July 25, 2009 launch report (7/25/2009)
On Saturday, July 25th, MASA held a club launch on the sod
farm near Nowthen.
It was a cool, cloudy, and blustery day. The wind was out
of the NW and varied from 8 to 15+ mph with some stronger gusts.
Many MASA members decided to skip the launch rather than brave the
winds. The wind kept the overall number of flights down as
well as the size of motors and altitude of flights. A few
brave souls did try some mid-power flights, but the high power
rockets all stayed safely on the ground.
Flying started just after 9am with Mark Thell putting up the
first rocket of the day. Cub Scout Pack 145 from North
Minneapolis joined us at the launch. Six scouts each brought a
rocket, and MASA members helped them prep and fly them each a couple
times. Thanks for flying with us; we hope that you had fun!
In addition to the scouts, there were quite a few other visitors to
the launch. About 12:15, a short rain shower with stiff winds
moved through the sod farm. That was enough to dampen spirits
and cut the crowd by about half as many people headed for home.
The launch ended about 2pm.
Thanks to the LCO/RSO volunteers: Alan Estenson and Ted
Thanks to Mark Thell for helping set up the launch range in the
morning. Thanks to the big crew that stayed to help take down
and pack up the range at the end of the day.
Jay Higashi has some photos from the launch on a flickr page:
and a video:
Ken Hoyme also put some photos up on his flickr page:
A few of the flights:
MASA members - please send in your thoughts about the
Ken Hoyme writes:
Alissa and I made this week #2 in a row of getting back to
launching after a few year hiatus (few = 6, I think). We each
had 2 new rockets to try out - Alissa flew both of hers, but I
held back on my second due to the winds.
I flew my new Texas Twister twice (tweet that!) - first on a
1/2A3-2T to confirm that it worked fine (it did) and later on an
A10-3T, just to see what it would do. Engine extraction is a bit
tricky on this one. This was the kit I won at last week's picnic
drawing, so I didn't pay a lot of attention to perfect sealing
and gap filling.
I also sent up my classic '70s vintage SPEV on a B6-4. Flew
fine, though a bit of a walk in the wind to fetch it back.
Last for me was finishing assembly of one of my daughter's
mostly- finished "Sky Writer". Alissa thinks it is her sister's,
but her sister doesn't remember it being hers. Since Kirsten
she will be back into this for some time, and with a bunch of
cub scouts there, I figured it was worth sending up. I put a
streamer in and and a B6-4. In hindsight, I should have just
stuck a C6-5 in and let it rip -- next time....
Alissa made two launches of her new Mini Mars Lander - a
vintage kit she bought at the swap table at the picnic, and got
ready quickly. First on a A3-4T and later on an A10-3T, bit
flights were fine.
She also debated about putting her new Estes Executioner up
due to the wind and the large chute it has, but decided to try
it on a D12-5. It didn't go terribly high, but it was successful
-- a bit more power next time, hopefully with calmer winds.
Last, the only launch that suffered damage, Alissa sent up
her old Gemini DC on a B4-2 - it was listed as an OK engine on
the chart for it, but it was a bit underpowered for the wind --
it went somewhat horizontal after clearing the pad, and hit the
ground just before the ejection charge went off, suffering a
broken fin -- it is fixable.
We had to leave early as well for a family gathering, and
used the breakout of showers around noon as the indication it
Hope to make it three in a row next month...
Ted Cochran writes:
My NARCON theme SuperSprite had an interesting chuff--it sat
on the pad for about 10 seconds, burning continuously but not
vigorously, before finally catching and flying--too low, too
slow. E15-4's The delay was long, and SuperSprite became
I'm going to fly a few more of those new E15-4s before
trusting my new Saturn V to one of them!
Mark Thell writes:
I had one....incident yesterday. My SPEV(which did some
amazing acrobatics the last time I flew it....) Put
noseweight in it, flew it on a B6-4. Flew a lot better
this time, but with the wind issue..... Really should have
used a B6-2..... Planted itself pretty hard, then the
charge went off. I never liked that bird very much, into the
trash can it went. Had to leave early, family stuff.
Dave Schaffhausen writes:
Despite the sketchy weather, I had a blast at the July 25th
launch. I even bumped into one of my cousins whose son was
there with the Boy Scouts. I only had time for a few launches,
so I made them big ones, which seemed to get the kids pretty
My first first flight was my scratch-built Ghost of War on an
E9-6, which had a nice, slow takeoff. Next, I launched my
crayon bank on a G64-7W. I think it had its best flight ever,
straight up. It landed at the edge of the fourth field, but
well worth the walk. Then, some folks noticed my newly painted
neon pink Heavy-Duty Beauty, and said they wouldn't leave until
I flew it. Rain was approaching again, the launch appeared to
be winding down, and I had a G-71 to reload. Pressure, lol. My
reload time has been getting quicker, and my copperheads and
ejection charges have been working, so I proceeded with a
smidgen of confidence. 3..2..1.. Liftoff! But there was
nothing. Try again-Whoosh! The Mojave green took her to 1100
ft., the chute was good, and it landed about 2000 ft. away, in
the same spot as the crayon landed.
I think my battery could use a recharge. Because I can't find
my charger, I think my controller is low on power, but it has
gone all season on one charge. Sure beats messing with 4 AA's
every launch. Finally, the skies cleared a bit, and I squeezed
in one more rocket. It was a stretched Thunderstar, powered by
2 C6-5's. Both of them lit, and the ejection poofs were about a
1/2 second apart. Well, everyone there was really nice, and
Nancy, Sprinkles, and I had a truly good time. Thanks!
Full launch tally (PDF)
The totals were: 60 flights with 62 motors burned.
The cumulative total impulse was 865 Ns with an average total impulse of 13.9 Ns.
The motor breakdown follows: