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Last updated: Aug 26, 2007
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August 25 2007 launch report (8/26/2007)

On Saturday, August 25th, MASA held its eighth launch of the year. This launch was held at the sod farm near Nowthen.

To put it simply, it was a gorgeous day for flying rockets.

The theme for the day was multi-staging.  There were a total of 17 multi-stage flights.

Since it was August, it was time for the Annual Great UFO Drag Race.  Five UFO's of varying sizes and styles were flown this year.

It was also time for the annual Comanche-3 drag race.  Six of those 3-stage birds took to the skies on a wide variety of motor combinations.  Five of them were completely successful while one suffered a lawn dart.

Thanks to the LCO/RSO volunteers:  Alan Estenson, Mark Thell, Ken Jarosch, David Whitaker, and Ted Cochran.

A few of the flights:

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

Ted Cochran writes:

The Comanche Drag Race (six three stage Comanches on IIRC five different motor combinations) was spectacular, as always. It is absolutely impossible to keep track of a single rocket through all that. Complete
sensory overload; it must be what it's like to be in the middle of a flash-bang grenade explosion. Just too cool. (And my D12-0 -> C6-0 -> C6-7 flight in the Comanche I built yesterday afternoon went very well,
thank you).

I flew the Sweet Vee two more times. I've been trying to get the hang of flying it (as opposed to wrenching it all over the sky), and it's getting a little better. It went mostly up on both boosts using E7RC reloads, which is a nice change. I didn't get left-right reversed, and I'm getting somewhat better at flying it, instead of letting it fly me.  It's a learning curve, though, for sure.

I crashed the AQM-37A (AKA Jayhawk) when the E18-4 decided to be an E18-8. The chute came out at about 12' AGL, and was still wrapped when it hit the ground. RIP.

I drag raced Dave Whittaker using Super Sprites, both with a Starry finish. They flew in a neat little formation for awhile, but he was using an E9 and I was using a D12-3, so mine peeled off and landed

My coolest flight of the day was the Tethys on an I285 redline. Very loud, very straight, ejection at apogee, easy walk.

There were a lot of memorable flights. Glen and Alan flew teeny rockets ridiculously high on Fs (one supersonic, one long-burn), which was cool to see. Dave got a great hybrid flight off. There were lots of flights by lots of people--the weather was great!

There were some spectacular CATOS--at least three--including MASA's first Statue of Liberty in years (forward closure failure led to the rocket stuck at the top of the rod, burning).

But for all those memorable flights, I think I'll most remember the flights of the helium-filled Dudes. It will be with me for a long, long time....

Alan Estenson writes:

I had nine flights for the day including two multi-stage flights and two G-powered flights.

Of those, two were my favorites.  The first was a flight of my VB Extreme 29 on a long-burn F10-8 motor.  It just kept going, and going, and going...  Afterwards, the onboard altimeter beeped out 2,920 feet.  I had to resist the temptation to fly it again - on a G25.

The second was the flight of my vintage Der Big Red Max on a C6-5.  This was not only the first model rocket that I ever built, but, 25 years ago this month, it won a blue ribbon at the county fair.  It flew perfectly and will now go back into retirement.

Ken Jarosch writes:

In the spirit of the UFO theme I brought mainly odd-rocs and untried rockets. Also many of the rockets require little or no wind. Saturday early was just that.

SAUCERS: of the A to H saucers I brought I flew just two AppleWhite's 6" Delta Saucers. The SpaceShipEarth on a D11-P and the Flame on an E9-P. Both flew in their standard form. I wanted to burn up those motors.

PYRAMIDS: I flew 3 pyramids. Two Junk Yard models and the Sunward rocket. The black two tier junk yard profile model is the proto type for the large set. It weighs about 7oz. and was flown on a D12-3. It made a nice straight flight with a good landing due to the low winds. It went in the drink. The larger version "Ha'Tak" of SG1 fame is a three tier junk yard profile model. This weighs about 25 oz. loaded with motor. This rocket was designed for the F21-4W. With the nose weight at 5.2 oz., the thrust time profile of the White Lighting has too low a peak thrust and the extended time of thrust made it a bad choice. With no delay time adjustment I switched to a F39-6T reload. With over a 5::1 peak thrust to weight ratio and a matching 6::1 average thrust to weight ratio that seemed Ok. The only thing left to do was to adjust the time delay. I wavered between a -4 sec. and -3 sec. delay. I assume a pyramid CP at 1/3H and the target CG at 1/2H for a 1/6H stability factor. This rocket was tried early before crowds arrived. I angle it away from the cars. It took off in F39 fashion straight up and then angled to the horizontal. It went over the top and half way down before the 30" chute ejected with no damage. Needs more vertical angle and 2 sec delay max. Next I brought up the Sunward's Khufu's Pyramid on a D12-3. This rocket will be reviewed in the Planet. This rocket uses separate recovery of the motor mount and shell. The rocket flew much like my proto type only at ejection the mount came down by streamer. The pyramid descended by 18 " chute at a fast rate. Like the proto type it landed in the drink. No damaged.

SCI-FI:: Mars Lander: After a 5 part disertation (over 15,000 words according to Paul- 17,000 with space and CR) and photos it was time to test the results. The original lander use a C6-3 and flys in up to 2 MPH winds max for a low altitude flight. My modified Mars Lander which was one of 90 permutations to optimise and modify the lander was flown on the most efficient motor choice, the D21-4T SU. The rocket took off in a neck jerk straight flight to a very good altitude. The chute ejected and the rocket landed on it's feet upright.

LONG JOHNS:: Just two choices here. First the Junk Machine, a junk yard version of the Mean Machine. At 13.6 oz. loaded and 90" in length it flew according to it's profile which was slightly curved due to the heat bending on its Black paint job. At a modest height the 30" chute brought it down slowly. It's partner is Estes Storm Caster (modified) at 98.25" and 14.7 oz. loaded. This rocket's color did not cause it to bend so the flight was higher and straighter. This rocket was flown on a D12-3. Through under powered it still put in a nice flight. It is designed for 24 mm reloads up to a F39.

EGG LOFTERS:: Two lofters were used today. The 24 mm Courier on a D12-3 using separate recovery for rocket and egg pod. Both come with the standard Quest 14" chute. While it did go high it drifted more than I expected. I did get it back several fields over with no damage to rocket or egg. This rocket is designed for up to a F12-6. Next rocket was my new Scrambler. Memories from the past. Only this time a F motor dual egg lofter. The previous flight warned me about what was about to happen. By now the winds picked up and were changing from the WNW to the WSW. I tried to adjust the angle and direction to keep it out in the open. The rocket had a 12" thin mill nylon chute but the big pod had a 18" chute. Knowing the possible result I followed the planned flight on a F21-4W. The rocket took off faster and higher than I expected. At apogee I got a nice full bloom on the pod chute and a fair opening on the rocket chute. Both raced towards the field to the West. The pod on the 18" chute ran away from the body. I watched as they drifted to the corn. I lost sight of both pieces by then. I started packing up, planning to check area on the way out. Just before I left Alan handed me the fin can saying someone had found it way over at the edge of the last field. A fin was broke and the body had a depressed area. Must have run into the egg pod. The egg pod must have gone well into the corn.

All in all a great day to finish off some untried models and plan future flights.

Caleb Boe writes:

My main goal for today was to finish the NARTREK Silver Lever (which I had started several years ago) with the 30 second glider duration. I have attempted this many times before but have always had bad luck. Finally after three tries (twice with the Cici and once with the Tinee) I was able to get a duration of 34 sec with the Cici.

I flew my Deuce's Wild on a pair of C6-5s and my Astrocam 110 on a C6-5, I will have to see how well the pictures turn out.

Next I flew my Dr. Zooch Saturn V on a C6-3. This rocket didn't fly on a very vertical trajectory; however the flight was still a success. Since the themes of the launch were multi stage and UFO's I killed two birds with one stone using my Fliskits Frick-n-Frack (2 stage UFO). It flew on a C6-0 staging to a B6-0. This combination didn't work as well as the last time I flew it (B6-0 to C6-0). It seems that the extra weight during the lower stage burn allows the saucer to easily weathercock. I then flew my Semroc Laser X on a B6-4 for its first flight. Right after that I flew my Aerotech IQSY Tomahawk on an F40-7. This flight went well, but deployment looked a bit early.

Next I flew my Screamin Mimi on a D12-5. I can never really hear the whistles on this rocket. I don't think a D12 gets the thing moving fast enough. That flight was followed by a drag race between my ACME Spitfire
and Dwayne Shmel's. Mine won, reaching a higher altitude and lifting off first.

Next I flew my Fliskits Tres on a triplet of C6-5s. For my final flight, I flew an upscale Art Applewhite saucer on a D13.

The weather was just perfect for flying rockets, I couldn't have asked for a better day.

Ron Wirth writes:

What a beautiful day to fly rockets!!! I arrived at the field just after 9 AM to find everyone at the north end (Yeah….less corn worries). The day started with practically no wind and about 68 degree according to my car. I set up my launch equipment in misfire alley. After about 60 minutes of failed attempts of trying to fly my
Fat Boy (three different launch controllers & new batteries) I started using the community pads for the rest of the day. I did manage to get 12 flights in before I packed up at about 2:30.

I brought three multi-staged rockets to stick with the monthly theme. I launched my Thrustline Double Up (C6-0, C6-5) for a nice flight though it did take a 30 degree angle coming off the rod. I launched my newly completed Fliskits Cheetah (C6-0, B6-6). The first stage motor spit out without taking the booster with it (it got scorched pretty badly). The rocket didn't really fall the way it was suppose to with the streamer and ended up taking a core sample it soft dirt. The last multi-stage rocket was my Comanche-3(D12-0, C6-0, B6-6) that participated in the annual drag race. It was really tough to try and track the rocket through flight with the other rockets going up at the same time. I got lucky because mine seemed to be the only one that went straight up. I was able to recover all the components.

I tried once again to get my Fake-Wulf rocket to glide without success. It had the usual flop flight (seems to glide then flops over after a couple seconds) after adding nose weight twice. Next time I am going to try and add trim tabs to both wings which I had unfortunately left at home.

It was the maiden voyage of my 222% upscale of an Estes Courier which was a BT20 rocket available from '83 thru '87. While it is not a true upscale because the original nose cone could not easily be up scaled, the final dimensions were true to form. I was happy with the way it turned out and the way it flies. I flew it twice for the day.  Once on a D12-5 and the other time on a E9-6. The appearance of the rocket makes it look like a two stage rocket. I plan to create another that will be two stages.

Other launches for the day included a maiden flight for a Fliskits Alien8 (B6-4) for a low flight, a Thrustline Mighty Mick (E9-8) for a high flight with a perfect streamer recover, a Goony Nike-G (C6-5), and an Estes Big Daddy (D12-5). For the Big Daddy I forgot to put the engine spacer in the tuber so the bottom portion of the engine tube got burnt a fair amount. The parachute did not unfurl until about 25ft before the ground which then snapped the stock Estes shock cord but the rocket suffered no damage.

All and all it was a great day of rocket flying. Thanks to all those who served as LCO/RSO.

The Details:

Full launch tally (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

The totals were:  148  flights, 181 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 4929 Ns with an average total impulse of  27.2 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 0
















G 15


I 1



(Alan Estenson)

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