions had mostly to do with money and political commitment ..."
"The Job: Gritter's first job with Aurora
Flight Sciences was
building a small-scale model to prove the concept
of the XV-24 Lightning Strike, winner of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
competition for a super high-performance, short-takeoff-and-landing aircraft. He
also performs aerobatic routines at airshows in full-scale airplanes. How did flying
radio-controlled airplanes prepare you for your job? Being around model airplanes
exposed me to all the technology - the components, the electronics. That was hugely
beneficial in school because the senior capstone ..."
Here is a vintage Jetex-powered
F−94C Starfire kit that, prior to my receiving it, had been started by
the previous owner. It was designed and drawn by Gerald Blumenthal. The copyright
date printed on the plans is 1953. Many of the parts had been cut out of the printwood
balsa sheets, but none of the airframe has been assembled. There were no laser-cut
kits back in the era of this kit, when the die-cut balsa sheets often were more
appropriately referred to as "die-smashed" due to dull cutting edges on the die.
It was also not uncommon for the die-cut part to not exactly match the outline of
the printed pattern. Cutting out the parts with an X-Acto knife takes more time,
but at least for the small shapes and for accuracy that is the way to go. I have
not done a full inventory of the kit, but it appears most, if not all, parts are
"'We first flew in dreams, but the dream
of flight has become real,' the narrator says. The image on the giant screen is
mesmerizing: Above massive volcanic islands reaching up from the ocean floats a
tiny triangular form. This is the first shot of the hang gliding scene from To Fly!,
the iconic IMAX film made for the opening of the Smithsonian National Air and Space
Museum in 1976. It has been playing for more than 40 years, and for many, it's their
first encounter with
hang gliding. In the scene, pilot Bob Wills hangs
below the wing, shifting his body to exert control over the impossibly simple craft.
He soars between mountain peaks, then climbs, stalls, dives, and swoops high above
the water. When the film was made, hang gliding was emerging ..."
This Russian Mosca I-16 fighter airplane
bears some resemblance the Bee Gee series of American racers. According to the Wikipedia
entry, "The Polikarpov I−16 (Russian: Поликарпов И-16)
was a Soviet single-engine single-seat fighter aircraft of revolutionary design;
it was the world's first low-wing cantilever monoplane fighter with retractable
landing gear to attain operational status and as such 'introduced a new vogue in
fighter design.' The I-16 was introduced in the mid-1930s and formed the backbone
of the Soviet Air Force at the beginning of World War II. The diminutive fighter,
nicknamed 'Ishak' or 'Ishachok' ('Donkey' or 'Burro') by Soviet pilots, figured
prominently in the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Battle of Khalkhin Gol and the
Spanish Civil War - where it was called the Rata ('Rat') or Mosca ('Fly')." Its
maiden flight occurred ...
"This September, at the National Championship
Air Races in Reno, Nevada, a couple dozen magnificently restored airplanes will
gather once again to be evaluated by judges and admired by fans. Those who attend
will be able to stroll among some pretty special aircraft, hear the owners and restorers
tell their stories, and watch the presentation of trophies by aviation heroes. They'll
also get the chance to vote for their favorite airplanes. By all means, get to Reno
if you can. But if you can't, we invite you to read the stories of these remarkable
airplanes and vote for the one that strikes a chord with you. Whichever one receives
the most votes will win the People's Choice trophy at Reno and be named 'Air &
Airplane of the Year.' The winner ..."
It is hard to imagine how pilots managed
to find their way through fog, rain, sleet, and snow prior to the advent of instruments
that could indicate whether the airplane was flying straight and level or spiraling
toward the ground. Some flyers were good enough in most situations to sense attitude
even without an outside-the-cockpit visual clue. However, it is entirely possible
to enter into a situation where your senses cannot possibly tell the difference
between normal flight and a life threatening scenario. Albert Einstein's General
Theory of Relativity tells us that without knowing otherwise, there is no discernable
difference between gravity and physical acceleration. Therefore, a pilot in solid
Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) conditions where he cannot see the sky or ground
could very well mistake ...