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Last updated: Jan 31, 2010
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Summer Solstice 2014 launch report

On Saturday, June 21, MASA held its annual summer solstice evening launch. 

This launch was held at the Elk River / Otsego VFW Fields. It started around 4pm and ended around 9pm.  The weather was beautiful and the attending rocketeers had some great flights.

A few of the flights:

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

Art Gibbens writes:

It was a great evening to be out burning some black powder engines. My goal for the night was to launch all my single stage non-clustered rockets in my armada this night. Not knowing how many folks would be there made this an iffy proposition. As it turned out, we only had about 20 people come out for the launch so I was able to get through my fleet and then some in the four hour flight window.

I wasn't able to get there before the 5:00 o'clock start time, but arrived shortly afterwards. When I got there, there were only 5 other cars in the parking lot, and the range was already set up (thanx Alan!) I proceeded to start prepping rockets to fly and I had no particular order in mind ahead of time.

1. So out first came an older MASA door prize kit, an ExoSkell on a C6-3 for a fine first flight of the night.

2. Next I flew last year's kit-bash creation, an imitation something or other on a B6-4. The parachute came out ok but never blossomed, which if you recall is what happened at last year's picnic. I will change out the chute for one less sticky. It busted a fin off on impact with terra firma.

3. Next up was an old sport flying 3FNC that I built back in college around 1981 or  1982. It has a streamer in it so I stuffed it with a C6-7 and easily had the highest flight at that point in the launch. Recovered nicely on the field behind us.

4. Next up was an older Mosquito kit that Mathias had built back when he was first getting involved with rocketry and he took the time to cut out some mylar to wrap the body tube in which makes it easier to spy in the air and on the ground. It flew on a 1/2A3-4T and while we able to watch it most of the way down I still was not able to retrieve it right after the flight. I shared with many that this rocket has always showed up in the past when someone else walks by it and sees it laying on the ground.

5. Next up was the old building session kit that Alan led that we put together many moons ago called BOINK (bounce on impact, no kidding) on a B6-2. Not much bounce left in it but a nice flight none-the-less.

6. My next flight was a three-pointer. It was another older rocket I built from scratch that I call "Bugsy", being modelled after the rocket Bugs Bunny took to Mars. It flew on an A3-4T, the parachute did not fully deploy until about 5 feet off the ground and proceeded to land directly in the trash bucket next to the launching table. We all had a good chuckle with that flight.

7. Next was another door prize rocket, a Snitch saucer on a C6-5.

8. Next was my old Blue Arrow which I built and flew at my first MASA winter launch a long time ago, if I remember correctly. I know I built this rocket in MN so it's only about 20 years old or so. Used a C6-5 and had an easy recovery.

9. For all you chocolate lovers out there I flew my Toblerone rocket on a C6-5 for a beautiful flight. Got a few more grins from folks that had never seen it before. It landed on the berm just across the road and parking lot and up until then was my furthest walk for a recovery.

10. Next up was a Custom kit that was also another door prize that my daughter Hannah had built and we still had laying around. So I stuck an A8-5 in it and had a real nice flight with it.

11. Next I flew my oldest "still flying" rocket in my arsenal, my much modified Mercury Redstone that I built in 1973 or 1974. I no longer fly my oldest rocket, a Big Bertha from 1972. I stuck a C6-5 in it and it flew very gracefully for a 40 year old rocket.

12. Up next was another one of Mathias' old rockets, an Alpha 3 which I put an A8-3 in. This flight resulted in a seperation and the parachute and nosecone drifted off over the buildings and the body section bounced off the field and looks repairable. We'll see. Many thanx to Case, a young man who was willing to run after and retrieve that nosecone.

13. Let's call this the nondescript flight of the evening. It's a scratch built 4FNC model I built for some competition a few years back and flew it on a C6-5 for a perfectly normal flight.

14. If the last flight was nondescript, this flight was action packed. I took an older, somewhat modified Estes Solar Sailer that I built before going off to college in 1977 on a B6-4. Another nice straight flight to apogee and the parachute came out nicely. I had updated the chute about 5 or so years ago to an 18 inch mylar because the original one had become too melted. It deployed fully and drifted across the street right unto one of the feeder lines to the house across the street. So Alan looked up the number to call the local electrical company and I placed a call to have them come retrieve the rocket for us. I had not hung a rocket on a wire since I was in high school, when I watched one of my rockets die a slow death being exposed to the elements. later in the evening a very nice utility worker came out and had it off the wire in less than 2 minutes. I thanked him many times and he was just grins and was really glad we called instead of trying to get it down ourselves. He had no idea there was a local model rocket club in the twin cities, as I shared with him that this was one of our annual events that we've been doing for a number of years now.

15. Next up I flew an Alpha kit that I had built when doing a rocket class at HCA about 10 to 12 years ago or so. I put a 1/2A6-2 in it for a whoosh-pop flight.

16. Next was the last of Mathias' old rockets he had built back in the day, an Estes America rocket (a stretched version of their Alpha 3) on an A8-5 for a very nice flight. About this time, Case, the young man who hleped me by recovering the nose cone of the Alpha 3 also spied and picked up the Mosquito that I could not find earlier. I thanked him for his keen eyes.

17. Next up was another kit that I had modified during building, an Estes Rascal. I put a C6-7 in it so that I wouldn't have to walk so for to retrieve it. Well, as luck would have it, it was a short 7 second delay and I ended up walking back to the buildings to retrieve it.

18. I made it! This was the last of my rockets to fly tonight for the first time, It was a GeminiDC which has two chutes that spit out the back for a fun recovery. I put a C6-5 in it and it took to the sky. While both chutes deployed only one blossomed initially, the second one finally opened a couple of hundred feet off the ground.

19. I reflew my Blue Arrow on a C6-5 only to have the chute get melted into a wad of plastic resulting in a fin getting knocked off on impact after backsliding in almost gracefully. It got added to the stack or repairables.

20. Put the Snitch saucer up on another C6-5 and because the sun was getting low in the horizon, you could really see the flame out the back of the rocket as it took to the air.

21. Tried to fly the Exoskell again on another C6-3, but I went through two bad ignitors trying to get it off the pad, but eventually another nice flight.

22. Reflew my 3FNC sport streamer rocket on a B6-6 for a nice flight.

23. My last flight for the night was again the Snitch saucer on another C6-5 and the flame looked even better in the lower light as dusk settled in.

So we broke down the range, packed up things and I left the parking lot by 9:15 pm. All in all a very good night of flying. I'd guess we put up around 100 flights as a group. Some folks flew some bigger motors and there were some possible nominees for prang of the year awards, as there were at least two core samples taken. Even the President of the NAR showed up! Hopefully others who were there last night will post their flights as well so that those of you that could not make it can get a better feel for how the evening's flights went.

Alan Estenson writes:

It was a beautiful evening for flying rockets! Recovery walks were generally pretty short.

Jenny and I got there around 4pm. I set up my launch system with 5 pads for people to use. Jenny stuck around until about 7:30, and I stayed until the end. Thanks to everyone who helped gather up the launch equipment and haul it off the field at the end of the evening!

Realizing that I hadn't flown any rockets since last year, I set about flying a bunch. In all, I had 24 flights - on B, C, D, or E motors.

A few highlights:
I flew a bunch of Goonies: Goony Goblin, Solar Goon, Der Goony Max, Goonybird Zero, and the Minne-Skeeter.

The chute refused to come out of my Fat Boy on a C6-3 flight, but it recovered without damage.

"Polarized" broke a fin on a C11-5 flight

I did a CHAD-staged flight of my FlisKits Pheord X-150 on a B6-0 to C6-0. The second stage was mostly horizontal. This works much better with an A8-0 as the booster.

My stretched "Super Duper Blobbo" flew twice - on a D12-3 and then on an E20-4. It had a very strange trip up the rod on the E20 resulting in what seemed to be some rod whip.

My Estes Sidewinder on a D12-5 suffered from a broken shock cord. The nose cone and chute drifted off but were returned by Art (Thanks!). The airframe took a sizeable core sample in the soccer field.

Other E-powered flights included my "Screaming Yellow Zonker" on an E12-6, Super Duper V2 on an E9-4, Groove Tube 180 on an E12-6, and Maxi Searcher on an E20-7.

The Details:

[Flights were not logged at this launch.]

(Alan Estenson)

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