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Last updated: Jan 31, 2008
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Alan Estenson, Webmaster

January 2008 launch report (1/31/2008)

On Saturday, January 26th, MASA held its first launch of 2008.  As has become traditional with MASA winter launches, this one was held at Sunrise Park Middle School in White Bear Lake.  While MASA has flown rockets in the snow numerous times, special circumstances made this launch particularly memorable.

2008 marks MASA's tenth anniversary as an organized rocket club and chartered section of the National Association of Rocketry.  On January 24, 1998, founding MASA members Russ Durkee, Mark Thell, and Damian Kostron held the first official launch of a fledgling club.  On that Saturday, one decade ago, a small group of eager rocketeers congregated at Sunrise Park Middle School in White Bear Lake to fly some rockets.  The weather was quite nice for Minnesota in January - winds were calm, the temperature was around 25 degrees, and there was about six inches of snow on the ground.

We don't have an overall record of the attendance and flights at that very first MASA launch.  However, I did record my own flights in my personal log.  I flew an Estes Meteor on a B6-4 ("straight flight, good deployment, short walk"), my Warrior 50, also on a B6-4 ("slight arc, good flight"), and my favorite rocket - a Mountainside Hobbies V2 on a D12-5 ("arcing flight, stuck in top of tree, lost").  That's right, at the very first MASA launch, I lost my favorite rocket to a tree behind a house at the northwest corner of the field.  I didn't know it at the time, but the trees around that launching site would claim more of my rockets over the coming years.  Not to tempt fate, I never have flown another V2 there!

Almost exactly ten years later, a small group of eager rocketeers gathered at that same field to fly some rockets and kickoff MASA's tenth anniversary year.  Tim Barr, Caleb and Don Boe, Russ Durkee, Brenda Everitt and little Haley (MASA's newest/youngest member!), Alan Estenson, Ken Jarosch, Stuart Lenz, Buzz McDermott, Glen Overby, Dwayne and Richard Shmel, and Mark Thell were all there.

It was a grey and overcast morning, but the temperatures were bearable in the low 20's and the breeze out of the southwest could barely be felt.  The snow on the field was hard and easy for walking with a light coating of fresh powder on top to cushion the touchdown of descending rockets.  We started flying around 10am and continued until just before 1 in the afternoon. 

Amazingly, I found that I still had the two rockets that survived that very first MASA launch.  After a quick day-before repair session to replace a missing fin, my Estes Meteor flew on a B6-4.  Then, I flew my Warrior 50, also on a B6-4.  For symmetry with that first MASA launch, I should have flown a V2, but I didn't dare.  Instead, I flew my trusty ol' Estes Maniac, a veteran of numerous MASA launches, on a D12-5.  This time, all three rockets came home with me!

For this special occasion, founding MASA president Russ Durkee and wife Brenda brought their little daughter Haley out for her very first rocket launch.  Russ flew his Custom Serval twice; it was one of the rockets that he flew back at that first MASA launch.  Brenda also flew her "Big Brenda" Big Bertha rocket; it's also a veteran of past MASA launches.

Caleb Boe and Stuart Lenz both flew traditional MASA "BOINK" stomp rockets.  Ken Jarosch lead the pack with twelve flights; many of them were rockets from the early 1990's.  Stuart Lenz was close behind Ken with nine flights.  Glen Overby flew an altimeter on several flights.  Buzz McDermott flew a vintage Transtar Carrier.  Richard Shmel had several nice flights and one prang when his Tomcat glider suffered a wing sweep malfunction.

All told, a total of 44 rockets took to the skies on motors ranging from 1/2A to D.  Thanks to everyone for coming!

A Happy Tenth Anniversary to MASA and all of its members - past and present!  Watch for more special events and reminiscing throughout 2008.

(Alan Estenson)

Photo Gallery

A few of the flights:

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

Ken Jarosch writes:

Congratulations on the MASA 10th Anniversary

Getting ready for the launch I noticed while I have a great deal of BP motors I have very few BP rockets. Most were given away years ago with the switch to AP. (I had 150 not counting duplicates)

I did save a few medium BP rockets from 91,92 &93 for the White Bear field. Others are mini rockets from Paul's early fights.

The winds were mostly nil until about 11:30 and then I noticed it switched from the WSW and WNW and back.

I made 12 flights Saturday. I started with the mini rockets and streamers. I used 1/2A3-4t's in the Gnome (Paul's first rocket '91), Red Alert (high flier needs a 6T) and the Orange Bullet from the builders kit. I flew the Sparrow (Paul's second rocket '91) on a A3-4T. It lost the streamer and nose cone. I put the modified Antari and the mini-Patriot up on A10-3T's. These rockets all made great flights that I remember from our local play ground days in the '90's.

The 3 rockets I saved just for this field are FireHawk, Interceptor and the D-Region Tomahawk. For this field we downsize to 12" chutes and C11-3's instead of D12's and 18/24" chutes. No breakage this year, yet.

The more recent junk-yard series includes the Katy Shaw Slim , and the 3X scaled up Solar Warrior. Again these flew with C11-3's for rather nice flights on a C motor. Little or no winds even made these, with 18" chutes, a close walk for pick up. Last but not least on a C6-3 was the Nacal International School Demo rocket I designed for that group. Nice flight with no trouble with the chute. It is an 15" from the Sunday paper bag.

Thanks to Alan for bringing out the equipment. Sorry to have to leave early as I had an Afternoon commitment.

Russ Durkee writes:

It was a great day to launch some rockets. Brenda, Haley, and I enjoyed it very much.

It was great to see everyone!


The Details:

Full launch tally (PDF)

The totals were:  44 flights, 45 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 326 Ns with an average total impulse of 7.3 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 0















(Alan Estenson)

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