First model rocket experience

Discussion in 'Low Power Rocketry (LPR)' started by tmazanec1, Oct 31, 2016.

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  1. Oct 31, 2016 #1

    tmazanec1

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    Mine:
    Early 70s. Mr. Belsito lined the 8th grade class along the hallway and launched a rocket down the hall along a string. The string broke, and the rocket veered off and hit me in the face (almost put out my left eye).
    Mr. Belsito thought it was hilarious.
    What's yours?
     
  2. Oct 31, 2016 #2

    Bat-mite

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    Those were the good old days when you just main a kid for life and just laugh about it. Not.

    I watched some neighbors launch a rocket in the wheat fields behind my house when I was young (I have no idea what age, but definitely 1970s). It immediately became something I wanted to do some day. But I ended up waiting until I was 45 and had kids of my own that I bought the equipment and did it. Now, five years later, I'm Level 3. Go figure.
     
  3. Oct 31, 2016 #3

    K'Tesh

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    My first dubious attempt at rockery came from Radio Shack. I got a a group of science experiments that included such things as a crystal radio, and a rocket, for Christmas from my step-father. I didn't get either to work.

    My first *REAL* experience with model rocketry was in 9th grade. My science teacher, Mr. Deller, had each of us draw a straw. The better rockets were picked by the time I got to pic one. I ended up with a Spin Fin. My skills at assembly sucked, however, the fins stayed on. When it came time to launch, I had also brought an Estes Stiletto that I had managed to build (and still own). While it still has its flaws, it was a lot better looking than the spin fin (in skill of building, and just as a neat design).
     
  4. Oct 31, 2016 #4

    RocketFeller

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    3rd or 4th grade, somewhere around 1980. I don't remember which was my first, but my Airborne Surveillance Missile was my favorite. I was pretty into rockets until 8th or 9th grade, at which point I discovered girls. It took me about fifteen years before I came to my senses and started flying rockets again...
     
  5. Oct 31, 2016 #5

    neil_w

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    I wish I remembered mine, but I can't. I have no idea if I go kick-started by seeing a rocket launch somewhere, or if I just became aware of the hobby by seeing rockets in a hobby shop (which I was in regularly, looking at model railroading stuff with my Dad) and thought it looked cool.

    Glad I stumbled onto it somehow, just wish I hadn't spent so long away before rediscovering it.
     
  6. Oct 31, 2016 #6

    TangoJuliet

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    I was about 4-5 years old ('75-'76) and my Dad had build a small rocket. I'm sure it was a kit, but I have no idea what it was. He used a square of plywood and a straightened coat hanger for a launch pad. As I recall, it was an overcast day and he launched it from the front yard of the house we were living in at the time. It went up, into the cloud layer, and we never saw it again! And Dad never built another model again for many years.

    Eventually, when I was about 9 years old, I got an Alpha III and got hooked. I stayed active in model rocketry until about 15 years old, then found other interests - sports, girls, work, girls... 30 years later, I'm back into model rockets :cool:.
     
  7. Oct 31, 2016 #7

    Cabernut

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    I can almost remember - Late 80s, I believe it was an after school or elective class where we got to build and launch rockets. I think it was red and white. Alpha maybe? I can still remember though, the amazement of seeing a launch for the first time... WHOAAAA :eyepop:

    In the broader sense, I have a VHS tape from summer of '89 when I was just getting started as a 12-year old. I wanted to do a kind of video report on my rockets. I stuck with it until the early 90s when I discovered Nirvana and Super Nintendo.
     
  8. Oct 31, 2016 #8

    tmazanec1

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    My High School class was '76. Mr. Marrinelli got us to build a few simple ones and launch them in the field next to the school. That's what really planted the seed, my Senior year.
     
  9. Oct 31, 2016 #9

    soopirV

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    mid '80s, my dad returned from a business trip where they had a team building event that involved building rockets. Don't remember the rules they had, but when he came back he bought me a Big Bertha starter set. Got out of rocketry in High School (90s), and back in when I had kids of my own who were old enough to enjoy it (maybe 2011?). First rocket we built? Big Bertha with the black and yellow color scheme, of course!
     
  10. Oct 31, 2016 #10

    chrisudy

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    1982 ish - my Grandfather bought me an Alpha III starter set and a Spartan for my sister... Launched in the park down the street.

    Chris
     
  11. Oct 31, 2016 #11

    hcmbanjo

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    We lived in California. In 1969 you couldn't get engines sent without a state issued special permit.
    We'd order rocket kits from Estes and Centuri, but no engines.
    At the time I received the Johnson Smith catalog ("It's fun to get stuff in the mail!")
    They always advertised X-Ray Specs on the inside front cover of comic books. They sold M.R.I. starter sets and engines.
    At the bottom of the listing it always stated: "No engines shipped to California, New Jersey or Washington state."

    One year the Johnson Smith catalog didn't have California listed as a prohibited state.
    I ordered some engines. Not knowing what I should get, I ordered three A3-2 MRI engines.

    We got to the flying field after dark and loaded up an Estes Streak.
    The launch button was pressed and held down for some time. The igniters were bare nichrome wire.
    We all looked at each other with an expression of: "Well, is it going to launch?"

    As soon as we turned away it did.
    Big flash with some sparks. My first was a night launch.
    We ran underneath the school building awning and waited. We didn't hear a thing, no ejection or landing.
    We went home thinking it was lost.
    One of the boys found it the next day before school.
     
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  12. Oct 31, 2016 #12

    KurtH

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    It would have been 1986 or 1987 so I would have been 11 or 12. I think I got interested from seeing rockets at the hobby store, but I do not remember for sure. I checked out books at the library and it seemed really fun, so I saved up birthday money, allowance, etc for an Estes Sizzler starter kit. One thing I remember to this day was the smell of the hobby store. Arlington Hobby Crafters, after the move to the Wilston Center shopping center in Falls Church Va ... that was a neat store.

    any way, I digress..

    We flew rockets at a local middle school. I just remember having to bug my parents to take me to fly rockets on a saturday or sunday morning for weeks. Sometimes me and my Dad, sometimes my mom and brother would come as well. We typically went pretty early in the morning, there would be little wind and many times we had the whole place to our selves. It was always fun, a very happy memory.

    I built and painted my rockets myself and learned a lot. It was also fun to get catalogs and other stuff in the mail from Estes. And back then you could order practically any part from the Estes catalog. I seem to remember they also sent a quarterly magazine.

    Times were simpler, you could fly rockets practically anywhere and no one cared.
     
  13. Oct 31, 2016 #13

    Fred Garvin

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    In 1974 I was 9. Had a big model train and slot car layout. Dad and I used to go to the hobby shop a lot and I always pined away for the big Saturn V on display....Apollo had recently ended and Skylab was in orbit....the Moonwalkers were my heroes. We lived in Houston too!

    One trip Dad bought a Scout, some motors and a length of fuse. We built the Scout together, gave it a neat red and white paint job. He stuck a rod in a chunk of 4x4 fence post and we went to the park. Setup, lit the fuse and backed off. Swoosh! Scout took off and we lost sight of it until the motor ejected. I watched one thing tumble and Dad the other. He got the rocket and I lost mine, which was the motor. Went home and painted the Scout bright orange. We flew it maybe a dozen more times over the next month before building others.

    At some point we got a Big Foot launch system....I think it was pretty quick into it. Long time ago so memory is a bit spotty.

    * The pride of my fleet back then was my Astrocam....which took a lot of pictures of the sky and clouds and a few pictures of the ground.....ahh the days of eagerly awaiting the Fox Foto booth in the Sears parking lot...*
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
  14. Oct 31, 2016 #14

