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Home Page Archive (page 33)

These archive pages are provided in order to make it easier for you to find items that you remember seeing on the Airplanes and Rockets homepage. Of course probably the easiest way to find anything on the website is to use the "Search AAR" box at the top of every page.

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Tiny Outboards Howl Like the Big Ones

Tiny Outboards Howl Like the Big Ones, July 1954 Popular Science - Airplanes and RocketsAhhhh, the days before electric powered everything. I will be the first to admit that the ease of operation, cleanliness, and quietness of an e-powered model is convenient and helps keep neighbors happy, but the undeniable fact is that from a motivational perspective, nothing in modeling compares to a screaming internal combustion engine (ICE) with blue smoke pouring out of the exhaust - especially when no muffler is installed. Go on, you can admit it, unless of course you have never partaken in that aspect of our hobby. When I was a kid, if I could hear even the slightest hint of a glow engine running, I'd be on my bicycle pedaling as fast as I could toward the source of the beautiful sound. Sometimes it was a kid down the road with his Cox tethered car, or on rare occasions a fellow model airplane flier. A man a couple blocks away flew R/C airplanes and helicopters, and my sudden presence every time he started up an engine probably made him cringe (although I did stay out at the street unless invited over). I would be content to sit on the side of the road and listen to the engine run and if lucky, get a whiff of the exhaust. I've told Melanie that if I ever lapse into unconsciousness and cannot otherwise be revived, fire up a Cox .049 in front of me or wave a spent Estes rocket engine under my nose. I there still is no response...

Peacetime Uses for V2 Rocket, by Arthur C. Clarke

Peacetime Uses for V2 Rocket, by Arthur C. Clarke - RF CafeThis article by science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, of 2001: A Space Odyssey fame, suggested the use of surplus German V−2 (Vergeltungswaffe 2; i.e., Retribution Weapon 2) rockets for launching scientific payloads into space rather than for launching terrorizing attacks on European cities. The October 1945 publishing date was after Germany had surrendered in the spring of that year and Allied forces were rounding up war criminals and confiscating documents and equipment. Clarke describes how an "artificial satellite" could be caused to circle the earth "perpetually" and was published in the October 1945 edition of Wireless World magazine. The pilot-less V−2, along with the V−1 "Buzz Bomb," were launched from within Germany and caused massive structural damage and human death and suffering. For war progenitor and aggressor, Germany, to call it a retribution weapon was a gross misnomer, especially considering it was the second time (WWI and WWII) in three decades that the country had attempted to bring Europe under its dominance with brutal assaults...

Plasma Stealth Device Takes Aircraft off the Radar

Plasma Stealth Device Takes Aircraft off the Radar - RF Cafe"A new-generation plasma stealth device that can make almost any military aircraft vanish from a radar screen is claimed to have been developed by a team of scientists and engineers from western China. Unlike its predecessors, which generate a cloud of plasma draped over a plane, this innovation can be tailored to fit a sensitive section of a military aircraft - areas like the radar dome, cockpit or other spots that are most prone to enemy radar detection. This 'closed electron beam plasma stealth device,' which focuses on protecting key areas instead of the entire aircraft, can be switched on at a moment's notice to fool radar operators. It has many advantages such as 'simple structure, wide power adjustable range and high plasma density,' Tan Chang, a scientist involved in the project, wrote in a peer-reviewed paper published in the Chinese Journal of Radio Science in December. Chinese scientists say they can use foreign military radar to track ships. Plasma, composed of electrically charged particles, interacts with electromagnetic waves in a unique way. When electromagnetic waves - such as those emitted by radar - interact with plasma, they cause the particles to move rapidly and collide, dissipating the waves' energy and reducing the strength of the reflected signal. This interaction converts the energy of the electromagnetic waves into mechanical and thermal energy of the charged particles, diminishing the waves' strength and subsequently weakening the radar signal reflected back. The concept of plasma stealth technology traces back to the Cold War era, where both the United States and the Soviet Union poured resources into its research and development. However, due to technological constraints, it never progressed beyond the laboratory phase... (line 546 in page source view for non-subscribers)

3D-Printed Formers Sterling F4U-1 Corsair

3D-printed formers Sterling F4U-1 Corsair (Boyd Steffen) - Airplanes and RocketsAirplanes and Rockets website visitor Boyd Steffen sent me this photo of the formers he made using a 3D printer. People are building entire flyable model airplanes using 3D printing, including detailed scale airplanes, aerobatic and super fast models, lightweight Park Flyers, and training types. The science/art has come a long way in the last decade. A YouTube search on 3D printed model airplane will have you amazed at what is being done, if you aren't already aware. The guys designing and building them have a very impressive knowledge of what is needed to maximizing strength and rigidity while maintaining minimal weight - no doubt as a result of trial and error...

Fairchild 22 C-7-F (1934) 4-View

Fairchild 22 C-7-F (1934) 4-View, July 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThis 4-view drawing of the Fairchild 22 C-7-F (1934) was scanned from page 38B and 38C of my purchased edition of the July 1968 American Aircraft Modeler (AAM) magazine. It is another example of Björn Karlström's fine scale drawings. In the pre-Internet days, this sort of detailed documentation was harder to come by, so AAM provided a great service by publishing these. Per Wikipedia: "The aircraft was designed by Kreider-Reisner during negotiations by Sherman Fairchild to take a major share in the company. Marketed as the Fairchild 22 Model C7 the aircraft was certified in March 1931. The Fairchild 22 was a mixed-construction braced parasol-wing monoplane with a fixed tailwheel landing gear and a braced tail unit. It had two tandem open cockpits and was initially powered by a 80hp (60kW) Armstrong Siddeley Genet radial engine. After test flying the prototype the first production aircraft were re-engined with a 75hp (56kW) Michigan Rover inverted inline engine. The aircraft was fitted with both inline and radial piston engines...

He (Igor Bensen) Rides a Kite

He (Igor Bensen) Rides a Kite, July 1954 Popular Science - Airplanes and RocketsMany guys my age (65) remember seeing advertisements back in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s for the Bensen Gyrocopter in the pages of magazines like Mechanics Illustrated, Popular Mechanix, Science and Mechanics, etc. Bensen stopped kit production in 1988. This 1954 issue of Popular Science magazine featured a story on Igor Bensen's early towed version of his gyrocopter (model B−6), which he referred to as a gyro−glider. According to later published information, the round tubing used here was replaced with square tubing due to difficulties in building experienced by owners. Prior to opening Bensen Aircraft Company, Dr. Bensen designed gyroplanes and related aircraft for General electric and Kaman. I never had any hopes of being able to build a gyrocopter, but did hold out some hope for maybe building one of the lawn mower engine powered hovercraft that also showed up all the time. Alas, neither was ever done...

R/C "'Los Angeles" Article & Plans

R/C "'Los Angeles" Article & Plans, December 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsAn Airplanes and Rockets visitor wrote requesting that I post this article on the R/C Los Angeles airship, so here it is. There have been a few articles in the last year or so reporting on radio-controlled blimps (airships, dirigibles, etc.). The advent of super-light radio gear, powerful little brushless motors, and high energy density batteries has made them practical in almost any scale. This "Los Angeles" model is 53" long and 11½" in diameter, and will lift 8-10 ounces of gear. In 1968, when this article was published in American Aircraft Modeler magazine, there was no lightweight film covering material that was both strong enough and gas-tight enough to do the job, so thin silk and butyrate dope were used. Modern covering and equipment should let this baby fly to the moon...

Sora Cinimatic AI Generator

Sora Cinimatic AI Generator - RF CafeI, for one, do not fear the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI). The fact is we have been living through an evolutionary process in AI since the beginning of the computer age - it just wasn't called AI at the time. Electronic and mechanical CAD/CAE software with optimization routines are AI. PCB layout autorouting is AI. Weather prediction algorithms are AI. MRI and x-ray images processing is AI, as is tax preparation software. I'd say "get used to it," but you already have. This Sora project by OpenAI (the ChatGPT folks) is basically a real-life rendition version of what Pixar is for cartoon animation. "We're teaching AI to understand and simulate the physical world in motion, with the goal of training models that help people solve problems that require real-world interaction. Sora can generate videos up to a minute long while maintaining visual quality and adherence to the user's prompt. Sora is able to generate complex scenes with multiple characters, specific types of motion, and accurate details of the subject and background. The model understands not only what the user has asked for in the prompt, but also how those things exist in the physical world. The current model has weaknesses. For example, a person might take a bite out of a cookie, but afterward, the cookie may not have a bite mark..." The movie industry is crying foul, but honestly, would many people care if the egotistical, largely ignorant, bloviating Hollywood actors went away?

Handy-Mac 50-mc R/C Transmitter

Handy-Mac 50-mc R/C Transmitter (July/August 1963 American Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsWhen I wax nostalgic about old tube radio sets, it is not because I don't appreciate the performance and quality of modern electronics. It is just that a lot of the technology was still mainstream when I was young (born in 1958). I remember having it in my parents' house and seeing even older stuff in my grandparents' house. Some people's midlife crisis takes the form of wearing age-inappropriate clothing, gold jewelry, and chasing after strange women. The manifestation of my "crisis," if you want to call it that, has been collecting memorabilia from days of yore. There is a huge demand for it, so I make as much as I have time for posting available for others to enjoy. Articles like this one are from old editions I bought on eBay, a 1963 edition of American Modeler magazine in this instance. Even though nobody will go out and buy parts to build this tube-based R/C transmitter, there are useful descriptions of circuit design considerations, including the use of a center-loaded, half-wave antenna. Hams eat this stuff up...

O.S. Digitron DP-3 R/C System w/Packaging & Documentation

O.S. Digitron DP-3, 3-Channel Radio Control System with original packaging & documentation - Airplanes and RocketsThis is a rare find. After having a Saved Search on eBay for years, looking for an O.S. Digitron DP-3, 3-Channel Radio Control System with original packaging and documentation, one finally came up for sale. It was listed with inexact wording in the title, so maybe that's why I found it before others. It had only been listed for a few minutes, and I bought it instantly. This has got to be one of the primo examples left in the world. All the original packaging and documentation is here, even including a set of O.S. Digital decals. Why the enthusiasm, you might ask? This was my very first R/C system that I bought from a neighbor for $100, back in 1974, when I was a mere 15 or 16 years old. To my best recollection, it came with everything here. The fitted leather transmitter case was very nice, and it kept the metal chassis in excellent condition. My radio was on 27.195 MHz (green flag), and at the time, an FCC license was required to operate it...

Radio Circus Real Laugh Riot

Radio Circus Real Laugh Riot (December 1957 American Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsIt's hard to imagine a time when radio control was such a novelty that contests included events where models were steered around on the ground to weave through obstacles, as was the case when this 1957 American Modeler magazine article was published. The thing is, when I got my first R/C system, an OS Digital 3−channel set, I had not yet learned to fly so I "drove" my S−Ray around the yard and in the street in front of my house. The noise from the OS .20 engine and the RF interference on television VHF channel 5 annoyed the neighbors at times. My transmitter was at 27.195 MHz, and the harmonics fell squarely into the RF and audio bands. My best friend back in the day had one of the Smog Hogs referred to in the article. In 1957, radio systems only approximated proportional control, so smooth maneuvers were not easy to do. Receiver tuning was necessary between flights for a lot of systems, and interference from other users in or near the 27 MHz band was a constant threat to models...

Liberty Lifter X-Plane

Liberty Lifter X-Plane - Airplanes and Rockets"Aurora Flight Sciences said it is progressing through Phase 1B of the project, a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program to design, build, float, and fly the aircraft. To meet heavy-air-lift capability from the sea the vehicle will operate efficiently in ground effect at high sea states and demonstrate affordability using low-cost manufacturing and unique design features. Virginia-headquartered Aurora Flight Sciences added that a major focus during Phase 1B is testing for risk reduction. ReconCraft, an Oregon-based shipyard, will build full-scale structural test articles, including a portion of the fuselage. The Aurora team also tested a scale model of the hull in the tow tank at Virginia Tech, which offers a unique capability to study the slamming of craft during landing. Upcoming testing includes flying sensors and software for wave detection and prediction, which will feed the X-plane's advanced control system for safely flying in ground effect over high sea states..."

Jets Hit the Deck for U. S. Navy

How New Jets Hit the Deck for U. S. Navy, June 1948 Popular Science - Airplanes and RocketsWorld War II had only been over three years when the U.S. Navy began jet fighter operations from aircraft carriers. Angled decks had not even entered service when the North American FJ-1 Fury jet fighters made the first takeoffs and landing on the straight−deck USS Boxer. The USS Forrestal, our first angled deck carrier, was commissioned in 1951. This story appeared in a 1948 issue of Popular Science magazine. Note the huge clock on deck which was photographed upon being triggered by the airplane hooking an arrestor line, so that a precise lending time would be recorded. The way the picture is taken, it looks like a perspective trick to make a small clock look much larger than it actually was. I like the fact that Lt. Comdr. Robert Elder took a wave−off on a first approach in order to give his skipper, Comdr. Evan (Pete) Aurand the honor of the first−ever jet aircraft landing at sea. Nowadays, computers routinely fly jet−powered drones off of and onto carrier decks...

