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LaunchPad

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How has model rockets changed, if at all, since when you started?

Here's my list...

The parachutes.
They didn't come with the strings attached and you had to attach them yourself using sticky little circles.
And then some genius had them put the strings though little holes saving a step in the model making process! Yippee!

There was no online helpful forum such as this.
Heck, when I started there was no online anything! LOL

There wasn't any online ordering either.

I'm going to guess that there are a lot more model options and shapes since when I first started which was about 33 years ago give or take.
 

Rex R

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High Power Rocketry. I remember when the local little league uniforms were 'monogramed' tee shirts and jeans.
Rex
 

les

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HPR = High Power Rocket

When I started Estes shipped motors with fuse that you lit with a match and then ran back. You were supposed to cut it in half - to save money I generally cut into 1/4 and just had to run faster :duck:

There was great excitement when the Mighty D engine was introduced - now with HPR we have E, F, G, H, I,....

You either had to cut all fins from templates or you got die crunched - there was no laser cut

You could go to the local hobby store that had bins of all of the different body tubes, nose cones, etc for your own scratch built

You did mail order from a hard printed copy of the catalog, and then waited 6~8 weeks for the snail mail to get you your order.

There was no issue in flying at any school yard or park.
We also had "Blue Laws" here that made malls be closed on Sundays - my Father often took me to Roosevelt Field on Long Island on Sunday to launch in the parking lot - lots of space for landing and no trees!
 

MaxQ

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Models got bigger...thanks to a Roque element, some of who were summarily kicked out of NAR.

Thanks to them we had the growth of a small cottage industry of large BP motors, the first available composite motors for model rockets, and the first LDRS meets and eventually the formation of Tripoli, which finally grew to the point that NAR had to "come around".

Let's be honest...how many of you guys wouldn't be here today, if it wasn't for the availability of something bigger than D motor?
As much as I like a finely crafted LPR model.....I doubt I would.
 

K'Tesh

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When Engine hooks didn't have stupid finger tabs?

When the instructions had lots of words, as well as illustrations (including clear painting guides)?

When rockets like the Der Red Max had funny jokes written on them, and not some sterilized, politically correct, straightforward (barely any words) assembly diagrams?

Estes Der Red Max (0651)a.jpg Estes Der Red Max (0651) instructions (sterilized).jpg
 
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hornet driver

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HPR = High Power Rocket

When I started Estes shipped motors with fuse that you lit with a match and then ran back. You were supposed to cut it in half - to save money I generally cut into 1/4 and just had to run faster :duck:

There was great excitement when the Mighty D engine was introduced - now with HPR we have E, F, G, H, I,....

You either had to cut all fins from templates or you got die crunched - there was no laser cut

You could go to the local hobby store that had bins of all of the different body tubes, nose cones, etc for your own scratch built

You did mail order from a hard printed copy of the catalog, and then waited 6~8 weeks for the snail mail to get you your order.

There was no issue in flying at any school yard or park.
We also had "Blue Laws" here that made malls be closed on Sundays - my Father often took me to Roosevelt Field on Long Island on Sunday to launch in the parking lot - lots of space for landing and no trees!
Man I miss those days. Malls were closed on Sunday and we owned the sky above them! Any big construction sight was far game and the launch controller was the open hood of the car you came in and a touch of wire to the battery!!The D was scary big but we had to try them and the V-2 was the rocket of choice. We were in school back then and the motto was build on Saturday launch on Sunday. The Interceptor showed up and was the coolest thing I had ever seen(still is)
 

fyrwrxz

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Doorbell buttons, wooden launch pads, lamp cord, dry cell batteries. i cut my teeth on control line combat planes ('ribbon cutters') so dope and sanding sealer migrated over to rocket fins. Nichrome we knew from glow plugs and really cool parachutes could be made from yer Mom's outdated scarves. It was the 'space race', so rocket clubs were much cooler than chess clubs or Latin clubs. Still, only a select dedicated few went out to mow lawns for motors and kits-people hired kids for grunt work back in the day. out of the whole school, only a half-dozen of us in the nerd herd drooled over the latest catalogs and we could only convince one teacher to help us out-more just for adult supervision than mentoring. I like to think I brought model rockets to the small town of Warner Robins, GA. back in the 60's. I was just plain lucky to live in Colorado when Vern stepped out and amazed us all with his idea of letting us think we were part of the Space program with our own little amazing rockets. Wish I still had that first rocket! Lost it in a meadow in the shadow of the Gennesee (sp?) foothills of the Rockies way back when. Good times, good times!
 
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Bluegillbronco2

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HPR = High Power Rocket

When I started Estes shipped motors with fuse that you lit with a match and then ran back. You were supposed to cut it in half - to save money I generally cut into 1/4 and just had to run faster :duck:

There was great excitement when the Mighty D engine was introduced - now with HPR we have E, F, G, H, I,....

You either had to cut all fins from templates or you got die crunched - there was no laser cut

You could go to the local hobby store that had bins of all of the different body tubes, nose cones, etc for your own scratch built

You did mail order from a hard printed copy of the catalog, and then waited 6~8 weeks for the snail mail to get you your order.

There was no issue in flying at any school yard or park.
We also had "Blue Laws" here that made malls be closed on Sundays - my Father often took me to Roosevelt Field on Long Island on Sunday to launch in the parking lot - lots of space for landing and no trees!

They actually sold seperate parts? Wow I would love that today. I only got into model rocketry earlier this year. I built a scratch built 2 stage rocket for a school project. And now I want to make a upgraded version with quality parts but it is going to cost me $100 just to make one rocket. Its because all of the parts Estes or Apogee components sell are in packs of 5 when I only need one. Why did they stop selling individual parts?
 

GregGleason

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I remember Centuri Sure-Shot motor igniters had a really cool pyrogen.

Greg
 

MALBAR 70

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...When the catalogs had neat stories and descriptions for the rockets that kept you thinking about them for days.

...When Estes kits were made in the USA.

...When Centuri and Estes were the only companies you could mail order from...And it took forever to get to you...
 

Tonimus

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I'm just old enough to remember die cut (crunched) balsa. I think I remember when the Estes E motor was released and they no longer called the D the "Mighty D". I remember a bunch of "high tech" gizmos from Estes back then. I remember how much I wanted one of those big launch controllers.
 

terryg

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They actually sold seperate parts? Wow I would love that today. I only got into model rocketry earlier this year. I built a scratch built 2 stage rocket for a school project. And now I want to make a upgraded version with quality parts but it is going to cost me $100 just to make one rocket. Its because all of the parts Estes or Apogee components sell are in packs of 5 when I only need one. Why did they stop selling individual parts?
Try Balsa Machining:

http://www.balsamachining.com/
 

TALON

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Since I started in 1968, just about everything has changed! The major change that I miss is being able to go to the local park & ball field to launch. Other changes are more or less sentimental, like the blue tubes that Estes shipped motors in. These changes are reminders of the simpler time I grew up in, or so it seems!
 

MikeyDSlagle

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They actually sold seperate parts? Wow I would love that today. I only got into model rocketry earlier this year. I built a scratch built 2 stage rocket for a school project. And now I want to make a upgraded version with quality parts but it is going to cost me $100 just to make one rocket. Its because all of the parts Estes or Apogee components sell are in packs of 5 when I only need one. Why did they stop selling individual parts?
Or try Uncle Mikes:
http://www.unclemikesrocketshack.com/
 

FredA

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I quit flying shortly after the time when Estes intro'ed the Mighty-D....
Best thing then was that the D fit the mailing tubes for C motors perfectly.
All you needed to fly was a stash mailing tubes, NC's, a sheet of Balsa, a straw (from milk at school) and some Elmers glue.
 

hcmbanjo

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When the Estes boxes had the stamp: "From the Model Rocket Capital of the World!"
They really ought to go back that.
 

Flyfalcons

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...When the catalogs had neat stories and descriptions for the rockets that kept you thinking about them for days.
Yes! I was going to post that but you beat me to it. I remember as a kid, the back stories on the different designs really sparked the imagination. Too bad everything (catalog, instructions) are so sterile and politically correct now.

I remember when a pack of D motors cost the same as it does today, except you got three motors in the pack.

I also remember not having the plastic igniter retaining plugs, and I was quite good at balling up a small chunk of wadding and using that as a plug.

I remember there being a lot more local hobby shops, and more rocket walls at toy stores, where I could ogle the different kits in person and dream about having my own wall of kits (Achievement unlocked at 35 years old, haha!)
 

tightwad

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Way back in the mid- 60's using welding rods as launch guides with hole drilled in the bottom of a wooden ammo box as the launch pad. Using my 16mm movie camera to film my launches. Seeing the science clubs rocket fleet destroyed when the school burnt down (Caused by the 4H club chicken incubator catching fire) and the firemen ducking the Estes rocket motors flying through the air. And of course, I never heard of the word "CP". I only knew if the cg was forward enough you should get a stable flight while swinging your rocket on a string to confirm stability. Trying to figure out flight data with a slide ruler and reams of notebook paper used to record our findings. Watching and listening to Cronkite as he tried to explain what is going on Alan Shepard's flight and realizing I knew more than he did.
 

tomsteve

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wow!! awesome thread!!
for me, it was back in the day( late 70's) and didn't think there was anything more than testors plastic model cement for construction( not realizing my dad had a cabinet of different kinds of glue).
going down the road to the park where a couple local kids would be launching rockets while some other local kids would be flying their control line planes.
and not having enough sense to not launch while there was a little league game going on at one of the fields and one of the coaches informing me I was distracting the players.:facepalm:
and the detailed instructions with nothing but English and very understandable.
 
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