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Last updated: June 21, 2005
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Outreach Reports (5/25/2005)

MASA members Carol Marple, Todd Carpenter, and I managed to dodge rain and thunder yesterday to conduct two outreach activities: A Rocket League competition launch at Bethune Park in Minneapolis, and a Cub Scout launch in
at Long Lake Regional Park in Arden Hills.

Rocket League (http://www.hightechkids.org/IRL/) is flying gliders this year. Most teams are happy to go for the easiest of three available competition levels, which is basically a BG duration competition, but a few teams have chosen to try
more difficult missions that require them to fly dummy payloads and to try to stay close to the pads while still flying duration.

Thursday we had teams from Field, Olson, Pillsbury, Anwatin, and Ramsey schools in Minneapolis bused to the launch site, where they arrived in threatening weather. We had to suspend operations during two brief downpours (accompanied by lightening), but the teams managed to get off about 30 flights. Most teams were flying Delties in the Deltie Airshow configuration, but the three Field teams had Whitewings gliders that had been creatively attached to Alpha III carriers. One of these turned in the best flight of the day at 20 seconds on an A8-3 motor. As might be expected with kids this
age with limited adult intervention, there were a few interesting flights, including a couple of shreds, a couple of rod locks, and a shy chute or two.  On the other hand, the wind had fallen off to near zero, and most everything landed close enough to be recovered.

We flew a few demo launches including Death Stars, a stomp rocket, and Todd's new Scissor Wing Transport.

The launch was filmed by KARE-11 news, and we got a brief, but highly favorable "And finally tonight...." segment on the 6:00 PM news.

The three of us then traipsed up to Arden Hills, where we were greeted by the Cub Scouts with about a bazillion rockets, mostly of the Generic E2X variety. OK, it was only about 60 of them...it just seemed like a bazillion.  One good thing about this group (I worked with them last year, too) is that there is no shortage of help. The range equipment flew out of the truck; there was lots of assistance in setting up, prepping rockets, inserting igniters, and the like. As a result, we were able to fly about 70 flights in just over an hour off of six pads. Nearly every flight was perfect, except for the usual separations and shy chutes, and one rocket intent on imitating Vanguard: An on-pad fire that resulted from a shorted igniter that ignited the paper tape and then the bottom of the rocket. The fire did not go out by itself, so I resorted to using the trusty fire extinguisher that I've carried with the gear for about five years, just in case. It took about a half-second squeeze of the trigger, and then we were off and launching again.

The highlight of the evening was probably the launch of the Scoutmaster's Comanche using all three stages. The flight was quite cool, and at least 95% successful. Todd and Carol also flew a rack of demos, including a Sidewinder, two Death Stars, an Exoskell, a Fat Boy, and a CiCi. We almost beat the next round of showers in packing up. Why do MASA launches always end in the rain? Because that's what it takes to stop us!

All in all, about as much fun as you can have!

 [Ted Cochran]

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