The 5th Annual International Rocket Weekend, 1996

(11th Annual Scottish Rocket Weekend)

Date : Friday the 23rd, Saturday the 24th, Sunday the 25th and Monday the 26th of August, 1996

Venue : Kelburn Country Centre, Ayrshire, Scotland.

The view from the Rocket Weekend main launch field, across to the Isle of Arran.

1996 Rocket Weekend Report

The 1996 Annual International Rocket Weekend proved to be the most successful rocket weekend yet. Over 70 people registered, from places as far afield as California, as well as all the major U.K. Rocketry Groups. In addition to the 70+ registered attendees, many more turned up over the weekend to watch the activities. The first attendees arrived on the Thursday evening (AspireSpace), and the last stragglers didn't leave until Tuesday morning (MARS) !

Highlights included:

Competitions included the Boost Glider Duration Competition sponsored by HPR Limited. The prize, donated by HPR Limited was won by Adrian Hurt, who was presented with a magnificent Public Missiles Phobos Rocket Kit.

John Bonsor (on the left) busy coordinating the event. Bobby Wark (on the right) about to become the first "Brit" to launch a hybrid, in this case, Scott Bartel's hypertek powered hybrid.

Honourable mentions must go to John Bonsor of STAAR Research, Bobby Wark of STAAR Research and especially to Kevin Cave, who entered a range of extremely impressive boost gliders, all of which crashed spectacularly providing the assembled crowd with much entertainment. Amongst the more spectacular failures, Mark Bishop's Absolute Poo CATO'd quite spectacularly on its second flight. The expected challenge from the waverider duo of Rick Newlands and Richard Osborne, who were to enter a large flex wing, never emerged, due to someone spilling beer on their entry.

The Team Aquajet Distance Competition was won once again by the Paisley Rocketeers Team, led by John Stewart, who was awarded the Schwiglhofer Trophy by Oscar Schwiglhofer, the founder of ASTRA. In second place, were the STAAR Research Team, led by Bobby Wark, and in third place were ASTRA.

The Helicopter Duration competition was remarkable this year, in that it failed to produce a single succesful entry, although if the winning entry was awarded on the basis of time in the air, then the prize would probably go to Catherine Jackson, since one of the pieces of one of her rotors did spin down relatively slowly. Honourable mentions must go to James Macfarlane, whose tribute to ROTON, failed to leave the launch rail, and to Bobby Wark, whose challenge went up (or down) in smoke.

The Night-time Drag Competition held following the Sunday night Barbecue, produced one of the most interesting displays of ingenuity. The competition was won by Mark Bishop with his Ari-Kev, designed for a re-enactment of Ariane-5's first flight. It faithfully re-enacted the Ariane 5 first flight by crashing (or should that be failed to validate !)

Dan Brown (one of the AspireSpace team), and an aerospace engineer by profession, provides an expert opinion on "Fire and Baguette".

There was no winner of the Open / Experimental Competition for 1996, although probably the most experimental entry of all was Fire and Baguette, a rocket powered Baguette, with a tomato strapped to the top for soft recovery of the Baguette. The vehicle was recovered intact, although it was a bit messy. An honourable mention must go to Pete Barrett who flew his highly amusing Mongrel Rocket.

An hour long meeting of the fledgling British Association of High Power Rocketry was held on the Saturday evening, with John Bonsor of STAAR Research chairing the meeting. Scott Bartel from California, U.S.A. also attended as the representative from the Tripoli Rocket Organisation.

Groups and Companies attending the Rocket Weekend included :

Another, independent report of the 1996 Rocket Weekend, complete with photographs, has been written by Peter Barrett of HART. It is available at the HART World Wide Web Pages.

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