August 07, 2004


NARAM-46 is over, and our club did one helluva hosting job, if I do say so myself. Besides the evening events and tours, we ran two separate rocket flying ranges.

I said I wasn't going to fly anything of my own since I was working the sport range, and I didn't. But between the four of us who worked there all week, we launched 1,038 flights of everything from 1" tall flying saucers to a beautiful eight foot tall two-stage high-power rocket that topped out at almost 4000 feet. For the rocketeers out there, it was Ted Cochran's bird featured in the last issue of Sport Rocketry. There was one day where we shut down about an hour early because of rain, and there was another two hour rain delay on Thursday in the middle of the morning. Wednesday was brutally hot and humid, nearing 100 degrees with almost no breeze. A perfect day for rockets, but miserable for us humans hunkering under the canopies and guzzling gallons of water. But for the most part, it was big fun.

Memorable moments (for me) include Kevin and his three young kids (all under 7), having a four-way simultaneous launch of their rockets not once, not twice, but at least three times that I saw, and they got everything back every time. Mike, Jerry, and George who brought armfulls of rockets to launch every day, and when those had flown they headed back to their cars for more. Paul and his family brought RC gliders and a video camera rocket, as well as simple rockets that his kids flew. Mark and his son Eric flew their Aerotech Initiator a half-dozen times, making their 60th flight with that rocket along the way.

Lots of kids, which is the neatest part for me.

VIP-ishly, I met Vern Estes, who launched a rocket making it's 400th and some-odd flight. The rocket had flown at least once a year every year since sometime in the late 60's I believe. Bill Stine, owner of Quest Rocketry and son of G. Harry, was there flying video rockets. And in probably the most memorable flight of the meet, George Gassaway brought a huge Concorde-like glider that carried a slightly smaller version piggyback. On liftoff, the big one carried the parasite aloft, which then took off under it's own engine to go even higher. Both gliders returned under separate RC control. Too cool. Later, at least one of the gliders (and maybe both) were massively damaged when two engines CATO'd on takeoff (which is what that means: CAtastrophe at Take Off). George also won the National RC Rocket Glider Championship when he flew a simple RC glider for over 14 minutes before landing. He only needed to do a little better than 12 minutes, and the air was so good that he could have stayed up there for far longer. Carl Tulenko brought his upscaled Tres (as seen in a recent issue of Extreme Rocketry), which lifted off on three I211 motors canted outwards, before staging to an H something-or-other. Perfect flight.

The contest range held nine events for over 100 competitors in four different divisions, plus two more 'fun' contests. They did egg-lofting for altitude, for duration (how long under chute before touching ground), at least four rocket glider-type events, one for helicopter recovery, and a notably interesting event called "plastic model conversion", also known as 'raining plastic doom and destruction' since it's hard to make that Revell F15-Eagle fly safely under rocket power.

So that was my week. Lots of fun, but I'm glad it's over. We have a regular club launch on August 28th. I plan to do quite a bit of flying that day.

Rumor has it that next year, NARAM-47 will be held in Cincinnati, which is an easy drive from here. I might just have to take a truckload of my rockets and do a road-trip next August.

PS. Doug Pratt reminded me that there is a site out there called NARAM Live, with tons of pictures and video of all the stuff going on. Chris Taylor runs that, and he does an excellent job. And while I'm at it, over at Doug's place is a cool picture of the massive O3600 hybrid motor (2,048 times more powerful than an Estes D12).

Posted by Ted at August 7, 2004 07:57 AM
Category: Rocketry

Cool. I gotta see if there are rocket launches going on around here, sounds like a lot of fun!

Posted by: Tuning Spork at August 7, 2004 04:57 PM



I've diddled around with A-class engines in little rockets made of paper and sticky-tape and hope, but O-class? Whoo!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at August 7, 2004 10:55 PM

Sounds like great fun (especially the plastic model conversion event!) Color me green. Welcome back!

Posted by: John Lanius at August 8, 2004 06:24 PM
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