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Last updated: July 31, 2001
Site hosted courtesy of the
Minnesota Rocketry Network
Alan Estenson, Webmaster

July 2001 launch report (7/31/2001)

Rockets being launched; records being smashed.

On Saturday,  July 28, a huge crew of people came out to the sod farm in Blaine for the regularly-scheduled MASA launch.  It was a warm, calm day with a cloud ceiling that started out about 1,400 ft and didn't get much higher.  Setup began at 9 am, and launching progressed from 10am until 3pm.

Most impressive, a record-shattering 244 flights took to the skies in those 5 hours!  This handily smashed the previous record of 214 flights set back in April 1999.  At one point, 43 cars were parked along the road!  8 new members joined MASA during the launch bringing the 2001 total to 68 paid memberships.

A big thanks to:

  • Steve Robb, for hauling out all the gear (pretty soon, he's going to need a bigger truck!)
  • LCO volunteers:  Ted Cochran, Mark Thell, Ed Eastman, Steve Robb, Dave Fergus
  • RSO volunteers:  Alan Estenson, Walter Kjellander, Russ Durkee, Steve Robb
  • Everyone who came early and/or stayed late to help with the range equipment

The official contest for the day (held after many postponements) was 1/2A streamer duration.  Alan Estenson was the contest director.  A total of 15 people entered the contest in all 3 divisions.  The complete contest results are available as a PDF document.  Here are the winners in each division:

A division

  • 1st place to Ingrid Vatsaas with a 2 flight total of 43 seconds
  • 2nd place to Paul Newswanger with a 2 flight total of 34 seconds

B division

  • only 1 entrant, so it was combined with C division

C division

  • 1st place to Steve Robb with a 2 flight total of 53 seconds
  • 2nd place to Joe Schneider with a 2 flight total of 41 seconds

Thanks to all the competitors!

A few of the flights:

This launch was also the 3rd annual MASA Scale Event, so everyone was encouraged to bring out their scale model rockets.  Kent Peterson had the first scale flight of the day with his Little Joe on a A3-4t.  He also flew a Tomahawk cruise missile on a C6-3 and a V2 on a D12.  Doug DeBold flew a PML AMRAAM 2 on a G40 several times, and Steve Hum flew his on a G33.  Steve Hum flew his Phoenix on a F39, and Neal Higgins flew his Phoenix on an E15.  Ted Cochran flew his AWM-37A "Jayhawk" on an E15 and his Saturn V on an E18.  Dave Fergus flew his PML Black Brant VB on a G35 and his Estes Space Shuttle on a C5-3.

John Carlson flew a 25 year old Estes Saturn 1B (for the first time!) on a cluster of four C6's.  John was the outstanding scale force of the day.  He flew:  LTV Scout on a C6-3, V2 on a B6-4, Patriot on a B6-6, ARCAS on a B6-4, Thor Agena on a B6-4, SCUD on a B6-4, Nike Ajax on a C5-3, Honest John on a B6-4, and an ASP on an A10-3t.

Lee Frisvold flew a Martin Pescador on a cluster of two D12's and a V2 and Black Brant II on single D12's.  Alan Estenson flew his Sidewinder and Blossom (V2) on D12's.  David Drache flew his Sidewinder on a C6-3.  Ed Ryan flew his beefed-up Mercury Redstone on a F20.  Ed Eastman flew a Tomahawk (sounding rocket) on an A8-3.  Ken Jarosch flew a D-Region Tomahawk on a D12-7 and a Titan IIIc on a D12-5.  Joel Henry flew a Bullpup on a C6-3.  Dean Peterson launched his Honest John on a D12-5.

Russ Durkee flew his R/C 'Cuda glider several times, boosting it on D7's and E6's.  Joe Schneider amazed us all by flying his Wildcat on a cluster of one F72 and seven D21's!  It was an incredible flight, and all 8 motors lit!  Doug DeBold was determined to accomplish a "St. Louis Arch" using his Quest Big Betty on C6-3's.  It took a couple of tries, but he was able to get an impressive streamer arch.

John Carlson managed 17 flights.  The team of Alan & Alexandra Estenson also had 17.

(Note:  there were so many flights, that we can't possibly talk about more than a fraction of them.  The following are some observations from MASA members present at the launch.)

 Ted Cochran notes:

My AQM-37A chuffed on an E15-4, then flew nicely. But the delay was way late, like at 20' AGL. This was early enough to make a 2" zipper, but not early enough to keep the rocket from core sampling 5" of mud out of the swamp to the Northwest. It made a giant sucking sound when I pulled it out of the bottom of Lake Fricke (about an inch of standing water). The frogs were laughing. I got a whole plant, roots and all. There is no apparent kinking of the BT, though (I figure the 20 coats of paint must have polymerized and are now stronger than carbon fiber), and the zipper appears fixable.

My orange and yellow Ted's Testbed only lit two out of three D12s. First time that has happened in about 10 clustered BP flights. (Once it managed to pop three igniters without lighting any of the AP motors I was using then, but that's a different tale). I found out that my simulation was about right--it recovered in time (barely) despite the low altitude.

Alan was feeding his niece old motors, I think--she had two CATOs in two flights when I was LCO. On A8-3s, no less.

Steve Humm proved that flying lumberyards can be converted into fence posts, too. (no damage).

A buddy of mine from work had his first CATO (a really good one, too), but no damage to his SR-71.

On the plus side of the ledger, Joe Schneider's I-can-too-fly-H-impulse-with-8-clustered-AP-motors rocket was amazing, with a straight boost (vanishingly fast, too) and successful recovery. Thumper apparently vaporized a MOSFET in Steve's launch controller in the process, but it was worth it (I can say that since I don't have to fix the launch controller). The contactor in Thumper has a pretty big coil; I think it exceeded the limits of silicon.

A huge number of really old rockets were flown--A 1/70th scale Saturn I (first flight!), a Goblin, a bunch of old scale birds....

I saw a MIRV Gryphon fly for the first time. It was cool--really fast parts flying everywhere (think four-Cobra-drag race).

Steve Robb flew the first AT Redline motor at Blaine.

Russ flew his 'cuda with the hawks several times.

There were several attempts at a St. Louis arch, ending in complete success!

Steve Hum notes:

My Aspire flew twice for its 14th and 15th flights, both times with an altimeter. The sims showed that it should fly to 1375 on a G64, but the altimeter recorded 1182 feet on the first flight. Re-ran the sim this evening and realized I didn't add the weight of the altimeter in. With the altimeter the sim said 1185 ft!

The Ecee Thunder aka the flying lumberyard didn't fly as well as it should. First time it decided it wasn't going to wait for the range to be closed, then kicked the motor casing resulting in a nose heavy glide.  Second flight an over energenic D12-3 ejection charge jammed the plunger in such a way that the elevator was set, but the hinge ripped and the elevator stayed horizontal, resulting in that strange fence post. Minor damage to the hinge, which now needs replacing. I'm thinking RC aircraft hinge.

I don't know why, but I really get a kick out of an Estes Phoenix flying on an F39 instead of the recommended D12. And for once nothing broke on it upon landing. I wonder how a Big Daddy on an F39 flys.....

Rick Vatsaas notes:

I flew my heavily modified Silver Comet, Dubbed "Kidd Plasma's Flaming Atomic Meteor of Justice" for the first time, on my first reload ever. My visiting brother loaned me his casing. This was my first fiber-glassing project, and I was concerned about the integrity of those big fins and wing pods. The boost however, was vertical and straight, and it ejected right at apogee, just under the cloud deck. I put a 28" inch parachute in it to protect the fins, which made it drift as as you could go into the Southeast corner of the field, without landing in the trees.

My streamer duration rocket kicked the motor on its first flight (Next year, an engine hook!)

My gap-staged, D boosted SAM-X went unstable off the pad, and then failed to stage (which became a good thing). Next time. Double check the CG and enlarge the vent holes.

Ingrid was very surprised and excited to have won her division for the 1/2 A streamer duration.

It was a very fun father-daughter project. We discussed various designs and settled on a fairly short tubular fin rocket using only three tube fins rather than the usual six. She made it shorter than I thought it should be, which limited the size of the streamer, but hey, it was her rocket design!!  We had to add considerable nose weight to make sure it was stable, certainly a no-no for streamer duration. She named it the "Anole" for the species of lizard she will be getting in the fall, (she's allergic to furry animals), and decorated the rocket with little silver and gold Mylar lizards.

Alan will happy to know that Ingrid has decided that tubular fin rockets will be her specialty. so look for new, innovative tube fin rockets from her at future launches.

Dave Fergus notes:

I also enjoyed all the manned space flight rockets such as the Saturn 1B, the Saturn V, the Redstone, Ed and Dan's 5" Gemini which didn't fly but looked really cool just sitting on the table, the Redstone on an F, my Space Shuttle, etc. There were quite a few unmanned scale rockets too...

The flying lampshade flew really well and came in for a nice soft landing even though the engine was still in coast phase


The Details:

Full launch tally (in Adobe Acrobat PDF form, requires version 4 or newer of the Acrobat reader)

The totals were:  244 flights, 268 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 5272 Ns with an average total impulse of 19.7 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 0





















(Alan Estenson)

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