December 3, 2003
I built my first rocket in the second grade ---- TP tube and construction paper nose; The launch pad was board with a rubber band. My parents were supportive of my quest to be a rocket scientist; X-mass and birthday presents were erector sets, Gilbert chemistry sets, etc.
In the seventh grade I saw the Estes ad in popular mechanics; the Astron Scout was followed by the Astron Mark, Astron Apogee, Astron this, Astron that ……and continued off and on for years. Eventually, though, the California hippie-dippy/motorcycle lifestyle led me into a career as a stained-glass artist but I kept scratching the model itch every once in a while. Call me a BA & A & AR ----- until I came upon a copy of HPR. I soon contacted Dave Davis and bugged the heck out of him with a million questions, all of which he patiently answered. Next I took a few model rockets to Sheridan and MAN! I couldn’t stop grinning! When I got home I built my first HP rocket, a pencil I called “GET THE LEAD OUT”, which I still fly. I was a bit leery of using it for my L1 cert, however, so I built a standard bird called “SAFE BET”. I made many trips to Oregon, to Both Sheridan and Brothers, until Kirk Mohror made it possible to fly locally (I wasn’t’ that skeptical was I Kirk?). I enjoy making scale military and historical rockets, along with the occasional oddrock and pot of chili.
Marty Weiser Rocketeer Profile – November 2003
I was involved in rocketry from about 1968 – 73 and then became a born again rocketeer (BAR) in either late ‘99 or early 2000 when I took my boys out to a SPARC launch after seeing one of the flyers posted by Kirk. We flew a couple of the models that had survived in my folks’ attic and we were hooked. Since then the rockets and motors have gotten bigger (I now have my Low Explosives User Permit – LEUP) so that I am now doing the design work on an M impulse rocket that I plan to use for NAR level 3 certification in the Spring of 2004. Along the way I had my arm twisted to become the SPARC VP in the fall of 2000 which evolved into my current role when the President decided to step down.
I bought my first mid-power rocket, a LOC Aura, from Ursula of AllHobbies at the SPARC launch in June 2000 and flew it in July. I then built a stretched version called the Blue Danube which I flew on an H128 motor for my NAR level 1 certification in October 2001. Over the winter I built a stretched version of the LOC Caliber to include an avionics bay which I named Caliber-X and flew for my level 2 certification in June 2001. The J350 motor drove the rocket to an estimated 4600 ft. and it drifted three quarters of a mile to the NE for recovery 30 ft. north of Wild Rose Rd.
My boys, Matt and John (pictured to the right with the Caliber-X in ‘01), attend almost every launch and really like hanging out with all of the neat people who attend SPARC launches - sometimes they even fly a few rockets. John’s favorite thing to do at the launches is to take long hikes with Bob in search of Bob’s min diameter mid-power flights that have a propensity to drift. Matt has decided he likes to upscale the Estes Mosquito and has built and co-flown a three diameter (6X) version on an I161 motor.
Since I wasn’t ready to get my LEUP after I earned my level 2 certification I decided to build some rockets that were not as conventional as my level 1 and 2 birds. The first of these was a standard size Estes Fatboy that was modified with a 38 mm motor mount. There were several structural modifications that were necessary to fit an 8” long motor into a 12” long rocket along with the parachute and nose weight required for stable flight, but the crowd reaction when they hear “Estes Fatboy on I161” is worth it. My next project is a short fat 4” rocket with a ring tail and an attitude when loaded with one of the larger 38 mm motors – Mama Raccoon is a natural name.
Last year I had decided to build either Papa (8”) or Bubba Raccoon (12”) for my level 3 certification, but a couple of things changed that. The first was Bob, Ray, and Keith’s report that someone had launched an upscale Astron Sprint on an M motor at Black Rock this year - a larger Raccoon would be very similar in appearance. The second was the successful launch of Skeeter Eater on a J570 motor this Fall (see Ray Stoner’s video of the flight in the launch photos area).
Skeeter Eater is a 12X upscale of the Estes Mosquito that came about through the receipt of a 6” diameter mailing tube at work and Matt’s interest in building the 3” Mosquito. It turns out that seven 38 mm motor mounts will fit in a 6” body tube with room for through the wall fin mounting. Once again I had to get creative in the construction department to make it all work – the fins are fiberglassed foam with plywood reinforcement to minimize the weight in the tail. I figure the same techniques can be scaled up to a 24X upscale (12” diameter) with a central 98 mm motor mount for an M1419 and six 54 mm motor mounts in case I want to load some long burn motors for air starts for flights after certification. Skeeter Eater Beater is still on the drawing board. Of course I still build some smaller rockets – seven 18 mm motors will just fit in a stock Fatboy as seen in the picture to the right.
I have had my share of setbacks along the way. I almost trashed Blue Danube in the shake down flight for my level 1 certification when I attached the parachute to the wrong eyebolt – the chute failed to deploy and the rocket landed in a flat spin. Luckily, I build strong rockets and the only damage was a few paint scratches so I my cert before winter. My favorite mid and small high power motors use the black jack propellant for relatively low, long thrust and lots of smoke. Unfortunately, they are hard to ignite and it is not uncommon to ignite the delay grain well before the motor lights. Both Mama Raccoon and the 38 mm Fatboy have ejected during boost as a result – the weighted nose cone of the Fatboy landed within 10 feet of me for a true heads up flight. However, the most spectacular failure to date was of Joseph – a joint project with Ray Stoner which was inspired by a 4.1” ID carpet tube. Such a tube will hold four 38 mm motor mounts. Joseph was designed for dual deployment since four J570 motors will reach over 10,000 ft. Unfortunately, we had not installed the avionics bay bulkhead for the shake down flight on a pair of J350 motors and the charges could not pressurize the entire 6 foot long body tube to deploy the chute. Luckily, the lawn dart of this 17 lb. rocket was in the middle of the field and nothing other than pride was hurt. Ray’s video if this flight is also posted on the SPARC site and we are rebuilding Joseph as a Lazarus (the avionics bulkhead is complete!). All of these failures have taught me that careful and thoughtful preparation is required in rocketry, particularly as the rockets become larger.
