October 2011 launch report (10/22/2011)
On Saturday, October 22, MASA held its monthly launch
at the sod fields near Nowthen. This was the last launch of
the year at the sod farm. We were happy to see that all of the
nearby soybean fields had been harvested. While there was a
corn field still standing off to the northwest, it didn't come into
What a glorious, fabulous, fantastic day for flying rockets!
It was sunny and blue skies all day with just a hint of a breeze.
Definitely a great day for flying rockets!
Thanks to the RSO and LCO volunteers: Gerald Meux, Buzz
McDermott, Alan Estenson, Bob Moyle, Chris Feld, Carol Marple, Jeff
Taylor, Neal Higgins, and David Whitaker.
Thanks to everyone who helped setup the range in the morning and
pack it away in the afternoon. The crew was at the field just
after 8am to start setting up the launch range. Flying for the
day ended at 3pm, and the range was broken-down and packed away by
Congratulations to Chris Feld on his successful Level 1 high
power certification! Chris flew a PML Callisto on an H128.
The theme of this launch was
"Odd-tober" - Halloween rockets, Steam Punk, Goony,
anything out of the ordinary!
"OktoberFAST" G80 drag race
It was time for MASA to celebrate OktoberFAST! All
participants were invited to wear their Lederhos'n, Dirndl, and
Tirolerhüte, but there weren't any takers. ;-)
For this drag race, you could fly any suitable mid-power
rocket on an Aerotech G80 single-use motor. Seven people
- Alan Estenson with "WYIARS"
- Neal Higgins with his LOC "NORAD"
- Steve Hum with his PML "Callisto"
- Buzz McDermott with his "Predator"
- Larry Schwartz with his Aerotech "Arreaux"
- Jeff Taylor with his LOC "TWEED-B"
- David Whitaker with his "Talon 2"
After the countdown (in German), six out of the seven rockets
launched. Larry Schwartz took honors for being first off
the pad, and last back to the ground. Neal Higgins' NORAD
unfortunately suffered a CATO and didn't leave the pad.
Photos by Jeff Taylor
Photos by Steve Hum
MASA members - please send in your thoughts about the
Jeff Taylor writes:
If you missed the October MASA launch, you missed one of the
best days we had this year for weather. Actually when I think
back, we have had some pretty amazing weather for the past
I flew my LOC IV on an H250 Mojave Green. Onboard was an
AltimeterOne, a corn beeper (not even needed) and strapped to
the outside was a keychain video camera to record the wild ride.
I also flew my LOC Tweed-B on a single use G80 in the
OctoberFAST Drag Race. Seven of us launched at the same time all
on G80's. It was fun but my condolences go out to Neal whose G80
blew up on the pad.
Alyssa flew her LOC Fantom on an H165 Red Line and a Big
Daddy on a D12.
Congratulations to Chris for a successful L1 Cert flight!
Steve Hum writes:
Many thanks to all the LCOs, RSOs, and those that helped with
setup and teardown today. It was a fun launch and a really
beautiful day for flying. I just wish I could have stuck around
longer and gotten a few more flights in.
I've posted some pictures of the OctoberFAST drag race. That
was fun, but I think there are better ways to clean out the
Callisto's Quantum tubing than sinking it in a the drainage
ditch. I took about 100 more photos but only about 1/3 of them
are usable (my camera has been malfunctioning recently, it was
supposedly fixed before this launch but obviously wasn't.) I'll
try and post more once I get a chance to go thorough all of them
.Buzz McDermott writes:
What a great day for launching rockets! Sunny. Clear skies.
Mild temperatures. No wind. Sod was still green and soft. Fields
were harvested. You couldn’t ask for better than today!
I showed up just as my shift at LCO was due to start at 10
am. There had already been a number of rockets flown. It was
absolutely dead calm. During the day I got my SLS Hustler flown
on an F20, SLS ARCAS on an F32, Estes Bat Roc (2 stage) on a B6
to A8, and I participated in the ‘G80 OctoberFast’ launch. It
took two tries, but I also launched a small (BT-70 sized)
scratch built Halloween-themed rocket called Witches’ Night Out
on a C6. These were the first flights for the Bat roc, Arcas and
Witches' Night Out. For once, I launched and recovered every
rocket with no damage and nothing lost – a rare event for me.
The G80 OctoberFast was a hoot. We had seven rockets
participating, all lined up in a row. I entered my DG&A
Predator. Six of the seven launched and had great flights.
