Early on, I was bitten by the scaling bug and have either upscaled or downscaled several classic Estes kits. When I first got the 1996 and 1997 Estes catalogs, I was horrified to see that they didn't offer any cool models anymore and that all of the ones I wanted were long discontinued. I started building models from scratch and few of my current fleet come from kits.
I joined the National Association of Rocketry and started looking for resources on the network. The single best resource for a beginner is the rec.models.rockets FAQ. The web has many resources to get a rocketeer started. If you're interested in organizations, there is the NAR and Tripoli, the High Power Rocketry organization. If you're interested in links to other people's rocket pages and lots of vendors, try Rocketry Online.
I have flown with four rocket clubs. My most recent launches have been with the Toledo Area Rocket Society. ,NAR section #639. I have also flown with HUVARS. They are an NAR section that flys a lot of competition meets. I have also flown with the Tri-City Sky Busters of Cleveland, Ohio from time to time. They fly mostly high power. I have also visited the Jackson Model Rocket Club If you're in Northwestern Ohio or Southeastern Michigan and want to fly, just let me know! I fly everything from Micro Maxx to "I" as I am NAR Level 1 certified.
My fleet is made up mostly of original designs and upscales of classic Estes kits. I currently have almost 100 rockets, about 60 of which are ready to fly. My favorite models are Mosquitos but I've also done Big Berthas, Alphas and a series of 1/100 scale models of manned space boosters. I tend to build upscales and downscales but not the original. I have done this with Fat Boys, Alphas, Big Berthas, and Der Red Max. I am also working on a set of upscaled Goonybirds.
My launch pad pad and launch control system are also scratch built. The launcher is based on a design by Michael Moncur. Mine is built double to handle two of the three rockets that my pad can handle. The original design for the launcher can be found here. The pad is made entirely of readily available hardware and 1-1/4" plastic drain pipe. It has locations for 3 launch rods and each location can handle 1/8" to 1/4" rods. For more details about the launch control system and pad, click here.
If you're interested in classic designs, there are two GREAT resources on the web. The first is JimZ Rocket Plans, if you're looking for plans for a model you had years ago, this is THE PLACE to go. The other is Ninfinger Productions: Model Rockets, a fellow BAR who has a lot of nostalgia including scans of Estes and Centuri catalogs from the '60s, '70s and '80s. You might also be interested in the usenet rec.models.rockets newsgroup.
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