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Who has there very 1st rocket?

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ATJOE1972

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My first rocket was an Estes Alpha 3 in 1976. It CATOed about 40 feet off the launch pad. I did a clone of it and launched it for the forty year anniversary of my first launch. The clone flew straight and true, with a perfect recovery. I guess a little experience and a lot of luck paid off 🚀
 

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Kevin O'Dell

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I don't have the FIRST one........but, I have a current one. The Estes Astron Alpha was my first (1966) and I've built about 5 since then. My current one is painted like the Estes version, White w/red nose cone, one red fin and adjacent panel. I did usr the big Alpha sticker with it. I was just finishing the 3rd grade when I got it. Home built launch pad and controller. I mowed lawns to support my habit....
 

vcp

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Have the wife's first rocket, an Alpha from 1970.
 

tjgray693599

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My very first was an Estes Mean Machine. At the tender age of nine, I built it in our house in Jacksonville and brought it with us to Kissimmee. I painted it with Aero Gloss Fuel Proof Dope and a small paint brush in the garage - apparently I needed some adult supervision. The fins were uneven - I glued a small square of balsa to the one that was further up the body tube than the others.
When we went to finally launch it, I heard my Dad say that it wouldn’t fly. Well it did, but a tall pine tree ate it as it majestically returned to the earth from its successful launch. I got back into rocketry with a vengeance and made another Mean Machine I bought off eBay. This one was black but has the plastic body tube coupler. Here’s the replacement. My daughters made me replacement decals when the water slide ones fell apart.
 

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DaveRKP

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Don’t you wish you could borrow a time machine for just one day and revisit some of those great moments 🚀👍
Totally enjoying this thread – it is taking me back sooooo many years ago. I started building / flying rockets in the early 60’s - probably around 1963.

First rocket was an Estes Alpha, but the first flight was nearly a disaster. My buddy and I did not have the financial resources to buy a real launch pad at the time, but I did have an Erector set and thought “How hard could this be?” With little appreciation for such concepts as minimal lengths for a launch rod, we used the longest rod in the building set which only extended a few inches above the top of the launch lug. Bottom line – first launch of that first rocket went immediately horizontal and we both quickly hit the dirt as the Alpha skitter past us. Surviving that potential disaster was the beginning of probably a six year phase of building and flying rockets together. That first Alpha probably ended up in a tree or a neighbor's roof since we launched most of our rockets from our front lawn.

A few years back though, and after becoming a BAR, happened to find my old Rocketeer’s binder in with some items my Mother had kept stored away for decades. This cloth-bound binder with the ‘iron-on’ patches on each cover was where I started organizing my rocket documents in earnest. As you can see in the pictures below it contains some real oldies such as a signed copy of Vern Estes first Technical Report, A Rocketeer’s Guide to Avoid SUICIDE!” (which I should have had before that first launch), my first copies of Estes Model Rocket News, my first copy of NAR By-Laws (heck I never even remembered that I was a NAR member way back then), and lots of plans for rockets that I someday wanted to build.

So, don’t have that first rocket, but I do have other pieces of those early Rocketeer days from long ago!

Really would like to borrow ATJOE1972’s time machine if he finds one…

IMG_3347.JPG IMG_3348.JPG IMG_3346.JPG IMG_3349.JPG IMG_3352.JPG IMG_3350.JPG IMG_3353.JPG
 
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ATJOE1972

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Totally enjoying this thread – it is taking me back sooooo many years ago. I started building / flying rockets in the early 60’s - probably around 1963.

First rocket was an Estes Alpha, but the first flight was nearly a disaster. My buddy and I did not have the financial resources to buy a real launch pad at the time, but I did have an Erector set and thought “How hard could this be?” With little appreciation for such concepts as minimal lengths for a launch rod, we used the longest rod in the building set which only extended a few inches above the top of the launch lug. Bottom line – first launch of that first rocket went immediately horizontal and we both quickly hit the dirt as the Alpha skitter past us. Surviving that potential disaster was the beginning of probably a six year phase of building and flying rockets together. That first Alpha probably ended up in a tree or a neighbor's roof since we launched most of our rockets from our front lawn.

A few years back though, and after becoming a BAR, happened to find my old Rocketeer’s binder in with some items my Mother had kept stored away for decades. This cloth-bound binder with the ‘iron-on’ patches on each cover was where I started organizing my rocket documents in earnest. As you can see in the pictures below it contains some real oldies such as a signed copy of Vern Estes first Technical Report, A Rocketeer’s Guide to Avoid SUICIDE!” (which I should have had before that first launch), my first copies of Estes Model Rocket News, my first copy of NAR By-Laws (heck I never even remembered that I was a NAR member way back then), and lots of plans for rockets that I someday wanted to build.

So, don’t have that first rocket, but I do have other pieces of those early Rocketeer days from long ago!

Really would like to borrow ATJOE1972’s time machine if he finds one…

View attachment 445841 View attachment 445842 View attachment 445843 View attachment 445844 View attachment 445845 View attachment 445846 View attachment 445847
Those are some great memories and collection of your rocket past. I’m glad you and your buddy survived the first launch. Always an epic moment when a rocket goes horizontal, even with a full length launch rod. If I‘m ever get lucky enough to find a time machine, you are more than welcome to borrow it. 😉👍🚀
 

Stewman

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Nice to remember your first flight, isn't it. I discovered model rocketry in 1967, seeing an Estes catalog a friend had. I read that catalog over and over until it was worn out. Bought the Alpha starter set with launcher and flew the first time on July 19, 1967. I was very surprised at the height it reached. It landed in a tree close to our school, too high to get to. I was devastated. But, two years later, it fell out of the tree and I was able to salvage the nose. It flies on another Alpha today. That was almost 54 years ago. And I am still as thrilled to fly today as I was back then.
Alpha #827.JPG
 

Matt Danison

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Here is my first rocket, an Alpha from 1973 that came in the very cool cardboard Estes Range Box for $9.99, a princely sum for a nine year old to accumulate. The nosecone has grass stains on it and the tube is shortened due to an unfortunate lawn dart experience that occured because I ran out of recovery wadding and used toilet paper instead. The fins are an odd shape because one of them got a nasty chip in it when it hit a chain link fence on landing. So I cut and sanded them all so they would look the same. It is yellow and white because I lost the rocket in Florida brush twice and decided I would hand paint it so it would be easier to find. On Alpha's last launch (in 1977) it went up perfectly and came down the same way. I watched it coming down by parachute and could see it would land in a front yard. It vanished in front of my eyes. I searched the ground everywhere and finally gave up. Two days later I saw it on my neighbor's backyard roof. I got my Zebco 33 and cast until I snagged the 'chute. Recovery completed, Alpha was retired.
0110211519a.jpg
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gldknght

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My first rocket was the Estes Challenger 1, during the summer of 1978. The rocket body and nose cone separated at ejection due to a faulty shock cord mount installation (my fault). Back in October I was able turn an Estes E2X into an Estes clone of the Challenger 1. It's not my original rocket, but is close enough:



Challenger1b.jpg Challenger1a.jpg
 

arconhi

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My first rocket was an Estes Alpha 3 in 1976. It CATOed about 40 feet off the launch pad. I did a clone of it and launched it for the forty year anniversary of my first launch. The clone flew straight and true, with a perfect recovery. I guess a little experience and a lot of luck paid off 🚀
I remember this rocket well. They must have made a million of them. A fun flyer.
Don’t you wish you could borrow a time machine for just one day and revisit some of those great moments 🚀👍
Yes, it would be nice to go back to those days. Here is my Rocketarium "Viking 7" Sounding Rocket I am putting together. A few more steps and ready for painting.
 

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ATJOE1972

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I remember this rocket well. They must have made a million of them. A fun flyer.

