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
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
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 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
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
- 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
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
- 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
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
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
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
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 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
so many flights on it it's becoming a real "beater"!
P.S. A YouTube video exists at:
Full launch tally (PDF)
The totals were: 156 flights, 167 motors. The cumulative
total impulse was 7574 Ns.
The motor breakdown follows: