June 24, 2006 launch report (6/24/2006)
On Saturday, June 24th, MASA held its sixth launch of the
year. The launch was held
at the sod farm near Nowthen. The morning thunderstorms missed
us to the south and to the north, so the field stayed dry.
Initially, the range was setup on the south end of the field, but
after a few launches, the decision was made to move the whole thing
up to the north end of the field.
The day turned out lovely with sunshine, warm temperatures, and a
light breeze out of the SE. The turnout was not large; perhaps
people were scared away by the forecast of rain.
There were a number of F, G, and H flights as people took
advantage of the open sod fields. Congratulations to Joe
Schneider on a successful Level 1 high power certification flight!
Joe flew his Thoy WASP on an Aerotech H165 Redline reload.
Thanks to everyone who served RSO/LCO duty: Mike Erpelding,
Buzz McDermott, Alan Estenson (and anyone else whom I'm forgetting).
Thanks to everyone who helped set up the range (twice) and stayed to
help pack it away at the end of the day.
A few of the flights:
MASA members - please send in your thoughts about the
Alan Estenson writes:
I arrived to find Mike at the south end of the field by
the big cottonwood trees. After setting up my Quad Pod and
launch controller, I quickly prepped and flew my trusty old LOC
lil' Nuke on an old Aerotech F23-7 EconoJet single use.
The Nuke had a nice flight, but, being true to its green paint
job, it landed in the corn. Thanks to Mark Thell and Ted
Cochran for helping me look for it. It eventually turned
up about 30 feet into the next field and on the other side of a
drainage ditch, so it will fly again.
By the time that Ted and I returned from the search,
everyone had packed up and fled to the north end of the field.
After following them, I prepped and flew my old Aerotech
Chaparral on another F23-7. Then, my PML IO followed on a
G35-7. As you can tell, I was using up a bunch of old
EconoJet single use motors.
After a stint at range duty, I flew my old, stretched,
uglified LOC Graduator on a G35-4. It resulted in my
shortest walk of the day - landing less than 20 feet from the
pad. My final flight of the day was my 2.14" Solar Warrior
upscale on a G38-4. Thanks to Ted for finding it; it was
hiding in plain sight from me.
Mike Erpelding decided to have a one-man mass launch /
drag race by flying an entire bulk pack (12) Alpha III's at the
same time on A8-3's. Only 13 A's were burned today, and
Mike did 12 of them simultaneously! All 12 rockets ignited
and flew safely; only one of them landed in Overby Pond.
(At least a couple rockets found the pond today including Jeff
Taylor's Deuces Wild at the very end of the day. Given the
thick, green nature of the pond water, we decided that they
didn't so much "splashdown" as they did "splatdown".)
Neal Higgins had several nice flights. However, he
seems to have found some E15-7's that had a very severe case of
"bonus delay." Twice, he had rockets eject very close to
Ted Cochran had one of the best 2-stage flights of the
day. His Custom Lightning went almost perfectly straight
up on a D12-0 to D12-7 combo. Buzz McDermott, on the other
hand, had the most interesting 2-stage "flight" of the day.
His highly modified Renegade was supposed to stage from a
cluster of two C6-0's to a single C6-5. However, only one
C6-0 lit on the pad for an underpowered trajectory. The
sustainer separated, but didn't ignite and then lawn-darted.
Meanwhile, the other C6-0 in the booster had ignited from the
top end and burned its way down for a nice road flare effect
that left things a bit crispy. Another 2-stage flight that
made you go "huh" was Rick Rider's. He also flew a
modified Renegade, but his used a D12-0 to D12-7. After
ignition, the rocket hung on the pad while the booster burned.
It then staged - while still on the pad. The sustainer
then flew free and had a successful flight.
Paul Jarosch grafted the Oracle's digital video camera
nose cone onto a flying saucer, and then he flew it on a G64!
It was a neat flight, and he'll hopefully share the video with
Glen Overby spent half the day looking for "Tuber Mid"
that went into the weeds or possibly a drainage ditch.
Despite help from several people, the rocket remained MIA.
Glen made every snap our necks back when he flew a D21 in the
minimum diameter "Poof!" He even got it back!
I do have to admit, Mark Thell's huge flying beer bottle
did fly safely on an H242. It was stable and pretty much
went straight up. Both chutes deployed and it looked like
a rousing success. A few seconds later, it unfortunately
suffered a failure of the shock cord mount; the plastic bottle
freefell and smashed to pieces on the hard ground.
There was much more, but I'll leave it to others to
Mark Thell writes:
It was a beautiful day for launching rockets (as opposed
to the weather forecasters dire prediction of T storms).
I arrived right behind Mr Estenson. Helped the boys set up the
range, for practice, as we tore it down and moved things to the
north end of the field. I started things with my Renegade
bash on a D 12. alas, the shock cord decided to part company
with the rest of the rocket. I had a good idea where the BT
ended up so I chased the NC with my cool parachute, recovered it
Next up was my Flying Martini Glass of Death on a D12-7.(IIRC
Death was a theme for the day, The word "death " had to somehow
be in the rockets name) I heard someone say that it was a waste
of a D 12, but it flies very well. Thank you Rick V for this fun
Next up was my Flaming Skywinder of Death on a C6. Geez I like
this rocket, Great flight.
Larry Schwartz and I had a drag race of our Nike Smokes of Death
on C6s , his was streamer, mine parachute. I think I was first
off the pad, mine naturally ended up just on the other side of
the drainage ditch. I located it and vowed to fish it back later
with Mike's retriever stick.
I had other things to do.......
After talking things over with Larry, He suggested that
rather than using an H 180 29mm, I would be better off using a
38mmH242, purpose of which was to get the MGD bottle high enough
to make up for the lengthy delay. Larry graciously lent me his
38mm casing , Thanks Larry.
Some of the group were not in favor of me flying the MGD bottle
because of stability concerns. However, the RSO on duty gave me
the Okey Dokey and away we went.
I will admit to being a little nervous the closer we got to
launch. I cannot explain it... but I just had a gut feeling that
it would fly fine. The customary final pictures were taken and
the count was started.
SHE FLEW GRRREEEAAATTT. Stable as heck, I did detect a slight
roll as she went up. Waited for ejection, out came both chutes,
I was elated that everything worked as advertised. Alas it was
not to be, I'm guessing 100 to 200 feet , the !@#$%$ shock cord
Tumbled down and shattered into a zillion pieces.
I elected to follow the 2 chutes and NC down, expensive chutes.
Dave Whitaker, and Larry's wife(sorry ,I forgot your name)
helped me find them. Thanks to both of you for your help. Dave
found my chutes in the dreaded corn.
We trekked over the the wreckage, took the customary after
flight photos. It was my first chance to see what went wrong.
The LOC shock cord mounting system(that I have used successfully
for years) completely stripped itself out of the rocket. I have
never had that happen in any of the rockets I have had.
We brought the pieces back to the launch area and Alan took the
picture of us putting the pieces into the garbage bag.
Even though this attempt wasn't completely successful, it was
still a GREAT FLIGHT. I will build another one. using what I
learned from this. E-Bay here I come.
My PML eye 0 was next on a G 80.SU Screamed off the pad
chute deployed about 10 feet off the ground, no damage, tough
rocket. My Mars Lander went up along with Ted's lander.
His went first on a D12, mine went on a C6. Gotta put
noseweight in mine. Not a whole lot of damage, easily fixed.
My last flight was the first flight of my Tres that I bought at
last years NARCON, 3 B6-4s. Took a little fooling around , but
it went off for a good flight
Packed stuff up and hit the road. it was a great day.
Joe Schneider writes:
I had a rather uneventful day at the launch, flying only
two models. My Aura was slated for a low flight on an E11-3. It
then proceeded to have a spectacular motor failure. It seems the
motor burned right through the delay element about a second into
the flight. Made for a nice set of loops in the sky and a
horribly charred rocket.
The real reason I attended the launch was to pick up my
new 29-180 casing and H165 redline reload that Larry had been
holding for me for quite some time. After the 24mm reload
failure early in the day, I carefully assembled the H165 reload
and prepped the rocket. Having lost my larger 29mm, H-capable
rockets through a series of G-powered damages and a L1 attempt
lost in the corn last summer, I was left with just my THOY WASP
to certify with. It may have been slightly overpowered with the
H, but despite it going way the heck up there, it returned
within a few hundred feet of the launch pad thanks to its small
parachute. The friction-fit casing even managed to not kick out,
thankfully! Not wanting to mess with any more reloads, and
having made L1 and having only 29mm F and G reloads to fly with,
I opted to spend the rest of my day cleaning out my casings from
earlier in the day. I left slightly after 2pm, ready to build
some more larger 29mm models for future H flights and fly some
more smaller reloads at the July launch, hopefully without any
of the troubles I had with the E11 early on Saturday.
Neal Higgins writes:
I arrived at the field just in time to help tear down
and move to the north end.
For my 1st flight I flew my 2x Centuri Vulcan on a G35-7
for another excellent flight. This rocket uses dual rear deploy
chutes and ended up standing vertically upon landing with about
3" of the nose cone buried in the dirt. No damage and she'll fly
I next flew my Big Bad Voodoo Daddy(29mm Big Daddy) on a
G40-10. Another beautiful flight for this rocket.
Next up was my LOC Aura and an old 24mm F72-10. It flew
very nicely but should have had an 8 sec. delay instead of 10.
It ended up it the corn to the southeast but I found it very
easily because of the altimeter
beep. The altimeter was beeping out 1941'.
As Alan mentioned I had some delay problems with a
couple of old E15-7's. The first was in my modified Blobbo. It
went up nicely arced over and headed for a large tree by the R/C
fliers. Luckily the chute deployed about 30' above the ground
and sustained no damage. Since the Blobbo servived I decided to
fly it next on a F50-9. This time it was a perfect flight and it
landed only a few hundred feet to the east.
The last flight of the day and worst was my modified Fat
Boy and the last of my bad E15-7's. The flight was good but the
landing proved to be fatal. Only 1" of the rocket was sticking
of the ground when I found it in the sod. I was able to
carefully dif it out but the hard impact had compressed the body
tube to badly to be fixed.
Even with the loss of the Fat Boy it was a great day to
be flying rockets.
Ken Jarosch writes:
Since the theme was Egg Lofters I brought all my lofters
to try them out.
The Elite rocket has not been a great lofter to date.
Today's flights were a test regarding how weight would cause the
rocket to malfunction. Previous flights with an 50g egg on
a C6-3 have lousy flight profiles.
The rocket flies great empty. Today I tested it on a
B6-2 with a golf ball for P/L. The flight was great. Nice and
straight flight path. I made a 2nd flight with a C6-3 and an
egg. The results were predictable. The egg pod flies in a
large arc to the left with the fin end fish tailing behind it in
a circular pattern about 45° out from the flight line. I should
have only made one variable change at time by trying it on a
B6-2. Also the short shock cord only lasted 4 flights and the
egg mass ripped it apart.
The Eggstravaganza 18 was flown on a C6-3. While the
rocket has a nice flight profile I am still having problems with
the over the top shroud lines tangling for a crash landing. I
will probably change to one on my
more reliable chutes.
Next I tried the EggsCaliber on a C11-3 for a great
flight. The C11 took the rocket higher then I thought it might.
The two chutes deployed nicely with the egg pod just hovering.
This rocket is set up for B6-2 through F21-6.
I also had my modified 24mm Courier along but I though I
had better burn some AP so I tried my Ultra "Blast Lite" on a
F21-4W for a rather nice flight. The "Blast Lite is a 4" dia. X
39" ultra lite rocket. The extended shock cord save the foam
nose cone from damage.
Jeff Taylor writes:
I woke at 8:00 AM to thunderstorms and figured the
launch would be cancelled, so I went back to sleep for a while.
I woke later to perfect flying weather and decided to head out
to Nowthen. I got to the launch late in the afternoon, but
arrived safely in spite of the fact that my daughter Alyssa
drove us part of the way there having just got her learner's
permit the day before.
My daughters Alyssa and McKenna flew a Blue Ninja and a
Skywriter, and I launched my Big Daddy for it's first flight.
Alyssa's Blue Ninja on a D12 landed just north of the north
drainage ditch, and McKenna's Skywriter on a C6 (after Carol
helped her replace a bad igniter) landed on the near edge of
Overby Pond. My Big Daddy went up on an E9, and landed just a
few feet from my truck, so recovery was a snap. I flew my Deuces
Wild on 2 B6's for it's second-ever flight. After successful
ignition of both motors, and it splatted-down in the green muck
of Overby Pond. Thanks to Ted for a swift and safe recovery with
the big pole! A special thanks to those few that were out
looking for a rocket to the east and happened upon the
remains of a Viking that I lost some time last year! After
helping pack up the range I left, and nervously let Alyssa drive
part of the way home. Congrats to Joe Schneider for getting his
Full launch tally (in Adobe Acrobat PDF form, requires version
or newer of the Acrobat reader)
The totals were: 82 flights, 92 motors. The cumulative
total impulse was 2976 Ns with an average total impulse of 32.3 Ns.
The motor breakdown follows: