Everyone Knows It’s Windy

After monthly launch cancellations from rain, cold, and rain again the wind was not going to deter HARA from getting out to the field February 24 on a mild sunny day. The brisk 10-15 mph breeze was challenging but flyable with a lot of fun, successful flights. The crowd was only a fair number attending and the range was done by early afternoon. The biggest motor flown of the day was the ‘L’ from UAH and then all the letters of the alphabet on down with everyone else. The next launch is scheduled for March 9 and may be the last of the season.

Photos by Drew Brackett, Patrick Morrison, Keith Nyman, and Greg Zsidisin.

More photos on the HARA facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064693116419

Launch is scrubbed for February 10.

Unfortunately rain is predicted all day (Saturday, February 10) at our launch site and we are forced to scrub the launch. However, we have a scheduled another launch attempt for Saturday February 24. Hopefully we can get clear skies in 2 weeks.

Year End News

Polar Bear Launch

A few HARA members braved the cold to start the new year flying rockets on January 1. Greg, Blake, Patrick, Vince and all the Aguilars convened at the Pegasus field for some low power fun. Even as a casual launch there were several interesting flights either on ascent or recovery.

HARA’s Holiday Party

Thanks to Doug and family for hosting a festive get together. The food was great with a house full of rocketeer celebrants. Bill Cooke was Santa Claus bearing wonderful gifts.

Inclement Date

The monthly HARA launch for December was rained out. The next scheduled launch at Woodville is January 13.

ARC Registration Ends with Participation Up

At the close of registration 12/1 there were over 900 teams signed up nationally for the American Rocketry Challenge, the most in the program’s 22 year history. Alabama had 34 teams listed which was less than the 38 last year, but the Huntsville area number had grown to eleven from the 2023 eight teams.

Game on for this year-

Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering (2 teams)

Civil Air Patrol – Redstone Squadron (SER-AL-119)

Columbia High School (2 teams)

Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama

St. John Paul II (4 teams)

Bob Jones High School

Note St. John Paul II came in third nationally last year.

Their official local qualification flights must be done by April 8 (solar eclipse day) to get flight scores that will earn one of the 100 spots at the National Finals on May 18 and a chance at the program’s $100,000 in prize money.

Veteran’s Day Launch

HARA’s November launch was a full day with 74 flights. An overcast sky hung over the range to discourage reaching for high altitudes but many flyers reached for and got their HPR certification. The day was treated by at least a half dozen rocketeers from the Birmingham Rocket Boys section who pilgrimmed up to fly. Families and student teams also enjoyed the mild temps and light winds with their flighs. Besides the big rockets there were scale models, odd rocs, gliders and gadgets. Pictures by Nick Boone, Debra Cook, Vince Huegele and Patrick Morrison. See more pictures at the HARA facebook page and the BRB page.https://www.facebook.com/BRB665

12 L1 Cert Flights    1 L2 Cert Flight

Class Motor

No. Flown


























HARA Launches for Blue Origin


The employees of Huntsville’s Blue Origin Engine Production facility had a family space day with HARA launching their rockets. It was a prodigious honor to provide the launch services for a local professional rocket company, or rather, their children. Blue Origin made the field arrangements at Research Park, got the motors and kits for their kids to build at home with their parents and then brought them out for HARA to launch on the club’s range equipment. The kits were mostly Wizards and Alphas on “A” motors so a single rack pad handled all the flights. About 60 rockets were launched by the seven club members supporting the event, including some of our own spooky Halloween models because it was late October and that’s when those fly. The warmer than average temps and light wind made the afternoon flying great. Although Jeff Bezos was reportedly in Huntsville that week he did not stay for the HARA launch. From the favorable family response this event may be held again next year. For more pictures go to the HARA facebook page https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064693116419

