Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Next launch December 6th, Club Meeting and potluck December 7th.


We'll try for our last launch of the year on December 6th at Horning #2. One last try for the 2014 contest and Loki 2014 contest. We'll be there from 10:00am - 5:00pm. Flights to 4000' (but you might want to check the wind forecast).


Let's hope the polar vortex stays at the north pole where it belongs!


Our annual club meeting and potluck will be held on December 7th at the Grotto club (102 E. Washington Ave. in Jackson). We will once again elect club officers and hold our raffle and auction. We would like to see as many members attend as possible and bring with you a dish to pass and any items that you can donate to the raffle and auction. There will also be a cash bar available. We generally raffle off bits and pieces and auction off the more pricier items. The meeting is also a good time to update your membership for next year.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Next launch November 8th at Horning #2

We'll be there from 10:00am until 5:00pm. Flights to 3000' are allowed.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Next launch October 11 at Horning #2

We will be at Horning #2 be there with rockets!
Setting your map to 11423 Bethel Church Rd, Manchester, MI will get you pretty close.
Or GPS to N42 degrees 10.842 minutes, W83 degrees 57.022 minutes (note degrees, decimal minutes)
Flights to 3000'

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

NAR Contest Launch Results!

Here are the results of the NAR contest launch held on September 27.

From Buzz Nau:

I want to thank everyone who turned out for JMRC's first NAR contest whether you flew competition or put in some sport fights. It was laid back, great weather, and wonderful friends. We had 9 contest entries which is around what I was expecting. We made enough money in fees to get port a john cleaned. Bonus!

I also want to thank Jay Calvert of Impulse Buys for showing up with motors and also adding to the competition and my sister-in-law Carol for handling a lot of the data collection for most of the day.

Highlights - Tony Haga did really well for his first contest. Despite some motor ejection problems which left him out of placing in D alt his altitudes were very close to Art's first place mark of 462 meters. Second place was Michael Rangitsch of Saginaw with 424 meters. Third place was Buzz with 385 meters followed by Al de la Inglesia with 377 meters. Mark Chrumka had a flight to 149 meters for flight points.

There were only two entries in D BG. Buzz flew an old competition pop-pod D glider, but the ejection charge was a little too much separating parts on the pod. The glider's turn was a bit too tight as well. His second flight was a hitchhiker glider on a MRC IronMan for 34 seconds. Mike tried an Edmonds glider with a D10, but it unfortunately met the speed of balsa and tore itself apart.

Tony did better in D streamer. His first flight was 56 seconds, good for 3rd place, but he spit the motor on his 2nd flight. Art took first with a single flight of 122 seconds. Al took second with 97 seconds and Buzz placed fourth with 54 seconds. Fred Ziegler and Mark also made qualified flights.

Tony really shined in Open Spot Landing setting his Big Bertha just 7 meters from the mark. Mike challenged him though with a flight landing just 13 meters from the spot. Al managed third landing 20 meters off followed by Art at 28. Qualified flights were alsoflwon by Jay, John Potts, and Buzz.

The Random Duration time of 112 seconds was determined by slapping the change from Tony's pocket on the table and counting all the coins that landed heads. Buzz flew an original Centuri Starfire on a C6-7 which took first place with an error of 3.9%. Mike Was very close behind with a 4.5% error. Tony was third at 14.6% followed by Art with an error of 39%. Other qualified flights were flown by Al, Fred, and Jay.

We also had a classic kit contest just for fun and not at all adhering to the NAR rules for the event. Through a show of hands, Mark won the event with his Centuri Draconian Marauder. Other entries included Tony's Interceptor E, Fred's Ram Jet, Buzz's Star Fire, and Art's Nike X.

We had no A, B, or teams division entries. All nine fliers were C division.

Below are the results total results. I will post a flight sheet showing all the events and places this week after I get it entered into Contest Manager. Buzz barely edged out Art mostly due to being the only one to collect points in the D boost glider event.

Again, I can't thank everyone that attended enough for showing up, trying something new if it was your first time, but mainly having fun with a bunch of great folks. Lets do it again in the Spring!

Place Name Points
1 Buzz Nau 576
2 Art Upton 536
3 Mike Rangitsch 346
4 Tony Haga 248
5 Al de la Iglesia 236
6 Mark Chrumka 56
7 Fred Ziegler 42
8 Jay Calvert 30
9 John Potts 8

Monday, September 15, 2014

Next launch September 27th at Horning #2!

