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. ;-)
- 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.
- 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
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
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
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
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
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.
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: