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Last updated: Feb. 7, 2004
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Alan Estenson, Webmaster

October 2003 launch report (10/27/2003)

On Saturday October 25, a small group of rocketeers gathered for a club launch at the Otsego VFW soccer fields.

Big thanks and applause to:

  • Mike Erpelding, ...

A few of the flights:

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

Mike Erpelding writes:

Well we had a pretty successful launch today, despite the cold wind and low turn out. The day started out on a negative note. My cell phone refused to work, "no service", so I had to make my first notification call from the pay phone at the local gas station. ( Yet it magically worked again once I crossed into my local service area.  My provider is going to hear about this one!)I brought Matt, one of my Kimball TARC students, along for his first rocket launch. We had a lot of fun. Matt helped Stuart, Ellison, and myself set up the range.

Glen, Skippy ( Alan), and my junkyard rocket did okay for the only flown entry. The first flight on 3 B4-4's ejected just before hitting the ground, breaking off 3 tubefins plus the attached 2 cosmic cobra type fins from one side. A little electrical tape( forgot my masking tape at home) and it was ready for it's second attempt on 3 B6-2's.

This time it was barely "qualified" and very squirrelly, missing Ken by about 10 feet. Now the rocket was readied for its "repeatability" spot landing event, again on 3 B6-2's. It flew very squirrelly again, but in the opposite direction. We forgot to measure it, so we declared it far. This rocket successfully fired all 3 motors every time.

Matt's very first launch was Stuart's MASA rocket, for a nice flight. I went over with him two different ways to cluster igniters, twisting and clip whips, while flying the junkyard rocket. I let Matt press the button all day today.

We launched my new Aerospace Speciality Products " That Tube Fin Rocket" on a F20-4w. I tilted the rod a little too much and it severely weathercocked with a horizontal flight at about 50 feet in the air. I had a good deployment, but the rocket came down on the gravel road, denting two tubes slightly. We launched it again on a F50-6 for a nice boost. Ejection... stuck chute!!! Down.. dowwn.. Backslide!!! Just one more dented fin tube next to the other two.  Too much wadding.

My Saturn 1B suffered a couple shroud line failures for a streamer- like recovery. Two broken fins, nothing a little glue won't fix.

My Mercury Redstone suffered from a cold wadded chute for a streamer- like recovery. Two broken fins, nothing a little glue won't fix.

My Estes SDI satellite and Ballistic Bovine suffered fin/ tail- handling/ foot traffic damage,nothing a little glue won't fix.

Six shooter suffered a little fin damage as well as Rockets Red Glare received a small leading edge dent; while I was trying to move my launch rod tube, to close my tail gate, to make a rest stop at the gas station. Nothing a little glue won't fix.

The final launch of the day was a "hands off" prep of Rockets Red Glare for practice for Matt. Unfortunately only one D12-5 lit and with a violent clip lead snap, Red Glare did a under powered power prang off the launch rod. Nothing a razor saw won't fix.

Who taught the meeting session on rocket repair? <grin> All of these are little 5 minute fixes, no big deal. Hey Alan, can you get nominated for a prang award for the most damage to one's rocket fleet at a single launch? <grin>

Matt really did a great job today. I think his learning curve took a quantum leap forward today. Murphy's law was just working overtime. I think he's got the rocket bug now! <grin>

Stuart Lenz writes:

The weather was crisp and the wind calm at 800 when I finished loading the van, but by the time we arrived in Otsego the wind was brisk and the clouds have arrived.  The teenager had not bothered to bring a jacket.

Mike E was already there with a TARC student from his mentor group and had the pad position laid out, overly optimistic as it turned out with the smallest turnout I remember at a MASA launch. Ellison launched the first rocket.

I followed with the Estes Shuttle (In memory of). Second was the new Estes Cluster Bomb with mission points for bracketing Mike with the bomblets.

Ken J was the next to arrive with his fine collection of LMR and I must sadly report that his 1990s Big Bertha suffered a massive CATA on an anchent D12-? at about 15 feet above the pad. Dave F was the next to arrive and acually flew his nice Tiny Pterodactyl on an F21 and then his PML Amram 2 on a G35 for the largest engine of the day and probably the longest recovery landing within feet of Hwy 101.

I had by then flown Pokeman #2 on a F21-6 but with the wind picking up and blowing toward the highway, I down scaled to C engines with the Tri-Star Liner, Hyperion Clone and RITSOS.

The final arrival with his children, I did not know by name, but the three of them were busy flying small rockets and gliders.

Mike was the only Junkyard Team member present and expended 9 B6-4 engines in an attempt to qualify it. The first attempt was disqualified by the contest judge because of a bolistic recovery and fin separation. Some electrical tape and it qualified on the second attempt. The contest was a repeatable spot landing on a cluster and with Mikes third flight became the defacto winner of the 2003 Junkyard Contest .

Congratulations Mike.

Mike also flew his NARAM Tube Fin rocket twice, first rather low and landed across the dirt road right after a vehicle went by, second time with more altitude.

I down scaled again and flew my Descon 12 entries, a 3xMM cluster Star Destroyer for an OK flight on two of the three engines and a 2xMM cluster NESA Protector.

We retired from the field at about 100, with Ellison having flown only two rockets due to the cold, even though he was able to borrow a parka from Mike E.  Ken J and Dave F were also packing up.

A fine (cold) day was had by all present with no MASSY candidates that I am aware of.

Ken Jarosch writes:

With the weather cold but sunny and the winds at zero I thought I might get a chance to fly some of my fair weather rockets Saturday.

As I drove up Hwy #10 at Blaine I noticed a few clouds to the west and north. Oh well maybe I can get a half day. By the time I reached Anoka the darker lower clouds were coming at me from the north west. I was a little late but Mike and Stuart had most of the range set up.  I brought my Honest John and Super Vega. Some more 10+ year old stuff.  On D12-3's these need calm days. I wanted to try my 2xD12-5 Impulse and my new 1994 Ultra Blast Lite but the winds were too high. My R.M.S. rockets that I brought were Shadow, Arreaux, Executioner, Big Daddy and Broad Sword. I had to leave early and with the winds high I decided to play it safe with D and E BP motors.

First flight around 1010

1) 1992 Super Big Bertha on D12-3 #24-z-8.

NOTE I have been using up these old motors during the warm weather with no problems.  After lift off at about 12' a double bang followed by parachute and nose cone ejection. Very little smoke and I didn't notice any external fire as I did with the Broadsword last year at this same flight in Blaine. On the way down the rocket folded in half with smoke and burned tubing.  The motor was found with both nozzle and ejection cap gone and the case completely clean. The fuel had blown the motor tube and burned everything inside from the rear centering ring to the forward ring. The rocket lay on the ground with less than 1" holding it together. The paint was brittle and crisp.  But I got all the valuable pieces back and all I need is one of Allen's nice 34" hobby tubes for Longer Better Bertha. LBB-1

2) A Blue Ninja on a E9-4 Even with an angle on the launch rod and a small chute it drifted between the apartments to the South. The blue film has a tendency to unravel so tape it. I did top and bottom but didn't do the mid section. Blue Ninja is not as blue now.

3) After the F21-4w cato at North Branch I wanted to check out the Executioner on a D12-3. It barely got up in the air due to the winds and went over the top and half way down. By the time the charge went off the rocket just missed the ground with it's long shock cord. I think I'll save it for it's intended purpose F21 and 24 mm reloads.

4) Finally the "F" Big Daddy on a D12-3. Fairly good flight all around.

By then it was near pack up time so I just loaded and watched for a while. I left at 110.

Considering the day some really nice flights took place.

David Fergus writes:

For those of you wondering if I was kidnapped or something, I have been. By soccer! My son is in soccer year round now. I am a referee, and weekends are now usually on the pitch.

Anyway, after my sons morning match at the NSC in Blaine, I unloaded him and loaded up a few rockets and motors since I could not miss a launch so close to home. I arrived about noon or so. Everybody else appeared ready to pack up, but both Lee and Glen arrived after me, so I wasn't the only late comer.

I flew the new varient of the venus probe (the ExoShell) for its first flight on a C6-3, I think I put that thing together and painted it last Labor Day (a year ago), but hadn't had a chance to fly it yet. good flight and recovery.

I flew my Lil' Nuke on an F20-7 econojet, had to use a good igniter as the copperhead fizzed. good flight to pretty high altitude, small chute brought it down just across the southbound lanes of 101, in the median strip. just one ding from hitting the edge of the highway.

I then flew my two stage stomp twice, the first time in stomp mode recovery as I misplaced the long delay in the booster and the no delay in the sustainer, so it boinked. Had to do it again, so did it right this time and the sustainer came down fine from quite a bit higher in tumble recovery as designed.

David Whitaker writes:

When I got up on Saturday morning, I noticed that it was cold but quite calm in Burnsville. Ha I thought, a good day for flying rockets!

I had to wait until 9am to leave since I needed to drop my kids off with the neighbors. My wife was on a spiritual retreat this weekend so I was a bachelor dad.

When I arrived at Otsego, the wind had picked up considerably and it may have been even colder. Mike E., the Lenzes and Ken Jarosch were already set up and launching when I got there. I set up and prepped my Tiny Pterodactyl with an F20-7. The launch was good and the descent on the PML 18 inch chute was quite fast. Even with the wind, she landed relatively close to the launch pads. With the success of the Pterodactyl launch, I decided to go for broke and prepped my AMRAAM 2 with a G35-7. I used a copperhead and this time when I pressed the launch button, nothing happened. NO smoke, no sizzle, nothing! About when I was ready to let my finger off the button (which seemed a good 5 seconds after I pressed it) the motor roared to life and the AMRAAM shot skyward. It was a good, high flight and the parachute popped out right on cue. It didn't seem to be coming down very fast, which surprised me since it came down quite fast at Buffalo two months ago.

After floating a long time, the rocket finally came to rest next to 101. I hiked over and found the AMRAAM about 4-5 feet from the edge of the road. Boy, was I lucky! It turned out that Dave Fergus was even luckier later in the day. He dropped a Lil' Nuke on the median strip about 1-2 feet from the edge of the highway.

I then tried my new two-stage CiCi boost glider with a B6-0 and a 1/2A6-2. Ken Jarosch was kind enough to track the bottom stage while I tracked the upper stage. Launch and staging were both good. I watched the upper stage glide to the earthen berm next to 101. When I came back, I found the lower stage in 3 pieces. Ken had found all the parts. Apparently, it broke up right at staging. Later, I was able to use yellow glue and fix it. I'll try again next year and see if the failure was a fluke or not.

At this point, I approached Mike E. to see if he would judge my Nartrek Silver scale rocket. I had built Peter Alway's ARCAS. Mike E.  was kind enough to judge it and watch the 'scale' flight. Thanks Mike!

The scale flight was the last part of the Nartrek Silver requirement I needed to complete and I'm glad it's done.

I had a new Mean machine that I tried to launch. Unfortunately, the engine hook hung on my clothes-pin stand-off and the D12 burned a hole through the metal blast deflector and into the wood. Very impressive!

Not only was the rocket slightly damaged but the launch pad was also.  I tried again and the rocket flew fairly well but it looked like the wind was blowing the Mean Machine side ways.

My final launch of the day was my Ecee Thunder on a D12-3. I was a little scared of doing it in the wind but what the heck. I needed something new to repair! As you might guess, the Ecee Thunder flew perfectly with a nice long glide. It flew parallel to the apartment/townhomes and landed about a hundred yards from 101. People actually applauded when it landed. The Ecee Thunder mythos grows again!

At this point I needed to get home and pick up my kids so I packed it in and left.

Lee Frisvold, Glen and Dave Fergus showed up after noon. It was good to see Dave Fergus since I hadn't seen him in a while. Turn out wasn't very high but it never is at this time of year.

Tom Lawell writes:

Was one of the late ones arriving on Saturday. Travis was on a Boy Scout campout at Rum River, and I had to make special arrangements to pick him up for a few hours so we could attend the junkyard rocket launch. Of course, by the time we arrived around 1245 p.m. the junkyard rocket showdown was over, and Stuart and Ellison had headed home to thaw out. Happy to concede the contest to Mike, but we would like our junkyard rocket back so someday we can actually see if it will fly.

Given the wind and frigid temps, we just brought some small stuff to fly.  Managed to get a Sam-X to successfully stage, and was pleasantly surprised when both pieces fell to earth closeby. Also brought along our video camera which I set up about 12 feet from the mid-power pad. Managed to get a great shot of Dave Fergus' 'Lil Nuke on takeoff. Then we watched Dave's rocket drift ever eastward out over the highway. As it settled down in the center median, a northbound minivan driver slowed up to see what the $%# was headed his direction. Thankfully it wasn't rocket roadkill.

By 200 p.m. we had had enough. Helped take down the flightline fence and headed back to camp. Thanks to Mike for hauling out the gear and presiding over the launch. Also, for bringing a TARC team member to join in the madness.


The Details:

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

The totals were:  45 flights, 60 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 873 Ns with an average total impulse of 14.5 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 5





















(Alan Estenson)

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