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Last updated: Dec. 28, 2001
Site hosted courtesy of the
Minnesota Rocketry Network
Alan Estenson, Webmaster

December 2001 Holiday Party (12/17/2001)

On Friday evening, December 14, many MASA members and their families gathered at the Cochran residence for the annual club holiday party.  Rocket videos played throughout the evening as everyone enjoyed ample party snacks.  A lot of rocket talk filled the air while people gave away their extra photos.  Those present signed a card for the sod farm owners and Alan's "MASA Patriot" rocket also gained a few signatures.

One of the evening's activities was a fun gift exchange.  The "rocket tree" had grown this year - Ted's Quantum Leap was decorated with lights.  Going in order of drawn numbers, each person could unwrap a gift or steal someone else's gift.  Lots of things got swapped around - with rocket kits being the most popular items.

Later in the evening, MASA President Alan Estenson had a program of year-in-review, presentations, and awards.

This year, MASA had 9 official club launches (click here for all the stats) with a record 244 flights at the July launch and 960 flights for the year.  We also had 10 successful meetings, a great summer picnic and wonderful holiday party.  The club is at its biggest size ever!  We ended the year with:  39 family memberships, 30 individual memberships, and 8 junior memberships.  Let's hope that they all renew their memberships for 2002!

Alan thanked everyone who organized or presented a meeting topic this year:  Steve Robb, Ted Cochran, Tony Manzara, Art Gibbens, Steve Hum.  Thanks were also extended to Ted Cochran and Rick Vatsaas who each organized a contest at a launch this year.  Other notables were:  Ray Peterson and Jeff Hove who organized the tour of the MN ANG museum, Art Gibbens for editing the Planet newsletter and organizing the summer picnic, Ted Cochran who wrote an article for Sport Rocketry magazine, and Rick Vatsaas for creating new designs for the 2002 MASA badges.

One retiring notable is outgoing Vice President Steve Robb.  Steve did a stellar job as VP this year.  He created an amazing new launch controller and upgraded the old one.  He hauled around all the launch gear - filling the back of his truck every month.  He presented meeting topics, volunteered as LCO and RSO at launches, had a bunch of great rocket flights, and even found time to get his level 2 high power certification.  In thanks, Alan presented Steve with a framed lift-off photo of Steve's Extreme Stovi rocket.  From all MASA members, thanks Steve!

The critical volunteers at every launch are those people who give up some of their time to serve as LCO or RSO.  Without them, the launches couldn't happen, so a big Thank You goes out to all of them.  The LCO volunteers this year included:  Steve Robb, Ted Cochran, Art Gibbens, Kerry Hodges, Kent Peterson, Glen Overby, Alan Estenson, Mark Thell, Ed Eastman, Dave Fergus, Joe Kimmes, Tim Bush, and Jeff Hove.  The RSO volunteers this year included:  Steve Robb, Ted Cochran, Art Gibbens, Alan Estenson, Steve Hum, Walter Kjellander, Russ Durkee, Tim Bush, Dave Fergus, Damian Kostron, Kerry Hodges.  Thanks!  (I hope that you as well as other members will volunteer again in 2002!)

As an additional thank you to these people, Alan put each of their names in a drawing once for each time they had volunteered this year.  Unlike the door prizes, these people didn't need to be present to win.  The winners of the RSO/LCO "thank you" drawing were:

  • Steve Robb - $10 gift certificate from Hub Hobby Center

  • Dave Fergus - $10 gift certificate from Hub Hobby Center

  • Tim Bush - Estes Black Brant II kit (donated by MASA)

  • Walter Kjellander - Custom Tri-Star kit (donated by Hub Hobby Center)

There were two level 1 high power certifications this year at MASA launches:  Tom Brekke and Larry Schwartz.  Alan also talked about some of the noteworthy flights that he remembered.  He also went through some individual and family launch stats.

2001 MASSY Awards

In grand MASA tradition, President Alan Estenson created this year's awards in a particularly inspired session of lunacy.  Recipients were given a lovely paper certificate suitable for framing (or wiping glue off their fingers).  As usual, most of them were rather "tongue in cheek".

  • The "I give my rockets really long and/or weird names" Award - presented to Rick Vatsaas for such creations as "Fierce, Bad Rabbit", "Resume Enclosed", "Return of the Mother-In-Law", "Vinyl Pigskin of Porcine Revenge", and "Kidd Plasma's Flaming Atomic Meteor of Justice".

  • Perseverance in the face of lawn darts, landing on school roofs, hitting parked trucks (twice!) and almost beaning Russ Award - presented to Steve Robb and his Swinger II boost glider.

  • Keeping the classics alive Award - presented to John Carlson.  John is famous for flying a huge flock of classic rockets - all with descriptions of being 25 or more years old!  John also flies some great upscales of old kits.

  • Young Rocketeer of the Year Award - presented to Ellison Lenz.  Ellison has tried many new things this year - scratchbuilding, clustering, innovative materials ... while attending meetings and launches.  Not all of it has worked right the first time, but he's learning!

  • Technical Achievement Award for Rocketry Electronics - presented to Glen Overby.  Glen flies lots and lots of electronics - much of it homebrewed - over and over and over ... until some of it it finally works!

  • Technical Achievement Award for a super-duper (and shiny) new launch controller - presented to Steve Robb.

Not really awards, Alan decided to place some MASA members into groups of "distinction".

Vassals to the Nike-Eating Forest:  Dave Fergus and Glen Overby

Charter members of the "The chute works a lot better when I remember to put it IN the rocket" club:  Dave Fergus and Steve Robb.

Charter members of the "Ballistic Fenceposting" Club:  Alan Estenson, Kent Peterson, Mike Kutzke, Tim Bush, Mollie Frisvold, John Carlson, Randy Miller, Ted Cochran, Josh Handeland, Philip Gibbens, Art Gibbens, Lee Grimm, Dave Fergus, Steve Hum, Ellison Lenz (and possibly more - you know who you are..)

2001 MASA Prang Awards

The "We can melt bits inside Steve's new launch controller" Award - presented jointly to Ted Cochran and Joe Schneider for the flight of Joe's Wildcat on an 8-motor AP cluster.

The CFIT (Controlled Flight Into Terrain) Award - presented to Damian Kostron for the impressive (heart-wrenching) loss of his Cuda R/C rocket glider.

Prang Award - "Dishonorable Mention": Tim Bush's PML AMRAAM 2 (G35):  "A great boost, followed by a complete absence of a parachute.  Ballistic lawn dart (some ways away, fortunately) created an impressive new fence post and required some major excavations for retrieval."  (Nominated by Alan Estenson)  I'd still have to recommend Tim for the award for his AMRAAM fencepost.  When I first drove up to find him, he was laying on his belly with both arms and part of his head down inside the hole he'd dug by hand. I'd estimate 16-18". (Jeff Hove)

Prang Award - "Dishonorable Mention":  Art Gibbens' 3-stage Maxi Alpha 3 (D12-0;D12-0;C6-5):  "My prang nomination has to go to Art. I'm SOOO happy it was underpowered. All we needed was a three stage land shark. I can see it now, in to the prep area, under someone's pound of black powder. Yippiee!" (Nominated by Ted Cochran)

Prang Award of the 3rd Order:  Jeff Hove's Centuri Orion (B6-4):  "Who did the power prang and in your-face-ejection into the group of preschoolers? That beats a Saturn V or an AMRAAM fence post in my book!  Besides, the Sat V looked like it could be fixed--Where's the tragedy in that?"   "That would be that same guy who was complaining about other people's rockets raining down on the crowd at June's launch ... ME   (I'm upset that this happened and have been thinking about it a lot today.)  The rocket was my Centuri Orion. Because of the "B" motor limit that morning, I loaded it with a Quest B6-4 instead of the C6-5's I normally use. When I was a kid I used to fly B6-4's most of time and thought this rocket flew ok on them (it is big but light).  An earlier flight of my Centuri Taurus on a motor from the same pack had gone over 300' with ejection at apogee so I expected this one to do well over 200'.  Instead it made it up to about 80', arced over and ejected about 2 feet off the ground right in front of a little girl standing next to me at the flight line. I was photographing and didn't even see her or would have pulled her back. I don't know if she even saw the rocket.  The rocket is repairable, I hope the crowd's nerves are too."  (Nominated by Ted Cochran and Jeff Hove)

Prang Award of the 2nd Order:  Ed Ryan's Custom Lightnin' (D12-0; D12-7):  "I have to nominate the Custom Lightnin that looped, pranged, staged, land sharked, and then did a Lazarus and tried to fly again. Even made it into the air for awhile, but the BT was bent too much and it crashed again. Never saw that before!"  (Nominated by Ted Cochran)

And the grand champeen...

Prang Award of the 1st Order:  Steve Hum's Optima Clone (G64):  "On its maiden flight, Steve's Optima went up and then down - in flames.  A pinched O-ring resulted in the total flaming destruction of the motor casing, motor retainers, and significant burn damage to the motor mount, fin can and body tube."  (Nominated by Alan Estenson)

Drawings were held for a huge number of free door prizes.  The winners were:

  • (The following prizes were donated by MASA.)

  • Dave Ericson - Estes Mk109 kit

  • Lee Frisvold - Estes E9-6 motors

  • Stuart Lenz - BT-20 tube pack and NC-20 nose cone pack

  • Susan Fergus - Estes Star Dart kit

  • Deb Thell - BT-50 tube pack and NC-50 nose cone pack


  • (The following prizes were donated by Hub Hobby Center of Little Canada.)

  • Russ Durkee - Custom Fiesta kit

  • Rick Vatsaas - Custom Venture kit

  • Ingrid Vatsaas - Estes Venom kit

  • John Carlson - Quest SpinFin kit

  • Cheryl Vatsaas - Estes emergency repair kit

  • Ted Cochran - Custom Freedom kit

  • Christian Vatsaas - Quest Nike Smoke kit

  • Seth Cochran - Custom Redliner kit

  • Steve Robb - Custom Ion Pulsar kit

  • Ellison Lenz - ASP WAC Corporal kit

  • Sarah Fergus - Estes Flash kit

  • Mark Thell - Estes AMRAAM kit

A BIG thanks to Hub Hobby Center for donating many of the prizes!  A HUGE thanks to Ted Cochran and family for hosting the party again this year!  An enormous thanks to everyone who attended!

(Alan Estenson)

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