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Last updated: Apr 28, 2003
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April 19 2003 launch report (4/19/2003)

A Gloomy Atmosphere

On Saturday, April 19, MASA members, facing the looming loss of the Blaine launch site, gathered for an extra launch there.  It was cool and rainy with fog and low cloud ceilings.  The fields were very soft, wet, and muddy.  Nonetheless, more than a few flights managed to seek the skies.

A few of the flights:

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

Stuart Lenz writes:

The gray sky and mist weigh heavy on the sod farm launch, mirroring the mood of the small crowd of rocket fanatics gathered. Visibility was less than 1 mile and the cloud ceiling was 700-800 feet at the most. The only pad set up in the first hour was one of my Micro Maxx pads. Most of the gathered group went off in search of previous lost rockets in the Eastern Forest, with harvesting equipment in hands. I started poking holes in the clouds with some new Micro Maxx Rockets. First off was the Micro S.S. Cassiopeia, Micro Alien 8, Micro Hyperon, Micro Glider, Micro Mercury Redstone, and lastly a Micro Bomarc.

Mark then started working up to the actual cloud level, starting off with an A, finally was just under it with an arcing flight on a D12-3. Recovery was often in the water or mud. Dave had a nice flight of his Estes Phoenix with a particularly memorable recovery from the muddy field. The rocket came out cleaner that Dave did. I had a nice flight of the small Estes V2 on a D12.-3 that just entered the base of the clouds and landed in the middle of the mud filled field that make for a particularly long walk through the mud.

Ellison had a high, straight flight of the spool rocket on a C6-5 and also launched his Snitch and Big Daddy. Mike only launch of the day, that I remember was his Stomp Rocket with a C engine. I had several underpowered flights while trying to stay under the clouds, but for my last flight of the day, I tried a E9-4 powered rocket that completely disappeared until we were departing from the field and located it in the Western Forest. We retired to the Taco John's to plan for next week.

Mike Erpelding writes:

Well today's launch went pretty well considering the weather. It rained most of my way down to Blaine, ending somewhere around Anoka.  When I got to the field, it was overcast with a ceiling around 1000'.

While we were hoping for the fog to lift, several members decided to go and look for lost rockets in the Nike Eating Forest of the East.  We found back the carcass of one of Glen's rockets from last year. A Nike... something? The remains consisted of a parachute and a fin can, containing an RMS casing. Glen was able to recover them successfully by using his 20' telescoping fishing pole duct taped to my 20' Gopher Pole. We also recovered a Sumo nosecone and parachute using the same method.

There was a slight gloom over everyone because of the impending loss of this beautiful flying field to housing development. The regular April launch, next Saturday, is being changed to Blaine instead of Elk River. There might be an informal launch on Friday also.

There were a few interesting flights

Stuart Lenz flew about a half dozen MM rockets. I missed most of these since I was in the forest. Stuart also flew a nice Phoenix rocket. Stuart also had a 3- A8-3 motor cluster rocket with pod boosters that did a slow horizontal prang due to being under powered. One of the motors failed to ignite also.

One of the final flights of the day was a orange rocket of Stuarts that vanished into the ever lowering fog ceiling. We didn't see it come down anywhere. Fortunately it was spotted in the Rocket Eating Forest of the West as we were all leaving; which Stuart then retrieved via Gopher Pole.

Ellison had a nice flight of his spool rocket on a C engine.

Dave Whitaker also flew a Phoenix. Unfortunately it had a "splash down" landing in standing water in the field just behind us to the north. Unfortunately Dave had a " splash down " landing there himself.

Mark Thell had a nice two motor cluster rocket.

I just flew my stomp rocket on a C6-3. I figured that this was my most waterproof rocket < grin>.

There will be several Level 1 certification attempt flights next Saturday, including myself. I hope to see everyone there!

Lee Frisvold writes:

The gray sky set the mood for one of our clubs final launches at the Fricke sod farm. The small crowd of usual suspects gathered to fly some rockets as the worst day of flying rockets is better than any day of non flying. My first rocket of the day a skywinder on a C6-3 did a good job of separating. My second rocket a Styrofoam fin version of a Wicked Winnie on a B6-4 that went high and straight just below the cloud line, it had a nice flight w/no damage. My third flight was a Quest Nike Smoke also on a B6-4, it had a nice straight flight and a good recovery. Being I'm going for my L1 next weekend I thought I'd better do a RMS before then so I launched an estes Eliminator on a 24mm E-11 which went straight up just into the clouds ejected and came nicely down to earth.  The Eliminator flies very nice on a Areotech E motor.

Instead of rocket eating trees we now have mud eating man areas as David can attest to. Both he and his rocket will fly another day. <grin>

The Details:

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

The totals were:  28 flights, 30 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 323 Ns with an average total impulse of 10.8 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 5





















(Alan Estenson)

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