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Last updated: Mar 27, 2010
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September 4, 2010 launch report (9/5/2010)

On Saturday, September 4th, MASA held a club launch at the sod fields near Nowthen.  This was technically the "August" launch - postponed a week due to high winds on the original date.  With the rescheduled date on a holiday weekend, turnout was light.

The day dawned with bright sun and a blue sky.  Scattered clouds gathered gradually throughout the afternoon.  The day was cool with high temperatures only in the mid 60's.  A slightly annoying breeze out of the northwest at 7-14mph was the only real down side.

Thanks to the LCO/RSO volunteers:  Buzz McDermott, Jeff Taylor, Dwayne Shmel, Todd Carpenter, and Alan Estenson.

Themes:  A Day at the Races
Special Events:  12th Annual Great UFO Drag Race; 9th Annual Comanche-3 Drag Race; kids-only drag race, "Back to School" crayon rocket drag race

The Great UFO Drag Race was split into two heats.  In the first heat, Dave Schaffhausen had his Estes Snitch on a B6-2, Todd Carpenter had his FlisKits Fric-n-Frac on C6-0 to C6-0, and Alan Estenson had his FlisKits Pheord X150, Quest SPEV Saucer, and Quest Planet Probe all on C6-0's. [and who flew in the 2nd heat?]

The Comanche-3 drag race and kids-only drag race were not held.

In the "Back to School" crayon drag race, Alan Estenson took on Dwayne Shmel - both flying converted dollar store crayon banks.  Dwayne's crayon leapt off the pad on an E28.  Alan's crayon was slow to light its E15 and then chuffed on the pad before finally launching.

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

Ken Jarosch writes:

Today's launch was mostly Art AppleWhite rockets.

1) 6" Yellow (24mm Ultra-Delta) Saucer (all paper) on a New Quest D5-0P for a disappointing arc over under power into the ground of the next field. Even though the D5-0 has more average thrust 4.93N than the D5-4 at 3.82 it still can't handle any winds. Saucer weighs only 0.4 oz.

2) Moving up in power I flew the 10.25" Stars & Stripes (29mm Original) Saucer on a H128W-0 for a great take off and flight. HPR handled the winds. Saucer flew straight up and came back through it's own smoke. Lost it for a while at apogee. I used the 29MM/240/RAS system which gave me the AeroBrake (Inverted) recovery I want.

3) Next was a large H motor in the 12" Green (38MM Original) Saucer. Using the 38MM/360/RAS system I flew the saucer on a H123W-0. It went to a fairly high altitude due to the long burn of the H123W, 2.5 seconds IIRC. Good floating recovery in AeroBrake fashion. These larger saucers with more powerful motors had no trouble in vertical ascent even under the winds.

4) Finally, to introduce the "CINCO" a 11" sided Saucer/Pyramid, I cleaned the 38MM/360/RAS system and I loaded it with the G67R-0 motor. After a little hesitation the Red Line G took off to a good height and fast speed due to high panel slopes.

The 29MM/240/RAS and the 38MM/360/RAS Specials are serving me well in these HPR Saucers.

The long burn Quest motors continue to be a disappointment in the winds. One final test today was to be on a 21" long 3FNC 1.0 oz. rocket with the Quest D5-6 motor. I'll wait for a dead calm day. If they can't handle that then they are useless to me.

Dwayne Shmel writes:

I only launched 2 rockets today. My recently refurbished "Dollar Store Crayon" rocket and my LOC IV. Both with mixed results.

The 10 ounce crayon flew on an E28T in a drag race with Alan. It jumped off the pad leaving Alan's "Back to Cool" rocket behind. I thought I had "won" until I discovered upon recovery that I was missing the Altimeter One that I attached to the nosecone. So it looks like I "lost" after all.

I used the included wire clip to attach the A1 to the nosecone. I hooked it to a metal eyelet that was embedded in epoxy on the bottom of the shoulder.  During my rebuild, I made sure the eyelet was deeply embedded in the epoxy - up to loop - since eyelets are notorious for allowing wires and shock cords to "mysterious" slip through that tiny little gap at the bottom of the loop.

Since there was no way the metal clip "slipped out" of the eyelet - it had to have failed during ejection. I was warned by Neil Thursday night and remember him saying: "you aren't going to use the little clip that came with it are you?" Yes I did and no I shouldn't have.

I sent an e-mail to Tim Van Milligan advising him that he should either include a stronger metal clip for attachment (I see a different clip in 3 of the photos on his site), or include no attachment device at all and allow the consumer to choose what they think is adequate instead of unwisely relying on something included with the product that is questionable. His
response was: "Thanks for the feedback. I do appreciate it."

My other flight was my rather heavy LOC IV on an H238T. Late ejection followed by fast descent and hard landing = broken fin. I will replace with new TTW fins that don't extend below the bottom of the airframe.

Although it was windy at times, it was good to be outside and not be sweating and miserable in the thick humidity. I will be at next week's Tripoli launch and the next MASA launch in 3 weeks.

Jeff Taylor writes:

Today's launch seemed to have a relativly small turnout, and the LCO duties were slow at most times. The winds had deteriorated slightly throughout the day, and by the time we packed up the range, it wasn't too bad. The Commanche drag race didn't happen (only one Commanche 3 and one Commanche "2" were there). The UFO drag race was split into two heats because there were 7 or 8 contenders. Also, Alan threw down the gauntlet and challenged the club to a Crayon drag race. Dwayne was the only one that answered the call.

I think I only made three flights today:
1. Top Flight Sonic Shark (first flight) on a B6-4. This rocket came with a huge parachute, but with today's windy conditions, I replaced it with a smaller 12 chute with a spill hole. Good call.
2. Scratch-built Honest Goon on a C6-5. This seemed like a great motor for this rocket. I flew it at the last launch on a B6-4, and it seemed a bit underpowered, but today's C6-5 worked much better.
3. Estes Big Daddy on an E18-7 White Lightning Reload. This was a good choice for a motor. The Copperhead even lit the first try!

Only 3 flights, but nothing was lost and nothing was damaged!

Carol Marple writes:

Hannah had a great time at the launch! I figured she would be bored and want to leave early on, but she didn't ask to "go bye-bye" until shortly before the launch ended. I know that hanging out with Sprinkles (Nancy and Dave's dog), and being able to run bare-footed through the grass, definitely kept her busy.

Hannah and I flew exactly three flights:

An Estes Patriot (my nephew's 'Piderman Patriot) on an A8-3. It went up maybe 100 feet, ejected the parachute at about 20 feet, and landed a very short walk from where we were standing. Hannah picked it up and said "That fun! I do again!"

An Estes Baby Bertha on a B4-4. I posted a few pictures of Hannah with this rocket in the Photos section.

A Estes Death Star on a C6-3, in a drag race with Todd Carpenter. Hannah was pretty excited to recover this rocket, and apparently thought she could make music with it.

Hannah said her favorite part was "the princess one" (the Baby Bertha, which is painted pink and has a Disney Princess parachute).

Buzz McDermott writes:

I flew my Sunward Daddy Long Legs (compliments of the Hub Hobby bargain bin) on its first flight, with a C6-5. The rocket/motor combination turned out just right for the breezy day, with the rocket descending for a second or two before ejection so that it handed less than 100 feet from the launch area. A young boy named Lucas was having a great time flying and recovering rockets and he went after my DLL for me. Just as he got to it the breeze picked up again, the chute opened back up, and the rocket jumped about 10 feet. Every time Lucas got close to the rocket the breeze caught it and kept it out of his reach. Lucas finally gave up, but then Mike Epstein took after it. He ran south along the eastern ditch and got within 5 feet of the rocket (which was right at the drainage ditch by this time) but the wind caught it again. Just as I was certain the rocket was going to drop into that slimy mess in the ditch I see it pop up a foot or two in the air and fly OVER the ditch! And off it goes again, heading east/southeast across the plowed field to out east.

Not to be beaten down by a little breeze and a bargain bin rocket, Mike steps back, got a running start and lept over the ditch himself. Then he was off after the rocket again. The chase continued until the rocket was almost to the drainage ditch on the east side of that field! Mike finally caught it, just before it reached the ditch, at the south easten edge of the field to our east. Then he noticed another rocket in the next field. So he jumped that drainage ditch and recovered the second rocket for good measure.

I am sure the rocket travelled 2-3 times as far on the ground as it went into the air.

A big thanks to Mike for his efforts in retrieving the DLL, which came back none the worse for the ride. I also vote for Mike for the 'most dedicated recovery' of the day. :-)

The Details:

Full launch tally (PDF)

The totals were:  61 flights, 67 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 2527 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 0
















G 4


I 1



(Alan Estenson)

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