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

12/5/09 Meeting Minutes

The meeting began shortly after 7:00PM on December 5th, 2009 at Peace Lutheran Church in Puyallup.

Old Business

Officers for 2010

Candidates for the 2010 board of directors will be accepted through Friday, December 11. The positions are: president, secretary/treasurer, and equipment manager. As it stands right now, the only people running are the current officers: Kent Newman, Carl Hamilton, and Mike Wyvel.

Launch Controller

We were hoping to have Vern Knowles build a wireless launch controller to replace our current low-power, high-power, and away cell controllers. Unfortunately for us, Vern is very busy and wouldn't be able to deliver a working system until the end of 2010. While we would love to get a system from him, we may need to have something sooner. Robert Simpson-Clark has a wireless prototype that he feels could be extended to meet our needs (e.g. sufficient channels and support for drag races). If we wanted continuity checking at the LCO table, however, Robert admits that that would be "hard" for his current design. At the same time, Ray Stoner of Spokane is working on a prototype for a personal controller that may be expanded to meet the club's needs. Both options will be pursued.

New Business

2010 Launch Schedule

In addition to the club's normal April, May, and October commercial launches, we added a September launch in 2009. This launch will be back in 2010 and we are also adding a launch in late March and possibly a commercial launch in June. As it stands, our launch schedule for 2010 will look something like shown below; exact dates are still being worked out. The dates of the CRP restrictions that prevent us from flying from the Snell Ranch for part of the year change annually. Kent will be calling the powers-that-be and confirming with Tom Snell this week to get the dates for 2010.

March27-28TBDNew for 2010
April24-25Sportmen's Club
May28Sportmen's ClubFITS research day
May29-31Sportmen's ClubFITS
June26-27Sportmen's ClubTRA research/commercial launch
September25-26Snell RanchOne week after XPRS
October23-24Snell Ranch

Fire in the Sky 2010

Dave Randall shared with us some of the ideas he has for FITS 2010 (other than all of the great flying). Dave is investigating the resurrection of a popular sticker design from a few years ago and creating a FITS 2010 "mission patch". These two things would be in addition to the popular FITS t-shirts.

Dave also suggested inviting an aerospace-related speaker (e.g. an astronaut) to the launch to give a talk. There was concern that the cost would be prohibitive and there isn't an adequate venue for such a talk. Regardless, he may investigate further to determine whether it would be feasible.

We may try to organize a group-build-and-fly contest, where competing groups are given a bunch of parts, have a limited amount of time to build a rocket and predict its flight details, and then fly that rocket. The group closest to their estimate would be the winner.

Everybody loved the "Fatboys to the Moon" competition from a couple of years ago, so something along those lines will hopefully be planned. This may end up being a group drag race (see below).

We haven't had the weather balloon group at FITS for a couple of years. There was interest in inviting them this year mostly because of the opportunity for kids to get involved.

There have been numerous events at launches in the past that have not been well attended because people were unaware of them. This year, we're going to try to improve the flow of information about these events. We may try a large schedule posted near the registration and RSO desks, and provide a more formal list of announcements to be made regularly by the folks at the LCO table.

Dave recently had a conversation with Jack Garibaldi of What's Up Hobbies. Jack stated that, if we were interested, he would drive his 30' trailer full of rocket goodness to FITS as a vendor. Although everybody at the meeting wants to support our local vendors, if Jack's inventory fills a gap that isn't currently filled, it would be nice to have an additional vendor on-site. As part of this conversation, it was decided that vendors at FITS should be moved to the west side of the road on the west side of the RV/camping area.

As part of the discussion of group buys, we want to organize a group buy for a specific rocket kit and motor combination for a group drag race at FITS. The Peformance Rocketry Gizmo was suggested as as possible kit and Warp9 and VMax were mentioned as possible propellants for the motor. This should be fun!

Our new PA system was fantastic at FITS 2009, not only for the launch announcements, but also for the occasional music between racks. We're going to try to be more organized about the music this year, hopefully with the National Anthem starting the flying each day, and then a good selection of music between all racks.

Website Update

We would like to merge the existing club website and the Fire in the Sky website to project a more unified message. Carl Hamilton will be pursing this over the new few months.

Trailer Improvements

The new trailer has been a great investment for the club so far. However, it can be difficult to get stuff in and out of it. We would like to improve its storage organization by adding shelves where appropriate. We will likely volunteer the help of Andy Casillas for this.

Club Marketing

We would like to improve increase our presence in the community and hopefully our membership by marketing the club more actively. Part of this will be the update to our website, but Andy Casillas pointed out that the most effective marketing is through paper newsletters distributed through hobby shops. Dave Randall confirmed this notion, pointing out that the Hobby Town USA ran out of the fliers for the Father's Day launch at 60 Acres and had to print additional copies. We will be trying to track down and update the tri-fold flier that we used to make available at All Hobbies.

Group Buys

One of the club goals for 2010 is to organize one or two group buys for members. Among the meeting attendees, there was definite interest in a group buy for ematches and motors, but not black powder. In conjunction with the possible organized drag race at FITS, there may be a group buy for a specific kit and motor combination.

Trauma Kit

Bryan Whitemarsh got a great deal on a trauma kit for the club trailer. He removed some of the unimportant items from the kit and augmented it with supplies that are likely to be needed in the event of a rocket-related injury. Thanks, Bryan!

Public Address System

Kent acquired two additional speakers for our new PA system that will improve our coverage on the range. He has also investigated what is needed to reduce the feedback problems we have seen in the field and will take care of that.

More 1/4" Rods

Bob Jimerson raised an observation he made at several launches: the few 1/4" rods that are available on the range have become a choke point for flyers. We have been encouraging people to equip their rockets with rail buttons, but many new flyers come to their first launch with an Aerotech kit with 1/4" lugs. We should make the launch experience for these people (and everybody) more enjoyable by providing more rods compatible with their lugs. This shouldn't be a problem; we have the GSE, and will ensure that the Pad Manager is aware of the up and down demand.

Rail Adapters

At the September launch, Carl Hamilton could only find two rail adapters for our mid-power pads. We have six of these pads, we should have at least five adapters for them. Carl will follow up with Mike Wyvel.

Holden's Hobbies Holiday Event

Chris Holden, of Holden's Hobbies, is planning a holiday event at his shop on December 19th. He will provide some food, maybe have some door prizes, and maybe hold a white elephant gift exchange. The goal of the event is to hang out, talk rockets, and enjoy the holidays. This would be a great event to attend to stock up for the 60 Acres launch scheduled for the next day

Show and Tell

We had a fantastic show and tell session following the meeting. Kent and Denny both brought minimum diameter rockets to show. Bryan Whitemarsh brought the fin slotting router jig he recently built. Bryan also describes the jig in an excellent article he authored for the Northwest Rocketry website. Robert Simpson-Clark had parts from his amazing 38mm carbon fiber project to show off. There were a few other bits and pieces of rockets brought by various members, some for show and some for questions. We will strive to have this level of participation after all meetings in the future.


Andy Casillas
Bob Jimerson
Bryan Whitemarsh
Carl Hamilton
Chris Holden
Chuck Tenesch
Dave Randall
Denny Smith
Kent Newman
Paul ?
Robert Simpson-Clark
Ryan Williams

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