August 2011 launch report (8/27/2011)
On Saturday, August 27, MASA held its monthly launch
at the sod fields near Nowthen.
Let's put it simply. This was about as perfect
rocket-flying weather as we could ever hope for! Skies were
partly-sunny, temperatures were in the low to middle 70s, and there
was the merest wisp of wind out of the north.
Range setup began a bit after 8am. Launching started around
9am and wrapped up just before 4pm. A total of 158 flights
took to the skies! In terms of expended total impulse, this
was MASA's biggest launch ever with 8,788 Newton-seconds burned!
Thanks to the RSO/LCO volunteers: Neal Higgins, Todd
Carpenter, Alan Estenson, Kent Peterson, Ken Hoyme, Buzz McDermott,
Jeff Taylor, Carol Marple.
Congratulations to Todd Schweim on his successful Level 2
certification! Todd flew his "Green Lantern" on a J275.
Congratulations to Anand Vyas on his successful Level 1
certification! Anand flew his Madcow Patriot on an H225.
The theme of this launch was
"Come on Out to the Races".
13th Annual Great UFO Drag Race, 10th Annual Comanche-3 Drag
Race, 2nd Annual Back-to-School Crayon Drag Race
Participating in the UFO drag race this year were: Todd
Carpenter (Fric n Frac, C6-0 to B6-0), Alan Estenson (Pheord
X150 on C6-0, MASA SPEV Saucer on C6-0, Planet Probe on B6-0),
Neal Higgins (Smiley Saucer, C6-3), and Jeff Taylor (Astron
Spaceman Stanley Steamer, B6-4).
Participating in the Comanche-3 drag race this year were:
Neal Higgins (C11-0; C6-0; A8-5) and David Whitaker (D12-0;
Participating in the Back-to-School drag race this year were:
Alan Estenson ("Back to Cool" crayon, E20-7) and Neal Higgins ("Crayola",
H165). Unfortunately, Crayola put in a very impressive
The fun contest planned for this launch was the Baby Bertha
Blastoff duration event.
Baby Bertha Blastoff! (parachute duration contest, fly
your Baby Bertha on a B motor and see who can keep it in the air
Fly your Estes Baby Bertha on a "B" motor and keep it in the
air as long as possible. You get two flights. Each flight will
be timed for duration (liftoff to touchdown). Your score will be
the total duration of your two flights. Prizes and bragging
rights for the winners!
Congratulations to Ray on his 1st place win! Ray will
receive a rocket kit and a Fleet Farm gift card.
Congrats to Dave on his 2nd place finish! Dave will
receive a rocket kit.
MASA members - please send in your thoughts about the
Carol Marple writes:
THANK YOU to everyone who attended today's launch, and
especially to those who helped with set up, tear down, range
duties, cert flights, etc. I would list individual names, but I
know I'll forget someone.
As Jeff said, it was a PERFECT day for a launch. Today was
the type of day that only happens once every few years. Yes, it
really was that beautiful!
Congratulations to Anand Vyas for successfully completing his
L1, and to Todd Schweim for successfully completing his L2! They
each had a picture-perfect flight. I'll post pictures later
Steve Hum writes:
As for my launch report, after an 8 year mid & high power
hiatus I decided it was time to launch a few again. I was
surprised how many new faces there were at a launch, and new
equipment that looks nicer and works much better than the
old stuff I recall MASA having. A P.A. system you can hear,
what a concept!
For this launch I pulled out a couple of
old mid-power rockets, a PML Callisto and a PML AMRAAM 2,
from storage and dusted them off. I fully intended to I
launched one of these on an H128 I found in an old range
box, but I figured I put them up on some mid-power first.
The AMRAAM 2, which last flew at the last launch at the sod
field in Blaine broke the 8-year absence with a nice flight
on a G64-7W, followed by a nice flight of the Callisto on
another G64-7W. I closed out the day with the Callisto
flying near perfect flight on an F52-5T. I was apprehensive
about using a 5 second delay as all my launch notes said I
had previously used 8-second delays with this engine, but 5
looked about perfect. The only flaw was some chipped paint
from the landing. Otherwise it was a beautiful day to
return to flying some mid-power rockets. High power will
have to wait - I brought the reload but forgot the right
closures. I left them sitting next to my cell phone at home
so I wouldn’t forget them. I guess some things don’t
Jeff Taylor writes:
I don't think there has ever been a more perfect day for
rocket flying! The temperature wqas perfect and there was no
wind at all.
Congrats to Anand Vyas for getting his L1 certification and
to Todd Schweim for getting his L2 certification! There were
quite a few high power launches today, so the high power pads
were kept busy.
Two of my rockets made first flights today including a 5.5"
dia FatBoy on an I-218R and a scratch-built 2.6" dia Baby Bertha
up-scale on a D12-5. I also drag-raced Ken Hoyme with our
mid-power Interrogators on D12's. Alyssa flew her LOC Fantom on
and my LOC IV on an H-180.
Anand Vyas writes:
Special thanks to Carol Marple, Jeff Taylor, Todd Schweim,
and Lyle Merdan for sharing their expertise during prepping the
rocket for L1 cert flight.
Yesterday was one of the best days of my life... (any luck
with finding my digital camera, anybody?)
Brian Uhlenkamp writes:
I want to say thanks to the group for the warm welcome to me
and my kids to our first MASA launch. I'm a true BAR (after 20
years), just back into the hobby for two years now with my
children now interested. We joined MASA this year but plans and
weather hadn't cooperated until now. I didn't get too much time
to visit with many of you and we were busy luanching our
rockets. Then my daughter got over-tired so we had to leave
before my son and I were done. We are over 1.5 hours away, but
hope to join the group again and participate with the group.
Here's a YouTube link to a keychain video taken,
unfortunately, didn't get a great view of the launch range, but
some of you might be interested.
Ray King writes:
Yes - I agree congratulations to you guys and thanks to
everyone who made this a great launch.
As for a launch report, I only flew 4 flights. Two of these
were Baby Bertha contest flights where I used B6-4 motors and
stuffed a 36" mylar parachute in that little rocket. On the
first flight the mylar chute did open completely and burned a
pretty large hole in the side of the chute but still had a very
good time. I used the same chute for the second flight and which
also produced a good time.
My other 2 flights were Estes Patriot and Quest Future Launch
Vehicle. The Patriot was nice straight boost and good recovery.
The FLV was a little shaky on boost (need to straighten out fins
I guess). Recovery was good and allowed me to see the largest
Minnesota spider I have ever seen – check out the photo section.
Ken Hoyme writes:
I have to agree, that was about as picture perfect a day for
rocket launching as you could hope for. Mostly no wind. Blue
skies in the morning, overcast in the afternoon - which made it
easier to spot rockets (no full sun to squint around to spot the
descending rocket). It did sprinkle a bit - while we were
tearing down after launching was done. Very few rockets ended up
off the sod areas for most of the day. A couple in the beans, a
couple in the tall grasses. But many very high flights landed
amazingly close to their launch pads.
I got there about 9:45, got set up and started prepping
rockets. Alissa started classes up in St. Cloud last week, and
we hadn't assumed she would make it, but with the good weather,
and a light first weekend homework load, she decided to drive
down. I held off some of my serious launching until she got
there. I had several new rockets to try out -
- PML AMRAAM2 that I won at the winery auction last summer for
the Todd/Caleb fundraiser - I put that up on a G40, which flew
straight as an arrow and landed in the adjacent sod section.
- Fliskits Borealis that Alissa gave me for Christmas (2009 - it
can take me a while to complete a rocket) - put it up on a C6-3
and was pleased how straight it flew on those large circular
tail fins. For all of the protruding parts on this,
- Sirius Rocketry Interrogator - I put this one up twice - both
times on a D12-5. First time solo, the second in the drag race
with Jeff. The second time it lost one of the fin tip dowels --
figure this rocket will be at risk of damage of those -- looks
Put up a couple of others as well. I wish I had understood
how nice the day was going to be at the start and decided to put
my my Level 1 LOC-IV again. I had both H and I engines for it,
but by the time I had launched everything I had prepped, I
didn't feel I had time to get a reloadable engine ready - I am
still not terribly experienced at that, and didn't want a
failure by rushing it.
I did an afternoon stint at LCO. First, I was impressed by
the new launch equipment Neal has put together - pretty nice set
up, with all of the various rod sizes and 12 lanes, no waiting.
Second, I learned that on a nice day, don't be the last one to
volunteer for LCO with no one behind you to take over. I
announced a couple of times when my shift was done to look for
someone to take over. Alan finally noted that I was being too
nice, and I should just tell folks that launching would cease.
At 30 minutes past my shift end, I did just that, and
ironically, Alan volunteered to take over... which he then did
for the next 90 minutes after having had one of the morning
slots -- so Alan covered 2.5 hours and I did 1.5 hours. Thanks
Alan!! (Similarly, Buzz took RSO for a large part of the day,
with Todd Schweim covering for that last 90 minutes.
Folks - we have a lot of L1+ Certified members. Please consider
stepping up and volunteering for an hour at LCO or RSO. With the
number of us at a launch, and only 7 hours of launching, we
shouldn't be arriving on Saturday to open slots on the schedule.
I was nervous to sign up my first time, but it isn't so bad.
After a few more LCO slots, I will take the RSO plunge as well.
Thanks to all of you that so regularly volunteer for this.
Alissa arrived just after 11 and joined the proud club of
those who finish their contest rocket at the field. :) She had
(mostly) built a Baby Bertha for July, and when it got postponed
and we couldn't go, and with this launch being after start of
school, she never got around to finishing it. She had to attach
the launch lug and the shock chord mount (thanks to Buzz for the
yellow glue that I had not brought with me). She got it ready,
put in the larger mylar chute from my Interrogator, and ended up
getting 3rd place! Not bad!
