April 25 2003 launch report (4/28/2003)
A beautiful Friday afternoon. A big launchin'
field. Rockets to fly. What more could you want?
With the clock ticking down towards the loss of MASA's Blaine
flying site, a handful of MASA members gathered at the sod farm on
the afternoon of Friday, April 25 for an "extra"
launch. With notification in place, leisurely flying went from
noon up until 7 pm. It was a nice, sunny afternoon with blue
skies and only an occasional light breeze.
A larger than normal percentage of the 47 flights used F, G, and
H motors. A lot of AP was converted into smoke throughout the
A few of the flights:
MASA members - please send in your thoughts about the
Glen Overby writes:
I hate trees.
I arrived at the sod farm around 1220PM and was the 2nd person
there; Ted arrived later.
I flew: Ring Fin Rocket - D12-5 a nice flight.
Sandhawk - F12-5 I think I like F12s! They just need the
Poof! - H180
This is a 38mm rocket rigged for altimeter deployment. I got
some spirals out of it in flight, and it arced into the light
wind, towards the Nike-Eating forest. I used a larger drogue
'chute than I needed, and when the main parachute ejected at 500',
it didn't open. The rocket landed in a rocket-eating 4"
diameter tree on the edge of the field. My 20' fishing rod was
long enough to hit the fin can, but the body was quite a few feet
I tried a few hooks (including a screwdriver) and all came off
my fiberglass pole. I resorted to converting a 1/8" rusted
steel launch rod into a hook. With that, I hooked the shock cord
and was able to REALLY shake the tree, yet it kept it's grip on
the main parachute. When Stuart and Ellison Lenz arrived, they
loaned me a couple of 4' steel pipes. That allowed me to hook the
rocket up by the main parachute and I eventually rrrripped the
branch off. The upper portion of the body tube came down a
ways, but the shock cord was still hooked over a branch. I taped a
sharp knife to the fishing rod and cut the fin can out of the
tree! Yay, I got my motor casing back! Now for the altimeter. I
considered slicing the shock cord to the main parachute, but first
tried hooking and pulling... it came down. About 3 hours for one
Alan says that forest will get cut down when the developer
comes for it.
Generic "B" - E9-6 nice flight, but I lost a fin
Generic "A" - D21-7 CATO! Time to find a MESS form. I
wonder how to dispose of the grain?
Nike-Cajun - F22-6 Zoom! 1600' according to my altimeter.
The rocket played "chicken" with one of the moats -- had
it drifted one foot less it would have gone in the drink.
Alan Estenson writes:
A lovely spring day, an afternoon off from work, and AP to
I started off by testing the winds with my Super Duper Blobbo
on a D12-5. Beautiful flight and very little wind to drift
it away. Quickly following it was my Super Duper V2 (they
had metallic purple and gold V2's, right?) on an E9-6. Now
people, that first "LCO killer" flight of this V2 was an
anomaly; it has flown perfectly every time since then.
Really. I mean it.
With the black powder out of the way, I turned my attention to
burning some serious AP. I had quite a stock of "baby
H" motors and a need to use them up before "BATF
day" at the end of May. First up was my 3" upscale
Der Big Red Max on an H180. This rocket is only 1 for 3 at
the Blaine field; I got to rebuild it after 2 of the
flights. Boost was great, but the nose cone drag separated
right after motor burnout. The rocket continued a spiraling
climb followed by a tumbling descent. Finally, at about
150', the parachute made an appearance. Ted assured me that
the flight still counted as "good", so that rocket ends
its Blaine career at a 50% success rate.
Next, I tossed an H123 in my LOC Cyclotron for a nice
flight. To come in under the weight limit, this rocket
traded its transition and upper body tube for a regular, lighter
nose cone. Following it was another tube fin rocket - "Starstruck
VI" on an H165 Redline. [To everyone curious about that
name, read the first chapter of "Rocket Ship Galileo" by
Robert A. Heinlein.] Going for a bit more altitude next, my
(stretched, zipperless) LOC Hi-tech moseyed skyward on an H73.
Four H's down, three more to go... "Eight"
thundered upwards on top of an H210 Redline. This rocket has
8 tube fins and 4 regular fins. The Hi-tech had begged for a
bit more speed, so it next had a whiplash-style flight in front of
an electric blue H242. My trusty Warrior 214 (Solar Warrior
upscale) has flown on a variety of F and G motors over the years,
but I'd never dared put an H in it. Until now.
Hurtling towards the heavens on an H128, I found myself wishing
that I'd done so long before. Talk about fun!
Scaling back, I decided that it was time to boost the Super
Duper V2 on 100% of design-rated power, an F21. Wow!
Since I hadn't flown a G motor yet, my PML IO was launched next on
To finish out the day, I decided to "bet the farm" on
my new VB Extreme 29. This minimum diameter 29mm rocket had
yet to make a first flight, so I decided to skip all the
intermediate steps and go "full up" with a G25 that had
been languishing in my motor stockpile for several years.
Wow again! The 15 second delay was on the long side, and
it's a good thing that I poured in some orange tracking
powder. After a long trek to the far south end of the sod, I
brought back the Extreme 29 with 3,624 feet beeping on the
I probably set several unofficial MASA launch records:
seven H motors flown by one person during one launch day, 1,770
N-s worth of motors burned by one person during one launch day,
highest verified altitude at a MASA launch - 3,624 feet.
It was a good day. To be a perfect day, I would've
remembered sunscreen. #ouch#
Stuart Lenz writes:
Today's weather turned out to be perfect for large rockets and
In preparation for my level 1 flight tomorrow, today I launched
my PML Phobos on a G80-7, which will also have to be my level 1
rocket because my PML Little Lunar Express and Pterodactyl Jr both
turned out to be too heavy to launch at the Blaine site. As my
first AeroTech reloadable engine, I borrowed a 24 mm case from
Glen (Thanks Glen) and launched "George" with a D15-7.
I also launched my Loc Legacy on a G40-10, not as high as some
of Alan's, but seemed to stay up forever, even on the 12"
chute. Ellison and I arrived a little after 4:00. Ellison
then spent the next hour helping Glen retrieve a rocket from the
Eastern Forest and you guessed it, the casing that I need for my
level 1 flight was in that rocket. Ellison then launched my PML
Tiny Pterodactyl, lost sight of it after deployment and spent the
next hour looking through all of the adjacent field before
locating it near the Southern Tree Line.
Ted Cochran writes:
Friday the memorable flights were a Big Daddy on four A10-PTs
and a D12-7, followed by two more flights on F21-6 Econojets.
That's a terrific motor for that rocket! I also attempted (for
only the second time) a five D12-5 flight of Ted's Testbed, but
one of the motors didn't light (even though Thumper vaporized the
Full launch tally (in
Adobe Acrobat PDF form, requires version 4 or newer of the Acrobat
The totals were: 47 flights, 62 motors. The
cumulative total impulse was 3129 Ns with an average total impulse
of 50.5 Ns. The motor breakdown follows: