Friday, October 31, 2008

Please VOTE... no really!

The most popular Photo Contest to date deserves your attention: Before-After Photo Contest... please vote. Folks wonder what they can do to keep me motivated: Send a Donation.... no, I mean Vote in our contests. That is a lot of fun for me to see.

Calendar Update: I should be set to start offering the calendar on 11/1. I just received the first run and can make a couple of tweaks on the positioning and text.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Better, Faster...

Since I have put some of the Flight Log Overhaul on hold (next step will take some dedicated time... perhaps next holiday off of work)... I have begun another site project:

Improving the ease of updating.

Previously I mentioned automating some tasks... now to simplify where things are and how they are referenced.

Problem #1: The original master database referenced all reviews/article using the .html extension (1998), while the data file was a .dat extension (started in 2001), and now the resulting file that you view is a .shtml extension (2008).

What this means: I have to cut and paste the data into a DAT file and upload it, then paste the name into the master file and change the .dat to .html. Time thief! The scripts do the conversions from .html to .shtml.

Fix: I have now converted all extensions to .dat in the master file and all scripts now handle the .dat extension. 

Problem #2: Descon (all 15 of them) had their own unique way of being set up in the system and on the server.

What this means: I had to do a lot of directory-by-directory management whenever I made a system-wide change. Time thief!

Fix: I have now converted them to look just like every other review dat and structure while maintaining all other sorting and categorizing within EMRR.

Problem #3: Opinions and Rocket Specific Tips are tied to reviews by the category and name of the rocket. (Flight Logs are too, but that is another problem for another day)

What this means: Every time I change something in the master database, I have to go into Specific and Opinions and update all of them.  This mostly happens when rockets go from released to OOP. Time thief!

Fix: Opinions and Specific tips are now added to reviews by matching the .dat file name.

What you will notice: Nothing from within EMRR.  If you have links to your reviews from outside of EMRR, they will go to an automatic redirect page and end up at the new review page.

I'm still looking at a few other areas that just steal a bit of time for updating such as:

  • HTML to DAT conversion time - Dropped
  • Ratings link (going to go to JavaScript) - DONE!
  • Opinions and Specifics added automatically - DONE! (after validation)
  • Improved master database management for "What's New" - Dropped

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's Snowing in Vermont

Well, look's like my painting season is/has come to a close... I awoke to snow falling today!

Automation and a Problem

I've been working on automating some of the tasks to update EMRR. I installed MS Office 2007 Enterprise which has allowed me some export scripts for the database processing (nice).

I am also testing various FTP Sync programs. With one I had a big mistake as it stripped about 18 flight pics from the server because there was not a match on my harddisk... fixed that thanks to two folks resending me their files.

I think I'm happy with what InstantSync is providing. So perhaps I will go-ahead and pay for that after my 30 day trial.

My problem is that I need a better way to search for flight logs for new reviews within the multiple (now 27) different flight log files. Ever since I allowed individual log management, I've lost some simplicity of attaching those "unlinked" flight logs to reviews... actually in finding them. So I need to work on this as well as the rest of the flight log overhaul stuff (see below).

Plugging away.

Tick-Tock as the Deadlines are coming...

A few more days for your Before-After Photo Entries and then just a few more before the Youth Participation report is due. Many new reviews and articles. Some neat stuff here. Enjoy.

Calendar Update: I should be set to start offering the calendar on 11/1. I just received the first run and can make a couple of tweaks on the positioning and text.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Another EMRR?

Yes, indeed, I have discovered that there is another EMRR - ElectroMagnetic Radiation Recorders:

From their website:

ElectroMagnetic Radiation Recorders

With a continuously growing collection of vintage recording and broadcast equipment, EMRR is well suited for making the type recordings that match the sonic desires of almost every rock and pop act around.

Our experience, track record, and facility are second to none in the Winston-Salem area. Our focus is on providing the expertise and equipment necessary for real musicians, who intend to create real music by playing together live, to get great sounds quickly and thereby focus on the actual art of playing music together! We know of no other facility in the area that can touch our capabilities in this regard. This applies both to studio and location recording, as we have been making remote multitrack recordings longer than anyone in the area. Please take a moment to view our client list!

Oh, well, this is only ONE true EMRR for Rocketry!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Rocket Video Contest Winners Announced and Prizes Picked.

After a couple of days of the site being down... we're back and have much to share. Have you been following the EMRR History articles? Go to the BLog and see them. Enjoy the many new articles on the site, too.

I added the ability to look at ALL Flight Logs with Pics, too.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

EMRR Temporarily Down

In what was supposed to talk only 12 hours... well, hang in there and write up a review in preparation for the site coming up!

EMRR's Vendor Recognition Pages

Vendor Recognition pages were an idea I had very early in the history of EMRR. In fact, by March 1998 we had published our first Vendor Recognition of Apogee Components.

The pages were introduced this way:

“Estes dominates the local hobby stores, department stores and toy stores. They have fine products and probably everyone has flown an Estes' kit. We appreciate their role in getting the hobby started years ago and their sustained efforts to promote the hobby today. But in all fairness there are other quality rocket kit providers out there.

“Periodically, we will provide information on these vendors to let you get familiar with them. Please consider contacting them and explore their products.”

From 1998 to 2007, the Vendor Recognition pages had a link from the specific vendor (manufacturers) reviews and would also show up on the What’s New page. If there wasn’t a new Vendor Recognition page, then a random one would show up on the What’s New page.

In 2002, the Vendor Recognition pages were switched over to dat files and the Vendors could edit them directly.

The last Vendor Recognition page added was Red River Rocketry in November 2005.

Then on March 1, 2007, I shut off all Vendor Recognition pages. I did this for several reasons, but primarily to have one less thing to manage on the site (the vendors were not keeping them up-to-date either despite my reminders).

There were various questions in the Vendor Recognition pages:

  • What is your company's mission statement?
  • Tell us about your company's beginning?
  • What events does your company sponsor or attend?
  • Where does your company get its rocket designs?
  • Which design would be considered your company's "flagship" rocket?
  • Any big plans ahead?
  • Any advice for new rocketeers?
  • Anything else you would like people to know?

For the purpose of this historical article, I’ve decided to post just the Mission Statement, Company’s Beginning, and “Flagship” Product from the time that the Vendor Recognition was put on EMRR (that's the date next to the company name).

Apogee Components – 3/98

Mission Statement: To provide quality rocket kits and accessories to make rocketry fun for the consumer.

Company’s Beginning: Ed LaCroix founded Apogee Components in the late 1980's. He envisioned a company focused on the competition market, and basically he picked up where the company "CMR" left off. He started by sourcing some very high-tech materials, and then building a product line around them.

In 1994, when I was fired by Estes Industries, I approached Ed about expanding his product line to include a new type of rocket motor: the 10.5mm micro motor. Ed liked the idea, so I proceeded to design the motor and get it ready for certification. I also designed a new line of rocket kits around this size motor case, as well as writing several technical reports to familiarize the customer with the new product. While I was doing this, Ed was offered a job with Aerotech as their marketing director. I saw this as an opportunity to purchase the assets of Apogee Components and mold it into a different type of company -- sport rockets. In the middle of 1996, I reincorporated the company, and started the journey as a entrepreneur.

Since 1996, company has grown a larger and more diverse set of products. I've moved the location of the company twice since I took over, and I'll probably be moving into a bigger location in 2002.

Company’s Flagship Product: That would have to be the RockSim software. It continues to be the one product that we're recognized for. But we continue to add new products all the time, including the huge Saturn V and the Saturn 1B kits.

Edmonds Aerospace – 4/98

Mission Statement: This company exists to provide more flying enjoyment to the inexperienced modeler than is available from typical existing products, in the hopes that they will remain in the aerospace hobby for a longer period. The kits are designed to inhibit construction and adjustment errors typically made by new modelers, and to provide flight characteristics that are visually appealing. The company intends to offer these products to the widest possible audience.

Company’s Beginning: The Edmonds Aerospace probably owes its existence to Ken Brown and his firm, Qualified Competition Rockets. He is a fellow NOVAAR member, and I can remember how he was able to gain the tremendous acceptance, reputation and popularity that his products now enjoy without a massive outlay of capital for equipment, packaging or advertising. This basically taught me that it is "OK" for an individual to just go out start a hobby product company, you don't need the bankroll or the formalisms required for other businesses. The thing that really made the company what it is now, though, is the Internet. It is where I found the various suppliers, cutters and wood-turners that make the current kits possible, often through the efforts of other ordinary modelers who told me of their favorite firms.

Company’s Flagship Product: It is probably still that little triangle Deltie kit. It was my first serious production effort, featuring die-cutting and Bill Saindon's computer-turned nose cones. It seemed to go the farthest toward the company mission, with six-year-olds regularly turning in 45-second flights with their first ever model. Even though the new CiCi kit is actually far easier to build, that triangle still epitomizes the idea of a fun-to-fly beginners' model. I'm having a hard time topping it.

Nordic Rocketry – 5/98

Mission Statement: Our mission is to provide our customers with a positive experience in hobby rocketry, by supplying the highest quality and value in rocketry kits and support products, resulting in complete customer satisfaction.

Company’s Beginning: Our company was formed in 1995. Company President Owner Howard Olson returned to rocketry after a long absence and was discouraged by the rocket kits then available locally. We decided that there must be others who could appreciate a rocket kit with top notch components and fit. After searching for the quality components we had envisioned for our kits, Nordic Rocketry began production in the fall of 1996 to serve the quality conscious sector of model rocketry.

Company’s Flagship Product: Currently, the Ascender is our flagship. As the new designs reach production in late May, the Dash-3 kit is expected to take over. It is a cluster and has performed well in our test phase.

J & P Parachutes – 6/98

Mission Statement: To build high quality products at reasonable prices.

Company’s Beginning: Pattie started this under the advice of friends at a launch who knew she could sew quite well and wanted multicolor parachutes that the lines did not come off of.

Company’s Flagship Product: We have parachutes from 12" to 12 ft.

Rogue Aerospace – 7/98

Mission Statement: Our mission is two-fold: to provide model rocketry hobbyists with unique "ready-to-build" kits at an affordable price; and to provide one-stop Internet shopping and quick turn-around on model rocket parts and supplies!

Company’s Beginning: In 1995, president Brent W. York was asked to lead local middle school students in a basic model rocketry class. The class was well received, and was repeated the following year. To challenge returning students, we wanted to provide a two-stage kit. The only one available in the local hobby store was an Estes Mongoose, which was much too simple to build -- where was the challenge? Instead, Brent designed his own two-stage kit to use in the class -- this kit became, in fact, our Crossfire kit. We realized that few of the sort of unique kits we loved from the '70s and early '80s were being produced, and decided it was time to fill that void. By early 1997, we had formed Rogue Aerospace Corporation, and by late that year, we were selling kits and parts on the Internet. We call our kits "Ready-To-Build" because they're the exact *opposite* of what a certain other model rocket company is putting out these days -- our rockets are kits, not fireworks!

Company’s Flagship Product: At the moment, our "flagship" rocket is the nine-foot-tall Space Needle. This may change soon . . .

Public Missiles – 1/99

Mission Statement: Design and manufacture the best rockets in the world, and give our customers the best possible service. Period.

Company’s Beginning: As with most rocketeers reading this, Frank Uroda started flying rockets as a kid, but then girls, cars and jobs came along. Many years later, while looking for a hobby, Frank and a friend came upon rockets on a hobby shop. As many of you can relate to, that started the whole process going! Frank joined Tripoli, NAR, went to club meetings and launches, certified for High Power, the whole shot. He then met Jerry Kolb at the local NAR club. Eventually Jerry and Frank, along with several members of the NAR club, started Michigan's first Tripoli Prefecture, Michigan Team One.

After a few years of flying HPR, Frank thought that MI Team One should have a project. He drew up some plans and presented them to the club members. Frank was the one that did almost all of the designing, building, and painting, though he did get several key components from a few of the club members. It was during the research for this rocket that Frank came across phenolic tubing and G-10 fiberglass. This rocket (known as the "M" Project) also incorporated the first Giant Kwik-Switch motor mount, the first Piston system, and the first CPR system! It also used foam encapsulated G-10 fins, phenolic airframe, a foam filled fiberglass nosecone, several electronic timers, and multiple chutes. Remember, this was in 1987! Back then almost all rockets were cardboard with plastic nosecones and wooden fins. Almost no one used electronics and independent ejection charges. The “M” Project was truly a very revolutionary hobby rocket. Also at that time the vast majority of rockets flown with J and larger motors failed one way or another. The "M" Project (the "M" actually stood for Michigan) flew on an "L" motor, and the entire flight was perfect. Public Missiles Ltd. was created soon after.

In the early days (1989) PML offered a kit or two and a little bit of custom tube cutting. Along with increasing sales comes paperwork, accounting, dealing with the IRS, etc. This is where long-time rocketeer Gerald Kolb entered the picture; Jerry joined PML in 1990. He and Frank had met at a local NAR event years earlier, and had become friends and “flying buddies”. His job was to run the non-engineering side of the business, such as marketing, advertising, finances, etc. In 2001 Jerry decided to work in another industry and Frank became sole owner of PML. As far as some other things PML did in the earlier years, PML has built and flown rockets for TV and Hollywood. In 1994 Paramount Studios contacted us to build three (3) rockets for the Star Trek movie "Generations". (You can see details on these rockets by going to a Special Projects page at the bottom of the Who Is PML page at the Public Missiles website). Later in 1994, PML built and flew a replica Dr. Goddard rocket for the TV series, "Young Indiana Jones" George Lucas (of STAR WARS fame) even came by to watch the filming of the rocket PML built and flew for TV.

In the late 1990’s, a special effects company working on a British Royal Navy documentary film contacted PML. PML was contracted to build 7 full-size Harpoon missiles, about 12 Seawolf missiles, and around 30 "Russian enemy rockets". Many photos of this project and even some video can be viewed at PML’s website. Again you’ll find this Special Projects page at the bottom of the Who Is PML page at the Public Missiles website).

Company’s Flagship Product: The AMRAAM “family” of rockets were probably our original ‘flagships’ as far as kits. PML sells scale AMRAAM's at 2.1", 3.0" and 4.0" diameters. The Endeavour series has also been very popular, starting out first with the 3.9” Endeavour, then becoming the 6.0” Ultimate Endeavour, and a few years ago we released the very popular 2.5” Small Endeavour. We’ve found our customers often like larger or smaller versions of certain popular kits. This has also proven true with our Tiny Pterodactyl, Pterodactyl Junior, and Pterodactyl.

We also are very proud of our Kwik-Switch motor system; it was a big development for us in terms of design and innovation for the hobby. The Kwik-Switch motor system allow you to use 3 different diameter motors in the same rocket, and it only takes 10 seconds to switch the motors. As discussed earlier in this piece, PML has innovated in being the first to bring phenolic tubing, G10 fins, piston ejection systems, CPR electronic ejection systems, the IS3000 staging system, and others into the hobby rocketry field. We’re also regularly adding new products to our line, whether they’re kits, components, or services. We introduced Quantum Tubing (QT) to the hobby rocketry industry a few years ago and it’s been a real hit. QT is made from a special blended polymer that is extremely durable, inexpensive, easy to use, easy to finish, and very forgiving. CPR-MAX has been a new addition in late 2002, allowing an easy way to design in a CPR Dual Deployment system in the larger 6.0” and 7.5” airframe sizes (regular CPR fits 2.1 through 3.9”). We’re also on the verge of releasing an entire line of specialty Composite components and tubing.

An example of services we provide would be our PML News email newsletter subscription service to keep our customers informed of new items. It’s free and has been a real help to customers to keep them up to date. Another VERY good resource we’re proud of is our Complete FAQ on our FAQ Page of our website. It’s a huge document full of great information, and it’s really easy to use with a “clickable” Table of Contents that automatically takes you right to the information you’re interested in. We update it all the time with the latest information.

Blackhawk R&D – 3/99

Mission Statement: We provide quality rocket kits ranging from model rockets to HPR. Who say's you can't please everyone? We do our best to try.

Company’s Beginning: In our second year we began as a Mid-High power rocket manufacturer, we currently sport over 20 mid to high power scale rocket kits. This summer we attended LDRS and shared a room with Pete Alway of Rocket's of the World fame, and were reminded that model rockets are quite fun also. I guess when the HPR bug hits you can loose yourself it in so much that you find it easy to forget about modrocs for a while. After a few weeks we started to pump out scale designs for modrocs, but we didn't want them to be the normal every day modrocs. So we went on a hunt for materials that are stronger and last longer but also wouldn't cost an arm and a leg. We found, in our search, that we didn't have to be at mercy of "what's available" and to make our line more distinct we bought into urethane/plastic composites so that we could mold any size or shape nose cone and parts that we could dream up. The line grew from 2 rockets to 16 before our release in September and we plan on expanding our line of kits more and more in the near future including fantasy scale and oddrocs with cast noses with details and canopies just like the Estes of yesteryear.

Company’s Flagship Product: Our personal favorite is the 2-stage Russian Surface to Air Missile, the SA-19 Grison.

Missile Works Corporation – 4/99

Mission Statement: Missile Works Corporation designs and manufactures dependable, innovative hobby rocketry kits, components and electronics. Our company strives to provide consistent high quality by applying personal attention and stringent quality control to each of our products. To continually offer new, affordable, cutting edge items, Missile Works researches raw material manufacturers, stays abreast of new technology, and listens to what enthusiasts seek.

Company’s Beginning: The long-standing idea for Missile Works jelled in late 1997. Our original goal was to offer a small line of scale missile and rocket kits. This quickly blossomed into an entire product line which includes electronics, kits, components, and custom fabrication services.

Company’s Flagship Product: Our RRC² Rocket Recovery Controller/Altimeter wins hands down according to sales numbers (and it was the most fun to design!).

Aerospace Speciality Products – 5/99

Mission Statement: Aerospace Speciality Products currently manufactures Scale, Sport, Educational and Competition Model Rocket Kits for Micro-Maxx through 38mm motors. The kits are designed for the modeler who actually likes to build rockets, as opposed to just putting together a totally pre-fabricated kit - the A.S.P. philosophy is that the more you put into a model, the more pride and enjoyment you get out of it!

The idea of "Kits YOU Build" has been a part of our philosophy and has appeared in our literature since day one . . . years before some others have adopted a similar statement in their advertising!

We also provide a wide range of components, adhesives, and many other products and supplies.

We take pride in our quick and reliable delivery - 99.9% of the products are in stock 99.9% of the time. You won't have to wait weeks or months to get an order from A.S.P.!

Company’s Beginning: The idea for starting Aerospace Speciality Products came to me at least two or three years before actually starting the company in the Spring of 1995. Noting the lack of kits that the modeler actually had to put much effort into, I determined that there was a place for a small business that catered to the rocketeer that wanted to step up from the typical Estes or Quest style kit. Aerospace Speciality Products basically follows my own interests, which are scale modeling, educational activities and competition flying.

Company’s Flagship Product: Aerospace Speciality Products is mostly associated with the WAC Corporal. The single stage kits have been among our best sellers from day one. The newer 2 Stage versions have been very popular since their release in the summer of 1998.

The Launch Pad – 5/99

Mission Statement: The Launch Pad specializes in the most accurate international military missile replicas on the market today. We offer high quality Mid-Power rockets at the lowest possible prices. We also want to put some of the skill and pride of accomplishment back into model building. We try not to offer anything that any other companies have already produced unless we think we can do it significantly BETTER. Why should we be a simple copycat of any other company with so many unique designs out there?

Company’s Beginning: We started in 1992 just offering Plan-Paks, scratch-building guides for 9 military missiles. We were reluctant to make kits at first, but popular demand stemming from happy Plan-Pak customers finally convinced us, and we began producing kits in late 1993. Today we have the second largest selection of kits anywhere in the industry, and have more than 60 more new kits in the works, right now. We won't run out of designs for a long, long time.

Company’s Flagship Product: That would have to be our Nike Ajax MIM-3A missile. It stands over 55 inches tall and uses a cluster of three 24mm motors. With minor modifications it can be flown as a two-stage kit. But we have several other kits coming out soon that may take over first place in popularity.

Pratt Hobbies – 6/99

Mission Statement: Freedom to Dream: Freedom to Fly.

Company’s Beginning: I've been in rocketry since 1960, when I answered Vern Estes' first ad in Popular Science. "Basics of Model Rocketry" was the first of nine books I've written. Sooner or later, it just seemed inevitable that I would start a rocket business. Working as a professional writer, editor and web designer, I got tired of seeing all my work vanish at the end of the day...I wanted to make some things that I could look at and admire. I also wanted to make things that were different and unique, so as not to get into petty price wars.

Company’s Flagship Product: We've invested heavily in hybrid motor technology, and it's starting to get very interesting. Pratt Hobbies sells all brands/varieties of hybrid motors: Sky Ripper, HyperTEK, RATT Works, Contrail Rockets, West Coast Hybrids and Propulsion Polymers. Hybrids are becoming more popular, but there is still a critical lack of information about them, so we set up a Yahoo group at We are also working on publishing as much material as we can about hybrids. Another good source is the Info Pages link on our catalog web site

Ground Support Equipment (GSE) is one of the main barriers to getting into hybrid motors. We are very proud of our Modular RTLS Launch System. This is the only system on the market that can fire every commercially-available motor, solid or hybrid. "Modular" means you can buy what you need for the motors you fly now, and add on when you get interested in something else. Module 1 will fire conventional motors; it's very similar to our SureFire in that it has an interenal battery and relay circuitry for clusters. If you want to try floating-injector hybrids (Contrail, RATT Works, Propulsion Polymers, West Coast) you plug in Module 2, the Valve Manifold. To do HyperTEK motors with their non-pyrotechnic ignition, you add Module 4, the GOX Box. For motors bigger than K you need a longer cable than the 100 footer that comes with Module 1, so you add Module 3, the 500 foot Longwire system. The best part is, all four Modules add up to a lower cost than other systems that only fire hybrids...and you can fire anything!

Rocket Vision – 7/99

Mission Statement: Rocket Vision is an Impulse Aerospace company created specifically to serve the needs of the model rocket hobbyist. We do business directly with our customers via our web site, making it possible for us to sell our products for far less than if distributors and dealers -- and their associated markups -- were involved. Our mission is to provide the highest-quality products at the lowest-possible prices while still making a fair profit for our company.

We also have a company Vision and Values statement.

Company’s Beginning: Impulse Aerospace was founded in 1986 to pursue opportunities in aerospace design. We entered the hobby rocketry field in 1990 and our first product was the Veri-Fire Launch Control, introduced at LDRS X. The Quad-Pod Heavy-Duty Launch Pad was released in 1994, and the first Rugged-Rockets in 1996. From the beginning, our focus has been on designing products based on the latest technologies and which are made from high-quality, enduring materials. We sold our products through hobby stores, at launches, and through the Impulse Aerospace web site and catalog.

In 1999 Rocket Vision was created within Impulse Aerospace to manufacture hobby rocketry supplies and sell them over the Internet.

Company’s Flagship Product: There’s no question that our most popular rocket is the Mach-Buster (which has several favorable reviews up on the EMRR web site). It will break the sound barrier on a F or G motor.

RocketFlite – 9/99

Mission Statement: To provide a highly reliable 5,400F electric match at a reasonable price. To eventually use the profit from the sales of the electric match kits and wire to relocate and build the needed buildings to bring back into production the Silver Streak motor line.

Update: 5-4-04 The land (2.8 acres) has been purchased and the clearing of this land to make room for buildings is underway. Soon you will be able to view an image of this at our website.

Company’s Beginning: We started to manufacture motors in April of 1989. At first we used 1/4 thick virgin craft paper tubes 38mm in diameter as F and G motor casings. As time went on we eventually switched to 6061T6 as the inner casing and spiral virgin kraft tubing as the final outer casing. Our motors 29mm F104SS, 38mm G220SS, and H330SS were submitted to both the BOE for there EX number assignments and then to Tripoli for there motor testing program where all three motors became certified.

Company’s Flagship Product: At this time we only manufacture the Magnelite electric match kit and wires. Allowing you to make over 900 ML-12 (no fold) electric matches quickly and at a cost of under $0.95 a piece. This highly reliable 5,400F electric match is great for all your motor clustering needs and because of the type of binder we use our pyrogen will reliably ignite every time even on the most humid of days.

True Modeler's Rocket Kits – 10/99

Mission Statement: Our desire is to bring the art of scale rocketry back to the roots from whence it came. The True Modeler's Rocket Kits are designed to take you back to a time when model rocketry placed the emphasis on "modeling". No ready-to-fly kits here! We are dedicated to bringing you a line of model rockets which are as challenging to build as they are fun to fly. We want to provide kits that you will enjoy and be proud to display.

Company’s Beginning: I like to build highly-detailed, well-scaled kits. Whenever I bring them to a launch, people are very impressed, and want to know where they can get one. Many, many people suggested I make them available and market them. I got with several well-known people in the industry, and got their ideas, input, and backing. Hence, True Modeler's was born.

Company’s Flagship Product: Our 1:17.5 Scale Jupiter C / Juno I kit. It is almost 4 ft tall, designed around a 4" airframe, and has our exclusive Interchangeable Motor Mount System. With over 80 individual pieces, plus both wet & slide and peel & stick vinyl decals, this kit is as detailed and accurately scaled as they come! It can be flown on either a cluster of four 24mm motors or a single 29mm motor, both single use and reloads, and is quickly changable in the field in seconds. Our 1:13.5 scale Aries would be a close second. Ever seen a hard-balsa nose cone turned from 120 cubic inch stock? Again, a 4" mainframe and flies on a cluster of 4 "D" thru "F" 24mm motors.

Shadow Aerospace – 12/99

Mission Statement: Shadow Composites provides advanced aerospace materials to the model and high power rocketry community. From the all carbon fiber Raven 38mm. minimum diameter rocket, to scratch building supplies like carbon airframes, glass and carbon tissue, ceramic insulation, nomex paper, 500 degree stable epoxy and Advanced Composite Construction Techniques Videos, we are the only manufacturer to make REAL aerospace technology available to the rocketry community. DO IT LIGHT, DO IT STRONG, DO IT RIGHT with Shadow Composites, Inc.!

Company’s Beginning: We have just celebrated our Fifth anniversary as a corporation, and one year as a supplier to the rocketry community. We specialize in advanced composite components for the aerospace industry, and also design and engineering for the Marine industry. We have over 20 years of experience in advanced composite design, engineering, and manufacture.

Company’s Flagship Product: The Advanced Composite Construction Video tape series is our most popular product, as it shows you the most effective and efficient way to design, construct and finish advanced composite structures with only solid techniques developed in our 22 years in the composite business. The Raven all-carbon kit is a supreme example of the difference between Shadow Composites and other manufacturers - it is simply the fastest, most extreme performance kit available.

Yank Enterprises – 2/00

Mission Statement: To provide the rocketry community great looking, easy to work with, durable rockets and parts at very affordable prices.

Company’s Beginning: The idea of Yank Enterprises started out as a hobby shop. Trains, planes, r/c cars, rockets.....etc. Since all of us only knew about rocketry, and really didn't have the ambition to learn about the other things. What's the use of starting a hobby shop with 5 people working in the rocketry section!!! We have a name, now all we have to do is think of something to do! So, we accomplished the next best thing, Yank Enterprises "rocket kit manufacturer" yup, that was it. Lets get some ideas and start designing kits!

Company’s Flagship Product: We would classify our 3" and 4" IRIS's and IQSY Tomahawks our flagships. Mainly because they are scaled down to the inch. They are the ONLY scale kits of their type on the market.

BSD High Power Rocketry – 05/00

Mission Statement: To provide reasonably priced mid to high power kits with the best instructions, high quality parts, and proven, simple designs that anyone can build.

Company’s Beginning: Owned by Mark Saunders (NAR # 78825, TRA #09247 L2), formerly of Binder Design. Mark purchased BSD from Scott Binder on June 1, 2002 and relocated BSD to Glendale, Arizona where there is excellent flying weather year round.

BSD High Power Rocketry is a company founded in 1999. Kits are similar in construction and design to Binder Design kits, with major improvements in instructions, parts quality, and customer support. All BSD kits were originally designed by Scott Binder. We are located in South Central Arizona and have access to a fully FAA-waivered Test/Launch Facility that can be used weekends year-round, allowing us to test our designs thoroughly any time we need.

The first kit offered by BSD High Power Rocketry was the Horizon, level one certification kit. It is designed so that the average human-being can build, finish and fly the rocket to certify TRA or NAR Level One just by following the simple, photo-illustrated instructions. BSD currently offers 16 kits of various skill levels from beginner to advanced modeler.

Company’s Flagship Product: The Horizon is definitely the "flagship" - It's basic design is simple, and our claim is that anyone possessing average skills can successfully build, finish and certify Level One, if the instructions are followed exactly. It's not difficult to build, and it can be built in a couple of evenings.

Sunward Aerospace – 1/01

Mission Statement: Our company aims to produce and market the most innovative and attractive designs in our field. Using the highest quality components available and combining them with state of the art jet fighter designs, we aim to make the best rockets possible at the fairest prices.

Company’s Beginning: The original planes were designed by Peter Vanderwal. Peter Vanderwal had designed rockets for many years. As a teacher he wanted to introduce his students to this exciting hobby. When the students were building their models they were less than impressed with the kits available. This inspired him to create rockets which would be impressive yet inexpensive for beginners in the hobby. Bored with the usual rocket shape, he adapted jet fighter designs to create spectacular rocket fighters. Since their release in Fall 2000, they have filled a vacant niche within the hobby world wide.

The company has been run by Angelo Castellano since Fall 2004.

Company’s Flagship Product: We released several kits in close succession, but our company would consider its flagship and corporate image to be represented best by the "Desertfox" model. It is loosely based on the world famous F18 Hornet by McDonnell Douglas. Our reason for choosing this design is that it is very attractive and it is the main aircraft presently used by the Canadian Air Force.

DG&A – 4/01

Mission Statement: To have a top quality product with fine quality parts and easy instructions. To be able to provide quality replacement parts, for the kits we've designed. To be able to ship our kits all around the world for our valued customers.

Company’s Beginning: DG&A was started in the year 2000 we are out of Bloomington, TX. The company was named after my three children's first initial from all their names and for the love of this hobby for the last 25 years. The fire started when my wife bought me the movie October Sky for my birthday. Our first kit was from BSD. From Scott Binder, who has become one of my rocket mentors. Scott helped us get started into high power rocketry and has been a great help in getting DG&A where it is now. We had a dozen or so designs before we got started. DG&A is just getting started but it's on it's way to becoming a company you can depend on for quality kits and products.

