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When I run across articles like this "CAR:
Coupled Aileron Ruddered System for Radio Control" which appeared in the 1960
Annual issue of Air Trails magazine, dial cord, I am in awe of some people
for the genius, creativity, and willingness to do the hard work involved in advancing
the state of the art in a given field. Not surprisingly, Maynard Hill is the author
and progenitor of this - at the time - breakthrough method of combining aileron
and rudder control to enable at least some semblance of coordinated turns with radio
controlled model airplanes. Mr. Hill was a metallurgist in his day work at
Johns Hopkins' Applied Physics Laboratory. Distance and altitude records for R/C
models were among his many accomplishments. Looking at the complication of the electromechanical
coupled aileron-rudder control system...
Here is novel idea from well-known free flight
modeler Bill Hannan and hobby shop owner Russ Barrera. It appeared in a 1970 issue
of American Aircraft Modeler magazine. The pair converted an
transmitter case into a handy field box for use with free flight models. In
addition to adding a hinge and latch to the cover, the retractable antenna sports
a small wind sock for judging launch times and even a compass in place of the RF
power meter to note the direction of your model as it drifts off into the wild blue
yonder when the dethermalizer fails to trigger. Without the convenience of eBay,
finding an unused transmitter would have been a bit difficult for most free-flighters
back in the day...
"Rolls-Royce has submitted data to the Fédération
Aéronautique Internationale to verify claims for three new world records set by
the company's all-electric Spirit of Innovation aircraft. On 16 November 2021,
Spirit of Innovation is claimed to have reached a top speed of 555.9 km/h
(345.4 mph) over 3km, beating the existing record by 213.04 km/h (132 mph).
Rolls-Royce added that further runs at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down
experimental aircraft testing site saw the aircraft achieve 532.1 km/h (330 mph)
over 15km - 292.8 km/h (182 mph) faster than the previous record – and
broke the fastest time to climb to 3000m by 60 seconds with a time of 202 seconds.
During its runs, Spirit of Innovation achieved a maximum speed of 623 km/h
(387.4mph) which according to Rolls-Royce..."
1938 was still two decades away from when
America would launch its first Earth-orbiting satellite (Explorer 1, 1958)
and three decades from when man would first
walk on the moon (Apollo 11, 1969), yet work was well underway by enthusiastic
aerospace engineers, scientists, astronomers, project managers, and others to accomplish
those goals. While this Boys' Life article boasts of rockets attaining
speeds of 800 miles per hour, leaving Earth's gravitational pull for a trip to the
moon would require a escape velocity of 25,000 miles per hour. Telescopes powerful
enough to survey the moon's surface for determining a safe location for landing
were being readied with telescopes like constructed 200-inch Hale reflector, having
seen first light just nine years earlier. This type illustrated feature page was
common each month...
Airplanes Won't Make Much of a Dent in Air Travel for Decades to Come. Reason:
Batteries are nowhere near able to sustain wide-body airliners over flights measuring
in the thousands of kilometers. Exaggeration has become the default method for news
reporting, and the possibility of commercial electric flight has been no exception,
with repeated claims that these new planes will utterly change how we live. In 2017,
Boeing and JetBlue funded Zunum Aero, a U.S. company that promised nothing less
than transforming air travel with short-haul electric planes capable of carrying
12 people - and doing it by 2022. Two years later Boeing declined to continue funding
the project. At the Paris Air Show..."
If you're anything like me, you have an appreciation
for the older comic strips. Getting the message being conveyed sometimes requires
a knowledge of the events of the era, but for the most part the humor and/or satire
comes through even when you assume it relates to current events. WWI and WWII timeframe
comics, for instance, often alluded to the evils of Fascist governments overseas,
while today they may be likened to the deeds of our own government. These "Contest
Caper" comics from a 1955 edition of Air Trails magazine are timeless...
I saw this image posted on LinkedIn and thought
it would be good to show here, too. Given that Christmas and Hanukkah are inexorably
connected by historical events. The clever combining of a Christmas tree and a Hanukkah
Lamp (not an original Menorah, which has seven candles). "Two Traditions. One Wish.
On Earth Peace, Good Will Toward Men."
world's smallest moon lander, will have an X-band and UHF communication system,
although it will not carry an amateur band transponder. OMOTENASHI is a 6U CubeSat
set for launch via a NASA SLS rocket as early as February 2022. It will have a mission
period of from 4 to 5 days. The name is an acronym for Outstanding Moon Exploration
Technologies demonstrated by Nano Semi-Hard Impactor. Wataru Torii of the Japan
Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Ham Radio Club, JQ1ZVI, said radio amateurs
can play a role in gathering data from the spacecraft. The spacecraft is made up
of two separable components, both having independent communication systems - an
orbiting module and a surface probe. The orbiting module will take the surface probe
to the moon. It will transmit beacon or digital telemetry data on UHF (437.31 MHz)..."
The December 2021 issue of the Academy of
Model Aeronautics (AMA)
Model Aviation magazine contained an article about the AMA Museum's effort
to post model aircraft related historical items on their website. I check to see
whether the two kits I donated in 2019 are there, and indeed they are. One is a
Parris-Dunn Little Bobby Helicopter Kite Kit and the other is a
D-4 Menasco Trainer Kit. Both were gifted to me by Mr. Steven Krick. Realizing
their historical significance, I contacted the AMA Museum and they gratefully accepted
the donation offer. I have not been to the AMA Museum since 1999, not long after
the initial building was commissioned, so it would be nice to make another trip
there and see the incredible collection on display now - especially the vintage
Not a lot of information is available about
the Roland D-2 "Wahlfisch" (Whale) on the WWW (World Wide Web). Wikipedia has a
entry for the C-II Wahlfisch, but nothing on the D-II. The C-II was also a biplane,
but its wing configuration had a lower and a shoulder location on the fuselage,
whereas this D-II has a lower wing and a high wing mounted on a centrally located
solid pylon. It seems that would be a real annoyance to the pilot with an obstruction
that hinders stereoscopic vision when looking straight ahead. The dual, wood stick
cabane strut arrangement must have been a lot better, although more difficult to
construct. The plans are nicely done by the author, D.A. Newell, but I do not
see a rib pattern...
Douglas Rolfe's sketch of this
C-II biplane is another example of his amazing ability not just to create a
drawing, but to depict the model's construction features in a manner helpful to
builders. That, coupled with the masterfully detailed and laid-out plans by Walter
Musciano and a brief history on the airplane along with its most famous pilot, Eduard
von Schleich, makes this an article you won't want to miss - especially if you are
a World War I historian. I have to wonder whether Eduard von Schleich's fellow
Flieger (aviators) referred to him as "verrückte Augen" ("crazy eyes")?...
It's hard to imagine back when only 14 years
had passed - to the month - since the Japanese surrendered to the U.S., that this
article with plans for a control line
Kawasaki Ki-61 Tony model
was written in the August 1959 edition of American Modeler magazine. The
Imperial Japanese Air Force, like the German Air Force (Luftwaffe), was made up
of highly skilled pilots and increasingly capable aircraft. The Japanese were a
notable more terrorizing enemy since many were willing to sacrifice their lives
in battle, whereas the Germans were more of the mindset of living to fight another
day. It is now 52 years hence since this article was written and very few of the
men who fought WWII - on all sides - are still alive to bear witness to the action.
As long as there are people who want to dominate the world, there will be wars...
If you like cutting and gluing wing ribs,
this scale control line model of the
Curtiss P6−E Hawk
is the job for you. Let me know after doing these 92 ribs for two wings if you still
feel the same way. These plans and building article appeared in the November 1957
issue of American Modeler magazine. Designed for a .19 to .29 engine, this
31" wingspan model will certainly present a challenge even to the experienced modeler.
Of course you need to be able to apply and finish the covering with a high level
of perfection in order to fully appreciate the amount of work put into building
it. Personally, I would hate to have to use opaque paint for a scale color scheme
in order to not have to hide the framework. Then, I would be afraid to ever fly
"China says it fired up the world's largest
single-segment solid-fuel rocket engine for the first time, at a ground testing
facility in the country's northwest on Tuesday. The rocket’s 3.5-metre (11.5-foot)
wide engine can generate 500 tonnes of thrust, according to the China Aerospace
Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). That is more than four times as powerful
as the liquid fuel engine on the Long March 5, the largest launch vehicle in China's
space programme at present. With its high mobility and near-instant launch capability,
solid-fuel rockets are mainly used to deliver missiles or on other military platforms.
Most solid rockets are relatively small, in part because, in most circumstances,
the delivery of a warhead to destination does not require so much thrust..."