View-Master: Tour Theatre Projector & Viewer (Repair & Refurbishment)

Supermodel Melanie, View-Master: Tour Theatre Projector & Viewer (Repair & Refurbishment) - Airplanes and RocketsHere is Melanie with her gaf View−Master "Tour Theatre" set that she had as a little girl. She took better care of her stuff than I did, so a lot of her toys and dolls are still around decades later. It came with a Standard 30−watt projector and a hand−held stereo viewer. Also included was a nice case and a few reel sets with various places around the world*. Being a Peanuts fan like me, she had a couple 3−reel sets: "Snoopy and the Red Baron," and Peanuts." We have a "Little Drummer Boy" and "Dennis the Menace" set, too. The others are long gone. I had just a hand−held viewer. See my space program reel sets. The hand−held View−Master viewer that created a 3D scene by using a pair of stereoscopic images fed individually to each eye. One of the Peanuts reels has a frame showing how those stereoscopic images were created using two cameras set up a distance apart so that each had a slightly different perspective on the subject, just as your eyes have. There are 14 frames in each reel, so using two frames per 3D scene, that makes 7 scenes per reel. Replacement 7-14-scene reel selector lever installed on mechanism. Home-brew 7-14-scene reel selector lever. 6-32 bolt is soldered to steel lever, and then the head ground down to provide needed clearance. 7-14-scene reel selector mechanism. Side view of projector reel advance mechanism. Westinghouse RVR115, 120V, 30W light bulb for View−Master Standard projector. The projector, on the other hand, cannot create a 3D image on the screen (or wall). Therefore, a standard 3D reel only has 7 unique scenes on it. Special reels were sold for the projector that had 14 unique scenes on it. As such, the projector designers provided a lever to be positioned for either a 7-scene or a 14-scene reel. We discovered that the lever was missing...

Russia Avangard Hypersonic Glide Vehicle

Russia Avangard Hypersonic Glide Vehicle - RF CafeA lot has been in the news recently about Russia's new hypersonic glide vehicle capable of delivering nuclear (and conventional) warheads across the globe at over than Mach 20 (14,822 mph) in the atmosphere. That's 4.1 miles per second. From a 150 mile high apogee, that's less than 40 seconds from space to target. Not even a high power laser can stop that. The great circle path from Siberia to San Francisco is 5,900 miles, for a flight time of less than a minute after launch phase. Moscow to D.C., (4,900 miles) takes a little less time. Here is a recent interview with Putin on Russia's state of the union regarding social, economic, and military issues - including hypersonic weapons. Oh, and they're not fixing their low birth rate by importing felons, psycho patients and cannibals from the third World. Interestingly, he addresses the rampant embezzlement schemes that U.S. defense contractors and their management perpetrate. Sure, a lot is propaganda, but so is what comes out of Washington.

First German Helicopter Championships

First German Helicopter Championships, March 1969 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets$25 R/C helicopters are available from Amazon that climb and turn on demand (kinda). For under $60 you get a fully controllable model with counter-rotating rotors that anyone can fly like a pro in after an hour or two of practice. Double that amount and a 3-D-capable, ready-to-fly helicopter is available to you, complete with a spread spectrum radio, gyro stabilization, a brushless motor, and Li-Poly batteries... with a computerized charger. Engineers have labored endlessly to bring this state of the art technology to all corners of the world. It was not that way all so long ago. To wit, take a look at this article from the March 1969 edition of American Aircraft Modeler magazine, that reported on Germany's first ever R/C helicopter competition that was held in the fall of 1968. There were no kits (let alone RFTs), no special heli engines, no gyroscopes, no carbon fiber blades, to "how-to" manuals, not even any reserved frequencies for the newly arrived proportional radio control systems. All helicopters there were designed and built from scratch, and no two looked alike; large number or unique color schemes were not necessary to keep track of a cookie-cutter production craft...

How to Make Scale-Model Planes for Government Use

How to Make Scale-Model Planes for Government Use, May 1942 Popular Science - Airplanes and RocketsWith the entry of the United States into World War II came the need for service members to be trained on many new technologies - among them being airplanes and the ability to identify them quickly. Electronics technicians and airframe and powerplant mechanics were in need, of course, but everyone had to be able to tell friend from foe when airplanes were approaching. In order to assist the war effort, a call went out to civilians to begin producing thousands of models at a 1:72 scale so that at 35 feet away they appeared in size to be that of a full-scale version at about half a mile. Detailed paint jobs were not required - only that the profile from all angles look exactly like the real thing. In fact, the models were painted flat black so as to look like a distant airplane against the background sky. Both Allied and Axis airplane models were needed so that soldiers and sailors could quickly spot a potential danger and decide whether to take cover and prepare to fight, or to continue with business as usual. This article appeared in the May 1942 edition of Popular Science, meaning that it was probably written sometime around February, only a few months after the Japanese attacked our naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941...

A Day in the Life of a Hobby Dealer

A Day in the Life of a Hobby Dealer (November 1962 American Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsIt's a good bet that many modelers, myself included, have dreamed about owning a hobby shop. How nice it would be to spend our days amongst walls, shelves, and display cases filled with every type of modeling kit and accessory. Melanie and I actually looked into buying one when we lived in Colorado Springs in the early 1990s. It's a good thing we didn't in retrospect, given the way the local hobby shop (LHS) has suffered tremendously since Internet-based purchases have become so popular - especially being tax-free in most areas. There are still big hobby shops left, but they are few and far between. I'm as guilty as the next guy for not doing more to support my LHS, but usually it's for convenience sake more so than price and not paying sales tax. This article from the November 1962 edition of American Modeler magazine, a time when local hobby shops were still the rule rather than the exception, is a humorous "day in the life of a hobby dealer." You can just imagine how plausible the scenario might be...

Planes Race Past Speed of Sound

Planes Race Past Sound; Bump in Floor Shows How, June 1948 Popular Science - Airplanes and RocketsChuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in his Bell X−1 (aka Glamorous Glennis) airplane on October 14, 1947, over the Mojave Desert. Control reversal in the transonic realm (transitioning from subsonic to supersonic speeds) is a phenomenon caused, per most authoritative sources, from the pressure wavefront around the aircraft transitioning from entirely in front of the airplane to some point aft of any leading portion of the airframe. That includes the fuselage nose, and wings and empennage leading edges. Airflow can transition from laminar to turbulent at various distances, thereby altering the aerodynamic forces on the fixed and moving portions of the surfaces. Control reversal can also occur due to control surface deflection causing a twist in the fixed surface which opposes the input intention. Britain's Spitfire exhibited such behavior in high speed dives, and even the human-powered Gossamer Condor reportedly had control reversal due to a flimsy airframe structure to the extent that the solution was to reverse the direction of aileron deflection in order to obtain a proper response. Supersonic airframes are rigid enough to mitigate the flexure problem...

Most Airplane Accidents Happen During Landing

Most Airplane Accidents Happen During Landing - Airplanes and Rockets"Statista's Martin Armstrong reports that data from the airline umbrella organization IATA shows that 53% of all aviation accidents that occurred between 2005 and 2023 happened during the landing process. Landing is a complex process during which pilots have to keep a particularly close eye on instruments, radio traffic and environmental influences. Accidents during takeoff are in second place, although they only account for 8.5% of accidents. This is followed by accidents during the landing approach, during the initial climb or during the cruise flight. The data relates to flights operated by IATA members, which together account for around 94% of all international flights. Despite the increasing volume of headlines, aviation has, overall, become increasingly safer in recent decades. In 2022, for example, only 43 accidents occurred out of 27.7 million flights, resulting in the deaths of 158 people. Most air accidents take place in Africa, South America and the Middle East. After North Asia and North America, Europe is one of the safest regions with the fewest accidents..."

My Red Ryder BB Gun

My Red Ryder BB Gun (as seen in A Christmas Story) - Airplanes and RocketsA Christmas Story has long been one of my favorite Christmas movies. A Charlie Brown Christmas is my favorite animated movie, and It's a Wonderful Life gets the #1 spot for a film, but this runs a very close second. It first aired around Christmas of 1983, so I was 25 at the time - a bit old for Christmas movies you might say... but you'd be wrong. Every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Melanie and I watch those three movies, plus Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and A Christmas Carol (the original with Alastair Sim). A Christmas Story was adopted from a story that Jean Shepherd read on his radio show on WOR, in New York, on December 25, 1972. A friend of mine who lived there at the time happened to record the original broadcast on his reel-to-reel tape deck, and a couple years ago he sent me a copy on CD. The movie, of course, expounds on the story, but in this case it adds a lot. Jean Shepard narrates in the background of the movie as Ralphie remembering his childhood...