However, the 7th CATOed, blew a whole in the side of the rocket
(and I think blew a fin off, too) and never left the pad. My
condolences go out to Neal on the loss of his LOC NORAD. I am
pretty sure several people photographed the launch. I took shots
with my Nikon all-in-one in ‘sport continuous’ mode. I got
pictures of the launch and CATO, but I had the camera set for
low resolution in that mode and the quality is pretty poor. The
quality was good enough to see that I didn’t even come close to
winning (I got off the pad 4th).
There were several very nice HPR flights, including (I
believe) one L1 cert flight. Alan Estenson flew the largest
motor of the day, I think, with a J powered flight. [Neal
Higgins also flew a J motor.] He also flew his HPR pumpkin stack
on some type of I motor. Carol Marple flew her rocket Girl on an
I. There were several other H and I flights, but those are the
only ones I remember.
I also had a chance to give away three more TIFI (Take It,
Fly It) rockets to some visiting kids. It was kind of neat. One
rack of 8 model rockets had six that I had built and I was only
flying one of them.
Many, many thanks to Neal, Gerald, Alan, Carol and all the
rest of the gang who set up, volunteered for range duty and
stayed to help tear down. I arrived late and had to leave a
little before the range was shut down, so I am feeling a little
guilty about not helping more. It’s dedicated volunteers like
these that make a launch (and a club) successful.
This was the last Nowthen launch for 2011. I guess winter
building season will be upon us all too soon. I have my usual
dozen or more unfinished and a hundred unstarted projects, so I
guess I have enough to keep me busy over the long winter months.
Spring 2012 won’t get here soon enough for me, though!
Neal Higgins writes:
Thanks everyone who helped with range setup & tear down,
LCO and RSO duties.
Congratulation Chris on your successful L1 flight and
thanks for cleaning my RMS casing so good. It has never been
What an absolute perfect day to fly and blowup rockets.
My first flight of the day was my Polecat Green Goblin
on a J500G. I forgot to charge my Altmeter 1 but Rocksim had it
going to an altitude of 3118'. This was the Goblin's 4th
flight and everyone has been picture perfect. This is now my
favorite bird in my fleet.
I flew a modified Dynastar Risingstar on a cluster of 3 C11-7's.
I next attempted to fly my newly finished LOC Norad in the
OctoberFAST G80 drag race. Watching 6 rockets take off and 1
explode made for a very exciting drag race. Jeff and I posted
pictures of the CATO aftermath. It will get rebuilt and fly
again next year.
My last flight was newly finished Fliskits Night Whisper on a
C6-5. It flew perfectly.
Thanks again everyone who helped with all the range
Kurt Knox writes:
New member alert! My name is Kurt Knox. My son Lucas and I
had a great time on Saturday. I had gone with the intention of
joining the club but was still undecided when we got there.
After helping set up the range, talking to a few people, and
launching some rockets I realized being part of the club was
going to make it even better. We had a blast, no pun intended.
We got off a total of 14 flights, everything LPR. Quite a few
first flights for a bunch of kits I had not had a chance to fly
yet. And thanks to Neal for the FITI box he handed to my son to
drool over. Lucas picked out a couple of Fliskits birds which
Neal just happened to have made and we proceeded to prep and fly
both of them also. A few of our flights I really enjoyed were my
Estes Solar Probe (C6-5), Estes Thunderstar (2xC6-5), Estes
Photon Disruptor (C6-5), and Estes Taser Twin (C6-0/C6-7). All
the flights were great and recovery was a cinch since the
weather was about perfect for flying anything to any altitude.
Heck, I could even watch my Taser Twin from launch to recovery,
which was perhaps 1,500-2,000ft up there. The only issues we had
all day were a couple of cracked fins that some CA fixed right
up and I only had 2 of 3 engines ignite on my Astron Ranger
clone. It took off at a pretty good angle but all in all was
still a ok flight and recovery.
The OktoberFAST drag race was a real treat, 7 birds, 7 G80's,
and 6 roars. Wow! Sorry about your blow-out Neal.
All in all just about everything flew great. Condolences to
those few who had some bad experiences. I'm not sure who it was,
but the flaming cartwheel was a real bummer and the zipper it
left behind looked pretty bad.
And not least, congrats Chris on your cert flight! Looked
textbook to me.
Full launch tally (PDF)
The totals were: 185 flights, 209 motors. The cumulative
total impulse was 7150 Ns.
The motor breakdown follows: