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Last updated: June 19, 2001

Alan Estenson, Webmaster



The 40th Anniversary Alpha's Visit Minnesota

by Ted Cochran


The Classic Alpha receives a Minnesota welcome from the Pillsbury Dough Boy.  The dough boy made his fifth suborbital flight later that day in an H180-powered LOC IV.  The Alpha went up on an A8-3.


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.

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The Classic Alpha

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Ted Cochran examines the Classic Alpha

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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.

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Ted places the Classic Alpha on its pad.

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The range box

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The logbook

  The Classic AlphaThe 40th Anniversary 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 long. 

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, MASA members at the Classic launchand 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.]

The Classic Alpha returns to earth.MASA 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.

100 Fourth Graders witness the launch of the modern Alpha in Minnesota

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!)