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

4/10/10 Meeting Minutes

The meeting began shortly after 7:00PM on April 10th, 2010 at the Peace Lutheran Church in Puyallup.

March Launch Report

Carl Hamilton reported that the March launch, Spring Festivus, was a success. Despite it being the earliest launch the club has ever held at Mansfield, turnout was good, with an exceptional number of people coming for just the day on Saturday. The range consisted of three high-power pads, three mid-power pads, and a rack of low-power pads. However, for this launch two high-power and two mid-power pads would have been sufficient. The weather on Saturday was excellent with lots of sun and light winds and there were a total of 63 flights. The weather on Sunday was not as cooperative, as predicted, and only three flights were made before the range was taken down. Carl's full launch report can be found on the Northwest Rocketry website.

April Launch

Kent Newman will be the launch director for "AP Check", our April launch, which will take place at the Sportmen's Club in Mansfield over the weekend of the 24th and 25th. It is still being decided whether the entire trailer will be hauled to the launch or not. If you have a vehicle capable of towing a trailer and are planning to attend the launch, please contact Bryan Whitemarsh.

PA Issues

While the club's new public address system was a huge improvement over our old system, there were some issues with its debut at FITS last year. Kent Newman has been trying to track down the source of a nasty whine it produces periodically. It doesn't appear to be feedback; the current theory is that it is being caused by a drop in voltage when the system demands more current and the generator can't keep up. The generator we were using (a Honda EU2000i) should have been sufficient, but it's possible that it was in "econo" mode which allows it to reduce its RPMs when its load is low. Possible approaches to solving the problem are: getting a bigger generator, adding a UPS to the system, and/or getting a power conditioner. Without more information, no conclusions were made, but Kent Newman will continue to chase the problem. Thanks, Kent!

TARC Finalists

All four TARC teams from Ingraham High School and the rookie team from Kentwood High School made the finals this year. Congratulations to all of the students, their teachers, and their mentors, Peter Schurke and Bryan Whitemarsh!


Jim Wilkerson and Carl Hamilton report that they will be travelling to Huntsville, AL next week for the the USLI and SLI launches, that will be taking place April 17th and 18th. Jim is helping out NAR while Carl is traveling with the Ingraham High School teams.


Jim Wilkerson reports that he has been approached by John Lyngdal about the possibility of Washington Aerospace hosting NAR's annual convention, NARCON, in 2011. The hope is that the convention would be tied in with the arrival of the G. Harry Stine display at the Museum of Flight. Obvious concerns are finding a Seattle-area hotel that can handle the load of the convention and finding an adequate, nearby flying field. If you are interested in helping with this, please contact Jim Wilkerson.


Seth Wallace brought his ARLISS rocket and talked about the ARLISS program. ARLISS stands for "A Rocket Launch for International Student Satellites". It is a program that allows college teams from around the world to build payloads (originally known as CanSats) that are then flown in rockets built by experienced fliers. This benefits the teams because they can focus on the payload and it benefits the fliers, because the teams pay for the M1419 motor used for the flight. The ARLISS rocket design has been standardized so that the students know exactly how much room they have and that their project will fit in any of the rockets available at the ARLISS launch, which occurs over the days preceding XPRS on the Black Rock Desert. Last year there were between 10 and 15 teams with rockets and 50 flights. For 2011, research flights will be allowed between ARLISS launches. If you are interested in more information, contact Seth Wallace or check out the ARLISS website.

FITS Update

Dave Randall gave an update on the progress of FITS preparations.

A press release has been drafted for the launch. Once it has been fully reviewed, it will be posted on sites like Rocketry Planet.

An announcement for the launch has been posted to the Northwest Rocketry email list.

The entire fireinthesky.org domain has been pointed to http://www.washingtonaerospace.org/fits.php and the FITS content on the WAC site has been updated for 2010, including the volunteer sign-up sheet.

The beloved bright orange "STAFF" t-shirts will be available once again for people running the things.

Dave and Brad Wright plan to arrive on Thursday with the trailer to get things setup before the research launch on Friday.

Vendors this year will be split between two different locations: A (up on the knoll to the east) and B (west of the dirt road into camp). So far Puget Sound Propulsion will be in the "A" location and Sunriver and Tragic Little Aerospace will be in the "B" location. Dave and Brad are still waiting to hear back from other vendors.

Mike Bennight has volunteered to run the two scheduled competitions: a Der Red Max drag race and the team building, predicting, and flying contest known as "Are You Faster than a Cub Scout on Sugar?". Checkout the FITS website for more details.

The Tacoma Astronomical Society will be at FITS again this year, letting people gaze into the heavens through nice telescopes at night. Carl Hamilton asked that somebody get him a list of the TAS members that will be attending so that he can be sure to show they are "guests" at the launch.

While we had a volunteer to organize and run a kids program, due to unforeseen issues, that volunteer may not be able to attend FITS. If you would like to help out with this worthy project, please contact Dave Randall.

Dave printed up a bunch of WAC and FITS flyers and left them at the Hobby Town USA in Redmond. They were all gone very quickly and rocket sales in general are reported as being "brisk". We'll make sure that both flyers are available on the WAC website so that other members can print copies and drop them off at local hobby shops.

There will be lots of FITS 2010 memorabilia available this year: stickers, mission patches, hats, and shirts. Shirts will be available at short-sleeved t-shirts, long-sleeved t-shirts, and denim button-downs. Sizing and prices will be posted on the FITS website when they have been finalized.

Recovery Systems

Kent Newman was prepared to give a presentation about recovery systems and their design, but we didn't have a projector, so it will be done next month.

Tender Descender

Cameron Tinder spent the winter designing and producing the Tender Descender, a device that can be used for dual deployment with a single break in your rocket's airframe. Puget Sound Propulsion will be carrying these devices and Dave Woodard was on hand to show samples and explain how the device can be used. Please contact Puget Sound Propulsion or Cameron Tinder for more details.

Avionics Bay Discussion

As part of our discussion of avionics bay designs, Dale Woodford brought and showed off the bay from his 6" level 3 project. People also discussed various types of switches, how to mount them, batteries, and how to secure them.

Upscale Mustang

Kent Newman showed off the progress on his upscale Aerotech Mustang. It's a nice looking 4" fiberglass rocket. In the process, Kent explained how he built "pockets" on the motor mount from the centering rings and strips of balsa for the fins. Since this rocket has a 3" motor mount, there is very little room between the motor mount and airframe to build the internal fillets in a conventional through-the-wall design. These "pockets" are constructed before motor mount is glued into the airframe and provide plenty of surface area for the fins to bond to.


Bob Jimerson
Brad McClure
Bryan Whitemarsh
Carl Hamilton
Chuck Tenesch
Dale Woodford
Dave Randall
Dave Woodard
David Walp
Dustin Knie
Ian Walp
Jim Wilkerson
Kent Newman
Mike Bennight
Nathan Shelby
Robert Geer
Robert Simpson-Clark
Seth Wallace
Steve McKibbin

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