Returning to LPR/MPR after almost 25 years

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TangoJuliet

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I grew up in New Haven, IN, and like most kids I started with a few plastic airplane models, then somewhere around 8-9 years old got an Estes Alpha III rocket and got hooked on rockets. I had bigger aspirations of building and flying R/C airplanes, but that was way out of my parents budget - I'm the oldest of four kids and Mom and Dad weren't blessed with high paying jobs. I think maybe early or pre-teens I got in touch with the Summit City Aerospace Modelers (SCAM; guys like Bob Hart and Tom Hoelle were my mentors - whatever happened to them? I even remember guys like George Gassaway coming to compete) in Ft. Wayne, IN, and after joining the NAR, I began to compete in a few sanctioned events, namely the Mad Anthony Regional held each summer. At one point I think I was even a ranked competitor nationwide in my age class, but I never had the opportunity to go to a NARAM. I did make it to another regional event held at the old Chanute AFB in Illinois - maybe 1987?

After graduating High School in 1989 I was off to the USAF. Finally I could afford R/C - barely - and I didn't do much with rockets anymore. I think my last launch was an Estes Phoenix Missile in 1991, that had an engine CATO about 20' above the pad. The blowout was forceful enough to dent the blast deflector even from that distance! We had it on video then, but that was way before YouTube, 1 divorce, and 18 moves ago, so it no longer exists.


I still enjoy my R/C building and flying, though I haven't been as active in it for the last three years as I once was. A Middle School teacher friend of mine recently posted photos of an autographed copy of "Rocket Boys" and it got me to reminiscing a little. So... Last Friday I ordered a Laserhawk from Apogee and will be making a return to the hobby :wink:. Maybe I'll help that teacher friend of mine introduce it to a younger generation. She said she teaches it to her students.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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I grew up in New Haven, IN, and like most kids I started with a few plastic airplane models, then somewhere around 8-9 years old got an Estes Alpha III rocket and got hooked on rockets. I had bigger aspirations of building and flying R/C airplanes, but that was way out of my parents budget - I'm the oldest of four kids and Mom and Dad weren't blessed with high paying jobs. I think maybe early or pre-teens I got in touch with the Summit City Aerospace Modelers (SCAM; guys like Bob Hart and Tom Hoelle were my mentors - whatever happened to them? I even remember guys like George Gassaway coming to compete) in Ft. Wayne, IN, and after joining the NAR, I began to compete in a few sanctioned events, namely the Mad Anthony Regional held each summer. At one point I think I was even a ranked competitor nationwide in my age class, but I never had the opportunity to go to a NARAM. I did make it to another regional event held at the old Chanute AFB in Illinois - maybe 1987?

After graduating High School in 1989 I was off to the USAF. Finally I could afford R/C - barely - and I didn't do much with rockets anymore. I think my last launch was an Estes Phoenix Missile in 1991, that had an engine CATO about 20' above the pad. The blowout was forceful enough to dent the blast deflector even from that distance! We had it on video then, but that was way before YouTube, 1 divorce, and 18 moves ago, so it no longer exists.


I still enjoy my R/C building and flying, though I haven't been as active in it for the last three years as I once was. A Middle School teacher friend of mine recently posted photos of an autographed copy of "Rocket Boys" and it got me to reminiscing a little. So... Last Friday I ordered a Laserhawk from Apogee and will be making a return to the hobby :wink:. Maybe I'll help that teacher friend of mine introduce it to a younger generation. She said she teaches it to her students.
Welcome back to the hobby! I think you'll find there are a lot of interesting things going on with rocketry these days --- huge variety of motors and kits, plus lots of interesting electronics. Enjoy!
 

TangoJuliet

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Nowadays, who are the biggest suppliers of LPR/MPR rocket parts? I know Estes is still around, and I'm now familiar with Apogee, but who else is out there that is reputable and carries contest quality supplies? Way back there was CMR, and they had telescopic body tube sizes, as well as the thin, vacuum-molded nose cones. Who carries that kind of thing? Mylar chutes and streamers? Or whatever the current "contest" preferences are these days.
 

EXPjawa

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I get a lot of stuff from eRockets, ASP, as well as some of the others mentioned above. Do people still make/buy stuff for contest anymore (other than TARC)?
 

samb

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I get a lot of stuff from eRockets, ASP, as well as some of the others mentioned above. Do people still make/buy stuff for contest anymore (other than TARC)?
Not since the passing last year of our friend Ken Brown of QCR: https://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?121809-Ken-Brown-Owner-of-QCR-has-Passed-Away

His web page is still available but not active AFAIK: https://www.qcrhobbies.com/


ASP has some competition specific items: https://www.asp-rocketry.com/ecommerce/ASP-Competition-Model-Rocket-Kits.cfm?cat_id=9&navPanel=
 

TangoJuliet

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MikeyDSlagle

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No worries.
Those are just the ones I could think of or that I have used myself. Several companies make really cool looking Sci-Fi kits too, maybe too tough for the kiddos, but could be something for them to work toward . Red River hobbies and Sunward are two, but I'm sure there are more.
 

