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October 2011 launch report (10/22/2011)

On Saturday, October 22, MASA held its monthly launch at the sod fields near Nowthen.  This was the last launch of the year at the sod farm.  We were happy to see that all of the nearby soybean fields had been harvested.  While there was a corn field still standing off to the northwest, it didn't come into play.

What a glorious, fabulous, fantastic day for flying rockets!  It was sunny and blue skies all day with just a hint of a breeze.  Definitely a great day for flying rockets!

Thanks to the RSO and LCO volunteers:  Gerald Meux, Buzz McDermott, Alan Estenson, Bob Moyle, Chris Feld, Carol Marple, Jeff Taylor, Neal Higgins, and David Whitaker.

Thanks to everyone who helped setup the range in the morning and pack it away in the afternoon.  The crew was at the field just after 8am to start setting up the launch range.  Flying for the day ended at 3pm, and the range was broken-down and packed away by 3:30.

Congratulations to Chris Feld on his successful Level 1 high power certification!  Chris flew a PML Callisto on an H128.

Theme: 

The theme of this launch was "Odd-tober" - Halloween rockets, Steam Punk, Goony, anything out of the ordinary!

FUN Event:   "OktoberFAST" G80 drag race

It was time for MASA to celebrate OktoberFAST!  All participants were invited to wear their Lederhos'n, Dirndl, and Tirolerhüte, but there weren't any takers.  ;-)

For this drag race, you could fly any suitable mid-power rocket on an Aerotech G80 single-use motor.  Seven people participated:

  • Alan Estenson with "WYIARS"
  • Neal Higgins with his LOC "NORAD"
  • Steve Hum with his PML "Callisto"
  • Buzz McDermott with his "Predator"
  • Larry Schwartz with his Aerotech "Arreaux"
  • Jeff Taylor with his LOC "TWEED-B"
  • David Whitaker with his "Talon 2"

After the countdown (in German), six out of the seven rockets launched.  Larry Schwartz took honors for being first off the pad, and last back to the ground.  Neal Higgins' NORAD unfortunately suffered a CATO and didn't leave the pad.

        Photos by Jeff Taylor

        Photos by Steve Hum

MASA members - please send in your thoughts about the launch! 

Jeff Taylor writes:

If you missed the October MASA launch, you missed one of the best days we had this year for weather. Actually when I think back, we have had some pretty amazing weather for the past several launches.

I flew my LOC IV on an H250 Mojave Green. Onboard was an AltimeterOne, a corn beeper (not even needed) and strapped to the outside was a keychain video camera to record the wild ride.

I also flew my LOC Tweed-B on a single use G80 in the OctoberFAST Drag Race. Seven of us launched at the same time all on G80's. It was fun but my condolences go out to Neal whose G80 blew up on the pad.

Alyssa flew her LOC Fantom on an H165 Red Line and a Big Daddy on a D12.

Congratulations to Chris for a successful L1 Cert flight!

Steve Hum writes:

Many thanks to all the LCOs, RSOs, and those that helped with setup and teardown today. It was a fun launch and a really beautiful day for flying. I just wish I could have stuck around longer and gotten a few more flights in.

I've posted some pictures of the OctoberFAST drag race. That was fun, but I think there are better ways to clean out the Callisto's Quantum tubing than sinking it in a the drainage ditch. I took about 100 more photos but only about 1/3 of them are usable (my camera has been malfunctioning recently, it was supposedly fixed before this launch but obviously wasn't.) I'll try and post more once I get a chance to go thorough all of them

.Buzz McDermott writes:

What a great day for launching rockets! Sunny. Clear skies. Mild temperatures. No wind. Sod was still green and soft. Fields were harvested. You couldn’t ask for better than today!

I showed up just as my shift at LCO was due to start at 10 am. There had already been a number of rockets flown. It was absolutely dead calm. During the day I got my SLS Hustler flown on an F20, SLS ARCAS on an F32, Estes Bat Roc (2 stage) on a B6 to A8, and I participated in the ‘G80 OctoberFast’ launch. It took two tries, but I also launched a small (BT-70 sized) scratch built Halloween-themed rocket called Witches’ Night Out on a C6. These were the first flights for the Bat roc, Arcas and Witches' Night Out. For once, I launched and recovered every rocket with no damage and nothing lost – a rare event for me.

The G80 OctoberFast was a hoot. We had seven rockets participating, all lined up in a row. I entered my DG&A Predator. Six of the seven launched and had great flights. However, the 7th CATOed, blew a whole in the side of the rocket (and I think blew a fin off, too) and never left the pad. My condolences go out to Neal on the loss of his LOC NORAD. I am pretty sure several people photographed the launch. I took shots with my Nikon all-in-one in ‘sport continuous’ mode. I got pictures of the launch and CATO, but I had the camera set for low resolution in that mode and the quality is pretty poor. The quality was good enough to see that I didn’t even come close to winning (I got off the pad 4th).

There were several very nice HPR flights, including (I believe) one L1 cert flight. Alan Estenson flew the largest motor of the day, I think, with a J powered flight. [Neal Higgins also flew a J motor.] He also flew his HPR pumpkin stack on some type of I motor. Carol Marple flew her rocket Girl on an I. There were several other H and I flights, but those are the only ones I remember.

I also had a chance to give away three more TIFI (Take It, Fly It) rockets to some visiting kids. It was kind of neat. One rack of 8 model rockets had six that I had built and I was only flying one of them.

Many, many thanks to Neal, Gerald, Alan, Carol and all the rest of the gang who set up, volunteered for range duty and stayed to help tear down. I arrived late and had to leave a little before the range was shut down, so I am feeling a little guilty about not helping more. It’s dedicated volunteers like these that make a launch (and a club) successful.

This was the last Nowthen launch for 2011. I guess winter building season will be upon us all too soon. I have my usual dozen or more unfinished and a hundred unstarted projects, so I guess I have enough to keep me busy over the long winter months. Spring 2012 won’t get here soon enough for me, though!

Neal Higgins writes:

Thanks everyone who helped with range setup & tear down, LCO and RSO duties.

Congratulation Chris on your successful L1 flight and thanks for cleaning my RMS casing so good. It has never been this clean.

What an absolute perfect day to fly and blowup rockets.

My first flight of the day was my Polecat Green Goblin on a J500G. I forgot to charge my Altmeter 1 but Rocksim had it going to an altitude of 3118'.  This was the Goblin's 4th flight and everyone has been picture perfect. This is now my favorite bird in my fleet.
I flew a modified Dynastar Risingstar on a cluster of 3 C11-7's.
I next attempted to fly my newly finished LOC Norad in the OctoberFAST G80 drag race. Watching 6 rockets take off and 1 explode made for a very exciting drag race. Jeff and I posted pictures of the CATO aftermath. It will get rebuilt and fly again next year.
My last flight was newly finished Fliskits Night Whisper on a C6-5. It flew perfectly.

Thanks again everyone who helped with all the range duties.

Kurt Knox writes:

New member alert! My name is Kurt Knox. My son Lucas and I had a great time on Saturday. I had gone with the intention of joining the club but was still undecided when we got there. After helping set up the range, talking to a few people, and launching some rockets I realized being part of the club was going to make it even better. We had a blast, no pun intended.

We got off a total of 14 flights, everything LPR. Quite a few first flights for a bunch of kits I had not had a chance to fly yet. And thanks to Neal for the FITI box he handed to my son to drool over. Lucas picked out a couple of Fliskits birds which Neal just happened to have made and we proceeded to prep and fly both of them also. A few of our flights I really enjoyed were my Estes Solar Probe (C6-5), Estes Thunderstar (2xC6-5), Estes Photon Disruptor (C6-5), and Estes Taser Twin (C6-0/C6-7). All the flights were great and recovery was a cinch since the weather was about perfect for flying anything to any altitude. Heck, I could even watch my Taser Twin from launch to recovery, which was perhaps 1,500-2,000ft up there. The only issues we had all day were a couple of cracked fins that some CA fixed right up and I only had 2 of 3 engines ignite on my Astron Ranger clone. It took off at a pretty good angle but all in all was still a ok flight and recovery.

The OktoberFAST drag race was a real treat, 7 birds, 7 G80's, and 6 roars. Wow! Sorry about your blow-out Neal.

All in all just about everything flew great. Condolences to those few who had some bad experiences. I'm not sure who it was, but the flaming cartwheel was a real bummer and the zipper it left behind looked pretty bad.

And not least, congrats Chris on your cert flight! Looked textbook to me.

The Details:

Full launch tally (PDF)

The totals were:  185 flights, 209 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 7150 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:

Type

# Burned

MicroMaxx 0

1/4A

0

1/2A

1

A

39

B

36

C

61

D

33

E

11

F

6
G 9

H

7
I 3

J

2

(Alan Estenson)

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