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Still Summer Air Creates Creepy Smoke Effects (7/9/1998)

Thursday night, July 9th, marked the first of MASA's irregularly scheduled Thursday night launches.  Summer evenings in Minnesota are known for still and warm air.   Finally, we were out at the launch field to take advantage of it.

Seventy three rockets were flown including many unusual flights.  Steve Fox launched a Fat Boy on an Apogee E6 which sent it hissing into the sky and down range quite a distance.  That seven second burn is something to see!  Damian Kostron's perfect flight with his Estes F-14 Tomcat resulted in a unheard of glide for about 20 seconds.  Amazingly, it boosted perfectly even after one wing opened on boost!   Our jubilation quickly turned to terror as the model suddenly stalled and spiraled in a steep dive to the ground.  Christopher Kvidera launched a AT Mustang successfully on an F12 as did a V2 by Damian Kostron.  Art Gibbens flew his kit bashed Mercury Redstone many times throughout the evening on rare motors such as the B8-5 without a cato or one bead of sweat.  Russ Durkee's 35mm camera rocket also took to the skies on an F62.

As the sun set, Alan Estenson launched a modified Estes Python on an E15-7.  That exhaust plume was incredibly brilliant as it climbed into the early evening sky.

As the night went on, smoke from the rocket exhaust hung around the launch pad in stratified layers.  It looked like something out of an old horror movie.  Carl Persson was on hand to document the event and the smoke with his video camera.  We are looking forward to more Thursday night launches in the future.
(Russ Durkee)

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