Established August 1998... updated 03 Feb 2012
My First High Power Rocket
I started in Model Rocketry in the summer of 1973, towards the end of the "golden age" of rocketry. My first rocket was an Estes Alpha III, and my second was the Estes X-Ray. My activities in Model Rocketry were at an agressive rate from the summer of 1973 until about the end of 1974. After that time, my interest in rocketry was somewhat less... not that I was disinterested in rockets, I had other interests coming on line (astronomy and stereo systems). My rocketry activities did continue at some level through and including the 1980's and 1990's, but in a number of those years rocket launches took place only once or twice per year. In late 1998 I became interested in High Power Rocketry and certified Level 1 shortly thereafter.
I consider myself an "intermediate" rocket flyer. I fly mostly sport flights, I am not really into competition. Most of the flights I make are with single use motors, although I do have a decent set of 29mm and 38mm hardware. I have not yet used electronics but hope to do so someday. I will probably not certify to Level 2 due to the cost of motors and the lack of large fields (locally) for flying such rockets. So, overall I am a "casual" flyer, I like to do things at my own pace. I am a member of CATO:
Click the image to visit the CATO Rocketry Site!
The pride of my fleet, the Ultimate 98 on an H180W motor.
My Collection: Past and Present
Below is a description of rockets I have had over the years. All rockets are Estes unless otherwise noted.
- Big Bertha The "classic" Estes rocket. I'm on my third Big Bertha at this point. The first one had to be shortened after a crash landing crumpled the forward area of the tube. The second one succumbed to "old age". The most recent one I built in August 1998 and it has flown many times.
- Mark II One of my earlier models. Lost in high grass during a launch in 1980.
- Sky Hook One of my earliest rockets. Do not recall how or where this model got lost.
- Alpha III My first rocket from July of 1973. Had it until it was lost in the mid 1980's. A great sport rocket.
- Streak Had one of these long ago, any motor greater than 1/2A6-2 almost guarantees loosing it (I lost mine).
- Mosquito I've had several mosquitoes over the years. When I first bought this rocket it sold for 59 cents! Almost always lost them on the first flight, even with the no longer available 1/4A3-4T motor. I built a new one severla years ago.
- Birdie A great novelty rocket; I had one of the older models from the late 60's. This rocket was easy to retrieve as it never went too far. My model eventually succumbed to "melted vanes" from so many flights.
- Spaceman A very old model which I still have to this day. A novelty rocket using "nose dive" recovery. The spaceman basically landed smack on the top of his head! Always flew this with 1/2A6-2 motors so I would not loose it (even back in 1974 it was long out of production).
- Gemini Titan My first "skill level 4" rocket (back when Estes had five skill levels). Got this rocket in 1973. It has one of the old Estes "checkerboard" 24" parachutes. Only flew it a few times, always with 2 A8-3's. This was a rocket that I did not want to loose. Still have it today, but I do not have the plastic fin unit require for flight.
- Little Joe II Another of my early rockets. Got it for my 13th birthday in 1973. What a pain to build the capsule escape tower! Overall a very challenging kit for a young kid. Have flown this rocket quite a few times, always with smaller motors (did not want to loose this one). Last flew around 1980. Still have it today and it is in pretty good condition considering it is 25 years old this year!
- Patriot This is the original Estes Patriot (not the "anti-Scud" missile). Estes donated this rocket to me in early 1974 (I wrote them a letter and described our first annual "Rocket Day" to be held on May 4, 1974). They also sent an Alpha III. This Patriot is about the size of a Big Bertha and has equally nice flights. It has flown many times on B and C motors. Still have this model today!
- Bomarc One of my favorite kits, back in 1974 it was in Estes' "Citation" series. I had the version that had the main model recovered by glider recovery (the motor pod popped out at ejection and was recovered via parachute). Later Bomarc models were marketed with standard parachute recovery. My model flew pretty well, but the glide recovery was always rather violent (resulting in a smashed nose cone on the first flight). I no longer have this model.
