Thursday, January 17, 2013

Adventures in Rocket Science

The middle school students at my kids' school had to do a Science Fair Project. My son, on reading the list of available topics, jumped at the chance to study the aerodynamics of rockets with the excuse to launch his model rockets. The idea being to compare the styles and sizes of rockets and seeing which design works/flies better. We realize this has been done many times, but for an 8th grade boy to be able to shoot off rockets and get a grade for it, he couldn't resist.

What I didn't know, and apparently neither did his teacher, is that launching model rockets in the metro Atlanta area is near impossible to do. Gwinnett county itself has an ordinance specifically against launching the rockets in the public parks. Most of the surrounding counties do as well. Someone at one point suggested a state park or a national park. Unfortunately, both of those consider model rockets to be fireworks, which are prohibited. A last resort came when we found the local model rocket club which has launches twice a month.
What makes this an adventure was that for a month, we did the research on our own on places to fly. Now, we're lucky in that we have family with property in north GA and in Alabama. Unfortunately for us, the weather NEVER cooperated when we took the rockets out there. We did try the local park that the rocket club suggested. We struck out, though, when on one day there were too many people and on the other the rockets refused to launch.

So, the lesson learned is that unless you have private property large enough and clear enough to launch rockets on your own, you HAVE to find the local rocket club. Which is sad, really, considering you can buy the things at any local hobby shop. The hobby shops, though, will generally tell you that they have no idea where you can launch them.
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