When I began planning my trip to NSL 2018 I watched the New York host town of Geneseo on the weather channel map get so much record snow that I wondered if it would all be melted by Memorial Day weekend. It was. The quaint village looked a lot like Manchester, TN, a comfortable verdant community with a field large enough to have a warbird landing strip.
It was nice to get a large launch fix particularly since there is none to be had with HARA this summer. It’s also great to go to a launch and not have set up and run the range. The MARS club had done all that and was well organized.
I was only there on Saturday but for all of the 10 am -5 pm day and made six flights with four rockets, all on Aerotech E15’s provided by Chris’s Rockets. Chris and I were the only Alabama representatives. In my traveling arrangements I could not accommodate any HPR, but I did take some fun birds. Marvin the Martian in the Michael’s birdhouse did not fly so straight this time but had the chute out before the RSO could blow the horn. The Phoenix had a bit of tip off for a scale ‘acquire and seek’ flight profile but flew much truer on the second flight. My Quest Minotaur looked impressive on the pad (#5 in the photo) and going up. I flew my Estes Silver Comet twice with a Jolly Logic chute release and was saved many steps in walking to recover it.
The NSL boasted it boosted over a thousand flights that weekend and the deserves credit for the success. I saw several big rockets go up and my favorite was the N3300R in the upscale Big Bertha shown in the photo while the owner is interviewed for ‘the rocket show’.
There was a situation presented at this launch that merits comment. The NSL did not have quarter inch launch rods; they only offered rails for mid power and above. If you showed up with rockets with a quarter inch lug, you were told to put on rail buttons. The claim is that rails are safer and don’t whip like rods do. Fair enough; they are a preferred practice. But it is not fair to dismiss models built over the last thirty years with lugs as suddenly unsafe and not accommodate them. There’s a lot of Aerotech, LOC and PML kits and rockets built with those parts that need not be retrofitted with rail buttons. I hope that ranges will continue to have a pad that can take a ¼” rod because there are still a lot of rockets that will need them.
Of course a weekend full of rockets is cool, but this year’s two day launchfest had unseasonable low temperatures keeping flyers very comfortable for June. The previous week saw the passage of tropical entity Cindy dumping rain all over Tennessee and threatening the schedule, but Saturday was clear enough to set up the range on the soggy sod.
There is an annual event that draws sport rocketeers from all over to come fly their best rockets. You are invited to come to that event and be one of those rocketeers.
THE SOUTHERN THUNDER REGIONAL ROCKET LAUNCH
June 24-25, 2017, Manchester, TN
Meet some of the masters of the craft, shop for great deals and see amazing rockets. It’s a celebration of rocketry in low, medium and high power. Come out for a day or two, bring rockets to fly or just be there to watch, but don’t miss the flying circus that is Southern Thunder.
The Father’s Day Summer weekend launch is all about rockets and people. There were a lot of both this year and here’s what it looked like.
One of the best NARAM in recent years was well attended with many rockets (and no raccoons) launched from ‘A to O’ in motor size. The weekend sport launch included the student and intern flights mentioned in the post below while the rest of the week was competition and evening presentations. For the fifty-sixth year rocketeers convened to renew acquaintances, hear industry announcements, learn new skills and fly more rockets. Read more
(Original Story from AL.com)
Huntsville area middle and high school students had the chance to send their experiments out of this world in the 2014 Intern Rocket Program Launch sponsored by United Launch Alliance and Ball Aerospace.
Falcon Rocketeers, comprised of students from Butler, Grissom, Pope John Paul II high schools and Hampton Cove Middle, built two payloads that were shot into space last week in Pueblo, Colo.
ULA blasted off three intern rockets that launched 17 payloads. Alabama cotton along with teddy bears, barometers, accelerometers and a GPS device was shot into space, according to the ULA website.
The team solely represented Alabama in a field of 13 teams from around the country, including Colorado and Ohio.
Video Courtesy of ULA.
It was another wonderful June weekend of rockets in the green hills of Tennessee. Southern Thunder presents itself as a showcase of rocketry great and small and rocketeers young and old. Here are some moments of the longest days of 2014, because of the epic fun we had and that summer solstice thing. Read more
Launch Window Closes on Another Record Thunder!
Thanks to everyone who helped make Southern Thunder 2014 a reality. All of the planning, setup, and tear-down really is a tremendous amount of work and we appreciate all of the help. We also want to say thanks to everyone who came out to participate in this unique event. It is the community of people that make Southern Thunder such a great time. Thanks to the weather, we weren’t able to get our movie in or the 100 Rocket Salute, but we will keep those ideas in mind for next year. If you have any feedback or suggestions regarding Southern Thunder, please leave a comment.