October 30, 2010 launch report (11/5/2010)
On Saturday, October 30th, MASA held a club
launch at the sod fields near Nowthen. This launch had been
rescheduled from the previous Saturday.
The day was actually quite nice for the end of October. We
had blue skies and sunshine. Plus, all the surrounding corn
had been harvested! The only downside was the breeze out of
Thanks to the LCO/RSO volunteers!
Thanks to everyone who helped clean up the range and pack up the
equipment at the end of the day!
OddTober (Goony rockets, Halloween-themed rockets,
odd-rocs, SteamPunk, Birdies, or anything else out of the
The October launch was dedicated to Tim Melody, who passed
away on October 18th after a battle with pancreatic cancer. We flew
some navy- and dark blue-colored rockets in his honor, and we took a
photo of some members with their rockets.
MASA members - please send in your thoughts about the
Buzz McDermott writes:
All of you who didn't make it out to the launch today
probably missed the last great club launch day of the year. The
weather started out a bit cloudy and cool (as in COLD breeze)
but became sunny and warmer by about 11:30. There were a couple
of hours from noon until 2pm where it was sunnay and almost
calm. All of the fields had been harvested. The launch area was
open for hundreds of acres. The sod fields were still green and
soft. Any breezes were pretty much out of the north and even
high flights that landed well down range were easy to walk out
to and retrieve. After 1:30 or so the breeze started to pick up
again but it wasn't solid and there were still lots of great
calmer times to fly. My two highest flights of the day were
after 1:30 and I had no problems with recovery.
I decided that today was going to be 'black powder cluster
day' for me. I brought most of my 18-24 mm cluster rockets and
decided to see how many motors I could burn. I arrived at the
launch site right around 10 am. At that time the breeze *was*
pretty darn cool. My flying time for the day was cut down a
little as I spent my first hour doing LCO range duty. Aside from
being a little cool standing up at the range head for an hour it
was a good choice as the sun came out and it started to warm up
just as I was being relieved.
My first flight was a scratch built 5 x 18 mm cluster based
around a BT-70 main body tube. It is made up of most
scavenged/recycled parts from other, wrecked, rockets. It is a
four-fin design (with Astron Cobra like fins) plus the fin
strakes from an Estes Sentinel. The upper section is a short
BT-60 section cut down from another wrecked rocket. The
transition, nose cone, body tubes and fins were all scavenged
from the scrap rockets heap. I flew this rocket on a cluster of
five C6-5 motors even though WRASP and ROCSIM both suggested
C6-7s. All 5 lit and it made a great flight, weather cocking
into the breeze a little. The 5 second delay was the right
choice given the slightly off vertical flight. Recovery was near
the southern end of the drainage ditch that runs along the west
side of the field.
Next up was a 25 year old Astron Ranger on 3 x B6-4s. Again,
all 3 motors lit and I had another vertical flight, with a bit
of weather cocking near apogee. I used a Top Flite 18 inch chute
to get a soft recovery and that made for a second long recovery
walk. But once again the wind direction was just right and it
also landed in the southern end of the main sod field.
My third flight was a US Rockets Arero Roc 3 (a 4 foot long,
BT-70 based rocket) on 3 x E9-6 motors. This was my highest
flight of the day. I got a near vertical flight and ejection was
close to apogee. This flight drifted south of the sod field,
south of the area where the RC club flies and almost to the road
that runs east-west south of out launch area. However, all of
the fields were cut and/or harvested and I had absolutely no
problem driving to within 10 feet of where it landed (I used the
roads - I didn't drive on the fields!!). This rocket had a 24
inch Top Flite chute.
My fourth and final flight of the day was an old Estes Astron
Cobra on 3 x C6-5 motors. This was another high, vertical flight
and long recovery. Again, the rocket drifted straight south and
landed near the south east corner of the sod field. I had a 15"
Top Flite chute in this rocket.
I had two more cluster rockets almost ready to fly, but it
was after 2:30 by that time and I had to pack up and head back
to the house. Despite not flying every one of the cluster
rockets I had intended to fly this was a great launch for me. I
had 4 very successful cluster flights and I was 14-for-14 on
lighting motors (this was due to my using all Quest Q2G2
igniters more than anything else). I could have probably gotten
all 6 cluster flights off if I hadn't done any range duty, but I
think all flyers that come out to a club launch should try to
help in some way, whether you come early to set up, stay late to
tear down or do a shift of range duty. This is especially true
for those who make use of the community pads, like me.
There were lots of great flights to see during the day - a
beautful Sirius Diemos, an I powered pumpkin rocket , G75
powered 'Food Pyramid', Mr Potata Head, at least one J275
flight, a couple of fun failures and more. One last time - if
you could have made it out today but decided not to, you blew
Ken Jarosch writes:
I had 5 flights I wanted to try.
The first and fifth flights were with the 12" foam "SnowFlake".
The first flight used the design C6-3 motor. Good medium
altitude for the flake and really slow descent. Handled the wind
great. The fifth of the day with the flake was on a D10-3W SU AP
motor. While the takeoff was faster I don't think the altitude
was a great deal higher. I just wanted to see if the AP motors
were going to be a stability factor.
The second flight was with the 7.50" Delta Saucer "Smiley" on
a G64W-0. After all the 'G' motors that have been through this
rocket, it had never had a G64W. Since I had 2 left from '05 I
thought I we would do that today. Being a longer burner than the
Red Line or Mojave Green motors, the G64W got to a higher
altitude with a good flame and lots of smoke. But do to the
winds, it had a fast tumble recovery instead of the AeroBrake.
