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Mark Howe Boy Scout launch/event report

May 24, 2010

Thanks to the BSA for inviting SPARC to participate in an unusually large and exciting scouting event this past weekend.
. It’s been estimated that ~5,000 scouts and their families attended the affair. The SPARC contingent consisted of Joe Cooney, Dave Glass, the Luders (Dave, Teresa and son Brian) and me, with a short appearance from Bob Yanecek. We requested and received a 10’x10’ indoor booth for a large static rocket display (from model to high power), and the Luders provided a laptop based projector system that showed High Power launch videos all day. The initial booth setup was done on Friday by Joe, Dave Luders and Bob. Everyone was there around 7:30 on Saturday morning to complete the display. Our booth was located next to the “rocket building area”, which was manned by six Air Force Volunteers who mentored scouts in the assembly of model rocket kits. ~200 rocket kits and motors were donated by various organizations for the event. There were 12 building areas, so each mentor worked with two scouts at a time. As soon as a scout got up from a chair with his completed rocket another scout immediately took his seat. At times the line for each chair was 4 deep! The Air Force crew deserves a lot of credit. All six of them worked continuously from the start of the event until they ran out of kits, which was around 3PM. Not only were the scouts able to build rockets, they were able to launch them as well. The launch area was located in the parking lot behind the steam engine. We set the range up on Saturday morning and converted it for 24 model pads instead of our usual 12 model, 6 mid-power, and 6 high power arrangement. (Thanks to Joe for building the additional 24 pads). Since we were so close to Felts airfield we were limited to a 300’ ceiling and restricted to launching every 30min (at the top and bottom of the hour). All of the rockets built were “Estes Generic E2X” kits (available only in bulk packs) and were flown on A8-3’s. Software simulations placed the expected altitude to be ~260’, but I think most went a tad higher. Launches started at 10AM and a total of 131 flights were logged for the day. We assume that a number of scouts built the rockets but decided to take them home instead of flying. Our busiest launch window had 18 models, our least-busy had 3. To meet the short launch window requirements “drag races” were performed all day…up to 6 rockets (a full rack) were launched simultaneously each time, which made recovery very interesting. All of the parachutes had spill holes cut into them to reduce drift, but a number of them still managed to drift into other activity areas due to the wind. We experienced practically every kind of weather throughout the day…sun, wind, drizzle, rain, even some “semi-hail” (frozen slush), and flew through it all! There were ~150 booths & events for the scouts to see and experience. Our neighbors to the north of our launch site along the fairgrounds fence consisted of Paintball, Water Bottle rockets, Hatchet Throwing, and Archery, just to name a few. Many people inquired about where to buy model kits, and a fair number of SPARC club fliers disappeared so I’m hoping to see some new faces at our upcoming launches! Regards, Mark W. Howe

Posted by bobble at May 24, 2010 5:45 AM

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