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FSR Spring Fling Rocket Launch
May 18, 2024

I was able to attend the Fairfax Society of Rocketry's regular Spring Fling launch for the first time. In fact, I gave in at last, paid my dues and joined the club. The weather was beautiful, but windier than we would have liked, with wind speeds of 10 MPH and above at the start of the festivities. Despite that, the turnout was pretty good and it was very comfortable on the field.

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Rocket Carrier Build "Recap"
February 27, 2024

So I guess some questions have been asked about my rocket carrier. Here's a picture of it in its normal storage area.

I started by measuring that shelf; yes, the carrier was built to fit there directly. I used furring strips because at 1" x 3" with rounded edges it seemed like a good way to avoid excessive finishing work. The handle started out as just a handle, but I had already put rocket carriers on my long range box, so adding them to the carrier seemed obvious.

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Forgottonia Rocketry Group Launch
February 25, 2024

The Forgottonia Rocketry Group in Macomb, Illinois had a rocket launch today... the 25th of February. This is not a normal time to have a launch; indeed, it's usually not fit to be outside in this part of the world in late February. But at noon when the launch started the forecast for Macomb was 60°F and 8 MPH winds. In fact, the wind was almost nonexistent when we started, and while there were a few gusts they never got above about 10 MPH. No rockets were lost, but one glider did a bit too well and flew away into the trees.

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FSR Hocus Pocus Rocket Launch
October 22, 2023

The Fairfax Society of Rocketry's regular Hocus Pocus launch was scheduled for yesterday, October 21st. It wasn't to be, though, as wind speeds for the entire launch period were forecast to be over 20 MPH (and in fact they were). The launch was thus rescheduled one day later, when the forecast was for much less wind. We saw wind speeds around 5 to 7 MPH for the entire launch period, with temperatures from 40°F at 9:00am up to the lower 60's by early afternoon. I arrived around 10:00am and I don't think any launches had happened yet, but I was too late to make the first rack.

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Body Tube Size Chart
October 20, 2023

Over on Ye Olde Rocket Forum user luke strawwalker compiled a handy list of body tube sizes. The original list can be found here. I have created a handy table based on his data, with some minor revisions to make my understanding better.

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Forgottonia Rocketry Group Launch
September 2, 2023

So I got word just a week or so ago that the Macomb NAR section, Forgottonia Rocketry Group, was having a launch on September 2nd. Naturally I attended. We had a part of Vince Grady Field at WIU; the launch officially started at 6:00pm and wrapped up by around 7:15pm. Wind speeds were around 5-10 MPH, and we had some issues with drifting; a few rockets were lost to the trees, but all of my flights were recovered successfully.

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Forgottonia Rocketry Group Launch
June 3, 2023

When I found out there is a NAR section, the Forgottonia Rocketry Group, in Macomb, Illinois, I was seriously overjoyed. I had thought a 2:30 drive to the Cedar Rapids area for the Fairfax Rocketry Society launch in October 2022 was a good deal; a 1:45 drive to Macomb was thus even better. I contacted Greg Montalvo and was told that "We welcome anyone who loves to watch a rocket go up," and well, that's me.

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FSR Hocus Pocus Rocket Launch
October 22, 2022

A couple of weeks ago my daughter pointed out to me that the Fairfax Society of Rocketry, located near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was planning a launch called the Hocus Pocus Rocket Launch. I looked into it on Facebook and found that they were inviting basically anyone and everyone, and so I decided to take them up on it. Today was that launch, and it was a good one. I forget if there were two or three Level One certification launches, but it was exciting to see high powered rockets in person.

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Back Yard Launch
July 29, 2022

So upon my arrival home from the 4-H Launch I was greeted by the still-excellent weather conditions, and was itching to launch a little more. I prepped four of my "back yard" rockets and hauled my launch gear out to fly them.

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4-H Launch
July 29, 2022

I was asked to be a 4-H leader once again, for the first time since the pandemic, and today I had a brief launch with the one member in the program this time. We launched on a field belonging to the member's family, situated on a broad ridgeline. The sky was rather cloudy but visibility was good, and the wind laid almost completely by the time we were ready to launch.

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Back Yard Launch
May 3, 2020

It's been a long while since I could do a launch, and I've missed it. So today, when I realized the wind was going to drop to almost nothing, I ran out to the office and quickly prepped five rockets to fly. My wife Tracy joined me, and all pictures below are hers.

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4-H Launch
July 15, 2019

It's been two years and one day since our last launch; I had kids doing rocketry projects in 2018, but we were unable to schedule a launch. Two weeks ago we tried to have a launch, but were rained out; we could only find one other day, i.e. today, when everyone thought they could make it.

Of course, today three of the kids were unable to attend. We went ahead, as one of the kids who did make it had never flown before. Boy, was he in for an experience.

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Group Launch
July 14, 2017

This year I have four boys doing the rocketry project; as only one of them is actually doing it as a 4-H project, I'm not calling this a 4-H launch this time around. Scheduling conflicts prevented us from getting in any earlier launches, but that's fine... the weather was beautiful today, mid 80's and very little wind.

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4-H Launch
July 9, 2016

Dry, windy weather made it appear that we might have trouble setting up a launch for the 4-H project kids this year, but then suddenly after a brief spate of rain I saw that the forecast for Saturday the 9th was nearly windless. A quick flurry of Facebook messages later, and four of the five project kids (and their mothers and some of their siblings) were lined up to launch.

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Farm Launch
October 6, 2015

A couple of the boys from this year's project group asked me to help them finish painting their rockets, and I arranged to visit them on a farm near Kahoka, Missouri to do just that. But as I looked at the weather forecast and saw mid 70's and almost no wind, I knew we had to do more than prime and sand rockets.

We had to launch.

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Farm Launch
September 20, 2015

I've been hoping for a good chance for a launch all year. Last week I watched the forecasts for Sunday the 20th with anticipation; by Friday it seemed obvious we would have just the right sort of day for a launch, and the field I usually launch in was freshly mowed and baled, so I notified the parents of the 4-H kids I led this year; of the seven kids I had in the project, three were able to make it. Add to that Joe Coehlo, a member of the Canton Camera Club (as are my wife and I) and another friend, Tim McAfee, who had never been to a launch before. I'd call the turnout excellent.

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4-H Launch
July 12, 2015

All the rain we've been having has made planning a launch for the 4-H kids a bit hard, but looking at the forecast last Friday it became clear that we might be able to launch on Sunday. A flurry of Facebook messages later, we had planned to meet at a field near one family's residence. The field had wet spots and a few inconvenient trees, and it was hot, but all in all the launch went pretty well. Note: Though this was officially a 4-H launch, not all of the kids who flew were 4-H members. Just in case anyone wonders.

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Backyard Launch
July 9, 2015

Wow, almost a year since my last launch. My wife and daughter are working tonight at the county fair, and I was going to be there too, watching the motocross races; but the almost incessant rains (including an installment yesterday) made the dirt in the arena too soggy to build a track on it.

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Moonraker Variation
April 8, 2015

I got a set of fins from Semroc a while back for a Moonraker, and they've been in my parts box ever since. Last night, I pulled together the parts to build it, and then had a better idea.

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BMS School Rocket Build
March 20, 2015

Okay, so in response to a post I made a while back about rocket kits for beginners, I was pointed toward the BMS School Rocket. I ordered enough for all the kids, plus one for me, and I'm building it today. I'll probably just get the engine mount together and dry fit everything, so I can pull it apart tomorrow and show the kids how it goes together.

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Project Cheat Sheet
November 2, 2014

In preparation for the Clark County 4-H kids who will be doing Aerospace 1 with me in 2014, I've thrown together a "cheat sheet" for the project. In it I cover how I run a first year rocketry project... meetings, materials, costs, and some general notes. You can get it here:

Project Cheat Sheet.pdf

Backyard Launch
July 31, 2014

I was getting desperate to launch some rockets... if you look back through my launch reports, you'll see why. It's been a while. So when I got home from work today and the conditions were perfect, I just had to head out to the back yard and launch a few.

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FSI Sprint Clone: Primary Build Complete
November 24, 2013

Today I finished the primary assembly of my FSI Sprint clone. I started by cutting a piece of a paper clip, mainly the large bend with a bit of leg on each side, then bending the lower part of the legs outward at 90° angles and twisting them slightly. I cut matching notches in the upper #8-#11 ring, then laid the paper-clip loop in them so that the bent legs would hook under the ring. The point of all of this was to create a metal shock cord mount for a reusable shock cord. I intended to take a picture of this part, but just plain forgot.

