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Last updated: May 30, 2009
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October 24, 2009 launch report

On Saturday, October 24th, MASA held its regular monthly club launch on the sod farm near Nowthen.  Flying started around 10am, and the launch ended at 3pm.  A total of 105 flights were recorded. This was the final launch of the year at the sod farm.

The weather cooperated, and we had a fairly nice fall day for flying rockets.  Turnout of people was pretty good, too.

Charlie Weismann - you forgot your AMRAAM rocket.  You can pick it up at a future MASA launch.

High Power "Smackdown" !!!

Prior to the launch, Alan Estenson issued a challenge:  "I'm itchin' to fly some high power, so I'm throwing down the gauntlet. <#ow# - keep away from your own foot when throwing down a gauntlet> I'm challenging any and all comers to a high power drag race at high noon on Saturday - any rocket, any motor "H" or larger. Just to give you fair warning, I'll be loading up my trusty ol' Minie-Magg with an I218R. <grin>"

The smackdown ended up being held closer to 1pm, and, due to the limited number of high power pads, was divided up into "Smackdown I" and "Smackdown II".  Alan Estenson provided the pro-wrestling styled color commentary.  ;-)

Smackdown I

  • Ted Cochran - LOC IV, H180W-M
  • Neal Higgins - "Thor", I366R (first flight, and his first I motor)
  • Glen Overby - PML Explorer, H238T
  • Alan Estenson - LOC Minie Magg, I218R-M

With the lightest rocket and fastest-burning propellant, Glen's Explorer was first off the pad and first back to the ground. Alan's Minie Magg was next off the pad, followed by Neal's Thor and Ted's LOC IV.

Smackdown II

  • Jeff Taylor - LOC IV, H180W-M
  • David Whitaker - LOC lil V2, H165R-M
  • Glen Overby - "Super Banana", I119 hybrid

Dave's V2 was first off the pad, followed by Jeff's LOC IV and then Glen's hybrid.

Other high power flights during the day included Alan Estenson's "It's the Great Pumpkin Rocket, Charlie Brown" on an I211 and David Whitaker's Jaguar on an I119 hybrid.


The theme for this launch was "odd-rocs".  A variety of interesting things took to the skies:  cones, saucers, pyramids, pool noodles, borg cubes, sputniks, spudniks, birdies, 2-stage Stomp rockets, a Monolith, a coffee-cup creation, a transparent square-tube rocket, SDI-satellite...  With one week to go before Halloween, a number of Halloween-theme rockets were also flown:  Goblin, Goony-Goblin, Pumpniks, little pumpkin rocket that started life as a flashlight, former pumpkin lawn ornament...

Thanks to the LCO/RSO volunteers:  Ted Cochran, Neal Higgins, and Alan Estenson.

Thanks to Neal for helping set up the launch range and to the crew that stayed to help tear down and pack up the gear at the end of the day!

Jim Hallock took some great photos during the launch.  They may be viewed at

David Whitaker has put some videos from the launch on YouTube

The first is the second Hi-Power drag race:

The second is my hybrid launch (warning: long and boring):

Ted Cochran has uploaded a few pictures:

Pictures of Alan's "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and the second salvo of the drag race are here:

A few of the flights:

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

Ken Jarosch writes:

I had three reasons to be at the launch today. 1) Paul and I could fly as many odd rocs as our short time would permit. 2) Use that close in flying to do the Low Amp. Igniter field test for the SP article "Low Amp. Igniters for Small AP motors". 3) Use those tests to do some AP Cluster flying.

The Igniters to be tested were the Q2G2 modified to eliminate the AP deficiencies my article "Quest Q2G2 vs Aerotech 3" Blue First Fire Junior" showed up in field tests. Also I had 13 FireStar FS-12-LA ( Low Amp. Blanks ) that had been dipped in the regular Magnelite Pyrogen as a sure bet based on our use of their FS-12 regular igniters.

The tests ran both 24 mm E30-4T's and E15-4W's with these igniters.

Modified Q2G2 Tests;

In the previous tests these Q2G2 igniters ran about 50% ignition while the 3" Blue FFJR were at 100% reliable. So I was eager to see if my mods had helped the problems.

1) The Art AppleWhite Gold Cone just shot off the pad on a E30-4T and went to a fairly good height. At ejection the base and cone separated and came down slowly. Even Paul was surprised as he usually uses a D15-4T.

2) The next rocket was the Sunward RED Pyramid on a E15-4W (a harder to start motor). Again at firing the mod Q2G2 instant started the motor with out the usual hesitation. The rocket flew over the next field and at ejection the force just ripped the chute lines off leaving a streamer recovery. No damage in the soft dirt.

3) The plan was then to fly my "Impulse" on twin E30-7T's using the successful mod. Q2G2 but we were running out of Time.

FireStar FS-12- LOW AMPERAGE version;

This blank has a NO Fire 0.90 amp / ALL Fire 1.6 amp spec. These were dipped in my Magnelite Pyrogen and we expected great things from these igniters as we have used his regular FS-12's for years.

Here's the bad news;

1) The AppleWhite Black Scimitar on an easy to start E30-0T was the first test of the NEW FireStar LowAMP. Igniter. Good continuity first, which was lost on pushing the ignition button. Checking the Igniter showed no signs of burning. Bridge wire burn but no Pyrogen ignited.

Switched to a enhanced Aerotech FFJR. Again no lift off. The igniter burned including the Magnelite pyrogen enhancement but no motor ignition. First FFJR to fail.

Then I used a regular FS-12 and had a perfect spinning flight.

2) Using the AppleWhite Stars & Stripes 24 mm saucer and a E15-0W for the second test of the FireStar LA igniter produced the same dead results. This time a slight burn through was seen in the Pyrogen. The blanks do not have enough heat to ignite the regular pyrogen.

So once again I went back to the regular FS-12 to do the job.

More testing and a different Pyrogen may need to be tried to see if they can be made to work.

3) Had the FireStar FS-12-LA worked I would have flown the LIL' Viper III on 3 D21-7T's as a 3 motor AP Small motor cluster.

I was really surprised at the Mod. Q2G2 performance, taken back on the failed Enhanced FFJR and totally disappointed over the FireStar LA igniter failures.

When I have a chance to go over my notes I'll see what can be done to make these LA blanks work.

Ted Cochran writes:

I flew Honest John for the sixth time on an E15-4, and LOC-IV for the 27th time, today on an H180W as part of the drag race.

The Details:

Full launch tally (PDF)

The totals were:  105 flights with 114 motors burned.  The cumulative total impulse was 4848 Ns with an average total impulse of  42.5 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 0
















G 3


I 5




(Alan Estenson)

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