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Week 1
With class sizes typically in the 7-9 range, I was shocked when 15 kids walked into the beginning rocketry class!  We knocked that down to 14 when we moved one of the kids to advanced, but wound up knocking someone down from advanced to beginner, so... 

It's going to be a great session in Merrimack!

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All set up and ready for the kids!
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Several new faces this year.  With 14 kids, this is the largest class we've had in years!
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Working on the Triskelion, the kids dig in and begin building!
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Our advanced class is building the Deuce's Wild! kit.
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Hamming it up for the camera...
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The advanced class has learned all about waiting for glue to dry...
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Forming the fin marking guide
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Cutting the tube for the motor mount was the most challenging part of this build.
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Sharp knives are key
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It took a while, but everyone go their body tubes modified and ready for the engine mount.
Week 2
This week we had a very large beginner class.  Getting all the new kids up to speed with the rest of the class added to the amount of work that was needed kept me from getting any pictures of the beginner class this week...
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Deuce engine mount installed, we now focus on the fins.
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The parachute is a good project to work on while other items are drying.
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Here you can see a fin attached and held in place with a length of masking tape
Week 3
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Completely unrelated to this weeks class (this was actually from pumpkin class), Connor showed me some of his class work where the class had to create a unique "compass rose" including cardinal and intermediate directions.  Connor chose to use FlisKits for his points.  If you look closely you will see the Drake, Deuce's Wild!, Alien8 and Rock Star.  Connor received an "A" for this sheet :)
NOTE: During our first launch we were interrupted by a soccer game.  Our class started at 3:30 and we had to be done by game start at 4:30.  That gave us 1 hour instead of the 2 1/2 hours originally planned.  We managed to get all 14 of the beginner rockets launched but could not get the advanced class flown.  Kudos' to all of our beginners for working hard and fast (sorry for the rush).  Apologies to the advanced class as well as to family and friends.  We will get your rockets in the air at the next launch!
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First launch of the session, the kids have prepped their motors and are now prepping their parachute
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Posing for a group shot!
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Another group shot.  It's always best to get the group shot before the launch as there are always happier faces BEFORE models get lost or broken during flight...
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Never has there been such concentration!
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Our first two brave rocket scientist pose with their creations
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And we have LIFTOFF!  With A8-3 motors the models didn't fly high nor drift much (even in the strong winds).  I didn't get all of the launch pictures, but I got a lot of'em!
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Here's another nice one.  What I love about my classes is that I invite the kids to bring the models home to paint on their own.  The result is no two rockets that look alike, each expressing the imagination of its owner.
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A look of satisfaction after a job well done!
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Everyone waiting in line for their turn at the pads.  Most of these kids are here for the very first time (though many had launched rockets on their own before)
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More colors, more imagination.  Shane (on the left) is attending his last beginner class, moving on to advanced in the next session.
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The fluffy clouds made for some nice pictures this windy day!
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We enjoyed nearly 100% success this day.  We did have one rocket hang up on the pad.  He will get to re-launch at the next launch day.
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More imagination can be seen here!
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I swear the more imaginative the paint job, the faster they go.  I may be wrong, but it sure looks that way!
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A barber pole with fins!
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Perfect recovery too!
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This young man missed our 2nd build class meaning that he could not get his Triskelion completed.  He and his dad bought  an alternate model (a complete starter set actually) so that he would have something to fly.  It was a great idea!  This way he was able to participate and he will STILL get to fly his Triskelion at the next launch!  (you can see one of my two helpers on the right.  Boys who have gone through 3 beginner classes and 2+ advanced classes (2 rockets each class)
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 Hooking up the igniter clips
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The question is do I look at Mr. Flis' camera or at mom's camera...
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Liftoff on a C6-5!  This heavier model needed a bigger motor to get good air.  Easy recovery near the soccer field to the delight of the home team!
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Family and friends enjoy a day in the sun as we fly rockets
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All eyes skyward as we enjoy another flight!
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Two rocketeers participating in their first ever build and launch!
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Success!
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Caught at the moment of ignition!  In fact, if you look closely you will see the Igniter Plug flying through the air (circled in red)
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I have a LOT of new faces in my new classes.  It's great to see these kids really sink their teeth into these rockets and walk away with great success!
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It doesn't get prettier than this!
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Well, maybe it does...  Nothing prettier than seeing your parachute fully deploy, protecting your rocket all the way back to Earth.
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Liftoff!
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Our last two flights of the day.  On the left is Thomas who will also be moving on to the advanced class after this, his 3rd beginner class.
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Liftoff of the 2nd to last rocket (I missed the launch of the last one, getting only a smoke trail...).  We finished with 90 seconds (literally!) left to spare before the soccer game was to begin...
Week 4
Week four in this rocketry session is LECTURE week (ugh!).  To help make it more exciting I donated a Starter Set (rocket, launch pad and controller, with motors) for the beginner class and a Shadow Lord kit for the advanced class.  Half way through the lecture day we had a drawing for the prizes.  The rest of the class consisted of learning tools and techniques as well as doing up a rocket design and answering trivia questions.  It was a great afternoon.  Watch for picture NEXT WEEK!
Week 5
We begin with the construction of our second kit.  For the beginners it is the Rhino and for the advanced class, the Stingray.  NOTE: 3 of the beginners are ready to move on to the advanced class so they got modified Rhino kits with a 2-motor cluster.
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Engine mount assembled, the kids work on their parachutes.
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This close up of the above picture shows Shane's 2-motor cluster mount for the modified Rhino kits.
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The advanced class begins work on their Stingray kits.  Note the Diminutive Deuce in the foreground.  He brought this in to show and to fix a broken fin.
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This will give you the idea of the class size.  With 3 moving on to advance (giving me 7 in advanced) and a few more signing up for beginner will make this a banner rocketry year for Merrimack!
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The Stingray requires precision that the advance group is capable of but not so familiar with.  This kit will give them much needed experience in this area.
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Measure twice, cut once!
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Learning to appreciate the use of a straight edge.
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As well as using sharp tools
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With this kit the kids also learned how to put a good edge on the leading edge of the fins.
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Here you can see the 2 main fins glued in place, held on with masking tape.
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While we used the double glue method to attach the fins, we also used masking tape as these needed to be transported to another classroom and stored for the week.
Week 6
Our last week of building and a LOT of work to do, I didn't even get a single picture of the beginner session and only got 3 of the advanced session.  More pictures next week, promise!
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Fins attached, we start working on the body shroud for the Stingray
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The kids are really starting to appreciate the value and importance of accurate measuring and cutting with this model.
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Features such as the provided body wraps helps the final assembly go much faster.
Week 7
 
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The beginner class arrive with their rockets.  Having preped a rocket for flight just a few weeks ago, they have a good idea of what is expected and get right to work.  Family and friends joined us for the flights.
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I had two helpers (Tony (black shirt, back to the camera) and Ross), both of whom have taken 3 beginner and 3 advanced classes with me, building and flying 12 rockets.  They were a BIG help working with the kids and teaching them what they needed to know to get their Rhino models ready for flight.
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Group photo before we begin flying
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An interesting shot showing the wide array of Rhino's.  No need for names on these rockets as there is no problem for the kids to recognize their own handiwork!  The Triskelion in the middle belongs to one of my kids who missed the Rhino build but still wanted to fly!
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These kids really had a ball building then decorating their Rhino models.
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Good job preping them as well, as they take to the air under B6-4 power!
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Kinda blends into the background, but you can see the Rhino under 'chute just to the right of the utility pole.
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Second Rhino takes to the skies for a perfect flight!
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A bit of a wadded parachute, she still recovered well on the soft grass.
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Yep, they ARE excited!
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We had a mis-fire on pad #1 so we flew pad #2
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Great near-field recovery for a great flight.
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This launch failed as the rocket bound up on the rod due to a clogged launch lug...
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Assured of a 2nd launch attempt he poses with his rocket which deployed its 'chute on the pad.
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Careful attention and concentration gets the clips attached correctly.
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Rhino and Triskelion take their places on the pads.
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Rhino Away!
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Triskelion Away!  We were flying the Rhino on B motors due to its size.  Not thinking quick enough I provided a B motor for the Triskelion as well.  She gained good altitude but still recovered close to the launch area.  Whew!
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Tony watches to make sure the clips are properly attached.
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Similar fin configurations with totally different color schemes!
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With his finger still on the launch button, we have Lift Off!
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Off he goes, hoping to catch his Rhino
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Nice shot looking up at the accelerating Rhino.
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And we have touch down!
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Near the end of the Beginner class, we have the last regular Rhino ready to fly!
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Looking good!
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Looking even better!
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And, yes, we did finally get that other Rhino in the air after having gotten hung up on the launch rod.
The last 3 Rhino models from this class were built with 2 motor cluster engine mounts.  These 3 kids have been in a number of my beginner classes and are preparing to move on to advanced rocketry.  I gave them the added challenge of clustering.  For this reason we waited until the Advanced class joined us with their Deuce's Wild! models to go over the fine art of cluster ignition.
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The advanced class with the beginners using clustered Rhino models.
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Hooking up the clips on the cluster is similar to a single motor but looks a bit different.
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Posing with his dual motor Rhino, his next step will be the Advanced class in November!
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Under full burn!  We launched these Rhino models with dual A8-3 motors.
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The last two Rhino models to fly are ready to go!
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Both lit, and both are pushing the Rhino straight up!
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3 for 3 on the clustered Rhino's!  Good job guys!
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The advanced class begins with the Deuce's Wild which should have been launched at the first launch.
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Great flight of the first Deuce!
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Near field recovery with A8-3 motors.
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WHOOPS!  Small detail...  I neglected to put that final wrap of tape around the motors when friction fitting them.  In this case, only one motor lit and as the model left the rod, the launch clips pulled the second motor from the motor tube.  (you can see it in the rocket exhaust plume).  The model flew well and recovered well despite being rather under powered.
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Connor loves his Deuce!
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And it flies as well as it looks!
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With the Deuce's launched, we move on to the Stingray models built by the advanced class during the 2nd half of the session.
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Great flights on A motors as the sun begins to set and dusk sets in.
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Another perfect flight!
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Our last Stingray and a 2nd chance for that Deuce that spit the motor.
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Perfection for our last Stingray!
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After several mis-fires, bad igniters and eventually moving it from pad 2 to pad 1 we FINALLY get a good ignition on both motors for this ill-fated Deuce.
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Ill-fated is right...  Sliding past 8-9 branches, just missing each one, the model slides past the LAST branch and snags the parachute...  About 40' straight up it is not likely we would be able to get her down before the rain comes.  I will check later this week to see.

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