On Saturday, March 27th, MASA held its third launch of
2010. It was held at the VFW soccer fields near Elk River.
The skies were overcast and a few rain drops were felt during the
morning. The wind actually decreased throughout the launch.
While there were some early TARC flights, the MASA launch officially
ran from noon until 3pm.
A total of 54 flights were recorded on motors
ranging from A to F.
It was ugly. Had Hope Christian Academy's Rocket club known
what they were in for today, I'm sure we all would have stayed
home in our nice warm beds rather than venture out into the cold
dreary morning. We arrived at the school around 8:00 am to do
those last minute activities to ensure success in our launches
for the day. We then loaded up the van and headed for Otsego.
The skies looked threatening to the North and West - the
direction we were heading. We encountered a sprinkling shower
just before we turned North on 101 - just enough moisture to
make everything wet.
We were the first to arrive to the launch site as there was
only one of the VFW ladies just leaving. So the students started
prepping their rockets and I went about setting up my launch
equipment. It was about the time that the launch equipment was
all set up and both teams had their respective altimeters
beeping in their equipment bays that we discovered that after
last week's trial launches that the whip clips had not been
returned to the launch toolbox where they belonged. Ugh.
So, what to do? At this point, not knowing who might be
coming to the launch later that day, or if even any body else
had a set of whip clips to use for launching cluster motors we
had to make a decision about what to do. We had enough time to
drive back to the school (an hour each way) and still get in
some flights for the day, perhaps not as many as we'd have liked
to; or we could wait and take the chance that someone coming to
the launch would have a set of clips. So one of the students
from the teams and I took off to go
get the clips at HCA while the others with two parents remained
behind to watch over the gear. We were about 15 minutes away
when we got the call to have us turn around, as Neil had shown
up for the launch and had a set of clips with him.
We got back just as the first team launched. We did not see
the rocket land, just the smoke from the launch lingering around
the pad. TARC Team #8153 had their rocket lawn dart because only
the single C11-5 engine had lit; neither of the two D12-5s had
lit. So it got up high enough to do serious damage to the rocket
upon impact. The ejection charge was not strong enough to force
the two parts of the fence post apart.
Team #8152 had an even more dramatic failure with their
rocket, as all 3 of their engines lit but the lone C11-7 CATOed
forcing the top of the rocket off as it cleared the launch rod
and causing the bottom half of the rocket to spin crazily about
30 feet in the air while the 2 D12-7s spent their energy. The
parachute for the bottom half of the rocket was a molten blob of
plastic and the streamer was charred almost completely through
in 3 different places. Like I said at the beginning - it was
So we packed up our things and headed back to the school.
Both rockets were destroyed and being that it is spring break,
there is no way to work at school this week to rebuild the
rockets to try to qualify next weekend. So, another TARC season
is behind the HCA Rocket Club. Hopefully others had better
Alan Estenson writes:
Some sun would have been nice, but it wasn't a bad day for
launching rockets. The wind, out of the south, was light
and dropped to scarcely a breeze by the time we were all packing
up to go home.
Todd Carpenter's "Steam Boy" on a D21 really moved. I
asked him if he'd tied down the safeties to get a higher steam
I somehow got in 11 flights. First up were some
odd-rocs: Pheord X150, Sputnik, and a traditional Stomp
rocket. Then I flew a Sky Hook on an A3-4t, and it really
went up there! That was my longest recovery walk of the
day - all the way down to the south end of the field.
Next, I flew a Goony Goblin and a Goblin. The Goblin's
C11-5 blew it's ejection charge about 100 feet up. That
stripped off the chute and broke a fin, but it's fixable.
Then, I flew an old Der Big Red Max clone and my crayon rocket,
"Back to Cool". I was happy with how well the crayon flew
on an E9-4.
Last, I played with some more little onboard video cameras.
I flew my old Longshot 2-stager twice with a "keychain camera"
taped to it. The Longshot has gotten pretty tired and is
now due for retirement. Then, I flew my old D-powered Fat
Boy with a "gum camera".
Full launch tally (PDF)
The totals were: 54 flights, 62 motors. The cumulative
total impulse was 735 Ns with an average total impulse of 11.9 Ns.
The motor breakdown follows: