MASA MASA   Join the National Association of Rocketry Minnesota Rocketry Network

About MASA


  Join MASA

Events Schedule



  Meeting Reports


  Launch Reports

Planet Newsletter

  Planet Online




  Email List


  Outreach Reports

Photo Gallery


Files -n- Forms

MASSY Awards

Open Contest



Last updated: Mar 27, 2010
Site hosted courtesy of the
Minnesota Rocketry Network
Alan Estenson, Webmaster

August 2013 launch report

On Saturday, August 31st, MASA held its regular monthly launch at the sod fields near Nowthen.

It was a beautiful day for flying rockets!  Warm, sunny, with only a slightly breeze.  Flying began around 9:30am and wrapped up around 3:30pm.

Thanks to everyone who helped set up and tear down the launch range.

Thanks to the RSO/LCO volunteers:  Anand Vyas, Chris Feld, Alan Estenson, Neal Higgins, Rick Vatsaas, Jeff Taylor, Michael Farrell.

Special Events:

15th Annual Great UFO Drag Race

  • Lyle Merdan, Quest SPEV Saucer, C6-3
  • Neal Higgins, FlisKits Pheord X-150, C6-0
  • Michael Farrell, Quest Planet Probe, C6-0
  • Alan Estenson, Quest Planet Probe, B6-0
  • Alan Estenson, FlisKits Pheord X-150, B6-0
  • Alan Estenson, MASA SPEV Saucer, C6-0

The photos show that Alan's Pheord was first off the pad, and Lyle's SPEV Saucer was last off the pad.

12th Annual Comanche-3 Drag Race

  • Ron Wirth:  D12-0; C6-0; B6-6
  • Andy Nahr:  D12-0; C6-5 [2-stage]
  • Neal Higgins:  D12-0; C6-0; C6-7
  • Neal Higgins:  A10-0t; A10-0t; A10-3t [mini]

The photos show that Neal's Mini Comanche-3 was first off the pad followed by Andy's 2-stage Comanche.

Separately from the drag race, Nick Daigle flew his Comanche-3 on D12-0; C6-0; C6-7.  Neal Higgins flew his Comanche Xtreme on E12-0; E12-0; E12-8.  Jon Sullivan flew his Comanche-3 on D12-0; C6-0; C6-7 and on C6-0; A8-3. 

Semroc Golden Scout Memorial Launch

Lyle Merdan, Jeff Taylor, and Ron Wirth flew a memorial flight of three Semroc Golden Scouts on A8 motors.

Alan Estenson, Jeff Jones and Chuck Ross also flew Golden Scouts.

Special Memorial:  The rocket community recently lost Carl McLawhorn of Semroc.  In memory of Carl,  everyone was encouraged to fly their Semroc rockets.

At least 20 Semroc rockets were flown today.

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

Anand Vyas writes:

The launch activities began with slow start, with yours truly having nothing to do as LCO for first half hour. Slowly, folks started mounting their rockets on launch pad. The wind was noticeable during morning but thereafter (with exception of some transient mini gusts) it died down, the clouds gave way to sun, and it was as perfect a day as can ever be for a launch. After relieving myself of the RSO duties, I was set to launch some of my own rockets around 11 am. I started by flying Semroc Squire on B6-4 motor, in honor of Carl McLawhorn. It was a good flight with it landing about 100 feet to the left of the launch pad.

Next, I tried Rose-A-Roc with A8-3 motor, and was a prang (almost a lawn dart). I had one broken blade. The problem was that I forgot how to tie the string around the blades, and for some reason I believed I had remembered it. I tried it the second time (in hindsight, it was insanity), after field repairs with Crazy Glue and balsa strip cemented onto the fracture line, with A8-3 with supposedly better string wraparound. This one was a perfect lawn dart. Now two unbroken blades from previous attempt broke and the dowel shaft slid into the rocket due to impact. 

Never the one to accept the failure, I was determined even more to make it work. After aforementioned type field repairs, I held out the rocket horizontally in (with rubber bands held in place by masking tapes (as my rocket cone was riddled with too many pin inserts at the top), and it was windmilling beautifully during windgusts. So, I set to tie it again.   Fortuitously, Lyle Merdan and his buddies offered their help (sorry guys, forgot your names) in holding the rocket in place for me to manipulate string around the hole and wrap around, and providing good ideas to have the string pass thru the hole easily. This time, I swallowed my pride and referred to the manual and realized my error. So, with renewed confidence and having run out of A8-3 motors, I used B6-4 this time. The rocket went on somewhat helical trajectory upward and the blades deployed nicely, just that there was some delay in blades being in proper position while in descent, and the burnt motor casing had somehow ejected itself out (although I had masking tape on it). So, the blades acted more like streamer than windmilling on the way down.

Now, I thought maybe I should launch it higher (also by now I was out of B6-anything but zero, motors) so I tried what I had left, a C6-7 motor with better string wrap around, more sanding of blade tip surface to aid proper release. I felt that I had done all that I could to fix it and if a balsa glider with no aerodynamic wing profile could fly, my rocket should windmill on its way down due to proper negative angle of attack I had on it. So, the rocket ascended on an irregular helical trajectory upward and with 7 seconds delay, it seemed like another lawn dart, when the ejection charge went off and the blades deployed, and what ensured thereafter was a spectacular windmilling of the rocket just like it shows on the cover pad of the kit. I was ecstatic, and then spent rest of my time just wandering chatting with other folks, inspiring them to build Rose-A-Roc and having good time. If I did a good job, Mike Farrell and Chuck Ross will be inspired to fly their Rose-A-Rocs in September. I realized that I had overstayed by an hour (due to previous failures), and so thanked Neal and took off.

Overall, another memorable day of my life with MASA and Nowthen!

Larry Schwartz writes:

A perfect day for a launch!  And I launched practically every one of the rockets in my fleet at least once.  All had perfect flights.  Even the 2-stage Stretch D Fatboy and the Aerotech Arreaux  were perfect flights -- up to the point when  I lost in the corn . . .   Have I mentioned lately how much I hate corn?  Have I mentioned how silly I feel for leaving my box-o-beepers at home today?

Rick Vatsaas writes:

It was a great day at Nowthen!

Today was the day that I was going to fly my 3-D Printed MASA Mascot Rocket, based on the epic logo created by our Jeff Taylor. I was pretty nervous for a couple reasons.

1. I have had my share of ejection failures on reloadables and

2. With the radical geometry I couldn't be 100% sure that my simulations and swing tests were adequate for assessing stability. I needn't have worried.  Ascended straight as an arrow on the I E23-7T, and I got clean ejection and recovery. I hope to hear soon from those managed to get pictures.

This I followed up with Das PickleHaube Raket, my spoof of the Der Red Max on a D12-5. This also flew well but suffered a separation. Only minor repairs are required.

After a stint as LCO (too fun to be considered duty) I flew my Skowt on a D12-5. This fell into the cornfield to the north. I used a gps tracking app on my found to track my search and ended up finding it after a half hour.

I wrapped up the day flying my Ion Pulsar on a D12-5. Which narrowly missed the cornfield. Thanks to everyone who made the day so enjoyable.

Michael Farrell writes:

That was the day we've been waiting for all summer.

There were a lot of launches and lots of stories. Anand getting his Rose-a-Roc to a good flight through sheer force of will, drag events with lots of entrants (there were Comanches everywhere all day long), the first flight of the 3D printed MASA logo rocket, short-walk high power retrievals, FITI flights, lots of Semroc flights, there was something for everyone. People spent a lot less aggregate time in the corn than I thought would be the case, and the mythical Comanche Extreme got to fly (and fly, and fly).

I got ten flights in, some of them first flights, all good, mostly in the morning with the calm conditions, and, in keeping with my tradition, I put my Hawk into a ditch (but got it back undamaged). I flew everything from a 200' UFO flight in the annual drag race to a high power shot to over 3,000'. A couple of mine were redemption flights, successful repeats of previous flight profiles that should have worked but didn't for various reasons.

A friend of mine came out with his boys for the inaugural flight of his beautiful vintage Estes NCC-1701, but the recommended first flight engine was severely underpowered and the flight ended with disastrous damage. He's got a considerable repair job ahead of him this winter.

Nonetheless, it's always a great time, MASA, thanks.

Neal Higgins writes:

First off, thanks everyone who helped with the range setup & tear down and those that hung around after to make sure Glen returned safely from the corn (he did but without the rocket).  Thanks to everyone who volunteered for LCO/RSO duties.

Today turned out to be a Commanche day for me. I flew all 3 of my Commanches. The mini & regular Commanche flew in the drag race. I flew the Xtreme on it's own fully loaded with E12's in all stages. It didn't go as straight as would have liked but like Michael said it flew & flew & flew.  The only parts that came back were 3 fins from one of the stages.

I flew my PheordX150 in the Great UFO drag race, my L2 rocket Thor on a J315R and Zeus (an upscale version of the Estes Solar Flare) on an I357T.  I'm glad I added the buzzer to Thor or it might still be in the corn.

Thanks to our newest member Andy Nahr for some great photos from the launch. They are on the Yahoo group photos page in the 2013 Aug 31 Launch folder. Feel to add more photos if you have them.

A great day and launch. Thanks again everyone for all of the help.


The Details:

Full launch tally (PDF)

The totals were: 167 flights, 193 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 9,612 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 0
















G 11


I 2



(Alan Estenson)

Back to Launch Reports