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King Rocket Day
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By Ray King

This is my youth participation contest submission. Although throughout the year I typically participate in a number of youth outreach programs none of these completely met the requirements of education, building, and flying. Based on this I decide to organize "King Rocket Day". Well "King Rocket Day" has turned into "Days".

I enlisted the help of my daughter to recruit her friends to participate in the first ever King Rocket Day. The plan was to do a little Rocketry 101, build a Quest Novia, and fly. As with many rocket events Mother Nature decided not to cooperate. On the day we planned it was cool, windy, and overall not a good day for rocket flying. The weather impacted the turnout for our first day with only Abby and Hannah taken part. We spent about a ½ hour reviewing the basics of rockets, flight, engines, and safety (Rocketry 101). Each of the girls had built rockets in the past, but really didn't understand the basics. Hopefully, Rocketry 101 helped.

We then spent about an hour building the Quest Novia. I allowed the girls to work through the instructions with a little added guidance. The most interesting part was the debate on which way the fins should be mounted. They each chose a different orientation and then debated which would fly better. They each decorated their rockets and couldn't wait to go launch.

I have to admit I was disappointed by the turnout until I received a call from one of the other kid's mom asking if we were going to do another Rocket Day because her daughter was very interested in participating.

King Rocket Day II was planned. King Rocket day corresponded with family coming to spend the weekend so I knew I would have a pretty good group of kids. The kids were excited about launching rockets so Friday night we did Rocketry 101 and built rockets. Again, the big debate was related to the fins and which orientation was the best.

With 0 days left we completed the King Rocket Day III with a launch day. Fortunately, the weather was very nice, sunny, and wind was light. Everyone who built rockets or had rockets were invited to come fly them. Their excitement was electric. We spent the first 10 minutes discussing safety. Then I demonstrated how to prep their rockets and they each began adding wadding, rolling streamers, and installing engines.

It was time to launch and Mark was ready first. He loaded his rocket on to the pad and began the count down. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 …… Blast off. The rocket leapt of the pad using a C6-7 engine powering the rocket into the air. Shortly, after the rocket cleared the rod it became unstable and wildly core screwed until apogee. Then the long wait for that 7 second delay and the questioning where is the streamer????? Final about 50 feet above the ground ejection and the streamer successfully deployed. The kids questioned why this happen and rather then drawing the conclusion I suggested launching someone else's rocket and see if it performed the same way.

Abby was next up. She loaded her rocket on the pad and connected the clips. The count down started 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ….. Blast off. Abby's rocket screamed off the rod (see the picture). Her rocket flew nice and straight and very high. After the long delay, the steamer deployed a safely returned the rocket; however when returning she noticed on the fins were loss so before the next flight she would have to correct it.

Almost immediately the kids started comparing the differences between Mark's and Abby's. The kids conclude that the fins were mounted differently and maybe the cause for Mark's crazy flight.

Next up was Eric. Eric's rocket actually had the fins differently then both Abby's or Mark's rockets. The kids were interested to see how Eric's would fly. So he loaded on the pad and started the count down 5, 4, 3, 2, 1….. Blast off. Eric's rocket took off nicely and flew nice and straight with only a few twists. It flew well; however, not as high as Abby's.

The kids thought they were on to something…..

Hannah was ready next. The kids all noticed Hannah's fins were mounted the same away as Mark's. The big debate was how would it fly???? Hannah stepped up loaded her rocket and move to the launch button. She started the count down 5, 4, 3, 2, 1….. Blast off.

So is the suspense building yet?????

Well you guessed it. Hannah's flew just like Mark's. Just off the rod it was unstable and a little exciting, but successfully landed with streamer deployed.

Mine was next - I built mine like Eric's with very similar results - a good flight just but did not reach the altitude Abby's rocket did.

The kids all discussed the results and decide that Abby's rocket performed the best because her fin orientation was exactly as the rocket was designed and intended. Everyone else decided to change the intended orientation and that resulted in rockets that didn't fly as well.

The kids who wanted flew their rockets again and I even had the opportunity to test fly a couple of my scratch built rockets.

The kids all ready agreed that they want to do another "King Rocket Day IV". They want to compare parachute sizes. I think I see some kids preparing for the NARAM R&D contest.

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This youth participation contest was a great experience for me. As I mentioned earlier I have done a number of build session, and launches as part of out club's outreach program, but never had the opportunity to do a build, education, and a launch with the same group. Participating in all the aspects was very rewarding. The contest allowed me to share a hobby that I enjoy with some young people. The most interesting part was the kids approach in trouble shooting Mark and Hannah's rocket and why one fin design would perform better than another. This was a great experience! Thanks EMRR.

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