Company’s Flagship Product: Even though the ARMAGEDDON was not one of our first designs, It became our flagship. This kit is 4"x96"good for Level-1 or Level-2. We've had it up on as little as a I-211W but it comes in either 38mm or 54mm. Use a K550W and see beautiful flight.And also due to your requist we have upscaled the Armageddon to a 5.5" kit for you level-2,3.rocketeers. We also carry a small version of the Armageddon in a 2.14" kit.

Aardvark Rockets – 6/01

Mission Statement: Customer service is synonymous with Total Customer Satisfaction.

Company’s Beginning: I have been working on my second business venture for some time now. Just could never come up with what I wanted to do this time. Funny to think that all the time it was under my nose! Late last year, I began contact with Andy Bronfein. We talked a lot and decided that a partnership was a good solution for the both of us. So it began. Aardvark Hobbies and Blackhawk R&D merged and the surviving company is Aardvark Rockets and Hobbies. (Pssst....the "Hobbies" part is for future use!! Shhhh.) Andy has done a most respectable job on his own. Andrew is my Plant Director and Partner. I am the President and Partner.

They call me the "Head Aardvark", but I go by Ken.

Company’s Flagship Product: The release of the full size range of the American Dream has met with great success! In any size, she is awesome and flies equally as impressive. Then again, the new 2.6" exotics have debuted with the release of the SS Triopsis. The release of this kit blows the gates open to just what can be accomplished with some work. But then there is a full line of Black Brants. Those are tough to beat!

QuickBurst - 10/01

Mission Statement: We strive daily to meet the challenge of the constantly changing need for reliable, innovative products through customer input, research, development and testing. With unparalleled customer service, we aim to set a new standard in the growing field of ground support products.

Company’s Beginning: While enjoying rocketry as a hobby, I grew tired of babying unreliable igniters and needed a product that was both durable and dependable. By researching and using age-old pyrotechnic procedures, I managed to develop a system that perfectly fit my needs. With the idea in mind to simply sell a few products to offset the cost of my hobby, I quickly found that others were also impressed with the new designs and rapid sales ensued! With the sales came new contacts, new input and a constant flow of ideas for more research and development of new and better products.

Company’s Flagship Product: We feel like our Twiggy igniter will be our top seller this year. After months of struggling to adapt our igniters to fit the smaller engines we came up with the solution. It’s unique oval shape allows it to easily fit the F and G class motors, along with its durability and dependability we believe it will be this years leader. Our second in line would have to be the QuickBurst Nova Launch Control system. It's lightweight, durable and easily adapted to fit a variety of needs. The Nova's simplicity and numerous safety features also make it the perfect set up for family or high power applications.

Fat Cat Rockets – 2/02

Mission Statement: To provide rocketeers with the most innovative, eye-catching and radical designs of model rockets made with high quality, custom components. All of this offered in an atmosphere of a mom and pop company committed to one-on-one customer service and attention to the smallest detail.

Company’s Beginning: During the past two decades I have been building a lot of my own custom rocket designs. Along the way a few people asked me to make components for them. Fat Cat Rockets was born out of those simple roots-components for myself and others soon turned to complete kits. My previous company, Starship Enterprises, was dissolved when my business partner decided to pursue another aspect of rocketry. This change allowed me devote myself fully to Fat Cat. This year (2004) marks our fourth year in business.

Company’s Flagship Product: It's time to retire the Centaurus as our company flagship. After three years at the helm, we feel it's time for a change in the top dog (er, cat). Our K-1 Model Kit has continued to be one of the most popular kits we produce. It is now proudly displayed in our new logo and on our advertising postcards...just look for the fat cat riding the K-1.

Art Applewhite Rockets – 4/02

Mission Statement: To design unusual rocket kits that fire the imagination!

Company’s Beginning: I'm a born-again rocketeer. Since the early 60's I have liked unusual designs. I like pushing the outside of the envelope. My company designs rocket that appeals to the rocketeer who wants to go beyond starter sets and RTFs. Those who are ready to go beyond 3 fins and a nosecone.

Company’s Flagship Product: The Delta Flying Saucer.

Binder Design – 7/02

Mission Statement: To manufacture kits that are fun to build and fly and to continue to produce the best kit instructions in the industry. At Binder Design, customer service and the support of our products are top priority.

Company’s Beginning: Binder Design was started by Scott Binder and his brother Tom in the early to mid nineties. The two of them came up with the great rocket designs and instructions that we still produce to this day.

Binder Design was relocated to Portland, Oregon by Tom Binder and then sold to a guy named Bill Mickley. Bill ran it for about a year before offering it for sale. I bought the company from him in 2001 and we've been growing ever since.

Company’s Flagship Product: That's a tough one. In the past I've said the Excel series, because it is pictured on our logo, and is a very popular rocket for certifications. Although the newer rockets that I've designed have really become our best sellers. The Velociraptor and Galaxy are two of our most popular kits.

FlisKits – 10/02

Mission Statement: To bring back the awe, excitement and creativity that was once the hallmark of this hobby.

[That was our mission statement back in 2002 and it remains our mission statement today. I believe that we have a good beginning in meeting the intent of this mission and will be working very hard in the coming years to continue and expand on this]

Company’s Beginning: FlisKits was founded by Jim Flis and Brian McCarthy with the initial formation in August of 2001 and our grand opening in mid-September of 2002.

I have designed hundreds of model rockets over a long history, and have always considered these designs as having more in common with models of old, rather than the toy-like kits that seem to prevail in today's market. It was my intent to one day produce these kits in the hope of generating that excitement that was common in the early days of model rocketry that seems to be missing in today’s fast-paced world.

Knowing that this was not going to be an easy task, I enlisted the help of long time rocketry friend Brian McCarthy. Together we established our corporate goals, kits and philosophy and have launched a corporation that will work its hardest to promote real growth in our hobby.

Company’s Flagship Product: The Corona has always been considered by me (Jim Flis) as our Flagship product, but our customers have different thoughts on that. It is clear that the Deuce's Wild! is our Flaship product and our signature kit.

No other kit design has brought excitement and anticipation back to this hobby as the Deuce's Wild! kit has done.

The Corona was our original idea of our Flagship kit as it was the kit design that resulted in the greatest feedback that I should be selling these as kits. The Corona was the anniversary kit for NEMROC #7, the last NEMROC convention. It was then that I took my dream of a model rocket company up a notch and began to seriously consider it.

b2 Rocketry Company – 12/02

Mission Statement: The b2 Rocketry Company was founded in 1996 with the mission of providing world-class aerodynamic recovery products to the Aerospace, Military, and High-Power Rocketry community. Sold exclusively through a limited number of professional dealerships, our offerings include the SkyAngle™ Classic, Classic II, and CERT-3™ series of rocketry parachutes and related component products.

Company’s Beginning: We formed b2 Rocketry after the successful prototyping of our unique SkyAngle parachute design. This occured at several launches in Orangeburg, SC back in 1995 and a lot of fliers approached us about getting one for themselves. We began commissioning dealers soon after that.

Company’s Flagship Product: Our Classic series of spinning parachutes started it all. Their unique multi-colored extended panel design, mil-spec suspension lines sewn over the outside of the canopy, and heavy duty swivel assembly really redefined rocket recovery. We are very proud of the CERT-3 line, too. Big rugged chutes for big rugged rockets...

Thrustline Aerospace – 5/03

Mission Statement: We will continue to pursue new and innovative ways to make the hobby more fun, educational and affordable. We will build on this with the availability of building materials and accessories always focusing on building as opposed to just assembling. My philosophy is simple. Design with quality in mind, keep the price low, exceed the customers expectations in terms of service and hopefully customers will return again and again! And, when the opportunity presents itself, introduce the hobby to others. The excitement alone of our great hobby will keep it alive as long as we make an effort to pass it on. Today’s rocketeers will be tomorrow’s engineers!

Company’s Beginning: I started building Estes Rockets in 1970, my interest sparked by a science teacher who liked teaching using a “hands on” technique. I, like so many others, got out of the hobby for about 30 years for various reasons and stored most of my stuff away in an attic. Then, in the spring of 2002, I thought I would introduce the hobby to my eight-year-old nephew hoping to pass along a craft that I thought he might enjoy. I’m not quite sure whether his interest will persist, but it certainly renewed my own. In doing research to acquire materials for scratch building I decided to sell off some my extra Kevlar™ Thread. Then I started to research the parachutes, both design and materials. I did some testing on my own and found that I could create great looking and long lasting Mylar Parachutes that were better than what had been offered on the open market. After that, Kit Clones, Wadding, and Engine Clips seemed like a natural progression only because I wanted to see if I could create or recreate more items that I needed with better quality control, and keep the cost lower. By mid summer, I had a few auctions and they were doing quite well. I was also building one of my first rockets, which would be powered by a cluster of 2 “D” size engines. That’s when I thought it would be neat to design a multi-engine clip whip. By fall of 2002 I had as many as 45 various auctions running and I was working 60 hrs a week at my full time job. The auction feedback was great. People were asking for items both through referrals and through repeat business, but keeping up with all of those auctions and working full time, it seemed like there must be a better way. At this point I started receiving questions about whether or not I had a catalog or website. Thus, in the winter of 2002, was born.

Company’s Flagship Product: A new design currently which is still in Beta status may become the design that really puts us "on the map". It's called the Starship Electra and it really represents rocketry from my point of view. So far, it has received real strong feedback and some pretty great flight data. For me personally, I also think the Black Shadow is a flagship kit because it was the very first kit to be sold under the Thrustline brand.

Rowe’s Retainers – 6/03

Mission Statement: To supply a range of motor retainers that are practical but also a reasonable price for the majority of rocket fliers. To listen to my customers comments and act upon them.

Company’s Beginning: I started making retainers whilst working in California. I wanted to produce a product that was fairly cheap, but would look good on the back end of a rocket. The first I produced were for my own rockets. But soon a few people wanted them, so I decided to make some up and see how things went. The Idea in the first place was to use the income to support myself flying, which is still the case today.

I take note of what people want and constantly improve my designs. The latest is the 24mm range; this came about because there was nothing on the market to retain 24mm motors. The cone design came about because of demand for a cheap cone that looked good and would not affect the thrust of the motor; a lot of people tested it before it went on sale.

I make all my retainers myself in my own time, as and when I can. It is not a big thing at the moment and I want to keep it that way, all income goes back into the rocket community in one way or another.

I have several dealers now stocking my products in America, England and Europe.

Company’s Flagship Product: I would say that the "Coned range" of retainers are the most wanted retainer in my range.

Xavien – 7/03

Mission Statement: To provide rocket enthusiasts everywhere with inexpensive, quality designed products.

Company’s Beginning: XAVIEN is named after my son, Xavier. A friend of mine asked me to design a small timer that would delay 1 second to 15 seconds. He said that most of the market timers he has seen were not to his liking. So I designed the first version of the "XSSRT-1", with its success I did a redesign and that is the current result of my work. My friend was so happy with it, he made a joke that I should start selling them. A few years later, XAVIEN was born. We are a small company, but we have some products that we are currently designing that will "blow you away".

Company’s Flagship Product: The "XSSRT-1" is our first and highest volume sales product.

Micro Classics – 11/04

Mission Statement: Our goal is to produce Micro Maxx version of classic kits from the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's.

Company’s Beginning: Our first kit was a limited production of launch pads for Micro Maxx rockets that we produced in 2003. We felt that this filled a need for a launch pad that actually worked for Micro Maxx rockets.

Company’s Flagship Product: Our Micro Andromeda and Micro Alien Explorer were our first rocket kits and are certainly recognizable as downsize clones of their ancestors.

U.S. Rockets – 1/05

Mission Statement: U.S. Rockets was formed by model rocketeers to service model rocketeers. USR was also the pioneer of proposing LMR and HPR to NAR. USR offers model and high power rocket kits, ATF exempt solid rocket motors, accessories, parts, and LAUNCHES.

Company’s Beginning: U.S. Rockets began with inspiration by Korey Kline of Ace Rockets who had already pioneered both HPR construction methods and HPR strength materials. Kline also did work with clustering of non-model rocket motors such as 29mm G62, 29mm H120, 29mm I200, from either Composite Dynamics, Plasmajet, or Internal Ballistics.

U.S. Rockets has both been inspired by this, and has since adopted many of the product lines of our friends when they moved on. Thus the "business model" of USR is in effect, a trust to maintain a series of technologies, and to preserve interesting implementations of it.

Company’s Flagship Product: AR 2B, MR 2B

Excelsior – 2/05

Mission Statement: To provide custom waterslide decal services and kit-bash plan-sets to allow model rocketeers to build interesting model rockets. 3FNC can be fun with the correct decals and paint job!

Company’s Beginning: Hi, My name is Fred Talasco, and I am the CEO, R&D coordinator, production manager, shipping clerk, and cook at Excelsior Rocketry.

I have flown model rockets since I was six years old. I still have my first rocket, one that my Dad built for me in 1971, a Goblin. I was a pretty rabid model rocketeer as a kid, and even hung in there as a teenager. Once I went to college and my parents moved, the rockets were boxed up.

Three years ago, I re-discovered those rockets in my Mom's attic, and dug into the internet for more info. I refurbished all of my old rockets (Yes, I still fly them), and learned all about cloning. I even went so far as to learn to turn my own nosecones if needed, but was stymied by a need for decals...

Being a 'can-do' kinda guy, I purchased an ALPS printer, some graphics software, and started drawing my own decals. Some were reproductions, some were scale, and some were my own design.

Eventually, my internet postings and photos led to the inevitable question from fellow rocketeers: Can you make me one of those?

Thus, Excelsior Rocketry was born.

Company’s Flagship Product: Unquestionably, this would be the 'RETRO-BASH' line of GOONY decal/plan-sets. These decal/plan-sets allow the model rocketeer to build a GOONY version of classic kits, by kit-bashing them from the inexpensive Baby Bertha kit. Excelsior supplies the decals, instructions, and fin patterns, the modeler supplies the Baby Bertha kit, some balsa sheet for the fins, and in some cases a nosecone. The result is an interesting model rocket that is sure to attract attention.

Sirius Rocketry – 9/05

Mission Statement: We love the fun, imaginative, and craftsmanship aspects of the hobby. We love scale, sci-fi, a good sense of humor, and the classic rocket kits. We manufacture interesting, detailed, and challenging rocketry kits, full of scale detail as in the case of our 1:64 Saturn V, or futuristic scale detail like our Refit U.S.S. Atlantis. We also market selected products from other vendors that fit well with our product line, and an ever-growing line of parts and accessories. We strive to keep introducing great kits that are as impressive on display as they are in flight. You can always get a better feel for who we are by visiting our website at

Company’s Beginning: Sirius Rocketry was already sort of a lingering idea in the mid-to-late 1990's, but really got kick started when Mark Bundick, who had seen a lot of my work over the years, suggested I try and kit my 1:64 Saturn V. I had already tossed around that idea, and already had designed my original Saturn with processes I could repeat to make a run of kits. After searching out some other products to carry as well, in about a year, in 1999, Sirius Rocketry was online and selling Saturn V's and other products, and in the last two years has entered a period of growth, reengineering and re-releasing our Saturn V, developing and releasing new kits, and expanding our product line.

Company’s Flagship Product: We try to make every kit that we come out with our flagship product. For years, it was the 1:64 Saturn V with it's attention to detail that customers have raved about. With the release of our Refit U.S.S. Atlantis, that model has been considered by many to be our signature kit, again because of the love and attention to detail that has been put into it. Others that we have in development have those same qualities, and we really try to make every kit we make a signature kit!

Red River Rocketry – 11/05

Mission Statement: To provide unique and high quality model rocket kits that are easy to build and fun to fly. We pride ourselves on a quick turnaround on orders - usually we ship within 24 hours!
Company’s Beginning: The idea of starting a company has been in the back of my mind since I was 16. Ok, that was a few years ago (I've been flying rockets for 31 years). Last year, I realized that had access to all the resources I needed to start a hobby rocket kit company. Plus, each member of my family would be able to help in some capacity - My wife is has her bachelors degree in Advertising design, my oldest son knows how to create and maintain web pages, and my youngest son has designed a few rockets over the years that we can incorporate into our line of kits (the "Predator" is the first).

Company’s Flagship Product: Currently we have two. Our first kit (the P-Chuter) continues to be a big seller. The second, and our newest (as of October, 2005) is the Predator. Go to our website and check it out, and you'll know why we consider these flagship rockets!

Stepping Back
... wow! There is a lot of content here. Enjoy it.

Next Up: Awards

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Rocket Video Contest 2008 Winners Announced

Winners announced. Enjoy these videos.

An EMRR eList message has been sent and the winners MUST reply to that to demonstrate compliance with the contest rules.

Steve Kristal is now the two-time master producer!

EMRR Corner 10-07-08


As seen in:
Apogee Components' Free Peak of Flight Newsletter #219

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Trend Micro: 2 Strikes... You're OUT!

The latest Windows XP SP3 Update (automatic) on my wife's laptop seemed to take out Firefox browser. I spent several hours working on this problem only to find that Trend Micro Internet Security Suite was the cause. I switched to the free version of AVG.


A virus popped through on my PC today... something called (or a derivative of) SASSER that impacted LSASS.EXE and dropped two files called wpv893.cpx and wpv092.cps on my system. This caused a pop up that said my pc was infected click here to fix it... hmmmm.

Trend Micro DID catch the attempts to change my registry, however, the system rebooted before I could block all the actions. Not to hard to eliminate from registry and I renamed the files of concern. Then ran full scan. It found nothing!


I downloaded Kaspersky Internet Suite and replaced my Trend Micro Suite and completed a full scan. It not only found those two files as infected with BackDoor.W32.UltimateDefender.a but also found two trojan horses Heur.Startpage (that changed broswer start page) in and one called Heur.Trojan.Generic (don't know what it would do).

So, I will now purchase Kaspersky!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Last 2 Days to Vote: Rocket Video Contest

Just a quick update with some new reviews and articles! Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Please Vote... Double Please:

VOTE! There are many times that people ask me about EMRR and there are many times I say something to the effect of, "I wish more people would vote in the contests". To me, that is key to running and having fun with these contests. It is the right thing to do for the contestants and the sponsors. Thanks!

Oh, yeah, and we added many new reviews and a Find my Draft feature!