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More Progress on the Atlantis
November 14, 2013

Got a little more done tonight. Attached Kevlar to the engine mount with CA, per my usual procedure. I know replaceable Kevlar is the "in" thing now, but I couldn't work out a good way to do it with this rocket, and as it's going to be an infrequent flier I decided to stick to the tried-and-true method.

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Science Club Launch
October 29, 2013

Tonight was the science club "event" at my daughter Taylor's high school. It's not a science fair... there's no competition or judging. Instead, it's a show for the younger (elementary school) kids, to try to give them an interest in science.

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Rear Ejection Rocket Project -- Fins Attached
January 27, 2013

I got the fins on my Gooniebird Zero and modified Ruskie today. I had to make my own fin alignment wraps for both. The GB0 was pretty easy since it's just three evenly spaced fins, but the Ruskie's fins are laid out unusually.

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Backyard Launch
June 3, 2012

The wind has blown and blown this year. Finding opportunities to launch rockets hasn't been easy. So when I found the weather darn near optimal for rocketry, I had to fly some. I laid out and prepped nine rockets and was all ready to head over to the local farm where I launch.

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Backyard Launch
March 25, 2012

After a very long hiatus (for various reasons), I finally got an opportunity for a small launch tonight. Tracy, my wife, was the only attendee, and is responsible for all the photos below.

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Backyard Launch
July 24, 2011

After a week of really sweltering weather, things cooled off somewhat today. I walked out into the late afternoon sunshine, noted the wind had laid, and realized that I could launch a few. My daughter Taylor had a couple of friends over, and they helped with the launch and recovery.

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2011 4-H Fair Results
July 11, 2011

This was a big year for us in 4-H Aerospace: Besides Justin and Jaclyn, we had two additional kids in the project. Their parents have not authorized me to use their names or pictures, so I'll call them T and J. T and J both had two rockets; each had a Semroc Astron and an Estes Baby Bertha. However, they were not able to finish all their rockets in time (each boy had seven Art Hall exhibits as it was), so they showed only their Baby Berthas.

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Independence Day Launch
July 3, 2011

My brother Greg is back for the 4th of July holiday, and he brought my other brother Adam's kids with him. I knew that my nephew Jesse had shown an interest in rocketry before, so we planned a launch for today, Sunday the 3rd. I prepared sixteen rockets, thirteen of mine plus three of Taylor's; however, the wind, which had been pretty calm, picked up somewhat, and between that and the fact that I couldn't use the first position on my stand (owing to the rod nut coming loose), we flew only nine.

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4-H Launch
June 19, 2011

The weather hasn't been very conducive to rocket launching lately, but we needed to get the 4-H launch done before the Fair. So, when we saw that Father's Day was predicted to be nice, we decided to have the launch at 5:00pm. The wind was light, perhaps 5-10 MPH and coming from the east; we did have some drifting problems as a result of that.

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Getting a Show-Ready Finish
May 25, 2011

I wrote up a document for my 4-H Aerospace kids, describing my technique for getting a show-ready finish; for convenience, I'm posting it here.

Click Here to Download the PDF

Tyvek Parachute
April 15, 2011

I sell and service computers for a living, and for probably a year now my distributor has been sending me computers packaged in Tyvek bags. The bags protect the shiny parts of the computer from scratching; when we deliver a computer to a customer, we don't take all the packaging. Since I'm a pack rat, the bags have been piling up.

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First Launch of 2011
April 13, 2011

It just hasn't been a good year for rocket launching in Northeast Missouri. Today was my first real opportunity... it was fortunate that I was able to get off work early. The wind was moderate but variable, probably topping out at 10 MPH. Though Justin and Jaclyn, my 4-H rocketeers for the last several years, were unavailable, my wife Tracy and daughter Taylor accompanied me.

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Old Photo Gallery
July 21, 2008

Well, here they are... the pictures that, had I any sense, I'd never allow to be seen. The pictures that graced the pages of my last 4-H Model Rocketry project book.

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Contents Copyright © 2006 Chris Gonnerman. All Rights Reserved.
Last Updated 05/24/2024