Thermal-G R/C Club Fly-In, Summer 2010

Thermal-G R/C Club Fly-In, Summer 2010 - Airplanes and RocketsThe Thermal-G R/C Club held its annual summer fly-in on August 15, 2010, at the Erie Tech Center. The day was sunny (a little too warm for me) and quite windy. Because of the wind, most models were grounded, but a few brave souls did some flying, including quite a bit of 3-D stuff. I always get nervous seeing that stuff done so close to the pit area - especially in high wind - but at least up to the point that Melanie and I left, there had been no incidents. Also present were members of the Bean Hill Flyers control line club. Here are a few pictures I took of the flight line...

Airframe & Powerplant (A&P) Mechanic Sample Test

Airframe & Powerplant (A&P) Mechanic Sample Test, March 1967 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsThis "Test Your Knowledge" feature appeared in the March 1967 issue of American Modeler magazine, immediately following the "Wanted: A & P Mechanics - Part II" article (I do not yet have Part I). Way back in my younger day during the time I was taking flying lessons and thought a career in flying was the only reasonable path for me, I planned to earn a Airframe & Powerplant (A&P) license. Destiny had other plans, since when I signed up for the Delayed Enlistment program with the U.S. Air Force, no aircraft engine mechanic positions were open, and I ended up in electronics, working on air traffic control radar maintenance (fixing and aligning, not as an air traffic controller). As you can see from the test, a masterful grasp on the theory of engine operation and maintenance was (and still is) required. Back in those days, only the most qualified people were selected to do the job - lives and fortunes depended on it. Today, one of the biggest advantages you can have for getting an aircraft mechanic job is not being a white male of European descent...

Pouring and Covering with Microfilm

Pouring and Covering with Microfilm, February 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsEven though I have never attempted to build a model covered with microfilm, it is easy to appreciate what a delicate task properly preparing the solution, covering the frame, and handling the delicate airframe is, along with the precision handling required to obtain the correct film thickness and coverage. There have probably been improvements in microfilm solutions and airframe materials and gluing techniques, but ultimately you need to form the film on the wing, tail, and propeller surfaces. This 1971 American Aircraft Modeler magazine article should still be useful for contemporary indoor flyers...

"NASA Spinoff" Technology Transfer Program

NASA Technology Transfer Program - RF CafeEver since the manned space exploration programs began at NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), controversy over both the financial costs and the cost in lost opportunity for other government funded programs has existed. Many people, myself included, have always championed the efforts and believe the axiom of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts applies to the efforts. Opponents say resources would be better spent here on Earth. In fact, we have always done both. To address the issue, NASA Spinoff was created to publicize the byproducts of the space program that benefit other areas of research, manufacturing, and society. Since at least the 1970s, NASA has published a monthly magazine entitled NASA Tech Briefs to inform the public on their activities, inviting readers to submit ideas and to request information on how to apply NASA research to commercial applications. I have been a regular reader since around 1980...

Lucile M. Wright Air Museum and Planetarium

Lucile M. Wright Air Museum and Planetarium, Jamestown, New York - Airplanes and RocketsJust before Christmas 2015, Melanie and I made a trip to Jamestown, New York, and visited Lucile M. Wright Air Museum (no relation to Wilbur and Orville). Is it located in downtown Jamestown at 300 North Main Street. There are plenty of areas with unmetered parking, so save yourself a couple quarters by driving a block or two to find it. Admission is free. "Lucile Miller Wright was a pioneer aviatrix. She was born in Beatrice, Nebraska and grew up in Billings, Montana. She discovered her love of flying as a young woman. In 1922 she went on her first flight with General Billy Mitchell, who was a personal friend of her father, Henry A. Miller. Mrs. Wright continually battled discrimination in pursuit of her passion...Throughout her career, Mrs. Wright logged 8,000 hours of flying time in the seven planes she owned and 5,000,000 miles in commercial aircraft. During World War II, she was the only woman courier plot in Western New York under the Civil Air Patrol Program..."

Rockets Carry the Mail

Rockets Carry the Mail, June 1948 Popular Science - Airplanes and RocketsIs that Vern Estes in that foxhole preparing to push the launch button? Probably not, but the materials and methods used here in this 1948 issue of Popular Science magazine by amateur rocketeers are a big part of the motivation Mr. Estes had for starting his eponymously named model rocket company in 1958. To wit: "Rocket is driven by 35 pounds of micro grain powder, mostly zinc dust and sulphur, which burns out in four seconds. It climbs to 4,000 feet and reaches speed of more than 400 m.p.h." Handling the explosive and sometimes unstable chemicals required for the rocket engines was extremely dangerous, and resulted in many instances of loss of fingers and eyes, severe burns, and even death. The safety record of Estes engines is borne out by more than sixty years of continuous production. If they were not nearly perfectly safe, lawyers would have put Estes out of business long ago. Even Olympic level stupid has not produced an event capable that anything other than the user's idiocy was responsible for an engine-related accident.

