Mike Caplinger's Page

Location: San Diego, CA

Certification Level: L3 NAR

Club Memberships: NAR,DART/Tripoli San Diego


My first rocket was a Centuri Javelin circa 1968.  In the late 60s and early 70s I built about half of the Estes and Centuri lineups, though I built more than I flew in those days.  My first flight as a BAR was on New Year's Day 2009, an Estes D-Region Tomahawk on a D12; I did my L1 and L2 about three months later.  Following a series of complex flight attempts in the fall of 2010, I figured it would be easier to go ahead and do my L3, which I finished in March of 2011.


Favorite Quote:

it is simplicity that is difficult to make. — Bertholdt Brecht

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Jolly Logic AltimeterTwo (Kit)


When I returned to rocketry as a BAR in 2009, I wanted to measure how high my rockets were actually flying.  At that time, there weren't a lot of options short of a dual-deployment controller, which I wasn't ready for, so I ended up with a "How High SP" unit from Winged Shadow Systems ... [More]



Estes Tercel (Kit)


Boost gliders have a long and not completely successful history as kits.  Early Estes gliders included the Astron Space Plane, Falcon, and Nighthawk, but these soon gave way to a series of kits better known for their interesting appearance than their great glide characteristics.  ... [More]



Skylab Saturn V


First flight with engine bells; looked OK in simulation but went unstable just after burnout and crashed before ejection; minimal damage - F44-4 - Fiesta Island [More]


Madcow Rocketry DX3


Test flight for tiltalt; good ascent, chute slightly tangled but that kept the rocket on the field (barely) - F52-7 - Fiesta Island [More]



Estes Saturn V (Kit)


This is a short review of the Estes Apollo 11 Saturn V kit, number 2157.  I purchased the kit in 2017. There are several reviews of this kit in its various forms over the years on RR and tons of information on the web.  Probably the definitive source of information is Chris ... [More]



Skylab Saturn V


  Straight boost; upper section chute hopelessly tangled and came in hot, no damage; one fin fairing partially broken off at landing   - E15-4 - Fiesta Island [More]


1.6X Mars Lander


Nice flight, stuck the landing, one leg's rubber bands mostly broken. - G64-4 - Fiesta Island [More]


Dueces Wild


One motor failed to ignite, ejection just before impact - 2xc6-5 - Fiesta Island [More]



Tethys Lite


weak ejection charge didn't deploy the chute; finally pulled loose about 50 feet up; 19 seconds duration - G74-6 - Fiesta Island [More]


Aerotech HV ARCAS


also weak ejection charge but chute pulled out almost immediately; duration 31 seconds - F44-4 - Fiesta Island [More]



Talon 2


first dual deploy flight using old cl1max avbay; carried GPS; landed about 0.15 miles E - I200-10 - Holtville Airport [More]


Fliskits Journeyman


squirrelly trajectory after burnout as usual; one upper-stage fin broken off and lost due to snapback - E20-7 - Holtville Airport [More]




good GPS/IMU data; keychain camera ran out of space during prelaunch, no flight images; ground video was 720p30; recovered ~0.3 miles W - J460+I242 - Holtville Airport [More]



Estes Maxi Alpha III (Kit)


The Estes Alpha, designed by Bill Simon and introduced in 1967, is the prototypical 3FNC that has introduced generations of rocketeers to the hobby.  The original Alpha, of course, had a balsa nose cone and fins.  The Alpha III (1971) was an easier-to-build plastic version with a ... [More]



Madcow Rocketry Mini DX3 (Kit)


(This is a review of the thin-wall fiberglass version of the Mini DX3.  There is also a cardboard version.) The Madcow Mini DX3 is the smallest version (38mm diameter) of the basic DX3 design, which is now available in a size spectrum ranging from this kit all the way up to an 8-inch ... [More]



Estes Cosmic Interceptor (Kit)


The Estes Interceptor, designed by Wayne Kellner and originally introduced in 1971, was perhaps the most iconic model rocket of its era.  The kit was produced for 9 years and is fondly remembered by a generation of BARs (I had one but if I recall correctly never had the courage to fly ... [More]



Tango Papa 1.6x Mars Lander (Kit)


The Estes Mars Lander, designed by Wayne Kellner, was released in 1969.  I remember getting the kit for Christmas in the early 70s and assembling it over the course of a year or more; it was easily the most complex build I had ever attempted.  I think mine flew once on a B6-2, and ... [More]



Estes Nike Smoke (Kit)


The Nike-Smoke sounding rocket flew hundreds of times in the 1960s, used to measure high-altitude winds by ground photography of its smoke trail.  It has also become one of the most popular subjects in model rocketry history -- the first kit I know of was the Centuri 1.6" version ... [More]



Leading Edge Rocketry SubZero (Kit)


The SubZero is a 3-inch-diameter mid-power 4FNC rocket with a translucent nose cone and a high flux blue LED strobe light specifically intended for night flying.  Other than the color of the LED and the decals, the SubZero appears to be identical to its companion product, the Leading ... [More]



Rockets Gone Bad


failure sequence



FlisKits Journeyman (Kit)


The Fliskits Journeyman is a 1/16th sport scale model of the Aerolab Argo D-8 Journeyman sounding rocket.  The Journeyman flew eight times from 1960 to 1965 on NASA and AEC missions from Vandenberg and Wallops Island. Components The kit includes body tubes, centering rings, ... [More]



Wildman Rocketry Extreme Wildman (Kit)


The Extreme Wildman is a 4-inch-diameter 100-inch long 75mm MMT all-fiberglass 3FNC kit.  I bought one during Wildman Rocketry's "Black Saturday" sale right after Thanksgiving 2010 (1/3 off!) with the idea of using it for my NAR L3 flight.  Components The kit is quite ... [More]



Performance Rocketry G3 (Kit)


Brief: The G3 is a bare-bones 3FNC dual-deploy kit with high-quality G10 fiberglass parts. Construction: The kit comes with a gel coated 3:1 ogive fiberglass nose cone, two sections of 3" G10 airframe tube (22" long payload and 44" long booster), 3 clipped-delta ... [More]



Madcow Rocketry Super DX3 (Kit)


The Super DX3 is a 4" 38mm version of the Madcow DX3. It's a 3FNC with a large payload section. The kit includes a pre-slotted body tube, a payload tube, plastic nose cone, 3 laser-cut 1/4" plywood fins, 38mm x 18" cardboard MMT, 1/4" plywood centering rings, a cardboard coupler with plywood ... [More]



Madcow Rocketry DX3 (Kit)


Brief: The DX3 is a fairly simple 2.6" diameter 3FNC mid-power rocket with a large payload section. Construction: The kit is complete, with a pre-slotted body tube, a payload tube, plastic nose cone, 3 laser-cut 1/8" plywood fins, 29mm 8" cardboard MMT, plywood ... [More]


Mike Caplinger


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