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June 2, 2002

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Mad Dogs, Englishmen, and Rocketeers

(And That Crazy Italian Chick with the Digital Camera...)

James sets up launchpad

Yes, we were crazy enough to have a rocket launch when it was 95° degrees out.
Here James sets up the launch pad on the back of the truck.

Smart horses in shade

The horses, on the other hand, were smart enough to stay in the shade. :-)

AIM 4D Falcon

The AIM 4D Falcon launches!

Pencil like rocket

An Estes "Skywriter."
No, you're not crazy. It does look like a No. 2 pencil!

Golden Snitch

James found a plan for a "Golden Snitch" rocket in Sport Rocketry.
These are made from the round half of a plastic easter egg; the fins are paper.
It's an ideal first rocket--doesn't go too high and floats down close to home.

Bertha Launch

James tried something called "a St. Louis arch" with his Big Bertha.
You fasten a crepe paper streamer to a rocket fin and allow it to launch...

crepe streamer

...and the crepe streamer unreels. As the rocket falls to earth, it forms an arch.

Ghostbuster in tree

On the third arch, James didn't want to risk Big Bertha (it's autographed by Homer Hickam) again.
We put the streamer on the Ghostbuster, which now resides in a tree.

racing rockets

We did a couple of "rocket drag races." Here the Heat Seeker beats the Skywriter off the pad.

Bill and his son Christian set up rocket

Here's Bill and his son Christian setting up a rocket.

Super Big Bertha launches

Bill's favorite rocket is his Super Big Bertha. She has a nice launch here.
Then Bertha's luck changed...once her engine misfired...

retrieving Bertha

On her last launch her chute didn't open and she came down at least 800 feet head first.
Retrieval team (Christian's buddy David, Christian, Bill)--and the rocket!--look a bit down.

Bill turns the rocket around

But you can't beat Bill--he always keeps his...uh...chin up!

Horses return to pasture

Emily, Gussie, and Yellow return to the pasture--"It's about time!!"

Many thanks to David and Xander for rocket retrieval!!!