    fyrwrxz

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    I was lucky in a way. My Dad was a career Air Force pilot with SAC. We sold our house in Lincoln, Nebraska and moved to Denver, Colorado. On a rare excursion to his hobby shop, I got to tag along. Since he did professional level model ships, this was usually boring to me but when he went to pay for his stuff, there was a model rocket in the glass case by the register. I flipped out! Mind you, this was BEFORE John Glenn and just after Spunik, so I was a space junkie already in third grade. I think it came in a box. He got intrigued too and bought it. We got to launch it twice in the meadow at the end of our lane. Last seen drifting over a huge stand of pines never to be seen again. We left 4 months later for an extended tour of Europe and spent the next 6 years mostly in Britain and Scotland. My rocketry there consisted of Guy Fawkes night and fireworks rockets (no recovery-heh-heh!) When i arrived back in the US (again, another USAF base) I was flying 1/2a combat planes and the Dad of a friend that flew with us showed up with a Gemini (I think Estes) at the park, flew it once and WHAM! There it was all over. I discovered Estes and Centuri and worked like mad over the summer for rocket money. My first order to Estes was over $300.00 and they called to make sure I hadn't forged my Dad's name on a check! Motors came in round blue tubes and I know the postman hated me because they didn't fit the mail bag so well. Started the first rocket club in our high school and built most everything Estes and Centuri had to offer. As another poster noted, we moved to California after he retired in 1969 and my first call to the Fire Marshal was not encouraging. I needed an adult supervisor. Had to have signed permissions, blah, blah , blah. I had to wait 10 long years before flying (as an adult) as part of my son's Magnet School science project. Met Scott Bartel (blacksky rocketry)during my Shuttle days as an engineer (he was doing Get-a-way specials) and the rest is history. She saw him write a check bigger than our mortgage for two motors and said right there "Oh hell no, you're not doing this!" I promised never to fly an "M" motor to get around that! (Single use K-250's ruled the day back then.) I think my wife still hates him-lol! Still addicted and will mow lawns for rocket money!
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
  15. Oct 31, 2016 #15

    dhbarr

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    Mid 90's. I saved up enough for a mosquito and some appropriate motors. Unfortunately I didn't have a launch pad or building supplies, so it literally never went anywhere.
     
  16. Nov 1, 2016 #16

    hornet driver

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    For me it was the late 60's early 70's. My Brother-n-Law ran a Hobby shop. I was into plastic models at the time and saw a V-2. They lived in Smyrna Ga. across the street from a farm and as luck would have it , the prevailing winds ran right down the shoot--not that it mattered to me at the time or even knew about it.--H
     
  17. Nov 1, 2016 #17

    TopRamen

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    Isn't Mr. Belsito a Member here???

    :lol:
     
  18. Nov 1, 2016 #18

    tmazanec1

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    He looked like John Rhys-Davies. But by now he would be very old or very dead.
     
  19. Nov 1, 2016 #19

    Mugs914

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    I had never dreamed there was any such thing as a model rocket that actually flew on real rocket power until 1972. We moved, and there were a couple of guys in my new class who brought the Estes catalog to school. Of course it was the '71 catalog with the Interceptor on the cover and all the tech stuff in the back... :surprised:

    Game over...

    I was already, at age eight, very much into model airplanes of all types, so the idea of a flying rocket was miraculous to me! I got a Porta-Pad starter set for my birthday, launched my first Alpha III on an A8-3 in the school parking lot and never looked back.
     
  20. Nov 1, 2016 #20

    milehigh

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    1969. Got to spend a day with a friend watching competition and demos at NARAM-11.
    First launch of my own model rocket - early 1973. Estes Mosquito. Foosh! Pop! Dis-appear! I did happen to find the bird the next day. It was lying in the middle of a bike trail adjacent to the flying field, crushed into oblivion. Not even the balsa nose cone was salvageable.
     
  21. Nov 1, 2016 #21

    garndawg

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    High school physics class challenge was to build and fly a model rocket. This was by a teacher who was a really close runner-up to the Teacher In Space contest in the mid-80's.

    I built and flew a Redstone (Estes) and later bought and flew a Yankee. Got kinda interested in it, pined for a BigFoot pad, eventually got distracted and moved on.

    Nothing for two decades, plus...

    Then Groupon had a sale a few years ago...
     
  22. Nov 1, 2016 #22

    Forever_Metal

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    I remember that kit... pushed me into Estes a few years later..

    fm
     
  23. Nov 1, 2016 #23

    Mugs914

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    I think I had one of those too...
     
  24. Nov 1, 2016 #24

    Woody's Workshop

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    The older neighbor boys had a rocket and a block of wood with a coat hanger for a launch pad. Can't remember what they used for a controller.
    This was 1970, must have been June as school was out.
    Watched it a couple times, then Star Trek came on and I went in to watch TV. I was a rerun, so back out to watch the rockets.
    Week or so later we were shopping in a neighboring town that had a hobby shop, and Estes Catalogs. I brought one home.
    Couple weeks after saving up lawn mowing money, I went back to the hobby shop and bought a Big Bertha.
    I use to wear the ink off the pages of those catalogs making up dozens of wish list of rockets and parts.
    They will probably bury me a Big Bertha. I've had at least a half dozen over the years.
     
  25. Nov 2, 2016 #25

    Andy Greene

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    Father and next brother up where avid rc airplane guys- at the time 71-74 range maybe , my brother got the itch for rocketry . Begged and begged my grandparents for the Estes Pershing kit -
    As I recall , it was big for the time compared to stuff I had seen previously. He spent a huge amount of time on finish and detail- my father was a master scratch builder and his point of interest was scale WWI- II vintage aircraft , hence the reason for proper finish / markings and colors. At any rate , first flight day came and of course my grand parents had to be there to see the fruits of his efforts payoff-
    The payoff resulted in a CATO of ( I could be wrong here ) an E or D motor of some fashion that was a know issue- ( GO FIGURE ) He spent a TON of time and effort on it , only to see it end as you may expect.
    Sadly , that ended our family's interest in rockets and he went back to aircraft. ( in hindsight not a bad move-as he has an open invite to Top Gun -the Premier 1/4 Scale RC Warbird Event to this day ) he surpassed Dads Master Builder status and then some to say the least. Fast forward some 35-40+ years and I race RC Boats now, a good friend and fellow racer shares he is " taking the grandkids out to fly rockets " and my ears perked up as I now have a 4 year old daughter- off to the hobby shop I go with plans of joining my friend for some fun and re-kindle some memories . Well , not only was my daughter hooked from the first time " her rocket " an Estes something or other went 1000+ ft on a C-Motor. Dad , OF COURSE , had to have one too- a new style Magician - that promptly went 1500 plus on an E-9 -
    The rest is history - 20+ rockets from a-b impulse to my G stuff- L1 to come very soon on one of my own scratch builds- and Im quite sure Im faaar from done at that point.
    LIFETIME BAR
    Great Thread.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
  26. Nov 2, 2016 #26

    GlenP

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    My own first rocket was probably the Centuri Viking I got at a Cub Scout day camp, but that's another story. My first model rocket memory is of my (+10 years) older brothers' orange Big Bertha that they launched at my grandmother's farm. I remember the whoosh and pop, then the chute opened and it drifted beyond the front yard and into the adjacent horse field. They went running to get it before the horses might have trampled it. I was probably 5 or 6 at the time and lagged behind in the chase as they cut through the foliage to the field. I did not see the electric fence wires that surrounded the horse field through the bushes and ran right into them across my chest and legs. I screamed when I felt the electrical jolt. My big brother just ahead of me, ran back and picked me up over the fence. My first model rocket launch experience was really quite stunning!
     
  27. Nov 2, 2016 #27

    tmazanec1

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    My first actual rocket, of course, was an Alpha III. My second was a Beta. I remember reading the instructions saying that it needed a special type of glue. My Dad said "Just use Elmer's". "But the instructions say -" "Look, Tom, I built model airplanes when I was half your age. You don't need any expensive glue." So I set up the tube with the fins glued on. When the glue dried I picked it up. PLINK! All the fins fell off. I showed it to my father.
    He got the special glue.
     
  28. Nov 2, 2016 #28

    Nantucketdink

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    Late 70s as a kid with my dad. We had the Alpha set and promptly lost it on somebody's roof the first launch. I remember driving by and seeing it on that roof repeatedly for a few months before it disappeared.
     
  29. Dec 1, 2019 #29

    tmazanec1

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    We had a visiting Deacon at my Church in Twinsburg, St. Cosmas & Damian. His name was Vince Belsito, the same name as my science teacher back in Saint Wenceslaus (Maple Heights). I asked him if he was related. He replied that he was the same (he had lost a lot of weight, and of course his hair was gray).
    I reminded him of the time he almost put my eye out. He said God was with me that day. I pointed out that he had violated at least two points of the NAR Safety Code. He replied that he probably violated thirty million of them, but he wanted to show us how the rocket moved, and boy did it move.
    I'm glad he is still with us. I'll see if I can find his phone number and reconnect with him.
     
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  30. Dec 1, 2019 #30

    Tyler P

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    My first experience was late '80s. I was probably 11 or 12. We had 'June Activity Week' in the last couple weeks where we could choose activities to do for a week. Some kids went to camp, took day trips, etc. Rocketry was the least expensive, so that's what I ended up with.

    I built a Laser and a Nova Payloader. We launched them all one day at the end of the week in the sports fields behind the school.

    I enjoyed it for a bit but didn't get back into it until about three years ago. Probably addicted for life now, lol.
     

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