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Last updated: Nov 11, 2000
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April 2000 launch report (4/23/2000)

A beautiful day and a big crowd!

A huge group of people drove out to the sod farm in Blaine on Saturday, April 22 for MASA's first big launch of the year.  There was a lot of pent-up demand for flying rockets as both the February and March launches had been cancelled due to bad weather.  The beautiful, warm, sunny day contributed to a near-record number of launches.  At 178 flights, this was the third-largest launch day in MASA history.  (The April 1999 launch still holds the record at 217 flights.)  This total is even more impressive when you realize that it was accomplished in only about 4 and 1/2 hours!  (That's a flight every minute and a half!) A total of fourteen launch pads were set up using two launch controllers.  Even with the extra pads, for most of the day, an empty pad was a rare sight! 

A big thanks and hearty round of applause to everyone who volunteered their time:

  • Everybody who helped set up and tear down the range.
  • Mark Thell for hauling all the MASA launch gear.
  • Ted Cochran for bringing his launch controller and PA system.
  • LCO's: Dave Fergus, Mike Martens, Art Gibbens, Steve Hum, Glen Overby
  • RSO's: Mark Thell, Larry Schwartz, Ted Cochran, Lee Frisvold, Steve Hum, Kerry Hodges

Some Highlights:

To avoid a novel-length launch report, only a fraction of the flights are described here.

Ted Cochran launched his rmr design contest entry, the "Tower Ring Infernal" on an E15-4.  Unfortunately, a separation at ejection resulted in the rocket core-sampling the sod.  Steve Hum used a blacksky rail to launch his PML AMRAAM 2 on an F52.  This is the rocket that he showed us at the March meeting.  Later, Steve flew his Binder Design Aspire, also on a F52.  Joe Kimmes logged a first flight on a LOC Viper 3 by igniting three D12 motors.  There were several other cluster flights.  Kerry Hodges flew his "Gabriel" on a cluster of a D12 and two B6-0's.  Mark Thell flew a scratchbuilt rocket on three A8-3's.  Mike Martens flew his scratchbuilt "Sweet Von Braun" on two D12's.  Both Chuck Jerve and Joe Schneider demonstrated how to make a rocket disappear as they launched RocketVision Mach Busters on F72 motors.

The big, new Aerotech G-Force made several impressive G-powered flights as both Steve Robb and Mike Town launched their rockets.  Kerry Hodges flew his gorgeous 3X upscale of the Estes Yellow Jacket for a maiden flight on a G80. He lost a fin, however, when it pancaked-in without a parachute.  Kerry had better luck later when he successfully launched his 2X upscale Der Red Max on a F62.  Alan Estenson didn't share in the same luck when he launched his newly-rebuilt 2x upscale Der Big Red Max on an H180.  The rocket took a nice, muddy core sample.  Dave Fergus entered the realm of "mid power" by flying an Aerotech Warthog on a G35.  Mark Thell attempted to fly his LOC Forte for the first time on a G40.  However, while the rocket stayed firmly on the launch pad, the motor went zipping and spinning about the sky.  Remember folks, when you don't have an engine block, you need to wrap a masking tape thrust ring on single-use motors!

On the first of three certification attempts for the day, Glen Overby successfully flew his scratchbuilt Aerobee 150 on an H128 to gain his level 1 high power certification.  Congratulations, Glen!
For the second certification attempt, Damian Kostron flew a beefed-up NCR Patriot on an H128.  It deployed the chute right at apogee and resulted in a successful level 1 cert.  Congratulations, Damian!
The third certification attempt was Mike Town with a LOC EZI-65 (without payload section) on an H123.  Unfortunately, the ejection charge appeared to blow just after the rocket left the launch pad.  Mike reports minimal damage to the rocket, and a post-mortem on the motor didn't reveal an obvious reason for its failure.  Better luck next time, Mike!

The fifth H-powered launch of the day was Ted Cochran's LOC IV on an H180; it was a lovely flight.

Art Gibbens flew the "Toblerone" rocket that he showed us at the March meeting for the first time on a B8-5.  Rick Vatsaas put in a number of flights on both new and old rockets including a Rogue Deep Surface Probe on a C5-3, a Rogue Tsetse on a D12-5, an Estes Bullpup on a C5-3, an Astron Sprint (circa 1975) on a C6-7, a Custom Galileo on a 1/2A6-2, an Estes Big Daddy on a D12-3 and an Astron Avenger (25 years old) 2-stager on C6-0 to C6-7.  Lee and Mollie Frisvold had a number of excellent flights.  Unfortunately, Mollie's 2-stage Fat Boy went unstable off the launch rod and gave us a few tense moments.  Better luck on the next try, Mollie!  Brandon Green flew a nice example of the Launch Pad Hawk on a D12-5.  Jarryd Schmidt had the best named rocket of the day; he flew his "Soaring Skunk" on a C6-5.  Alan Estenson flew "Mimi" - the rocket with a siren whistle in the nose that he brought to the March meeting.  Unfortunately, a C6-5 wasn't enough to make it whistle.

Steve Golias reports that his son lost an Estes Liberty.  It was painted burgundy with blue eagle and navy decals.  If anyone happens to find it, they would appreciate getting it back.  Pam Jerve reports that Chuck lost her Quest Evader Cruise Missile.  It has a white body tube with USAF markings, orange fins, and a black nose cone.  Again, if anyone finds it, Pam would like to get it back.

The Details:

Full launch tally (in Adobe Acrobat PDF form)

The totals were:  178 flights, 195 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 4718 Ns with an average total impulse of 24.2 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 0





















(Alan Estenson)


Just as a matter of interest, I did a tally of launches by family units (or singles, as the case may be). The Schwartz family had the most flights at 13, with the Frisvolds in close 2nd with 12 (four 2-stagers included). The Fergus and Jerve families each had 11, and McKibbens and Gibbens had 10 each. The Schneider family had the most mid-power flights with two G's and four F's.

Another statistic is the 32 maiden flights recorded in the comments section.

It wasn't on the launch tally because it was not an electronically fired rocket and did not need a pad, but I gathered the kids around and demonstrated a vinegar and baking soda rocket that I got as a kit from the Edmond Scientific catalog. It usually lands a little lighter than it did on Saturday, because I had a little too much vinegar for the amount of soda and the number of turns on the rubber stopper wingnut, so it landed with a little ungassed fuel remaining in the bottle...

(David Fergus)


I just got back my prints & CD of stuff that includes last weekend's launch. I even took a few pictures of other people's rockets :-) But since this was ASA 200 film, they're lousy...

See your blurry rockets at:

The thumbnails are links to big images. I'll keep these around for a few weeks; save the ones you want.

(Glen Overby)

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