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Last updated: Mar 27, 2010
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July 2010 launch report (7/24/2010)

On Saturday, July 24th, MASA held its regularly monthly club launch at the sod fields near Nowthen.  The day dawned bright and sunny.  The only thing keeping it from being perfect rocket-flyin' weather was a breeze out of the northwest.  This resulted in a couple rockets finding the cornfield throughout the day.

MASA President Carol Marple writes, "Wow, it was a busy day! Today was one of the best-attended and busiest launches I can remember. There were so many people at today's launch that we took up one sod section plus half of another one. Plus, we had 5 high power certification flights, all of which were successful!

I'd like to congratulate everyone who achieved their high power certification today:
David Gensler - L2 [PML AMRAAM 4 on J350]
Neal Higgins - L2 ["Thor" on J350]
Todd Carpenter - L2 [Stretched PML Tethys on J350]
Bob Moyle - L1 [PML Tiny Pterodactyl on H128]
Art Gibbens - L1 [Genesis on H128]

Also, a HUGE thank you to all the RSO's!! I believe that Rick, Jeff, Todd, Neal, and Alan all covered at least one shift (sorry if I missed anyone - I was busy helping with some of the cert flights, and helping Todd look for his Tethys :) ). The RSO's were really put to the test today, and they all did an absolutely fabulous job!!! Thank you for making sure that we had a safe launch!!"

Buzz McDermott called together an impromptu Laser-X drag race at high noon.  Four Laser-X's and one SLS Laser-X took to the skies.  Unfortunately, the SLS Laser-X exceeded the speed of balsa (on a G motor) and shredded.

By coincidence, this day also happened to be the 60th anniversary of the very first rocket launch from Cape Canaveral (Bumper-8).  In honor of the occasion, several V-2's were flown throughout the day.  Alan Estenson flew his Blossom on a D12-5.  Lyle Merdan flew his "V-2 of Death" on a C6-3.  Dwayne Shmel flew his V-2 on an E28.  John Carlson flew his vintage V-2 (35 years old) on a B6-4.

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

Art Gibbens writes:

Well, I finally did it - I am now L1 Certified - woo hoo! While the engine build seemed to go faster this time around, it still took a long time to get everything in order for the flight. Things I changed between the first attempt and this one were that I changed the pick-up point for the parachute on the shock cord, added nose weight for flight stability and drilled the delay so that ejection occurred at apogee instead of during descent. I also added a beeper in case it went into the corn. Also, Jeff recommended I sand it so the two parts slid apart easier. I also drilled a pressure relief hole so when the two halves were being slid together that there was some place for the displaced air to bleed off. So I got the rocket all checked out and got it out to the pad and then waited for Alan to launch it.

It still had a little wiggle in it as it goes through the first couple of hundred feet while it gets up to speed but after that it just goes. Went pretty straight this time compared to last so I think the nose weight helped. It turned over and the ejection went off just right. However, again the parachute took it's time to pop out but it did eventually blossom nicely. Landed just two fields over for a nice short recovery walk. As we got up close you could hear the beeper going off and see that everything was in order.

I want to give a big thanks to Jeff and Carol, my two Certification Team members and a special thanks to Alan and Neil as they also watched over me today as I went through the process. Thanks so much to all of you at MASA who have encouraged me and helped me get to this point. I couldn't have done it without you. We have a great club!

In a different vein, I'd like to nominate a flight for PRANG of the year award. I don't know who it was but someone flew something larger that did not have the ejection work and it came in with a dull thunk. It was black and yellow and when the owner picked it up my son Phil commented that it looked just like Gonzo's nose, the way it was bent up into a hook shape. It wasn't pretty. Someone else will know who the owner was I'm sure.

Todd Carpenter writes:

Congrats to all the successful certs today!

<happy dance> Today I flew a stretched Tethys, with a J350W-M, for my successful L2 cert. 3880' according to Rocksim. It was straight up.  The down part wasn't so straight, and it landed in the corn.

Many thanks to my L2 cert & support team!

- Rick for the safety check and Team Vatsaas special lore
- Ken for finding my rocket in the corn field, recovery check and signoff.
- Alan for RSO'ing
- Ken, Jeff, and Carol for searching through the fields, swamps and corn. I hope your legs recover. Mine still tingle.
- Carol for the victory ride home
- Neil for final L2 sign off
- Ted for encouraging the payload section on the Tethys. Worked great, and was quite affordable. PML shipping is speedy.

The difficulty in finding the rocket was due to the corn abatement beeper deciding to turn itself off. How a slide switch does that is beyond me. Next time I will pin it or tape it.


After RSOing for my 2nd time, I find that the rest of you make it look easy. It's not. So thanks to all of you who've been doing it for so long! I also appreciate the help and patience from the rest of you as I'm learning.

Neal Higgins writes:

Congrats to all the cert flights today. If I counted correctly there were 3 L2 and 2 L1 certs today.

I flew THOR(tie-dyed tube fins) on a J350W-M for my L2 cert flight. Thanks Alan and Carol for being my cert team. Thanks Rick for the great job at LCO and pushing the button correctly so it stayed out of the corn and water. Thanks everyone else for the cheers and congrats.

I only flew 3 other rockets after the L2 flight.  An Apogee Texas Twister on an A3-4T,  My PML MR1 clone called Milhouse on an F27R-8 and last a LOC Weasel on an F27R-8.

Thanks everyone who helped with the range setup and tear down.

I forgot to mention that my Altimeter One registered 2060' on my L2 flight.  Alas my gum camera failed so I didn't get any on board video.

John Carlson writes:

I had a great day, launched 3 rockets that were brand new over the winter a Quest raptor and agm striker, and a semroc Ruskie. I did launch my 35 year old estes v-2 to keep up with my old rockets reputation. I really like launching my D-region Tomahawk on E9's what a blast. It was really fun to race all our Laser-X's sorry about the speed of balsa on the sls laser-x. Thanks again to the rso's.

Jeff Taylor writes:

Where did the day go? I was there all day and only got in two flights:

- New Mid-Power Sirius Interrogator on a D12-5 (perfect flight)
- New Exselsior Honest Goon on a B6-4 (slightly underpowered, but a decent flight)

On the other hand, I spent a lot of time socializing, RSO-ing and visiting with several thousand stalks of corn while lookimg for Todd's Tethys.

I had hoped to test-fly a few other new ones before NARAM but ran out of time: Sonic Shark, LOC Tweed-B, and a Fatboy Saturn Kitbash.

Thanks to all the RSO's, congrats to all the succesful cert flights, and a special thanks to all those that helped set up and tear down the range.

Ken & Paul Jarosch write:

Paul put up a bunch of small BP rockets and the modified Snitch on an E28-0T. As expected the Saucer made a fairly good height and floated down inverted as it should.

Not so of the two HPR saucers. First, "Smiley" (7.5" - 29mm Delta Saucer) on a HPR G75J-0. While the Black Jack motor did it's job the Saucer made a lopsided tumble on the way down instead of the usual "AeroBrake" recovery. This saucer has flown on many G motors and recovery went as planned.

I flew Paul's "Cluster Saucer" (10" - 3x24mm, 29mm & 38mm Delta Saucer) on a H97J-0. This multi-motor mount saucer has flown on many G motors, again with inverted recovery. Today the H97J did a good job on ascent but the saucer also went through the loop-de-do tumble on recovery.

These tumble recoveries have us stumped. With the longer 29/180/240 casings these Saucers have more weight forward and should come in inverted. Paul thinks the winds started the flipping at apogee and the longer casings kept the flipping up. You will see similar reports on EMRR.

Didn't get time to bring out the 38mm Saucers, maybe next time.

Steve Brown writes:

What a good time! After yesterday's launch I can really appreciate all of the work that goes into a club launch. It is very nice to have all of the equipment on hand and seems to be quite a bargain for the small membership fee. While I arrived late and left early, many thanks to all that volunteers who did set up and tear down, arranging use of the site, and acting as LCO/RSO's. I will read the safety info before the next launch, and then maybe can help with some of the duties in the future.

I had many good flights, and one bad one. The Aerotech Arreaux failed to eject and made an impressive thud upon landing. The autopsy revealed no clues as to what happened, and the red cap was in the cooling mesh. The good news is that every single part of that rocket is ok except (obviously) the body tubes. Thanks Aerotech for a sturdy design!

I lofted a Garmin Pilot 111 G.P.S. in the LOC Fantom with an H242T. It did not return the info hoped for; the max speed for the flight was 32.8 MPH. Must have only been able to do speed across the ground.

Congrats to the new level 1 and 2 fliers, it was fun to see so many big rockets. Also thanks to Dwayne and the member who's name I did not get that sold me some H engines

David Whitaker writes:

On Saturday, I only launched 3 rockets but all were successful. The main rocket I wanted to try was my scratch-build AMRAAM which was 2.5 inches in diameter. I had designed it for longish hybrid motors and it was equipped for dual-deploy.

Once we got all the hybrid launch equipment set up, my first attempt to launch the hybrid powered AMRAAM failed. I could not get the igniter to light!  I took the motor apart and replaced the igniter (it hadn't burned) and added a second igniter alongside it.

The second attempt went swimmingly. After gassing up the hybrid and getting a quick 3 count, I held down the ignition switch. At first I didn't think it would go. Finally (after what seemed like an eternity) the motor fired and the AMRAAM shot skyward. I was surprised at the speed at which it went up on an H124 motor. Usually, hybrid launches are fairly

I lost sight of it and finally regained my track on it when the drogue charge went off. I saw that the rocket had veered off to the west. The rocket fell on the drogue a LONG time until finally the main was deployed. At this point the AMRAAM drifted into the the corn field to the west of the launch site. Arrgghhh!

Glen Overby had been watching and locked his Garmin Etrex onto the landing site using the Etrex's Sight'N Go feature. Glen handed me the ETrex and gave me some basic directions.

With much trepidation I approached the corn using the Garmin. I hate corn since this stuff was well above my head. I sometimes feel like I'm in a green void while inside a corn field. Thank goodness farmer's plant this stuff in rows so some basic navigation is possible.

I had my doubts about the Garmin but I followed it directions. After much wandering (in one direction) with the Garmin, I finally heard a soft beeping. I went toward the direction
I thought I heard it and then paused. The sound seems to be coming from the side. The Garmin was pointing very close to the direction of the sound. A few more steps and I found
the rocket!

The rocket was scrubbed up slightly. One of the forward fins was slightly loose. According to the altimeter, the rocket had gone 1736 feet with the H motor.

I was pretty impressed with the Garmin and the sonic beeper. Maybe corn can be defeated without endless searching.

I also launched a 2 inch diameter Black Brant X on a RoadRunner F60. A great flight. I wish more of the RoadRunner motors were easily available.

I also tried my LaunchPad ASRAAM on 2xD12-5. A good flight but the parachute stripped. No real damage. The ASRAAM had
so many flights on it it's becoming a real "beater"!

P.S. A YouTube video exists at:

The Details:

Full launch tally (PDF)

The totals were:  156 flights, 167 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 7574 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 0
















G 9


I 1



(Alan Estenson)

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