Yet another spectacular event this year was held on 3 February in Taupiri, enjoyed by hundreds of spectators. The have-a-go rockets were once again extremely popular with loads of kids lining up all day to launch them. Some went off as a drag race between two of the same models. Darryl Kay’s V2 was a booming success and of course so was Craig Packard’s Big Red. Then there was Joy Radovan’s pink spotted creature complete with landing shoes that was a big crowd pleaser. And it flew too!

Some flights did not go quite according to plan and served as a lesson to all of us that with rockets, stuff happens! Even NASA sometimes has a bad day at the office but that just makes us wiser for next time…

Thanks to Jim Hefkey, James Heffer, Phil Armstrong, and Gary Balderson for the fine images.


Hoards of the public came along on 5 February, including a sports car club with visitors from afar afield as Invercargill and even Denmark! Of course the Large Dangerous Rocket Ships of Craig Packard with his 5 motor Big Red and Darryl Kay with his 1/2 scale Patriot attracted a lot of public attention. Darryl also provided a silver V2 which was a real beauty.

Jack Davies had a big day launching a homemade “Toxic” blue rocket on a D12-7 (twice) – 900 ft, a homemade “Spektrum” on a G75M and G80T – 1800 ft, a Saturn 5 on a D12-3 – slow launch, low trajectory, then crashed, Taipan 3 altitude record attempts on A and B motors – 300 ft and 712 ft respectively. Good one Jack! Father Tony, launched HOBO on a H250G and H180 – both 1200 ft (see photos).

Craig’s Big Red had 5 motors equivalent to an ‘O Class’ and their ignition was staged. It went off without a hitch reaching 13,000 ft. The Earth moved too when with Darryl’s 1/2 Patriot and V2 had perfect liftoffs. CLICK HERE for the on-board video!

Late in the day, Joel Schiff & Martin Aspell launched their KestreL again on a J800T which took off like a large black bullet and reached Mach 1.2 within two seconds! Very accurate recovery data was obtained with the new Beeline BRB 900 transmitter & receiver – CLICK HERE for more info.

Thanks to Kevin Hussey, Tony Davies,Craig Packard, and Arthur Gay for pix.

Big Red Video by Arthur G


National Rocket Day 2011 was held on 6 February, and proved to be another grand affair with record numbers in attendance. The ‘have a go’ rockets were so popular they sold out and rockets were flying from mid-day to 5pm.

Evan More kicked the day off with his flying saucer (POD) on a sparky motor producing quite a display followed by his classic Bullpup which went into the corn field where it was soon joined by Alex’s ¼ Patriot to on an I366R to 3,048 ft. Both rockets were recovered later thanks to a Beeline transmitter. Garry Balderson travelled up from Wairoa with three rockets, a ¼ patriot that he flew on an I145J a PML Tethys on an H128 and a Black Brandt V13 on a G40w.

Bugs Bleaker flew his large Black Brandt on its 15th flight with a J415 white lightning to an estimated altitude of 4,500 ft utilising dual deployment to land his rocket within one paddock from the launch pad. Sue Kirkby flew her Amram 4 with an I300 motor. Emily flew her mustang on a G40 motor expecting a long walk. Gerry flew his Quantum Leap on an I200w and a Cirrus G75 on a Metalstorm.

The two largest rocket Craig’s Big Red and Joel and Martin’s Mongoose 98 created a huge amount of interest and discussion on the ground but did not fly due to cloud cover. These rockets will fly at a member only meeting to be held on a Sunday to be advised to club members. You can join the club now for only $10 if you CLICK HERE.

A fantastic time was had by all! … Photos courtesy of Andrew Kirkby, Jim Hefkey, Foo Chein, and Phill Berry.




Held on Sunday, 7 February, National Rocket Day 2010 was one of the biggest ever. Hundreds of people turned up on a beautiful and calm Sunday afternoon. There were dozens of launches both large and small. A great number of young kids made have-a-go rockets and many went off beautifully. Highlights of the day included a 2-stage launch by Phil Vukovich and a 9,945 ft altitude achieved by Gerry Munden and Joel Schiff with a Mongoose 54 being held by Chris North in the first photo. There was one ‘I Class’ altitude record set of 3,665 ft by Joel Schiff in an X-Calibur on an I154 motor. Evan More (below right) was completely awestruck by his partner Joy’s ‘Pink Bits’ rocket, that was formerly a Bull Pup, but has since grown. It flew on an I284 and we were all awestruck. Steve Wharepapa entertained all at the break with his remarkable model helicopter piloting skills.