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Last updated: May 30, 2009
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July 4, 2009 launch report (7/5/2009)

On Saturday, July 4th, MASA held a club launch on the sod farm near Nowthen.  This launch had been postponed from the previous Saturday.

It was a fabulous day.  Rocket flying days like this come along but rarely.  In fact, it was darn near perfect.  The breeze was light and out of the north.  There was plentiful sunshine, but it wasn't too hot.  The sod was green, the sky was blue, the corn was green.  Oh well, I guess that not everything can be perfect...

Despite the holiday weekend, there was an excellent turnout for the launch and a lot of flights.  Many people took advantage of the great conditions to do a lot of mid-power and high-power flying.  In terms of the total impulse of all the motors burned, this was MASA's 2nd-biggest launch, ever!  In number of flights, it was our biggest launch so far this year.

The theme of this launch was Fly the Red, White, and Blue!   In particular, everyone was encouraged to fly their "Patriot" rockets.

  • Ted Cochran flew his Estes Patriot on a B6-4
  • Alan Estenson flew his MASA Patriot on a B6-4, and his PAC-3 on a F24-7
  • Andy Heren flew his Estes Patriot on a B6-4
  • Andy Juntunen flew a 1/4-scale Patriot on a H123
  • Lyle Merdan's Patriot suffered rod-lock on an A8-3
  • Mark Thell flew an NCR Patriot on a F42

Thanks to the LCO/RSO volunteers!!! Alan Estenson, Mark Thell, Buzz McDermott, Dwayne Shmel, Lyle Merdan, Ken Jarosch, and Jeff Taylor.

Thanks to Ken and Andy for helping set up the launch range in the morning.  Thanks to the big crew that stayed to help take down and pack up the range at the end of the day.

Congratulations to Kevin Anderson for his successful Level 1 high power certification!  Kevin flew his gorgeous LOC Expediter on an Aerotech H123-S motor.

Photos taken by Ted Cochran may be viewed at:

Photos taken by Steve Hum may temporarily be viewed at:

A few of the flights:

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

Mark Thell writes:

It was a launch day for the record books.  Light winds most of the day.

I put up quite a few flights myself.  My goal today was to fool around with B/Gs.  I flew my Flat Cat and Deltie B kits to get them in good trim.  I had a slight problem with stalling. I tried getting them trimmed by test gliding . They flew well off my deck.  I was a little surprised that they stalled somewhat at altitude.  I kept adding a little weight each time and they seemed to get better as the day went on.  I'll keep plugging away till I get them right.

I flew my Mars Lander on a C6-3. Did a nice arc and recovered using the Wile E Coyote method(meaning plowing into the ground THEN having ejection)  Found out that the clothespin ended up going for a ride, hence the arcing.  I flew my Flying Omelet of Death (2 egg lofter) on an E9-4.  Sorry Lyle, even though you tried to jinx me, the eggs survived.
Lots of other flights.  The only wreckage I had was the big Patriot whose chute was wrapped up.  I hereby nominate Jim Myers for the hair splitting flight of his Biplane B/G.  We need more days like this!!!!!

Thanks to Alan and the LCOs and RSOs for a fantastic day.

Jeff Taylor writes:

My launch report is kinda short.... I had a late start and didn't get there until about 12:30 or so. The only rocket I flew was my LOC IV on an H-180W, and it was a perfect flight. I got some decent pictures of Ted's LOC IV, my LOC IV, Carol's Black Brant, Todd's Sceamin Mimi, and Alan's yellow and black rocket (sorry- the name escapes me) [Warrior 300]. I also got a shot of Dave's (at least I think it was Dave's) pink LOC launching as Lyle's black LOC is touching down in the background. I did an LCO shift at the end of the day and came home with a wood tick attached to me.

Andy Heren writes:

I don't always look forward to the 2 hour drive to Nowthen to launch, but I am always glad I made the trek, especially today!  It has been months since I have been able to make it to a launch, so I hustled to finish some rockets that I had started and built some new ones, too. Add to this the wonderful weather, and it was a great day!

I launched some new ones today, including my Starlight SS Barracuda, Semroc Centurion, and Quest X-15, which was my only unstable flight.  Maybe Dwayne really did jinx it when he confused it with the unstable plastic Estes version. Just kidding, Dwayne, I don't believe in that stuff.

It was also the first launch for my Estes Executioner, which was also my first E launch.  It recovered with my red, white, and blue parachute from Chutes by Boe.  For those who were there to see the delayed deployment of the chute, I discovered that only a small portion of the motor's cap was blown away; most of it was still intact.  I also hustled to finish my Patriot missile, which I was able to launch today.

I launched my Big Bertha, again, which is one of my favorites.  Then I was going to launch the Fat Boy, but when I pulled off the nosecone, I was reminded that its last launch burned out the shock cord.

And, of course, I spent a lot of time talking with some friends I haven't seen in awhile, some new ones, and just sat watching some more powerful launches that rattled my teeth.

So many thanks to Alan, those who set up and tore down, and the RSOs.  I am now trying to figure out what new ones I will bring to the picnic!

Alan Estenson writes:

What a wonderful way to spend the 4th of July!  I had 12 flights today and burned 1,280 Ns worth of motors!  Yes, that's 19% of the total for the entire launch. <grin>

My Aerotech "Chaparral" made its first appearance in about 3 years.  It had a great (and very high) flight on a G79-7.  This was my first "loadable" or LMS motor; essentially, it's a single-use motor that you have to assemble yourself.  I also brought out the "Super Duper Blobbo" and let it rip skyward on a F21-8.

I flew my PDR clone "Cherokee D" on a D12-7 for the first time.  Previously, I've always flown it on C11's.  Amazing how high it goes on a D!  I brought out my trusty old LOC "lil' Nuke"; this rocket first flew back in 1996.  It flew nicely this time on a F23-7.  For the Patriot theme, I flew my "MASA Patriot" on a B6-4, and my The Launch Pad "PAC-3" on a F24-7.  I have to admit that I've owned that 24mm reload casing for 13 years, and this is the first time that I've ever used it.  <sheepish grin>  I really like how well it performed, and I'm sure that I'll use it more often in the future.

My tubefin/regular fin aerodynamic brick named "Eight" flew on a G64.  I flew my scratchbuilt 2.6" rocket named "Itasca" for the first time.  It flew great on a G79.  For another first flight, I launched a scratchbuilt 2.6" tubefin rocket named "Lazy 8" on a G67 for a perfect flight.  That was so much fun that I flew it again later on a G61.  I like those 38mm G reloads.  [A lazy eight is one that is lying down - that is, ∞]

My red-white-and-blue LOC "Viper IV" made an appearance today also.  For the first time, I launched it on a cluster of four E9-8 motors; I've always flown it on D12-7's in the past.  What a great flight!  Spendy, though.

My one high power flight of the day was my "Warrior 300" (3" diameter Solar Warrior upscale) on an I211-M.  This rocket has been semi-retired since 2003; it's first flight was way back in 1998.  The "UP" part was gorgeous!  Then, and I can't explain the exact mechanism for this, the tubular nylon shock cord let loose from the rocket airframe.  The main body freefall (tumbling, fortunately) from 2000+ feet while the payload section, nosecone and chute drifted off to the south.  The body suffered some impact damage, but nothing too extreme.  My friend Jim and I recovered the top section & chute from a cornfield later.  I'm now moving this rocket to permanent retirement status.

I did set one personal record today.  I had five different reload casings to clean when I got home!  :-(

Ken Jarosch writes:

I don't know what to say. I wasn't my worst day but it must come in second to the day at Blaine when I flew 7 rockets and all had to be repaired. I only got in 3 flights. The plan was to fly 4 HPR and then settle in to smaller rockets and saucers.

I was all set up and ready to go at 9:05. I tried one of the experimental rockets of years ago. #"E" rocket with a 1/4A-3T was tried again. Right into the drink. It was almost 9:45 when I got it out of the pond and cleaned the green scum off.

Enough time wasting. Back to the "Spirit of America". That rocket is a 5 piece modular design, zipper-less and baffle bulkhead. Flying in the 3 part Basic Configuration of Zipper-less fin can, recovery tube and Nose cone on a H128W-S motor it flew great and worked as planned. However the chute landed on one side of the ditch, recovery tube and NC in the green scum and the fin can on the other side. Recovery and clean up took it's toll on the time.

So I got it ready for addition of the payload section and/or extension. I Assembled and took it apart several times. Couldn't make up my mind due to the time loss, motor requirements and chutes. Also I have two recovery systems for these setups.

So I went for the H238T-S in the second 4 part configuration of the addition of the payload section with the basic recovery system. While I was tightening the motor retainer bolts I notice they became lose again. I did this 3 three times and realized the motor was moving into the adaptor. The adaptor 38mm retaining tube had broken free. That killed the rest of the SOA flights.

I moved over to the B4R rocket. I was going to use a H165 on that rocket. I thought of redoing the casing in that motor. But I had the H238T-S already loaded so into the B4R it went. Great take off but some one heard a second blast in the air. The rocket arced over from a 1000ft. and went into the next field nose first.

Thanks to Scott Gleason for coming over to say "Any Rocket can be rebuilt" trying to make me feel better. Scott also helped me get the thing out of the sod and clean up the mess. Great Guy Scott, thanks.

When we got the rocket back to the car we checked out the motor. The charge cap was still in place. Disassembling the motor we found that the delay element had only burned about a 1/3 of the way and went out. Hence no BP charge firing.

So if I had put that motor (H238T) or the H180W in the SOA with the broken adaptor we would have had a fire and the BP charge still wouldn't have gone off. Close call For the SOA at the expense of the B4R.

I am really not happy that RDK-01 delay had failed to burn so badly, never had that problem before. At home I compared the partially burned element to a new piece.

Again Thanks to Scott Gleason for helping me extract the rocket from the sod and carrying it back.

Glen Overby writes:

My flights, in no particular order:

* No Laughing Matter - a 2.6" diameter rocket flown on an I117 Hybrid motor.  The up part went well, and I got deployment at apogee. In fact, I also got the main parachute deployed at apogee. Oops. Oh well. I guess the nosecone wasn't on tight enough. The rocket drifted into the corn to the west of the launch area. On the way down I was thinking "I didn't turn on the corn
abatement buzzer". Nope, I hadn't. I had a line on where it landed and headed for the corn field. Dwayne Schmell caught me on the way over and showed me the line he had on it, which gave me a second point to try triangulating from. Wow! But the corn obscured both sites so I really couldn't tell where I was. After getting thirsty, I headed back to ask for help. I caught Jim Meyers heading in to look for my rocket. I asked Carol Marple to help me walk a line into the corn, and she agreed. Carol stood around for quite a while on the other end of a radio telling me which way to walk. Usually "go south" since I was on an angle path. Then I saw a blue fin can. Wow! About this time Carol put Ted on the radio and about the first thing he said was "about where you are". Yup :)

A big THANK YOU to all of you. I hope you enjoyed the flight.

Had the buzzer been turned on, there is a good chance I'd have found it on my first trip into the corn. I had two altimeters on board. One, an old Missile Works RRC2, read 2186'. The other, the newer Missile Works RRC2mini read 2235. Rocksim predicted 2851', but there is a lot of variability in that prediction due to variations in the temperature of the Nitrous Oxide (colder = lower pressure = more dense which means I get more N2O in the flight tank).  The next motor size up, the 560ns I117, is predicted by RockSim to fly to 4000' on this rocket. I just might have to build a longer mid-rocket extension so I can try that.

* 29mm min-diameter on an F20-7. I built these to see how high I could fly a rocket with 29mm motors. I built two designs (two different fin spans) and fiberglass-over-foam nosecones. Neither nosecone came out perfectly. The rocket spun on the way up. I got my binoculars on it at ejection and watched it land on the field.

* Short Circuit on a D12-3. Altimeter test flight of my latest software configured for staging. All indications in the recorded data are it did what was intended. 363' altitude flight.

* Divide By Zero on an F39-9. Dual-deployment flight using my latest altimeter, a Q2G2 fired using a 4v LiPo battery and pyrodex. 1473' apogee.  Unfortunately, something in the tube jammed and I was unable to extract the electronics bay without destroying the tube. I now have two shorter tubes and need to make a trip to a rocket supply store.

* 38mm rocket "I'm Yellow". Obviously, it's painted bright yellow.  G79W-M. I had intended to fly a G77R but grabed the wrong reload package.  I discovered my mistake when filling out the flight card and decided to fly it anyway. I need to put an altimeter in this rocket to see how high it's flying. Payload: a BigRedBee radio locator beacon.

* Aerobee 300 on a D9-7. Went a long way up, drifted a long way.

Cleanup of the "G" motor did't go well; there was a chunk of black sooty stuff that wouldn't come off with just water so I cracked open my jar of Hoppe's #9 gun cleaner. This is smelly stuff! It got the casing MUCH cleaner, but I still have a little crud spot.

That was my flying day. Over all, it was a successful day. I have a lot fewer "G" motors now.

I'm exhausted!

The Details:

Full launch tally (PDF)

The totals were:  141 flights with 166 motors burned.  The cumulative total impulse was 6677 Ns with an average total impulse of  40.2 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 0
















G 15


I 2




(Alan Estenson)

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