In this article appearing in the 1960 Annual
edition of Air Trails magazine, author Robert Angel introduces his "Uni−Flow"
concept for U-Control (aka control line, C/L) model airplanes. His method modifies
the standard wedge type metal fuel tank to operate on the same principle as an office
water cooler. By adding a strategically placed additional brass tubing vent, Mr. Angel
contends the pressure on the inside of the tank remains fairly constant as the vacuum
from the engine's carburetor draws fuel. This is preferred to pressurizing the fuel
tank via either a tap on the crankcase or off the muffler (which there were not
a lot of in 1960. Whether or not the Uni−Flow arrangement is any better than a standard
vent line or pressurization is still a matter of debate half a century later, as
can be seen in this StuntHanger.com forum thread. In fact, it seems the standard
C/L metal fuel tank is a form of uni−flow...
Here on page 388 of the Sears 1969 Christmas
Wish Book is a wide selection of modern
clock radios. The ad says, "Instant sound solid state table and clock radios."
In 2011, most people use their cellphone clocks for everything from appointment
keeping to wakeup alarms. Displays are LCD with a few LED straggles still around.
The model shown here can only be found at the Salvation Army store or a thrift shop...
maybe at a yard sale. Use the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation calculator
to see what items cost in today's dollars. That $19.50" AM-FM clock radio would
Propeller-driven air cars and boats were
popular in the 1950 and 1960s. They solved the problem of complicated and failure-prone
transmissions and had no traction issues regardless of terrain. Recall the James
Bond movies of the era that featured these vehicles regularly. As a teenager, I
built an air boat out of a block of styrofoam and a Cox .048 Babe Bee engine. A
rudder was controlled by my OS 3-channel RC system. It ran pretty well - nothing
to get excited about but it was my first radio-controlled model of any sort. This
CallAir Snowcar is a much more sophisticated type of vehicle and is actually
modeled after a full-scale propeller-driven vehicle. Call Aircraft made a few lightplane
models, including agricultural (Ag) types, under the CallAir moniker...
"Its unusual shape helps it travel more miles
on a single tank of gas. Sky watchers in the windswept high desert town of Victorville,
California, have seen a dazzling array of airplanes over the past 80 years, from
the fighters and bombers that flew into the local airfield when it was George Air
Force Base to hundreds of about-to-be-mothballed airliners after the former military
installation became the Southern California Logistics Airport. But they've never
seen anything like the
Nobody has. Shaped like an elongated egg with wings and a stubby propeller hanging
off the tail, the 500L is designed to leverage the benefits of laminar flow - an
aerodynamic advantage that increases efficiency in flight by minimizing drag..."
U-Control, aka U/C, aka Control Line, aka C/L,
is still very popular today even with radio control available. It is a great model
of modeling for those of us with bad eyesight who have trouble with tracking airplanes
at a distance. With control line your model is never more than about 70 feet from
you and there is never a problem with knowing which direction the model is headed
and whether it is right-side-up or upside-down. In 1960 when this Annual issue of
Air Trails magazine was published, R/C was mostly a rich man's sport, or
at least an electronics man's sport. Free flight and control line dominate aeromodeling.
Monthly features like "U-Control Corner" ran in model aviation magazines of the
era, and offered many great tips...
I took the occasion of having to cover the
wingtips of my AAR-X1 electric control line model to make a short video of how I
cover a compound
surface (one that curves in two or three dimensions) with MonoKote. The only
"trick" involved is being daring enough to apply the amount of heat needed to exploit
MonoKote's extreme ability to shrink, while pulling on it to stretch it. By daring
I mean that it can take quite a bit of heat, even to the point of being dangerously
close to the melting point. It can also put the phalanges is peril while attempting
to stretch the MonoKote while heating it. In the case of these wingtips, there is
an open framework, but the method works equally well on solid compound surface.
I have smoothly covered carved sailplane nose blocks and curved wingtips using this
"The research project at Nottingham University
has been funded by the Propulsion Futures Beacon of Excellence, directed by Professor
David Grant in collaboration with
Air Race E, an electric air race series, to investigate alternatives to the
use of fossil fuels in global transportation systems. In a statement, project lead
Professor Michael Galea said: 'Electric flight is one of the fastest developing
technological areas and is seen as the third-generation of aviation. The rigors
of air motorsport, with its demand for speed, performance and power management,
has provided us with the perfect conditions to develop and promote cleaner, faster
and more technologically advanced electric motor drives.' The Cassutt III petrol-powered
single-seater racing aircraft..."