Dancer 1/2A Control Line Model Article & Plans

Dancer 1/2A Control Line Model Article & Plans, February 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsWebsite visitor Alan M. wrote to request that I scan this Dancer article from the February 1971 edition of American Aircraft Modeler magazine. The Dancer is a beginner's level control line trainer model for 1/2A power that is one of the many "For the Tenderfoot" series. Construction is all simple sheet balsa. Even back in the early 1970s millions of Cox .049 engines had already been produced, so they were readily available at a low price. The Dancer was designed and built by AMA Junior level modeler Dennis Haimerl. A unique feature of the Dancer is use of a leading edge slot to enhance lift and stall characteristics of the flat airfoil of the wing. Such devices are used on STOL (short take-off and landing) airplanes...

Norwegian Wind Energy Kitemill

Norwegian Wind Energy Kitemill - Airplanes and Rockets"Norwegian Wind Energy developer Kitemill has secured more than €2m of funding from Dutch investment entity Expanding Dreams. KiteMill secures E2m for wind energy 'Together with smaller investors and a tax relief grant, the combined package will cover the majority of planned activity for 2024,' according to the company. The company's technology generates power using a tethered glider, which initially launches itself using a small motor-driven propeller. When aloft, the glider pulls against its tether, unwinding it from a drum, whose rotation generates electrical power. Once at its furthest extent, the glider drops towards the drum, allowing the tether to be re-wound with little effort, after which the pull-rewind cycle repeats until the wind stops. Flying certain patterns allows the aircraft to maximize the energy generated during pulling, and the system spends 90% of its time generating power and 10% rewinding the tether, according to the company. 'With this influx of resources, we aim to expedite the development of our current model, KM1, and the forthcoming KM2. These models represent significant advancements in harnessing high-altitude wind..."

Wild Bill Netzeband's Control Line Capers

Wild Bill Netzeband's Control Line Capers (January/February 1963 American Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsJust as originally intended, a lot of people have contacted me after seeing themselves, a friend, or a family member mentioned in one of these articles published in vintage American Modeler and American Aircraft Modeler magazines. Often, it came as the result of reporting on a modeling event, like the "Mid-America Stunt Championships" covered here in "Wild Bill Netzeband's Control Line Capers" column in the January / February 1963 issue of American Modeler magazine. Do a site-wide search of Airplanes and Rockets to see if your name appears somewhere. Also in the article is a report of Veco's new 35C and also on a game-changing monoline control handle for C/L racing. A comical "Things You Wouldn't Know" section is included to provide the "real" meaning of words used by modelers. Did you know that Bob Violett and Cliff Telford of R/C racing fame did C/L racing as well?

Whizzing on Fizz:- CO2−Powered Cars

Whizzing on Fizz: CO2-Powered Cars, February 1947 Popular Science - Airplanes and RocketsI don't know what aircraft engineers do during their lunch hour these days, but back in 1947 when this article appeared in Popular Science magazine, some of them raced CO2-powered model cars. They're a sort of Cub Scout Pinewood Derby cars on steroids. Split into light and heavy classes (7/8 ounce to 4-1/4 ounces), these aerodynamically shaped crates were carved from balsa blocks and rolled on metal or rubber wheels along a 240-foot string. It was the dawn of the jet age, so building competitive jet-powered models was a natural extension of the work many of them did as avocation / profession. I'm guessing there is more than one Ph.D. in that crowd, but there's a good chance the guy with the fastest car was a technician. BTW, although the venue at first glance appears to be a row of cubicles with their occupants leaning over the walls, cubicles were not a "thing" back in the day. Engineers and draftsmen at large firms typically sat in huge, open rooms filled with drafting tables and test equipment...

5th Annual R/C Soaring NATS

Fifth Annual R/C Soaring NATS (October 1974 American Aircraft Modeler) - Airplanes and RocketsIn 1974, I was flying some of my first R/C gliders - probably a Mark's Models Windward or maybe the Windfree (in that order). During that time, I tried hard to locate a group of sailplane flyers in my area around Mayo, Maryland, but to no avail. The nearest R/C flying field was about 30 miles away in Upper Marlboro, MD, where the PGRC club field used to be. My family's car was held together with chewing gum and bailing wire, so it wasn't often that I could talk my father into driving me out there, and the few times that he gave in to my whining, there were never any gliders present. When I would see articles like this one on the Fifth Annual R/C Soaring Nats in the October 1974 issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine, my envy level would increase significantly both from the standpoint of way-cool models and R/C equipment (I had second-hand junk, purchased with newspaper route money), but also because of the people lucky enough to have access to such venues...

