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Last updated: June 3, 2004
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Highview Middle School (5/28/2004)

My niece told me that they were flying rockets today (Fri the 28th) and asked me if I would come and help out at Highview Middle School in New Brighton. I arrived about 900 am to find an 8 pad setup. It was kind of a "Fred Flintstone" launch system. NAR would not approve of this launch system. The teacher had a central arming point and each kid had a launch box consisting of a light switch that was marked with "safe" on one side and "fire" on the other side.

Before I go any further, this is not a slam against the teachers at all, these are my impressions of the launch.

All kids built their rockets as a group. 3 or 4 kids per rocket.  These rockets were not examples of fine craftsmanship. Launch lugs were coated with paint on the inside; I ended up cutting a lot of pieces off the lugs so they could be put on the rods.

They were fired in salvos. Lots of them separated; recovery systems did not deploy. Estes wadding all over the field. Glue looked like it was put on with a trowel. Motor mounts pushed DEEP inside the body tubes. Had this been a NAR event none of these rockets would have seen a pad much less be launched. Duct taped fins; I could go on forever. The kids enjoyed the flights though.

Again, I am stressing that it is not "totally" the teachers fault. He was under a lot of pressure to get each group's rockets launched and recovered within 30 minutes, get 'em back on the bus to school and get another group out there. I stayed behind to repair broken microclips. I even had to resort to using a paperclip as a igniter clip. The kids were not listening very well, and the teacher had his hands full. The operation that I did with Ted yesterday was a lot better [organized].

IMHO, if this is in fact what is going on nationwide, no wonder we have the problems getting kids to join us . I never once heard any mention of the NAR. I even had some kids tell me they couldn't wait to crash their rockets. I do not have the answer to this problem.

I brought a few rockets to fly. My Stomp rocket flew well on a C6-3. I lost the nose weight on impact but before I could get to it one of the children grabbed it. Had he left it alone, I could have found the weight, resecured it, and flown again. I tried my egglofter again for my niece's class; naturally the @#$#^&% chute didn't deploy again. Every time I go out alone it works great. Go figure. Anyway I flew my UFO, and my Green Glider Carrier, and packed it in.  At the end of each session the teacher did take the kids out to pick up wadding and other assorted wreckage.

[Mark Thell]

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