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Last updated: May 30, 2009
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June 20, 2009 Solstice evening launch report (6/23/2009)

On Saturday, June 20th, MASA held its fifth launch of the year.  This was the annual Solstice evening launch.  Normally, this launch is held at the VFW soccer fields, but, due to soccer games, it was moved to the Nowthen sod fields instead.

Thanks to Jeff Taylor for serving as launch director!

A few of the flights:

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

Ken Jarosch writes:

The weather started out warm when I got there at 4:00 but cooled down nicely later. Winds out of the WNW at maybe 7 mph decreasing by 6:00.

With a lot of SU E's motors I brought many of my old large Estes style rockets.

1) The first rocket was the Shadow on an E30-4T. Good flight with drift back and forth over the launch field. Short walk. (This was a retest of the Q2G2 igniter)

2) Next the L.B. Bertha remake on an E30-4T. Rocket got caught in some thermal and just hung up there for a while. Again it came down the same field.

3) My "Junk Machine" (90.25" and 13.6 oz.) which has done well on a D12-3 was suppose to go up on a E15-4W but some how I grabbed an E30-4T by mistake. This rocket was all over the sky (writing). I thought maybe the high thrust has overpowered it. A check revealed that a section of tape used to hold the igniter in had deflected the thrust sideways producing that weird flight.

4) The Storm Caster (modified to 98.25" and 14oz) was launched on a E15-4W. Even at this weight this narrow rocket put in a good altitude. The only rocket I had a long walk to get. By the corn.

5) The last of the E rockets was my 1992 "Optima". Again these rockets on the SU E's put in great flights with landings in the same sod field.

6) My only D12-5 flight was with the Scrambler with a new BMS parts egg pod. I filled it with wadding and two golf balls for weight. At ejection the parts separated nicely. The motor section on a 12" TMN chute drifted for a while. The pod section with a small 15" TMN came in rather fast but with no damage. Just a test anyway. Lost the last one on a 18" chute.

7) The 7.25" Delta Saucer "Smilely" works great with Black Jack motors. However a Recent test with the F22-0J produced a arc over flight. I needed a G33J or bigger. I had to use a G53-0FJ motor. This Fast Max motor took of the pad in a straight upward flight with the usual black turbulence behind the rocket. Will try the G75's next week.

I'm used to the usual dry soot on the back side of saucers when using Black Jack motors. Also I've use Fast Max motors (G38-4FJ) with little soot problems. When I picked up the saucer I got oil all over my hands. Both the top and bottom of the rocket was covered with a wet thick oil substance that was hard to removed. Later when I tried to clean the casing the end closures were frozen in place. It took a wrench and pliers to free them. The insides were a mess. It took me 25 minutes to get it ready for the next flight. The threads in the casing were gunked up with this oil and a gritty mixture. I've never had that problem or mess before.

8) After getting the casing somewhat cleaned I loaded a G76-0G (Thanks Alan) into the 10.25" Original Saucer type, the Stars & Stripes. By now it was almost 8:00 and with the clouded skies the bright green flame of the Mojave really showed up on the rocket's ascent.

When I pushed the burned parts out I saw how badly the liner had been burned through. The top third of the liner by the AFT grain was completely gone. Even the nozzle orifice had been melted. Also the outside face of the nozzle showed signs of melting. This burn through left a huge deposit on the casing wall. It took a lot of rubbing with brush and alcohol just to get a preliminary cleaning.

8 rockets in almost prefect conditions. On the way home going East on US 10 I was treated to a beautiful red Sun Set just below the cloud line. Seen it most of the way on #10.

Neal Higgins writes:

I wasn't able to get there until 7, I only flew 4 rockets before the bugs got too bad. I did get in the most important flight and that was a test run of Mr Spudnik. Mr Spudnik is a Mr Potato head based sputnik rocket. I flew it on an E9-4. The take-off and flighht were good but the chute got tangled and did not deploy. It landed hard on the top of his head with no damage. A photo of Spudnik has been uploaded to the yahoo group photos section. I think Carol got a photo of it laucjing so I hope she can post that one too.  Mr Spudnik's glasses came off during prep but I will have them better attached for the next flight hopefully next weekend. Maybe I'll fly him for the spot landing event.

I flew my Deltie-B on a B6-4 and the glider flew beautifully but the pod and streamer seperated. I'll need to get it repaired for the contest next weekend.  I flew a modified Supershot on a C11-5 for a very nicew flight and ended the evening with a flight of my XRV on a C6-3. The glide was not good, it needs more tail weight.

Dwayne Shmel writes:

I started off the evening flying my Deltie B on a B4-2. Good separation at apogee but the glide was sub-optimal. I made some adjustments and flew it later in the evening with some improvement.  Today, I sanded the wings to an airfoil profile. I hope this will make it competitive for next weekend.

I then tee'd up the Dude on an F12-5. The F12 was a little too much for the Dude. It went up with fins a flappin' and then lawn darted into the ground. Ejection charged fired about a second thereafter. The impact created a small hole in end of the body balloon that I repaired. Next was my Art Applewhite Pyramid on a C6-5. This marks the 20th flight of this little pink pyramid. Great launch - let's see if I can get another 20 flights out of this durable little paper pyramid. I then sent up my V2 (modified Canadian Arrow) on an E18-5. Ejection was at apogee with a good recovery. This rocket and motor combo seems to work great. I launched my newly built Helicat on a C6-5 for it's maiden flight. The copter nosecone came down UPSIDE DOWN, then righted itself about 15' from the ground. Weird. The stock plastic rotors are too heavy. Maybe I will rebuild with lighter rotors made out of balsa.

My wife and daughter then arrived, so I decided it was time to send up the Death Star on a D13-4. I loaded the star's cavity with flour to simulate an explosion cloud - cool. Next time I will try orange chalk for a more visible explosion effect. I had packed the Death Star earlier in the day so the plastic chute for the sustainer didn't unfurl. No damage though. Since I went to all the trouble to bring the helium tank, and the winds were CALM, I decided to send the Dude up again - this time on an E9-4. This is probably the perfect motor for this rocket, uh, I mean balloon. It went up - then sideways - then up again. Great flight and great "recovery".

I then sent my scratch built 1.6x upscale Der Red Max on an F24-7. I drilled out the 7 second delay element to give me a 5 second or so delay. Ejection was at apogee and recovery was great on double 14" nylon chutes. Next up was my Estes X-Fliers [Yellow] on a C6-7. Great altitude and nice recovery on 20' long silver Mylar streamer. I loaded up my second 18mm RMS into my Baby Bertha "Rock-It" kit bash. WOW - probably too much power for this small model. Nice flight though.

The skeeters were starting to bite, so I decided to wrap up the evening around 8 PM with a cluster flight. I sent up my Estes Thunderstar on two C6-5's. I probably should have used C6-7's because the ejection was a little early. Good recovery though.

I got 12 flights in for the evening, the most so far this season. No lost rockets - Yea!! The weather was great and the little to no wind was a welcome change. See ya'all next weekend.

John Carlson writes:

I had a great time at the launch, I got to launch about 11 rockets - a couple of new Semroc kits the Taurus and Laser-x and a Rogue company's Hex courier tube fin rocket. I even got kids number 3 and 6 to come with and load and launch some of the rockets too. We left about 8:30 as the gnats were really vicious. My kids really liked Neil's Spudnik.

Jeff Taylor writes:

I got a late start to the launch and didn't get there until 4:07. For a short while it was only me, Ken and clear skies. A new MASA member showed up - Welcome to MASA, Daniel!  Glenn was next to arrive, then others started filling up the parking spots as the evening went on.

I don't remember exactly what I flew, but I think it was:
•Estes Sizzler on an A8-3 and again on a B6-4
•Estes Canadian Arrow on a D12-5
•Quest Navaho AGM (just the sustainer) on an A8-3 (nose cone loop broke off but was recovered)
•Quest Harpoon on a C6-3
•Estes Outlander on an AeroTech SU D21T (its maiden flight and an awesome motor for that rocket)
•FlisKits ACME Spitfire on a D12-3 (the motor spit out at ejection causing a ballistic landing – now the rocket is bent! Actually it surprisingly had no damage at all even after landing on its paper nose cone at full speed.)
•Estes Big Daddy on an AeroTech D9W RMS (This was only my second reload besides my HPR cert flight two years ago. The propellant sleeve fit was too tight in the casing causing all manners of havoc. Thanks to Glenn for helping me finally get it to fit, and thanks to Carol for letting me use her case cleaning solution. Thanks again to Glenn for loaning me an igniter after two Copperhead failures.)

Thanks (again) to Carol for getting my Outlander ready for launch while I was working on getting a stuck propellant grain out of my 24mm casing, and thanks (again) to Glenn for letting me use his launch equipment since I forgot to charge up my batteries.

My vote for the coolest flight of the day was Neal's Mr. Spudnik.

Glenn and I closed down the place at about 8:45 pm, ending a perfect day of launching. I will try to post some pictures after I get back in town at the end of the week.

The Details:

Full launch tally (PDF)

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


# Burned



















I 0




(Alan Estenson)

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