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?
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
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
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.