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Last updated: Nov 4, 2001
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October 2001 launch report (10/29/2001)

Geese!  Thousands and thousands of 'em!

On Saturday, October 27, a big fall crowd of people came out to the sod farm in Blaine.  Except for a cool breeze out of the south, the weather cooperated with blue skies and sunshine. More than 130 flights took to the skies in less than four hours.  The geese departed early.

A big thanks to:

  • Steve Robb, for hauling out all the gear
  • LCO volunteers:  Kerry Hodges, Mark Thell, Jeff Hove, Alan Estenson
  • RSO volunteers:  Steve Robb, Steve Hum, Tim Bush, Damian Kostron, Alan Estenson
  • Everyone who came early and/or stayed late to help with the range equipment

The theme of this launch was "Clusters!" and a ton of multi-engined rockets took flight during the day.  Neal Higgins flew "Viper" on 3 C6-5's.  Ted Cochran flew "Ted's Testbed" on 3 D12's and his Big Daddy on a D12-5 and 4 A10-Pt's.  John Carlson flew his 30-year-old Cobra on 3 C5-3's and an equally vintage Ranger on 3 C6-3's.  Charlie Curtsinger and Ellison Lenz flew their Phoenix on 3 B6-2's and a C6-3.  Ken Jarosch launched an Impulse, but I think that only one out of two D12-5's ignited.  Alan Estenson flew his "Big Bad Voodoo Daddy" on a D12-5 and 2 C6-7's.  Kerry Hodges tried his Advanced Gabriel on an E9-4 and 2 C6-7's.  The E didn't light, and the C's underpowered the rocket to a graceful lawn dart in the sod.  The smallest cluster honors belong to Jeff Hove.  He tried a 3 MicroMaxx motor cluster in a 1.1x "upscale" Mosquito.  Unfortunately, only 1 of the motors lit.

The contest director for the day was Rick Vatsaas.  He organized an A altitude competition using the timed duration of standard marker streamers.  Thanks Rick!  Some of the streamers failed to unfurl, but Rick says that this contest will return next year when the weather is warmer.  There ended up being only one qualifying flight for each contestant.  The results are:

Place Contestant (>18) Total Time Descent Time Estimated Altitude
1 Ed Eastman 26.44 22.44 403.92 ft
2 Alan Estenson 23.94 19.94 358.92
3 Craig Hansen 20.32 16.32 293.76
4 Tim Bush 19.69 15.69 282.42
Place Contestant (<18) Total Time Descent Time Estimated Altitude
1 Christian Vatsaas 16.00 12.00 216.06
2 Ingrid Vatsaas 13.06 9.06 162.99

Another special event was a Big Daddy drag race.  Rick Vatsaas, Dean Peterson, and Jeff Hove all drag raced their Big Daddy's on D12 engines.  (I didn't hear results, so I guess that they all won.)

A few of the flights:

Early in the launch, Ron Hammer flew an inflated Estes Dude.  It proved to be much silly fun!  Dave Leininger overpowered an Estes Snitch by cramming an F12 reload into it.  Damian Kostron used another F12 to fly his Saturn 1B.  Tim Bush flew his "Ringflock" on a D12; it deployed three Ringhawk style gliders.  Rick Vatsaas followed his usual naming convents by flying the "Vinyl Pigskin of Porcine Revenge" - a converted mini nerf-style football thing.

Both Ed Ryan and Ted Cochran flew Redline propellant H210 motors.  Loud and colorful!  Steve Robb also jumped in and flew some H motors.  The day ended with Jeff Hove flying a NCR Archer on an H128 and Larry Schwartz launching a BSD Horizon with an H123.  It proved to be a successful level 1 certification flight for Larry.  Congratulations!

Notes from a few participants:

Wow, what a nice almost-October day for a launch! And there were a TON of people there! I wish I could have stayed longer--I regret that I had to leave early due to my severe allergy attack (to the impatience of my kids -) I only flew three rockets (and Kevin flew the ARV condor for the 17th time). But two of those were things I've never done before, and two were clusters, and all were successful, so I have to count it as a great day

I flew a five motor cluster for the first time-- a Big Daddy on a D12-5 and 4 A10-PTs, all of which lit. Maybe I should retire it now while I'm still ahead? Nah, I have to try an E9 and 4 A10s... or maybe an E28 and 4 A10s....

Ted's Testbed made its 16th flight, with 3 D12s, all of which lit (I'm 13 for 14 on lighting 3 BP motors with this one, and 1 for 2 with AP). Go Thumper!

LOC IV made its 19th flight, this on an H210R, which is the first time I've flown a red line. That's the 6th different motor I've used in this rocket--two different Gs and four different Hs. Next I'll have to try an H97 and an I200.

There were some neat flights while I was there. I loved Tim's fleet o' ring fin gliders. And Damian's Saturn I. And the hugely overpowered Snitch....And I never saw a rocket chuff while flying quite like the one I saw today. - Ted Cochran

For those who saw my Optima's maiden flight go down in flames, I think I know what went wrong this afternoon - The idiot that put the engine together (me) got the aft o-ring got pinched between the aft closure and the nozzle, preventing it from sealing. I found only a small section of the aft o-ring, and it was burned (vulcanized?) to the ID of the aft closure, rather than around the outer sealing ridge where it should have been. The result was the engine casing burned thorough, taking out a 3/8² x 3/4² chunk of the casing, destroying the aft closure, and destroying the two engine retainers.

The impact of the rocket drove the engine casing forward until the forward closure impacted the U-bolt , bending both the closure and the front of the casing. Even without the burn thorough damage this would have been enough to make the casing unusable.  It took quite a bit of well applied force to drive the engine casing out.  At this time Iım unsure if the fin can is repairable. The motor mount is almost completely burned off aft of the rear centering ring, there is major burn damage further up the motor mount that has just about gone thorough, and part of the body tube is burned away, leaving only the painted fiberglass behind. Heck of a first flight. - Steve Hum

Just a note to let everyone know I had a great day at the launch.  Lately I have been doing mostly High Power flights and flying just about every Saturday.  It was nice to "get back to my Roots flying mod-rocs" And what can I say about the Nice Folks at MASA? Thanks for a great day launching and visiting.

I flew an old scratchbuilt rocket, and my first Estes E motor in my Big Daddy. What a GREAT motor. The E motor will make for some high altitude 2 stage flights, Say D12-0 to E9 in an Astron Omega. Or chad stage a Super Big Bertha.  Next Summer I will have to come back and burn up more of my Apogee 10mm motors and maybe even the Centrix 2 stage I have. The field is nice for recovery when the wind is a little less than 10mph. - Michael Maurer

I had a great time Saturday, even though I couldn't stay long, I did manage to launch 2 of my oldest clusters, both 30+ years old, my Estes Cobra, good flight but I forgot to put new paper stickers on the old parachute and lost it at ejection resulting in a broken fin. Also my 30 year old Estes ranger, really good flight even though only 2 of the engines lite, I also flew my 25+ year old Estes v-2 twice, always fun with that B/W checker paint scheme.  My 2x Estes Apogee II finally on its 3rd attempt lite the second stage instead of lawn darting. A very successful day for me. Now back down to the work shop to finish some of the many unfinished rockets. - John Carlson

I left my Mid power rockets at home two reasons, 1. I'd be too busy with the streamer duration contest, and 2. I emptied my wallet at the G. Harry Stine launch in Phoenix last month (I still owe you guys a launch report on that).

I brought along a friend from work, my two kids and a handle of more reliable models. I had two things I wanted to test out, a EMRR Stomp Rocket Contest Entry, and my modified Custom Rockets Sam-X.

The Stomp Rocket was originally a Peyton Manning Vortex Football (Dubbed the Vinyl Pigskin of Porcine Revenge). The little foam thing resembles a stunted WWII anti-tank Rocket. A foam foot ball with a foam, arrow like tail. I removed the tail inserted a BT-5 and glued the foam fins to it. I was a little concerned about whether the A10-3T motor would be enough, but it boosted it nicely kicked the motor and landed with a satisfying bounce. Plus the whistles that were factory installed worked pretty well. Good fun for a $3 investment.

At the July launch I had tried to fly my modified SAM-X, (1st stage replaced by a longer, gap staged, D powered unit.) I misjudged the CG on that flight and it went unstable, thankfully didn't ignite the sustainer.  This time I fixed the CG, and it was stable, but it failed to stage, and the sustainer became a boosted dart. I found the sustainer buried 3/4 of its length into the sod (perhaps the Air Force might want to consult MASA on bunker penetrating munitions). Turns out the booster kicked the D12-0, So I did not have it in tight enough. the nozzle on the sustainer C6-7 was scorched, so I was close to having ignition. I'll give it another try when the ground thaws.

My son's F22 boost glider, went cruise missile mode again, resulting in a disappointing low altitude ejection, the glider doing only one loop before landing. I think I need to redesign the booster to get better altitude. - Rick Vatsaas

The Details:

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

The totals were:  132 flights, 156 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 4419 Ns with an average total impulse of 28.3 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 3





















(Alan Estenson)

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