Convincing a former rocketeer...?

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-Known Member
Apr 22, 2009
Reaction score
Greetings all! I have to give credit to an old friend of mine that got me interested in rockets as a kid. Our summers growing up consisted of building and flying rockets on his parents' farm. We spent countless hours drooling over Estes catalogs. Right around high school, we both lost interest in the hobby. I tied myself up with girlfriends while he focused on school and sports. Going to different schools certainly didn't make things any easier to ever talk about rockets again.

To this day, the memories of the enjoyment I had as kid are rekindled every time I go out to fly a rocket. (I can only imagine what it's like for those BAR's that were out of the hobby for 10-15 years!) Back in 2001 he invited me over to his parents farm for a mini-reunion after I had returned from the Air Force. This was right around the same time that I started getting back into rocketry. So naturally I asked if I could bring a few kits out to fly once again. What ensued was a great afternoon of family, friends, rocketry, and great food. After that day I hit the rocketry "gas pedal" with a lead foot and haven't let up. He on the other hand never felt the itch to dig out his old models nor pursue it further. For the longest time, ever since Spring 2002 I suppose, I've always sent out invites to come watch us fly rockets. I don't plan on giving up either.

What makes certain BAR's more stoked than others? What exactly is the "spark" that makes someone really dive back into the hobby? Is there anyone else out there that has an old rocket buddy that you'd like to see back out on the range? Hopefully one day he'll accept an invite and come out. I suppose I'd be most interested in seeing him get back into the hobby. Do young rocketeers now grown up really ever leave the hobby? Is it even possible? Say it ain't so!
Well it's kinda like any other hobby, folks like us get a little obsessive about it and other people who simply "dabble" or have "dabbled" think of us as weird, see to me my hobbies are pretty much who I am, they are what I (by choice) spend all of my free time doing, other people are perfectly happy with just living the day to day "routine" coming home laying around a few hours and watching TV before they go to bed, it seems like when most folks get past the age of 25 they're pretty much.... well for lack of a better term DEAD, dont wanna do nothin' just wanna get by!
The guy who got me interested in the hobby was really into it until he treed his Centuri E.S.S. Raven on it's first flight. I think investing all that time and money in it and then having to see it hang in the rain for a few weeks probably did him in. ($9.00 was a lot of caddy tips in 1977, believe me.) I think his dad considered him too old to be playing with toys at the time also, and was quite vocal about it, so the memories that flood back may not be all that positive. As for me, rocketry became a solitary pursuit for the remainder of my early years, and believe me, those aren't great memories. What turned that around was having children. First my son became my launch partner, which was especially fun when he was little, and then I discovered a local NAR group, which has also turned out to be a lot of fun.
Originally posted by eugenefl
Do young rocketeers now grown up really ever leave the hobby? Is it even possible? Say it ain't so!
some of them do i'm sure... but i started with rockets on my 10th bday when i got my first estes starter set (i still have the Tidal wave rocket, controller, and pad too). now after five years i'm starting to get into mid power, and don't see myself ever leaving the hobby... but i guess its still posible:rolleyes:
Well, we all have different stories and the things that interest us can change much over time. I'm one of those BAR's who was out of it for 20 years. What brought me back? My boy turned 10 and I realized *he* needed a rocket. Once we opened the bag and had all the parts for a Big Bertha in front of us, I realized *I* needed a rocket (or 12). We're having a blast (pun intended). On the other hand, things are definitely different now. Back "then," I turned my interest in model rocketry into my major in college, ultimately earning a Ph.D. specializing in fluid dynamics of internal reactive flows. I left that career behind for good ~10 years ago and have no desire to go back. My current state of BARishness has done nothing to change that. My point? Simply that we all have different reasons for doing what we do and engaging in the hobbies we enjoy. I'm enjoying this now, but can't say for certain that I'll still be flying them in 10 years once my son is grown.
A lot of us seem to follow a pattern. I guess I could be considered a BAR, but I always really had the interest in back of my mind. A couple times as an adult I would pull out the range box and rockets and just go and launch a couple, so I wasn't out of it for 20 years or anything, but I would go sometimes quite a few years without touching it. My 5 yr old son really got me back into it whole hog when he found my old rockets and range box last year, then I found a NAR section near me that holds monthly launches and bang, now I'm back in, we're building new rockets, and I hate to miss a launch!

Originally posted by GlennW
I guess I could be considered a BAR, but I always really had the interest in back of my mind.

That sums it up for me also. During the years of my hibernation (1980-1994) I'd still take a detour through the rocket section of the local toy stores, just to see where the hobby was. On a couple of occasions I even bought a rocket, which is why I have a half-finished Estes Little Joe in my basement. My son was four the first time he saw a rocket fly, and that piqued my interest more than anything.
Interesting...I suppose the moral of this story is that if I start losing interest in rocketry again, go and have a kid! :D

That's great that a lot of you dads out there have chosen to rekindle your interest in rocketry through your kids. I suppose it's like Christmas - it's never going to be the same until I have kids. To see them enjoy the "magic" will be as if I was reliving it through them.

Hopefully someday my buddy will come back out. I'd love for nothing more than for him to break out an old Estes Wizard (purple one) and challenge my old Yankee to a drag race!