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Last updated: Nov 22 2008
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Alan Estenson, Webmaster

May 2, 2009 launch report (5/5/2009)

On Saturday, May 2nd, MASA held its third launch of the year.  This was the first launch of the season on the sod near Nowthen.

The skies were sunny & blue all day.  It wasn't terribly warm, but it wasn't too bad, either.  The breeze was fairly stiff out of the west.  The launch ended for the day a little after 2pm when the wind started gusting to 20mph (and more).

Thanks to Ken Jarosch & Neal Higgins for being there early to help set up the launch range!

Thanks to everyone who stuck around to help clean up and tear down the range at the end of the day!

A few of the flights:

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

Buzz McDermott writes:

It was a bit breezy on Saturday but there was still a good turnout and quite a few flights were made. For once I actually flew a couple of rockets instead of mostly wondering around looking at what others were doing. I got in six flights for the morning. All but one of them landed at the far end of two fields to the west and north of the launch area. At least I got in some good exercise!!

I flew just 24mm models at the launch. I don't recall the order in which they were flown, but here is what I got in overall:

  • Semroc SLS Aero Dart, Aero E15-4
    This was the blach/white/blue Aero Dart. Made quite a nice flight and I had a long recovery walk using just a 15" chute
  • Scratch spare parts vehicle, Aero D10-5
    This is a BT-50/B-55 model (similar in design to a small Centuri Taurus) design to fly in B6-4. Really ripped off the pad on a D10!!
  • BMS Vincia (modified for 3 fins instead of 4), Aero D10-3
    Made a nice, smooth flight on a D10. I still had tro walk two fields to the west to recover it though. Glad I didn't flight it on the F21!!
  • Semroc RLS Lil Hustler, Aero E15-7
    IMO, the perfect motor for this rocket. A nice, high flight, but not 'too' high. Of course I went trekking two fields to the west yet again. It kicked the motor adapter, which contributed to the walk. Thanks to whoever it was that found the mount and brought it back to me - my mind and memory are going to mush in my old age.
  • Semroc SLS Aero Dart, Aero F21-6
    The Aero Dart screamed off the pad on an F21. I cannot imagine wanting to fly this rocket on a full G, let alone a G40 or G80 - and I like to over power rockets!! Result was the longest walk of the day - all the way to the northwest corner of two fields to the west.
  • Sirius Interrogator D, Estes D12-5
    This was my only BP flight of the day. It was also the olny flight that didn't drift two fields west. It came up about 30 feet short of that field, landing just east of the drainage ditch separating it from the first field to our west.
  • The second Aero Dart and Interrogator were my last two flights. I cheated by picking them up on the way driving home from the launch.

If anyone got pictures of those flights I would sure appreciate a copy.

I want to give out a big thank you to Alan and all the others who helped with setup, range duty and tear down. I had to leave before the end of the launch.

Ken Hoyme writes:

I decided to stop out and visit the launch as inspiration to getting some rockets done -- many in progress, just gotta find the time to finish them up. I was thinking the Nowthen site was much further out -- its really not a bad jaunt from Plymouth! :)

Brought my camera and shot a bunch of launches. Cleaned through and put up the good shots on Flickr --

I presume you folks could download a high-rez copy if you want one.  They are 3500x2330 or so - if you can't get them in full res and want any of them for yourself, shoot me e-mail.

It was fun meeting many folks who's names I have seen on the group here. Having the engineer's mind for names, I am sure I will need a refresher. I made no attempt to tag these photos with who I might of thought owned the rocket -- that would just be asking for embarrassment on my part. :-/

Hope to make the launch on the 30th, and will try to bring something to launch, assuming I am recovered from my daughter's college graduation the weekend before.

Ken Jarosch writes:

I wasn't really ready for launching this year yet. So I just threw a bunch of old AeroTech rockets and GSE into the car. I also grabbed a box of Odd-Rocs.

I planned on flying G motors in some of these old rockets. But with the wind I decided on using up some old F motors.

First, I launched the Arreaux on a F24-4W into the wind. It arched over and ejected late but drifted back near the launch site. Very short walk.

Second, I reloaded the Arreaux with a 29mm F22-5J(4) and reefed in the chute about 1/3. I thought with the low thrust I might have a more horizontal flight so I adjusted the angle more vertical. Of course, it took off perfectly vertical and the adjusted time delay (-1 sec) had the ejection at peak apogee. Even with the reefed chute the drift was down several fields and into the field about 1/2 way. A good walk.

Third, my old 1993 Initiator was put up with a F40-4W. This rocket has a PL section which brought the weight up to 21 oz. The original chute was only 14", so with the 50% increase in weight I didn't reef it in. I don't remember that rocket flying so well on a F motor. This time the rocket was down three field and about 3/4 into the field. The winds dragged the rocket near the east ditch. Recovery took time which was running short for me.

Fourth, not having time or energy for another long walk I dug out the saucers etc. I put an E11-0J into the SpaceShipEarth saucer for nice flight upwind at a slight upward angle. At motor burnout it flipped over and let the wind carry it back to the launch site.

By then it was time to pack up and leave.

NOTE: I had brought many small and large Estes rockets with hopes of trying the D and E SU AP motors in them. I wanted to try out the NEW Blue 3" FirstFire JR Igniters. Next time.

John Carlson writes:

It was a great launch. I got to launch a bunch of new rockets I've completed over the winter.
Aero-dart on a E9-6. I tried to drag race with Buss with his Aero-dart but Buzz won. I secretly think he messed with the igniter clips. :-)
Estes Vanguard
30 year old V-2
D-Region Tomahawk
2x Apogee II scratch build
Quest X-15

Can't wait till the next launch to launch the rest of the ones I finished this winter.

Dave Schaffhausen writes:

My wife and I had a great time at the first Nowthen launch.  Alan and the rest of the members were very friendly and generous; forgetting my deflector plate and running out of ignitors was no problem. Thanks to all!

This was my first launch where all my flights were good, sure was refreshing.  I was a little tense when my little estes F-15 eagle only went about 40 ft up on an old quest A-6 4 and went into a hard dive, but the chute popped at 4 ft and it landed softly.  Last year when I flew my Crayon, the chute tangled and some acrylic fins were broke. Over winter I got some acrylic at home depot and dremeled out some new fins, and had a nice flight this time.  My first reloads were also successful, although they each ate a couple of fuses.  I was a little sad when the day ended early because of the wind, but cheered up when my Loc heavy-duty beauty flew beautifully on a Green G-76, for the last flight of the day.  See ya' all next month!

The Details:

Full launch tally (PDF)

The totals were:  85 flights with 90 motors burned.  The cumulative total impulse was 2468 Ns with an average total impulse of  27.4 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 0
















G 4


I 1




(Alan Estenson)

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