July 2012 launch report
On Saturday, July 28, MASA held its regular monthly launch
at the sod fields near Nowthen.
Congratulations to Allan Grover on his successful Level 1 high
power certification. Allan flew an "Exciter on an H242.
Congratulations to Aaron Sheriff on his successful Level 1 high
power certification. Aaron flew a LOC Athena 3 on an H163.
Theme: Clustered-Engine Rockets
A LOT of clustered rockets took to the skies during the day.
They included a PSC Infinity, Viper IV, Ranger, Hydra 7, Power
System, Laser X, Deuces Wild, "Eruption", Goliath, ASRAAM, and
Thanks to everyone who helped set up and tear down the launch
Thanks to the RSO/LCO volunteers!
MASA members - please send in your thoughts about the
Neal Higgins writes:
Thanks everyone who came today and it such a great launch
even with the broken window incident.
Thanks to everyone who helped with range setup, tear down
and all the LCO/RSO shifts
Thanks Jeff for bringing you grill.
A few items that were
found that can be claimed by contacting me:
Lower half of a Centuri X-16 , Buzz
Semroc PSC Infinity
Art Gibbens writes:
What a great day for flying - if only the winds had stayed a
bit calmer. I got there just a little after 8:00 am to help
set up. The range was ready to go about 10 minutes before
the hour. So I set up my own pad in "misfire alley". Then I
went to prep my rocket Genesis for it's first flight of the
day. I put together an F52 Blue Thunder reload the night
before but I still needed to put the ejection charge and
ignitor in the motor. I also planned to put an altimeter in
all my flights today, so I had to get that ready as well. At
about 9:15 everything was ready and I put it on my pad. I
used the "short" delay charge in this configuration, and if
I do again I'll drill it, as the rocket only went up 347
feet. The parachute came out - but just barely in time.
now to do some quick clean up and re-prep it for it's second
flight of the day. This time I was flying a G64 White
Lightening with a long delay drilled to make it a medium
delay. I also added a corn abatement whistler/beacon. I
punched a hole in the sky 706 feet high and the parachute
came out just after tip over - picture perfect flight that
landed on the sod field just across the road from where we
So with 2 good flights under my belt I stepped up to an
H180 White Lightening with a medium delay. This is the
biggest engine that fits my 29 mm casings. So I reconnected
the corn abatement buzzer, reset the altimeter and repacked
the parachute. Because it was an H motor I had to go out 100
feet and used the club's launch system with my pad. So the
motor lights and it jumps off the pad - and I mean jumped! A
split second later it is spinning wildly in the air and
there are flames coming out everywhere. If anyone got a
video of this flight it would be just awesome. The parachute
finishes deploying and it floats back to earth landing just
feet from where I was standing. First thoughts and comments
are that the forward closure let loose. And right after that
everyone is telling my I was very fortunate that it was not
worse. I concur.
However, upon disassembly and closer inspection this is
what I found. The forward closure was firmly in place Hmm,
so the ejection happened right after ignition. Because this
is a zipperless designed rocket as soon as ejection happened
it became highly unstable causing the spinning. As I took
apart the motor it was apparent to me that the
insulator/liner for the ejection delay had been burnt
through the side all the way to the aluminium casing right
at a spiral winding. Could this have been the cause of the
premature ejection? I showed it to Gary Stroick to get his
input because it looked to me like I should fill out a MESS
Report because of a defective engine. He took some pictures
of the burned-through sleeve so I can send them on to
Aerotech to see what they have to say about it. I realize
that once the ejection charge had gone off that the burn
through may have been because of propellent still burning
afterwards. All three o-rings were present and accounted for
and in their correct places. I'll just have to wait and see
what the folks at Aerotech have to say.
The altimeter beeped out 129 feet, which has to be some
kind of record for low flights on an H180 engine. The only
damage to the rocket is from the flame through the front of
the engine that crisped up the paper engine mount tube. The
consolation in that is that this is the longest casing I can
use in this rocket so it won't limit me after it is repaired
the casing protected so much of the lower part of the tube.
