"It's amazing how many iconic and forgotten radio telescopes pop-up in movies, TV shows, and documentaries. The human eye was our first space image detector. On a beautifully clear night at the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve in New Zealand with the Milky Way displayed above us, we can see about 5,000 stars. But to really see - that is, to detect and communicate into space - a radio telescope is needed. Such devices can receive radio waves from astronomical sources in the sky and are the main observing instrument used in radio astronomy. Whereas optical telescopes study the light wave portion of the spectrum, radio telescopes focus on the radio frequency portion of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum emitted by almost all astronomical objects..."
"Come away with me, Lucille, In my merry Oldsmobile. Down the road of life we fly, Automo-bubbling, you and I. To the church we'll swiftly steal, Then our wedding bells will peal, You can go as far as you like with me In my merry Oldsmobile." "In My Merry Oldsmobile" was first produced in 1905" with music by Gus Edwards and lyrics by Vincent P. Bryan. That was prior to Henry Ford's Model T hitting the showroom floors. Contrary to popular belief, the Model T (introduced in 1908) was not the first car built in America; it was the first high volume production line car to be produced using an assembly line - Ford's famed innovation. Ransom Olds sold his first car in 1900, as presented in this 1954 issue of Air Trails magazine. The Wikipedia entry for Oldsmobile claims their 1902 model was the first mass-produced auto in the country...
"Tiny aircraft that weigh as much as a fruit fly could serve as Martian atmospheric probes. Despite weighing about a third of a milligram, nanocardboard flyers have the ability to lift payloads. In this artist's conception, fleets of flyers could be launched from ground-based rovers and steered with lasers to collect samples. Planets and moons with thin atmospheres and low gravities would enhance these flyers' ability to levitate by shooting air through their corrugated channels. A study demonstrated nanocardboard's flying and payload-carrying abilities in an environment similar to that of Mars..."
The middle of the last century was a time ripe with opportunities for people with a penchant for innovation, experimentation, designing, and building high technology products. Aviation, aerospace, land and sea transportation, medicine, manufacturing, chemistry, physics, astronomy, communications, electronics, mechanics, nuclear technology, remote exploration of space and the sea, and many other realms were pushing forward the frontiers of knowledge (or pushing back the frontiers of ignorance, depending on your viewpoint) at an incredible rate. Both trade and hobby magazines often featured articles encouraging participation as technicians and engineers in a field related to hobby interests (Ham radio, model airplanes, boats, and cars, etc.). Air Trails magazine ran many such pieces, including this 1954 example...
"Walmart signs trio of drone deals as it races to play catch-up with Amazon. Brent Morgan is one of many Americans who have had a Walmart package dropped off at his home during the coronavirus pandemic. Yet his delivery did not fit the typical mold. A drone flew overhead and dropped a bag in his front lawn. Inside, there was an at-home Covid-19 test kit. The aerial delivery in Morgan's Las Vegas neighborhood is part of a new effort by Walmart to understand how drones could expand its on-demand deliveries and help it better compete with Amazon. Over the past month, Walmart has announced three deals with drone operators to test different uses for the drones. It's teamed up with Flytrex to deliver groceries and household essentials in Fayetteville, North Carolina..."
The October 2020 issue of Astronomy magazine has a great article celebrating the 60 year anniversary of Celestron. Did you know that at one time Celestron made 16"and 22" telescopes? Author Michael Bakich covers the entire history beginning in 1955 when Tom Johnson designed and built his first telescopes as part of his Valor Electronics company in Gardena, California. Models were sold for amateur and professional observers. It was the famous orange 8" Celestron that really launched Celestron to fame in 1970, with a price tag under $1,000. The company went through many owners and management change-outs, while for the most part successfully enduring market downturns and emerging today as a very profitable and successful telescope maker. The story is a good read.
It has been a long time since Microsoft released a new version of Flight Simulator. According to a review done by IEEE Spectrum writer Mark Pesce in an article entitled "Microsoft's Flight Simulator 2020 Blurs the Line Between Tools and Toys," "With real-time air-traffic and weather data, you'll forget you're at your desk. My nephew recently sent me an email about our latest shared obsession: Microsoft's Flight Simulator 2020. 'Flying a Cessna 152 in this game feels exactly like flying one in real life,' he wrote. And he should know. Growing up next to a small regional airport, he saw private aircraft flying over his home every day, and he learned to fly as soon as his feet were long enough to reach the rudder pedals. While he relaxes with the game, my experiences with it have been more stressful..."
Mr. Peter M. wrote a couple weeks ago requesting a high resolution version of this 4−view line drawing of the De Havilland DH60G Gipsy Moth in order to assist his in creating a 3D computer model of it on the 3D Warehouse website. It appeared in the May 1969 issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine. As you can see from the screen capture above, he did an amazing job! Click on the image to view the live 3D model that can be rotated and zoomed. Peter's model replicates the airplane flown by Amy Johnson on her historic 11,000-mile solo flight in 1930 from solo from London England to Darwin Australia. Many thanks to Peter for making this available...
Model railroading is probably as big a deal or even bigger today than it was when this "Basement Railroad" article appeared in a 1954 issue of Air Trails Hobbies for Young Men magazine. The level of engineering and artistry exhibited by model railroaders is utterly amazing. The same can be said for most forms of modeling, but the layouts created by model railroad enthusiasts trumps what you typically see for model car, model boat, or model airplane displays. As shown here, there are elaborate railroad layouts hidden away in basements, garages, and back rooms all over the world. Pitifully, the decades-long work of some modelers is lost when he passes on, and the parts are sold off in estates sales or auctions. It pains me to think of the creations that have ended up in a landfill because the inheritor did not appreciate the value of the work and equipment. Of course that happens much less frequently these days with the availability of Etsy and eBay. In fact, some pretty amazing prices are paid for vintage trains...
"According to Unmanned Systems Technology, 5G will enable three prominent drone technologies. It has been shown that flying drones on cellular networks, particularly 5G networks, is a viable option for delivering low-latency and high-performing drone applications such as emergency supply delivery, search and rescue missions and equipment and infrastructure inspection. According to Unmanned Systems Technology, 5G cellular data will enable three prominent drone technologies: Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM), Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flights and Sensor Data Transmission (SDTX). UTM will deliver a globally standardized technology, allowing 5G networks to be integrated with these traffic management systems to enhance the safety and security of commercial drone operations..."
"Rolls-Royce has announced on its blog that the company has completed testing of the technology it plans to use in its line of electrically powered planes - one of which they expect will break speed records for electric airplanes. The new plane will be one of the core products of the company's ACCEL initiative, whose main objective will be to produce zero-emission planes and engines for other plane makers, and to be net-zero by 2050. Rolls-Royce has also created a video showing parts of the ground testing, which has been posted on YouTube. The testing was done with a plane segment featuring a full-scale model of the front of the fuselage of the ionBird plane. It was fitted with a 500-horsepower electric engine backed up with 6,000 cells..."
1968 was the beginning of the 3-man crew Apollo era with the first manned space flight of the series, Apollo 7, launching in October of that year. Model rocketry was all the rage. Per this article from a 1968 issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine, the average age of an American model rocketeer was about 13.6 years. I was 10 years old at the time and had by that time been building and flying model rockets for a year or two. Being a fan of both airplanes and rockets - hence this website's name - I liked the rocket boost gliders. The Estes Falcon, Nighthawk, and Space Plane models were available at the time. The Falcon was the simplest with a pylon-mounted engine that ejected with the ejection charge. The Nighthawk was more akin to the Polish boost-Glider in this article, where the power pod separates from the airplane and comes down via streamer while the airplane glides back to earth...
The National Association of Rocketry (NAR) has been around since 1957. At one time, the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) was pretty tightly joined with them in covering model rocketry events and promoting model rocketry. In fact, for while there was space allotted in American Aircraft Modeler, AMA's monthly magazine, for model rocketry. From February 1968 through August 1969 there was a newsletter feature entitled "Model Rocketeer" in addition to a separate article, often written by G. Harry Stine. A complete list of all editions is provided. The NAR and AMA still work together. For example, the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) delegates authority for aeromodeling and spacemodeling to the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), who has in turn delegated Spacemodeling (model rocketry) to the NAR...
The 2020 ARRL Online Auction will be held October 15th-22nd. The preview began October 8th. "Don't miss this opportunity to get in on the fun and bid on a variety of items at the 15th annual ARRL Online Auction to benefit ARRL educational programs. We suggest you read through the 'Help' section, listing bidding tips as well as the link to our Help Desk should you need assistance. All bidders must register (your arrl.org user ID and password will not work on the auction site). If you have registered for a previous ARRL Online Auction, you may use the same log-in information..."
Here is the full set of building instructions for the beautiful 1970s era Airtronics Aquila sailplane. A fairly compressive building description was published in the May 1975 issue of R/C Modeler magazine when the Aquila first appeared, but these are much more extensive. Aquila kits have not been manufactured for many years, and some of the ones that appear on eBay are missing the instruction booklet, so now you can access a copy of the original in its entirety. Photos of the kit parts and plans can be seen on my main Airtronics Aquila page. You can also see the 105% Aquila I built from enlarged plans.
"Aircraft play an essential role in how we study and understand Earth's surface, climate, and atmosphere. Now, a new commercial unmanned aircraft system (UAS) aims to bring about a powerful way to observe our planet for days or weeks on end. With the help of NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley, Swift Engineering of San Clemente, California, completed a two-hour flight test of their Swift High-Altitude Long-Endurance (HALE) UAS. The applications of the technology - for science, agriculture, and disaster response - could have a real impact on our everyday lives. Swift's 72-foot solar-powered HALE weighs less than 180 pounds, flies 10- to 15-pound payloads at a time..."
Back in the days when the cycle time between writing articles, proofing, laying out pages, shipping hard copies to printers, setting up presses, and preparing magazine for mailing was about a three or four month process, coverage of a July-August event would finally appear in November-December timeframe. Photos, of course, were all in black and white. Nowadays, with everything done digitally and involving almost no physical, hands-on steps in the process, we often see Nats event happenings as early as September. The November 1974 issue of American Aircraft Modeler magazine included extensive coverage of that year's Nats, which was held in Lake Charles, Louisiana. This is the control line stunt portion. If you were around during the era...
"This week, a 13-year experiment in harnessing wind power using kites and modified gliders finally closes down for good. But the technology behind it is open-sourced and is being passed on to others in the field. As of 10 September, the airborne wind energy (AWE) company Makani Technologies has officially announced its closure. A key investor, the energy company Shell, also released a statement to the press indicating that 'given the current economic environment' it would not be developing any of Makani's intellectual property either. Meanwhile, Makani's parent company, X, Alphabet's moonshot factory, has made a non-assertion pledge on Makani's patent portfolio. That means anyone who wants to use Makani patents, designs, software..."
"This summer, a team of researchers, engineers and a drone pilot of TU Delft traveled to an airbase in Germany for the first real test flight of the scaled flight model of the energy-efficient aircraft design called the Flying-V. The project was announced last year together with KLM. After a period of extensive wind tunnel testing and a series of ground tests in the Netherlands, it was time to perform the first flight and obtain an impression of the flight characteristics. The aircraft had a very successful maiden flight. Project leader Dr. Roelof Vos and his team of researchers and engineers took the 22.5 kg and 3-m-wide scale model of the Flying-V for flight tests to a well-guarded airbase in Germany, where they could work together with a team from Airbus. The pilot's task was to take off, fly a number of test maneuvers and approaches until the batteries were nearly empty, and land..."
If you became involved with the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) and its annual Nationals Aeromodeling Championships (Nats) contest anytime after 1995, then you never were part of the crowd that chased the venues around the country from year to year. Although AMA headquarters had been located in Washington, D.C., and then Reston, Virginia, prior to then the Nats organizers attempted to hold the contest in East Coast, Midwest, and West Coast areas. Doing so helped to spread out the hassle involved in packing up models and equipment and traveling all the way across the country every year. The current Muncie, Indiana, location was chosen specifically to provide a centralized spot with easy access, relatively decent weather, and with real estate cheap enough to procure a very large parcel of land. The 1974 Nats was held in Lake Charles, Louisiana...
AMA's Model Aviation magazine editor Jay Smith announced in the October 2020 issue that all plans offered by the AMA Plans Service are being discounted by 20% through the end of October. Building activity has evidently picked up this year, possibly due to so many people being cooped up inside due to the Wuhan Virus epidemic (aka COVID−19, which originated in China). Prices have been going up on new kits, probably due to the shocking cost of balsa price increases lately. Aircraft plywood and spruce has followed suit, although not by quite as much. If you have plans (pun intended) to build a model airplane in the near or far future, now is the time to stock up on supplies. I have been running a banner ad (no charge) for the AMA Plans Service for a long time, so hopefully that has helped steer modelers to their website.
"Autonomous drones will be able to detect and avoid energized power lines following the development of a novel sensor at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. Researcher David Hull developed the approach using a configuration of field and 3D sensors, in conjunction with low-power processing methods. 'Power lines are small and difficult to see with radar or optical sensors, but they generate large fields that can be easily detected with low-power, low-cost, passive electric- and magnetic-field sensors,' Hull said in a statement. Existing wire-detection and wire-avoidance technologies that use radar and/or optical sensors have had commercial success, but they are expensive, bulky, and power-intensive with technical limitations. The detection algorithm developed at ARL is expected to result in size, weight, power and cost reduction..."
Ah, the days when glow fuel engines were the rule rather than the exception! Sure, they were mess, noisy, and could be finicky, but other than maybe an idling 8-cylinder with a high-lift cam, Edelbrock intake manifold, Holley 4-barrel carburetor, and a set of Hooker headers, there are few nicer sounds than a model aircraft engine as it comes to life. Sure, I know that modern brushless electric motors are highly reliable and extremely powerful, don't annoy the neighbors, and never leave a gooey mess that takes half a roll of paper towels to clean off your airplane (or helicopter), but those of you who grew up flying in the pre-electric-flight years know what I mean. I confess to having switched to electric back around 2005 - except for Cox .049 engines. McCoy "Red Head" engines were very popular back in the day, and command pretty good prices on eBay today when in good condition...
"Wire-connected drones are a powerful new tool for improving cellular phone and Internet networks. Fitted with cellular transceivers, tethered drones could quickly be deployed to replace inoperable base stations and restore mobile coverage. Tethered to tall buildings, they would offload data during peak hours and shift their position around the clock to cover varying traffic distribution throughout the day. In rural areas, high-flying TUAVs promise a more viable alternative to expensive, tall towers needed to provide coverage to large but sparsely populated regions..."
"Beginning in September, entities across the U.S. Department of Defense will be able to buy small, American-manufactured drones from five select companies, allowing users in the field to quickly and easily gain a bird's eye view of their environment. A spin-off of U.S. Army efforts to develop a rucksack-packable quadcopter with the Short Range Reconnaissance (SRR) program of record, the Defense Innovation Unit's Blue sUAS effort lets U.S. government customers purchase trusted small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) that can take off and land vertically. The new drones were developed to comply with Section 848..."
This excellent quality Sears "Discoverer" Model 4 6305A, 60 mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope is now for sale for only $300 + shipping. I am in the market for the larger, 90 mm version and need to sell this first. If you are interested, please send me an e-mail that includes your zip code so I can calculate the total cost. Payment can be made via PayPal. It will also be listed on eBay for $350 to cover their listing fees. As you can see in the photos on the webpage, everything has been thoroughly spiffied up and/or restored. I have never seen a finer example of this telescope.
On September 22, 1955, Londoners Sid Allen and George Redlich guided their 6-foot wingspan "Radio Queen" across the English Channel from the white cliffs of Dover to Calais, France, marking a first in the model aviation world - a mere 40 minutes in duration. It was approximately the same path that Louis Bleriot took in 1909 when he became the first to cross the English Channel in an aeroplane using his homebuilt XI Monoplane. As with many (maybe most) record-setting model aircraft flights - be they distance or duration - a diesel engine (ED 0.213 cu. in. Hunter Diesel) was used as the powerplant due to their reliability (no glow plug or spark plug to burn out or foul) and fuel economy. Takeoff weight was 7-1/2 pounds, with 1-1/2 pounds of it being accounted for by three pints of fuel. Guidance was provided by an ED Mk. 4 Miniature, 3-reed type, from the cockpit of a Auster Autocrat monoplane...
"Flapping wings instead of propellers help this bird-inspired drone hold its own against quadrotors. The vast majority of drones are rotary-wing systems (like quadrotors), and for good reason: They're cheap, they're easy, they scale up and down well, and we're getting quite good at controlling them, even in very challenging environments. For most applications, though, drones lose out to birds and their flapping wings in almost every way - flapping wings are very efficient, enable astonishing agility, and are much safer, able to make compliant contact with surfaces rather than shredding them like a rotor system does. But flapping wing have their challenges too: Making flapping-wing robots is so much more difficult than just duct taping spinning motors to a frame that, with a few exceptions, we haven't seen nearly as much improvement as we have in more conventional drones..."
"sUAS-Based Payload Development and Testing for Quantifying Optical Turbulence" "Within the highly dynamic and hostile modern-day battle space, the DoD is constantly facing threats from multiple domains. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), swarms of fast attack craft, anti-ship missiles and manned aircraft are quickly developing asymmetric options. These threats need to be tracked, engaged and destroyed in quick succession. However, not all threats can necessarily be paired with the same weapons system. The use of directed electro-optical energy has a long history in warfare dating back to the days of the Romans. According to legend, Archimedes used an array of mirrors to direct beams of sunlight on enemy ships to burn them down before they could invade Syracuse..."
February 1942 was just a couple months into the USA's official involvement in World War II. We had been informally assisting Europe against Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy, and China against Japan's Hirohito, a couple years prior to the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, upon which the U.S. declared war on Japan. Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S. a couple days later. We were suddenly in the game big time. Only because Hitler and the Soviet Union's Stalin couldn't agree on how to share rule of a conquered Earth were we spared warring against what would have been an overwhelmingly formidable force. Flying Aces magazine provided a lot of coverage of the USAAF's efforts during the war, in large part to motivate young men to fight for God and country...
"Virgin Galactic's ambitions to develop a Mach 3 passenger aircraft have advanced with a non-binding MOU with Rolls-Royce to collaborate on a propulsion system. The company, which includes advanced air and space vehicles manufacturer The Spaceship Company (TSC), has also announced the first stage design scope for the build of its high-speed aircraft. This follows completion of its Mission Concept Review (MCR) and authorization from the U.S. FAA Center for Emerging Concepts and Innovation to work with Virgin Galactic to outline a framework for certification. In a statement, George Whitesides, Chief Space Officer, Virgin Galactic said, 'We are excited to complete the Mission Concept Review and unveil this initial design concept of a high-speed aircraft..."
"Drone technology offers a powerful way for enterprises to conduct remote asset inspections during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. The demand for drones among enterprises is forecast to continue to grow over the next few years, with Gartner predicting that shipments of enterprise drones will reach 1.3 million by 2023. Telcos and MNOs are already leveraging drone technology to automate cell tower inspections, boost operational efficiency, and accelerate the rollout of 5G infrastructure. As connectivity improves and automation increases, we can expect to see drones at the edge, completing autonomous missions, and uploading data directly to the cloud, bringing substantial business benefit to telcos and other enterprises..."
General Electric (GE) produced a series of informational technical publications in comic book format back in the 1950s. One was entitled "Adventures in Jet Power," released in 1950, 1955, and 1960. GE has been a major producer of jet engines for commercial and military aircraft for many decades. After doing an extensive search for full versions of the comics, I finally found this 1950 issue posted on The Fabulous Fifties website. Other of the Adventure Series included "Adventures in Electricity," "Adventures into the Past," Adventures Inside the Atom," and "Adventures in Electronics." Here is a good list of all of the GE Adventure Series comics. Many of these comic books can be bought on eBay...
"Every aircraft wing and body has basically the same shape. 'That means they're suboptimal,' says MIT's Ben Jenett in our latest episode of Here's an Idea - a Tech Briefs interview series with leading aerospace researchers. From take-off to landing, an aircraft experiences a variety of conditions, and must frequently change angles to adjust to surroundings. What if a wing could adapt...on the fly...to turbulent winds or an oncoming airstream? Ben Jenett, a PhD student at MIT and a former space research fellow at NASA, is helping to develop a new kind of aircraft wing that's flexible and changes in-air..."
My best friend and fellow model airplane and rocket, Jerry Flynn, received an Berkeley models Astro−Hog kit along with a few others and some engines from an associate of his father. The guy's father had died and left behind a bunch of modeling stuff. At the time, neither Jerry nor I had built or flown a radio controlled model, having at the age of around 14 years old not had the money to buy equipment. Back in the early 1970's it was not like today where you could buy R/C models and equipment for very little money. Jerry went ahead and built the Astro−Hog over a timespan of about a year, and during that time he bought a second-hand Futaba 4-channel radio (27.095 MHz version). He did his typically very nice job of building and doping the airplane...
Dremel Model 381 Moto−Tool Kit & Instructions
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Skyroads Newspaper Comics Archive
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1971 FAI Pattern Championship Doylestown PA
Apollo 11 on Washington Monument
How it was done
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"The Air Force's announcement was quite the surprise - as it wasn't expected that the NGAD program was this far along, but rather was in the early-phase technology development stage. Last week, the Congressional Research Service released an In Focus report on the United States Air Force's Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program. The report was prepared following the announcement by Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, that the Air Force had flown a full-scale flight demonstrator as part of the program to develop a family of connected air warfare systems. The Air Force's announcement was quite the surprise - as it wasn't expected that the NGAD program was this far along, but rather was in the early-phase technology development stage. It wasn't expected that the project would yield actual hardware..."
"Advanced designs that will propel NASA's first all-electric X-plane, the X-57 Maxwell, to flight recently underwent wind tunnel testing at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. These tests, which took place in the Langley Low-Speed Aeroacoustic Wind Tunnel, were conducted to gather valuable operational and performance data for flight conditions, using two of the full-scale propeller assemblies seen above, provided by Empirical Systems Aerospace, or ESAero, of San Luis Obispo, California. NASA will install 12 of these electric high-lift motors and propellers into the final configuration of X-57, called Modification IV, or Mod IV. Positioned along the leading edge of X-57's cruise-efficient wing..."
"In smaller spacecraft such as CubeSat satellites, a salt-based monopropellant is showing promise. The propellant, called FAM-110A, is a mixture of two commercially available salts. It can be used in a combined chemical-electric thruster. A rocket engine using the propellant could be practical at almost any pressure level; however, it also leaves a significant amount of liquid residue after it burns. This is undesirable because it means that the combustion is incomplete. The formulation requires changes in order to improve efficiency of its combustion..."
"An intelligent parachute system deploys itself an emergency to bring the damaged drone safely to the ground. The system can be easily mounted to a drone at any time using a bayonet lock. Intelligent electronics monitor the flight condition, independent of flight control; an algorithm implements automatic crash detection. In an emergency, the pilot no longer has to react and press a release button. The system operates without explosive, pyrotechnical components. Drone Rescue Systems GmbH, awarded by the European Space Agency (ESNC-2016), developed the fastest and most efficient parachute safety solution for drones available on the market right now..."
"Autonomous aircraft systems have the potential to save lives, and NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center's Resilient Autonomy project is at the forefront of development. These advanced software systems are preventing air-to-ground collisions in piloted aircraft and the project is now focusing on developments to prevent aircraft from colliding with other aircraft in the air. The software can better manage the mission intent of the flight while always maneuvering within the acceptable performance limits of the aircraft, much like how a pilot manages a safe flight. Autonomous aircraft systems have the potential to save lives"