airplane. He did (the Sky Hook) and I went home bubbling with excitement.
I had never worked with wood before (other than whittling that my granddad
taught me) and had no experience with these types of materials. To further my
chagrin, it wasn't until I read the instructions that I realized that the "model
rocket" was only the "rocket" part. It didn't include motors nor
launch pad nor launch controller. I built the model (did a pretty good job, as I
recall), but was at a loss as to how to obtain the other items I needed to launch this
model. None of my friends had ever heard of model rockets and there were no hobby
shops near where I lived. It was another month before my granddad visited and agreed
to take me to the hobby shop.
There he shelled out several of his hard earned dollars for a
package (remember them blue tube engine packs??) of model rocket motors, a port-a-pad,
launch controller and recovery wadding. Everything I needed! And it only cost
me 2 months of chores in Schroon Lake! (Mind you, chores at my grandparents home involved
getting up at 4am to make dough and sauce for my grandma's pizzeria followed by splitting
wood, painting, cleaning, cooking and serving customers and any other things that they
could find to help me "build character"). Man, by the end of that summer,
I had a bucket-load of character. But I also had my launch equipment, so I was
That small purchase was the first step in a long, long road.
As I increased my experience, I began scratch building my own designs using parts
from kits. It wasn't long before I was ordering kits and materials that my hobby
shop didn't carry, and I expanded my experience and complexity of design. By the
time I reached high school, I was quiet the experienced model rocketeer.
In the years that followed I discovered the NAR
and model rocket clubs and conventions. It wasn't long before I was a NAR member
(#35098) and actively seeking a club. Discovering that there were none in my area, I
contacted the local newspaper to tell them that I was going to present a model rocket
launch demo. With their help, I advertised it a week before and they joined me at a
local field along with about 20 spectators. This rocket demo, along with the
attending spectators and newspaper article lead to the formation of the Goddard
Society Model Rocket, 4-H Aerospace Club (GSMRAC). Founding members
included myself, Arni Paye and Dave Dieter.
At the time, I was working closely with 4-H clubs of America,
Hillsboro County. I was the county group organizer for 4-H and our club was both a
charter of the NAR and 4-H Clubs of America.
This lead to more teaching opportunities as well as club
launches, competition, hobby shop retail demo's and other demo's around the state of New
Hampshire for youth groups and other special occasions. It wasn't long before we got
word about MIT-CON (MIT Rocket Convention) and Pearl River MODROC
in Pearl River, N.Y. Without fail, each year the Goddard Society had representatives
at these two model rocketry events.
||Shortly after that I became deeply
involved with Pearl River, becoming their anniversary kit designer, designing kits for
attendees and getting them packaged with donated materials for distribution at the
convention. The FlisKits Praetor model rocket kit is one of many
designs that were originated for Pearl River. FlisKits will be introducing other
Pearl River convention kits in the near future. I, along with others from the
Goddard Society also participated in the various seminars given at Pearl River, both
teaching and learning. It was at Pearl River where I got to meet Art Rose, Vern
Estes, Howard Kune, Dick Nelson, Matt Steele and many other dedicated model rocketeers.
The picture at left shows me standing next to my Maxi-Astrocam (with working 35mm
camera) sitting on a Maxi-Port-a-Pad, holding a Maxi-Scout.
|Not long after discovering MIT-CON, we heard
that they were ending their conventions. It was then that Arni Paye and I put
together an idea for a replacement convention. Thus was born the New England
Model Rocketry Convention (NEMROC) in 1983. Our first convention was
modest, to say the least. At the time of planning, the Central Massachusetts Space
Modeling Society (CMASS) was just forming, so we invited them to join us in our NEMROC
efforts. That first convention was shared with about 20 member of each club plus a
few local rocketeers. Day one was filled with seminars and kit-bashing. Day
two was a miserable attempt at flying in the rain. But it was a beginning.
|The years that followed saw NEMROC
growing in size and popularity, with attendance exceeding 100 and guests arriving from as
far away as Texas. We had a wide array of guest speakers, vendors, movies and,
starting with NEMROC #2, anniversary kits. The FlisKits Corona is
one such kit, and as with the Pearl River kits, all of the NEMROC kits will be available
in the near future.
NEMROC continued until 1990
when members of both clubs became too busy to provide the kind of time needed to deliver a
quality convention. In the years since, I've been working closely with our local
school district, bringing model rocketry to the class room. At one point nearly the
entire graduating class knew me as "Rocket Man". I've presented model
rocketry (and other rocket
|and space related
topics) to K-12, youth groups, universities and conventions. I've hosted demo
launches for town/city events around southern New Hampshire and do my best to catch a
sport fly with CMASS when my schedule allows.
Then, I had an idea.....