I loved model rocketry as a kid. I got started when I was in cub scouts and my Boy’s Life magazine had ads in it for Estes and Century rocket kits. I think my first rocket was the Alpha 3, a simple starter kit with the plastic fin unit so you didn’t have to clue any individual fins on.
I remember building the Mean Machine, a 6 footer, which I did poorly as a child and wound up using tape as an extra help for the seams between body tube parts. It still didn’t act solid and I remember when we went to launch it, it came down with the tail on fire and was going to land in a corn field. One of the adults with us went running in and all you could see was his hand stick out above the corn and catch the rocket.
My favorite rocket (after I got proficient) was the Omega 3. It was a 3 stage D engine rocket and I owned at least 2 of them, maybe 3. I lost one after it went so high into the air we lost sight of it till it was coming down and over 1/2 mile away. We never caught it. Those were great rockets.
I loved night flights too. We’d stick firecrackers into rocket tubes upside down instead of chute wadding and when the hot gasses would fire to eject the parachute, the firecrackers would explode several hundred feet in the air. Cylume sticks taped to the outside of the rockets allowed us to track them as they came down.
One time I even got a bad batch of rocket engines and one of my bigger diameter rockets was caught on film totally by accident, having a flame out on the launch pad with the engine splitting open on its side and instantly burning a hole in the side of the rocket and spinning it wildly in front of us. That was great fun.
Oh and then the time we were at the church for scouts and thought we’d fire off a rocket in the parking lot rather than the field and for whatever reason (I’m convinced it was solely because of Murphy’s law) the rocket went up about 100 feet and then spun around and shot straight into the parking lot full of cars, hit the pavement and went screaming off toward some cars just narrowly missing them.
Nowadays, the hobby is so big you have to invest a lot more money than the old $0.99 Mosquito rockets. Engines don’t stop at D any more, they’re up through E, F, G, H…I think I’ve seen M’s online somewhere. That’s massive. But this video takes the cake (at least for now). Wish I could have been there for this launch.
(turn up your volume to feel the launch)