- Screamer One of my first models. This is one rocket that used to bolt off the pad so fast that is was almost invisible! Used to fly it on the 1/4A3-4T motor to minimize chances of loss. Lost it anyway!
- X-24 Bug (Centuri) One of my few Centuri kits from the 1973 time period. A novelty rocket that flew pretty well (but not too high) for its shape. Do not recall the demise of this model.
- MX-774 (Centuri) Another of the few Centuri kits I had way back when (and still have today). Not sure if the MX-774 is a model of a "real" rocket, but it certainly has the appearance of one. Flew it a number of times, but lost it in trees on its last flight (in 1980 I think). Got it back about a week later, but rain had expanded the spent motor casing, and it is still stuck in the rocket to this day. This model is "retired" from flight.
- Beta One of Estes' "Mini Brute" rockets in later years, but I had one that used to take the old "S" series 18mm motors (I think Estes stopped making these in the late 60's). Do not recall the demise of this model.
- Midget An old Estes kit, I had two of them! Estes was dumping them cheap because they took the old 18mm "S" series motors. Do not recall flying these models too often (the regular length motors stuck out too far). Do not have either of these models today (unfortunately).
- Starblazer This is the old Starblazer from the 1960's... still have it today! It made its most recent flight on 8 August 1998 (with a 1/2A6-2 motor). This is another rocket that was made for the 18mm "S" series motors. Back when I built it I set the motor block for the "S" motors... a mistake, because now the "normal" motors stick out about one inch. Nevertheless, the model still flies well.
- Starblazer This is the "new" Starblazer, new being defined as the one available in 1973. I liked the old version better (the new model uses mini motors). Do not recall the exact demise of this rocket.
- X-Ray My second rocket, and I still have it today (although it is in somewhat beat up shape). As my second rocket, it was a lot more work to put together than the Alpha III! I did not have sanding sealer at the time (I was so new to the hobby) so I gave the fins so many coats of paint that they now look like they are made of plastic. This rocket has flown many times, mostly on small (A) motors. This rocket is largely retired today because of its age, condition, and nostalgia factor.
- Drifter Another Estes kit from the early 70's. This is the rocket that came with two parachutes... a 12" for sport flying and a 24" for competition. Never flew it with the 24" chute because I had only a small field. Not to mention getting a 24" chute into BT-50 is a major task! Still had parts of this rocket until fairly recently.
- Constellation Got this one back around 1974. Still had it in 1980 (I have a picture of it lifting off). Lost the model in the early 80's.
- Farside My first and only 3 stage rocket. Got his one back in late 1973. Was quite a bit of work to build with 9 fins to cut, seal, and finish! I flew this one several times, but always with small motors (1/2A6-0, 1/2A6-0, and 1/2A6-4 or A8-5). I had only a small field and did not want to loose it! With a 1/2A6-0 motor (no longer available) in the bottom stage, the rocket barely cleared the launch rod before the bottom stage ejected!
- Apogee II A neat 2 stage rocket, one of my early models. This rocket had a clear payload section. Was a fairly small rocket, using BT-20. Do not recall the demise of this rocket.
- Avenger My first 2 stage rocket to the best of my recollection. This was one of my favorite rockets from back when, long and sleek. I remember how nice it came out! Unfortunately, I lost the top stage on my first flight (I foolishly used the "First Flight" motor recommendations, B6-0, B6-6). Got the booster stage back OK. A week or so later my younger brother found out that another kid from the other side of the mountain had my rocket! My brother told the kid "My big brother will beat the crap out of you if you don't hand it over!" So, thanks to some "strong arm" tactics by my brother, I had the top stage back! Had this rocket for quite a while, but it was sent on a "final flight" around 1980 because it was so beat up...
- Scout I've had several Scouts. A nice design on paper (with the "tumble" recovery), but I never had one fly according to design. In all cases, the ejection blew the motor ou of the rocket, and it of course "nosedived" into the ground. I lost my last Scout in high grass due to this very reason. Has anyone ever had a Scout got through the recovery stage in the intended manner?
- Saturn V I built my first Saturn V in April of 1974. It was a challenging kit for a 13 year old kid... but it did come out rather well if I do say so myself. I still have this rocket today! The one I have could fly on one D or on 3 C6-3 motors. I never flew it in the 3 C cluster, I only used D12-3. This rocket has had a "marginal" flight record. On the first flight, the ejection deployed the chutes OK, but it also blew the rear engine mount out of the main tube also. Plus, I lost the capsule portion! I fixed the engine mount using a large amount of glue. This rocket did have about a half dozen decent flights in the 1974 -1975 time period. I brought this rocket "out of retirement" for "Rocket Day 1997". I made a permanent 24mm motor mount, fixed the chutes and shock cords, and made some new "flight" fins (I had lost the clear slip on fins). Unfortunately, this rocket's "coming out of retirement" flight was not so good. It arced over in the wind, lost altitude, and the chutes deployed only about 20 feet above the woods. Luckily, damage was not critical: a busted fin and trashed chutes (which I had just fixed!). I plan to fly this model only on E motors from now on... a D is just too marginal! I do have a "new" Saturn V which I bought back in the early 90's (the one I bought in 1974 was $16.99; in the early 90's it was $49.95!). The new version is different mainly in the recovery breakpoints. Have not started construction; the box has been opened but nothing has been started otherwise. I am keeping this kit unbuilt as a collectable.
- Scramber This is the "original" Scrambler; I got this for my birthday in 1973. I still have this rocket today and it is in very good condition considering its age. It uses a 3 motor cluster for power. I have flown it quite a few times, always with A8-3 motors (even with an egg, which Estes said to do only with C motors!). I never had a problem lofting an egg with the 3 A8-3 motors! This rocket has a very large balsa nose cone. A great rocket.
- Scrambler This is the "new" Scrambler from the early 1990's. This model uses a single C5-3 motor for egg lofting; I have flown it about a dozen times, always with an egg (and I have yet to break one). The rocket has a history of loosing fins upon ejection. Overall I don't like this Scrambler as much as the old version. This rocket has a fairly bad "tube crumple" from the recoil of the payload section upon ejection; Estes has been pretty cheap with the length of shock cord they have been providing in some of the newer kits!
- Mercury Redstone My first Skill Level 5 rocket; got this in August or September of 1973, when I was not yet 13 years old. A very challenging kit; the tower was an unbelievable pain to put together! The kit basically gave a piece of wood from which the builder had to cut and make small dowels out of, then glue together as shown to make a tower! The kit also had major fin detail that was quite involved. This rocket really was above my skill level at the time, but it came out reasonably well considering. Sometime in the 1980 time period the tower got trashed on recovery of the rocket. This rocket also had a tendency to loose parts of fins due to a poor construction method. By the early 80's the rocket was so beat up it was deemed "ready for its final voyage"...
- Little John Another of my early kits; this rocket used the Estes mini motors. I remember building this rocket in August of 1973; it was a humid day and the paint took forever to dry! Do not recall the demise of this rocket.
- Goonybird I had the one (of six that Estes made) that had the "eyeball" as a nose cone. Forget the exact name (have to look it up). These "Goonybird" rockets were all novelty rockets, they used mini motors and never attained any great altitudes. This rocket became more and more beat up over the years, and in the early 90's saw its last flight (lost in trees).
- Sandhawk Another rocket from the 1973/1974 era. This rocket used a D and was a great flyer. It had some plastic parts, and it was a tall and sleek model. I remember launching it as the "lead off" rocket at a school class demonstration in 8th grade, and it really impressed a lot of kids by the power it had and the altitude it attained! Do not recall the ultimate demise of this rocket.
