Baby Boomers getting their rocket on?

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Joined
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Cottonwood, Az. 86326
I have recently rediscovered my love for this hobby. I've joined FB groups and I see the groups growing like crazy. I wonder about the demographics of this apparent surge.
I just turned 70 and back in the late 70's My kids and I built and launched a bunch of rockets. The kids in the neighborhood would chase them down with glee. Thought I lost the Black Brandt a few times but they'd track it down.
So, How many Baby Boomers? How many are rediscovering a great hobby after all these years?
Another good question is, how many youngsters have the bug?
 
It seems that the demographic has a big cluster towards the older side, the Boomers being the generation brought up in the drama of the Space Race.

I myself got the knock-on effects of that: my late-Boomer father missed the rocketry craze, being more into cars and sports, but my Silent Generation grandpa was really close with me in my childhood and he worked on the Atlas missile project at Convair. We built shelf-display model airplanes together and somehow all three of us got exposed to rocketry around 2004/5 when an Alpha III crossed our workbench. A neighbor of mine showed us how it all worked, and it became my hobby with the two elders (and many others!) in supporting roles.

My grandpa has since flown West and my dad doesn’t really care anymore, but I jumped back into it a few years ago, myself a late Millennial.
 
Well, I'm one....got into Estes rockets from an ad in the back of Boy's Life. Didn't have much money, so scratch built and since my parents were from the Depression era, they saved all my supplies so when I got back into rockets with my kids in the 80's, they gave me that stuff back. And I found that the balsa wood from those days is better than what I can get now. I also have Model Rocket News, Technical reports, etc from the 60's. I did science fair projects with my kids. I was in and out of rocketry for several years, but now back into it and trying to get the grandkids interested.
I was a child of Sputnik. There are more and more school grps getting back into rocketry with various competitions and curriculum. The demographics are somewhat bimodal (very young and old). It will be interesting to see how we can hang onto the young to keep the hobby going.
 
I don't remember how but I do remember flying my first rocket with some other kids and a adult when I was 8 or 9 in 1963 or 1964. We moved out to county when I was 10. We had 5 acres and I flew there until about 1974 when I graduated and went off to college. I didn't fly anything until I got married in 1982. My wife had two young daughters and I flew some for them. Then we went to England and then to Las Vegas. Didn't have anyplace to fly. In 2005 we moved here to Pahrump. We bought an acre and built a house. Across the street and all around us was wide open empty desert. I started flying LPR. Discovered F and G motors. One day I saw a You Tube Video on High Power Rocketry. Joined Tripoly Las Vegas. Started scratch building rockets. Got my L1 in January 2020. I've been happily building and flying ever since. Sometimes some of our distant neighbors come over to see what's making all the noise.
 
So, How many Baby Boomers? How many are rediscovering a great hobby after all these years?
Another good question is, how many youngsters have the bug?

I think the surge is on both ends. There are plenty of Boomers & Gen X coming back after emptying the nest or having grandchildren. A good way to get a feel for that is to read through the threads in the Introductions forum.

But- there are also a *lot* of youth coming into the hobby, many brought in by school/college programs and competitions. I hope you have a club launch nearby to witness for yourself.

Welcome back, and please post any old pics you have, or pics of old rockets, or pictures of any new rockets!
 
It seems that the demographic has a big cluster towards the older side, the Boomers being the generation brought up in the drama of the Space Race.

I myself got the knock-on effects of that: my late-Boomer father missed the rocketry craze, being more into cars and sports, but my Silent Generation grandpa was really close with me in my childhood and he worked on the Atlas missile project at Convair. We built shelf-display model airplanes together and somehow all three of us got exposed to rocketry around 2004/5 when an Alpha III crossed our workbench. A neighbor of mine showed us how it all worked, and it became my hobby with the two elders (and many others!) in supporting roles.

My grandpa has since flown West and my dad doesn’t really care anymore, but I jumped back into it a few years ago, myself a late Millennial.
Thanks for sharing some great memories. Obviously, the more younger people that get the rocketry bug the better.
I build with my youngest son and his kids who aren't quite there but gotta start somewhere, and there're great at chasing parachutes.
 
I think the surge is on both ends. There are plenty of Boomers & Gen X coming back after emptying the nest or having grandchildren. A good way to get a feel for that is to read through the threads in the Introductions forum.

But- there are also a *lot* of youth coming into the hobby, many brought in by school/college programs and competitions. I hope you have a club launch nearby to witness for yourself.

Welcome back, and please post any old pics you have, or pics of old rockets, or pictures of any new rockets!
As a matter of fact there's a launch at the Kofa launch site of the Superstition Space Modeling Society near Phoenix this weekend I intend to attend.
My fleet is growing.
 

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I started launching rockets in 1961 at the age of 10. I can't remember which rockets, other than they were Estes, flying on A motors. I drifted away at the age of 12, then got back into it at the age of 15, with two builds—an Estes Gemini Titan (two-motor), and an Estes Saturn 1B (four-motor). Drifted away again in high school (girls and cars).

Fast forward to 2020, with COVID and retirement. I dived back into the hobby, this time with a 2.6" scratch built rocket flying on composite F and G motors. I also started sewing my own semi-elliptical parachutes out of ripstop nylon.

I'm 72 now, and with three builds near completion—Aerotech ARCAS, NCR SA-14 Archer, and a 3" scratch-built—I'm stalled with health problems, trying to decide if I can continue building and launching rockets.

All in all, though, I've enjoyed it.
 
Wow Dane, it looks like you got back into the hobby in a big way in 2020. A scratch build and F and G motors?
I started off slow as things have changed so much. Maybe you could share some pix?
At 70, my hands and fingers don't obey as well as they used to but I do still enjoy building all kinds of things. It happens to be rockets these days.
I wish you well managing your health. Keep building when you can.
Take care.
 
Shane, that’s really cool. Have you shared that tidbit before? I don’t recall reading it.
It’s possible, although it’s equally possible that that’s something that comes up in in-person conversation more.

He and my grandma both worked at Convair’s Kearny Mesa plant while the Atlas was in manufacture, development, and operational service. That’s where they met and started dating, in fact. I’m not sure in precise detail what they both did, but I seem to recall that he designed a few electronics packages for the rocket and she was a secretary, although she had to get a security clearance to handle files related to both Atlas and the F-106 Delta Dart project.

I also know that he went back to school and got a degree in the early 60s, when my dad and uncle were both really little.

My grandparents were proud of their work on Atlas, both for it being part of humanity’s reach for the stars and for it never being fired in anger at anyone. They led simple lives, sipping from their nest egg and retaining a lot of kooky old-people habits, but they were not shy about adventuring with me and my sister in our youth. Sometimes, to this day, I open my mouth and one of their sayings tumbles out.

Defense/aerospace work has been common in that part of my family for decades and remains so today. The connections I would wave around if I didn’t have my full, personally identifiable name in my signature and posting history…
 
At 70, my hands and fingers don't obey as well as they used to but I do still enjoy building all kinds of things. It happens to be rockets these days.

Except for being 72, that statement pretty much sums it up for me too. I've loved building things since I was a young boy, from plastic models, to soapbox derby cars, to N-scale train layouts, and later, RC planes.

Here's a pic of that first 2.6" rocket on a launch rail I built:

02.JPG

Here's a link to the build thread, with launch videos at the end:

https://www.rocketryforum.com/threads/2-6-inch-29mm-mpr-scratch-build.166792/
 
After looking at that build thread I see I walk among giants. I'm glad I joined this forum. Imma learn a lot.
I was reluctant to use a baffle but your mods made up my mind.
I have Rocksim but I haven't cracked it yet.
So much to learn.

Speaking of trains, it's not N gauge but HO at the Wyoming Division model railroad where I work: http://www.wyomingdivision.org.
 
I was reluctant to use a baffle but your mods made up my mind.
I have Rocksim but I haven't cracked it yet.

If I was using flat-sheet, plastic parachutes—ones that are not that expensive to replace—I would probably forgo the two smaller tubes inside the baffle, but only in the interest of keeping weight at a minimum. Those small tubes capture loose ejection particles, which do the most damage to parachutes. The rest is just hot gas.

The parachute on that rocket is a 36" semi-elliptical, made from ripstop nylon. I put a lot of work into it, and I've gone to reasonable lengths to keep it burn and tear free. Hence, the baffle with particle restriction. I also use a Nomex blanket, which is overkill if you're using a baffle, but that's just me. Better safe than sorry.

Regarding Rocksim, there are lot's of people on the forum who use it and can give you advice. I'm not oned of them; I use OpenRocket—very similar in the respects that matter, and it's free (open-source development). Search for either one, the forum is loaded with threads on both.
 
After looking at that build thread I see I walk among giants. I'm glad I joined this forum. Imma learn a lot.
I was reluctant to use a baffle but your mods made up my mind.
I have Rocksim but I haven't cracked it yet.
So much to learn.

Speaking of trains, it's not N gauge but HO at the Wyoming Division model railroad where I work: http://www.wyomingdivision.org.
Likewise- as an occasional LPR guy, I enjoy learning from others on this site.

That’s an impressive train layout too!
 
Yup, lots of Boomers and lots of BARs too. I’m both, been back for gee, 18 years? Took me at least 10 years to do L2, but still fly far more low power. For me, it’s the journey more than the destination. My club has a wide range of ages, though it certainly skews older.
 

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