Monday, June 22, 2015

A different type of ORC...

For several years, Essence's Model Rocket Reviews & Resources (EMRR) sponsored online rocket contests through their website. Some of these were virtual, using Rocksim or other design programs to create a rocket that would meet a specific set of virtual challenges; others involved actually building a rocket to match photos of SciFi spaceships or from a box of junk shipped to the contestants (one of my favorites - the Box O' Parts). Despite the excitement of TARC (and now Geezer TARC), I miss these competitions very much, and have been waiting patiently since the last one in 2010 for someone or some group to bring them back. I kinda hoped that the NAR (National Association of Rocketry) would do something similar when they revamped their website, but alas, it did not happen. A few days ago, I decided that I had had enough, and made up my mind that I, rocket nerd of a great many years, would bring them back on my own. Heck, I'm even going to put up the first set of prizes.

Which meant I had to do some thinking - on a weekend, no less. A name for the contest series was required, and, given my personality and those of some my online colleagues, I thought of Old Grouch Rocketeer Events, or O.G.R.E.s. This had a nice ring, but I already have enough of a rep, so I settled on something simpler - the Olde Rocketeer Contests, or O.R.C.s. This worked perfectly, as I planned to based the contests out of Ye Olde Rocket Forum (YORF), where the owner generously carved out a section for the competitions. With the series name and hosting location decided, I then had to conjure some contest ideas. Two came to mind fairly easily, and so I posted my first rocket contest.

I'm excited about the O.R.C.s, and want as many people to participate as possible. If you want to join the fun, head over to YORF, sign up if you are not a member, and mosey to the Olde Rocketeer Contests section. That is where you can get the official rules, the Q & A, and see the entries as they are posted. You can also send me ideas for future ORCS if you wish - I can use all the help I can get! And while you are there, you might check out the other parts of YORF; there's some good information and ideas in the threads, if you can get past the old guys talking about politics and poop.

So, in the spirit of the old EMRR, here is the first O.R.C.:

O.R.C. #1 - Delivering the mail

Remember the days when you gazed at that special rocket in the Estes or Centuri catalog day after day, carefully saving your allowance until you had enough money to buy it? Do you remember filling out the order form, giving the money to your parents to get a money order, and the excitement of mailing these things off, knowing that that rocket would be yours in a few weeks? Do you recall the rush you felt upon coming home from school and checking to see if that rocket had finally arrived? You knew it would, of course - the mail was always delivered, even if it was slow in those days. Today’s youngsters have it easy - priority and overnight mail with tracking numbers take away all the suspense, frustration, and elation upon delivery we felt back in rocketry’s first decade or two. We can’t return to the past, but we can recapture a bit of the excitement and suspense in this first ORC.

Can you deliver the mail?

The rules are pretty simple:
  1. Design and build a stable rocket powered by one or more 18 mm motors. This rocket must include as part of its structure some object used in the shipping of letters or parcels by the Post Office - mailing tube, shipping box, envelope, etc
  2. Document the build (and the flight) on a thread in this forum.
  3. Take a “glamour shot” of the rocket so we can all admire your handiwork.
  4. Make at least one flight of the model, marking this flight with pictures (minimum of one pad shot and one showing the rocket lying on the ground (or in a tree) at the end of the flight.
  5. Only 1 entry per contestant, please. Contest deadline is 11:59 PM Central Daylight Time on August 12, 2015 (the 45th anniversary of the Postal Reorganization Act).
How to participate:

a) Send a PM on YORF to Vanel or an email to cookewj [at] stating your intent to enter the contest.
b) Create a thread in the Contest Submission section containing the following items before the contest deadline:
  • Open Rocket or Rocksim design file. Traditional Geezers may submit a PDF or scanned image of a paper plan showing all dimensions (including CG/CP locations) and a parts list.
  • Post (hopefully multiple posts) documenting the build and flight.
  • The “glamour shot."
  • The two flight images described above (more if you wish, but please, no more than 5).

Design (25 points maximum):
  • 15 points for Open Rocket file, Rocksim file, or paper plan/parts list
  • 5 points for use of mailing materials in every major component (body tube, fins, nose cone)
  • 5 points for clustered motors or multiple stages
Documentation (25 points maximum):
  • 10 points for build and flight documentation thread
  • 5 points for “glamour shot"
  • 5 points for pics of rocket on the pad and just after landing
  • 5 points for image of rocket in powered flight and/or descending via recovery device
Flight (25 points maximum)
  • 25 points for stable flight
Best looking (25 points maximum - determined by vote of the YORF membership):
  • Number of points = [Sum of (# entries + 1 - voter rank)] X 25 / (# of voters x # entries), where voter rank is 1 for first place, 2 for 2nd, and so forth. The sum is over the # of voters.
Winner is the one whose entry has the most points.

Prize table:
  • $60 eRockets gift certificate 
  • Estes Ventris 
  • Estes Altimeter
  • Semroc Centaur
  • Squirrel Works Red Baron

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