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Last updated: Mar 27, 2010
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June 2010 Solstice evening launch report (6/20/2010)

On Saturday evening, June 19th, MASA held its annual evening launch to mark the summer solstice.  This year, it returned to the VFW soccer fields near Elk River

It turned out to be a beautiful evening for flying rockets.  Flights continued right up until dusk.

Flight cards were not used, so there isn't a full launch tally or count of the flights.

If you were there, please feel free to send in your thoughts and a description of your flights.  Thanks!

Jeff Taylor writes:

Contrary to past years, the mosquito population seemed to be minimal. It turned out to be a perfect evening for launching, with the wind continually dying down to about nothing. I got there around 4:30 and was the second one there (Carol was the first). I got in a total of eight flights (below) and seemed to have spent more time behind the camera than I did flying. I will post some pictures later.

  • Fat Boy C6-3
  • Big Bertha B6-4
  • Big Bertha B6-4
  • Birdie (Parts and plans ala Estenson) 1/2A3-4T
  • Big Bertha C6-5
  • Renegade (Sustainer only) C6-5
  • Deuces Wild B6-4 (2)
  • Moon Dog A10-3T

Todd Carpenter writes:

Great night for flying! Low mosquito count, heat, wind, and humidity. Many families, including some new ones to MASA. Many terrific flights to watch. What's not to like?

My flights:

  • Steam Boy, fresh out of the steam fitters: D21-4 (AP, single-use).  Perfect flight. 4 seconds seems just right. I need to learn how to reliably drill delays for my RMS motors. However, I have learned to practice on rockets that are a little more disposable...
  • Screamin Mimi: D12-5 Great flight, no screaming that I could hear. Well, except for the enthusiastic families nearby.
  • Art Applewhite Pyramid: C6-5
  • Mercury Redstone: C6-5

There were also some ping pong and marshmallow launches.

Thanks, Alan, for proctoring the L2 test! Now to get some epoxy for the rocket...

Alan Estenson writes:

Having spent the day at the big Back to the 50's car show in St Paul, and then battling the road construction traffic backup on I-94, I didn't get to the field until after 6pm.

It was a beautiful evening though! The sun was shining as it sank into the western sky, and the breeze was light out of the west to northwest. After setting up my two-pad system, I started prepping and flying some rockets. I brought along several that hadn't seen any flying action in a long time.

  • Sputnik, C6-0
  • Polarized, D12-7, went really high!
  • Meteor, B6-4, garage sale rocket
  • Hawk, D12-5
  • Stomp Rocket, B6-4, hot Quest ejection blew out the foam
  • Firecat, C6-5, another garage sale rocket
  • Super Duper Serval, E9-8, very straight and very high flight
  • Six Pack, D12-7
  • Super Duper Blobbo, E20-7
  • EZ C6-5, C6-5
  • Sky Hook, A3-4t
  • Back to Cool, E9-6 (crayon rocket)
  • Fat Boy, D12-5, with onboard video

I had an Estes AstroBeam (with all the blinking LEDs) prepped to fly at dusk, but then I discovered that the batteries had gone dead.

Thanks to my visiting folks for retrieving more than a few of my rockets! My Dad prepped and flew the Sky Hook. He said that was the first time that he had ever personally flown a model rocket.

I was able to dispense a lot of the MASA t-shirts and caps that people had ordered. I hope that everyone likes them!

Ken Hoyme writes:

While it was a pleasant night to be out, given my success rate, I might have been better off staying home! :( Out of 8 launches, I have 2 total losses, and two repair jobs (one simple, one complex).

