NARCON Sport Launch - 03/10/2007

Twenty four hours before the NARCON launch, the fields of Maple Island looked desolate and foreboding, but trade winds of a terrific launch day blew our way and the range was converted to a sunny bustling space for great flying.

The day was graced with some wonderful flights, and to not detract from the joys of flying, your Prefect decided to enact the ‘minimal paperwork rule’ by conveniently forgetting to bring the launch cards. One interesting side effect of this decision is the fact that this report is based off the scratches of a log at the flight line. Perhaps it will read better as a result!

NARCON attendee, Eric Van. D., found his way to Maple Island and flew an array of low powered birds, all of which had a fine crafted appearance. In his fleet were the following rockets, USS Spherion, Sunward Galactic Wave, Firefox, a Semroc kit, and an unknown mystery rocket flown on a “D” motor. Hopefully we might see Eric again for he definitely has ‘Rocketeer’ blood.

Craig Nelson had a feast of fine and foreign looking rockets at the launch; I am still mesmerized at how well ‘Don’t Burst My Bubble’ flies. I do think his outstanding achievement for NARCON was his ‘Maple Island EXP’ which flew and looked great. If TSM ever constructs a launch site memorial, we should definitely consider the Maple Island EXP as the prototype. It is one awesome rocket. Elsewhere in the Nelson Clan, Abbey flew her Storm Caster to properly cover the low power aspect of the sport launch.

We saw one certification flight at the launch, from David Graper, flying a PML Tethys on a H123W to a projected attitude of 1414 feet. It was a great flight and a solid certification. Great Job!

Craig Knipple found great ground cover contrast to his Praying Mantis (painted John Deere Corn Tassel Green) and had no problems with recovery on a fine flight. Also flown was Spy vs. Spy and there might have been video obtained of the flight. We might find more out at cleanup day with a full report from Craig.

Dennis flew his Green Arrow (PML IO) in a drag race against Paul’s PML IO. Both rockets were fitted with a G80T motor and sadly both rockets CATO’d in the race. I tried to calculate the odds of such a thing happening but my head started to spin and I thought I’d better stop. Dennis has contacted Aerotech and it looks like they might help with replacement.

David flew the Brave Beagleheart on a K550 with a fearless single deployment at apogee; recovery was hampered by a car-eating ditch and a rocket-eating tree. Go figure. What are the odds of that happening?! Thanks to Pete for the moral support as the situation looked all but hopeless. Deep down inside I knew he was thinking I was crazy to believe we could remove the car from the clutches of the ditch, but only a couple times did he remind me of the futility of my attempts to coax the car out unaided. Thanks Pete!

Another visitor was John Cieslack from Madison with his ‘Mega Point’ which enjoyed a single flight. Joining John in the low power arena was Dennis Blank with a couple flights of his ‘Big Betty’ and Andrew and Emily Allas with their Alpha. Andrew was later recruited by David to coax his rocket out of the rocket-eating tree before the next launch. Good luck to Andrew!

Elsewhere in the crowd volleying low powered birds into the sky was Brian with an Aries on a couple different low powered motors.

Tom flew his America Standing Tall and the reporters caught a great picture of Tom with the rocket at the range head for an online slide show at Pioneer Press.

Richard flew an AM RAAM on a G80. After his session on his "P" motor project Friday night, flying a G motor seemed a little surreal, but then again we are in Minnesota flying rockets in March!

Carl flew his Arreaux and his Barracuda. In addition, he was a great help out in the field; his blaze orange jacket was a welcome site contrasting the endless fields of white. We might need to rewrite ‘Call of the Wild’ with an ending where Carl comes up to save the day. Thanks again for the help!

The media hype for the NARCON Sport Launch was great. We had Saint Paul Pioneer Press, and the Rochester Post Bulletin both covering the launch, and a promise from KAAL to do a follow-up story from the NARCON interview at a launch later in the season. Both newspapers posted great slide shows on their Web Sites.

Ron was terrific with the media and was captured in the newspapers slide shows. Altitude Junkie did make it in the air on a J350.

Mike was down from the cities flying NitroJen and a Litl’ Nuke. After flying he tried to help Daniel pull a Houdini to get his locked keys out of his car. Other rocketeers tried to help with some well thought ideas using propellant to remedy the situation, but wisely Daniel made some phone calls to avoid thrust induced key removal.

Special thanks go out to all the folks that helped with the launch. Reynen Farms did a great job preparing the fields for our use. Andy was an awesome Launch Director. Craig dragged our NASA engineered facility to the range and also constructed a superior warming tent for the Rocket Grill Maven and Sue. Scott made some fun buttons for the flyers at the event and Dennis took the helm with our donated equipment, a large tent from Everything Hobby and warming heaters from Olmsted County Rental. Ron prepped our electrical equipment and made sure we were good to go on launch day. Sue did a wonderful job handling affairs at the front office and our Rocket Grill Maven kept everyone happy with some great food. Thanks also to everyone who helped set up and tear down the range, as always our launches are a success due to the help of everyone. This really makes our club work and it is something we all should be proud of.

Andy was properly recognized for his efforts with a great picture on the front page of the Rochester Post Bulletin with his Paid Assassin. Late in the day Andy also put Murray up in the air on a J350, which was one of the last high powered flights of the day.

Maple Island Cam
Maple Island EXP Video
America Standing Tall
Dont Burst My Bubble
Mystery Rocket - Delta Clipper?
Dual IO Cato

It was a great launch. Here is the list of rockets flown at the 2007 NARCON Sport Launch – Maple Island, Minnesota.