Yes, it would be nice to go back to those days. Here is my Rocketarium "Viking 7" Sounding Rocket I am putting together. A few more steps and ready for painting.
Wow! Your Viking 7 is coming along nicely. Hopefully you’ll have a shot with it before March, while you still have that big field 👍🚀
 

arconhi

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Wow! Your Viking 7 is coming along nicely. Hopefully you’ll have a shot with it before March, while you still have that big field 👍🚀
Thank you. Yes I will get it flying there. Sometimes life and weather throws us a curve ball and delays us. Also the WAC will fly too.
 

arconhi

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When I went to mid power in 1987. My first was an NCR Aerobee Hi 29mm. Lost it first flight. Here is # 2 in 1989 with and F20WL. Still have him. Nice impressive flight and recovery. 2.70 Diameter and 43 inch airframe. Watching it float down gracefully with a 24 inch parachute was awesome.
 

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GlenP

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not my first rocket, but the only rocket from my childhood collection that I did not lose, or damage beyond repair, is the Centuri Flying Saucer. Still a big hit with the scouts at our launch a few years ago...

 

green dragon

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Don't have any of my early rockets, long lost.

I do ,however, have my brothers first rocket he built - and Estes Alien Invader, circa 1978-9.
Spent about 6 months in a tree many many years ago, finally recovered. Needs a total restore, but has good memories, faded brushpaint, crooked non airfoiled fins and all. Need to grab a pic to post.
 

arconhi

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Don't have any of my early rockets, long lost.

I do ,however, have my brothers first rocket he built - and Estes Alien Invader, circa 1978-9.
Spent about 6 months in a tree many many years ago, finally recovered. Needs a total restore, but has good memories, faded brushpaint, crooked non airfoiled fins and all. Need to grab a pic to post.
Me too from the 70's. Is the Airframe still good on the Invader? It should be beacause of the paint. I had and Estes "Der Red Max" hung up in a tree for months and when I got it back after snow and rain it was still in flyable shape.
 

ATJOE1972

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Thank you. Yes I will get it flying there. Sometimes life and weather throws us a curve ball and delays us. Also the WAC will fly too.
Can’t wait to see them flying 👍 You can add wildfires and pandemics on the checklist of launch cancellations as well 😉
 

Stewman

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Cool pics - looks like a Big Bertha, which was one of earlier rockets from 1968 that I still fly, and do I see an Estes Tilt-a-Pad?
 

arconhi

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These are great photos of yesteryear. A rarity. This brings back memorys when I first started in the 70's. Fun times it was and its still fun with all the new technology we have now. I remember having the Wooden Altiscope with the fluid in the tube and the steel bar that you pressed up against it to see where the bubble stopped at.
 

arconhi

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I remember this rocket well. They must have made a million of them. A fun flyer.

Yes, it would be nice to go back to those days. Here is my Rocketarium "Viking 7" Sounding Rocket I am putting together. A few more steps and ready for painting.
Here is a photo of the rocket in the catalog .30 inches with 1.64 airframe diameter.
 

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arconhi

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I still have the Alpha I built in June 1997, and I fly it about once a year. A motors only, I will not risk its loss. It did make its annual flight on an A3-4 Q-jet this year for a little change of pace.
I would nurse it on low power also. To good to lose. So far this Sunday looks good for weather if you are still interested in flying here. I will keep and eye on the developements of the weather. No problem if you can't make it. Here is a couple of photos of the Rocketarium "Viking 7"kit Im building. The finished photo is how I will paint it. Jimmy
 

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bronicabill

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My first Estes rocket was the Astron Falcon boost glider... back around 1970 or so. Never flew it under rocket power but enjoyed gliding around the back yard. No telling what happened to it as it's been LONG gone.

However, I do still have what was probably my third Estes rocket built around 1980-84; a two-stage model with clear payload section (can't remember the name of the rocket... it's been too long ago). I didn't fly it until around 15 years ago for the first time. I didn't stage it properly and the booster section got stuck on the upper stage after booster burn-out, and it cooked the booster section quite thoroughly! I did rebuild it but the paint match is no longer perfect since the original white paint is somewhat yellowed with age. Oh well, it still flies! :headspinning:;)

Edit to add: Did some research and figured out the rocket name in question was the Hercules, kit #1377.
 
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