My list included:
1) Apogee Components Heli-roc - A3-4T - off the pad at a crazy angle, took quite a bit of damage on landing - repairable
2) Estes SPEV (original from the 70's) - B6-4 - low flight - chute never totally opened - no damage!!
3) Custom Rockets Galileo - A8-3 - 1st flight - taped motor in too tight (my mistake) - it was apparently supposed to eject it, but due to the tightness, blew apart on ejection - total loss #1
4) Estes Maxi Alpha 3 - D12-5 - nice flight
5) Flis Frick n' Frack - B6-0 to C6-0 - nice flight, minor balsa chip - easily repairable
6) Quest Zenith II - B6-0 to B4-4 - nice flight
7) Semroc SLS L'il Hustler - D12-5 - nice flight, though the motor spit on ejection and nearly brained Alan at his pad
8) Leading Edge Rocketry Alien - E20-4W - Lawn darted due to really long ejection delay - total loss #2.

The last one was painful. I ordered this up a few weeks back with the idea to build it up for the Solstice launch and do a kit review for the MASA Planet. It took a terribly long time to get here - finally got it last Monday. This thing has 39 LEDs individually soldered and epoxied, with much soldering and extensive vinyl wraps (see details once I get the review written). I spent many hours this week to get it ready for this launch.

For those who saw it, it is a pretty cool looking beast. I waited until the end of the launch time, right after sun down to make the attempt to maximize LED visibility (even darker would have been better). I struggled over motor choice -- it says it can use D's and E9's - but it came in just over a pound, and Rocksim was saying it would have low velocity off the rod with those motors. I didn't want to risk my second ever RMS experience on this, so I picked up a couple of the new Aerotech consumer line E20-4W's at Hub this week. Strangely, those seem new enough that the March 2010 Aerotech Rocksim motor files don't have them in it. So I estimated what it would do off an E18 RMS model that was there. Still a bit on the low side for rod velocity, but an estimated altitude of 670 feet.

Winds were pretty calm after 9PM. Off the rod, it was a bit squirrely, but stabilized as it picked up speed. It made a nice arc to the west, over the road, and continued down into the field across the street. I wish I had a stopwatch on it, but that was way longer than 4 seconds delay. There was charring on the chute that indicated that the ejection charge had lit, but it appeared to have happened after hitting the ground - the nose cone was firmly implanted into the upper body tube - it had not separated before hitting the ground. The kit has many plastic ribs (that glow in the dark with 9 of the LEDs firing into the plastic) that were completely shattered. I am tempted to get and build another one (there was much I learned in the first time, and having less of a rush I could do a better job) - but since I have so few chances for night launches in a space that needs an E or F to launch, I am thinking I will spend my money on something else. Oh well!!

Lastly, I was out there with my old Estes 1/8" pad, and having to mooch pad space for anything larger (and think part of my problem with the Heli-roc was the short rod). I really am having pad envy, and may have to put pad construction ahead of other rockets as my next "must do" project in the shop...

Good times talking with folks! Nice MASA cap, Alan!

Buzz McDermott writes:

OK. I have to throw in my .02 worth as well. I second Dwayne's comment. I had a great time. Picked up my MASA shirt and hat (thank's Alan!!). Got in a number of flights. Had a lot of fun with my Edmonds Cici Thunder. Seemed to entertain a few other attendees with my ongoing attempts to destroy it. :-)

My seven flights were:
Edmonds Cici Thunder on C11-3 ... low, short flight but good glide and landed right next to my prep area
Estes Gyroc (BMS X kit) on A8-3 ... unstable. Maybe I will read some directions next time I build one. :-)
Edmonds Cici Thunder on D12-3 ... Red Baron, nose diving straight into the dirt, but no damage!!
Squirel Works Doug Sam's Tuber on C11-0 / C11-7 ... went higher than I expected; beautiful flight
Edmonds Cici Thunder on E9-4 ... previous Red Baron didn't kill it - and neither did spectacular CATO of the E9!
Semroc Launch Mag rocket on Quest B6-4 ... Drag race with Mark Thell...I lost. :-( But I went much higher! :-)
Edmonds Cic Thunder on E9-4 ... still trying to destroy this, I guess. Fantastic flight on this one. Recovered right next to the apartments at far end of field.

Kathy came out with me this time and took a few pictures of the launch and a lot of pictures of the various birds she saw. We both had a great time.

And a special thank you to both Dwayne and Alan for sharing their launch setups.

(Alan Estenson)

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