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Last updated: Oct. 26, 2002
Site hosted courtesy of the
Minnesota Rocketry Network
Alan Estenson, Webmaster

October 2002 launch report (10/26/2002)

Brrrr !

On Saturday, October 26, MASA-ites and guests gathered for the last launch of the season at the sod farm in Blaine.  6 pads were set up in a central "rack", and other pads were set up in a "misfire alley" grid. Weather was cold and cloudy with just a light breeze.  Launching ended around 1:30 after 92 flights had taken to the air.

A big thanks to: 

  • Ted Cochran for hauling out the gear
  • RSO/SCO volunteers: Alan Estenson, Lee Frisvold
  • LCO volunteers: Ted Cochran, Stuart Lenz, Neal Higgins, David Whitaker
  • Everyone who came early to set up and stayed late to pack away the equipment.

Junkyard Rockets Contest

Official results?

A few of the flights:

MASA members - please send in your thoughts about the launch! 

David Whitaker successfully achieved his Level 1 high power certification.  He had a rip-snorting flight of his Aerotech Sumo on an H220.  Congratulations!

Alan Estenson chalked-up the only G motor flight of the day.  He flew his re-vamped hybrid tube fin rocket, "Eight", on a G38-4 for a nice flight.

Todd Carpenter flew his "Nova Cam" four times.  It appeared to be the body of a Nova Payloader with a Kodak single-use camera mounted on top.  Sounds like he might publish conversion plans for this camera once he gets the bugs worked out.

The launch theme was "clusters!", and many clustered-motor flights took to the skies.

Ted Cochran flew a Ranger clone on 3 A8-3's; Stuart Lenz flew his Ranger on 3 A8-5's, and Neal Higgins flew his Red Ranger on 3 B6-6's.  Ted also flew his Big Daddy on 5 motors (a D12 and 4 A10-Pt's) and "Ted's Testbed" on 3 D12's.  Mike Erpelding brought out the "Six Shooter Phase 1" to fly on 6 C6-7 motors!  On the first flight attempt, only 2 motors lit, and the underpowered rocket pranged into the ground.  On the second attempt (with a little help from Thumper), all 6 motors ignited for a great flight.

Alan Estenson flew his LOC Viper IV on 4 D12-7's, and David Whitaker flew his LOC Viper III on 3 D12-5's.  Both flights were successful.  Alan tried his "Wanderer" on a D12-7 and 2 C6-0's; the flight was fine, but only one of the C's lit.  Lee Frisvold had a nice flight of his PB-3 on 3 D12-5's.

Neal Higgins had more cluster fun with his modified Big Daddy.  It flew on three D12-7's showcasing dual rear ejecting chutes.  Neal also flew his classic Land Viper on 3 C6-7's.

Ted Cochran writes: 

I watched and launched from beginning to end, and, now that I'm warm, I'm remembering all the fun. There were a LOT of clusters!

Whitaker's Sumo flight ROCKED! I haven't got the film developed yet, but if I go so much as a bit of flame I'll be surprised. I was watching through the viewfinder, and it just disappeared!

Todd Carpenter's camera rocket flew way better than I was expecting. I'm thinking that when the plans get published, we should all make one and drag race them, then make a mosaic photo of the launch site -)

I liked Stuart's nice Andromeda clone; isn't it amazing that Estes once used to kit that sort of rocket instead of the plastic &^%)# they're mostly selling now?

I thought my Big Daddy with 1 D and 4 A10s was cool, but Neal Higgins completely busted me with a Big Daddy with three 24mm motor mounts AND dual chute rear ejection. It did a lawn dart under chute!

Alan's restabilized tubefin rocket was majestic!

I loved all the NARTREK flights; I think three people finished up today!

Prang nominations - Honorable mentions

Alissa Hoyme's slow motion falling tree effect with the rod locked Mean Machine. Glad no harm was done!  Ken Jarosch's Broadsword CATO was cool, too, once I started breathing again.  I was walking toward it, about 100' away, after recovering something or other. Wish I'd gotten a picture of the flaming core coming out the top!  Stuart Lenz's screaming Jenny biplane was neat, until it crunched the ground. Never saw a B6 move that fast.  Ellison Lenz's modified Skywinder would have been a decent nomination, too, but the Ellisons have had so many nominations from me this year that it will take at least five separate failure modes in one flight to qualify for anything more than an honorable mention (remember the two stage ARV condor?  I rest my case -)  None of the junk yard rockets qualified for a nomination, which surprises the heck out of me.

Jeff Hove writes:

It was a cold but successful launch today at Blaine. Thanks to Alan, Ted, and the LCOs & RSOs for running things. Also, thanks to Ellison Lenz for running the Junkyard Rockets contest; I was able to get three flights in on the Blue Team's two stager.

The first flight on B6-0 to C6-7 went very high but both the rocket and payload marker drifted into the Eastern Rocket/Nike Eating Forest. Amazingly, I was able to recover the sustainer from the center of the forest after only a few minutes of searching. Unfortunately, there was a two minute recovery time limit so the flight was DQ'd.

