MASA MASA   Join the National Association of Rocketry Minnesota Rocketry Network

About MASA


  Join MASA

Events Schedule



  Meeting Reports


  Launch Reports

Planet Newsletter

  Planet Online




  Email List


  Outreach Reports

Photo Gallery


Files -n- Forms

MASSY Awards

Open Contest



Last updated: June 3, 2008
Site hosted courtesy of the
Minnesota Rocketry Network
Alan Estenson, Webmaster

May 2008 launch report (6/3/2008)

On Saturday, May 31st, MASA held it's fourth launch of the year.  This was the first "big" launch of the year, and the first one at the sod fields near Nowthen.

The weather cooperated with a warm, sunny day.  The breeze out of the NW made the recovery walks a little longer, but it wasn't too bad.  The turnout was excellent with many old and new members and guests.

The theme for the launch was "Fat Boy Mania"!

Buzz McDermott ran a fun contest - C Fat Boy duration.  Buzz reports:

"We had six entrants in the Fat Boy Duration Contest - one junior and five seniors. Since there was only one junior contestant I went ahead and lumped everyone into a single category. That was bad news for the seniors, however. The overall winner (by a country mile) was junior Scott Gleason who flew his Fat Boy on a C6-5 and a 32" Dynastar parachute to record a time of almost 65 seconds. This was almost twice the winning senior time! It could have been worse. If Scott had chosen a slightly different launch angle and used a C6-3 instead, I bet his time would have been between 90-100 seconds.

Ray King proved that having a huge mylar parachute is only to your advantage if you can get the parachute to open. :-)  Dave Whitaker showed being last to fly doesn't mean you'll end up last in the results.

Here are the results:
1. Scott Gleason, C6-3, 32" chute, 64.93 sec
2. Dave Whitaker, C6-?, 24" chute, 34.13 sec
3. Ray King, C11-3, BIG mylar wad, 24.42 sec

Thanks to all who participated. I hope it was fun. We will have to do this again."

Andy Heren ran another fun event - a Fat Boy (rocket) "Beauty Contest".  The entries were displayed on a blanket near the flight line.  Everyone at the launch could vote for their favorite using secret ballot. 

Winner - "Bee" Fat Boy by Dwayne Shmel
1st Runner-Up - "October Sky" Fat Boy by Carol Marple
2nd Runner-Up - "Blue" Fat Boy by David Whitaker

Thanks to Buzz McDermott for running the Fat Boy duration contest and to Andy Heren for running the Fat Boy "beauty contest".  Big thanks to all who volunteered an hour for LCO/RSO duty.  Extra thanks to those who helped set up and tear down the range.

Congrats to Dwayne Shmel on his successful L1 cert!

Photo Gallery

A few of the flights:

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

Dwayne Shmel writes:

So, Elizabeth and I (with early help from Mom), flew 8 rockets today.  The highlight was our first flight of a rebuilt Executioner (new Loc 2.56 tube and LOC nosecone and 29mm motor mount). Actually the only
original parts were the plywood fins. The 18 oz. rocket screamed off the pad with bright red flame to about 2700'. Triple 14" chutes carried it about a half mile. My L1 Cert flight was a success. We then flew a variety of other rockets including Elizabeth's Baby Bertha on a C6, an Eliminator on an E18W, and a new video rocket based on a modded Stormcaster. Unfortunately, the nosecone detached from it's chute and freefell. I lost the video signal right after deployment so I had no way of using my antenna as a wayfinder to determine the camera's location. I was really bummed because I built the camera with a swivel feature to allow it to point at a variety of angles. Oh well, time to scour eBay for another Swann MicroCam. The video didn't come out as well as I had hoped. It was a MicroCam 3.3 compared to my original MicroCam 3. So maybe there is a differnce in transmission bandwidth between the two. The 3.3 video was real choppy with banding (so maybe no great loss afterall). We flew a drag race with a Death Star chased by an X-Wing. I delayed the launch of the X-Wing by a second and a half so it looked like it was chasing the Death Star. The shock cord on the X-wing snapped and one of the wings was damaged on impact. The Death Star returned in pieces as designed. We flew our beauty contestant Fat Boy in the duration contest for a time of 21.53 seconds on an 18" plastic chute - and also flew a newly finished BLU-97B Cluster Bomb (sans bomblets) for it's maiden flight on a C6-5. It was a great day despite the loss of the video camera. Maybe we will find it later in the season (like I found our MaxTrax nosecone after a full winter season of being covered in snow in a local field behind our house - and the little digital "altimeter" was still working!)

Rick Vatsaas writes:

Saturday was great day for launching rockets, I hope it was for everyone else had as good a time as I did. I haven't been able to attend a MASA launch for over a year (pretty bad for the club treasurer) so it was an
extra treat for me.

Didn't bring much for rockets and flew nothing larger that a D. I brought out a couple of my "hanger queens" that are undergoing repairs, just for show and tell.
* The 4" SpaceShipOne which I am repairing for this fall
* Kidd Plasma's flaming Atomic Meteor

I also brought out some furniture to see how much hassle it would be to set up. I figured since I didn't have a lot to fly this would be a good time to see.  I packed a folding table, two captains chairs, and my easy up in the back of the ford pick up. With the help of New Member Todd Schweim I had my base camp the set up in five minutes. Tear down took slightly longer. The table ($37, Sam's club) was nice because it adjust down the right height for the captains chairs, or you can set it up high for working up right. Might a nice thing to have for the range controller.  The only downside was the smooth surface meant everything blew off table
with the slightest breeze. I'll have to find a way to fix that.

First I flew my new scratch built Tycho Express rocket on D12-5. It proved to be far more stable I predicted. However the shock cord burned through and separated, fortunately it recovered without a scratch.

Second I flew my scratch built Skowt (a parody of the Astron Scout) on D12-5. also a good flight, also separated, the body instead of fluttering down as I would expect of a short stubby rocket, homed in the
ground like a laser guided bomb, luckily it landed with only minor repairable damage. The nose cone and chute landed almost at the southern ditch.

Third I flew my Fliskits/Shrox Alien 8 on a C6-5. It was a nice flight, except when parachute/nose cone separated (are you sensing a pattern here?). Turns out the culprit was brand of surveying cord I used for
the shock cord. It did not have the rated strength. Here is a hint: if you buy shock cord at home depot. Make sure it is the florescent yellow/green or magenta stuff, not the lemon yellow cord that is a
little cheaper.

Lastly I flew my Custom Rockets Ion Pulsar. This was one of the first kits I bought when I re-entered rocketry in 2000, as I really dug the retro styling (I think it is bound to be a classic, myself), but I
always avoided building it until I was sure I had the skill to build it to look like the box art. It has actually been finished for a couple years but only finished painting it last fall. It flew great on a B4-4. And it had the right brand of shock cord so it landed nice too.

On the Membership/Treasury front: Two memberships were renewed and there was one new membership taken.  I also reimbursed Jeff Taylor $50 for various newsletter expenses.

I took a bunch of pictures and maybe a dozen are worth posting. I'll have those up in a couple days. Thanks everyone for a great launch. Especially those that set up and tore down the range.

On a final note I would like to recognize the parents of our younger rocketeers, who gave up their Saturdays and drove long distances to so their kids could fly their rockets. My hat is off to you!

Art Gibbens writes:

Well, what a beautiful day for launching!

As many of you saw, the HCA TARC Team was on hand to launch their competition rocket one last time on an Aerotech G40-7W with all the added weight of the eggs and clay removed to see how high it would go. Team members Aaron Anderson (and his dad Mark), Philip Gibbens, Matt McCall and Angie You were all on hand to prep and recover the rocket. The results - 1468 feet and a successful last flight before this rocket is hung in the rocket hall of fame at HCA.

Throughout the morning the team members took turns flying the donated rockets on some engines that had been collected over the years of "rocketeering" at HCA. Needless to say, the big ones got used up early.

Philip and I also flew some of our own rockets. For myself two notable rockets were an older Estes Screamin' Eagle kit that I had modified to be staged with a D12-0 or C11-0 as a booster. I flew this on a D12-0 to C6-7 for a very nice flight and moderate walk for recovery. The other was my old Satellite Launcher that I rebuilt to take D12's and C11's. I also put dual 12 inch parachutes in it for the recovery system. I put a D12-7 in it, had a great flight and my longest walk for recovery. I flew my BOINK on a Estes B4-4 and my older Alpha on a B6-6 for nice flights as well.

My son Philip tried to fly his Scrambler but had a CATO on an Estes B6-4. Otherwise, everything he flew were good flights. Other HCA TARC Team members were not as fortunate. I think Matt and Aaron both had recovery issues with the old parachutes sticking together and not deploying. Aaron also flew a Goliath and only two of the C6-5 motors lit causing it to go off the rod at an angle and a long recovery walk.

I finished the day by doing RSO duty from 12:30 to 1:30 pm which allowed me to see a lot of other fliers' rockets head to the air. At least on my shift, I didn't really see any nominees for the annual PRANG of the year award. Although on one set of flights from the community pads we had two different rockets land within a couple of feet of their respective launch pads, which was kind of unique because they came off the same rack of flights. It's so fun to see the bigger reloads/rockets jump off the pad and it really got some of the students talking about bigger rockets as we enjoyed lunch at the Burger King down the road afterwards.

A big thank-you to all the MASA members who helped the HCA TARC Team have memorable and enjoyable last flights of the 2007-2008 school year!

Ken Jarosch writes:

Look at all those cars! They ran the whole width of the sod segment. I had ample opportunity to check that out while walking back from my many long walks.

Because of a late start, reloading and the walking I only got in 4 flights. But they were important flights. I also wanted to try out the completed HPR GSE set for the first time.

1) The first rocket up was my old "Big Daddy" on a F21-6W, which was to be de-certified on 08/31/08. The rocket went much higher than I expected and I had to walk way down on next sod segment almost to the single tree.

2) The next rocket was the rebuilt "Executioner" retro-fitted with a straight-through Baffle/Zipper-less bulkhead. From "Baffles and More" Part 1. Burning up some 2000 F39-6T(4), the flight was great with a little over the top in time. I had drilled for 4 seconds. The baffle worked as planned although the parts separation was too close. On recovery I found that the chute had slipped forward several feet. With the wind calmer at this time the walk was moderate in the same field.

3) My G-Force was the 3rd. rocket. I was trying a hobby line G71-4R reload for the first time to compare to the usual G64W. The got off fast and climbed to a nice altitude before the long 18' shock cord came out on ejection. The large 45" chute tends to drift this rocket and today in the winds was no exception. Another long walk down the next sod area.

4) By now it was getting into the afternoon but I still wanted to put the (Red & Yellow) B4R up with a H128W-S (6 seconds) even though the winds were carrying everything down range. This rocket with a G80 just meets the 53 0z. limits for a LMR note. But with the H128 it's a nice match for low level flying to about 1050'. This only has a 42" chute but with the winds and greater altitude than the previous G-Force, I had another long walk.

By the time I got back I was pretty exhausted. The hour packing up the heavy GSE was tiring. But I got done what I wanted to do.

Several people asked me what rocket was the B4R. For some reason people like this rocket. I've had several compliments at TRA-MN. Must be the shape and the simple color scheme. In 2002 I flew my first Sumo on many G's with plans to CERT with a H128. The last flight AUG 2002 on G80 and a slipping launch pad (remember the loose felt washers) put it in the top of a tree at the Blaine field. In a late fall launch some one noticed that the rocket fincan (now filled with ice.) was hanging all the way down to the ground and was reachable. The nose cone came in the Spring of 2003 when the trees were being knocked down. Several MASA people were there to collect all the lost rockets. I was given the nose cone at the 2003 picnic. So salvaging the fins and the nosecone I rebuilt a Basic 4" Rocket using Loc tubes and bulkhead parts. For G's I use the fincan and nosecone much like a longer Sumo. For G80's (low level- 600'+) and H's I put in the payload section. Just a commodity rocket.

The Details:

Full launch tally (PDF)

The totals were:  161  flights, 177 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 4147 Ns with an average total impulse of  23.4 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 2
















G 9


I 1




(Alan Estenson)

Back to Launch Reports