May 2006 launch report (6/3/2006)
On Saturday, May 27th, MASA held its fifth launch of the
year. It was a warm day, and a bit on the windy side. The launch was held
at the sod farm near Nowthen.
Important reminder from Mike Erpelding:
Before I left the field, I walked most of the drainage
ditches and fields looking for a few lost rockets. I didn't find
the missing 1 1/2 rockets; but I did find something disturbing!
Someone was using pieces of heavy white paper towels
for recovery wadding!!!!
I found some charred pieces not far from where the range was
setup. This troubled me because regular paper towels do not have
any kind of flame retardant on them. they BURN VERY WELL! What
really scared me was when I drove to the other side of the field
( looking for rockets) I found a complete piece of paper towel
wadded up with a perfect cicrle scorched in it, with several
deep burned pit holes in it. I'm guessing that this "ILLEGAL
WADDING" came from a BT 80 diameter rocket, judging by the size
of the burn circle on the paper towel. Folks, I found this paper
towel almost a half mile from where we were flying. It was fresh
( dry like it just came off the roll) and smelled like burned
powder. It didn't come from some one else using the farm, it was
one of us!
We can not use paper towels for wadding, not ever!! MASA
always provides cellulose wadding free of charge at every
launch. It's in the white 5 gallon bucket, that was sitting on
the prep table. It's labeled in red marker: "WADDING". I had
some more in another orange bucket by my truck.
We could have easily started a grass fire yesterday from
a burning piece of paper towel, up to a half mile away, and
never even know it until it would be too late. This is a good
way to lose a launch site. We could have started a fire on
Fricke's farm, or worse: a fire on the roof of one of Frickes
neighbor's houses. Not to mention the definite lawsuit that
Please use the FREE WADDING PROVIDED, or your own cellulose.
A few of the flights:
MASA members - please send in your thoughts about the
Art Gibbens writes:
Phil and I arrived about 8:55 am to find that Mike had
set up the range on the south end of the field because of the
winds. This was ideal, as there was a large shade tree that most
of us were camped under to get out of the sun. Whew!
Phil flew his Sith Infiltrator on a C6-3, his US Army
Missile twice on B6-4s both times, his R2-D2 twice on
1/2A3-2Ts and his Freaky Flier on a 1/2A3-2T. The Freaky Flier
and US Army Missile both made maiden voyages. The most
"eventful" happenings for him was that R2 didn't get high enough
for the parachute to blossom either time.
I flew my Stomp Rocket on a C6-5 for old times sake. It
BOINKed well. A couple of photographers took pictures of my
Toblerone on the pad before it left on an A8-3. I modified a
Cosmic Cobra to accept up to Estes E engines and flew it first
on a C11-3 for a nice maiden flight. My last flight of the day
was this same rocket on an E9-8 that separated at ejection. I
had added a longer shock cord - guess it wasn't long enough.
Phil and I recovered the nose cone, 'chute and shock cord but
didn't find the fin can and body tube. My other new rocket was
an Estes Hi-Flier modified by putting a payload section on it. I
put an altimeter in it and flew it three times on three
different engines. I flew it first on an A8-3 and got a
confirmed altitude of 237 feet. Then I put a 1/2 A3-2T in it and
did not get enough altitude to trigger the altimeter. I think
that's 100 or 120 feet. I'm guessing it went about 60 to 80 feet
high. I then put in a B6-6 and won the long walk of the day
award as I shagged it 4 fields to the West and 2 fields to the
North. It beeped out a confirmed 666 feet. So whoever is
recording our local club's records can add these A and B
altitude for others to try to better.
I will nominate Joe's fence-post for prang of the year.
A split second after impact the ejection charge pushed the body
tube off the nose cone. I believe he got pictures of the
carnage. A young boy walked by those of us
standing around admiring the crushed nose cone and tube and
said, "That's some serious damage!" and kept on walking, pretty
much summing it up.
It was a good day for flying and more people were
arriving as we were leaving.
Mike Erpelding writes:
I arrived on the field about 8:15. I had pulled up on
the North end and talked to one of Fricke's sons. They were
going to be moving some equipment to another farm, but we
weren't going to be in the way. Noting the wind from the
Southeast, with a wind forecast of 12 mph+, I decided to set up
on the South end of the field; by the "lone tree".
Parking wasn't too bad down there. The two sections that
we flew off of last year had been harvested; but there was
plenty of room to fly from. I called in my one hour advance
notice to open the waiver. Special thank yoou to Joe and Neal
for helping me with the most of the range set up. We used my old
4-H controller. Plus I didn't have any flight cards. Hopefully
members will write in about their flights.
I made two flights yesterday. First was my Estes NSA RTF
rocket on a B6-4 for a nice flight. The second one was one of my
Estes Alpha III 's on a B4-4 for another nice flight. I
had a great time visiting with everyone.
I called in to close the waiver around 2:30 pm.
Fortunately the wind didn't get any stronger than 15 mph, so we
got a lot of flying in. Thank you to everyone who helped
pack up the range at the end of the day. Also thank you to the
Lenz family for setting up an EZ UP tent and leaving it behind
for other members to use, when they had to leave early for
another commitment. Stuart, I could bring it to the meeting or
the next launch, whichever you prefer.
Ken Jarosch writes:
I flew 4 rockets to continue my effort to burn up the
the old Aerotech motors. I used up one pkg. of 1999 E28-4T(2)
and one 2000 F24-7W(0) motor. The Blue Thunder age well but the
White Lightning oxidize making starting hard and unpredictable.
I started with the 16.5 oz. Arreaux on an E28 for a long
but reasonable walk. Good motor for this rocket on a windy day.
Then I put another E28 in my 13.1 oz. Executioner with
the rod at max angle on the Mantis pad. Another good flight with
a longer walk. This rocket came down easy but with the
horizontal drift it really tumbled
hard and racked the painting on the tube end.
The final E28 I used in the 14.4 oz. Estes Shadow. This
rocket does not fly well on a D motor but the E28 got it going
great even in the high winds. Following Glen's offer of a "Spot
Landing Contest in the Drink"
the Shadow came in very straight to dip it's tail feathers in
the drainage ditch. I had the motor secured for a gas seal with
masking tape so only a little water got in.
To work on the 2000 F24's I brought out the Stars and
Stripes Saucer. These old WL motors give a lot of false
starts. Today was no exception. At ignition the motor
cuffed followed by a short burn. Then it had another blast that
took it off the pad and died. As it was floating down inverted
the motor suddenly started again driving the saucer into the
ground. The saucer bounced and with it's inherent stability
pointed skyward and took off to a good height.
A F12-J(0) is the best motor for these saucers. The slow
burn Black Max gives the best height and reliability.
Neal Higgins writes:
I arrived at the field around 8:30 and drove to the
north end before I saw that Mike was setting up on the south.
Once I got to the south end I helped Mike and Joe
complete the range setup.
I started the day with the maiden voyage of my newly
finished 2x Centuri Vulcan with dual rear deploy chutes. I flew
it on an F23-4FJ. Unfortunately it hung up on the launch
rod even though it went on just
fine. I reamed out the launch lugs and made sure it slid freely
this time. This time I tried it on a G35-7W and it flew
beautifully and landed fairly close.
For my next launch I flew my Vaughn Brothers Stretch
Blobbo which I modified with 3 24mm motor mounts. I flew it on 3
x C11-5's for a picture perfect flight. Thanks Joe for being
down range and carrying it
back part way so I did not have such a long walk.
I next flew my Impulse Aerospace Solar Venture on a
C11-5 for another beautiful flight.
Next flight was my scratch built Stargazer on a D12-7. I
opted for a streamer on this flight to get it down quickly but
alas it landed flat and kinked the body tube. It should be
repairable since the damage was minimal.
My LOC Weasel went up next on a F20-7 for another
picture perfect flight. This one found the water and I was able
to get to it quickly and get it dried out before it sustained
I next launched my Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (29mm Big Daddy)
on an F50-9. Again another beautiful flight with a minimal
I decided to end the day with one last flight of the
Vulcan on a G80-7. This motor was right on the edge of
being stable and it was a little squirrelly to start but
stabilized fairly quickly. I won't be flying the Vulcan on
anything this big in the future.
David Whitaker writes:
I foolishly drove to the original Nowthen launch site
and immediately noticed that no one was there. After looking
around I spotted a group of cars in the distance. It took me a
while to figure out how to get over there but I finally did!
My son and daughter actually wanted to attend this
launch so they came along. I spent a lot of time loading up
their rockets and showing them the finer points of using
wadding, how to insert igniters and how to hook stuff up.
It was kind of windy and in my experience that can be
tough on rockets. Not that the wind is destructive but my
rockets typically weather cock badly and then deployment events
occur at high velocities (well, higher than normal). I did
experience one zipper and several mylar chutes that ripped.
My daughter's Estes Payloader (won at the Xmas party)
flew well but zippered badly on a D12-3. I fixed it up with some
clear packing tape. I flew my ASP Tall Boy on a D12-3. It
flew ok but the ejection charge
only kicked out the parachute on the payload section. The mylar
chute on the lower section didn't make it out and it lawn
darted. Paint was scrubbed up but no damage done. I
launched my PML AMRAAM 2 for a beautiful flight on a G33. I knew
the G33 was a "high power" motor but the more I thought about
it, the more I thought I might need a LEUP to possess that
motor. When I started putting it together friday night I
realized it had two C-section fuel grains. It falls under
the Aerotech EZ-access and doesn' t need a LEUP.
My last flight of the day, was a Launch Pad Osiris
(also won at a MASA Xmas party) on a D12-7. It flew very high
and very well. I watched it hit in the center of a sod
strip and then bounce and keep moving. Shortly after that it
seemed to dissappear. I started walking the sod strip and
couldn't spot it anywhere. On the way back, I started scanning
the downwind drainage ditch. I found it! The mylar chute
dragged it into the ditch! I'm starting to dislike mylar cutes
for anything other than competition. Anyway the thing was soaked
and the engine was swollen. Glen Overby tried to help me get the
motor out but it was no go. The rocket joined the "Dead Rocket
Society" after I pitched it into the trash can.
While I was looking for the Osiris, I did notice what
appeared to be Estes style wadding laying next to the drainage
ditch. It was immediately downwind from the launch pad area. I
didn't spot any paper towel material. I guess we need to do a
better job of clueing new members/visitors into what the
appropriate wadding material is.
On the way out my daughter spotted a rocket laying in
the field. I backed the van up and she jumped out and grabbed
the rocket. It was the back end of a "Cosmic Cobra" with
forward swept fins. It was modified to carry a E9-8. I
wonder who's it could be??????? I'll bring it to the next
club meeting and/or
launch. [It belonged to Art Gibbens.]
John Carlson writes:
Quinn and I decided to go to the launch even though it
was fairly windy, I did manage to launch my 30 year old twin D
engine scratch built Super Bertha, great flight I only
split one fin on landing, I also launched a
30 year old Estes V-2, this one is becoming a rocket I need to
shoot at least once every launch I go to., Also a Estes Rubicon,
two Sunward kits the Maverick and Wave rider, the wave rider
needs a C6-3 never a B6-4 again, way to close to the ground, and
my new Quest Force 5, and for the gentleman that questioned me
about it's launch oddities Forgive I can't remember your
name at the moment, this time it did spin on the way up,
maybe it was the wind? it didn't on the first flight last
month. Quinn launched his Quest Astra. He had a
great time chasing rockets and saving me wear and tear on my old
Full launch tally (in Adobe Acrobat PDF form, requires version
or newer of the Acrobat reader)
The totals were: x flights, x motors. The cumulative
total impulse was x Ns with an average total impulse of x Ns.
The motor breakdown follows: