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Last updated: August 3, 2002
Site hosted courtesy of the
Minnesota Rocketry Network
Alan Estenson, Webmaster

August 2002 evening launch report (8/2/2002)

A lovely Minnesota evening for flying rockets.

On Friday, August 2,  a small group of "diehards" came out to the sod farm in Blaine for the afternoon and evening.  This special launch was put together on 24 hours notice to take advantage of the beautiful weather.  It was warm and sunny with a light breeze that died down to a complete calm after 6 pm.  Launching started at 2:30 pm and ended at 8 pm.  All told, 83 flights took to the skies.

A misfire alley range configuration was used for this launch.  "Roving RSO's" served to inspect rockets.

Vintage warbirds were seen in the skies around the launch field - sometimes flying in formation.  There's nothing quite like the sound of twin radials in a vintage B-25...

A big thanks to: 

  • Ted Cochran and Alan Estenson for hauling out the gear
  • Alan Estenson for serving LCO duty
  • Alan Estenson, Ted Cochran, and Ellison Lenz for serving as Roving RSO's

A few of the flights:

John Carlson had ten launches of rockets from his vintage fleet - all 20 or more years old.  He flew his old Estes Bandit on a B6-4, and the flight card comment read "53rd flight" !  He flew several old sci-fi designs like the Estes Starlab, Starship Vega, and Starship Nova.

Ted Cochran had six launches including an eye-popping flight of his Machbuster on a G55.   This was the 4th flight of that little rocket with the first 3 being on F101's.  [See Ted's comments below for more on his flights.]

Alan Estenson put up 19 flights.  His "Super Duper V2" had an absolutely perfect flight on an E9, and his "Super Duper Serval" and "Super Duper Blobbo" also had good E9 launches..  His Estes Bullpup had a nice, straight first flight on a B6-4.  His "The Launch Pad" PAC-3 also flew for the first time on an E15-4.  Chuffing on the launch pad led to a late ejection but a safe recovery with no damage.  Flying a Deltie on an A10-3t, Alan achieved a 47 second glide time and thus completed his NARTREK Silver boost glider flight requirement.  [I'd like to thank the whole crew who found and retrieved my "Six Pack" rocket from the weeds along the ditch - Alan]

Alan's "More Gopher Holes" did not have a good first flight on an E9.  It went straight up for about 150 feet, but then took a sharp right turn, flew horizontal, and then did a javelin impression right into one of the drainage ditches.  The ejection charge tossed the back half of the rocket up onto the bank, but the entire front half was underwater, stuck in the mud.  It took a good deal of tugging on the shock cord to pull it out.  The postmortem revealed that the tube had collapsed and severely kinked right in front of the tube fins - probably due to a manufacturing defect.  Alan wrote off the entire wet, green, stinky, muddy, broken rocket and donated it to Ellison Lenz's Junkyard Rockets box.

Callie Kibsgaard flew her Estes Corkscrew twice on C6-5's.  Dave Leininger flew his Honest John on a G38, but it had a bit of an early ejection.  Dave also flew his modified Estes "The Shadow" on a G54 with full altimeter dual deployment.  Unfortunately, at apogee the nylon shock cord snapped and the rocket came down in two pieces.  Tom Lawell had four flights including a nice flight of his Aerotech Mustang on a F20.  Dan vanDyke put up 3 flights including his PML Tiny Pterodactyl on a F23.

Ryan Schwartz put up 7 flights - 3 of which were his Estes Heliocopter.  Larry Schwartz chalked up 5 flights.  He flew his Aerotech Chaparral twice - first on a G35 and then on a G38.

Ellison Lenz had 8 flights altogether.  Unfortunately, his LOC Norad got stuck in the rocket-eating-trees to the east after a nice launch on a F50.  Stuart Lenz had 17 flights.  He had a nice first flight of his "Cluster Tube Fin #8" on two A8-3's, and another nice first flight on his 2-stage tube fin rocket on B6-0 to A8-3.  He finished his NARTREK Bronze D flight requirement by launching a Mean Machine on a D12.  Stuart tried to fly "Black Cat Solar Flare" (made from a lawn cone firework body) but it was unstable on an A8-3.

Ted Cochran writes:

What a wonderful day and a great launch we had this afternoon!

I had to leave early (like, 5:15), so I could only launch a few rockets, but I had a ball.

First, let me say that misfire alley worked great, and I'd like to see it used much more often--even at the big summer launches. And the roving RSO is a great idea, too.

I launched -

Machbuster on a G55-15. I launched it out of a tower. This was an attempt to extend my current world record for recovered Machbuster flights to four (the previous three had been on F101 motors, which go faster but lower, and which are no longer certified). I was fully prepared to lose it this time, and I was not disappointed. It lit the first time, and the relatively long and bright burning G55 pushed it up there in a hurry. I kept sight of the smoke trail, and saw the ejection charge fire, but that was all. We looked about a mile uprange and a half mile down range, no luck. It had a good life -)

Estes Master series space shuttle, on a C6-3--great flight, albeit with a bit of weather cocking. Good separation of the orbiter, and an absolutely excellent glide, straight downwind, with a bit of wing rocking but no pitch or yaw excursions.

Kosrox Mars Lander, D12-3. Fifth flight. It tried to land on its legs but caught a gust just before touchdown and got pulled over. Great flight.

Holverson Swinger, C6-3. A very unpredictable bird. It has flown well rightside up and upside down, but is prone to pitch excursions. This time, its sixth, it gave a loopy flight that ended as a bit of a lawn dart.

Quest Flat Cat. B6-2--Good fifth flight, good glide.

NCR Eliminator, NCR F62-4. Old reliable did its twelfth flight, and a solid one.

Thanks, Alan, for setting this up!

I liked Alan's V2 flight, and I really liked being buzzed by the B-25s!


More to come...

The Details:

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

The totals were:  83 flights, 88 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 1641 Ns with an average total impulse of 18.6 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 0





















(Alan Estenson)

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