No damage done.
Paul has been asking me to put some HPR motors in his 10"
"Cluster Saucer". So using the 29mm motor mount I put in a
H210R-0 for the first really high thrust HPR in his saucer. As
might be expected the saucer lifted off very fast with a bright
red plume. But high thrust is for display and not altitude so
the saucer probably only made about 300'. Sad to say, but on
recovery, it also went into tumble recovery instead of AeroBrake.
Must be the winds. Paul flew it at TRA-MN on a G76G for a great
recovery. Despite the tumble recovery there was no damage.
The fourth flight was the 5 sided 11" "CINCO" saucer. This
has flown on G61W, G67R, H123W and H148R with successful ascents
and AeroBrake recovery. Today I used a I161W-0 for the first 'I'
motor in this rocket. Of course, big flame, lots of smoke and a
good altitude. I was expecting a full inverted descent as
mentioned. But it too went into a very fast tumble. While it
didn't drop very fast, it still hit on one of the corners and
did some crumpled up effect. Still flyable but not pristine now.
The recovery on the Cinco Saucer was a disappointment for me
as all previous flights the recovery was the normal inverted
And again, the fifth flight was the mentioned D10-3W AP SU in
Jeff Taylor writes:
I got there a little later than I would have liked to, and I
only got three flights in with two rockets. My first and second
flights were my Sirius Deimos, both flawless flights and both on
D12-3s. My third flight was a Big Daddy on an E18 reload.
Alan Estenson writes:
I wasn't sure if I'd make it to this launch at all. When my
day's alternate activity didn't pan out, I quickly threw a few
rockets in the truck, headed up to Nowthen, and got there about
Not having flown much high power this year, I decided to burn
up a few motors before winter arrives. First up was "It's the
Great Pumpkin Rocket, Charlie Brown." For a change, I loaded it
with an I285R-S. (The two previous flights were on
I211W's.) For such a bulbous rocket, it always flies straight,
and it didn't disappoint this time. It had a great boost,
ejection right at apogee, and recovery on the field.
Thanks to Jeff for taking some great pics!
I guess that our sod field must have been deemed the most
"sincere" for the Great Pumpkin Rocket to rise out of it this
Next up, I loaded a J350W-M into my trusty old I-roc. It had
a glorious launch, and I had a looooong recovery walk off to the
south. Fortunately, all the corn had been harvested. The ground
was very soft and moist, though, and I was sinking up to my
ankles in places. I think that I had a couple pounds of mud on
each boot by the time I got back onto the sod with the rocket.
Last, I pulled my Minie Magg out of semi-retirement and
loaded it with an H242T-S. It flew perfectly and recovered on
the sod downwind. This was its 21st flight! Unfortunately, it
suffered a stress fracture in one fin, so I think that it will
go into permanent retirement now.
Except for the breeze, it was a darn nice October day to be
Neal Higgins writes:
I got to the field around 9:15 and started unloading the
Bethany. Carol showed up about 9:30 and we started the range
setup. Jason arrived shortly after Carol and we had the range
setup and ready by 10:10am. Sorry if I missed anybody else who
helped with setup. Thanks Alan for allowing us to use your
equipment for the launch.
I had hoped to fly more rockets than I did but I was only
able to 4 flights in for the day.
My 1st and 2nd flights were Mr. Spudnik on F32-4. The 1st
flight was near perfect but I just can't get him to land on his
legs and stay upright. I need a calm day for this to happen. The
2nd flight was as nice, something caused Mr Spudnik to go
horizontal and the then the chute got tangled on one of his
legs. He landed safely and all is well. No mashed potatoes yet.
My 3rd flight was a Jayhawk clone that I built around the
Semroc 5 engine cluster I got at last years Christmas party. I
didn't heed Buzz's advice and use quest ighnitors. I used Estes
ignitors and only lit 4 of the 5 motors. Still a nice flight.
Thanks Stuart for retrieving it for me since I was on LSO duty
at the time.
My final flight and the close to the day was my scratch built
model I call Talon on a G80-10. It was a beautiful flight but
the wind took it all the way down to the R/C flyers at the far
end of the field.
All in all a great day for flying. See you all at the
Steve Brown writes:
Another good launch. It was a little windier than expected,
so I got lots of walking in. I also got a lot of flights in.
First flights were a Quest Raptor, Quest Stiletto, Balsa
Machining Gyroc, and the booster section from a long lost CC
Express with an eyeball for a nosecone.
After two motor failures and several crashes I was thinking
it was just not My day. My scratch built Worm Burner suffered a
CATO of an Aerotech F32-6T. The scratch built Bomb Pop never
fired the ejection charge on a C6-5. Maybe I should stop naming
My rockets with violent themes?
Total carnage for the day included Tiny Pterodactyl: Broken
off upper launch lug. Aerotech Arreaux: Lost. Bomb Pop: Crashed.
Split-Roc: Crashed. My scratch builts tend to come in rather
heavy, I should have had more C6-3's on hand. I am also thinking
of getting an 18 mm RMS but I have not seen components for sale
On the other hand I many good flights and enjoyed watching
others as well, Especially entertaining were Mr. Spudnik and The
Great Pumpkin rockets!
Thanks again to LCO/RSO's and Carol. See You next time,
Full launch tally (PDF)
The totals were: 83 flights, 105 motors. The cumulative
total impulse was 5180 Ns.
The motor breakdown follows: