NARAM 42 Report

NARAM 2000…

By Bruce

    NARAM (National
Association of Rocketry Annual Meet), is a combination of
sport flying, social events, meetings, and the country’s
highest level of rocketry competition. Every year the
level of competition across the country continues to
increase, with model designs, materials, techniques, and
communication methods constantly improving, and
competitors pushing (and sometimes exceeding) the

    Although the engine sizes are small by
today’s standards, NARAM attracts the highest level of
competitive spirit year after year. For many of the
participants NARAM represents the culmination of a year’s
worth of effort planning, building, and competing to
reach a position where a national championship is within
their grasp.
NARAM 2000 patch
    For some, the goals
are less extreme – to test their abilities against the
best and maybe place in an event or two. Still others
simply enjoy reviving old friendships, making new ones,
and a chance to meet the people who made model rocketry
the great hobby it has become. For all, the ultimate goal
was to have an enjoyable and memorable time, and for
most, this goal was achieved.

     We knew NARAM 2000 (or 42, if
you prefer) would be a special event, not just because it
would be the last of the millennium, but also because of
it’s location so close to one of the birthplaces of the
hobby. Early on, our NARAM 2000 committee decided to name
the launch site “Estesland”, in honor of Vernon Estes,
the founder of Estes Industries and the owner of the
site. Mr. Estes’ gracious offer of the 400 acre expanse
just outside of Cañon City made hosting the event
for the sixth time in Colorado (and first time in 31
years) possible.

      During the
previous 15 months, the committee, comprised of members
of NAR Sections COSROCS and C.R.A.S.H., and the Tripoli
Colorado Prefect, labored tirelessly to create a truly
awesome event. Led by Contest Director Ken Mizoi, the
committee met the challenges of organizing an affair of
this scale, although there were times when the event’s
happening were in doubt. Fire bans throughout the areadue
to numerous forest fires in the mountain regions
threatened to cancel NARAM, and changes in FAA
authorization hierarchy along with proximity to a local
airport severely limited our goals. A high power waiver
became unattainable, but cooperation from the Fremont
County Airport and County officials allowed our plans to
continue. While limited to low “H” powered models, most
attendees didn’t miss the higher impulse flights and
enjoyed the other aspects that NARAM has to

James, Todd, and Ed     While NAR
Board meetings were beginning the Thursday before,
officially NARAM started Saturday morning, July 29th,
with the first two days devoted to sport flying and
socializing. Equipment Manager Mark James and Greg
Sandras made sure the sport range was ready. Over 200
flights were made the first day, and throughout the week
a very busy sport range continued the pace. Well over a
thousand sport flights were made during the event, and
many Level 1 certification flights were successfully
made. Throughout the week, spectators were awed and
amused by a wide assortment of models, ranging from “E”
powered radio controlled rocket gliders to the fan
favorite “oddrocs” of UROC’s Frank Hunt and Randall Redd.
Everything from ready-to-fly to scratch built models,
MICRO MAXX through “H”, and fantasy through scale
historical models made the sport range an exciting place
to be, not to mention a few flights that didn’t perform
quite as intended!

      Celebrities were in abundance,
with gracious hosts Vernon and Gleda Estes on hand
through out the week, reminiscing with the group, signing
autographs, and encouraging the beginners. Astronaut Jay
Apt was on hand on Saturday, flying in to the Fremont
County Airport in his own private aircraft. Later in the
week, Mel Johnson (business partner and engineer of Model
Missiles, Inc. with the late G. Harry Stine) visited the
site, renewing old acquaintances. Mel and Bill Stine
discussed the Model Rocket Museum being established by
Bill and Vernon. Mel graciously donated several 40 year
old collectors items to the project.

     John Shutz,
designer of the first boost glider and Estes Industries
Vice President during the “early years” arrived, and I
was awed when Vernon introduced him to me as I was
preparing for a contest flight. More well revered
personalities were in attendance and I apologize for not
remembering them all. Still, these are the people that
made the hobby special, and being able to meet them is
worth the trip alone.

     Special thanks go
out to the members of the Tallahassee Volunteer Fire
Department, whose presence on site helped make the event
a possibility. Not only did they provide more than
adequate fire protection services and clear cactus from
the parking, vendor and range head areas, their breakfast
and lunch concessions were a fantastic bonus for

     Nearly 300 people
attended this year’s event coming from all over the
country, and from as far away as Hawaii and even England!
Registration and Hospitality Coordinator, Kathleen
Williams, greeted the arrivals and oriented the
newcomers, handing out programs, shirts, and patches,
answered questions, and directed traffic throughout the
week. Kathleen’s outstanding efforts helped make this
NARAM a huge success.

     Throughout the
week, a large number of rocketry vendors displayed their
products on-site, and kept the attendees well stocked
with models, engines, recovery items, and other rocketry
related items.

     Along with more
sport flying on Sunday, NARAM committee members and other
volunteers, lead by Chief Range Safety Officer David
Nauer, made the final preparations for the upcoming
contest events. The fliers meeting was held Sunday
evening, with Ken officially welcoming the participants
and presenting the “ground rules” and range assignments
for the upcoming events. Giant Sport Scale and R&D
projects were turned in for judging after the meeting,
and contestants made last minute late night preparations
for the next day. Competitors in three age divisions (A,
B, and C), plus a Team division would be competing in 10
very different events in the next five days, with Meet
and National Championships on the line.

C.R.A.S.H. Members

    Things became a lot
more serious Monday morning, with the first two
competition events, “1/4A” Parachute Duration and “B”
Streamer Duration, dominating the activities. While these
events are generally considered relatively easy compared
to most others, winning one of the top places in either
is as challenging as any other. Trying to keep a “1/4A”
parachute model aloft for a minute or more on three or
four flights is truly a tough task, as only a few
competitors managed this feat. And, to place in “B”
Streamer Duration, two flights totaling three minutes was
a necessity. To win, a five minute total or more was the
norm. This was the busiest competition day of the week,
with over 400 flights attempted between the two

     In the “1/4A”
Parachute Duration, C.R.A.S.H. was well represented. In
“A” Division, Joey Puryear had three nice flights, and
took fourth place. Paul Gray outscored the rest of “B”
Division for first place, and in “C” Division, Mel Gray
qualified for the flyoff round, and took second

     Paul Gray also did
well in “B” Streamer Duration, taking second place in “B
Division. In “C” Division, Bruce Markielewski had a
fantastic nine minute flight on his second attempt to win
the event, while Ed O’Neill followed in second

     Monday evening’s
NAR Town Meeting and Association Meeting gave NAR
President, Mark Bundick, and NAR Board Members the
opportunity to present the varied ongoing activities of
the National Association of Rocketry, and allowed members
the chance to ask questions, make suggestions, and be a
part of the processes that direct the future NAR

     The events flown
Tuesday (“4xA” Cluster Altitude and “1/2A” Helicopter
Duration) stepped up the difficulty factor considerably!
In each, the task of building a stable model that deploys
as intended while retaining the engine(s) is only half
the battle. With 4xA Cluster Altitude, getting four small
engines ignited simultaneously and getting a closed track
were keys to placing in the event. There weren’t nearly
as many flights attempted compared to the previous day,
as fewer competitors accepted the challenges of these
events and fewer flights were required.

    In “4xA” Cluster
Altitude, Paul Gray finished a fine second place, while
in “C” Division, Bob Ellis finished fourth. In the Team
Division, the Paranoid Androids (Todd and Kathleen
Williams) finished third. In “1/2A” Helicopter Duration,
new member James Snow, and Paul Gray finished second and
third in “B” Division, while Ed O’Neill captured first
place in “C” Division on two impressive

     While the NAR
competition was progressing, another competition was
underway on the sport range. The second annual RC/RG
Championship was a popular event for the spectators, as
many of the best rocket glider pilots competed for the
coveted title. These giant models were under “E” power,
nearly soaring out of site. Total times in three flights
determined the champion, with George Gassaway earning the
prize with a score of over nine minutes. While not
contributing tothe NAR National Championship point
totals, this special event continues to gain in
popularity, in part due to its similarity to events flown
in the World Space Modeling Championships.

     Tuesday evening was
entirely devoted to the Manufacturer’s Forum, where
representatives of about 20 of rocketry’s suppliers had
the opportunity to display and market their products,
while answering questions from the packed audience. Most
had model kits as their main product line, although there
were many other items, including recovery systems,
electronic devices, books, software, launch equipment,
and scratch building components. The Manufacturer’s Forum
is annually one of NARAM’s most popular

     Wednesday’s “D”
Super-roc Altitude event was one of the most popular,
possibly due to the difficulty in creating a structurally
sound model with a length from 1-1/2 to 3 meters, and
then fly it as high as possible! Many flights were not as
planned, as loops and prangs were the result of many of
these “flying noodles”. An uncooperative data processing
program kept Data/Results Chief Todd Williams busy
ensuring that the tracking calculations were correct and

Bruce's Lunar Module      Randy Chambers
captured second place in “A” Division. James Snow won
first in “B” Division, and Paul Gray finished fourth.
Bruce Markielewski set a new NAR Record in “C” Division,
taking first, with Ed O’Neill closely behind in second

     “A” Boost Glider
Duration was also flown on Wednesday and while less
exciting than the Super-rocs, is still a very challenging
event. In many cases, a successful flight was one where
the model thermalled away, while a shred, Red Baron, or
other disaster kept many participants from having a
chance to place in the event.

     Third in “A”
Division was earned by another new C.R.A.S.H. Member,
Davey Willson, while Bob Ellis captured a second place in
“C” Division.

     A couple of special
flights also took place on Wednesday. Vernon Estes flew
the very first production Big Bertha model as a huge
crowd cheered the launch and safe recovery. Later, Mike
Jerauld flew a vintage Cineroc movie camera on the
equally vintage two-stage Omega kit, collecting 30
seconds of Super-8 film history during the

     The aptly named
Mid-week Social was held at the Holy Cross Abbey, just a
couple of blocks from the Cañon Inn (this NARAM’s
headquarters), and well over 200 took part in the fine
dinner provided by the Abbey. Most of the conversations
naturally hinged on the last few day’s contest and sport
flying activities, as the gathering gave everyone a
chance to meet and converse with those who’s names were
known, but the faces less familiar.

    After the dinner,
the Annual NAR Auction began. The combination Social and
Auction turned out to be a great stroke of planning,
contributing to a large crowd and late running auction.
Auctioneer Jennifer Ash-Poole kept the bids flowing
smoothly, with Vernon and Ken assisting in displaying the
wide assortment of items donated by the many generous
contributors. Many fine collectors items were sold, and
anything signed by Vernon went for a high price. The
highest bid, for a vintage Centuri Saturn V, went for
over $350. The auction earned a record amount, with the
entire proceeds going towards the NAR’s Bob Canon
Memorial Scholarship Fund. Mrs. Canon, Bob Canon’s widow
was in attendance and donated many of the fine

competition events were two more crowd favorites – “C”
Eggloft Duration and “D” Rocket Glider Duration. Both
require excellent building and flying skills, and while
there were many great flights in both events, times well
over 10 minutes were required in some cases to win.
Surprisingly, quite a large number of eggs survived the
Eggloft Duration event, showing that the competition
skills in all divisions were as high as ever. Even though
“D” Rocket Glider Duration is one of the most difficult
events, many accepted the challenge with most having
successful flights.

     Paul Gray won
another first place in “C” Eggloft Duration, “B”
Division. Rick Hyman finished third in “C” Division. In
“D” Rocket Glider Duration, Randy Chambers finished
fourth in “A” Division, while Paul Gray took another
second place in “B” Division.

Rick, Ed, and Bruce

     The competition
continued in the evening, although no flying was part of
the activities. Instead, competitors in the Research and
Development event gave presentations on their projects.
Many of these required months of planning, data
collection and processing, design and testing, as well as
drawing conclusions from their efforts. While only 23
total competitors from the four divisions entered this
challenging event, each presentation provided a diverse
and educational aspect of the hobby. Research and
Development is where many of the newest ideas and
techniques are born, continuing to improve and expand the
level of competition and the hobby in general.

     In “C” Division
Research and Development, Rick Hyman and Bruce
Markielewski were second and third, respectively, both
doing reports on different aspects of the aerodynamic
effects of low speed airfoils. Their reports are both
available for viewing online at:

     Several special
events were flown on Friday. Two “40th Anniversary” Estes
Alphas, signed by Vernon and Gleda Estes, and later by
Bill Stine, had been making their way through each state
in the country. NARAM was the obvious choice for
Colorado’s flights. C.R.A.S.H. and COSROCS
representatives Kathleen Williams and Mark James each
prepped a model, while Vernon had the honor of pushing
the launch button. The launch was arranged as a “drag
race”. Both lifted off nearly simultaneously under A8-3
power, flying perfectly, and recovering safely. Once
their tour is complete, one will be displayed at the
Smithsonian, and the other will join Vernon’s fine
personal museum collection.

     Although only a few
models were entered due to the lateness of the
announcement of the event, the Science Fiction and Future
Scale “fun” event was flown. The rules were very similar
to the usual scale events, although the models entered
were scale reproductions of spacecraft from science
fiction movies and television shows, or conceptual
designs of future vehicles.

     Quest Aerospace, a
big NARAM contributor who donated enough MICRO MAXX kits
for all registrants, sponsored another fun event. This
time the contest was a spot landing event, where
participants try to land their MICRO MAXX models closest
to prizes scattered around the launch area. Nearly every
one who flew was a winner in this event!

     Friday was a big
day indeed, as the last event of the competition was
held. Giant Sport Scale is just as it sounds – very large
and incredibly detailed scale models were flown as the
scale judges, Marc McReynolds, Peter Alway, andJohn
Langford rated their performance. These flight scores,
combined with the earlier static points determined the
winners. By far, this was the most photographed event of
the competition, perhaps due to the large size, but more
likely because of the incredible detail and craftsmanship
displayed on these museum quality models. More
competitors nerves are frayed in this than any other
event, since a bad flight or engine malfunction can
destroy months of tedious work. While most survived the
ordeal (models and their owners), a few of the best met
their untimely demise.

2000 Section of the Year
    James Snow took third
place in “B” Division with his fine Saturn 1B model. in
“C” Division, Bruce Markielewski and Ed O’Neill took the
top two places. Bruce was first with his Lunar Module,
while Ed’s Black Brant II finished a fine second place.
Soon after his flight, Bruce donated his Lunar Module to
Vernon Estes for the Rocketry Museum.

     The last flight of
the day, a magnificent Mercury Redstone model by John
Pursley and team Jeckyll and Hyde, flew perfectly,
signaling the end of a great week of flying – but NARAM
wasn’t quite over just yet!

    That evening, the Awards
Banquet room was packed, as nearly 300 dined on the
Colorado cuisine, and socialized throughout the evening.
Speeches and presentations were made, thanking Vernon and
Gleda, and the various groups that made this NARAM a huge
success. Over 200 trophies were awarded for the Event,
Meet, and National Championship winners, plus many
special awards for outstanding service, performance, and
contributions to the rocketry hobby.

     For the Meet
Championships, Paul Gray and James Snow took second and
third respesctively in “B” Division.  In “C”
Division, Bruce Markielewski took first place, Ed O’Neill
finished second, and Rick Hyman came in fourth.
C.R.A.S.H. took second place as a section for the

     Two C.R.A.S.H.
members took places in the NAR National Championships –
Paul Gray finished first in “B” Division, and Bruce
Markielewski won the “C” Division National Championship.
C.R.A.S.H. was the third place section in the National
Championship standings.

     C.R.AS.H. members
also won a couple of special awards. James Snow was
awarded the ScaleRoc Rookie of the Year Award for the
best scale model by a new NARAM competitor. C.R.AS.H. was
awarded the prestigious NAR Section of the Year Award for
outstanding contributions to the hobby and public
outreach programs.

        Once the
obligatory photo sessions concluded, everyone said their
final good-bye’s, and left for home with fond memories of
an awesome event and anticipating another great NARAM
next August in Geneseo, NY.

    We’d like to
thank the trophy sponsors, Aurora Flight Sciences, Balsa
Machining Services, Magnum Inc., Quest Aerospace, Thiokol
Propulsion, and Totally Tubular. In all, C.R.A.S.H.
members took home 37 of the trophies awarded!
Congratulations to everyone who competed, and contributed
to a great year of C.R.A.S.H. Rocketry!