Ingenuity Blade Strike Ends Mars Mission

Ingenuity Blade Strike Ends Mars Mission - Airplanes and Rockets"The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter made its 72nd and final flight on 18 January. 'While the helicopter remains upright and in communication with ground controllers,' NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab said in a press release this afternoon, 'imagery of its Jan. 18 flight sent to Earth this week indicates one or more of its rotor blades sustained damage during landing, and it is no longer capable of flight.' That's what you're seeing in the picture above: the shadow of a broken tip of one of the helicopter's four two-foot long carbon fiber rotor blades. NASA is assuming that at least one blade struck the Martian surface during a 'rough landing,' and this is not the kind of damage that will allow the helicopter to get back into the air. Ingenuity's mission is over. NASA held a press conference earlier this evening to give as much information as they can about exactly what happened to Ingenuity, and what comes next. First, here's a summary from the press release: Ingenuity's team planned for the helicopter to make a short vertical flight..."

Ducted Fan Saab Draken 210 Free Flight Plane

Ducted Fan Saab Draken 210 Free Flight Scale Plane, Model Annual 1956 Air Trails - Airplanes and RocketsS.C. Smith's cover drawing for this 1956 issue of Air Trails magazine is an enhanced version of Wayne Schindler's ducted fan Saab Draken 210 free flight [semi] scale model airplane. Back in the day, there were no commercially available ducted fan units, so they needed to be designed and fabricated by the builder of the model. The computer optimized ducted fan units we have today are matched to the powerplant, which much more often that not is a brushless motor. I don't know if anyone makes a ducted fan for glow fuel engines anymore. This Saab Draken 210 used a Cox .049 Thermal Hopper glow engine, which was capable of turning 10,000 rpm. 1956 is the year Cox introduced the Babe Bee .049 was introduced, but might not have been available at the time. It could do 13,500 rpm on 15% nitro fuel, so could have added significant thrust to the ducted fan unit. The six-blade, three-inch diameter fan was not enclosed in a tightly fitting duct like modern fans are. This new 50 mm diameter (~2") electric ducted fan (EDF) puts out 770 g (1.6 lb.) of thrust on a 3-cell LiPo battery...

International Miniature Racing

International Miniature Racing, August 1962 American Modeler Magazine - Airplanes and RocketsAh, the simpler times when enjoyment, competition, and industry could be found on a slot car race track in a musty basement. Pre-fab models were rare in the day, and those that could be bought couldn't hold a candle to those hand crafted by young men like the ones in these photos. It was not a pastime only for the younger set, though. Older guys with metal lathes and fine crafting tools created museum quality masterpieces. This "International Miniature Racing" article from the August 1962 issue of American Modeler magazine reports on worldwide interest in slot car racing. I'm always amazed at how many men and boys wore sport coats and ties while participating not just in formal events, but even during everyday activities...

Missy DARA QM Article & Plans

Missy DARA QM Article & Plans, April 1974 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsAirplanes and Rockets visitor Dave J. wrote to ask that I post this article on the Missy DARA (Dayton Air Racing Association ) quarter midget racer that appeared in the April 1974 edition of American Aircraft Modeler magazine. It is a scale knockoff of the full-scale Miss Dara Formula racer. I offer to do this for people at no charge as time permits. Also, I usually post a scan of the plans, but if you are going to build the model, I highly recommend buying a set from the AMA Plans Service if they are still available. Missy Dara plans do not appear to be available at this time. The AMA will scale the plans to any size you need, so you're not locked into the original wingspan. House of Balsa manufactured a Miss Dara kit back in the 1980s...

Low-Drag Rocket Design

Low-Drag Rocket Design, May 1968 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsG. Harry Stine was (and in some places still is) a household word (ok, a letter and two words) amongst people who engage in model rocketry. As a degreed physicist, he spent his professional years working in both civilian and government aerospace projects. In his spare time, Mr. Stine contributed mightily to the science, industry, and sport of model rocketry. His monthly columns in American Aircraft Modeler magazine were read and appreciated by enthusiasts hungry for a regular helping of the technical side of the craft, served in layman's terms. A typical article written by him reports on some happenings in the trade show and contest realms, while including a lesson in model rocket design and flight...

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Carpe Diem! (Seize the Day!)

Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which all began in Mayo, MD ...

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