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Beginner rockets have launched!

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The Spring session features the beginners building a custom kit designed just for them while the advanced class is building the A.C.M.E. Spitfire!  Should be a great group!
We start with the Advanced group, week 2 & 3 (as week 1 was just an introduction)
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With a larger than expected advanced class, we need to share tools and resources.  Here I explain that half the class will begin assembling the engine mount while the other half begins cutting templates and main tube segments.
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After explaining the importance of accuracy and care, the students begin cutting their templates.
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Unlike beginner rockets, extra care and precision are needed to get this more complex rocket assembled properly
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Meanwhile, the other half of the group gets set to begin their engine mounts.
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For this group I brought along a Block-n-Tackle to aid in the assembly of the mount.  Having built rockets before, this group appreciated the simplicity of this tool and how it sped up the assembly.
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I was very impressed with the level of accuracy displayed by these kids!
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Sorry for the washed out pictures...  Here we begin marking our tube for the first tube segment cut.
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Again, precision is the key for a well built rocket.
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And success can be seen in two perfectly aligned tube segments (don't be alarmed, they are SUPPOSED to be crooked like that!)
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These kids are taking these tasks very seriously, and doing a GREAT job!
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With limited tools (6 knives and 11 kids), we have half cutting tubes, while the other half forms shrouds and attaches rings.
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Nearly everything to do with this kit (cutting tubes and fins, forming shrouds, clay weight) is new to these kids, so they're learning a LOT.
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Have you ever seen such concentration!?
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Looks like an A.C.M.E. assembly line.  hhmmm, I guess it is!
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Sarah has stayed ahead of the whole class each and every day!
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Tubes cut, we're nearing the end of class for this week!
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These kids did a great job for their first time cutting tubes!
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Fin cutting is a special craft that is a must for any serious rocketeer!
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Everyone is focused on their task.  It is very quiet today.
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The A.C.M.E. assembly line is in full operation!
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Lower tube (tube #1) and base ring installed, working on fins now.
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With the advanced class, the kids pretty much work at their own pace, moving from step to step as needed.
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The bane of parachutes!  Interesting that these kids have not worked on rockets long enough to truly hate parachute making, but they're getting closer... LOL
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We only have one pair of scissors, so the others used their razor knife and cutting boards.
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Wrapping up for the day, some are just beginning their fins
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As one of the kids commented, it looks like we're making WWII style German Grenades!  Never noticed that about the base assembly for the A.C.M.E.!
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Assembly line cranking away!
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This was a far more complex build than anticipated, but everyone is doing a WONDERFUL job!
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"Wait a minute!  THAT can't be right!"  Oh, but it can, young padawan.  That's the charm of the A.C.M.E.  LOL
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Without question, the best build of the group!  Great job!
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As we near the end of the assembly, you can see the distinctive A.C.M.E. shape coming into form!
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Thar she be!  Now that's an A.C.M.E.!
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As an advanced class, everyone is working at their own speed, so everyone is at a different spot in the build, but they are all arriving at the same end goal.
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Nearly complete!  For the most part, missing launch lugs, nose cones and recovery harnes
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This is how we're aligning launch lugs.  Good eye!
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As we finish the assembly, launch lugs are going on, clay weight and glue filets on all joints.
LAUNCH DAY!
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Pack yer chutes!
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That's one of the nice things about advanced classes...  Most of the kids already know what to do and just DO it!
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We began the day with the launching of two of my models.  Since we were flying with C11 motors in the A.C.M.E. Spitfire, I chose two models with C6 motors.  This, the Pheord X150 Redneck Pick Up Saucer shows a very high drag model
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Whereas the Lil' Guy is a much more streamline model.  All were amazed with how high it went!
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What a crew!
This advanced class was based on age (first time) and not rocketry experience.  We actually had some kids in this group building their first rocket!  I wonder how many folks, when asked what their first rocket was, would answer "The A.C.M.E. Spitfire"... LOL
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First up!  These two had to leave early so made special arrangements (they asked me...) to go first, so here they are!
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Ok, so I explained to the kids and parents that this was, bar none, the most complex kit I ever did with a youth group and they did a fantastic job.  They I cautioned them by explaining that how well they actually did was about to be seen as the "proof is in the pudding".  I then asked the Launch Officer if he was "ready to make puddin'!"  LOL
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The first launch was picture perfect, up and down!  GREAT JOB!
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Sarah was next and her rocket was another perfect flight!  We're off to a good start!
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I love it.  All I gotta do is say "hook it up" and they do!  Experience is a wonderful thing!
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Some of the kids (as you can see here) chose to take their models home to paint over the weekend.
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Painted or not, they sure do look good in the air!
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One after another, we saw perfect flights and near perfect recovery!
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Perfect deployment!  Some models had parachutes that didn't fully deploy but still had very soft landings in the grass, so it's all good!
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Another pair ready to go, one nekid and one not!
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That red one was, bar none, the best finished model flown today!
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Yep, that's Wile E. Coyote gracing the top of the rocket!
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Picture perfect launch!
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NEAR perfect recovery....  Yeah, yeah, yeah...  Another millisecond later and you'd discover that he MISSED it!  LOL
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Simply beautiful!
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Excellent recovery too!
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Two brand new rocketeers, still with that "new rocketeer" smell too!
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And they performed as well as the folks with more experience!  Incredible!
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Look at her go!
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Yeah, no... That's NOT a Port-a-Pot shot there, that's a real Port-a-Pottie! LOL
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Our last rocketeer of the day!  While not yet painted, still has my vote as the BEST assembled model of the class.  Every seam is clean and true, simply beautiful!
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Lousy launch shot, but she was beautiful!
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And finishing with a perfect catch!
That's it for the Advanced class.  I can not express how proud I am of these kids and the fine work they did to complete and fly a very complex model!
We now turn our attention to the Beginner class!
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This is the rocket the beginners will be building.
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Tentatively called "Down the Tubes", this rocket employs tube fins with the addition of small rectangular fins.  This type of design proves to be incredibly easy to assemble.
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As with most rockets, we begin with the assembly of the engine mount.
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This group of 13 is enjoying the fact that they are going to be the first ever to build and fly this design!
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Scattered around our large work room, we have plenty of room to move around!
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As they assemble the engine mount, I make a point of explaining what each part is called, and what its function is.
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During week 2 we have the engine mount assembled and pairs of tubes (fins) glued together.  This week we install and attach!
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We have the engine mount installed and are preparing to attach the tube fins.
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Can you tell he looks as though he's been caught doing something he isn't supposed to be doing...???  LOL
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The kids were excited to learn the mathematical trait that if you have 7 circles (tubes in this case) of equal diameter, then 6 of them will fit perfectly around the 7th (central) circle. 
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The big trick for them is estimating (measuring) where the glue lines should go on the pairs of tubes.
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Once that is figured out, we get to work!
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I love the focused attention while doing these unfamiliar steps in assembly.
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Do they look aligned to you?  Yep, they sure do!
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To finish up the day, we wrapped the tube fins with tape to hold them in place for storage over the coming week.
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Cutting fins for the very first time!
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They are simple rectangular fins, so this is a great learning experience for these kids.
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While waiting for available knives, the other half of the class assembles the recovery harness.
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This young man missed the first class and has been catching up, bit by bit, each week.
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Fins cut, now we can begin the final assembly!
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Fins attached.  Storing these till next week will be a chore!
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Don't look at me!  I'm too cool to make a parachute.  I WILL my parachute to make itself!  LOL
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Meanwhile, the others just dig in as they near completion.
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A couple of kids missed a day and are a bit behind, but we work to get them all caught up!
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The parachute is our last step (recovery harness is complete and we just attached the Launch Lug)
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Kids stay focused in this shorter class (only 45 min) as they finish their parachutes.
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Another who had missed a day.  His model is complete and we will finish his parachute next week!
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Proud rocketeers display their work!
NEXT WEEK WE PAINT!
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Let the painting begin!
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The artists put on their special touches
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Looking good!
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Taking care not to get paint on the wrong part!
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Have you ever seen such FOCUS?
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A rainbow of color
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Every one is going gang busters!
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Let's see...  An admirer in the upper left.  A very cool rocket in the lower right.  And, what looks like a Pollack painting as the background!  Yep, that's beginner rocketry alright! 
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Now, them's some proud rocketeers!
LAUNCH DAY!
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Table all set out with the controller primed and tested, motors opened and inspected, CA glue ready, and we wait.
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Here we have the two launch pads we'll be using, with the large field as the back drop.  Perfect!
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The kids arrive and I put them to work installing igniters, installing motors and, last but not least, the parachutes!
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As the kids finish up, they wonder about the launch area, looking over the equipment, talking amongst  themselves.
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We begin with the launch of a couple of my models, including this proto-type of a possible new design, based on the Celtic Thunder.
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Perfect recovery!
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Now we're cooking!  On the field and ready to go!
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My fav pic of the event, bar none! LOL
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Hooking up the igniters.  Other than directing the kids, and providing answers to questions, I don't do ANY of the work out here.  They do it all!
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The obligatory beauty shot before launch :)
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And we have begun!
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Great shot looking back at the launch table!
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Great near field recovery too.  Perfect day for flying!
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Two more ready to go!
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Now, that's just beautiful!
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Good catch!
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LIFTOFF!
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Concentration is key
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Looking good and ready to go!
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Into the wild blue yonder!
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And back on a cushion of air.
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Beautiful day!
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Love these paint schemes!
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And away she goes!
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Every launch album should include a photo like this!
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Striped chute no cause for alarm!
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Straight as an arrow!
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Beautiful return
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Right into his arms!
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Happy be the rocketeer!
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And, for good reason too!
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Up, up and AWAY!
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Only to land right back at the launch table!  Incredible! (note two broken fins, easily repaired.
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Learning new tasks
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Ready to fly!
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WHOOSH!
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Nice!
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Last flight of the day!

Perfect!
 Special thanks to all of the kids who worked so hard to make this such a successful rocketry session.  I hope to see you all in September!
 

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