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
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.
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.