How long have you been into Sport
"THE EARLY YEARS: Like many of your readers, I was first into rocketry
as a child. In 4th grade my best friend had rockets, so I got one, too.
"My first kit was a Centuri MX-774. I liked it because it looked neat but mainly because it fit my limited
budget. At Skill Level 3 it was probably not a good choice for a first-timer, but I managed to get it built. Since I
couldn't afford spray paint, I used my mom's nail polish to paint it, using splotches of every color she had. By the
time I was done, the nose cone was about a quarter-inch thicker from all the paint.
"In my first incarnation, I joined the Estes Aerospace Club and worked my way up to Level 3, and built enough
Skill Level 4 and 5 rockets to meet the requirements. The only thing I was missing was the "specialty"
projects like aerial photography or telemetry.
"By 8th grade my interest in rockets faded. Unlike most boys, rocketry was replaced not by girls, but by Ham
radio and electronics. I worked my way up to an Amateur Extra class ham license and went on to get degrees in
"THE BAR YEARS: My daughter bought me a Quest RTF starter set for Christmas during one of Hobby Lobby's
half-price sales. It was my wife's idea, and I am sure she has come to regret it.
"My first launch as a BAR was January 1, 2003. The RTF rocket got lost on the second flight, so I figured I'd
just buy one or two kits to replace it. While trying to decide which kits to get, I started reading about rockets on
the Internet and came across EMRR. What a great resource! I have used many of the helpful hints contributed by the many
"At the time I re-started in the hobby, I told myself I would limit myself to 4 or 5 rockets. Of course, I
lied to myself. Two and a half years later I have about 30 rockets in my fleet, about 40 kits in my build pile, and I'm
having problems opening and closing the door to my rocket room. My wife is not pleased." - 06/2005
What organizations are you a member of?
"I live about 45 miles from the nearest TRA prefecture and 75 miles from the
nearest NAR chapter, so I am mostly a Lone Ranger. I usually drag my daughter and some of the neighbor boys over to the
park with me when I launch. About twice a year I fly with the Medford Association of Rocket Scientists (MARS) club in
What level are you certified to?
"No certification yet. The largest engine I have flown so far is a 24mm F21,
and I recently purchased some G engines to fly two kits I won as prizes on EMRR and RMR DesCon. My little rockets
already take up so much room I don't know where I would keep High Power Rockets."
What's your favorite style of rocket?
"I like rockets that don't look like rockets. I prefer the looks of sci-fi
spaceships and jet fighters. Odd-rocs are cool, too.
"I don't care much for rockets that just go whoosh and pop a parachute. I like my rockets to do SOMETHING a
little unique. Some spin on the way up, eject helicopters or gliders, separate into multiple pieces, or tumble down
using drag recovery. "
What is your all time favorite rocket?
"It's hard to pick just one. As a kid, my favorite was the Orbital Transport. I
liked it so well that I never risked flying it.
"The pride of my current fleet is an Estes Executioner. Sure, it's just 3-fins-and-a-nose-cone, but I like the
paint job I did on it.
"I have also grown to really like the Art Applewhite Texas Special original flying saucer. It is good looking,
very sturdy, and it can fly in just about any weather. "
Why do you like the EMRR Virtual Rocket Contests (besides the
fact that you win so many)?
"As an engineer, I enjoy the challenge of trying to find the optimal solution
for a problem within the given constraints.
"I get a special kick out finding "unconventional" solutions (some might call it looking for
loopholes in the rules). If I hadn't become an engineer, I might have been a lawyer.
"I also like harassing Chan Stevens. He and I have an on-going battle of Good vs. Evil for Virtual Rocketry
World Domination. Somehow I got picked to play the evil part. "
Tell me an interesting rocket related experience?
"Since I don't have any really interesting stories, I'll give you two
half-interesting stories instead:
"The rocket I regret losing the most was an Estes WAC Corporal I built in 5th grade. I bought it, built it,
and painted it all the same day. The paint job turned out great, with nice crisp lines on the color seams. The next day
I went out with my cousins to fly it. It was much too windy to fly on a C engine, but that was all I had so that's what
it flew on. It went up high, the chute opened, and the wind carried it away over the creek and into the woods. I was
almost in tears, and my cousins still tease me about it 30 years later.
" About a year later I was flying with those same cousins when I had one of my more spectacular crashes. I was
flying an Estes Gyroc on its maiden flight. The Gryoc has tabs that hold the fin flaps flat during boost and folds them
sideways after the engine ejects. I must have sanded one of the tabs too short, because it came loose and folded one of
the flaps about 10 feet into the flight. The Gryoc veered over into the cemetery next door and rammed into a tombstone
at full speed, completely shredding the wings. My cousins and I still laugh about that one."
What's your favorite aspect of the hobby?
"I like researching and designing rockets. I probably design and simulate five
rockets for every one I build.
"When I build, I am very slow and methodical. I spend way too much time trying to make the paint jobs
"Even though rockets are built to be flown, flying occupies the least amount of time. I'd probably do more
flying if I lived closer to a club so I could fly with other people. "
Do you have any other hobbies?
"I enjoy astronomy, net surfing, and electronics. I play golf poorly. I play
the harmonica even more poorly than I play golf."