MASA MASA   Join the National Association of Rocketry Minnesota Rocketry Network

About MASA


  Join MASA

Events Schedule



  Meeting Reports


  Launch Reports

Planet Newsletter

  Planet Online




  Email List


  Outreach Reports

Photo Gallery


Files -n- Forms

MASSY Awards

Open Contest



Last updated: May 30, 2009
Site hosted courtesy of the
Minnesota Rocketry Network
Alan Estenson, Webmaster

September 26, 2009 launch report

On Saturday, September 26th, MASA held its regular monthly club launch on the sod farm near Nowthen.  Flying started just before 10am, and the launch ended at 4pm.  A total of 184 flights were recorded.  The prolific flyer of the day was Stuart Lenz with 18 flights.

The morning started out very foggy with visibility as low as 100 yards.  Several people were on hand to start setting up just before 9am.  By 9:30, the range was pretty much ready to go, and the fog was lifting.  By 10:30, we had clear, blue skies, sunshine and nearly calm conditions.  As the day went on, the breeze did come up out of the south.  All in all, it was a very nice day!  A ton of people came out for the launch.  Through strange coincidence, the number of flights was exactly the same as last month's launch.  The cluster theme did result in a lot more motors being used.  Fewer mid-power flights brought down the total impulse for the day.

Daniel Hastings - your red rocket was found and turned in, you can pick it up at a future launch.

Deuces Wild Drag Race

Seven rocketeers brought out their FlisKits "Deuces Wild" rockets (and variants) for a cluster drag race.  Flying were Jeff Taylor, Alan Estenson, Ted Cochran, Dave Schaffhausen, Lyle Merdan, Scott Gleason, and Daniel Boe.

Tres Drag Race

Four rocketeers brought out their FlisKits "Tres" rockets for another cluster drag race.  Flying were Ken Hoyme, Lyle Merdan, Jeff Taylor, and Mark Thell.


The theme for this launch was "clusters".  Including the entrants in the drag races, there were 26 clustered-engine rocket flights during the day.  The success rate was quite good.

Thanks to the LCO/RSO volunteers:  Mark Thell, Ted Cochran, Neal Higgins, Rick Vatsaas, David Whitaker, and Alan Estenson.

Thanks to the early crew who helped set up the launch range and to the gang that stayed to help tear down and pack up the gear at the end of the day!

Congrats to Todd Carpenter on his successful L1 certification!  Todd flew a PML Tethys on an Aerotech H242.

Ken Hoyme has shared some of his photos from the launch on a flickr page:

Alan Estenson has shared some of his photos from the launch at

A few of the flights:

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

Todd Carpenter writes:

As the aging supplicant rode his small steed on his early morning pilgrimage to the northern plains, the bright southern sky darkened, and dank fog roiled about, tendrils and oily masses obscuring lethal drop offs, long dank troughs of festering waters on one side, and tall sentinel stalks to the other. The lone cry of an eagle pierced the air as it circled above the thick fog, foiled in its search for sustenance. The supplicant eventually thread his way through treacherous bends and pits in the road, and arrived in the now, from then, as the sun burnt away the mists, exposing the brightly festooned tournament field...

> Congrats to Todd Carpenter on his successful L1 cert! Woo-hoo!

Thanks to everyone for the help! Woo Hoo is right!

I never really intended to go for L1, but after all the talk this year of the "L1 contest" where the MASA team built an L1 rocket in under an hour, well, I thought I should make an attempt. I didn't realize it was supposed to be that easy. (It wasn't.)

I relied on a Tethys, HMR, 38mm RMS system, H242T-M, rail buttons, and a _lot_ of epoxy, all from Hub. Corn abatement buzzers from Ax man. A *lot* more than an hour of labor, several conversations with MASA experts, reading the NAR membership handbook, and still having questions...

Ted checked things over when I arrived, and offered some tips. My certification board, Jeff and Carol, showed up shortly thereafter, and went over the rocket and the safety checklist in detail. Next L1 cert attemptee: Bring along a list of approved rockets. I should have done that... Also, despite my practicing with RMS D,E, and F motors, my crack cert team caught an o-ring issue, and showed me how to install it correctly. *whew* Along the way, lots of people stopped by to offer positive encouragement. Thanks, that meant a lot

Alan lent me his rail launcher, and Mark provided insightful color commentary as we prepared for the launch. Mark sported a very nice blue hard hat, leaving the rest of the MASA spectators unprotected. Oddly enough, everyone clustered around to watch anyways. What part of "first flight, first L1 attempt" didn't they get? Whatever...

Launch went well, chute opened, and recovery was on the grass. The corn abatement system installed in the nosecone worked great. The one on the piston separated, and was recovered by Stuart (thanks!). The piston zippered a bit, Rick gave me a clever tip on preventing that in the future: Install an aft bulkhead on the piston.

I next launched a Flis Fric-n-Frac. Fun as always, though one panel lost a corner. My Screaming Mimi popped up on an E28, chute didn't open, but it landed in some scrub brush along the road, and took zero damage. Then I launched my Baby Booster (Baby Bertha with a couple gliders on it), which suffered a nasty weathercock and buried itself in one of the drainage ditches. One glider shattered, boost hook cracked, but all is likely repairable.

Thoroughly enjoyed watching all the other rockets today. Great mix of things, from the detail on the micro max to the Red Line J, with hybrids, crayons, gliders, a lighthouse, amazing flying steampunk cups, and a bunch of clusters in between!

Ken Hoyme writes:

It was a pleasant day for a launch. Alissa is deep in the throws of her senior year at the U, but having finished two new rockets just before going back, she wanted to be there. I had to make a  presentation to docs starting at 7:30AM in downtown St. Paul, so we didn't get there until noon. The parking area was jammed with folks.

Alissa had successful launches of both her new rockets. Her Nantucket Sound flew well on a C11-3, and got many side conversations going about it. Her Fliskit "Adfecta" also flew true on a C11-3. On a calmer day, it would be worth putting a larger engine in it, to be sure.

I puttered around between taking photos and prepping rockets. I spent much time trying to get my new A.C.M.E. Spitfire to behave. Some paint/filler got into the lower launch lug, and I had a dickens of a time getting it cleared (had to do some field repair of a crack I made). In the end, it was clear but still more friction than I would have preferred, and a funky launch was testament to it still needing lug work. I also put up an old mini-Bertha that I think I built around 1973. It flew fine.

The fun launch was putting up my Tres in a 4-way drag race with Mark, Lyle and Jeff. Kudos to Lyle for taking the challenge and building his up in a week!

Of course, one always has to do one more launch. Alissa's sister had built up a Aerotech Cheetah back in 2002-3, but it was never finished (that was the time we lost the Blaine field, and the VFW fields were too small for F-G engines). Being in dental school for the next 4 years, she told me to go ahead and finish it and fly it myself. So, I put in an F20-7W that we bought back in 2002-3. Being short, I put it on the 1/4 rod that I could reach easily. The motor sputtered several times on ignition, and I think when it lit, it did not have enough velocity off the rod. It took a turn for the corn, and off it went.

Thanks to many helpful eyes, and Glen's tracking GPS system, Alissa and I went over to the main dirt road, and started a search grid. Alissa found it 42 rows in off the road, pretty close to the track set on the GPS. Thanks to all for the eagle eyed assistance!

Enjoyed watching many other amazing flights, and some rather dramatic ones as well. Sorry I missed Todd's L1 flight -- congrats!

Alan Estenson writes:

It started out darn foggy!  (I actually missed a turn in the fog.)  It started burning off pretty quickly, though.  With plenty of help (thanks guys!), we had the range set up very quickly.  It turned out to be a beautiful day with great attendance and a ton of flights!

I had been itchin' to burn a J motor, so I drug out my trusty LOC I-roc and loaded a J420 Redline in it.  Very fast and loud liftoff with a red flame about as long as the rocket.  The flight arced quite a bit to the south.  With the breeze, it drifted back and landed almost directly across the drainage ditch from the pad.

For other flights, I loaded my Tube-ces Wild with two long burn Quest C6-5's for the Deuce drag race.  Ken's photos show that I was first off the pads - perhaps due to the low current Quest Q2G2 igniters.  Upping the power on my crayon rocket "Back to Cool", I loaded it with an F21-8 for a very nice flight.  It drifted off to the north, and I lost sight of it behind the rise.  Todd Schweim had seen it drop into the corn and gave me a landmark to go by.  However, on my way to get it, I ran into Don Boe carrying it back.  He had also seen it drop into the corn and had gone in to get it.  Thanks Don!!!

My repaired "Super Duper V2" had its first flight in several years on a D12-5.  For the cluster theme, I also flew my Semroc Goliath on three C6-7's.

Great launch, everyone!  Thanks!!!

Ted Cochran writes:

Congrats, Todd!

Illustrations for Todd's story are here:

Great shots, Ken; the Deuce's drag race is particularly awesome.

I flew five rockets carrying 20 motors, lighting all but two of them:

EnRaged, my kit-bashed Renegade, flew well on 4 A10-Ps and 2 out of 3 B6-4s.
I flew Ranger on 2 out of 3 B6-4s. The chute was shy and it core sampled about two inches of peat, but no damage at all.
I flew my parallel-staged, booster dropping, five-motor-cluster PSR 18-24 rocket on 4 x A8-3s and a D12-5 for another fate-tempting, probabilistically-unlikely perfect flight.
My Deuce's Wild off the rail on two C6-5s was part of the wonderfully-chaotic drag race.
And, for old time's sake, I flew my 11-year-old orange and yellow Ted's Testbed for the 25th time on three D12s. That rocket has burned 75 D12s and six E15s in its life....I could almost have built a L3 rocket for the motor money it's used over the years.

Great launch; great fun!

The Details:

Full launch tally (PDF)

The totals were:  184 flights with 233 motors burned.  The cumulative total impulse was 6066 Ns with an average total impulse of  26 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 3
















G 8


I 2




(Alan Estenson)

Back to Launch Reports