Washington Aerospace Club
National Association of Rocketry Section 578
Tripoli Rocketry Association Prefecture 41

2/2/2008 Meeting Minutes

Meeting began shortly after 7:00PM on February 2nd, 2008 at Peace Lutheran Church in Puyallup.

Old Business:

Hosting NARCON

Kent reports that Jim Wilkerson continues to explore hosting NARCON (NAR's annual conference) but we will not pursue holding NARAM (NAR's national launch).  The issue with hosting NARAM is our lack of a good place to hold a large launch in Western Washington.

Western Washington Launch Sites

Very little progress has been made in gathering data for the potential launch sites identified at http://www.washingtonaerospace.org/launch_sites/, but Steve McKibbin is still working on possible sites near McChord AFB. Dan Work also provided a slide show from three possible sites he scouted in Southwestern Washington. Dan even made contact with some of the locals, who seems agreeable to our use of the various locations.

Selling Launch Pads

Kent reports that he has done some follow-up with other local clubs (OROC and Tripoli Idaho) to gauge their interest in purchasing K-pods. The sale of such pads would be an excellent source of income for the club and give us the opportunity to continue improving our GSE. Both clubs have recently had changes in their BODs and will get back to us in the future when they have had a chance to evaluate their pad needs.

Alternate Mansfield Launch Site

Kent has measured our current Mansfield site, worked up some diagrams for the layout of a new site, and snail mailed them to Tom Snell. The idea is that Tom should have something physical in his hand when we call in the future to discuss the new site further.

Brad Wright brought up the question, "If we hold FITS at the new site, what will we do about our research launch?" The short answer was that maybe would would forgo research activities at FITS as it tends to suck the most experienced fliers from the commercial event, leaving the less experienced to run that portion of the launch. On top of that, due to the social nature of rocketeers, the two groups tend to miss each other.

Brad Wright also pointed out that there may be tasks in addition to grading required to make the new site ready for launches, such as planting grass to avoid flying from a "dust bowl". His concern that with this additional work, the site might not be ready in time for FITS this year. Kent suggested that the grading would probably be more along the lines of cutting down any existing vegetation, leaving something in the ground to hold the soil together and thus avoid dust problems.

Carl Hamilton asked what prevents the club from becoming self-insured so that commercial and research activities could occur at the same launch without restrictions on organization or certification level. The simple answer to the question is: money.  MDRA (Maryland Rocketry Association) is self-insured and may be a model to explore.  Kent will look into the possibility for the long term.

In the event that the alternate launch site is unavailable for FITS 2008, the issue of the potentially "occupied" house within the existing site's range was discussed. We may have to fly with a lower ceiling in order to exclude the building from the minimum required site dimensions.

Annual Dues

In order help us cover the higher expenses of hosting a large regional launch , annual dues will be raised from $30/year to $40/year per family. Additional expenses being faced just at FITS include higher support expense (primarily port-a-potty costs), groundwork at the new site, and possible compensation for lost crops at a new site.

New Business:

NW Model Hobby Expo

Mike Wyvel has graciously volunteered to organize the club's booth at this year's NW Model Hobby Expo at the Monroe Fairgrounds. It sounds like there have have been plenty of volunteers to man the booth over the two-day event.

NASA Future Forum

Bill Clugston reported that he had attended the NASA Future Forum at the Museum of Flight. During the Q&A portion of the presentation an audience member asked if restrictions on high-powered rocketry was hurting the country's space program. The response was that such limitations did seem to be way too "nanny state" and that the program has other problems to deal with as well, like the lack of good candidates from US schools.

Level 1 Certification Tips

Denny Smith talked about his recent level 1 certification, covering the kit he used (a BSD 4" Horizon), the changes he made to the kit, the motor he used for certification, and his overall approach to certifying. Kent also gave an overview of his level 1 certification and the some of his post-certification educational activities, including fiber glassing, electronics bays, and dual deployment.

Both Steve McKibbin and visitor "Chuck" are shooting for their level 1 certs this year and had lots of good questions there were enthusiastically answered by others.

Performance Tips

Performance tips was another topic on the agenda for the meeting, but while I'm sure it was discussed in small groups as the meeting wound down, it wasn't addressed formally during the meeting.


Andy Casillas
Bill Clugston
Bill Wyvel
Brad Wright
Carl Hamilton
Dan Work
Denny Smith
Kent Newman
Mike Wyvel
Paul Nelson
Robert Simpson-Clark
Steve McKibbin

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