How long have you been into Sport
"I became interested in model rocketry while teaching summer school in 2000. I
had just undergone some surgery and wasn't able to do the usual hiking, kayaking, volleyball.........so model rocketry
it was. When I moved to Massachusetts I made the mistake of befriending a Physics teacher. It was all downhill from
there. I really got into the hobby in the fall of 2001. It became wonderful therapy for me after 9/11." -
What organizations are you a member of?
"I am a member of NAR and also a member of my local NAR chapter, ASTRE
(Albany-Schenectady-Troy Rocket Enthusiasts www.astre471.org)."
What level are you certified to?
"I am not L1 certified, but have completed the Bronze, Silver and Gold NARTREK
programs. I found this program really challenging and it really gave me greater insight into our hobby."
What is your all time favorite rocket?
"The Estes Mars Lander, or maybe Der Red Max. Possibly the Mars Snooper or
Starship Vega. I like futuristic rockets as well as stubby rockets like the Fat Boy and the Big Daddy."
What do you like about doing "paper" rockets and
"Working with paper has opened up my creativity to a higher level. I am not
bound by body tube and shroud diameters or any limit on nose cone shape or length. Paper has some obvious advantages of
easy access, printability, and cost. Most everything can be constructed from paper with some scissors, tweezers,
toothpicks and wood glue. The only drawback of paper shrouds and nose cones is the paper's strength. The
strength-to-weight ratio is great, but after a few flights, a rocket can begin to wear down from ejection charges,
tough landings, and handling. I am working on ways of strengthening paper without sacrificing my own health. This
includes adding card stock in fins, coating the paper with lacquer sprays, and using water-based glues and such to
build up the paper. I have just learned about penetrating epoxy, but have not given it a try. Again, one of the
benefits of paper to me is the fact that I can build in my living room without the threat of exposing myself to toxins,
all the while having a great conversation with my wife."
Tell me an interesting rocket related experience?
"I grew up in the 70's reading everything about the US space program. I always
had a love for the Mercury and Gemini missions and at one point could name all the astronauts along with their flights.
I like the cyclic nature of how my pursuit of model rocketry as a mental outlet became a way for me to regain my love
for space travel and space history. I have also gone from being a "tool-o-phobe" to someone who can handle a
soldering iron (clumsily) as well as a Dremel. Of course, I had the initiation ceremony of learning how to unfasten my
own fingers using acetone to clean up regrettable CA adhesions. I have to admit that I have done this on more than one
occasion (but the X-acto knife only punctured my big toe once!).
"I also think it is interesting to note that many people in model rocketry
can name their first rocket. For me, my first was the Estes Ninja. I was then given a Big Bertha by my Physics teacher
friend. After building and flying this, I was at the hobby store first buying a Mosquito, then a Quark. After this, I
don't have a memory of which rocket I built next, because I have built over 80 and counting. Sometimes I just like to
sit around working on one rocket for weeks. This is what I call my 10 minutes a day. Other times, I just have to bust
out a rocket and put it together in a matter of hours. The therapy is sometimes in the building, sometimes in the
fussing around about minute detail, sometimes in the designing, and almost always in the flying."
Do you have any other hobbies?
"I am a composer and music teacher, so most of the time I spend writing music
in my studio (choral, electronic, band arrangements, etc). I would say this is my first love. It is also my bread and
butter. Rocketry is my outlet, the one thing I can do that doesn't remind me of my day job. It allows me to be the
engineer and scientist that I never should have been in the first place."
Anything else you would like people to know?
"If you are attracted to large rockets simply for the machismo effect, fine. I
can understand that. I personally feel that there is so much to work on with MMX to G motors that I have no time or
inclination for the big stuff (plus, my wife would object profusely). I also live in the Berkshires, so my flying area
is very limited. I love gliders, helicopter designs, cool working mechanisms, clusters, and designing my own rockets.
Also, there is much to be learned in joining a NAR chapter and competing with the big boys. For instance, one 5 minute
lesson in correctly folding parachutes has made me a better flyer. This may sound obvious or perhaps patronizing, but
it is really true. It really helps to have an open mind, and to try to get away from the whole 3FNC syndrome I see too