Just like everyone else, I started with model rockets in elementary school. I had these wonderful designs until this kid said I could not just design a rocket without doing the string test....huh? Ok, so I bought some models, built my own launch pad a flew rockets on the farm I lived on......and lost all of them.
Forward 25 years. I happened to come across a magazine called High Power Rocketry. While laying around for 5 weeks after some surgery, reading this absolutely fascinating magazine (they have rockets that BIG and go that FAST)!, I found out that there was a club in Seattle. I contacted the Tripoli Prefecture, Dave Davis, talked his ear off and was told there was a high power rocket person here in Spokane. At this time, I thought that the only way to really have fun with this renewed hobby was to start a club. I talked to Dave Glass and told him what I was up to and that I was going to start a rocket club here in Spokane with a 10,000 foot waiver. By the way, did I mention he was VERY SKEPTICAL of this person talking to him.
Anyway, the club started in 1996 in it's current location with the fore mentioned waiver and the homebuilt launch system still in use today. One of the first members was the skeptical Dave Glass.
A lot of time and energy went into getting the club to the point that it is at today and I am proud of everyone who has helped me and the club in making SPARC the best and most friendly rocket club in the entire Pacific Northwest. Thank you everyone!
A special thanks to Chuck Moser and Mark Howe, 2 of the first members of SPARC and who really helped in getting this club going. My hope for this club is that it is going strong for years to come and that maybe some young person looks back and credits the club as being influential in their life.
While a teenager in the early 1970s, I launched Estes rockets in Connecticut. There were far too many trees there that "ate" my creations! While attending Cornell University in upstate New York, I scratch-built many rockets using Centuri and FSI components. I recall building a M.I.R.V. (Multiple Independently-Targetable Reenty Vehicle) rocket that fired 3 small rockets from a "mother ship" which had short wooden launch rods attached to 3 compound elliptical fins. My Estes swing-wing glider landed on top of a 10-story dormitory. I was very fond of the (now defunct) Flight Systems Inc. (FSI) F7-6 black-powder motor with its 12-second burn!
After a 22-year absence, I became a BAR and rejoined rocketry at the Sept 2002 SPARC launch. I was impressed by the huge advances in rocketry (electronics, composite motors, and simulation software). My goal is to achieve Level 1 Certification in Spring 2003, and proceed to build parallel-staged rockets and multiple-stage, air-start rockets that will push SPARC's 11,500' AGL waiver. My son likes to see the BIG rockets at SPARC events!LudersDG@msn.com
TRA #1292 Certified November 1990
NAR #79405 Certified Level 1 June 2001
Flew my first rocket as part of a 5'th grade science project.
Continued sporadically with just about everything D powered and lower.
Worked as a Design Specialist performing Missile Systems testing and Flight Analysis on the Navy's Standard Missile (SM1 BLK V & VI and SM2 BLK I, II, III, IV, & IVA (aka LEAP for Lightweight Exoatmospheric Projectile)). My primary area of expertise was the SM-2 Block II Extended Range Terrier version.
Became introduced to high power in the late 80's.
Regularly attended Octoberfest, Winterfest, Springfest, and Summerfest launches at Lucerne until 1993. During that time, I was flying disposable nozzless H impulse motors and early vintage reloadable K motors. My certification flight was a minimum diameter plugged K445 motor with a homebuilt 555 based timer for ejection. Moved to Spokane in 1993.
Flew scratch built C, D, and G powered vehicles on an occasional basis.
Found out about SPARC in July 2000 and haven't missed a launch since. Current focus is to exercise the upper regions of SPARC's wonderful waiver.
First foray into rocketry: 1965 thru 1979. I remember being in the 4th grade and a classmate did a science project that involved launching a rocket. I thought it was so cool that I had my parents take me out the very next day and purchased an Estes "Scout".
Second foray into rocketry: 1992 thru current. Dropped out of the hobby for a few (too many) years. Became a BAR in 1992 when my oldest son, who was 2 at the time, found some unfinished kits in the basement. Once I described what they were...and what we could do with them...he got this very serious look on his face and said, "Daddy, we HAVE to do this!" I finished the kits, he pushed the launch button, and I was hooked all over again!
Current Inventory: Over 135 rockets built and flight ready. I fly everything from "1/4A" to "I" powered birds (Estes Mosquito to a LOC Expediter). I have at least another 40 kits waiting to be built. The oldest flyable rocket in my stable is an Estes "Cherokee D" that I built back in 1973. I really enjoy the Mid & HPR kits from LOC, and have an affinity for Helicopter Recovery based rockets and Edmonds Aerospace gliders.... especially the "Thunder" series.
SPARC: Along with Kirk Mohrer, I'm one of the original members of the club. I have not held an "officer" position within the club, mainly because of the amount of time I spend on the road with my job. I'm ALWAYS willing to help set-up, run, and teardown the launch site. The things I like best about the club are 1) Safety oriented, 2) Kid involvement, 3) Knowledge transfer, and 4) Camaraderie of the members.
Goals & Projects: I certified for Level-1 HPR with the NAR in 1999. I would like to attain L2 certification just to say I did it. I'll probably accomplish that next year. I'm currently in the process of building altimeter canisters so I can experiment with my recently acquired Cambridge IA-X96 Integrated Accelerometer, which I hope to use for Dual Deployment, among other things.