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Last updated: Nov 11, 2000
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Message from the Prez (8/19/1999)

From the August 1999 "MASA Planet" newsletter.

MASA Members,

Our summer launch season is in full swing and our numbers keep growing.  Our paid membership is around 60 members and if you include the family members, that number is near 110.  Over the last year, MASA has doubled its membership and has become one of the larger rocket clubs in the country.

As you may have already suspected, our growing numbers also have caused some difficulties, mostly regarding access to our Blaine field.  More and more people are attending our launches and we feel that the landowner may ask us to leave.  I believe that we nearly reached that point this spring.  At the April and June launches, about 50 cars were parked on the field, and 75-100 people attended each event.  In conversations with the club officers and the landowner, it became clear that everyone is concerned with the growing crowds.  So, we have to change how we operate in Blaine or lose the field altogether.  Instead of losing access to the site completely, we decided to stop holding our regularly scheduled launches at the Blaine field.

We will still use the Blaine field periodically but only for smaller events such as summer or weeknight launches.  For the time being, our regularly scheduled Saturday launches will take place at Sunrise Middle School in White Bear Lake.  Our goal is to eventually locate several sites that we can choose from for our launches.

The White Bear Lake field is fairly small, but will allow rockets up to E impulse in good conditions.  The vast majority, about 87%, of our rocket flights are E impulse and below, so our limited access to the Blaine site will not cripple the club.  We all enjoy seeing the larger rockets fly, but without access to a much larger field, we will be seeing fewer of them flying at our launches for a while.

Having access to good launch fields is the single most important goal for the club.   I have been following up on every potential launch site that I can find.  If you are not happy with our current field situation, you can help by joining the search for new launch fields.  We carry NAR sponsored insurance and can pay for similar insurance for the landowner.  Please forward any leads to me

Keep in mind that our field difficulties are the result of our own success.  We have created a fun, safe, and friendly rocket club.  The club is thriving, people are flying a lot of interesting rockets and having a great time doing it.  We have had good national exposure and are in demand with local school groups and organizations.   None of this happened by accident.  Every club member has had a part in this success.  Whether you are giving demo launches to schools, RSOing, welcoming a new visitor to the launch, or helping someone pack their parachute, you are paying forward.   We don't need a huge flying field to do this...but it helps.

Russ Durkee, MASA President

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