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:
A few of the flights:
MASA members - please send in your thoughts about the
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
My Mercury Redstone suffered from a cold wadded chute for a
streamer- like recovery. Two broken fins, nothing a little glue
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
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 .
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Full launch tally (in
Adobe Acrobat PDF form, requires version 4 or newer of the Acrobat
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: