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From the New MASA President

I know this is quite lengthy but it covers a lot of information, so please read it.

Hello MASA members.  My name is Jeff Taylor and I will be taking over as the MASA President for the 2016 flying season.  I have been a MASA member since 2005, and have held past positions as the MASA Planet Newsletter Editor, Treasurer and Vice President.  I live in Brooklyn Park and am a mechanical engineer at Orbital ATK in Plymouth.

First off, I would like to thank Neal Higgins for his past years as President of our club.   I would also like to thank Carol Marple for returning to the role of Vice President for 2016.  She has served MASA for many years in the past as Vice President, President and most recently, Treasurer.  Thank you to Michael Farrell for taking over as the 2016 Treasurer.   Andy Heren who has devoted countless hours as our MASA Planet Editor has recently retired, and I would like to thank him for his service.  Having been a past editor, I know he will enjoy his well deserved break.  Thank you to Jeff Jones for stepping up as our new editor as the MASA Planet enters its 19th year.  I would also like to thank Alan Estenson for his continued long time position as MASA’s Web Master, keeping us relevant to the world on the internet. And finally, a thank you to Neal for again being the MASA Equipment Manager making him the most important person at any launch.

In addition to having positions filled for a President, Vice President, Treasurer, Planet Editor, Web Master and Equipment Manager, I wanted to add another position to the list:  Safety Officer.  I used to fly RC airplanes, and we had a dedicated Safety Officer in each club I belonged to, so I thought it would be a good idea to add one to MASA.  The only drawback to that is that there should never be just one person responsible for safety.  That is why I am deputizing every one of us, and I mean EVERY one of us, as Official MASA Safety Officers.  We ALL have the right and the responsibility to challenge anything we don’t feel is safe.  While the RSO at any given launch has the ultimate authority, I want each of us to feel free to challenge everything.  Even challenge the RSO if needed.  Safety has to be our number one priority.  Challenge a rocket design just because it looks a bit different and seems potentially unstable.  Challenge a rocket motor that might be a bit too much for the field.  Challenge the wind direction and the way the range is set up.  Make sure every single launch rod is angled at least 5 degrees away from the flight line.  When a rocket flies or drifts over the crowd, let’s stop what we are doing and make changes so to prevent it from happening again.  It only takes a few minutes and could save a lifetime of regrets. 

We have already started the year off with our first meeting that was held at the Jackson Middle School Observatory in Champlin on January 7th.  Meeting topics included inaugurations of the 2016 club officers and planning for upcoming meetings.   

While the Observatory is a perfect facility for us graciously provided to us by Ron and is literally only 1 stop sign away from my house, I would like to see the meeting locations travel around the metro area to give those in the southern suburbs a chance to attend.  In fact, the February 4th meeting will be held at the Brookdale Library in Brooklyn Center.   The March location might be back at the Observatory but that is still TBD.  Other potential meeting locations that were discussed included The Eisenhower Center Observatory in Hopkins, any area Davanni’s Restaurant, the Air Guard Museum, or any number of area libraries.  If you have suggestions for meeting locations, even if it your house or place of employment, feel free to let us know.

Some of the future potential meeting topics that were discussed include how to build competition-worthy rockets, on-board electronic systems, range safety, mid and high power rocket tips, dual deployment systems, RockSim and Open Rocket simulation software, litho battery safety, how to assemble a reloadable motor, rocket photography and video, tips on how to manage outreach activities, and build sessions.  If you have other suggestions for meeting topics, or if you have ideas or expertise and would like to be a part of any of the topic presentations, please let us know.  

George Gassaway has graciously volunteered to present tips and tricks on how to build competition rockets at the February 4th meeting.  Michael Farrell has agreed to present dual deployment methods at the March meeting.  Come prepared to learn about these topics and to add to the discussion/presentation with your own experiences.  As always, show and tell of your latest project is greatly appreciated at all meetings.

As I stated in an earlier email, please hold off on paying your 2016 membership dues until we get the new treasurer system set up.  We will let you know when we are ready.  Early Bird registration will make you eligible to win a $10 Hub Gift Card, so stay tuned for more details in the next few weeks.

Your 2016 Club Officer contact information is:

Jeff Taylor – President

Carol Marple – Vice President

Michael Farrell – Treasurer

Thanks, and fly safe!

Jeff Taylor

January 8, 2016


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