I'm responsible. Was: What happened to North Coast?

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Initiator001

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It's history time, again, folks!

Okay, some of you may want to know why Estes became interested in bringing out a line of composite rocket motors and kits. What was the genesis of this effort which ended with cancelling of the North Coast Rocketry line?

Please note: This will be a 'fun' history so don't expect all the details. :D

I'll give you the answer right at the start.

The answer is: Me.

Yes, it's my fault Estes became interested in having a line of composite rocket motors and kits.

Permit me to set the 'Wayback' machine to June 1990 and away we go...
 

Initiator001

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It's June, 1990 and at my place I am busy constructing two of each of the AeroTech kits to take to NARAM 32 outside of Dallas, Texas. One of each kit for display, another to fly at the manufacturer's demo during the meet.

I'll be attending NARAM so I want some new rockets to fun fly.

I had picked up one of the new Estes Optima kits to build but I decided it just couldn't be stock. I decided it should LOOK like a stock Optima kit but really be something different.

I decided to construct it so it could handle a small 'H' motor, if I wanted to go with that powerful a motor. Otherwise, I would fly it on 29mm 'F' & 'G' motors.

By the time I finished the Optima, the only original kit parts were the nose cone, decals and the forward balsa strakes/fins. All other components had been replace with AeroTech kit parts and the fins cut out of plywood and mounted 'through-the-wall' to the motor mount Fin-Lok rings. I spent quite a bit of time on the finishing as I wanted it to look like a display model.

I packed up my Optima and headed off to NARAM 32 which was the first week in August, 1990.
 

Initiator001

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Dallas, Texas. August, 1990.

Hot, humid (rain!?) and hungry fire ants.

The manufaturer's demo was scheduled for later in the week. It turned out to be an excellent demo as there were many manufacturers demonstrating products (Rocket golf, anyone?)

Mary Roberts was there representing Estes and flying their new kits. Also, the new General Manager of Estes, Bob Buroker, was in attendance.

AeroTech demo flew all their kits as did MRC, North Coast and others.

After AeroTech was done flying, the Mantis pad and Interlock controller remained in the launch area.

As Mary announced each of the new Estes kit and described it's features before launch, I loaded up my Optima on the Mantis pad. It would be powered by a White Lightning F25-6W motor. This was a time when high-power flying had not yet become part of a NARAM and even 'F' and 'G' motors were considered quite impressive.

I had worked it out with the RSO & LSO that after Mary had the Estes Optima launched, I would signal them to launch MY Optima.

As Mary worked through the 'A', 'B' & 'C' motor powered kits, she finally reached the Optima. A countdown was given and the Estes Optima launched...
 

Initiator001

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As the D12-3 powered Estes Optima soared into the sky, I signaled the RSO to launch MY Optima.

After a countdown, the F25 in my Optima roared to life and sent the rocket racing into the sky, higher than the one Mary had launched.

Several folks were startled by the noise of the F25. They had been expecting another D12 powered flight.

Both Optimas deployed their parachutes and had normal landings.
 

Initiator001

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Later, after the 'dueling' Optima flights, I was told that Buroker had commented to Mary that Estes should have composite rocket motors and kits (Or words to that effect).

From this grew an effort by Estes to create a line of composite motors and kits.

At least, that's MY story. :D

More, later.
 

BlueNinja

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Wow. I always wondered why Estes did decide to make composites. Now If only they would bring the line of NCR kits back....
 

Johnnie

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...well, go on!

Nice pic of the Optima on the F motor, I can see why this would have turned a few heads at a major launch. "Eye candy" is always a conversation starter. Got Estes attention too!
 

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