- Thor Agena This was a cool rocket, one from my early years. When I got it it was already out of production for several years. This rocket had a clear fin unit for flight. Unfortunately, I lost this rocket in a tree on the neighbor's property on one of its first flights. I tried shaking the tree for hours to make it come down. The kid who lived on the property eventually came out to see what I was up to. He said "Why don't you just cut the tree down?" That was what I wanted to do all along, but I did not want to do so on someone else's property. So, within a few minutes I had the rocket back, albeit a bit beat up. Do not recall the final demise of this rocket.
- Vigilante A great looking two stage rocket I built in 1980. Had it until about 1995 when I lost the top stage. Recently took the bottom stage (still in prime condition) and mated it to the top of an old rocket that had no fins, making a new "spare parts" rocket dubbed "Mod 1".
- Wizard A small kit based on the BT-20 body tube. Built this around 1980; lost it sometime in the early 90's. Even with a 1/2A6-2 motor, this rocket went nearly out of site.
- Zinger A small rocket which is very similar to the Wizard. Got this kit in the mid 1990's. Lost it in trees for about a week on its 3rd or 4rth flight, but got it back. It survived pretty well due to being completely coated with "gloss coat" which helped to repel the rain it was subjected to. After a bit of fix up, the rocket was nearly as good as new. Still have it today.
- Falcon An old glider model from my early days in 1973/74. My kit never flew well; on its first flight the main boom snapped in two due t the power of the ejection charge. I think I got an especially soft batch of balsa stock for this kit. After repairs, it did have a few decent flights, but was still prone to breaking apart upon the shock of the ejection charge. Do not recall the ultimate demise of this kit.
- Nighthawk Another glider kit; built it around Thanksgiving of 1973. This kit uses a lot of sanding sealer! This kit flew pretty well, the best of all the glider kits I had in the early days. Also built on for my next door neighbor Paul Goewey.
- Sky Dart Another glider rocket from the mid 70's. This one flew pretty well, but talk about a consumer of sanding sealer! By the early 1980's this model was pretty beat up, and was sent on its final voyage.
- Cyclone (homemade) One of my home-brew rockets made from a heavy cardboard tube. Used Styrofoam "meat tray" material for fins. The rocket used a cardboard cone for a nose. The rocket was too heavy for even a C motor; it took off, arced over and headed straight for a large maple tree! During its encounter with the tree all of the fins were stripped off, and the rocket went bezerk within the branches! A most memorable flight to say the least...
- Hawk One of my newer models from the early 90's. A great looking military style model. Flies great on C motors; about the same size as a Big Bertha.
- Bullpup A great scale kit still available today.
- SR-71 Blackbird A neat rocket, but a fair pain to build. Lots of body wraps and balsa work. Have flown it on a B4-2, but this model really does need a C motor for reasonably high flights. I want to try an Aerotech D21 motor in it someday...
- ARCAS One of the kits I had in the 1973/74 era. A neat looking rocket. Unfortunately I lost this one in the woods and never found it despite exhaustive searches. After 25 years in the woods, I am certain there is nothing left to find...
- Aerobee 300 Another cool rocket from my early days. Do not recall the demise of this model. Would like to build an upscale version of this rocket someday.
- Shooting Star 7 (homemade) A neat looking rocket, similar to the Aerobee 300 in style. Built it from parts from one of the Estes assortment packs. Unfortunately I lost this rocket in the woods near the Junior High school I attended back in 1974.
- CATO One of my favorite "new" Estes rockets; it disintegrates in mid-flight. Have always used B6-0 motors for this rocket. Somewhat of a pain in the neck to get it all back together again. I need to use epoxy to secure some of the parts; the standard plastic cement does not hold too well on the type of plastic used by this kit.
- Solar Warrior One of my newer kits from the early 90's. Still have it today in good condition.
- Phoenix A very nice looking rocket, but a disappointing flyer. Every flight I had with this rocket was a "close call". On the very first flight it arced over and slammed into some treetops while still in powered flight, causing some damage to a couple of fins. This rocket does not want to fly straight; nearly every time I launched the Phoenix, it headed off in some undesired direction! Lost this model during "Rocket Day 1997"; as usual, it arced over soon after leaving the pad, flew nearly horizontal for a great distance (while gaining little altitude), and then ejected over trees (where it presumably still hangs today). Quite a bit of fin shaping to do in this kit; I used a power sander to bring the fins to the desired taper. A pain to hook igniters to the motor, because the motor is mounted a few inches up into the back of the rocket. This rocket would probably fly much better on an E30 motor rather than the D12.
- ASP ASP stands for "Alien Space Probe"; this is one of my favorites from the modern Estes fleet. Similar in size and shape to the Fat Boy. A great flyer, but it really does need a C6-3 (B6-2 is the absolute minimum). Every once in a while it will land on its feet.
- Helio Copter On of my rockets from the early 90's. A great flyer, but the rubber bands on the copter part have to be changed every so often. Flies great on B4-2 and C6-5.
- Skywinder Another "copter" style recovery rocket. A bit heavy due to all the plastic used. Mine has not had any close calls, but a number of others I have seen have had some very rough landings due to copter blades not being deployed fully. I have seen others come apart at ejection, parts flying everywhere. My cousin's Skywinder nose dived into the woods on its most recent flight!
- Yankee A small sport model, neat decor. Built this one in early 1998 flew it a couple of times on 1/2A6-2. A nice minimum diameter sport rocket.
- V2 One of my favorite rockets from the 1973/74 era. Had two of them, both no longer exist. I recall that these were a tad unstable compared to other rockets I had at the time.
- ARV Condor One of my newer models. Have one complete and one still unopened in the package. Have flown it several times using B6-4 motors.
- Space Shuttle This is the one from the starter kit (shuttle only, no external tank or SRBs). Despite Estes' recommendations, I painted mine (bare Styrofoam with stickers looks too crappy for my taste). Flew it for the first time on 8 August 1998 using a C6-3 motor. Had a decent flight. This rocket is quite heavy! It has about 6 or 8 large metal washers in the front of the pod to keep it stable. I might try it with an Aerotech D21-4 motor someday... 1999 update: The Space Shuttle has suffered from several nose dives into the ground. I have designed a shuttle "booster" rocket (with a 24mm motor mount) to try to get the shuttle higher in altitude and up in the air straight (instead of looping around back into the ground).
- Space Shuttle This is the Skill Level 4 model; still new and unopened in its package.
- Starbird Built this one in the early 90's; lost it in high grass after only a few flights.
- Orion (Centuri) One of my few Centuri kits, and my favorite from Centuri. A very cool looking rocket. On its first flight in 1973, the damn shock cord mount failed (it was one of Centuri's mounts that was supposed to be so good!). Result? The main rocket came crashing back to the ground head first, but was cushioned by some trees. Fortunately, my cousin was able to retrieve the main rocket. The nose drifted for what seemed like an eternity (a lightweight plastic nose with an 18" chute... went over the mountain and has not been seen since). I later made a new nose cone for this rocket using a lathe in 8th grade woodshop. Since the school did not have balsa, I used pine! The new nose is not nearly as nice as the original, and is rather heavy. As a result of the added weight, anything less than a C6-3 in this rocket is asking for a crash. This rocket makes occasional flights even today, the most recent being 8 August 1998 ("Rocket Day 1998").
- ML-4 (homemade) A home-brew rocket from the 1974 time period. Made out of parts from an Estes "grab bag" special. Rocket was destroyed around 1975 when a motor failed.
- Bumble Bee (homemade) Another home-brew rocket made from parts in a grab bag special. Used the same nose cone as the "Spaceman" rocket. A good flyer, except it appeared to go marginally unstable near the end of flight (this rocket used mini motors). It would fly straight up, and then tended to make a U-turn while still in powered flight! Decor was yellow with black checkerboard decals. Do not recall the demise of this rocket.
- Sprint A rocket from my early days, still have it today. Flies great, has been "up" many times, always on A8-3 to prevent loosing it!
- Cobra One of my favorite rockets from the early days; had two of them at one point. Do not recall the demise of the first one. The second one was lost on "Rocket Day 1974"; it flew with 3 B6-4 motors. About a week later I found the tail section in a brook on the other side of the mountain; eventually found the upper section after an exhaustive search (it was high in trees deep in the woods). Do not recall getting it back. This model was painted red with black fins.
- Patriot This is the "new" Patriot from Estes, the "standard" model that uses 18mm motors. A great flyer.
- Saros another rocket from my early days, no longer have it today. This is one of the earlier rockets to use plastic parts (unlike Estes of today where almost everything is plastic).
- Sprite A cool looking rocket from my early days, but one that never flew as designed. As with my Scout, the motors always blew out of the rocket upon ejection, resulting in a "nose dive" recovery. Do not recall the exact demise of this rocket.
- Silver Comet One of my "new" rockets, built over the winter of 1997-98. Came out great and flies great too. Flew it on a D12-3 for the first flight on "Rocket Day 1998", 8 August 1998. Got it back to boot! This rocket was a fair amount of work compared to the "typical" Estes rocket of the 90's.
- Yellow Jacket A great sport rocket from the early 90's, flies great. I use no larger than A8-3 in the fields I fly in order not to loose it.
- Death Star A cool novelty rocket; not very aerodynamic to be sure, but flies well enough using C6-3. The real attraction is the recovery "break up". I'd like to try this rocket with an Aerotech D21-4 motor!
- Flying Saucer Not sure of the correct name; basically the Estes preformed Styrofoam flying saucer rocket. Only uses A10-3T motors, and only goes up about 50 feet. A great rocket for young kids, gets boring pretty fast for the adults. I'd like to modify one of these for a 18mm motor.
- Prime Number Explorer A neat sport rocket from the early 90's. One peculiarity; Estes designed this rocket around the mini motors, and it is the size that could easily handle 18mm motors. Moves out pretty well on A10-3T nonetheless.
- Tornado One of my "new" rockets; have flown it twice on 1/2A6-2 (so I can get it back). This recovery system does work nicely.
- WAC Corporal A classic rocket from the early days. I lost mine, but now have one that my brother built. I recall an interesting flight mine had back around 1974; the rocket went up fine on A8-3, but upon ejection, the chute did not deploy properly! The rocket came crashing down and landed smack on the launch pad!
- Meteor One of my "new" rockets from the early 90's. A nice sport rocket, flies well.
- Scud The infamous rocket from the Persian Gulf war, little did I know that this rocket would become so well known back when I got it (actually it is my brother's rocket which I inherited). It is still in remarkable condition for its age (mid 1980's I think). We sometimes launch it right before launching a Patriot missile!
- Tartar A neat scale rocket I inherited from my brother's collection. This rocket is in great condition for its age.
- Blue Bird Zero One of my brother's rockets that I inherited. This is a great looking sport rocket, one of my favorites. Unfortunately it is in rough shape (missing fins and a nose). A great candidate for "upscaling" in the future.
- Viper The rocket that you got by joining the "Estes Aerospace Club". Got mine in very early 1974 as I recall. A typical sport rocket except that it used mini motors. Do not recall what happened to this rocket.
- Marauder My first and only "coldpower" Estes rocket, I later converted it to solid fuel. The practice of letting Freon loose in the atmosphere for rocket fuel today is probably highly illegal!!! As a coldpower model, it flew well enough, but never went terribly high up. I think Estes offered this (and other former "coldpower" rockets) as standard solid fuel kits at various times in the 1980's.
- Astrocam This is the "new" Astrocam; flew it many times (to use up the roll of film). However, the photos were of very poor quality, a great dissapointment. Part of this is due to the terrible quality plastic lens used in the camera. The other problem was bad luck... for a number of the shots the camera was aimed at the sky and or there was so much blurring that the image was not useable. I have seen others get reasonable images from Astrocams, but I think getting good photos from this device is not easy.