"After years of delay and frustration, the
James Webb Space Telescope is ready to launch. Sometime this fall, if the launch
date doesn’t slip again, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope - the most powerful,
expensive, and eagerly anticipated telescope ever to gaze out into the universe
- will lift off from French Guiana on an Ariane 5 rocket. Twenty-six years in design,
delayed countless times, the JWST, as astronomers typically refer to it, will dwarf
the Hubble Space Telescope in size, resolution, and ability to see very faint objects.
Unlike Hubble, which operates primarily in the visible spectrum, Webb will use cameras
and spectrographs tuned to near- and mid-infrared wavelengths to view some of the
oldest objects in the cosmos, with a sensitivity 1,000 times better than past infrared
These half-dozen hand-dandy
building tips are as useful today as they were in they appeared in the 1960
Annual issue of Air Trails (Hobbies for Young Men) magazine. Readers submitted their
brilliant ideas to the editor, who then created drawings and brief descriptions.
I find myself doing many of the things that appear in this and of editions of the
vintage modeling magazines - of course that might have something to do with my being
"vintage" at this point in life (born in 1958). Back when these items were published,
availability of most tools and material was nowhere near as abundant as today. It's
hard to imagine anyone nowadays making a drill bit out of a nail, but in a pinch
you never know...
Depending on the phase of the moon, the prevailing
wind, stock market activity, or the color socks I have on, my interest in airplane
activities alternate between radio control, free flight, control line, static display,
or any other aspects of modeling. Over the years, I have designed and built probably
four or five different field boxes to accommodate the mood du jour. Each was sold
before moving on to the next design iteration. Finally, I decided that rather than
keeping on making new field boxes, it would make more sense to design a one-size-fits-all
version. The Chameleon Field Box™,
as I have dubbed it, comes pretty close to achieving that goal. The design work
was done on Autodesk's AutoSketch release 6. I still have the file, but upon opening
it again after many years, I discovered that I never did put in all the detail for
OpenRocket is a free, fully featured model
rocket simulator that allows you to design and simulate your rockets before you
build and flying them. Everything you need to design, simulate and fly better rockets.
Reliable simulations. Leverage state of the art 6-degrees-of-freedom flight simulation
with over 50 variables. Analyze all aspects of your simulation with advanced plotting
and exporting. Easily design your models with CAD technology. Replicate all features
of your existing model or new design. Everything from the density of materials to
the quality of finish on the outside of your model. Choose from a massive catalog
of existing components...
"With conjunction over and our first flight
at 2,700 RPM behind us,
Ingenuity is ready to begin the journey back to the Wright Brothers Field at
the Octavia E. Butler landing site, before venturing beyond. The above figure depicts
the mission ahead of Ingenuity, which is to join Perseverance in the trek north
along the east edge of Seitah, before traveling west to reach the Jezero ancient
river delta. To accomplish this feat, the Ingenuity team is planning a series of
4-7 flights to return to Wright Brothers Field. Along the way the project is considering
preparing a flight software upgrade for our helicopter which will potentially enable..."
This expertly rendered 3-view drawing of
Luscombe Silvaire appeared in the June 1959 issue of American Modeler magazine.
Draftsman Jim Trigs provided many such detailed drawings for modeling and full-scale
aircraft publications. According to this 2012 Capital Journal newspaper piece on
Jim Riggs, he flew from 1953 through 2008, with 28 of those 52 years devoted to
United Airlines. Being a South Dakota native, he was inducted in to the South Dakota
Aviation Hall of Fame in 2012. Jim soloed in a Cessna 140 in 1953 when he was 16,
then went on to log nearly 22,000 hours of flight time over his career. He flew
helicopters in Vietnam, and spent decades in the Civil Air Patrol - a true aviation
enthusiast. Jim left us in 1995...
If you ever had any doubt whether Bill Winter
was one of the model airplane hobby's earliest and most prolific contributors, check
out this article that appeared in the January 1955 edition of Popular Electronics
magazine (only the third issue since its inception). Radio control systems were
just beginning to be commercialized and priced at a point where a lot of the public
could afford it. Quirks and high unreliability that plagued early systems had become
less of an issue so that airplane and power plant design efforts could take priority
with aeromodelers. In this article, Bill addresses setting proper
wing incidence and engine
thrust angles for good, repeatable, stable flight...
