March 5, 1999
Our model rocket club (Sky Performance
Rocketry Club of Hawaii) was asked to perform a demonstration for Waiokeola
Preschool. There were approximately six classes of preschoolers in attendance
for the event. At least six of our club members showed up to help with
We arrived a little later than
I wanted to, but it seems like everybody on the island always wants to
go the same direction that you want to go and that means there is always
a lot of traffic. We did, however, get there a little before the bus full
of excited children arrived.
There were already 10 controllers
and 10 launch pads set up with a few rockets already loaded on them. The
launch pad area was roped off to prevent anyone from coming into the area
accidentally. There were three radios for the recovery crew to use to communicate
important information with the launch pad crew.
There were very few clouds and
only a very light wind was blowing that day. The first launch was a double.
Two Alpha's were launched simultaneously: one with a streamer and the other
one was with a parachute to demonstrate the difference. Next, two children
from each class were called up to launch one rocket at a time. They were
given a good lesson on safety and how the launchers worked by our club
A megaphone was used by their
director to explain safety practices, describe the rockets, and start the
count down. After the Alphas, the following rockets were launched by the
students (with a little help) a Fat Boy, Death Star,
SkyWinder, Silver Comet, Shadow, BroadSword, and an upscale Mosquito. The
final launch was made by their teacher. It was the only misfire and brought
a good laugh from the children. The igniter was quickly replaced and the
Big Daddy raced into the sky, it climbed real high, the 'chute deployed
at apogee and the rocket was slowly carried away, only to be eaten by a
The rockets were all safely
launched, and it appeared that everyone had a great time. I know that I
did! It was something that I will remember for a long time. The local news
channel sent a cameraman out to get a little video of the days events.
It was replayed at 6:00 P.M. and got a little exposure for model rocketry
and our club.
After the children left, most
of us stayed around to launch a few more rockets. It was a beautiful, sunny
day. The Astrocam was the rocket of choice for several of us. There were
three of them that flew several flights on B6-4's, C6-5's, and C6-7's.
I flew mine a total of seven times. I also flew my scratch built Mini Mean
Machine on its maiden flight. It flew well, but not very high. If I ever
build another one, I will probably not make it for mini engines. I also
flew the following:
1. Fire Streak - Two times on a B4-4
2. Commanche III - once on a B6-4. NOTE: If you fly this
rocket single stage use a parachute.
3. Venom - once on an A8-3
4. Heat Seeker once on a B4-4
Including the preschool launch
I was able to get in 16 flights for the day. I lost two parachutes, my
Big Daddy, and my Astrocam came down real hard a few times and ended up
breaking two fins. I learned a lot and had a wonderful time, and
am already planning for the next launch!!!