Two other flights on B6-0 to B6-6 were successful but weather-cocked badly into the wind resulting in much lower altitudes. On the final flight, I got a chance to practice long-jumping the north drainage ditch (approx 8' across with very steep banks and greenish slime that is just to disgusting to even think about).  Just barely managed to jump over and back without getting wet, but boy it was close.

After my unbelievable success at recovering my first flight from the middle of the East forest, I was eager to go back after the launch to see if I could find the still missing payload/streamer, and help look for any other lost rockets.

After the launch, Stuart and Ellison Lenz, Glen Overby, and I went wandering through both the East and West Rocket Eating Forests looking for treasure.

Here are some results

Recovered (let me know if you think it is yours)

1. I immediately found my missing payload streamer about 50 feet into the East forest.

2. A Comanche upper-stage. The wide red streamer was still hanging in a tree.  Looks like it has been there a while. I don't think this is the one Ted lost today.

3. Mach Buster nosecone & streamer.

4. In the West Forest, a TLP PAC-3 (looks kind of like an Exocet), minus nosecone & chute.

Located in the East forest but unrecoverable with the equipment we had

3. Aerotech Mustang hanging in a tree by its shock cord (no nosecone visible)

4. Glen located his missing Nike from last year

5. Aerotech Sumo nosecone & parachute near front/west edge

6. A "Falcon" hanging by its parachute near the front/West edge

We looked very hard for Leland's StrongARM but did not find that.

Let me know if any of these rockets are yours (and be prepared to identify them).

Blue Skies, Jeff Hove  651-793-4332

Mike Erpelding writes:

Well we definitely had a cold west wind to deal with. I brought a friend of mine, Greg Stang, along with to show him what a MASA launch is like. I was hoping he would get to see what a HPR launch is like and we weren't disappointed. David Whitaker's L-1 cert. flight was awesome! I flew my very first stomp rocket on a B6-4 for a nice flight. I was going to try and fly my helicopter rocket again ( the one I stepped on); but one of the rubberband hooks came out of the nose cone while I was prepping it. I guess that one will have to wait until Elk River to get its first sucessful flight. I built a new rocket for the cluster theme. I decided to with six C motors, hence the name "Six Shooter". Phase one was construction and testing. Phase two with be coming up with a paint job suitable of the name.

Six C motor happens to be a NAR cluster altitude category. )

On my first attempt to launch this rocket; I was so preoccupied with making sure that none of those whip leads were shorted out; that I forgot to hook up the two clips from the launcher. Oops.

This was an easy fix when the range opened again.

On this attempt I guess the problem was " Captain I don't have enough power!" After a long delay two engines side by side managed to light. The following prang flight was pretty cool especially since it caused no damage. I wonder if the weight of the other engines plus the 12 oz. total rocket weight led to the that slow motion show.

Thanks to Ted for letting me borrow Thumper for my next attempt. Thumper did an excellent job with hardly any delay. Once again Thumper proved the secret to large clusters is Amps, Amps, and more Amps! Six Shooter had a nice flight. The west wind carried her right into the Nike-eating forest. With a little help from Lee, I found her, hanging just a little out of reach from a small tree. I used a dead branch that I found to snag a fin. After a few tries I was able to reach the body tube. It was actually warm in the woods out of the wind. I searched for other lost rockets for a while. I found a Echostar sustainer less chute and nose cone. I just made it back from the woods in time to launch the orange teams junkyard rocket. The payload got tangled in the rockets chute for a DQ. The pay load also got a little blackened from the ejection charge. We had a successful flight on the second try.

Over all I would have to say that I had a great time!

Lee Frisvold writes:

I was there for most of the launch.  Even though the wind was cold, it was a great time.

Clusters are cool.  Seeing the multiple flames come out the back is very cool.

Honorable mentions

Number 1 has to be Todd Carpenter's disposable camera mounted on a Nova Payloader. I too was surprised that it flew as well as it did. He was the guy and his kid that were setting up the rocket on the pad when Ken Jarosch's Broadsword cato'd.

Number 2 was the Big Daddy with rear ejection.

Number 3 was the Sumo level one that jumped off the pad.


Three come to mind:  Ken Jarosch's Broad Sword, and Mark Thell's Navaho two stager that wouldn't let go of its booster and the pressure from the sustainer's engine pushed the nose cone off then went looping. Lastly the rocket that totally shredded it's chute.

My flights were good except that I lost the PB3 3 engine cluster rocket on it's first flight.

I found Ken Jarosch's Sumo and John Carlsons WAC Corporal in the woods.  I also found Mollie's Graduator but it's up in a tree 25-30 feet supported by two heavy branches with the chute over half full - not looking like it's going to come down very soon.


The Details:

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

The totals were:  92 flights, 133 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 1775 Ns with an average total impulse of 13.3 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 0





















(Alan Estenson)

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