Honoring George

In a Graveside Memorial Service Saturday, September 30, 2023 At the Forest Hills Cemetery in Birmingham, Alabama, legendary U.S. Team Spacemodeling Champion and NAR Birmingham Rocket Boys Club Member; George Gassaway, was finally laid to rest with his parents as he requested.
Vince Huegele, and his wife Sharal, from Huntsville, Alabama attended George’s Memorial. Vince opened the Service with an inspiring New Testament Bible reading and words of reflection about George and how he was impacted by his life. Rocket Boys Club Member and Minister, Carol Witherspoon, also gave her reflections about George and his mother Margaret, and how George had become like family to her. Carol closed by praying an inspiring prayer and then turned the service over to me for the eulogy. As an Ordained Minister I was able to fulfill George’s request when he asked me in 2008 to officiate his mother’s Memorial Service, and to eulogize her.
In my eulogy of George I spoke of those last days I spent with him back in January of this year when he visited us. After helping him empty his storage unit of all of his rocket stuff, and loading it into his uhaul trailer to take back to his home in Minnesota, we had some quality time together. The Saturday before he left he attended our monthly Birmingham Rocket Boys Club rocket launch. George had been a member of our club for several years and had served as Vice President at one time. Little did I know then that it would be the last time that George would ever fly with us or that it would be George’s last rocket flight ever.
In honor of George, Birmingham Rocket Boys Officer, Rick Peek, assisted me in laying a wreath on his parents grave as I gave the committal of his cremains.
I want to say thanks to the Birmingham Rocket Boys for purchasing the wreath for George, and for assisting me to perform this service, and to Ed LaCroix and Keith Vinyard for securing George’s cremains so we could give him a proper Christian burial, and lay him to rest.  Rest in Peace George my Brother and Friend until when we one day meet again……Ron Witherspoon

George Gassaway Memorial Service

From the Birmingham Rocket Boys… George was an exceptional rocketeer and made numerous contributions to our hobby. A regular on the international team, he will be missed by those of us who knew him.

“Greetings BRB Club Members and Friends. As most of you know, back in May, we lost one of our Dear Friends and long time BRB Club Members, George Gassaway. While at home in Minnesota George succumbed to pancreatic cancer, but before he died he asked me to perform a memorial service for him here at his parents grave. After consulting with the Cemetery Officials, and BRB Officers, we have decided to hold a “Graveside Memorial Service” for George next Saturday, September 30th at 11:00 am. As an Ordained Minister and President of BRB, I will be officiating and conducting the Memorial Service which will be held at Forest Hill Cemetery, 431 North 60th Street (Birmingham, Alabama) 35212. I am asking all of our BRB Club Officers and Members to attend and am extending an invitation to George’s Friends to attend as well. In honor and tribute to George we will lay a special wreath on his parent’s grave, have a brief 40 minute Memorial Service which will include a prayer, scripture reading, testimonial and eulogy. For those of you who plan to attend I will permit you to sign your names in George’s Family Bible and to choose from a few of George’s personal rocketry collectibles to remember him by. The Forest Hill Cemetery can be seen from the Birmingham Airport Freeway Exit. Follow your GPS directions to the cemetery, enter the main entrance, go pass the office, pass through the main gate, turn right at the first road, proceed straight to the end of that road to section #34 where my White Silverado Truck will be parked at the Gassaway Family Burial Plot. Please join me and the Birmingham Rocket Boys as we pay our final Respects and Tribute to our Beloved Friend and Brother, George Gassaway. God bless you.

Workshop Set for 23-24 Rocketry Challenge

NAR Website Excellence Award Sustained

The winners of the 2023 NAR Section Website Excellence Awards were announced in July and HARA’s website came in Third Place. This was up from last year in finishing 4th. The judging was conducted by volunteer NAR members and this website ranked third out of over 120 websites that were judged. There are currently 240 NAR sections. See details at https://www.nar.org/find-a-local-club/section-guidebook/communications/website-excellence-award/

HARA’s website won first place in 2014.

Congratulations to all that contribute!

UAH wins 2023 NASA Student Launch Competition

The local rocket team from UAH outscored dozens of other schools to win the NASA University Student Launch Initiative (USLI.) Multiyear champion Vanderbilt was third. The results were announced a month after the April launch day. To be number one UAH consistently scored well in the sub categories: first in payload design, second in safety, third in vehicle design, altitude and outreach. The UAH team were regular flyers at HARA launches this year testing their rocket and certifying their team members. Congratulations!