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Last updated: July 2, 2008
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September 2008 launch report (10/2/2008)

On Saturday, September 27th, MASA held its tenth launch of the year.  This was the fifth launch of the year at the sod fields near Nowthen. 

Thanks to everyone who came out for the launch! There were long-time members, returning members, new members, and visitors.  Everybody appeared to be having fun. Thanks to all the RSO/LCO volunteers, and to everyone who helped clean up at the end of the day.

The breeze was annoying, but seemed to diminish a bit in the afternoon. Since it was out of the north, we had the length of the field for recovery. I only recall one rocket that made it down to the corn. After teasing us for about 15 minutes in the morning, the sun disappeared for the rest of the day. The ceiling started pretty low - maybe around 1500 feet, but later seemed to be above 2000.

The next MASA launch will be on October 25. That will likely be the final launch of the year on the Nowthen sod farm. The theme will be "oddrocs and goonies". :-)

Huge thanks to the RSO/LCO volunteers!  Ken Jarosch, Ted Cochran, Neal Higgins, and Alan Estenson.

Extra thanks to all who stayed to help clean up the range and pack up the equipment!

The theme for this launch was "scale rockets." 

A few of the flights:

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

Glen Overby writes:

I flew three rockets and none had a perfect recovery. My first flight, a PML Explorer on a G53, had a piston stick but the parachute got pulled out before impact. My second flight, an Aerobee 150 on an I119, featured the main parachute getting tangled in the drogue shock cord. One altimeter said 1906' the other said 2100'. My final flight of the day was an old 2.6" Apache (as in the upper stage of a Nike-Apache sounding rocket), built back when I was a Tripoli memeber: G10 fins, fiberglass and a LOT of epoxy. That parachute didn't get blown out, and didn't get pulled out. Despite all of the fiberglass and epoxy, one fin actually cracked off of the motor mount.

Dave and I each flew one of my radio beacons, and neither performed well.

Alan Estenson writes:

For the Scale theme, I flew my Estes Sidewinder on a D12-5, and my old scratchbuilt Blossom (stretched V2) also on a D12-5. I also launched my TLP PAC-3 on an E30-4. Those three all flew nicely.

Having lost my previous Fat Boy, I put in a first flight of a new Fat Boy on a C6-3. (I miss C5-3's!) Of course, it decided to splashdown in the middle of a drainage ditch. Thanks to Glen for fishing it out with
his extendible pole. The rocket was fine after I cleaned off the green goo and let it dry out.

I also had a "Max" day. Der Goony Max flew on a B6-4. Then, I put in a first flight of my new Der Big Red Max clone. Since I built it with a 24mm motor mount, it flew on a C11-5. Lastly, the Der Grosser Vati (Big Daddy) flew for the first time. I should have gone with a D12-3 for the first flight, but instead put in an E9-6. Given the breeze, that proved to have too low a thrust and too long a delay. Although ejection and chute deployment was last-second, the rocket came through without any damage. Hmmm, I still have some F21's left... <grin>

Ken Jarosch writes:

When I got up Saturday morning I didn't think the launch was going to held successfully. Besides the forecast of morning rain and winds of 10-20 mph, it was really blowing in St. Paul at 7:00. But I was already packed and I brought along several old rockets that weren't a big risk.

On the way up to the sod farm I ran into 2 periods of a light mist and heavy dark clouds, mostly passing over me heading South.

I got to the field a little late at about 9:15. Only Alan and one other car were there. By the time I set up most of my equipment one other car arrived. For some time it looked like that was all it was going to be for that launch. Alan had the day split up into only 3 RSO duties, 2 hours each until 2:30 with a ????.

By 11:30 we were up to 13 cars and by the afternoon I counted at least 15 cars. The winds were pretty brisk but I was surprised just how many flights were gotten in that day. Most flights stayed in the field due to the winds South heading using the the long length of the field.

My own flights were generally simple and low level using old none important rockets. I had some old AP to use up so that was the Pattern.

I flew my old "BroadSword" on an E28-4T(2). It got a nice altitude and the 18" chute made for fairly close walk. Also flew my huge 4" Ultra "Blast Lite" on my last E28-4T(2). The rocket just strained to climb against the wind. But it made about 3/4 of the BraodSword's altitude. This rocket has a 30" Top Flight Thin Mill chute that would have floated away but I reefed the chute in about 1/3.

I brought back my "Executioner I" for a trial on a F24-4W with it's Baffle/Bulkhead recovery system. The rocket made a great flight and with the 24" chute also reefed in about 1/3 I had a very close walk.

The last rocket was the "Sumo II" on an old HPR "Style" G79W-S RMS. I change the medium delay for the short delay and drilled 2 seconds off of that 6 sec. time. The White Lightening propellant is heavily oxidized and at ignition it went through 3 fits & starts before it came up to pressure and took off nicely. Even with a 42" chute the drift was a short distance.

I had all the motors and equipment to launch my "S.O.A. 2008" through the various packages from G76G to H250G. But I'll wait for a better day when I can do it all.

Again I was surprised at the amount and quality of the flights at this launch.

Ted Cochran writes:

It was a pretty decent day, despite the breeze and low ceilings.

I flew my Interceptor E for the second time (the first time was at NARAM). It was a pretty flight--it did a 90 degree roll into the wind as it came off the pad, and then climbed right out. Ejection at apogee, and good recovery, with the nose on a separate chute. Broke off one of the pods on landing, but they were glued a little weak on purpose, to protect the wings. It's already repaired and ready to go.

My big flight of the day was the maiden voyage of my ARC 1824 parallel-staged rocket. 4 A8-3s in the strap-ons and an D12-3 in the core. I used Thumper, a pad-side battery and relay box, to ignite the cluster. All five motors lit; all four strap ons detached simultaneously after their 0.5 second burn ended, and the rocket recovered just fine, albeit a long way away--2500', several rows into the corn field to the south. That was on an 18" parachute. I'll have to remember to use something smaller next time; with those motors, the core of that rocket is like a Big Bertha on an E motor--of course it's going to go high and drift far.

I also flew my Estes Scissor Wing Transport twice for good flights, and dragged my Eliminator out of semi-retirement for a decent flight on an F23-4FJ econojet which I hammered into its slightly undersized motor tube.

Lots of other nice flights, too--and of course, any day flying rockets is better than a good day at work!

Dave Schaffhausen writes:

This is my first launch report and I'm not exactly sure what to write, but figured I'd better get my feet wet.  Despite the chilly, windy weather, anytime I'm flying, I'm happy!  My parents showed up to see their first launch, and they really enjoyed it.

I flew quite a few low-power rockets, which all had nice flights, except for my last launch (a stretched Estes Smartbomb), which took a nice soil sample.  I'm still trying to figure out how much cellulose wadding to use, sometimes I burn a 'chute or shockcord, sometimes I use too much and drown out the ejection charge.  Also, my Flis Tres' flew kind of goofy, it looked liked only 2 of the 3 engines lit. But
upon retrieval, I noticed all 3 engines had lit.  I think that in my attempts to get the bumblebee paint job right, I went through a ton of paint, weighing it down alot.  Secondly, the morning of the launch I noticed I hadn't fixed a broken fin on it yet, so I whipped up a new one and tacked it on.  In hindsight, it seemed rather crooked, so I'm going to re-do that correctly, and stick with C6-5's.

On the positive side, I had 2 nice flights with my first Aerotech powered rockets, an Aerotech Mustang on a G-80 10T, and a Loc-Precision Onyx on a G-38 7FJ.  The Onyx left a beautiful black trail on its way up, and the Mustang seemed to hit the clouds in about a second, I wonder how fast it was going.  They both landed downfield about 20 ft. from the corn (special thanks to my favorite retriever, my lovely wife Nancy!)  And thanks to all the Rangers for their advice and assistance.  I usually switch hobbies every few years, but I'll always enjoy rockets!       

The Details:

Full launch tally (PDF)

The totals were:  90 flights, 107 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 4161 Ns with an average total impulse of  38.9 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 0
















G 13


I 2




(Alan Estenson)

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