News for November

Okay, we don’t normally have a monthly news posting, but I am a bit behind…

Changes to the ROC Board of Directors and Officers

Due to having only two people run for three seats on the ROC board of directors, and the resignation of John Van Norman, we had two vacancies on the board. According to our by-laws, the board fills any vacancies by appointment, with the appointees serving until the next regular election.

ROC members Andrew Wimmer and Gregg Halligan indicated they were willing to fill these vacancies, and were appointed at the annual board meeting on November 14.

Also, Neal Hunstein joined the board, and Kurt Gugisberg continues as a board member. They are the two candidates who were elected to three-year terms.

Rick Dickenson will continue as ROC President, Bryce Chanes continues as Vice President, and Cindy Farrington continues as Treasurer. Neal Hunstein has taken over the office of Secretary from Mike Riss, who has left the board. John Howard has taken over as Membership Coordinator from Allen Farrington, who is busy as LDRS35 Launch Director.

New Wireless Launch System from Wilson FX

ROCstock saw the first use of our new wireless launch system, purchased from Wilson FX. It is a customized version of their normal system. Since we have one of the larges range set-ups in the country, and some preferences about our launch controller, we asked them to modify it to suit us.

The new system performed flawlessly! The set up and operation ran very smoothly, and we experienced no delays due to equipment issues during one of our busiest events of the year. We are planning for this new system to be in service for years, and should serve us well. Our previous launch system was in use for over 20 years, and had been refurbished twice. While it remains functional and is available as a backup, the board decided it was time to obtain a newer system. Your dues and flyer fees in action…

Being wireless, the new system is easier and faster to set up and take down, compared to our older system that required long and heavy cables to be unrolled to each bank and rolled back up at the end of the launch. Also, the new system has eight pads per bank instead of six, which should help increase our safe launch rate at larger launches, as well as having a third more pads at monthly launches.

If you would personally like to try out the new system, we will be happy to train you for the position of Launch Control Officer (LCO), since we need volunteers for that position at every launch.

If you are interested in the Wilson FX launch system, you can get more information at:

Using the New Online System for Membership Renewal (and Sign Up)

Executive members may have already used the new online membership system to renew their membership. If you haven’t, please go on and give it a try. We are trying to provide easier and faster renewal by using an online database. Also the system allows us to contact members easily if the need arises. Of course, personal information is never published, sold, or shared outside the club. If you are currently an Executive member of ROC you will be getting a renewal reminder December first. All memberships run for the calendar year, so everyone is up for renewal at the end of December.

If you are not currently an executive member, you can also use the new online system to join, and if you do so before the December launch, your membership will include that launch, and run through the end of 2016. See, it pays to read these news posts!

Executive membership remains just $60 for 2016, and includes all members in your household. Executive members pay only the daily $5 BLM fee, rather than the $20 regular daily flyer fee. So you break even if you fly four days, and are money ahead if you fly five or more days. LDRS has separate fees, but will include a discount for ROC Executive members. You also get to vote in ROC elections, and run for the Board.

To access the online membership system, go to the website and click the “Join” tab.

Tragedy for SoCal Rocketry and Scouting Communities

On Saturday, November 14, a Boy Scout leader was fatally injured when he was struck by a rocket at a BSA launch. Mike Bentley was a 50 year old resident of Highland and a long time scout leader. He was at a BSA event called Rocket Rave when the accident occurred. The event was held at Giant Rock OHV area, near Morongo, California.

This tragedy has shocked the local scouting and rocketry communities.

We currently do not have any details beyond what has been published in the news media.

The long standing policy of ROC is to conduct our launches in a safe and prudent manner, and observe the requirements of the NAR and Tripoli safety codes, NFPA standards, and all applicable regulations. We also will implement more conservative policies where the Board of Directors finds them prudent. As the facts of this tragic event become available, we will review our launch practices to ensure we continue to provide a safe environment to enjoy and promote our hobby. We always welcome questions, suggestions, and healthy discussion of our policies and practices. To contact the Board, please use the contact form at:

We do ask that our members and associates refrain from posting rumors and speculation on any social media regarding the accident.

Mr. Bentley is survived by his wife and four sons. An account to accept donations to help the Bentley family with funeral and other expenses has been set up at:


Long Range Weather Prediction for November ROCstock

A PRELIMINARY glance at the crystal ball shows some favorable looking weather for ROCstock.

Temperatures for Friday the 13th through Sunday the 15th should be about 63°F for a high, and the lows at 40°F.

Clear skies and fairly calm conditions. UV index the lowest we have seen in months. Humidity roughly 30%.

It will be cooler than recent launches, so dress a little warmly, and in layers so you can adjust as it warms up.

Of course, a hat and plenty of water are always good ideas.

Things can certainly change this time of year, so watch for updates!

ROC Membership Meeting, 2015

It is one of my duties as Secretary of the Corporation to give notice of ROC’s Annual Membership meeting.

The 2015 meeting will be held during the November ROCStock (RS 42), taking place at Lucerne Dry Lake November 14th and 15th.  The meeting will be called to order at 5pm on Saturday, November 14th at the Range Head on the lakebed.

All ROC Members, Daily Flying members, and Spectators are invited to the meeting.  However, only Executive (Annual Paid), Board, and Lifetime Members can be recognized for business during the meeting or are authorized to vote.  This is a standing meeting; i.e. you must be present to participate.

The only item currently on the Agenda is the Announcement of the results of the 2016 Board of Directors election. Items may also be brought to the floor during the meeting after the set Agenda is completed.

From Mike Riss, Secretary

Youth Group Registration for November ROCkstock is FULL!

We have a policy for youth groups who register in advance, and are approved, to get a very reduced launch fee. The approval is for that specific visit to that specific launch, and is dependent on whether we can accommodate the group. This is open, on a “first come-first served” basis to any youth group (scouts, CAP, schools, church groups, etc.) that bring a number of youth to a launch.
We just had a very successful ROCtober launch, which is our annual launch that is specifically geared to youth groups and promoting rocketry education. At ROCtober we had multiple banks of low power pads and processes to efficiently launch a large number of rockets from them as quickly as we could safely do so. This also required an number of additional volunteers during the launch. We ensured that we had additional “porta-potties” to handle the number of people at the launch.
At our normal monthly launches we will have far fewer low power pads. We are working now on increasing from six to eight pads per bank with a new launch control system, so the number of pads at a normal monthly launch will be going up by 25%, but this is still only one bank of pads at each level. Near, middle, and far rows with each have eight pads each rather than the six we have had up now.
Even at ROCstocks, we anticipate having only two banks of low power pads, for a total of 16. Obviously, 300 youth lined up for 16 pads would mean long lines and slow launching.
In fact, we have already received requests from as many youth groups as we can accommodate at this November ROCstock. Any addition youth groups can not be approved for the lower fees, and will be encouraged to attend later launches.
At regular monthly launches we limit the number of youth approved. Again, this is “first come–first served”, so early applications are important.
Information for youth groups can be found at:
Please note also that LDRS-35 (that is Large, Dangerous Rocket Ships!) is a high-power rocketry event, and there will be no special fees for youth groups.


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