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Last updated: June 22, 2008
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Alan Estenson, Webmaster

June 2008 Solstice launch report (6/22/2008)

On Saturday, June 21st, MASA held it's fifth launch of the year.  This was the annual Solstice evening launch held on the VFW soccer fields near Elk River

The launch was scheduled to start at 4pm, but the day turned out windier than expected.  The official start time was pushed back to 6pm to allow the winds to start dying down a bit.  A few "die hards" did start flying at 4pm.

At 6pm, the wind was varying from about 4 to 11 mph out of the NW.  That didn't keep anybody from flying!  Some showers did move through the area resulting in a few brief instances of very strong, gusty winds.  (We were also treated to a gorgeous full double rainbow.)  At around 8pm, a light five minute shower dampened the field.  After that, the wind (at ground level, anyway) dropped to nothing.  For the last hour of the launch, conditions were beautiful!

Photo Gallery

A few of the flights:

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

Alan Estenson writes:

I arrived just before 6pm to find Glen Overby, Jay Gould (the photographer), and a few other diehard rocketeers braving the winds.  After getting out the necessities (flight cards, table, wadding and trash buckets), I setup my sawhorse pad and 2-pad controller.

I had brought along a bunch of smaller rockets, many of which hadn't flown in quite a long time.  I managed to lose two rockets when they drifted south to the townhouses.  I also had two rockets suffer separations - both repairable.  One of them was a vintage MASA rocket, my KosRox Streadur.

I finally flew my "Sputnik" rocket dating from the October 2007 meeting.  First flight was on an A8-3.  It was a neat flight.  The styrofoam ball got flattened a bit on top at "touchdown".  Feeling the need for more power, I flew it on a C6-0.  Very cool!  I also flew a "Pump-nik" for the first time on an A10-Pt.  For another oddroc, I flew a Birdie on another A10-Pt.

I had noted a "hole" in the MASA launch statistics for 2008.  As a result, I flew my tiny tubefin rocket "Golly" on a 1/4A3-3t to chalk up the first MASA quarter-A flight of the year.

The last hour of the launch was the most fun.  After the little rain shower, the wind went away.  After a launch, the smoke would just hang eerily in the grass.  As dusk approached, several flights took to the skies to close out the evening.  The sparks at ignition and rocket exhaust looked incredible in the fading light of sunset.  Just at dusk, Jeff Taylor flew his newly-finished kitbash kreation kontest entry on a D12-3 for the first time.  Very cool flight!  In the low light, I managed to get a cool liftoff photo (albeit a grainy one) by cranking the ISO up to 1600.

Dwayne Shmel had the coolest Death Star flight that I've ever seen when he flew it on a D13 reload.  That was also the only AP burned during the evening.

Jeff Taylor writes:

I got there probably around 7:00. I was getting my Semroc Mark II ready to fly as a gust of wind tangled the chute so bad that I couldn't get it untangled enough to fly it, so I put it away and flew my Porta Pot Shot and Big Bertha instead. Then I decided to do the old-school swing stability test on my kitbash rocket. It needed
some nose weight, so I put some clay in the nose cone and retested and then launched it on a D12-3 after my dizziness went away. I could even hear it whistle after the engine quit burning just before ejection. It suffered only minor damage on touch down (one of the engine pods popped off - no big deal). Thanks for the cool pictures Alan.

The Details:

Full launch tally (PDF)

The totals were:  53  flights, 57 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 497 Ns with an average total impulse of  8.7 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 0
















G 0


I 0




(Alan Estenson)

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