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Last updated: Aug 4, 2003
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July 2003 launch report (8/4/2003)

STS-107 Memorial Launch
In honor of William McCool, Pilot (Cmdr., USN).

Rockets in the wheat.

On Saturday July 26, a very small group of MASA members gathered for the first-ever club launch at a new flying field near Buffalo..  It was nice flying weather, but only a few people attempted flights.  The field was still covered in wheat which led to a couple lost rockets.

Big thanks and applause to:

  • Mike Erpelding - for bringing gear

A few of the flights:

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

Glen Overby writes:

Despite the lousy looking weather early in the morning, the sun broke out before 10am and it turned out to be a clear but hot day. The wheat was about 4' high, and the corn about 6'. Loren Kjersten, the land owner, was there to watch us fly. He drove a path to the launch site - an overgrown area at the southeast corner of his property - with his 4-wheeler and provided many rides (and hauled equipment) to and from the launch site. We set up about four pads, which was plenty for today's turnout.

Ellison started off flying some estes BP motors and some others joined in. I decided the field needed a taste of APCP and prep'ed my Aerobee 350 with an E18-4. This is the same rocket that just barely made it on a C6-5 at the picnic. It went WAY up... and drifted... and drifted... It landed in a wheat field to the south. Luckily I started chasing it as it was coming down so I had a clear view of where it landed (had I not moved, I probably would have thought it went into a row of trees). However, the route to it took me over two dried up moats and through a corn field so by the time I got to it I had only a vague idea of where I should be going. It took me a long time to find.

This field should be harvested in about a month. If it's not harvested by our August launch, we'll fly in Elk River or at a park/school in the metro (suggestions welcome).

I think this will be a good flying field when there aren't crops on it. If we set up the G and H pads towards the west end of the property, we'll have enough distance from the houses, and enough recovery area. If we set up an "away cell" further west on the YWAM camp grounds, I think we'll have the clear distance we need for "J" motors.

If anybody wants to fly high power ( > 125 gram motors or > 1500 gram rockets), please contact me and we can discuss applying for a waiver.  I collected a grand total of *one* flight card today (that would be mine). If you flew anything, please make me a list!

A big Thanks to all the really-die-hards who came out to opener of the field.

Stuart Lenz writes:

The lightning and thunder was shaking the sky when I started packing the van at 730, then it started raining. At 800 it has stopped raining and I woke Ellison up. A little over a hour later we arrived at the new launch site.

Ellison launched the first rocket, an EchoStar with a froggernaugh pm a B6-4, second up he flew the MASA Patriet on a B6-2. My first flight was the Excaliber on a C6-3 and second up was the Estes BullPup also on a C6-3. Ellison next launched my Estes Phenix on D12-5, three times will help on the launch button from the local childred. I flew the Excaliber on a C6-3 and the Estes BullPup on a C6-3 for my third and fouth flights.

This wheat field gives new meaning the statements about corn fields and sonic finder, radio beacons and GPS locators. This is becoming a very arobic hobby. We retired around 100 after finally locating the BullPup in the wheat field. We had to leave early, for our final performance of the Rosetown Playhouse "Redheads" Saturday Evening.

Lee Frisvold writes:

The field will be great for Spring, Fall and winter launches as Loren was pointing out we also use the fields that are to the southwest of the wheat field after the corn is harvested. I don't think we could ask for a better land owner, Loren even gave rides to and from the launch site.

The site definitely has possibilities.

I was able to launch 6 rockets

Skywriter- first on a B6-4 then a C6-5 both nice flights and recovery help from the local kids

Nike-Smoke -first on a B6-4 then a C6-5

Blue Ninja- on a E9-6 for it's last flight, at first it started to fish tail and then angle towards the trees. It went very high and after the chute opened floated far into the trees. Loren took off on his 4 wheeler to look for it saying it's right by his tree stand but came back twenty minutes later saying he didn't see it.

Baby Bertha- on a C6-5 very nice flight and also the last we picked up everything and headed home.

Rick Vatsaas writes:

This summer has been busy with projects other than rockets, so I didn't have much to fly other than a few standby Mod-Rocs. The family and me arrived about 1030. Loren Kjersten had already packed us a nice trail through the wheat field. I grabbed my rockets and headed down the trail, after I finished marveling at Stuart Lenz' flaming red stockings.

Cheryl and the kids waited to get an ATV ride from Loren.

Once at the site, I decided it would be a bad idea to launch any really small rockets, as they would be easily lost in the armpit-high hay (Memories of my youth)

So I launched my Big Bertha once on a D12-5 for a nice flight (Thanks Stuart, for finding it) and my Cheeky Chip Cone Challenger (Rocket made from a British French fry container, eminently disposable) twice. Tom Lawell and his boys making the effort to recover it made the second flight possible. I saw it a lost cause. We did lose it for good after a second flight on a good fifty feet away from the launch site. I wore long pants, and was glad of the coverage while tromping through the crops looking for rockets.

I was glad for the small turnout. I think if we had a lot of people show, we would have [not] been able to handle them well. Next time we'll know what to expect. Loren Says we should be able to drive out onto the field next time. That will help a great deal

Joe Schneider writes:

My Tetrahedron flew 4 times. 3 on C6-3's and once on a C6-0. The last flight proved the end of my flying day; it landed in the jungle of weeds by the pads and I was unable to find it, even with the help of my father and 4 kids... I agree, when the crops come down, it will be a great flying field. I'm still interested in certifying L1, so if the crops come down for the next launch, I'll let you guys know and then I'll certify in Rockford.

The Details:

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

The totals were:  22 flights, 22 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 253 Ns with an average total impulse of 11.5 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 0





















(Alan Estenson)

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