Blue-bordered images are
thumbnails; click on them to see larger image.
Thanks to photographers Alan
Estenson and Ted Cochran for the pictures shown here.
The Classic Alpha
Ted Cochran examines the Classic Alpha
Ted Cochran applying Zipper-No-More (aka masking
tape, made by 3M--a Minnesota company!) to the Kevlar shock cord
while prepping the Modern Alpha.
Ted places the Classic Alpha on its pad.
The range box
Alphas paid Minnesota a visit in May of 2001, hosted by MASA (NAR
Section #576). Inside the huge shipping box was a smaller shipping
box, and inside that box was the range box containing the Alphas,
some spare parts, the logbook, and a large assortment of
photographs, trinkets, and mementos of their journeys across the
continent. In fact, the field box is getting pretty full--we might
have to send it back to Arizona to get emptied before too
Surprisingly, the outside of the field box was rather less devoid
of decoration, but we've started to correct that oversight!
Our original intent was to launch the Alphas at the May 26 MASA
launch, but we were rained out. Instead, we split the launches
between an informal launch some MASA members staged on Memorial day,
an outreach launch at a local Elementary School. Memorial Day, May
28, 2001, was beautiful. The sky was mostly clear, the winds were
light, and the waters were receding from eight straight days of
rain. Nine MASA folk got together and the launches came fast and
furious. I carefully prepped the Classic Alpha, and we took a group
shot at the pad. At high noon, we pushed the button, and off it went
on a picture-perfect flight. The chute deployed perfectly, and
recovery was uneventful. [Photo - front row:
Seth Cochran, Alan Estenson, Kent Peterson, the Classic Alpha, Mark
Thell, Steve Hum. Back row: Steve Robb, Ted Cochran, Jeff Hove, and
Glen Overby, Blaine, Minnesota, 28 May 2001.]
has a fairly active outreach program, and our big event this year
was the third annual build and fly with the fourth grade classes at
Westwood Elementary School. As a special treat, we brought the
Modern Alpha to their launch on the afternoon of May 31. In a couple
of hours, the fourth graders, working in teams of three, launched,
timed, and recovered the 36 Generic E2Xs they had built the previous
week. They got to witness the flight of the Modern
Alpha. It made a perfect flight on the same motor they'd been using.
Their longest flight of the day was 25 seconds, and the kids were
quite amused that the Alpha (weighed down by fiberglass) managed
only 10 seconds.
We're happy to have taken part in this wonderful project, and
wish the Alphas well in their future travels!
The 40th Anniversary Alpha web site may be found at
(Thanks to Ted Cochran for contributing this article!)