There was lots of model rocketry news for Harry Stein
(aka "Old Rocketeer") to report in
the August 1962 edition of American Modeler. Centuri Engineering
was considered a new company that was going to provide competition
for Estes. The
A model rocket altitude record had just been established at
950 feet (1,027' in 2013) - by a 15-year-old boy. There is an amazing
photo of a 3-stage rocket model on a scale launch tower that is
hard to tell from the real thing. The fourth National Association
of Rocketry Annual Meet (NARAM-4) had just been held; this year
by Harry (Old Rocketeer) Stine
Records Rising; USAF To Pick Model Rocket Team
Nice, hey? TV puppeteer Don Sahlin built and photographed
this beautiful three-staged model on its launcher, clustered
engines ready to go. Umbilical tower strictly for show.
Looks almost real, doesn't it?
Record Stuff. National model rocket records
are funny things. Sometimes they're unbelievable. They can indicate
how the hobby is progressing. And it seems that you don't have to
be an old grey-beard like me to establish one. Just when I get to
thinking that a particular record is about ultimate in performance,
somebody sets a new one so much better that l'd think my own birds
must be flying with a brick tied to them.
For over a year, the NAR Class A Altitude record stood at 782
feet. Along comes Dennis Guill, 15 years old, of New Canaan, Conn.
with a hot new bird. During a contest at White Plains, N. Y. Dennis
sends his beastie to 950 feet. "It should have done better," he
said. In model rocketry for less than a year, this guy has real
potential, so look out for him at future national NAR meets! He's
already built a model carrying a wee camera that takes photos in
flight and flown a Class F model to 2,000 ft.
Besides Altitude. As you read this, the NAR
model rocket contest season should be in full swing around the land,
everybody getting sunburned tonsils trying to ace-out the other
guy on contest points. Some people who haven't got the Word yet
have wondered what sort of a model rocket contest you can hold other
than flat-out altitude. True, altitude is pretty good competition.
In fact, there are 10 straight-up sky-busting events in the NAR
sporting code. There are at this time engines in four different
ranges of total impulse ... and it is total impulse that cuts the
mustard in altitude, not thrust. (Care to see the calculations on
this?) But this leaves 15 other events for such things as scale
models, drag racing, payload carrying, flight duration, spot landing,
and etc. There are almost as many different contest events in model
rocketry as in model aviation!
Commercial Notes. Boost-gliders continue to
be the hot new item in model rocketry. A new manufacturer has brought
out another kit of this type. "Aero-Bat," by Centuri Engineering
Company of Phoenix, is a delta-wing job like the real Dyna-Soar.
Nice kit, good parts, good instruction; not too easy to put together
however, it flies well with Centuri, Estes, or Model Missiles engines.
All free-flight bugs, attention: No rocket boost-glider looks like
it can possibly fly, much less have a good flat glide. Surprise,
surprise! Boost-gliders fly fast, but; their sink rate is usually
about the same as or better than a hand-launched glider!
The new model rocket outfit, Centuri, is headed up by Leroy Piester,
a young industrial engineer and a reformed amateur rocketeer. Leroy
saw the light when he came to NARAM-3 in Denver, and he is now among
the most active model rocketeers. He also is senior advisor to the
Phoenix NAR Section, so he's got a good way to prove out his new
Centuri kits and engines! Must be nice to be in a club with a manufacturer.
Think of all that free stuff for "development."
The Phoenix NAR group, by the way, has its range located outside
of Phoenix in Moon Valley. Appropriate.
Hot Rumors Circulating. Rumblings of a new scale
model kit, a two-stage kit, and new engine types. Scuttlebutt has
it that new engines will provide several pounds of thrust for a
couple of seconds. Build a boost-glider around one of these, and
you can put an R/C set-up in to control it during glide! Rudder-only
should be enough, and the new engines should be able to lift an
Otarion receiver plus escapement. What a deal! Let her VTO during
powered phase, then R/C during glide to keep her from going over
Don Sahlin, NAR member and professional puppeteer of Hollywood
and New York, is doing some model rocket work for TV (witness the
fine photo of his 3-stager with Saturn-style clustered engines).
Don reports TV movie-moguls using model rockets for special effects.
They can build up a model of the Galactic Overlord's space ship,
launch it while photographing it in slow motion, and save beaucoup
dough. They fly the models on indoor sound stages, Don sez, and
just let those beautiful models prang against the ceiling. If I
bring my net and catch them, Don, can I keep them?
USAF Rocketeers. By the time you read this,
Air Force model rocketeers will be at it during the USAF Model Rocketry
and Airplane Contest, Lackland AFB, Texas. Red Thompson, Dave Bell,
John Barnes, Dave Barr, and Carl Klauck will probably tangle again.
Red tells me that he's been working hard ever since cleaning up
at last year's NARAM-3. But other flyboy rocketeers have come along
and I wouldn't be surprised to see George Upright take high points
at Lackland. USAF will choose their model rocket team at Lackland
to go to NARAM-4 in hopes of making the Air Force supreme in the
air ... in space ... and in model rocketry.
Short Shots. If you are having trouble finding
the right kind of small electrical clips for igniter end of firing
leads, try a simple paper clip. This is a genuine Old Rocketeer
invention. Solder the leads to paper clips, wedge igniter ends in
paper clips, and you are in business.
Another handy-dandy hint: To keep dope from shrinking and warping
thin fins, add 10 drops of castor oil per ounce of dope. Thanks
for this one to Allen Jones of Lexington, Kentucky.
Speaking of enthusiasts... Brent Norlem has
practically converted the whole town of Lompoc, California to model
rocketry. Lompoc, right next to the Pacific Missile Range, has become
the model rocketry capital of the West Coast with two NAR Sections
and support from PMR people. Brent has pioneered the use of our
hobby as a supplement for school courses in science. Says he now
has thirty rather well-educated students who owe their success to
the interest stimulated by model rocketry, plus another forty who
have benefited greatly.
Brent is somewhat of a phenomenon, a science teacher who understands
and teaches science ... and makes his students love it. The Lompoc
boys have done a number of interesting things, launching from water,
flying various payloads, etc. They are so darned busy flying that
I have trouble getting exact details out of them - by the time I
learn what they've done, they are doing something else that is new.
Brent follows the philosophy: Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
submitted its U. S. Model Rocket Sporting Code through AMA to the
FAI in Paris hoping to have international model rocket rules sanctioned.
This may be a long and involved process. But aerospace sports progress,
and NAA and FAI have done well keeping up with advances. We have
enough trouble staying up with model rockets, every year seems to
see a new type of a new event. How about having to stay on top of
space flight, aviation, parachuting, soaring, ballooning, and all
Us rocketeers hope that something gets stirring in FAI on model
rocketry, now that the hobby has established itself in the USA.
Only comment I have is that I got a case of "alphabet soup" trying
to keep up with it all: NAA, FAI, AMA, NAR, C.I.A.M., C.A.S.I.,
and probably XYZ too!
Good friends, if you want to get the hot skinny on model rocketry,
drop me a post card care of Ye Kindly Olde Editor of this magazine.
Note: a post card with your name and address written or printed
legibly thereon. With the amount of mail that comes pouring in,
it takes a couple of hours just to open envelopes alone. A simple
card is so much easier! I may not be able to answer each of you
personally, but I read every word you write and appreciate hearing
from you. We can make this column into anything you want, so tell
me what you want, too.
Everett on Rockets. Dick Everett, mentor of
the "Western Modeling" column, has a tough job in store for him.
He's gonna tell a bunch of aeromodelers all about model rocketry,
and in Japan to boot. I sympathize with Dick, considering that I
would sweat if I had to tell a group of model rocketeers all about
U-Control stunt in about twenty minutes time.
Posted June 7, 2014