Building the Journeyman II
And some history of the "ARO"

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The Journeyman II always has an excellent flight if using two C6-3 engines. Two different launches are shown here.

Joe's Big Bertha
I like this picture of Joe's Big Bertha so much that a half century later (2018) I made two copies of it in two sizes. (The rocket, not the picture.)

What happened to the original? We have this account from the ARO log book:

                                                           OCTOBER 3, 1970
Today we had seven rocket launchings in the Cinder Lot.
* For the first flight we used Joe's messed up Bertha. We glued the nosecone on and a C6-7 engine in. It went up till it was only a dot in the sky, which is pretty high considering the size of the Bertha. It slowly flipped over and the silver fins reflected the sun, making a starlight effect. About eight seconds into the flight the engine ejected, blowing the entire engine holder out of the back of the rocket. With this new boost in acceleration, the rocket dashed to the ground at greater than 32 feet per second per second. It hit the ground with a tremendous impact, causing the body tube to bend at a 90 degree angle.

Accounts of the other six launches follow, including one where the shock cord broke on the Estes Starlight and the nosecone and parachute drifted away. At the end of the account, the balsa nosecone of Joe's Big Bertha has been whittled down and used on the Starlight.

What was "messed up" about the Big Bertha? The log book doesn't say. I wrote to Joe and neither one of us remember, but I have a faint recollection of the body tube being bent. The life of the rocket was 18 months, first launched in January of 1969 and then destroyed in October of 1970.

* The "cinder lot" was the huge parking lot of Temple Stadium, located at Cheltenham Avenue and Vernon Road in Philadelphia. It was "paved" with gravel and cinders. (The 35,000 seat stadium no longer exists. The area became predominately African American in the 1970s, and the stadium was repeatedly vandalized. By 1978 it could no longer be used. It was demolished in 1996. Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church occupies the cinder lot today.)

The Big Bertha and the Bigger Bertha.
The recreated Big Bertha lifts off on August 02, 2018 from a field in Upper Gwynedd, PA.
The Bigger Bertha lifts off from a cornfield on October 07, 2018 on an Estes E9 engine.
Both of these rockets are excellent flyers. An Aerotech E20 will send the Bigger Bertha almost out of sight.
The Bigger Bertha was made by up-scaling a Big Bertha by 1.6x. This is the amount required to go from a BT-60 body tube to a BT-80. Estes makes a BT-80 nose cone that is the perfect size. All that is needed is to make the larger fin pattern and calculate the length of the new body tube.

The rocket is so light compared to its size that you can see here it is competing with the 24" parachute in creating drag.

Big Bertha
Big Bertha
The upscale Bertha was so easy to build and flew so well I made two more! The one on the right is a D engine cluster.
Big Bertha
An added bonus - if something goes wrong, it will seek out the softest place to crash land!

I couldn't help myself, I had to upscale the Journeyman.
The Journeyman III. Like the original, it weighs one pound with engine.
An Estes F15 engine sent it almost out of sight.
Here it comes! I didn't expect to see it again.
On its maiden flight it landed a quarter of a mile away on a pile of wood chips. A soft landing, indeed.

Our fleet in 1968. The Starlight, mentioned above, is to the right of the Big Bertha.
At this point in time, Joe hasn't built the Journeyman yet.


At this time we now conclude our broadcast day.

Analog Dial