August 2008 launch report (8/29/2008)
On Saturday, August 23rd, MASA held its ninth launch of the
year. This was the fourth launch of the year at the sod fields near Nowthen.
Huge thanks to the RSO/LCO volunteers! Art Gibbens, Ted
Cochran, Buzz McDermott, Glen Overby, Ken Jarosch, and Alan
Extra thanks to all who came early and/or stayed late to help
clean up the range and pack up the equipment!
The theme for this launch was "multistaging." The
breezy conditions did keep the number of multi-stage flights fairly
A big thanks to Art Gibbens for running an open spot landing
contest. [details are below]
There were five participants in the annual Great UFO Drag Race.
Alan Estenson flew a Snitch on a C6-0. David Whitaker flew a
Pheord on a C6-0. Dwayne Shmel flew a Snitch on a D13 reload.
Lyle Merdan flew a Frick -n- Frack 2-stage on C6-0 to C6-0.
Scott Gleason also flew a "giant qubit" on a G79.
Four "birds" participated in the annual Comanche-3 drag race
Ted Cochran flew his Comanche "full up" on D12-0, C6-0, C6-7.
Mark Thell flew his on D12-0, B6-0, B6-6. Russ Lundstrom flew
his as a 2-stage, B6-0, B6-4. Neal Higgins had a modified
Comanche, D12-0, D12-0, D12-7.
Some launch pics taken by Jason Godfrey:
A few of the flights:
MASA members - please send in your thoughts about the
Art Gibbens writes:
Well, it was a cool, overcast and breezy day to start
launching rockets on that ended up being a warmer, mostly sunny
and breezy day to fly rockets on.
Phil started out by flying his Sith Infiltrator for the
umpteenth time on a C6-3 for a nice flight. He flew his Patriot
on a B6-4 as well. He tried valiantly to get in on the spot
landing contest using the MRC B4-4s in two different rockets, a
Venture and a scratch built 3FNC he has dubbed "It", with the
same results - that is, landing too far away to measure.
For myself, I started out the flying for the day with a
little scratch built small field rocket I built 5 plus years ago
named Bugsy on a 1/2A3-2T for a nice 80 foot or so flight. My
next flight was my venerable Satellite
Launcher on a C11-3 which landed on the dirt in the first field
over for a nice flight. I then flew Bugsy again on another
1/2A3-2T for another good flight. Lastly, I flew my Toblerone
chocolate box rocket on an MRC B4-4 for my longest walk of the
day going two fields over and a ways South to pick it up on the
far edge, but in front of the corn. Whew!
So the Gibbens' guys put up only 8 flights today, but
had a great time!
For the Spot Landing contest there were 12 entries
with only two measurable flights/landings. The winner of the
Quest X-30 Aerospace Plane for the best overall spot was Dave
Schaffhausen, a new member who flew an Estes Renegade on a Quest
A6-4 to land only 37 feet 3 inches from the marker pin.
Congratulations to Dave! The other measurable spot was Ted
Cochran's B.O.I.N.K. flown on an Estes A10-0 to a spot of 42
feet 2 inches. Six more MRC B4-4 motors were used up with no
motor failures. However, some of the
competitors learned that these motors don't have a lot of lift
and have long delays causing their heavy rockets to meet terra
firma before the ejection charge fired. Ouch.
I observed a fair number of fence posts at this launch,
probably due to the wind which limited altitude because of
weather cocking. There was one larger composite motor rocket
that augered in pretty good with a discernable thunk in the
wheat field just to the North and West of the launch area. If I
knew the name of the owner I would nominate the flight/him for
our "Prang of the Year" award. Can anyone help me out with the
We left around 1:45 pm leaving many fliers still
prepping rockets for more flights in the afternoon.
Alan Estenson writes:
I was onsite at 8am to unload my truck and start setting
up the launch range. The weather started out cool with a
solid cloud cover and a 4-6mph breeze out of the west. By
the time that the launch started around 9:30, the clouds were
breaking up. It wasn't long before we had blue skies and
sunshine. Unfortunately, the breeze became stronger
throughout the day with later gusts topping 15mph. We
brought the launch to a close at 3pm.
The theme for the day was multi-staging. With the
strong breeze, there weren't a whole lot of multi-stage rockets
flown. However, there was still a four ship Comanche-3
drag race at the end of the afternoon.
Three 3-stage and one 2-stage birds took the sky for the annual
For the annual UFO drag race, there were two Estes
Snitches (one of them on a D reload), a FlisKits Pheord, a
FlisKits Frick-n-Frack, and a giant G-powered Qubit. I
didn't see exactly what happened to the
Frick-n-Frack, but the upper stage impacted while the motor was
still burning. [Later reading some TRF posts by Jim Flis,
he recommends flying the Frick -n- Frack only in zero wind
I flew my trusty ol' Estes Longshot 2-stager on D12-0 to
C6-7. Thanks to streamer recovery, the sustainer landed on
Bringing out my equally trusty ol' LOC Minie Magg, it
had a very nice flight on an I161. That was my first high
power flight in nearly two years. As a bonus, it didn't
land in the corn! This was the 19th flight of the Minie
Magg since it first took to the skies back in September of 1997.
Those 19 flights add up to 6,258 Newton-seconds of total impulse
(equivalent to a baby "M" motor!)
I also put in a first flight of my scratchbuilt Blue Bird Zero
clone. I designed and built my own booster for this rocket
to make it into a 2-stage. ("Blue Bird Boosted") It had a
great flight on D12-0 to C6-7. Even with a huge spill hole
cut in the 18" chute, I watched the sustainer land far, far to
the east - apparently in the corn. Fortunately, I had a
good line on it. After half an hour traipsing around in
the corn, I decided to walk out in the soybean field east of the
corn field. There was my rocket, hiding amongst the beans.
Thanks to Ted and my friend Jim for helping look for it!
As a companion to that flight, I also flew my "Goonybird Zero"
on a B6-4.
Sneezing my fool head off from my cornfield excursion, I
decided it would be prudent to wait until next month for other
mid and high power flights that I had planned.
Dwayne Shmel writes:
My wife and I launched 11 rockets, but the highlight of
the day had to be finding our wayward "Yellow Jacket" Fat Boy in
the freshly plowed wheat field. The 24mm casing was in perfect
shape after cleaning it with toothpaste (which I find to have
the perfect amount of gentle abrasiveness to remove stubborn
propellant deposits). Below is a link to the "story" - I entered
it into the "Before and After" contest on EMRR:
Our favorite FLIGHT of the day had to be the Death Star
and X-Wing dramatic reenactment. I timed the launch of the
X-wing to go up a second or so after the Death Star. After the
X-Wing shot down the Death Star, both rockets deployed and
returned safely. Luckily, I sent nothing up real high so the
wind wasn't too much of an issue. My hat is off to everyone who
sent up a Comanche-3. You are much braver than I. I need to
build a few more rockets before I take the chance on losing any
Ken Jarosch writes:
I am still trying to get some flying on rockets built
this Spring. I brought along several of the Baffle/Bulkhead
rockets for their first flights. Too much visiting, watching,
motor prepping and cleaning that I only got in two flights.
Along with the bulkhead rocket testing I was trying the
Wind motors from the Simplified Motor Matrix.
The first Rocket was the original Executioner
retro-fitted with the Straight Thru Baffle/Bulkhead on the
E28-4T(2). Launched upwind it still drifted a modest distance
into the 2nd field West. The 24" Top Flight Chute drifted a bit
more than I wanted, still with the E28T on the winds it was
The second rocket is the 29mm Executioner made from
mostly LOC parts and weights about 22 oz. It has the first of my
Labyrinth Baffle/Bulkheads to be tested. Again using the wind
motor choice of the F40-4W, it pretty much flew the same path as
the lighter rocket above. It flew upwind a little further and
the 22" Aerotech chute was reefed in about a 1/3 so it came back
just beyond the pad.
Both Baffle/Bulkheads worked fine and the motor choices
matched the wind conditions.
I had along the 5 part 3 size S.O.A. - 2008, but I
decided to wait for better weather. Motors will range from a low
of G76G, H128W, H238T and either the H180W and/or H250G +. All
of which were ready last Saturday.
Ted Cochran writes:
> How did the Comanche flyers do on recovery?
My first stage hung on to the second stage and got toasted. I
got three fins back. I got the second stage back.
I saw the sustainer land in the corn. I know
approximately where it is, and I even looked for it for a while,
but I didn't think it was worth more than a half hour of
looking, so I quit.
Caleb Boe writes:
My family arrived at the launch site about 9:30. My aunt
and uncle from Seattle along with their two daughters came
along. Also my great uncle from Hastings came with us as well.
They all had a great time
watching the rockets launch, and when we got home, my cousin
wanted to build a rocket. So I helped her build a
I only made two flights. My first flight was my IQSY
Tomahawk on a F52-8. The flight was great and it stayed
out of the corn. Next up was my stretched Tethys on a KBA Animal
Compatible I301W. For
this flight I added a 16in long payload section which housed a
ARTS2 altimeter. This was another great flight. The I301 pushed
the rocket up to 2,600 feet as reported by the altimeter. The
rocket ended up
landing in the corn, but thankfully I had a beeper on it which
helped with locating it. My dad went into the corn field with a
walkie-talkie and a flag on a pole. I guided him in to the point
where I saw the rocket land. It took some time to find it and
the help of several other people to guide my dad to the correct
location, but we did find it. When I got home I transferred the
altimeter data and discovered that the rocket reached a peak
acceleration of 11.666 G's and reached a maximum velocity of 571
ft/sec (about 390mph) 2.3 seconds into flight. I would like to
thank Mr. Cochran for supervising my flight and for obtaining my
Full launch tally (PDF)
The totals were: 107 flights, 121 motors.
The cumulative total impulse was 3095 Ns with an average total impulse of 25.6 Ns.
The motor breakdown follows: