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Last updated: Sept. 27, 2004
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August 2004 launch report (8/30/2004)

On Saturday, August 28th, many MASA members gathered at the Elk River VFW for the scheduled August launch.

Big thanks to:

  • Mike Erpelding for hauling all the gear to and from the launch
  • All LCO volunteers

A few of the flights:

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

Ted Cochran writes:

Seth and I arrived around 1045, and flew for an hour and a half. Then I did LCO duty for an hour, and then flew for the last hour of the launch. We got in 12 flights, eight of which were gliders of one form or another. Columbia snagged an igniter clip and made a scary, but ultimately safe flight, and the ARV Condor did a Red Baron for the first time in 20 flights, but everything else went well. RingHawk flew twice--once it ejected near apogee and tail slid into a stall, falling slowly (but horizontally) the rest of the way. I used a longer delay next time to force it over the top, and it did fine. The Quest HL20 flew about as well as the Six Million Dollar Man's did--I need to add a little more weight to the tail, I think. We flew a Sling Wing, a Deltie Thunder, and an Orbital Transport to round out the gliders.

Silver Comet flew twice more on a D12 and an E9 (which stuck out the back, but not as much as the F32 did a few years back -). I also flew a modular two stage rocket built by John Lyngdal as a potential teaching tool and a Screaming Mimi.

I agree with the nomination of Jim's chad-staged DW camera rocket for a prang award. It's unfortunate; I'm sure that if the Stuart or Ellison had been there there'd have been a good set of alternates <evil grin>. A second nomination would be for a heavy lifter (Ken's or Paul's, perhaps?) but we didn't see it actually crash since it flew over the berm first. And there was a Big Daddyish staged rocket that was wildly unstable before staging, and extremely stable afterwards--unfortunately in a slightly downward pointing trajectory which led to a nice high speed horizontal landing, followed by an excellent bounce and run for additional distance, before it finally came to rest and ejected. Anyone want to take credit? -)

Thanks to Mike for bringing out the gear, to the people who set up or tore down the range, and to all the LCO volunteers.

Art Gibbens writes:

Wow, what a great day to fly some rockets!

Phil and I arrived around 830 am to find Mike unloading equipment, so we helped him set up the club "stuff" to ensure that anyone that came today would have a pad available to use. Then we claimed a spot along the "mis-fire alley", set up our gear and started flying rockets.

I had a simple goal, fly every rocket I had in my arsenal at least once today. Mission accomplished. I almost didn't get to use my own pad though, as my old car battery finally died. Lucky for me, Mike had an extra one in his truck that he let me use for the day. Thanx Mike!

The only thing that was damaged heavily was my Gemini DC because neither 'chute opened even though they both ejected. It had one cracked fin because of the hard landing. I had a slug of B4-4 motors to burn up that I had bought off a ROL auction a couple of years back. I only flew one D today, and it was a booster on my Blue Arrow with a B6-6 in the sustainer for my highest flight. I also flew my old Saturn 1B, which doesn't look like one - even with the decals on it. I built that rocket in 1973 and try to fly it once or twice a year, as conditions dictate.

Phil and I drag-raced three rockets on A8-3s near the end of the launch, which was a hoot. I think between he and I we went through about 30 motors.  I'll have to wait and count them up from the launch report once it's posted.

Phil had his Sith Infiltrator separate twice, the second time causing enough damage so as to make it un-flyable without repairs at home. He also had a C6-5 motor give him fits in his Scrambler, burning through 4 ignitors before giving up on that motor. I then used my handy-dandy dental pick to carefully scrape the nozzle area to make sure no ceramic dust was keeping the ignitor from doing it's job. It then lit in my Rascal just fine.

There was a horrific crash of a film taking camera that I would like to nominate for Prang of the Year Award. I don't know the guy's name - but he flew off of the 10 - ish numbered pad. It was ugly. Let's just say "kindling" is too kind a word for what remained.  [This rocket belonged to Jim Myers.]

The most exciting moment of my day occurred just before I started my LCO shift. While walking back to my car to get a soda to sip on during the shift, someone had launched a pod and glider with what felt like a heat seeking guidance system heading straight for me about 5 to 6 feet off the ground, cleared my car and landing on the gravel parking lot in front of all the rest of the cars. Needs some trimming.

It was fun to see everyone out at the launch, including Dave Fergus who stopped by for a few minutes on his way to a soccer game he had to officiate at. He encouraged us all to vote for him on the DESCON website.

At 230 the range was closed so Phil and I helped tear down, carry equipment back to Mike's truck and then sweep the field. Thanx to everyone that helped by volunteering for the LCO/RSO shifts to make the launch run smoothly.

Ken Jarosch writes:

Thanks to all who showed off their RG and BG today. I always enjoy watching a freeflight glider.

I had three areas to cover today. The final 2 rockets in our Junkyard Series , new standard rockets and of course the rocket planes. Also Paul wanted to try his new launch set up. It is 50' cable and 190 AMP. battery run through an old Estes C battery & Nicad controller that we rewired for 12 volts.

First to fly in the Junkyard series was my Luna 2 on a D12-3. This is a Sci-fi clone of the Luna 1 of the "Journey to the Moon" movie. At 12-1/2 oz. it flew great. It has side mini clusters not used today. Next to fly was the Junk Machine at 13 oz. on a D12-3. At 91" of paper towel tubes it also went up great. Paul said he saw a small wobble but I didn't notice it. It came down fast on a 30" thin film nylon chute. This completes this Series save for the F and G Profile Tube Pyramids yet to be built like our successful D Small pyramid already flown.

Our new set of rockets were flown next. I tried the Classic Fat Boy with 24 mm motor tube and 18" nylon chute on a C11-3 as a test. It went fairly high with good chute at Apogee. Following this I brought the Minnesota Mosquito back for a 2nd flight , this time on a D12-5. I angled into the wind and it went over the top for a good but somewhat late chute.

Next to fly was my L.B. Bertha (Longer Better Bertha) on a D12-3. At 12-3/4 oz. it is almost twice weight of the original due to upgrading with 4 centering rings and H.D. motor tube and 24" nylon chute. It is the rebuild of the Bertha that burned up like the Hindenberg last October on a old D12-3. It is built for up to F21-4w.

The next rocket that I'am rather pleased with is my new Lil' Expediter.  This is down scale of a Loc Expediter. It scales out at 2/3 (0.65%) of the Loc and weights 11-1/2 oz. It too is designed for a D-12-3 through a F21-4w. This was a test and it flew great and the 24" nylon chute came out at the top of flight.

My next rocket was the 4" dia. Ultra "Blast Lite" taken from the June 1994 issue of SPR. It weighed out at 15-1/2 oz. even though it was built lighter than the plan. I made a 15" homemade styrofoam nose cone. It needs a E30-4t min. to a F21-4w. The E30-4t I used today took it off the pad great with good 30" nylon chute. But on landing I saw that the nose cone had broken in half and a section of the top of the BT-101 caved in.

Good thing I fiber glassed the top 1" to the tube. It appears that the NC snapped back into the rocket tube damaging both. I had a 9' of 3/8" shock cord but that may not be long enough given the lite weights of the parts.

Next up were the planes. I first tried my 1994 QCR Ultimate Fold Wing on a C6-3. It took off fast and a little cork screw on coast. When it ejected only one wing opened with the resulting death spiral. Everything front of the wing is gone but the rest is ok. I may try to repair the pod section.

I tried the Tinee on 3 flights. The first 1/4A hung on the rod. The 2nd 1/4A barely got off the pad before plane landed. On a 1/2A-2t I got some height to test the glide which wasn't bad but not a contest plane.

We ran out of time so the Deltie, Ivee, EC-18 and the maxi Honest John will have to wait until next time. (Paul works nights so we have to leave early)

Thanks again for a great day.

The Details:

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

The totals were:  146 flights, 168 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 1518 Ns with an average total impulse of 9 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 0





















(Alan Estenson)

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