May – June 2004
Editor’s Message …
Author: Ian MacDonald
This is the third issue of our revived newsletter. This month we get to find out how the Evergreen TARC team did on their trip to the finals. Bruce has a report on UROC’s Pioneer ’04 contest while Russ is contributing an article on Thunder in the Desert. I chronicled building a tube rocket which I will launch and report on in the next newsletter. Special thanks again to Bruce for all his help, especially with the computer programming side of publishing this newsletter.
C.R.A.S.H. members and other interested parties are welcome to submit articles for our newsletter. Perhaps you have an exciting project you would like to share with others. Maybe you went to a rocketry related event or attraction we might find interesting. You may contact me at
Author: Steve Clapp
T-Shirt Orders – The T-shirt order is in. We will have the shirts at the Saturday, July 17th launch. So, if you have not already paid, bring your checkbooks. Cash still works too.
Summer Picnic – The summer picnic has been scheduled for Saturday September 11th. Stay tuned for further details. We will circulate a sign up sheet for side dishes.
New Rail – Thanks to James, the club now has a new rail. It should work for most rail buttons. Unfortunately we still need to cut it down to 85″ so that it will fit in the trailer. We also need to figure out how to mount it to a tripod. If anyone has any ideas let us know.
Record Trails – We are still doing record trials during the Saturday launches. Just give us an advance notice so we can get the paper work in on time. There is now a 1/8A motors class. That means that there are a bunch of unset records out there for the taking. If you would like to set a record now is a good time.
CMRC XIV – Watch your e-mails, we will need to decide on our CMRC XIV events. So if you have an event that you would like to fulfill let us know. Remember that the weight factors need to add up to 80 points. Targeted contest date is October 16th and 17th.
The Rocket Garden – I am sad to say that The Rocket Garden will no longer be able to have their trailer at our launches. As they found out, selling anything in the park a violation of City of Lakewood ordinances. They are still doing business thru their web site
and will be able to make deliveries to launches with special arrangements.
C.R.A.S.H. Business Meeting…
May 30th, 2004
Author: David Hanson
Steve Clapp, Bruce Markielewski, James Russell, Jordan Russell, David Tjarks, David Hanson, Chuck Watts, Russell Anthony, Daniel Anthony-Ceres, Ryan Anthony-Ceres, and Bill Tigar.
The meeting began with the usual discussion about the status of AeroTech production. AeroTech is producing motors, but they seem to be difficult to obtain at Colorado hobby stores. Bill Tigar was curious to know if there was any interest in his becoming a local AeroTech dealer. The consensus seemed to favor more dealers. James Russell stated that there is a letter on the NAR website explaining the exemption for PADs (Propellant-Actuated Devices).
Steve asked for a status report on the T-shirt order, but Todd was not present to give an update. James Russell suggested we order extra T-shirts on hand to sell at launches.
Steve stated that the club flyer needed to be updated and distributed to local hobby shops. Bruce said he will update the flyer. The flyer distribution list needs to be updated. Bruce and Dave Hanson will produce a PDF version for downloading off the website and printing.
Russ Anthony provided an update on new hobby stores in the area. There are two new stores in Broomfield; one is called “Things That Go Zoom,” the other is called “HSJM Collectibles”.
A tentative date of September 11th has been proposed for the club’s summer picnic at Bear Creek Lake Park.
Steve wanted suggestions for storage and transportation of the club equipment trailer. James mentioned that the club could pay $15 per month to keep the trailer in a storage unit near the park. Steve and James both have been in touch with a couple of people regarding keeping the equipment, but no progress has been made. Steve proposed posting a schedule at launches for people to sign up to haul the trailer.
Dates for an equipment maintenance party were proposed. It was suggested that equipment maintenance could be done at the club picnic. But it was determined that equipment maintenance is not necessary at the moment. The equipment is still in pretty good shape, except that the speaker connections on the PA need to be replaced.
Bruce presented results and awards from the CARCIS XII contest in March & April.
Suggestions for events for the upcoming CMRC XIV contest were taken. Russ suggested that we wait for the results of the MicroMaxx RPC proposals before determining the events. It was suggested that we would go ahead and set the events list now and see if the MicroMaxx proposals would affect our events list. We decided to choose the events later.
It was discussed whether we should include all flight logs in each newsletter. Dave Hanson mentioned that we previously discussed including launch highlights in the newsletter, while Bruce suggested that a list of total flights should be included plus some highlights. Ian needs to be updated with these decisions.
Steve asked for a report on the status of upcoming outreach events, but Kathleen was not present to give an update. There are a lot of Cub Scout packs coming out to launches in June and July.
The club now has a launch rail, but needs to have an attachment so that it can be mounted to a stand.
The meeting ended with a “Show and Tell” session, where Steve showed off his MicroMaxx-powered downscaled Interceptor.EHS at the TARC Finals…
Author: Chris Twombly
I would like to thank C.R.A.S.H. for its generous support of the Evergreen High School Team America Rocketry Challenge attempt. With your help we were able to qualify for the finals with a perfect score. We were one of 102 teams that were selected to compete in the finals in The Plains, Virginia (about 50 miles from D.C.).
A mad scramble issued to raise enough money for the club to reach The Plains. With a large amount of fundraising we raised the money a week early. The weather at the finals was a perfect blue-sky day with not a cloud in sight. The field where the contest was held is the greenest space I have ever seen.
We were in the second launch window of the day. Even at 11:00 is was extremely hot and muggy like anything. Our launch did not go off that great. Our double D12-0 rocket relied totally on all the motors starting at the same time. One of the motors did not ignite. We would have had a height of 678 feet if it had qualified. The bottom stage hit the ground burning and this disqualified us.
On the plus side the people running the contest liked our vacuum formed carbon fiber tubing to give us the Lockheed Martin Best Craftsmanship award. Despite our launch failure we did not come home empty handed!
Author: Bruce Markielewski
For the third year in a row, C.R.A.S.H. members invaded Utah to participate in UROC’s Pioneer ‘04 NAR Regional Contest over the May 15th weekend. The trip there is short nine hour drive, and their Pony Express Test Range launch site is about 30 miles southwest of the nearest town, Lehi. It’s a very wide open area surrounded by large hills and is reminiscent of Tripoli Colorado’s Hartsel site. I asked about the site name, thinking it might have some historical significance, but it turns out that the UROC members just made up the name, based on the fact that the Pony Express riders rode through that area in the past. Still, it’s a cool site name!
The weather was pretty nice, generally calm with a few gusty periods throughout the weekend. This year there were 16 individuals and teams competing in the contest. Representing our club were Ariana Williams, Paranoid Androids Team (Todd Williams), Dave and Dave Team (Dave Hanson), and myself. Five events were flown this year, Open Spot Landing, “C” Streamer Duration, “D” Super-roc Altitude, Sport Scale and “G” Dual Eggloft Duration.
The Team Division was by far the most competitive this year, with six teams participating, and all but one flew all five events. UROC’s Interkosmos team and our Dave and Dave team battled throughout the weekend for the top spot in the division. Dave and Dave took first in “D” Super-roc Altitude, setting a new NAR record in the event, and took third in “C” Streamer Duration. The team also had a new record in “G” Dual Eggloft Duration. but held it only for a short time, as the Interkosmos team took first in the event with a flight over seven minutes. They also had a qualified flight in Spot Landing, breaking a string of disqualifications in the event in the previous two Regionals (Dave suggested I mention that).
The Sport Scale event determined the winner, as Interkosmos’ second place finish edged Dave and Dave’s third place entry. Paranoid Androids took second in “C” Streamer Duration, and third places in “D” Super-roc Altitude and “G” Dual Eggloft Duration, but fell to fourth overall as UROC’s Dizzy Dog team’s first place in Sport Scale and fourth place in “G” Dual Eggloft Duration were just enough to pass Paranoid Androids for third place overall.
In A Division, Ariana Williams had unusually light competition, as the two other competitors flew only a few events. She took firsts in “C” Streamer Duration, “D” Super-roc Altitude, and Sport Scale and was first overall, but had recovery system problems in the big point “G” Dual Eggloft Duration event. She still won the division by over a thousand points.
In “C” Division, I had the best success of the group. Only one UROC competitor in the division flew all five events, while the other five flew two or less. I was able to win all five events, and had to fly only once in each. For the first time, I scored the maximum point total in a Regional contest (2400 points). My “G” Dual Eggloft Duration flight set a new NAR record with a time of almost eight minutes.
In spite of being outnumbered 4 to 10, C.R.A.S.H. managed to beat UROC in section points, 6066 to 5586. UROC’s Pioneer Regional Contests are always a great event at one of the best launch sites in the country. We would encourage everyone to take a trip to the Pony Express Test Range for next year’s event, and have a memorable time with the fine group of Utah rocketeers!Thunder in the Desert Regional Contest…
June 19th-20th, 2004
Author: Russ Anthony
After attending the White Sands Winter Regional in February in Alamogordo, NM, I knew another trip was in order. Why would someone drive 600 miles to a desert with little amenities, 90 degree temperatures, lots of scrub brush and blowing sand, you ask? Some NAR contestants, including me, know that this is the place to find giant thermals, good competition and an unlimited amount of recovery space for rockets. Along with a NAR regional contest, this annual event also included a sport launch, with motor and food vendors and forty enthused rocketeers.
My youngest son, Ryan (7) and I drove most of the day Friday to arrive about dinner-time and secured accommodations in the Holiday Inn Express at the far end of town. Although slightly more expensive than the cheapest motels, it provided large, clean rooms and an extensive, free continental breakfast that allowed us to eat and depart by 8:00am each day. Saturday morning was clear and in the high 70’s by the time we drove the 15 minutes to the launch area, west of town. One feature of the launch site is the many covered tables that allow people to register, prepare rockets and cool off from the intense heat of the desert. After all of the contest paperwork was filled out, Ryan and I started our contest flights. We had prepped most of our models before the trip, so we just had to repack several chutes to be ready.
The first flight of the contest had to be Random Duration, as specified in the NAR Pink Book rules. Ryan drew the official random time out of a hat. He did an excellent job in selecting 30 seconds, the minimum time allowed, and a time all the competitors were happy with. Ryan then proceeded to select a B6-4 and his venerable Code Red to post a winning score of 26 seconds and best score of the day in Divisions A and C. I entered as a team, Crash & Burn, since I already had all of the allowed contest factors in Division C. Open spot landing saw a pin placement that was too far to breach with the usual 1/2A6-2 motors, so most contestants used A8-3’s and streamers. The closest distance anyone achieved was 44’6″, a testament to the winds and distance to the pin. The ½ A Helicopter Duration event was thinly contested, with only four competitors in two combined divisions. Class C and Team had Jim Basler, the contest director pitted against me. One other A divisioner and a subsequent DQ flight gave Ryan victory in A division. He also had the best total of the event. Ryan and I also flew an “A Boost Glider Duration” flight on Saturday before winds picked up and shut down all launch operations about 3:00pm. Ryan’s Deltie separated from the pod at about 20 feet, providing a qualified flight, but only a 5 second duration. I had a real nice single flight of 51 seconds with my Jeff Vincent Special to secure 1st place in Team. Jim Basler’s Deltie tangled in a Red Baron on the first flight, but rebounded to claim 1st in C division with a 50 second flight.
With the winds howling, and thunderstorms moving in, we tried to drink all of the lemon-aid at the Pizza Hut in town. Jim Basler, his father, and John DeMar of team International Rescue joined us as we discussed rocketry and told stories. I particularly enjoyed listening to John, as he told of many rocketry adventures, including NARAM’s. Invaluable, for those of us with limited experience. Around 5:00pm we left to visit the Alamogordo Space Museum to photograph several real rockets including a Little Joe II, hopefully my Sport Scale model for NARAM. Jim and his father left to pick up supplies to build bases for their theodolites, which would allow us to compute the altitude events on Sunday. Jim and his father had talked about having a night launch if the weather behaved, but looking from motel window, it seemed to me that the winds never died down, leaving Ryan and I to enjoy a relaxing night of swimming and prepping rockets! Ahhh, the perfect evening! Little did we know that Jim and several other people did launch rockets into the night, something I would have loved to see, even if it would have resulted in less preparation time.
