Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A great Memorial Day weekend!

A high power rocket blasts off from the away pad as racks of smaller rockets await their turn (Click to enlarge).
Well, the National Association of Rocketry's National Sport Launch (NSL) 2016 has come and gone... It was quite the event, spanning Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, with rocketeers as far away as Wisconsin and Germany in attendance - all with rockets to fly! The preliminary count indicates that there were 595 flights during this year's NSL, 2 of which were mine. I probably should have flown more, but HARA, Nashville's MC squared, and Georgia's SOAR were hosting the launch, which meant plenty of work for all. My duty was to take in the launch and capture a lot of pictures so I can write the launch story for Sport Rocketry magazine. A pretty nice and fun job!

Range Safety Officers hard at work (Click to enlarge).
Since I am writing an article, I am not going to go into much detail about NSL here. However, it would be negligent not to write something, so I would like to share a few favorite memories from the past few days.

The PemTech tent, home to some mighty cool kits (Click to enlarge).
Meeting the PemTech folks - Layne and Kristine Pemberton are fantastic folks who have a terrific rocket company specializing in retro and exotic birds. I spent some time at their tent lusting after the offerings and got to witness the flights of some potential new releases. Naturally, I ended up buying a few kits, including a 18mm model of the Space Ark from "When Worlds Collide." Looking forward to building it!

Leo Nutz launches his Marauder (Click to enlarge).Bob Kaplow's Purple People Eater lifts off
(Click to enlarge),
Seeing Leo Nutz fly some unusual low power rockets - Leo is from Germany, and I have been following his internet posts about his home brew altimeter for many moons. It is a fabulous piece of work, and I got to see a version fly in a small, mini motor powered Estes Elliptic II - the world's smallest dual deploy rocket! He also brought along a 1970's vintage Estes Coldpower convertible Marauder, which he flew Sunday. Coldpower rockets were powered by freon, which is banned today, so Leo used airbrush propellant as a substitute. The Marauder flew well, achieving an altitude of a couple hundred feet.

Rusty Ward shows off an upscale Xarconian Destroyer
(Click to enlarge).
Mark Burdick and Whitney Richards compare old
school rockets (Click to enlarge).
Hanging with other rocketeers - I got to meet the infamous Bob Kaplow, noted for his "Kaplow clip" motor retention and propensity for flying strange model rockets. His "Purple People Eater" put in a pretty interesting flight. I also spent considerable time looking at Rusty Ward's collection of upscale Estes rockets - I especially like the upscaled "Asteroid Hunter"  and "Scorpius." Rusty is a master craftsman, as you can tell from the pic. I can only hope to build models that good looking. Introduced myself to a few rocketeers from the Wisconsin WHOOSH section, who brought along a considerable number of birds easier to fly. WHOOSH is one of NAR's more active sections, and it was cool to meet some of the rocketeers who post in that club's internet forum. Rocketeers are a friendly bunch, and I really enjoyed talking with those who came from near and far to fly on the Manchester field.

Scott Goebel from WHOOSH hooks up his tower launched, E-powered Saturn V (Click to enlarge).
Lots of Nike Smokes - Big ones, medium ones, and little ones, flying on Saturday and Sunday.

An E motor CATO damages Rusty Ward's upscale
Starship Vega (Click to enlarge).
My Quasar leaves the rod on a B6-4 (Click to enlarge).
Estes E motor CATOs - Also a fair number of these, unfortunately.

Art Woodling's level 3 flight - Art achieved his level 3 certification on Monday, flying a huge M powered rocket named "Baby Girl." It performed beautifully, generating excitement from liftoff to landing, which was a spectacular splashdown in the pond down range. Fortunately, no damage to the rocket or to the electronics, though Art did say that he was not allowed to bring it into the house because it smelled like swamp. Here's a vid of the flight taken by Max Tohline:

And that's just a few bits from NSL - you can find out more by visiting the NSL 2016 Facebook page or googling it.


  1. Bill, thanks for the great Marauder Coldpower launch picture!
    I had a great time flying my birds at the event and met some wonderful people.

  2. One small correction: Estes Elliptic II - the world's smallest 2-stage dual deploy rocket!