Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Britt Hochhausler
PORTALES – People interested in rockets will soon have a chance to indulge their passion by actually building and shooting a rocket.
Extended Learning at Eastern New Mexico University is offering Model Rocketry, an introduction to the hobby taught by experienced model rocketeer Bill Moyer.
Mr. Moyer, who works in the Floyd school system, has been flying model rockets since 1966. He is certified by the National Association of Rocketry and has built exceptionally large rockets in the past three years. It is his first time to teach such a class. In this course, he will provide information about model rocketry and explain the rules and regulations. The class will finish with a launching session at the Portales Municipal Airport.
Aside from entertainment, model rocketry can help in agricultural settings, such as eastern New Mexico.
"Rockets could help by using infrared photography from the rocket, which could locate insect patterns for farmers," Mr. Moyer said. He added that the rockets could also be used for such things as weather research and engineering packages.
Mr. Moyer also holds a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rocket flight waiver. This allows him to fly rockets up to 23,000 feet near Melrose Bombing Range, but he must give the FAA 48 hours notice and call Cannon Air Force
Model rocketry is an expensive hobby. "I use commercial rocket fuel that I have to mail-order," Mr. Moyer said. "It costs $48 for 1.5 pounds of fuel. I also have to pay $28 for shipping because it contains hazardous material. Since I may cluster three motors for one large rocket, it could cost up to $228 for one launch."
Mr. Moyer says that his largest rocket, using three J-580 engines providing 375 pounds of thrust, can reach speeds of of 540 miles per hour. He currently holds the altitude record at the Portales Aviation Expo with a projectile that soared 5,785 feet. He uses an altimeter-based two-parachute system to bring the seven-foot rocket safely down.
According to Mr. Moyer, model rocketry is growing in popularity in New Mexico. At the end of February, up to 50 rocketeers from around the country will converge on the Melrose bombing range area for experimental launches with experimental fuel. This experimental fuel is even more costly than regular commercial rocket fuel.
Model Rocketry will meet every Saturday from Feb. 1-22 from 9-11 a.m. in the College of Business, Room 123. There is a registration fee of $20 and a rocket kit fee of $20 payable to the instructor at the first session. This fee pays for all supplies.
The class is open to eight years and older (8-14 years with parent or guardian present). Those unable to attend the February session can attend from April 5-26, same time and room number.
For more information, call Geralyn Million in Extended Learning at 1.800.537.LERN, ext. 2644 or 505.562.2347 (locally).
(L-R) John Stevens, Bill Moyer and ENMU student Toom Kimball are the brains and money behind this record-setting rocket. (courtesy photo)
Bill Moyer had the perfect show-and-tell when he recently visited the Monday Memo offices located in the stratosphere of the Administration Building. (photo by Wendel Sloan)