Funny story - on her first launch, the rocket stayed on the
pad. Ray King also had an unfinished rocket (and apparently a
reputation for last minute builds). We had a laugh when he was
launching whether the glue on the launch lug was dry and whether
it would fly. So, when Alissa's unfinished rocket with recently
glued launch lug stuck there, we had a good laugh on that. (She
accidentally got a clothes pin hooked on the engine retainer
which held it on the pad).
It was great for Alissa to realize that after spending last
year in Austin, Texas, and never being able to get to anything
up here, that being in St. Cloud, she can still get to things in
the Cities when she wants.
Art asked about exciting "Prangs" - two possibilities I can
First, Neal launched a Crayon rocket that core sampled not
far from my misfire alley launch pad location. I uploaded photos
to the Yahoo group - nice divot!!
Second, Carol had one of her bigger rockets land on Jeff
Taylor's car roof. Made a bit of a "thunk" on landing. Don't
know if it would be a "prang" - it was coming in just fine under
chute - just picked an inconvenient place to intersect with the
Neal Higgins writes:
Congratulations Anand on your L1 cert and to Todd for your L2
cert flights. Thanks to everyone who helped with the setup and
Launch Report. What an absolute perfect day for flying. I
managed to get in 8 flights and never had to walk very far for
1st - My newly finished Dynastar Stonebreaker on a D12-5.
2nd - My just finished 5.5" Polecat Goblin on a 54/426 I215R.
The ejection was a little premature but still a very nice
3rd - A LOC Norad on an F20W-4
4th - An Estes Startocruiser with an added booster on a C11-0 to
5th - My Goblin on a J250FJ for a very impressive flight. I
forgot to add my Altimeter 1 but RS had it at 2940'. I built
this rocket with 2lbs of extra nose weight so someday I can fly
it on a K motor.
6th - A 6" Art Applewhite Saucer on a C6-3 in the Great UFO drag
7th - Commanche 3 drag race with mine flying on a C11-0, C6-0,
A8-5. The sustainer landed right next to the LCO table and Kent.
8th - My 4" Crayola crayon rocket on an H165R in the Back to
School drag race. The chute did not open, it came close to
hitting Ken and I got a very impressive core sample. I think it
would work great for cutting new holes on putting greens.
Ron Wirth writes:
This is my first launch since moving back to the Twin Cities
and rejoining MASA. The last time I flew with the club was
roughly 4 years ago and it was good to see that things have not
changed much. It was a near perfect day to fly rockets with
plenty of flights to watch.
For myself I arrived near 10AM and had to depart around 1PM.
In that time I was able to launch 10 rockets. The first flight
of the day for me was my Squirrel Works – Dogfight. With little
to no wind at launch, the gliders were trimmed for nice long
circular decents. It was interesting to see some birds
(sparrows?) appear to fly with and around the gliders. Some of
the other rockets launched during the day included a Fliskits
Praetor with the Praetor-II booster add-on, some Goony rockets
from Excelsior Rocketry, several Semroc kits including the SLS
Aero-Dart on an E9-6, a Qmodeling Stiletto, and a scratch built
upscale of the Estes Courier. All flights were flawless with
only one fin being knocked off of the Praetor-II booster at
Overall it was a great day for rockets and it was certainly
fun. It is great to be flying with MASA again. I am already
thinking ahead to the next launch and hopefully I should be
totally unpacked from moving which means I can start building
again. Thanks to all who volunteer to make it possible to have
such excellent club launches.
Alan Estenson writes:
Last Saturday was definitely a gorgeous day for flying
Just as an example how nice it was, I flew my PML Explorer on an
H242 to over 2,000 feet, and it landed 30 paces from the launch
I actually managed to fly a couple of new birds.
First was a Viking 1, built from the BMS clone of the old FSI
kit. Its first flight was on a B6-4. It was so nice, that I flew
it again on a C6-5.
Next was the Hyper Baby Bertha (built with a 24mm motor mount).
First flight was great on a C11-5, so I tried it again on a
D12-7. I couldn't see it land on that D12 flight. Fortunately,
Jeff saw it splash down in one of the ditches and went
over-and-above the call of duty in fishing it out with an
extending pole. Thanks Jeff!
Last was a pretty much stock Baby Bertha flown in the duration
For these two Baby Berthas, their paint was inspired by old
Estes catalog paint schemes for the Big Bertha.
I flew a bunch of other stuff, but the most notable flight
was a 2.6" diameter upscale Cherokee-D. I launched it on its
first flight using a G64-7, and it flew great! This beautiful
rocket was built by Kent Peterson, and I bought it from him in
the brief period between when he decided to sell off his rocket
stuff and when he decided not to sell off his rocket stuff and
get back into the hobby. <grin>
Full launch tally (PDF)
The totals were: 158 flights, 168 motors. The cumulative
total impulse was 8788 Ns.
The motor breakdown follows: