Me and my 3/4 scale AMRAAM
My Name is Jack Anderson. I have been involved with High Power Rocketry since March, 1998. I got hooked when I stumbled across a website for UROC and went to one of their launches. UROC is the Utah Rocket Club . They are affiliated both with NAR and Tripoli.
In December 1997 for some reason I can't remember I dug out some of my old Estes rockets and launched them in the yard. I then decided to use some recently emptied Christmas wrapping paper tubes to try and build a bigger rocket. It flew successfully on a pair of C-6 motors. Now I was starting to get excited about the whole thing again.
I went to a local Hobby Town USA store and bought the Aerotech Initiator starter kit. I had never even heard of a "G" motor before, and now I had a kit that could fly on one. I flew my Initiator at a local school yard on an E-16. My first experience with mid-power was nearly disastrous. It took me and my Brother-In-Law an hour to assemble the reloadable motor. Evidently we did something wrong because my Initiator went up, turned around and came down just as fast with no parachute deployed. It crossed over the school yard fence and landed in a neighbors back yard. Fortunately his lawn was soft and the rocket stuck the first 4 inches of the nosecone firmly underground. With a little pushing and pulling we were able to work the nosecone free. The rocket was a little muddy, but completely undamaged. Now I had to prove to myself that I could do this. I had just spent $50 on a reloadable motor system, I couldn't give up now.
My next attempt was with a F-40 reload. I launched the Initiator out of my back yard. At the time we had a pasture next to our home that must be 10 or 15 acres. The flight and recovery were picture perfect. I soon found myself back at Hobby Town buying the Aerotech Mustang. I also started looking on the Internet for other Rocketry information. That is when my Brother-In-Law and I stumbled across UROC. We went out to one of their launches in March 1998. To say I was impressed would be an understatement.
By May, 1998 I was making my first truly high power model rocket. I joined NAR and bought a Public Missiles LTD 1/4 scale Patriot. I launched my Patriot at the May 1998 UROC launch on an I-211 and certified Level 1. As fate would have it, LDRS 17 was scheduled to take place on the Bonneville Salt Flats in September 1998 and UROC was the sponsoring club. My goal was to certify Level 2 during LDRS. I decided to build a scratch rocket to certify. I used 3" diameter mailing tubes from Office Depot wrapped in fiberglass. My fins were made from Lexan which is a Plexiglas like material that is used for bulletproof windows. Aerotech had an offer at LDRS to provide free Level 1 and Level 2 reloads for a few lucky people. I threw my name in for the drawing and was lucky enough to be one of the four people selected to get a free J-350 to attempt my Level 2. The representative from Aerotech saw my scratch built rocket and suggested that the Patriot would do better under the stresses on a J motor. He thought my Lexan fins would have too much flutter. I took his advise and flew my Patriot on the J-350. I had to add nearly a pound of weight to the nosecone to make the rocket stable with the J-350 in place. The rocket flew great, right up to the moment that the bungee cord snapped and my payload section and nose cone came down and shattered on the Salt surface. I wasn't about to give up, after all I still had my scratch built rocket. I bought a J-90 from Dr.Rocket and proceeded to assemble it and load it up in my scratch built rocket. This flight was even prettier than the J-350. It just kept burning and burning. The rocket arced over and the parachute deployed right at apogee. You would have thought that I had an altimeter, but I did not. The rocket floated down softly, landed in the Salt and earning me my Level 2.
While I was at LDRS I bought an Altimeter from Olsen Advanced Electronics and have been building rockets with electronics ever since. I am now Level 3 certified. I certified level 3 at Fire in the Sky in Mansfield , WA over memorial day weekend 2004. A complete page of my level 3 project is posted to this web site.
I now have quite a fleet of rockets including:
There are only two kinds of rockets: Those that have crashed and those that will crash. Here are those that have CRASHED!