- Bandit One of my favorite "early" kits; had a great decor. Also liked it because it did not need wadding!
- Demon Another great rocket from my early days; flew on a D and really moved out! I have the top portion of my brother's Demon today; I plan to build a new bottom section for it. Do not remember what happened to mine.
- Interceptor One of the early Estes rockets to be loaded with decals (and look great). I remember how "plain" it looked just after painting white... but as the decals went on, it really started looking sharp! Lost mine at some point. I do have one today from my brother, but it is pretty beat up (and dirty). It can still fly however.
- LOC IV Plus This is a LOC kit that started out as a LOC IV. However, after ruining the paint job on the forward end of the tube, I cut it off in disgust and added another entire section of 4" diameter tube. The rocket ended up being about 5 feet tall (hence the name LOC IV Plus). The rocket had its first flight on 4 October 1998 using a G40-4W motor. A perfect flight! This rocket flew many times but eventually became pretty beat up so I retired it.
- Ultimate 98 This was my first homemade high power rocket. It was about 6 feet tall, is based on a 4" airframe, uses a 29mm motor mount and resembles a giant Estes Alpha. It has flown a number of times on G80-4T motors and several times on H180 reloads. All flights were near perfect! However, on one flight the nose failed to eject, and the rocket crashed and was destroyed. I have since made a new version (with imporevements) using a 38mm motor mount. The original version of the rocket was the one I used to obtain Level 1 High Power certification.
- Super Cobra This is a homemade upscale (1.7x) version of the Estes Cobra (the old cluster model from the 60's and 70's). It uses a 29mm motor mount and the main tube is based on the LOC 3.1" body tube. The rocket suffered some moderate damage when flying on an F40-7 reload... too long of a delay. The rocket flew well on an F60-5T single use motor.
- Super Blue Bird Zero This is a homemade upscale version of the old Estes Blue Bird Zero model (from the early 1980's). It is based on a 54mm body tube and uses a 29mm motor mount. The rocket is scheduled to have its maiden voyage in March 1999.
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Rocket Photos: Past and Present
Here are some photos of my collection. My favorite ones are the vintage photos, taken when I was a kid during the golden age of rocketry. I had a lot more photos from back when but unfortunately many of them were lost over the years.
A 1974 vintage photo of me with my collection at that time. Lots of vintage kits in there! Some of them from left to right: Cobra, Midget, Sprite, Big Bertha, Birdie, Starblazer, Drifter, Nighthawk, Alpha III, Scout, Midget, Mercury Redstone, Mark II, Mosquito, X-ray, Gemini Titan, Streak, Saros, Farside, Sky Hook, Scrambler, Little Joe II, Demon, Sandhawk, Strablazer (new version).
Another view of my vintage collection Some of these I still have today! Note the shelf in the back on the wall, it is loaded with bottles of dope, sanding sealer, paint, etc.
A late 1970's image of an original Estes Farside being launched. At right is a classic Estes Saros taking off.
Here is an original Estes Patriot rocket being lauched from my backyard in the late 1970's. At right is a night launch of a (shortended) Big Bertha rocket from the same time period.
My vintage Estes Spaceman ready for flight.
My upscale scratchbuilt Estes Sky Hook (29mm motor mount). Flies well on a G80 motor.
My Estes Cobra (clone). This rocket got caught in trees and no longer exists. THis is the third Cobra I have lost to trees, the first two were originals!
My modern day rocket workbench area. Still a number of vintage rockets on that shelf!
Rocket Day, 4 May 1974
"Rocket Day" was held on 04 May 1974. On this day we launched roughly 100 rockets. Lots of planning went into this event. Five kids in our club (me, Paul Goewey, Mike Schmidt, Tim Rymasz and Steve Weatherbee) made this event happen. A massive prep event took place the night before the event. People from all around the neighborhood came out to watch. The Goewey girls made a "Rocket Day" cake. As luck would have it the wind was fairly stiff on this Saturday, but we went ahead with the event anyway Below are about a dozen photos from this event.