We are trying something new! 


The first JMRC NAR sanctioned contest launch!

Please note that this is a bring your own equipment (launch pads and controllers) event and will be run "mis-fire alley" style. The JMRC trailer will not be available. And bring something for lunch as well as the JMRC cafe will not be serving.

Rockets on "D"raft


D Altitude (altimeter)
D Boost Glider
D Streamer Duration
Spot Landing
Random Duration

Provisional Event - Classic Model

Contest Director - Buzz Nau

Entry Fee - $5 (to help cover port-a-john). No other launch fees will be charged for this event.

If you have any questions please send a note to Buzz at

Here is some more information on contest launches courtesy Buzz Nau.

There are several documents you should be familiar with before your first contest meet. They are,

NAR United States Mode Rocket Sporting Code aka Pink Book

NAR/CAR/TRA Combined Certified Motor List

NAR Certified Altimeter List

That's really all you need. The rule book, the list of motors you can use and altimeters (if the event calls for it). That's it.......... If only it were that simple. Below is a list of guides ad articles to help you on the road to contest flying.

To start I recommend reading Jeff Vincent's "Flying Your First Contest" for a great basic intro.

Also, George Gassaway's "General Competition Tips" is an excellent read. George has been flying competition for a very long time and has great ideas to steal, er... borrow!

The pink book is the book competition fliers love to hate. A lot of it reads like lawyer mumbo jumbo and leaves you crying that there has to be a better way to describe this stuff. Fortunately several folks have taken on the task and have written pretty easy to digest Pink Book primers. Jeniffer Ash-Poole wrote a really nice "Guide to Competition for the Casual Competitor" ,

O. Lee James also wrote the "The Pink Book Lite" which is another quick and dirty guide to navigating the various events,

I recommend reading these especially if you find explanations in the official Pink Book lacking or confusing. You're also welcome to fire any question you have to me or the JMRC mail list. There's plenty of other experienced competition fliers besides myself on the list.

Competition is a lot of fun. I enjoyed it for 10 years and performed well in regional meets and NARAMS. There can be a dark side to contest flying though. Kevin Wickart's "Contest Etiquette" article does a great job of explaining the various types you might run into at a meet. I can definitely say in all my time flying contests that running into a poor sportsman is the rare exception and not the rule.

Unfortunately it only takes one to ruin a good time. A good contest director is quick to identify when this is happening and stop it before it spoils the good mood being had by all. Kevin's article can be found here,

If you are looking for supplies this is a good list for find vendors,

Here is a page with contest plans you can use, borrow, up/down scale, or serve as inspiration for your own designs.

Streamer and Altitude:

Streamer and Altitude events share many of the same attributes and strategies. In both cases you want to build minimum diameter, small thin fins, smooth finish, ogive nose cone, and low impulse motor. The main difference between the two is the size of the recovery streamer. In streamer duration you want to pack the largest streamer possible and in altitude you want the smallest possible. It is possible to use the same model for both events though a SD model may be longer to accommodate the streamer.

There is a lot of good advice on the NAR’s Competition site for Altitude events.

Here is the link to the Streamer Duration page with advice on streamer material, folding and attachment.

General Tips

Drag Reduction

Do not use launch lugs

Make smooth fin fillets or no fillets

Keep away from sharp angle transitions to avoid flow separation

Maintain a clean nose cone body tube joint

Avoid conical nose cones

Use blunted 2-to-1 to 3-to-1 ogives (This prevents flow separation during slight nose oscillations) Prevent fin tip vortex drag by using elliptical fins or sanding a sharp taper in the tip chord

Launching: Use a tower/piston combination, don't exaggerate launch angles to compensate for wind.

Construction: Balsa is lighter than waferglass. Waferglass is thinner, easier to finish, and more durable.

Kraft paper is lighter than phenolic. Phenolic is more durable, easier to finish, and will not crimp, but it will crack. Repairs easy with CA.

Use velum airframes for the lightest models. Harder to build than phenolic and waferglass but cuts weight by more than half.

Stay with the minimum diameter. Exception is 13mm events. One "throw away" model can be built with an 18mm chute compartment or a velum airframe that tapers from 18mm down to 13mm for an extra large chute.

NOTE - Vellum construction is a “hard core” technique and I would highly advise against it until you have flown the event and qualified consistently.

Streamer Duration Tips:

Streamer Material: Mylar and mica film are the best choices. Both are thin, light and hold accordion folds well.

Folding: Make 0.5"-1.0" accordion folds starting at the attachment point for 2 thirds of the total length.

Attachment: Mount shock line externally. Use Kevlar and avoid elastic polyester or rubber shock lines. With an expended motor installed, find the CG and tape the shock line to the airframe at that point. Attach shock line to one corner of the streamer, not the center.

Altitude Tips:

Generally you want to fly minimum diameter and generally you don’t have an advantage to staging (altitude is one event that allows staging). In the case of D Altitude there are composite 18mm D motors that can be used, the D8 being a very popular one. If you are approaching this event casually and still want to be competitive it’s worth a look at staging a pair of C6’s.

Spot Landing:

Spot Landing is divided into three classes, parachute, streamer, and open (either or). Everyone hosts open spot landing though. As defined in the Pink Book,

"The purpose of this competition is to land the entry so that the tip of its nose cone is closest to a predetermined spot on the ground."

Seems simple enough. How is it scored?

"Spot Landing Competition shall be scored as follows: the distance between the tip of the nose cone (or motor nozzle if the model has no nose cone) of the model and the target spot shall be measured by the officials. If the tip of the nose cone lands more than 50 meters from the spot, the model shall not place, but shall receive flight points; otherwise, the model shall be given a score equal to its distance in meters. The contestant achieving the smallest score shall be the winner."


From a competition tips & strategies talk that Al de la Iglesia and I did at the 94 MASCON,

"Open Spot Landing -

Kind of a crap shoot really. The spot is always random, the weather and wind is always different, your launch angle is unlikely consistent. The best advice is to use a short, large diameter model with a streamer and low impulse motor."


From the NAR Competition page,

"The location of the target spot is set by the contest director prior to the start of the event. The spot might be placed close to the launch site, or it might be set farther away. Both options provide challenges.

The standard strategy is to fly a very simple model. The launch rod or tower is usually tilted (within 30 degrees of vertical) to send the rocket towards the target. The model typically has a small recovery device (streamer or parachute) to minimize drift due to wind. An alternate approach is to use featherweight recovery to further simplify the flight. "Flying Saucer" models are popular."


Random Duration is is one of three classes from the Precision Duration event. The other two classes are Predicted and Set. As the names imply Predicted means you predict the duration time (greater that 30 sec min), Set means the Contest Director sets the duration at the time of the meet announcement (range of 30 to 120 seconds). Random means the Contest Director randomly selects a time (range30 to 120) at the day of the meet.

As you might think, random duration is the hardest of three. From the 94 MASCON seminar,

"Random Duration -

The closest thing to Wheel of Fortune in the Pink Book. You can try and actually plan for this event or just bring along a predicted duration rocket you are consistent with and make changes in impulse and streamer size to try and hit the mark."


Of course this is assuming you "have" a predicted duration rocket that you have tested extensively. Right, only BTC's (big time competitors) have one of those. However, it isn't hard to take a small rocket like a Centuri/Semroc Javelin or an Estes Wizard and time it with a B6-4 and a 20" crepe paper streamer. IIRC you'll get close to 45 seconds. Try it with a C6-3. Again with a smaller streamer. You get the point. After a handful of sport flights you should have a pretty good idea what time you get with different motor / streamer combinations. You will get more consistent times using an unfolded streamer than a parachute.

From the NAR competition page,

"Random Duration. This is a very challenging event since the target duration is not known until immediately before the event. One strategy is to have single model that can be widely adjusted including mass, recovery device size, and motor impulse/size. A second strategy is to have a family of models that are targeted to specific durations or ranges of duration. For either strategy, many test flights may be needed to tune the model(s)."

Boost Glide

Boost gliders come in all shapes, sizes and types. There's front engine (pop-pod), rear engine, scissor wing, parasite, flop-wing, etc, etc, etc... Estes published several Tech Reports on gliders whose information still holds up well today and explains well many of the different types of boost glider.

George Gassaway has an article specifically on D Boost Glider and mentions some kits that can be used. Unfortunately, it looks like QCR is no longer around and Edmond kits are getting hard to find.

Regardless, it's still a good article to read in D BG specifically.

There are plenty of pod-pod, front engine boost glider designs that can be upscaled for D and there is also Trip Barber's D-Light plans for a D powered BG.

If you are inclined to design your own pop-pod front engine BG a great place to start is reading Dr. G. M. Gregorek's "Design Rules For Boost and Rocket Gliders". I reference this when designing my own. The guidelines are simple to follow and will result is a solid performing glider.

Trip Barber's "Competition Boost Gliders" is another excellent guide.

Geoff Landis has a more detailed more detailed article on gliders and aerodynamics located here.

The best designed and best built glider is useless if it isn't trimmed well. There are several good articles on trimming your glider. David Newill has a very good two page article to get started.

Kevin McKiou also has a good article on trimming.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Next launch September 6th at MIS.

Our next launch is September 6th at the Michigan International Speedway, Graves campground site. Please check the 'Launch Fields' tab above for details. Flights to 3000' are allowed.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Muskegon launch report!

    by Buzz Nau

The inaugural “Crap Shoot I” launch was held on 19 & 20 July 2014 at the SMASH/MMAR field near Muskegon, MI. The event name refers to the large water treatment “ponds” nearby that are affectionately referred to as “Lake Icky”. The event was a joint launch between SMASH, MMAR, and JMRC. Turnout was rather light on Saturday, but picked up on Sunday. Representing JMRC was Tony Haga, Dale Hodgson, Tom Kurecka, Buzz Nau, Scott Miller, Bob & Rob Dickenson, and The Drongowski’s, Jeff, JoAnn, and Katie. Despite the below expectation attendance there were many memorable flights.


Tom had the first launch of the event with his Sun Seeker on a H295 Smokey Sam. The ascent was perfect as there was hardly a breeze all day. The down part had some difficulties as the chute never fully deployed. Tom might change the rocket name to Van Seeker as it unfortunately struck Rob’s van on the hood causing a sizable dent. Rob didn’t seem too concerned considering the van has already lived a full life and now he has an interesting conversation dent. Tom followed up that flight with an awesome launch of his Penetrator on K650 Smokey Sam to 3,268’. Though apogee occurred over Lake Icky it drifted back nicely to land safely on the field.

Scott had recently received the new K350 Tribrid from RATT. Tony was the first to give it a try in his modified Polecat Wocket. Rather than use three smaller chutes in cannon tubes Tony tried a larger chute attached underneath. While the deployment of the chute worked as planned and the Tribrid motor performed as expected the new chute configuration caused the Wocket to become unstable. After a climb to a couple hundred feet it started to chase its tail. Tony is taking it back to the lab for some recovery system redesign. Tony then flew Dixie on a central CTI K360 White with two airstart CTI H233 Red Lightnings. The airstarts were ignited 1 second after launch by a Perfecflite timer. The flight was a huge success and landed safely in a soybean field across the road past the tree line. It was a quick find using the Big Red Bee tracker.

Dale flew Unleashed to 4,200’ on a HyperTek M1015 hybrid. That is just a loud angry motor every way you look at it as it snarls and groans all the way. The chute deployed on time at 1,100’ with it landing near the entrance to the launch field. Though the rocket remained clear of the ditch, the chute did manage to land in the water enabling Tony to make his best longshoreman impersonation as he tried to pull it out.

Jeff and Katie flew a couple rockets on Saturday including a 3” dia apogee deploy on a J350. It recovered on the edge of the field making for one impressive flight!

Buzz had three flights on Saturday. First up was his 2.6” dia Critical Mass on a new CTI I55 Mellow load. It was so slow that at one point it looked like it pushed in the clutch, drifted back a bit, then changed gears and got going again. It was an arrow straight flight that recovered on the access road near the storage shed. Next was his THOY SparrowHawk on a CTI F120 Vmax. It was apogee deploy and landed on the field. Buzz also flew his Semroc SLS Hustler on a CTI F36 Blue. The chute fouled a bit, but it landed fine on the field.

Tom Roland made his second attempt at his Level 3 cert with his rebuilt Wildman kit. This time it worked perfectly much to Tom’s relief. It was a thrilling flight that landed in the bean field across the road and was recovered some time later after a search and rescue team was assembled.


The weather was nearly as nice as it was Saturday. Tom Kurecka led off the flying again with his Super Scorpion on a K510 Classic to 4,088’. It was a great flight with just a slight roll. It landed across the road on the power line. Tom was able to get the shock line disconnected and the chute came off easily. 
Dale flew the RATT K350 TriBrid next in his SS-1. The flight executed perfectly and it was visible when the alcohol kicked in. It looked like it was shifting gears as it flew to 4,843’.This motor is a brilliant piece of work and a lot of fun to watch in action. Recovery was just a short distance behind the flight line.

Buzz flew one of the new CTI J94 Mellow loads in his THOY Falcon. Aimed slightly with the wind it was expected to autocorrect into the wind. No such luck. It flew as if it were on rails exactly where it was aimed. After a 6+ second burn and coast it reached 2,678’ and landed deep in the corn. Fortunately one of Scott’s radio trackers was installed. With Tony’s help the Falcon was recovered on the first pass through the maze. Buzz also flew his North Coast Brighthawk on a G88 Smokey Sam. The motor was rather weak and the delay a little too long. Recover was dicey as it landed partially in the ditch behind the flight line. Thankfully Scott was there to grab it immediately before any permanent damage could happen.

Bob and Rob Dickinson loaded up Bob’s giant Nike Smoke with a Loki M2550 Blue. Boost was perfect as this monster rocket screamed off the pad. Recovery had a scary moment as the main chute took several hundred feet before finally deploying at about 300’. It landed a short ways into the corn and was easily retrieved.

Tony flew his EZI on an Ellis I230. After the customary minute or two for the igniter to start the Ellis it lifted off for a perfect flight. Unfortunately it also landed in the corn. This time the radio tracker wasn’t much help, but Buzz had a pretty good line on where it landed. After missing it on the first pass it was recovered on the walk back. Buzz had a harder time finding Tony in the corn.

Jeff and Katie followed up their J350 flight on Saturday with a J570 in the same rocket, this time with a tracker onboard. The boost was downrange and ejection occurred while it was still moving at a fair clip. This may have contributed to the nose cone and chute separating from the main body. The chute and nose cone held the tracker and was recovered later in the day. The main body was unfortunately lost to the corn.

There were many other memorable flights including a Dr. Mike Cerminaro’s Honest John on an AT K550 White Lightning. Ed Lawson also had great flights with his large Blue Max on an AT I211 White Lightning and Blues Baby on an AT K535 White Lightning.

The members of MMAR and SMASH have done an outstanding job with this field and it’s no wonder it received very positive reviews from the NARAM and NSL that were recently held there. If you haven’t made the trip out for a combined two day launch you are missing a great rocket launching venue. It’s worth it even if you can only make it out for one day. 

Launch Photos

Tom Roland's 'Vertically Challenged' -
Dale Hodgson's 'Unleashed' -
Bob Dickinson's 'Nike Smoke' -
Dale Hodgson's 'SS1' -
Buzz Nau's 'Falcon' -

Monday, July 28, 2014

Next Launch August 2nd at MIS!

We will be at the Michigan International Speedway, Graves campground site this Saturday, August 2nd.. Range opens at 10:00am and closes at 5:00pm (more or less). We have launch pads! We have a fully stocked trailer! Bring rockets! Fly em!  Flights to 3000ft. AGL.

Oh, and MIS now sees fit to charge us $250/year to use the campground. Any club donations to offset the cost would be greatly appreciated. (small beans to MIS but not so much to us)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Our next launch will be July 19-20. This is a joint launch with MMAR and SMASH, held at the Muskegon Waste Water Facility.  Go to the MMAR page for directions :

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Next launch July 5th at MIS!

We will be at the Michigan International Speedway, Graves campground site this Saturday, July 5th. Range opens at 10:00am and closes at 5:00pm (more or less). We have launch pads! We have a fully stocked trailer! Bring rockets! Fly em!  Flights to 3000ft. AGL.

Oh, and MIS now sees fit to charge us $250/year to use the campground. Any club donations to offset the cost would be greatly appreciated. (small beans to MIS but not so much to us)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

2014 Launch Schedule set!

Here are the launch dates for the remainder of 2014:

Date:                          Location:

July 5                           MIS (With potluck dinner!)

July 19,20                    Muskegon Waste Water Facility (joint with MMAR and SMASH)

August 2                       MIS

September 6                 MIS

September 27               Horning #2  (NAR contest launch)

October 11                    MIS or Horning #2

November 8                  MIS or Horning #2

December 6                  MIS or Horning #2

Monday, April 14, 2014

  Next launch set for June 7th

Sorry for the short notice but the alfalfa is growing fast and needs to be cut this week. So we will be launching at Horning field #2 on Saturday, June 7th. See the "Launch Fields" tap above for directions.  Flights to 3000 feet are allowed

Also of note, we will be back at the Michigan International Speedway this summer and should be posting launch dates very soon!.