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What got you into model rockets?

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Smoothrivers

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Me...my excuse was a girl scout merit badge my daughter wanted, so off to the hobby store I go, lol...long before the dsys of buying everything online. Now it's the grandkids, they love my RC planes and drones, so rockets were the next logical step, right?, Or so I tell their grandmother anyway.
rockets.jpg
 

jqavins

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They go whoosh, and they go up, and they look cool, and they're fun to build, and...

OK, when I was somewhere around tenish my friend a few years my senior had build a few rockets and had the Centuri catalogs (so much cooler than the Estes catalogs) and it all just turned me on.
 

Fattbank64

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Back in the day, I attended an after school meeting for the rocketry club that was sponsored by the wrestling coach. My first rocket was launched from the athletic field and landed on the main building roof.

I was hooked:D
 

RoyAtl

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around 9 I started building model airplanes (control line planes and Guillow's built up rubber motor planes). Was good at it and I did a few for money for other kids. Drew up ambitious plans for a B52 with a six foot wingspan and central rubber motor (never could keep the gas motors running!). It never got built. A few months before Apollo 4, the Atlanta journal Constitution sunday magazine ran Chrysler's cutaway drawing of the Saturn V, so I thought I'd draw something similar up to 1/100th scale to put up in our classroom for a homeroom science fair, which happened on the same day as Apollo 4's launch.

I was taping my drawing up on the wall and the kid beside me was setting up a contraption I'd rarely seen before, having glanced at the rocket ads in the model airplane magazines. It was a Centuri LIA-77 launch pad. I was always under the impression that they were spring-driven rockets, the blast deflector looking like something that would spring the rocket into the air. He then set up an Estes Honest John, garishly painted in dark green, red, and black. But it looked so cool. He showed me an engine, and described how they worked, At the end of the day he lent me his Estes catalog (the 1967 version). Took till the next year (when I was 11) to get my parents to let me buy one.
 

shockie

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I was 12 it was 1967. I had watched a Mercury Redstone launch in the 1st or 2nd grade in 61-62. I had watched Gemini on TV in B&W and in color. I had watched the Saturn-1 launches and then watched the Saturn V Apollo send Men to the Moon in 1969. I guess it was the dawn of the space age that inspired me to pursue model rocketry. The fact that I was a big sci-fi fan of Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke probably contributed. I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey on it's 1st run in theaters in 1968.
 

dhbarr

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I was doing research on bullet shapes but didn't have anywhere I could reliably test 1000+ yards.
 

skaffgeorge04

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Saw my first launch at Cub Scout camp back when I was around seven or eight, you know, about a hundred years ago_One launch and that was all it took.Turns out it was a Mars Lander at that.Made a really big impression on me.That began my life long obsession with rockets.
 

cerving

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I was about 8 or 9, there was an ad for Estes' "Real flying model rockets!" in the back of an Archie comic book that I got to kill the boredom while camping. I was already a rocket nerd, my mom used to keep me home from school when they had a Gemini launch because she figured it was more educational than one day at school. With the CA laws at the time, we couldn't actully launch them... my first rocket ended up being a Vashon Valkyrie that I got a few years later, because there was no regulation on those. Once I got into Jr High they started a rocket club, the science teacher that mentored it knew a buddy with several acres of dead vineyards out in Ontario, right by the old Speedway. Technically we couldn't launch there, but nobody cared.
 

KILTED COWBOY

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I was a child of the Space Race.
Project Mercury, Gemini and Apollo got me interested in model rockets.
Every kid in the neighborhood shot them off everytime we had enough money to buy more motors.
The roofs on every house on our block was littered with rockets. Even the dad's joined in the fun.
 

Great Hobbies

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An end of year school program introduced me to rockets when I was 11 or 12. Working for Great Hobbies got me back into it about 4 years ago, or so. My back story is on The Rocketry Show, episode 107, if anyone wants to know, haha!

Tyler P
 

heada

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Sometime in the early 80s (82-ish I think), my older brother had both the Estes AIM-9 Sidewinder and the Mars Lander. I know it was those 2 kits because they sat unopened on the closet shelf for over about a decade before I asked him for them. Me being the younger brother, I'd been eyeing him and the models the moment he unwrapped them. The next Christmas, I got an entry level kit, I don't remember which one. I think I had it built over Christmas break but since we were in the 'burbs of Chicago, there was no launching until spring. I went through a few packs of motors before the rocket drifted away and was never seen again. Got into plastic model cars and planes after that but eventually dropped them and came back to rockets.
 

skaffgeorge04

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I was about 8 or 9, there was an ad for Estes' "Real flying model rockets!" in the back of an Archie comic book that I got to kill the boredom while camping. I was already a rocket nerd, my mom used to keep me home from school when they had a Gemini launch because she figured it was more educational than one day at school. With the CA laws at the time, we couldn't actully launch them... my first rocket ended up being a Vashon Valkyrie that I got a few years later, because there was no regulation on those. Once I got into Jr High they started a rocket club, the science teacher that mentored it knew a buddy with several acres of dead vineyards out in Ontario, right by the old Speedway. Technically we couldn't launch there, but nobody cared.
I can remember seeing the ads in Boy's Life magazine for both Estes and Centuri, and for MPC as well, they had a full page ad for the Lunar Patrol and the Moon GO and that really got me going, so for Christmas in 1969 I got a Centuri Payloader and the Cox square box launcher and I was so excited I couldn't stand myself.My goodness, I'm really dating my self now, aren't I? I've had so much fun with rockets over the years I could never really give it up, even though I haven't been active in some thirty odd years or so.If I can find another place to fly around here I'll be right back in the thick of it.
 

CoyoteNumber2

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A starter set under the Christmas tree. Had never even thought about rockets prior.
 

Wally Ferrer

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I have to give credit to my father, he was a big science fiction fan (golden age) and was also part of a few NASA contracts, including work on the Arecibo radio telescope. He brought home an Estes catalog one day and told us we could each pick one. I picked a Scout. The Apollo program subsequently sealed the deal.
 

Jacques

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I was 12 it was 1967. I had watched a Mercury Redstone launch in the 1st or 2nd grade in 61-62. I had watched Gemini on TV in B&W and in color. I had watched the Saturn-1 launches and then watched the Saturn V Apollo send Men to the Moon in 1969. I guess it was the dawn of the space age that inspired me to pursue model rocketry. The fact that I was a big sci-fi fan of Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke probably contributed. I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey on it's 1st run in theaters in 1968.
Same here, except I read mostly Isaac Azimov and Jules Vernes.
 

skaffgeorge04

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Same here, except I read mostly Isaac Azimov and Jules Vernes.
Same here, read a lot of Asimov and Frank Herbert, and more recently Dan Simmons.His Hyperion is a magnificent story, one of the very finest ever written.Couldn't put it down if I tried, finished it in one sitting.Amazing.
 

teepot

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I don't remember if it was Cub Scouts or a friend. But I remember when I was 8 or 9 [64-65] going to a park where there was a bunch of kids and an adult flying rockets. I built one and flew it. We moved from Detroit to the country the summer of 65 and I had 10 acers to fly on. Flew on and off thru high school. Then life took over. Started flying again about 83 or 84. The same small rockets I flew as a kid. Then life got in the way again. When we moved from Vegas to Pahrump I suddenly had 100's of acres across the street. Again with small rockets. Then a couple bigger kits with 24mm mmt. Then a Big Bertha with a 29mm mmt. The first G80 I fired was incredible. Then I found some high power videos on YouTube. Wow. Went to a TRA launch and it was Kattie bar the door. I started scratch building in Jan of 2019. Got my level 1 the next January and am studying for my level 2. I have 153 rockets in my fleet currently and two more ready for primer. I average about a new rocket a week. And it has got pricey.
 

JPalmer621

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Saw a display at the store with a Nike Ajax That sealed the deal for me. I have launched every year sonce
 

Mike Haberer

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I was a farm kid in the 60's, so I didn't have "play dates" like they do today, but I vividly remember my mom stopping at a distant neighbor's house for some reason and the kid there, who was in my grade school class, showed me his rockets. Being that was about the time of either Project Mercury or Gemini, I was instantly hooked.

When I went to college I dropped the hobby, but my nephews (my sister was the oldest, I the youngest), kept shooting off my rockets. I found out twenty years later during a random discussion at Thanksgiving that they lost them all except my original Estes Little Joe II which we found in my sister's basement. We started doing rockets launches the next Thanksgiving for the young kids (20+ years ago, some are now in their mid-20's) and I became a BAR. LJ II was always the last rocket flown for the day. Started MPR then. Went to HPR when I retired. Rocketry has saved my sanity during the political turmoil of the last 5 years and during The Covid.

I finally retired LJ II two years ago after a final corkscrew'ish flight. It had been repaired so many times it was no longer flight worthy. After over 50 flights over 55 years it was time. It holds a place of honor on my rocket shelf...

20181211_070110.jpg
 

Greg Furtman

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I'm old enough to remember Sputnik. And when the Mercury program I got hooked on spaceflight. I followed all the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. When I was in Jr High some of my friends got interested Estes rockets & I joined them in the fun. :headspinning: Been flying rockets ever since although there was a lull for a number of years. About 15 or 20 years ago a couple of these friends were walking through a store that carried Estes stuff and on the package it said for ages 12 and older. We still qualified! So we started what we call RocketBoy Weekend at a friends cabin during the winter where we fly off a frozen lake. And now that we are all getting older one of the guys brings his snowmobile and is our official retriever. 2021 is the first year RocketBoy Weekend didn't happen because of COVID. :(
 

Mike Haberer

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Same here, read a lot of Asimov and Frank Herbert, and more recently Dan Simmons. His Hyperion is a magnificent story, one of the very finest ever written. Couldn't put it down if I tried, finished it in one sitting. Amazing.
Asimov, Clarke, Herbert, Simmons, Le Guin, Bradbury, Orwell, Orson Wells, Philip K. Dick, Verne, Orson Scott Card, Larry Niven, Huxley, Joe Haldeman, Michael Crichton, Anne McCaffrey, Samuel R. Delaney, Frederick Pohl, Roger Zelazny, Robert Silverberg, Tolkien (fantasy, but still...), Vernor Vinge, Jerry Pournelle, Philip Jose Farmer, Poul Anderson, Terry Pratchett, Andre Norton, Vonnegut, Alfred Bester, Theodore Sturgeon, Von Vogt, Harlan Ellison, Ben Bova, Lois McMaster Bujold, Lester del Ray, Gordon R. Dickson, Piers Anthony, John Varley, Anthony Burgess, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Jack Chalker, Madeleine L'Engle, Walter M. Miller, Jr., Deen Koontz, James S. A. Corey, R. A. Salvatore.

Read them all, mostly between the ages of 15 and 40 (I was so young then). Who have I missed that I should read before I expire?
 

skaffgeorge04

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Asimov, Clarke, Herbert, Simmons, Le Guin, Bradbury, Orwell, Orson Wells, Philip K. Dick, Verne, Orson Scott Card, Larry Niven, Huxley, Joe Haldeman, Michael Crichton, Anne McCaffrey, Samuel R. Delaney, Frederick Pohl, Roger Zelazny, Robert Silverberg, Tolkien (fantasy, but still...), Vernor Vinge, Jerry Pournelle, Philip Jose Farmer, Poul Anderson, Terry Pratchett, Andre Norton, Vonnegut, Alfred Bester, Theodore Sturgeon, Von Vogt, Harlan Ellison, Ben Bova, Lois McMaster Bujold, Lester del Ray, Gordon R. Dickson, Piers Anthony, John Varley, Anthony Burgess, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Jack Chalker, Madeleine L'Engle, Walter M. Miller, Jr., Deen Koontz, James S. A. Corey, R. A. Salvatore.

Read them all, mostly between the ages of 15 and 40 (I was so young then). Who have I missed that I should read before I expire?
Have you read Dan Simmons ILIUM and OLYMPOS?Two monstrous stories, amazingly well written stuff.It's no surprise he won the Hugo Award for HYPERION.I came across it purely by chance because I hadn't heard of him before but once I started reading it I really couldn't put it down.
 

Wally Ferrer

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Asimov, Clarke, Herbert, Simmons, Le Guin, Bradbury, Orwell, Orson Wells, Philip K. Dick, Verne, Orson Scott Card, Larry Niven, Huxley, Joe Haldeman, Michael Crichton, Anne McCaffrey, Samuel R. Delaney, Frederick Pohl, Roger Zelazny, Robert Silverberg, Tolkien (fantasy, but still...), Vernor Vinge, Jerry Pournelle, Philip Jose Farmer, Poul Anderson, Terry Pratchett, Andre Norton, Vonnegut, Alfred Bester, Theodore Sturgeon, Von Vogt, Harlan Ellison, Ben Bova, Lois McMaster Bujold, Lester del Ray, Gordon R. Dickson, Piers Anthony, John Varley, Anthony Burgess, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Jack Chalker, Madeleine L'Engle, Walter M. Miller, Jr., Deen Koontz, James S. A. Corey, R. A. Salvatore.

Read them all, mostly between the ages of 15 and 40 (I was so young then). Who have I missed that I should read before I expire?
Heinlein, Burroughs, Fredric Brown
 

PhilC

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I'd just finished a degree and was at a loose end. My wife bought me a starter kit thinking that it might amuse me for a few days. Two decades and many rockets later ...
 
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