In 1969, a Saturn V rocket successfully launched three proud American astronauts to the moon and back. Riding the wave of space-race excitement, the Summit City Aerospace Modelers (SCAM) was born in the summer of 1972.
Early members of this family-friendly club included: Bob & Kathy Hart, Ned Blumenshein, Tom Hoelle, Dave Wyss, and Tom Stump. I’m sure there were others that should be mentioned, but this was long before I joined the club.
Early hobby rockets at this time were small by today’s standards. Rockets were very light in weight, made primarily of cardboard tubes, plastic nose cones and parachutes, and balsa wood fins. They typically flew on “A,” “B,” or “C” black powder motors. Rockets soared hundreds of feet into the air. When a rocket with a “D” motor launched, it was really something amazing to hear and watch!
Over the years, the rockets and their motors at club launches grew larger and heavier and flew ever higher, culminating in successful club launches reaching over 40,000 feet at the larger regional and national launches. The highest altitude attempted so far by our club members was the “Little O” rocket that attempted to reach 86,000 feet at Mach 3 in Nevada’s Black Rock desert.
Our local launches are on a smaller scale. We can launch rockets weighing up to 3.3 pounds, and having no more than 125 grams of propellant. Even with these limits everyone has great fun at our local events, from our most experienced Level 3 flyers to first-time rocketeers.
Club members also participate in larger launches all over the U.S. and Canada. A typical year will include our members launching rockets in Michigan, Illinois, New York, Kansas, and Nevada at launches sanctioned by both the National Association of Rocketry and by Tripoli Rocketry Association. Altitude windows at some of these events are well over 100,000 feet!
Our club members also enjoy working on the occasional group project. These “monster” projects include the half-scale Honest John, the upscale A.C.M.E. Spitfire, the “Little O”, and the 300-pound full-scale Patriot Missile. It’s exciting. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a social event. It’s a great way to learn so very much about designing, building, and flying extreme rockets that may be beyond the resources of an individual.
We invite you to attend a local launch. You can even fly your own rockets with us. If you like what you see, you are certainly welcome to join the club. We think you will have a great time. We look forward to seeing you there!
Joe Isca / a past club president