This photo was taken just prior to the Opening Ceremonies. People from left to right are Mike Schmidt, Tim Rymasz, Joe Roberts (me), Paul Goewey and Steve Weatherbee (hidden behind a rocket). From left to right the rockets include: Estes Patriot, Estes Mercury Redstone, Estes Gemini Titan, Estes Saturn V, Estes Saturn 1B, Estes Gemini Titan and a Cox Saturn V. This Cox Saturn V was made of plastic (it was Mike Schmidt's), it flew clumsily on a "D" engine. It was too heavy and somewhat unstable and as a result it flew in the sky about as well as a drunk drives a car!
Paul Goewey's Estes Saturn 1B rocket lifts off. Unfortunately only 2 of the four C6-3 engines ignited, proving off-centered thrust. The rocket crashed into briars and high brush and received some damage (not major but the rocket required repairs before flying again).
Joe Roberts' Estes Cobra lifts off on a cluster of three B6-4 engines. This rocket was not recovered untl several months later (it was found on the other side of the mountain not far from Glendale Rd). Unfortunately it was in bad shape due to being exposed to weather for so long. To the left of the Cobra is an Estes Gemini Titan.
Joe Roberts preparing to launch an Estes Patriot. This rocket was donated to our club after I wrote a letter to Estes telling them about Rocket Day. Keen eyed observers will note that I am wearing my shirt with "Estes Aerospace Club" emblem on it. I was Level 4 (level 5 was the highest level). The launch pad shown here was made in metal shop by Paul Goewey as I recall.
Some of the rockets that were launched today. A careful look will reveal MANY classic Estes rockets. That larger black and yellow rocket is not a Big Bertha, rather it is the similar looking Estes Ranger (the Ranger uses a cluster of 3 engines). Some of the other rockets on this table: Chreokee-D, Sprint, Red Max, Mini-Bomarc, Javelin, Alpha III, Aerobee 300, Avenger, Viper, Little Joe II, V-2, Saros, WAC Corporal, Streak, Beta, Screamer, Sandhawk, Drifter, Scrambler, Starblazer, Mark II, Scout. Not shown here but also launched included classics such as the Mars Lander, Mars Snooper, Saturn V, Saturn 1B.
A Little Joe II drag race. Most of them are Estes, one is the Centuri model. At the far left is an Estes Super Flea and to the right of it is an Estes Scout. Lying on the ground in the foreground is someone's Estes Viper.
An Estes Sky Hook just about to lift off. To the left of the rocket is our "battery box" (contained three Burgess 7.5V batteries.
The rocket that just lifted off is long forgotten, however to the right of where it lifted off is an Estes Birdie awaitning its turn to get into the air.
An Orbital Transport rocket about to lift off while a Patriot and Gemini stand ready.
Joe Roberts' Estes Scrambler lifts off on three A8-3 engines. An egg was lofted and safely returned on this flight!
Another view of some of the rockets that await launch!
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Rocket Day 1980
"Rocket Day" 1980 was held in August. It was not as massive as the original rocket day held in 1974 but there were still a good number of rockets to be launched. Below are about a dozen photos from this event.
Rockets prepared for launch on Rocket Day 1980.
An Estes Constallation with engine just starting to output thrust.
My brother Mike's Estes Demon.
My original Estes Little Joe II (vintage 1973) making another flight Still have this rocket in 2010.
A Centuri MX774 just about to lift off.
A Centuri Orion. I lost the original nose cone in 1974, so I made a new one in wood shop on a lathe. It is pine (not balsa) so it is a LOT heavier than normal!
My 1974 Estes Patriot making another flight (still have this rocket in 2010).
My brother Mike's "golden" Scud-B rocket.
Alan Bercovici's Estes Renegade rocket in flight.
My Estes Wizard loaded with a 1/2A6-2 engine. Anything larger than this in our field and kiss it goodbye!
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