TangoJuliet

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Does anybody still make/sell telescopic body tubes like the CMR tubes? I looked on several of the websites listed in the "resources" link, but I didn't find anything.
 

dpower

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Welcome back, ask all the questions you want. A lot has changed, but in some ways, very little has changed (Woosh-Pop!).

If you're interested in MPR, soon you'll want to learn about composite (AP) motors. Lots of resources, but Apogee's videos are one good resource.
 

TangoJuliet

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Welcome back, ask all the questions you want. A lot has changed, but in some ways, very little has changed (Woosh-Pop!).

If you're interested in MPR, soon you'll want to learn about composite (AP) motors. Lots of resources, but Apogee's videos are one good resource.
I've already spent considerable time watching the Apogee videos. I do have questions regarding launch pads. Specifically, the use of rails vs. rods, and what determines which size rod should be used if using rods? Way back when, the launch tower was the hottest thing to use. These rail systems are completely foreign to me.
 

rharshberger

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I've already spent considerable time watching the Apogee videos. I do have questions regarding launch pads. Specifically, the use of rails vs. rods, and what determines which size rod should be used if using rods? Way back when, the launch tower was the hottest thing to use. These rail systems are completely foreign to me.
Many are moving away from rods over 3/16" as rails are much stiffer, and rsils can be had in micro, mini, 20mm, 1", and 1.5".
 

TangoJuliet

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I'll have to spend some time researching and reading through threads on the subject to determine what the materials are and where to get them. My Laser Hawk uses 1/4" launch lugs, which I've already installed, but maybe I can adapt it to a rail system at a later point without too much fuss.
 

EXPjawa

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Really, it comes down to weight and potential thrust. The heavier the rocket is, the more its going to bend a lighter rod, so the less actual guidance it'll get. Personally, I would use the 1/8" rod up to a few oz, with 18mm motor mounts. 3/16" rod through maybe 8 or 9 oz, with 24mm mount. Above that, I'd use 1/4" rods in applications where buttons don't work (to a point, obviously). That's just sort of a basic rule of thumb.

With that said, I use a rail for anything that can readily accommodate buttons. As noted above, there are smaller sized buttons available for smaller models now. To be fair, however, I have my own mini-button pad, and our club has pads with micro and mini button rails as well. Not a lot of clubs are as progressive, and a lot of clubs/flyers don't see the need for the smaller rails (because not traditional is the main argument). But frankly, rails are stiffer and have the advantage of keeping the rocket from being blown around the rod by the breeze (especially if the rocket has wing fins). A rocket model like a Jayhawk is more prone to weathercock on one axis than the other, due to fin area. If you can turn it so the narrower fins are in the wind (and keep it there), there's much better chance of it going straight when it leaves the guide. I'd generally use micro buttons in place of 1/8" rod, mini buttons in place of 3/16", and 10-10 buttons for 1/4".
 

EXPjawa

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I'll have to spend some time researching and reading through threads on the subject to determine what the materials are and where to get them. My Laser Hawk uses 1/4" launch lugs, which I've already installed, but maybe I can adapt it to a rail system at a later point without too much fuss.
Its not that uncommon to see people fly rockets that have lugs and buttons on them. There's more drag, but you have more flexibility. Or, because they started out with lugs and moved to buttons later...
 

TangoJuliet

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I've already determined that there are no clubs local to me, so if I want to be part of the latest trend, I need to make my own. Like I said in my first post, I've been out of the rocketry hobby a while, so I need to replace all of my support equipment, and I might as well build/buy an adaptable launch pad. I don't see myself ever getting into HPR; there's just too much hoop-jumping to go through, not to mention the acquisition of suitable flying fields.
 

K'Tesh

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I've already determined that there are no clubs local to me, so if I want to be part of the latest trend, I need to make my own. Like I said in my first post, I've been out of the rocketry hobby a while, so I need to replace all of my support equipment, and I might as well build/buy an adaptable launch pad. I don't see myself ever getting into HPR; there's just too much hoop-jumping to go through, not to mention the acquisition of suitable flying fields.
Yeah... I said that too... Now I'm plotting on how to get myself over to Australia in 2018 to get my L2.

As for hoops? I currently live and work in the People's Republic of China! They've got all kinds of hoops (I just can't afford to order any). :wink:

BTW... Welcome!
 

TangoJuliet

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Yeah... I said that too... Now I'm plotting on how to get myself over to Australia in 2018 to get my L2.
I've got R/C destinations around the world I want to get to someday first.

As for hoops? I currently live and work in the People's Republic of China! They've got all kinds of hoops (I just can't afford to order any). :wink:
:jaw: I can only imagine!

BTW... Welcome!
Thanks. :wink:
 

EXPjawa

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There might not be a club in your home town, but there's likely one within a reasonable drive. Of course, we may not agree on what "reasonable" means. Admittedly, I'm lucky to have two launch sites within 45 minutes (but I've driven 5-6 hours for day trips). There are a lot of guys I fly with at either that regularly drive a few hours to get there. And for larger profile events, its also fairly common for people to come in from several states away. So, its up to you.

But with that said, if you think that this is a hobby that you'll enjoy and want to spend a fair amount of time with, you eventually find that you owe it to yourself to at least check out a club launch, if there's one within, say, three hours drive. You can mess around on your own for a while, but believe me, you'll get a lot more out of it with a club. I had the same thought originally - why do I need those guys? But there are a lot of benefits to doing so. The worst that could happen is that you loose a weekend day driving there and back. It looks like these guys are at least regional: https://www.sears572.com/
 

TangoJuliet

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Yeah, the SEARS group is at least a couple of hours away, so not out of the question for a day/weekend trip, but not as feasible for just a couple hours of fun when I have the time. One of the problems I have is that my work schedule only has me home every other weekend (I work 7 days on, 7 days off), and the clubs within 2-3 hours drive only get together on certain Saturdays or Sundays, which may or may not be my weekend off. I'm not opposed to being in a club, they definitely have some benefits. I've thought about the possibility of starting a club, but I don't really have the time... or the temperament to lead that kind of endeavor. At the most, I hope to contribute to my friends classroom efforts and maybe spark some interest that way.
 

TangoJuliet

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Another question, this time regarding reloadable rocket motors. I've watched YouTube videos and I understand the basics of the reloadables - although the Aerotech numbers are a little harder to understand - and I've determined that it doesn't take long for reloads to become the more cost effective route to take.

That being said, which of the two brands are preferred as far as:

1) ease of obtainability/availability

2) spectrum of available power for LPR/MPR?

I have a Hobbytown USA locally (the owner is also in my R/C club) and I know he carries some of the AT stuff, but I don't know if he can get CTI stuff.
 

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Another question, this time regarding reloadable rocket motors. I've watched YouTube videos and I understand the basics of the reloadables - although the Aerotech numbers are a little harder to understand - and I've determined that it doesn't take long for reloads to become the more cost effective route to take.

That being said, which of the two brands are preferred as far as:

1) ease of obtainability/availability

2) spectrum of available power for LPR/MPR?

I have a Hobbytown USA locally (the owner is also in my R/C club) and I know he carries some of the AT stuff, but I don't know if he can get CTI stuff.
Typically many members of TRF recommend flying whatever brand you can get easiest or from your local clubs vendor.
 

EXPjawa

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In the event that you don't ahve a local club or local club vendor, it probably doesn't matter much. You can buy hardware and reloads for either online from multiple sources, but you'll face hazmat shipping charges. If there is local hobby shop that already sells some Aerotech, they can probably order other stuff in. I'd start there - see if he can or is willing to order AT reloads.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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which of the two brands are preferred as far as:

1) ease of obtainability/availability

2) spectrum of available power for LPR/MPR?

I have a Hobbytown USA locally (the owner is also in my R/C club) and I know he carries some of the AT stuff, but I don't know if he can get CTI stuff.
Unless you are very lucky, I doubt any of your local hobby shops will carry any reloadable motor casings or motor reloads. Most people buy them from rocketry vendors at club launches. Or they get them from online vendors. If you get them from onsite vendors, you pay a bit more for each motor, but you do not pay shipping or the added hazmat fee. If you buy them online, the cost per motor usually less, but you have shipping, and often there is a hazmat charge for the order. In order to come out ahead on the hazmat fee, you need to buy a LOT of motrs, and your order can be very expensive.

I'm not sure about your question regarding range of reloads for LPR/MPR. I think most people using reloads are using them for larger motors --- G and above. There are some F and E reloads. Maybe some D's? I'm not that familiar with the MPR offerings, but in general, I don't think you'd be saving much money in the low end.

Other considerations: CTI motors are much easier to assemble than AT. Some people enjoy building the motors. I do not. I'd rather just fly them. CTI hardware is cheaper than AT, but AT motor reloads are cheaper than CTI. Also, some AT reloads are packaged in a way that allows them to avoid the hazmat charges, saving even more money. If you are looking to save money in the long term, then AT is probably the better choice. I have CTI hardware, because I like the ease of use, and I like the variety of motor and propellant choices. I don't think CTI really saves much money.

If you want to try some composite motors before diving into reloads, there are a lot of great single-use motors from Aerotech that are very affordable and do not require hazmat shipping. The E20 is a 24 mm motor that will fit in rockets built for Estes D and E motors --- the "gateway drug" to composite motors and eventual HPR certification! The F44 will also fit a 24 mm mount --- send your Estes rocket to the moon! There is the Aerotech EconoJet line of 29 mm motors in the F motor class --- F20, F23, F27, F42. Each one is a different propellant type, with different thrust, and different flame and smoke characteristics. Lots of choice for 29 mm MPR rockets, very affordable, and easily available online. There is also a wide variety of single-use G motors, but I'm not aware of any that don't require hazmat shipping.
 
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