Since we were well rested, Ryan and I ate another early breakfast and arrived at the launch site a little before 8:00am. We found that several other sport fliers had spent the night in Motorhomes or tents right at the site. In fact, several sites provide electric hook-ups for RV’s. Despite this, I found that I was the only one ready to launch so early. Ryan and I put three or four models on rods and in towers before anyone else awoke and wandered out to the launch area. I was serious about getting as many flights in as I could before any weather problems could arise. Ryan tried another Glider flight, only to DQ when the pod veered horizontal and impacted the side of an RV. I posted a decent 2nd flight with my back-up helicopter and then got ready for a serious attempt at a national record flight.
In February, I missed setting a C division “C Parachute Duration” national record by about 10 seconds, and I really wanted to get it. The 191 second record was still intact, and I had built an extremely efficient egglofter with G-10 fiberglass fins, a lightweight paper shroud, and a custom built 36″ fabric parachute out of .8 oz ripstop nylon. Although I didn’t use a piston, my newly acquired BMS Medallion tower really helped the rocket to a very straight boost without the aerodynamic drag of a launch-lug. The C6-5 put the empty egglofter briefly out of sight, before the orange chute appeared and started drifting north. I ran for nearly a mile, but didn’t gain any ground on the rocket. It caught a thermal at about a hundred feet for nearly a minute. Since I had given my stopwatch to the timers, I didn’t know whether the record was mine until I returned with the rocket. The 36″ chute was spotted in heavy sage, and I sliced up a leg pretty good getting it out. Desert Tip: NEVER wear shorts in New Mexico, event if it is 95 degrees! In the end I set the record with a time of 306 seconds and brought back the rocket intact without a scratch on the rocket.
Most of the contestants were arriving by 10:00am or so, and Jim had the altitude trackers ready for use. Most people flew the B altitude event first, with 9 people competing. Although nobody had enough time to fly two flights, there was good competition, and only two lost tracks, despite many trackers with no experience, myself included! In A division, Evan and Nick Jaramillo picked up 1st and 2nd place, with Ryan coming in third. Jim Basler, once again, ruled in C division, while John DeMar of International Rescue beat my flight for Crash and Burn. Egglofting was the last event flown, and time was winding down. Winds picked up through the day once again, and there were only two successful flights. Ryan claimed top time of day with a 219.9 meter flight, while Jim Basler claimed C division with a 147.3 meter flight. John DQ’d with a scrambled breakfast, while Jim’s father had a no-closure flight. I chose not to compete and flew another “E” dual eggloft duration national record attempt, but failed due to a separation. Another reason to return next contest season!
In the Overall standings, Ryan came away on top of A division with 1770 points, with three others about equaling his total. Jim Basler was the real winner of the contest, claiming 2292 points in C division and winning first in everything but Spot Landing. The two teams were almost dead even with both just over 1000 points. For section points, Jim’s FLARE claimed 4800, while Independents (Me an Ryan) got around 3000, MARS 1014, SMRA 210, SRS 24.
I loved this event for many reasons. All of the officials, contestants and observers were really helpful and friendly. Although I haven’t focussed on the sport launches, many were great fun to watch. Many L1 and L2 hi-power certification attempts were made. Several K and L motor launches made the interludes between contest launches really fun. Some launches topped 7000 feet. Doug Gerrard’s Eye In the Sky rocket did a fantastic job getting pictures from the air – Really incredible photography. Kids were launching C6-5 Estes RTF rockets seemingly every minute, and many were interested in the contest events, boding well for the future. Many of them also had scratch built rockets built right on site. Ryan had plenty to keep him entertained, including chasing lizards and butterflies when he wasn’t launching or prepping rockets. Those winds and dust-devils are something to watch out for, though. One awning on an RV was damaged, and my tower even blew over a couple of times. But, nobody got hurt and everyone had a great time. If anyone is interested in driving down there, Jim will be hosting another regional in November, February and again in June. I’ll be there!
Building Thistle III…
Author: Ian MacDonald
This is a rocket anyone can build. Thistle I was one of my earliest scratch builds, a basic tube fin rocket. When I first got into flying rockets, like many others, I took the Tim Allen approach – more power! Thistle I was a small rocket, about the size of an Alpha, that flew on a 24mm motor. There was no motor mount, the tube itself had an inside diameter of 24mm. The nose cone was salvaged from an Estes Jinx. It had to be a calm clear to send that baby up on a D12. After 4 flights, the ejection charge burned through the tube. I’ve been tempted to bring it out of retirement on an F21!
Thistle II is much larger, at 4.2 oz still pretty light, and flies the whole range of 24mm motors from the D12 to the F21. By the time I built it I had mellowed in my approach and decided that part of the enjoyment of model rocketry was actually being able to see the flight! Thistle II has had 31 successful flights to date.
Enter Thistle III, a sister design to Thistle II, both made from the same BT-55 tube. Inspired by the Apogee F10, Thistle III is being built to take 29mm motors! Obviously I’m getting back into calm clear weather only flying again. The Apogee F-10 has a burn time of 7.8 seconds, a total impulse of 80 N-s from its 40.7g of propellant. The great thing should be the long burn time. The maximum thrust actually comes in at less than the Estes D12, but it will burn almost 5 times as long!
Comparative stats on the motors can be found at Apogee’s site:
As I said, this is a rocket anyone can build. The only alignment issue for the tube fins is with attaching the first one. By placing the body tube and the fin tube against a flat surface they can be squared up to each other. After that the rest of the tubes are placed against one already attached. The angle at the top of the tube fins was achieved by using a miter box to do the cuts. A lot of sanding got rid of the rough edges generated by the saw. Remember to scuff the tubing so the glue sticks better. I used 5 minute epoxy. I anticipate flying some of the AeroTech F and G single use motors so I used a generous amount of glue while attaching the fins.
For the forward launch lug I used the tube an igniter came in. The rear launch lug is supplemented by the gap between a couple of the tube fins. As the picture shows I used a launch rod to help allign the lugs. For nose weight I cut up pieces of a pink Pearl eraser and poured in a generous amount of epoxy. I don’t put all the eraser or epoxy in at the same time. I add so much, let it dry and then weigh it. I know from Thistle II that 1.1 oz is plenty of weight for stability. I arrived at this weight by spin testing the rocket. Using simulation programs may come up with a more optimum nose weight. I used a few wraps of masking tape to center the motor mount in the body tube. Again I wasn’t afraid of the glue for holding it in place. I go for redundancy on the recovery system. The shock cord is Stretchrite round CORD elastic 3960 from the fabric store. I drill holes in the body tube and fasten the ends of the cords each with a knot. Contest flyers will cringe at the extra drag, but the cors can be replaced easily. One of the streamers is attached to the body tube and the other to the nose cone. There are two shock cords attaching the nose cone to the body tube. Any part of the recovery system can fail and the nose cone and body tube will each come down on a streamer. The tube fins can take a harder landing than fins and the rocket still flies straight.
My strategy with Thistles II & III was to build a durable rocket that flies straight and provides some wow factor. The name Thistle comes from my Scottish heritage and the resemblance of the tube fins to a thistle. The paint job is always a surprise to myself as I use multiple colors and blend the transitions.
I plan to fly the completed rocket at the July 17th launch. That is if it’s a calm clear day!
C.R.A.S.H. Landings is published by:Colorado Rocketry Association of Space Hobbyists (NAR section #482)
No responsibility is assumed for unsolicited material. All submissions become the property of C.R.A.S.H. Landings. Submissions should be delivered in electronic format by e-mail or diskette. For other formats, please contact the editor:
Ian MacDonald – [removed email]