Outreach Report - Nacal International School (5/31/2006)
Well , we racked up another launch (of sorts) for a
starting School. This was the most unusual help project yet. I am
exhausted as this launch was just part of my running around today.
As an International School the students were from all
over the globe according to their teacher. Also they were all
Seniors at the HS level stationed in a rented section of Hamline
The teacher a Mr. D.J. Wyrtzen has requested many
field trips to be approved and all have been turned down because of
Liability factors. So when he ask for a rocket project he was
surprised that they approve. However everywhere he asked for
the ok to fly turned him down. The St. Paul Fire Marshall flatly
would not allow them to launch in St. Paul.
Huh, every kid does it at the local park. When he called WBL parks
to fly at Sunrise they told him they do not allow rocket flying
there. Some understanding soul said Ok to Bossard Park if the WBL
Police had an Officer in charge. He never showed up.
Prior to today I had been working with Mr. Wyrtzen to
get him to agree to my conditions. We sent many emails back and
forth. Tuesday night I spent over a hour on the phone with him in an
attempt to determine the real level of the problem. He wanted to
come over that night to fix his own rocket but I was simply too
Mike said this class needed tons of help on all levels
was an understatement. After reading what Mike wrote how Dave & Glen
tried to re-engineer his rocket and my actual contact I knew it
might not happen.
First their GSE was a 4 foot rod into the ground with
a cloths pin for a standoff. The ignition was by 45' double wire
with clips on one end and a 6 volt battery on the the other.
Mark Thell put together a starter flight pack of pad
and controller for them. That and my Pro-pad with Estes Controller
would solve that problem today.
The real issue was that we had 16 kids and one teacher
with all the mis-designs you had at Saturdays launch times 17.
The rockets were already build before his arrival at
Nowthen on Saturday. The basic build was 2 small milk bottles taped
bottom to bottom. Almost V2 style. They taped the motor into the
bottom bottle. The top bottle was intact with no motor opening. This
framework was covered by cardboard with cardboard fins mounted
mostly from mid body forward. the chute was attached to the end of
cardboard. Some had nosecones and some didn't. They expected the
chute to just fall out.
They only had 2 hours from 12:30 to 2:30. But it took
them until 12:50 to arrive because of traffic. The teacher requested
I bring 5 or 6 of my Junk Yard Rockets for a field Show and Tell.
This took about 15 minutes. Mark showed several of his
commercial kits and explained his donation of the GSE. I pre-scouted
the field for our setup. Hauling the GSE and
setup probably eat into 10 minutes or so. Mark gave them a demo
flight on an A8-3.
Then we got down to business of seeing what we could
do to get an actual launch going today. My hour talk with Mr.
Wyrtzen partially prepared me for the true scope of the problem.
Each rocket needed to be designed from the ground up or seriously
Example: The teacher did put in a BT 20 tube as MASA
people suggested. The motor tube ran the full length of the double
bottle. The chute was in the paper nose cone. He had the fins back
on the bottle. BUT the motor tube was floating in the main body and
the motor was lose in the motor tube. Yipes, and this was the most
Since he had cut a fairly nice hole in the bottles
double bottoms I had him remove the motor tube. I had him size and
cut the tube so it just went through this centering bottom while
sticking out the back about a 1/2". I had him run a tape motor block
around the C6. Then we inserted the motor in the motor tube and
taped them together. We marked a spot on
the forward motor tube and wound a tap block around motor to butt up
against the hole he cut in the bottles bottoms. With that done and
secure I had him wrap another tap centering ring at the lower
bottles neck. This took care of the fin can and motor mount. Now the
cut motor tube had the second bottle free for wadding chute. This
left a free paper nose cone which we attached by 12" string by
tapping it inside the NC and tying the other end to one shroud line.
Now we finally had a real rocket. I had him put enough clay into the
NC to balance about 1 caliber forward the front of the fins
This must have taken close to a hour. While I was
doing that all the 16 students kept asking us what to do. I told
them what needed to be done and I asked the teacher to help them
arrive at the same spot.
One student kept asking me for help. I told him to cut
the bottles open to redo the insides. Mark finally took him under
his wing to patch the rocket. I didn't see what Mark did but it
appears he rebuilt the rocket for him by adding fins to the motor
mount and them tapeing this assembling to the bottom bottle. This
lengthened the rocket so no weight was needed. Just as well as he
didn't have a NC anyway. Mark put in the same amount of time with
this rebuild as I did with the teacher's rocket.
Results:: 16 kids, 1 teacher with 17 rockets that
needed full redesign. 2 reached launch status.
The student with Marks help launched on a C6-5 for a
beautiful fligh especially considering the start. The chute (bag)
opened nicely drifted down by the scoccer nets. He wanted to do it
again so he had to unwind the tape to put in another motor. This
flight angled to the south and had a late delay but the chute opened
nicely to drift into a backyard. Mark
got it for him later.
My teacher's rocket was overstable with maybe a little
to much weight. We didn't have time to play around. It corkscrewed
up and the chute opened fairly well.
The day was a lot of work with only 2 rockets and 3 flights.
Each kid's rocket needed the parts and time Mark and I put into the
2 that did launch. Each kid repeatedly ask me to ok the rocket. But
they were only closed fin cans with forward structure, NC, chute or
Knowing that they were Foreign HS Seniors and not
being able to put on a show like I've had with Scouts, 4H and other
schools was a disappointment for them and for me.
I wanted to personally thank Mark Thell for his great
effort here. If Mark hadn't been there it would have been completely
Mark and I did our best but the overwhelming odds were
against any large scale launch success.
I hate to say it but maybe these help sessions need
some pre-screening. This is a very long report but it doen't
do justice to the time put into this effort.
[Ken Jarosch and Mark Thell]