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Geof Givens
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Geof Givens

How long have you been into Sport Rocketry?
"I'm a typical BAR. I built rockets as a kid interested in science and space. Then as my own kids grew, I nurtured their interest too, and extracted a blood promise that if either of them ever turn out to be astronauts, they simply must bring me back a rock or fossil from each planet they visit! As they grew, I begged and begged until my wife thought they were old enough to begin the hobby, and we've all been flying together now for a couple years. " - 03/2007

What organizations are you a member of?
"None, yet."

What level are you certified to?
"None, yet. There's plenty of fun and challenging projects at the low- and mid-power levels. I enjoy the design and craftsmanship aspect of the hobby as much as launching."

What is your all time favorite rocket?
"Definitely I would choose the Estes Fat Boy. He's a lovably plump good flyer that you can do so much with. My kids and I destroyed the first one with 18mm D motor, so we built a new two-stage version D12-0 to E9-6. When I was a kid, my favorite was the Estes Solar Sailer."

Why do you enjoy creating rockets from "scratch"?
"Scratch building is my favorite part of rocketry. In the design phase, it exercises the creative and artistic side of my brain that rarely gets used at work. The construction phase can require a lot of ingenuity to make it look like it was imagined, yet still fly. I like the clean, elegant curves of Art Deco, of retro Sci-Fi, and of nature. Many of my scratch rockets draw on such themes.

"I'm also a huge fan of boost gliders, and have built a variety at all scales. One of my current projects is a swept-wing albatross with a 4-foot wingspan."

Young GeofTell me an interesting rocket related experience?
"I'm currently working on a project with my dad. It's the first project we have tackled together since building matchbox racers 30 years ago. He does woodturning as a hobby, so he is building a tapered, non-cylindrical body and some unusual fin pods. I'm making the fins, the innards, and some other key parts. We email photos, plans, and comments back and forth. We also ship prototypes and parts across the country, studying how it will all fit together. The result will be a 29mm retro Sci-Fi style fighter/racer about 2 feet tall with elaborate details. It will be almost too nice to fly, but we'll certainly launch it when Dad next visits!"

What's your favorite aspect of the hobby?
"My favorite part of the hobby is the dreaming: imagining creative new designs. Also, I like engaging my kids in a hobby that combines art and science. Even my wife has got involved with sewing parachutes, and she happily hikes across the prairie to find our drifting rockets. I also like sharing ideas with other rocketeers and admiring each other's finished rockets."

Do you have any other hobbies?
"Travel, backpacking, cooking."

What developments would you like to see in sport rocketry?
"I hope we can move back toward a little less regulation in the hobby, at least for motors A-I and regarding launch sites and rules. Cities should plan to provide a shared site for "hobby model vehicle use" (cars, planes, rockets) in the same way that they have begun to embrace skate parks, dog parks, and other non-traditional public spaces. Open space will continue to become rarer, and we need to speak up for safe, local rocketry."

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