"Tom Grundy, the CEO of Hybrid Air Vehicles,
started his career working on fighters and drones for BAE Systems, and he was a
project engineering manager for Airbus during the development of the A380. But these
days his focus is on a type of aircraft that can do things the fixed-wing fliers
he has spent his life admiring can't - even though the basic technology keeping
them aloft is substantially older. Welcome to the second age of the airship. Grundy’s
company is promoting its striking, pillow-like
AirLander 10, initially designed for military surveillance, as a pleasant, low-emission
alternative means of regional air travel. In May the company announced plans to
begin service for up to 100 passengers per flight on a handful of short-haul routes
(Liverpool to Belfast, Oslo to Stockholm, Seattle to Vancouver, among others) in
2025. A Scandinavian company is in talks about using the AirLander..."
Two spacecraft built by Europe and Japan
captured their first up-close look at the planet Mercury in a weekend flyby, revealing
a rocky world covered with craters. The two linked probes, known together as
snapped their first image of Mercury late Friday (Oct. 1) during a flyby that sent
them zooming around the planet. The encounter marked the first of six Mercury flybys
for BepiColombo, a joint effort by the space agencies of Europe and Japan, to slow
itself enough to enter orbit around the planet in 2025. BepiColombo took its first
official photo of Mercury at 7:44 p.m. EDT (2344 GMT) with its Mercury Transfer
Module Monitoring Camera 2, a black-and-white navigation camera, as the probe was
about 1,502 miles (2,418 kilometers) away from the planet...
Were you or anyone you know - father, brother,
son, uncle, nephew, grandfather, friend, enemy - attend the
1974 National Miniature Aircraft Championships (NATS) at Lake Charles, Louisiana?
Why that location was chosen for a mid-summer event is beyond me, but the NATS were
held there a few times. John Clemens was Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) president
at the time. I had just become aware of the AMA a few years earlier at the ripe
old age of about 13. After 63 years on Earth I still have never experienced a NATS
- or the Toledo Show for that matter (which, alas, is no more). I have managed to
visit the AMA Headquarters in Muncie, Indiana, twice, though, but that was nearly
two decades ago shortly after they opened. ...but I digress. Here is a thorough
accounting of the goings-on at the 1974 AMA NATS as presented in the November 1974
issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine...
Since there is a lot of wisdom conferred
each month upon the model aircraft magazine reading public, I thought it would be
of service to scan, OCR (so you can search the text), and post some of the articles
from vintage American Aircraft Modeler magazines. This first is the "Walt Mooney on Free Flight,"
from the January 1974 issue. One item is how a flying club near the Miramar Naval
Air Station (of Top Gun fame) lost its site because someone (a non-member) flew
an R/C glider at high altitude during a full-size training exercise, thereby disturbing
the program. Eventually, all kinds of aeromodeling will be covered including free
flight, control line, and radio control. Stay tuned for more to come...
Way back in 1975, my friend, Jerry Flynn,
and I (Kirt Blattenberger) assisted Mr. Dick Weber in his successful flight
on June 14, 1975, that set a new
FAI Closed Course Record
of 225 miles in 5 hours and 38 minutes. We were both flaggers to signal when
the Tortoise has passed the distance markers. See the credits on page 37 in the
actual magazine. The Tortoise got its name by virtue of the craft having landed
near a turtle on the runway. It was a long day, with everyone being sunburned by
the end of it. We were all members of the Prince Georges Radio Control Club (PGRC)...
"If anyone can think of a more perfect name
for a personal eVTOL, we're listening! Sweden's Jetson Aero has already sold out
the 2022 production run of this cute little single-seat kit build, which is capable
of zooming along at 63 mph (102 km/h). The
is a simple design purely dedicated to muckin' about and having fun. Its single
seat is suspended in an aluminum/carbon fiber spaceframe. It's a straight-up drone-style
multicopter, with eight props mounted coaxially on four arms, putting out a total
peak of 88 kW (118 horsepower). Jetson says it'll fly safely if one motor dies,
but frankly I'd be more interested in landing safely at that point. The pilot flies
it with a throttle lever on the left, a joystick on the right, and a pair of pedals,
presumably controlling yaw. There's some very basic system information displayed
on a little dash that frankly looks like a smartphone in a cradle..."
While the originality and craftsmanship exhibited
model car designs entered in this contest sponsored by Fisher Body Craftsman's
Guild is unassailable, I find myself being grateful that most of them never hit
the car lot showrooms (although some designs are not too far off of what has been
produced here and in Europe). The date of this Air Trails - Hobbies for Young
Men magazine article was 1954 and imaginations ran wild with concept car configurations,
and while just about anything goes in such competitions, some were downright, dare
I say it?, ugly. Of course a look at some of today's concept cars register the same
emotions, so I suppose the old adage about the more things change, the more things
stay the same holds true here. Scholarships handed out...