Then I took the noon to one LCO shift and during that
time I bet in that hour I saw 30 rockets launched if I saw
one. Thanx Todd for being the RSO and checking out those big
birds. And thanx to Jeff for grilling up a couple of dogs
and bringing them out to me - very nice treat! After the end
of my shift I finished packing up my gear and chatted for a
few moments with the folks that had come out from Maranatha
Christian Academy's TARC Team. Finally, a huge thanx to Neal
and the rest of the gang that helped set up, run and tear
down for today's launch. We couldn't hold great launches
like the one today without everyone chipping in.
Chuck Ross writes:
Heh - today was a day I can best sum up with
"curious"...and I'm guessing Curious' surname is "Murphy's
We had two launches today. Due to the wind/launch
configuration we held back a bit, but - as expected - our
first launch of Big Bertha flew flawlessly on a C6-5.
Our second launch was our first attempt at a
mid-power rocket, and I'd like to thank Gary and Neal for
their assistance in getting Ian's Laser X off the ground
- she flew beautifully!
Tragically, the wind had shifted between the time we
put her on the pad and she finally launched. I spent 2-1/2
hours wandering through the cornfield looking, but all I
found was Buzz's earlier attempt at a dual-separation on a
20 or 30 year old rocket. It was great to recover that for
him, but losing our Laser X on her virgin flight was
painful...we'll be using sonic transponders from now on at
the sod fields.
And Chris - I'm hoping you have full glass coverage.
If not, let me know and I'll kick in a few bucks. I wasn't
there when it happened, but the descriptions I've heard of
the incident definitely crosses in to the surreal.
Jeff Taylor writes:
MASA received 5 new club members who joined at the field
today: Steve Higley from Maple Grove and the Beard family of
Ross, Lynette, Jadon and Derek from Ramsey. Welcome all!
A few simple reminders to all club members: Please do not
drive out onto the sod to make a U-turn to park. Just back
in to your parking spot from the road. The land is not ours,
and we cannot afford to damage the land-owner's livelihood.
Also, if you are asked to move your car because you are
parked in a landing zone, please don't wait until you are
asked by a second person to move, simply move your car out
of that area and park somewhere else.
I only made a few flights today... I flew my "Plaid Brad"
kitbash rocket on a C6-3, my steampunked ACME Spitfire on an
E18 and my Deuces Wild on a pair of C6-3's.
Anand Vyas writes:
It was quite an eventful day for me. I will start with
pleasant memories first. Thanks to Neal's watchful eye and
mentoring, it was fun to make my debut as an LCO. I had a few
rookie gaffes, but thankfully nobody was annoyed. I look forward
to eagerly volunteering for LCO position again.
Following were the launch results:
1) In support of the cluster theme launch, I started out with
Semroc Goliath 3-engine cluster with C6-7 rockets. All three
engines ignited simultaneously and after a successful flight,
the parachutes (two) deployed properly. However, corn and soya
fields were desperate to have this rocket as a fertilizer, so I
never recovered these. But as part of three recovery missions
for my Goliath, I found Ron Wirth's (forget the name, but with
shiny pink parachute) and Buzz McDermott's (Semroc PSC Infinity)
rockets. So, I believe I atleast earned some good karma today...
2) One failure couldn't deter me, so I tried launching
FlisKits Rose-A-Roc. It was my first time building a helicopter
recovery rocket. In course of building the rocket, I encountered
some minor mishaps, but could overcome those with crazy glue.
With some helpful advice from Buzz McDermott, I prepped the
rocket with A8-3 motor (I was glad Gary Stroick was there
today). As I was attaching the clips to the igniter, I realized
I had not used wadding ! Then I reminded myself, that this was a
helicopter recovery and burn thread is all it would take to
deploy the blades.
The flight was successful, with blades deploying as expected.
However, I had become bit too ambitious in overstretching the
rubber band to the top of the nose cone resulting in no spinning
descent. However, the rocket was intact and Buzz recovered it
for me. Thanks Buzz.
So, a semi-successful flight all in all.
3) Now, I got tempted to push my luck with the helicopter.
So, I prepped the Rose-A-Roc again. But at the launch pad, my
strings seemed to come loose. So, I went back and tied it
tightly. This was to be the crossing the bounds of my luck
regime. So, with high hopes and having twisted the wires more
for negative incidence and lowered the rubber band pin position,
I was expecting spinning helicopter descent. Again, I used A8-3
and next thing I know is that it is a lawn dart. The silver
lining to this cloud...at least it amused the kids as I could
hear joyous giggles of watching it embed nose down in the soft
Post failure inspection revealed that the thread was stuck in
the brass wire clip on the wing somehow...as a result the stress
of the impact caused one of the blades to fall off, and other
two had their spoke wires slide farther down into the blade.
Lesson 1: Be very careful how you tie the threads in
Rose-A-Roc, and pay a great amount of attention to detail while
making it. This kit can be very unforgiving for a minor lapse.
4) I thought I had exhausted all my rockets today when my
eyes fell on my old Semroc Squire. It had met multiple mishaps
due to my hastiness in making it. However, I had managed to
salvage this rocket with my resourcefulness. Thus, its name the
Salvaged Squire. I thought this ugly rocket of mine would be a
good riddance if it fell into a canal, got lost into corn
fields, or just blew up at the launch pad. So, I untangled the
parachute that I had not used in ages (about a year) and prepped
it with a B6-6.
With no problems at the launch pad, it flew well, had a
successful parachute deployment and descended right at the edge
of the range boundary fence. I could just pick it up without
having to wait until the range was open.
Lesson 2: If you are having a bad day, fly your ugliest SOB
rockets that you want to get rid of.
Chris Feld writes:
This was an interesting launch.
I arrived shortly after 8:00am. The weather reports I had read
indicated a prevailing 9mph wind to the south. It went the
opposite direction, making things very interesting. I made a
flight with my PML Callisto, shortly after 9:00am. Due to the
winds, it landed in the cornfield on the north side of the road.
I made thee more flights with the Callisto throughout the day,
all of which landed in more accessible areas. Gary Stroik, from
Off We Go Rocketry was running a promotion for CTI reloads,
offering the use of a case to anyone who bought a CTI reload. I
took him up on it, and flew a G118 in the Callisto. I didn't see
much of the flame, but the quick ignition impressed me.
My shift as LCO was quite memorable. one of the flights I
launched was a shakedown flight in preparation for an L1 cert
flight. Due to the winds, it recovered in the parking area,
first bouncing off Neil's trailer, and then landed in my
backseat. No hard feelings, I'm actually quite impressed that a
LOC kit could survive that kind of treatment. While this was an
unfortunate incident, it definitely speaks to the flier's
competence as a builder. I would like to remind everyone to
check the weather reports beforehand, especially the wind
forecasts, and plan flights accordingly. Also keep in mind that
winds aloft can be wildly different from winds on the ground.
Lastly, remember to angle the launchers downrange. Yes, this can
reduce your altitude, but that's much better recovering your
rocket from someones vehicle.
Thanks to everyone that helped clean up the glass. Todd
Carpenter noted that among the things the rocket had come to
rest on, was a handout from a contractor orientation I had
attended, dealing with workplace safety.
In spite of the troublesome winds, we had two successful L1
cert flights, By Alan Grover and Aaron Sheriff. Congratulations
to both, and good luck in your endeavors.
Michael Farrell writes:
Thanks for another great day of flying. Special huge thanks
to Alain Glover for rescuing my LOC Hi-Tech from the drainage
ditch - his quick intervention got it out of the slime before
anything could soak in. The rocket dried quickly without warping
and will fly again. Some day it may even have a coat of paint.
I got 8 flights in, one of my most prolific launch days with
MASA so far (I never get as many flights in as I plan), and only
one casualty, my featherweight scratch built "Index" flew out of
sight on an E9-6. I knew I was taking a chance, it RockSimmed to
about 2,000' in that breeze on that engine, but sometimes the
envelope must get pushed. For about $4.00 in parts, it can be
rebuilt. It was called Index because when turned nose down it
looks like the artifact that the Master Chief retrieves for 343
Guilty Spark in the first Halo.
My best flight of the day was the one that put the Hi-Tech in
the drink on a red G77. The flight successfully ejected two toy
paratroopers for my buddy's boys from about 1,000 ft. One even
found it's way back (thanks Chris!).
I had the honor to LCO for Neal's Green Goblin and Todd's
giant Tethys, both great fliers and flights. Congrats to Aaron
for certifying with a recovery about 50' from his car (that
rocket is bad-ass), and condolences to Chris for improvising
Aaron's earlier landing pad; one in a million (probably
Finally, farewell to Dwayne, nice to get to know you and fly
with you, best of luck down south.
Brian Uhlenkamp writes:
Lukas and I had a good launch.
I put up my Interceptor E on it's maiden flight on an E18-5W
for a perfect flight and recovery. I had it ready to fly again
for the drag race on an E18 again, but I had to leave before
In the spirit of clusters, I put up my Sunward Eruption,
which has 4 canted 18mm engines, on C6-3s. All 4 engines lit
and ejected but the delay was too short as the screw eye from
the NC smashed into one of the fins as the rocket was moving
forward on ejection-I can fix the fin dent. My Altimeter 2
recorded 623 ft.
I also put up my Semroc SLS AeroDart on it's maiden flight on
an E18-6W. The first igniter didn't work, but after
that it flew great to 923 ft per my Altimeter 2. The only bad
thing, I lost the Aerotech 24/40 engine casing. Not sure what
happened, I had the std spring clip, plus I put tape around it
for extra security, the ejection looked fine, so might have
slipped out at decent? Any input of similar happenings is
welcome-plus if anyone finds the casing!
Lukas launched our Super Neon on a B6-4 on a perfect flight.
He then launched his Triton X on a B6-4 on another perfect
flight. It has dual parachute recovery, and each parachute
broke one shroud line, but still fine. He launched is Planet
Probe on a B6-0 and his Sputnik, with perfect tumble/air brake
recovery. Our two stage Mongoose went "outasight" and then we
lost it on decent, I think it went in the corn, but never to be
found. He launched his Bandito on a 1/4A3-3T, it didn't go to
high-maybe 50 feet and almost
landed on Dwayne/s launch pad next to us when the chute came out
at about 25 ft. Need more thrust next time. i was proud
of Lukas prepping all his rockets by himself with little
assistance, plus picking and loading his motors, only needing
help with the ignitors. I did help with the two stage Mongoose,
and he was quick to point out I had one engine upside down
(before I noticed).
The winds were a challenge and hard to judge. We had a great
time as usual.
Ron Wirth writes:
A quick launch report for July 28th. I arrived just after 8
AM for setup and departed just after 3 PM. In total I launched
15 rockets using A thru E engines. The first launch of the day
was my InFlight Piranha on a D12-5. A nice flight but after
about 30 minutes in the corn field I gave up looking for it.
Lucky for me Anand found it later in the day while looking for
one of his rockets. My second launch was of a clone SHROX Icarus
that I just completed. It went up on a C6-5 which will be a C6-3
for future launches. The parachute did deploy in time but
unfortunately it landed in the irrigation ditch. I still have
not been able to get the motor out yet. I had one other rocket
land in the water as well with minimum damage. It seems to me
that there were many rockets that ended up in the water and a
couple lost in the corn. Overall it was a good day to launch
Side Note: I appreciate that Gary Stroick of Off We Go Rocketry
has been selling motors at the last couple MASA launches. It was
nice to be able to buy a couple of engines on the field.
Hopefully he is being supported enough that it makes it worth
his time to come to the launches.
Full launch tally (PDF)
The totals were: 153 flights, 188 motors. The cumulative
total impulse was 6708 Ns.
The motor breakdown follows: