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Last updated: April 19, 2008
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Lino Lakes Cub Scout Build & Launch (11/7/2009)

On the evening of Tuesday, October 20th, MASA members Jason Colt, Alan Estenson, and Buzz McDermott helped with a rocket building session at Living Waters Lutheran Church in Circle Pines. A group of 40+ Cub Scouts built rockets during a two hour period. The youngest Scouts built Estes Spaceloft rockets. There were very few problems with these simple rockets; the one-piece plastic fin unit made for easy assembly. The older Scouts built a combination of Estes Viking, Estes Wizard, and Custom Razor rockets. With their individual fins, the Vikings and Wizards presented more of a challenge - especially for those Scouts who insisted on putting the maximum five fins on their Vikings. The tube fins on the Razors were more assembly-friendly. Most Scouts had a parent helping them. [My observation - Moms did better at helping with the rocket building than Dads. Probably because Moms read the instructions.] Buzz provided a variety of stickers, so many of the rockets were brightly decorated. The rest went home to be painted first.

The launch was originally scheduled for the afternoon of Sunday, October 25th, but was postponed due to poor weather. With the launch rescheduled for the morning of Saturday, October 31, MASA members Alan Estenson and Neal Higgins met at Blue Heron Elementary in Lino Lakes. It was a cool morning with a stiff breeze out of the west. The launching area was a softball field with about 250 feet of recovery distance before a scrubby/marshy area.

A six-pad launch range was set up on the west side of the softball field with a separate prep area nearby. The Scouts and their families started arriving just before 10am. Neal manned the prep table and was kept hopping as he helped the Scouts get their rockets ready to fly. The engines for the day were 1/2A's for the Spacelofts and A's for the Vikings, Wizards, and Razors. For simplicity's sake, Estes wadding was used instead of cellulose. Each Scout could launch their rocket twice (more if they wanted to purchase extra engines from the Cub Master).

Alan operated the launch range, and the flying started just after 10am. The Scouts were all excited, and the enthusiasm was contagious! A count of the flights wasn't kept, but there were easily 80 launches in about 90 minutes time. Full racks of six rockets were being launched one after the other. Stealing a trick from Ted, the Scouts were told that told that rockets fly better when the countdowns are LOUD! :-)

The flights nearly all went well; there were a few separations and one lawn dart. Thanks to Neal's excellent work at the prep table, there were only three misfires all morning. With the stiff breeze, a small number of rockets drifted off the field - about two or three were lost. Two Scouts also brought and launched their Estes Metalizer rockets.

One unusual event, about halfway through the launch, was a flyover by a B-52 bomber at low altitude! Needless to say, we all stopped and watched.

Everyone had fun, and all the rockets had been flown by 11:30. We packed up the equipment and headed home to warm up.

[Alan Estenson]

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