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Southern Thunder 2008 Notes

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

It would be hard to capture all that happened at Southern Thunder 2008. However, I will make some notes. The launch was well attended by SEARS members and friends that have flown with SEARS. Chris Short and family attended. Chris was selling lots of motors. He flew the War Eagle Rocket on a N3300 research motor on Friday and on a N2020 on Sunday.

Chris Short War Eagle on N2020

Chris Short’s War Eagle on an N2020

Clark Word was there taking a lot of videos. I saw Sarah Gifford as well. We learned that Halley Allen of the Auburn USLI Team is engaged to Kerry Huff. She will be attending Georgia Tech this August and Kerry will be working for Huff Construction in Birmingham. The wedding is a couple of years off. By the end of Southern Thunder, Hally, Kerry and Kerry’s Dad, Don, were all Level 2. Chris Crews attended with his family. His Dad, Richard was a big help on recovering rockets. More on that later.  Bob Mullins and Whitney were there. Bob had some bad luck when he fell at the motel brusing his ribs. Daymon Campbell had a big time flying his fleet and he bought a 1/4 Scale PML Patriot for Level 1.

John Hansel had an excellent flight of his 10 inch diameter Nike Smoke on the AMW M1730 Skidmark on Saturday. Unfortunately, the Nike drifted into the woods and it took several hours to locate it. John bought some machetes to beat a way into the woods. Richard Crews spent alot of his time helping in the search and chopped a tree down to free the rocket.

John Hansel's Nike Smoke on AMW M1730 Skidmark

 John Hansel’s Nike Smoke on M1730


NASA Space Place: Ozone, the Greenhouse Gas

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Kids visit Space Place to check out the games, animations, projects, and fun facts about Earth, space and technology.

Ozone, the Greenhouse Gas

We all know that ozone in the stratosphere blocks harmful ultraviolet sunlight, and perhaps some people know that ozone at the Earth’s surface is itself harmful, damaging people’s lungs and contributing to smog.

But did you know that ozone also acts as a potent greenhouse gas? At middle altitudes between the ground and the stratosphere, ozone captures heat much as carbon dioxide does.


Steve Jurvetson: The Joy of Rockets

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

TARC 2008 Finals

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

 TARC is Team America Rocketry Challenge.  The contest is for middle and high school students. Teams may be formed for schools or youth organizations. The pictures below are from the finals held in Virginia last Saturday for the top 100 qualifying teams.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Click here for a press release. SEARS will gladly support all teams in our area with mentors and our launch site.  If you would like to participate in TARC 2009, it is a good plan is to attend a SEARS launches and learn the basics this summer.  Also visit the TARC web site for more info.


2008 NASA USLI launch in Huntsville a huge success

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Read all about it on Rocketry Planet! Congrats to the Auburn Team on the successful Flight and nice paint job too. Note Chris and John in photo.


Photo by Ray Cole.


Rocket Mystery Solved

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

I finally found out the name of this Bob Hewes rocket thanks to the post Who the heck is Friedrich Zander? on the Rocketry Blog.  Bob Hewes was a member of SEARS who passed away and his widow donated his rockets to SEARS.


Rocket Challenge - Wild & Weird Rockets

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Rocket Challenge originally aired in 2003. It was filmed at LDRS 22 in Argonia, KS.

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Southern Thunder 2008 Coming Up!

Sunday, March 16th, 2008


Visit the official website for more info.

2008 Florida Winter Nationals Road Trip

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

John Hansel, Cliff Oliver, and I had the pleasure of attending the 2008 Florida Winter Nationals near West Plam Beach, FL. Florida Spacemodeling Association/Tripoli West Palm organizes the event. Rick Boyette and Al Bycheck head up the effort. The launch was well attended and lots of launches. No numbers yet.

We were there for the first two days. Saturday had near perfect conditions. Sunday was a bit more windy. Cliff Oliver attempted his NAR Level 3 Certification on Saturday. His rocket was called Tempory Insanity. It was a 7.5 inch diameter rocket about nine feet tall. The launch was tremendous on the AMW M1850 Green Gorilla. Apogee was 5000 feet and recovery was perfect for L3 success. John Hansel’s big flight was the 12 inch V2 on the AMW M1850 also. Both 1850s did not light on the first try. Paul Robinson of AMW was there and he recommended using a sliver of Blue Thunder propellant with the igniter. John’s V2 produced some drama as the main was out but took a while to open. The V2 landed at the flight line and hopped into a lawn chair under a pop-up. No harm done. I launched my Thor on a J570 with the ATC-2K for on-board video on Saturday. I launched the Stealth on a K550 on Sunday.

Cliff and I met Derick Deville from Miami at the Saturday banquet. It turns out he mixed the S motor for the CSXT Sub Orbital flight. He brought a huge rocket called Black Dragon for the Monday Research Day and a P motor to power it. We saw the rocket on Sunday. We left on Monday AM so we did not see it fly.

John got a chance to visit his Parents and his Sister. His Parents attended the Sunday launch. We found out his Mother has eagle eyes and was spotting rockets way before we could.

One of the great flights was Harold and Bob’s 12 inch V2 on a N motor.

If you get an opportunity I recommend attending a major launch like the Winter Nats or Southern Thunder. 


Note, more Winter Nat photos are here and an album on Cliff’s L3 is here.

Bernie’s Snowman

Cliff’s L3 Rocket on a M1850GG


Oreo Space Rockets

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

An edible craft to tie into a space unit or space derby! Great for a boy scout pack meeting or birthday party.  Read more here.