× Welcome to the CMASS forum!

A place to discuss anything related to CMASS (and other) launches.

How is the field at Potter, NY and other locations?

  • Frank DeAngelo
  • Frank DeAngelo's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Platinum Boarder
More
3 months 3 weeks ago - 3 months 3 weeks ago #9476 by Frank DeAngelo
For the third year in a row my family and I have traveled 416 miles to the Memorial Day Weekend Launch in Geneseo, NY. In 2017 the grass was ankle high which made recovery difficult, depending on the size of your rocket. At last year's NSL the conditions were perfect. This year however the grass was knee high. Recovery was extremely difficult. Even with a tracker, which the club had available as loaners, you still had to walk through the high thick grass, which was a challenge. There is a short dirt road that is in excellent condition which leads to the launch site so no worries if you have a car versus a truck or SUV. There are nice hotels and good restaurants that are close to the launch site. The area is a great place to visit. The people that run the MARS club are as nice as can be. The launches are well organized and the waiting times for safety check to blast off are short.

For future launches my family and I would like to experience other locations that require long travel and an over night stay.

I'm wondering if anyone has gone to URRG events in Potter, NY and would like to comment about the area, hotels, driving to the launch site and field conditions. From looking at their web site, it appears that as the Summer progresses, you should consider using a tracker because of crops.

Any comments to share about CATO in CT or the Champlain Region club in VT?

How are the conditions for low power rockets versus high power at other sites?
Last Edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by Frank DeAngelo.

Please Log in to join the conversation.

More
3 months 3 weeks ago - 3 months 3 weeks ago #9478 by Daniel Tyszka
My son and I have flown at URRG’s field in Potter, NY a couple of times (for LDRS 34 in 2015, and for URRF 3 in 2016). Had a great time at both events…The URRG folks do a nice job of putting-on launches. Although their events and field are mainly geared toward High Power rockets, there were plenty of folks like us who mainly flew low- and mid-power birds, and we definitely felt welcome. Both times we were there, there were left- and right- “banks” of pads, which kept things moving.

The field at Potter is huge. Mostly plowed bare-earth farm fields separated by the occasional drainage ditch. There are a few patches of trees along the edges and a “tree island” in the middle, but lots of open space to launch and recover without incident if you mind the winds. The land-owners at Torry Farms seemed tolerant of and accommodating to their rocketeer guests the 2 times we were there. There was a point of emphasis by the URRG folks on observing the 5MPH speed limit on the farm roads (Not a big deal to do, and common courtesy, if you ask me…Also kept the dust levels down.) Some folks seem to complain about the onion crop when it is planted, but it never bothered us when we were there (save from stepping on an occasional rotted onion from the prior season). The farm fields can become difficult to drive on when wet and muddy, and the mud seems to be of the nasty concrete-like variety that is tough to get off your car once it dries on. So come prepared with boots and a vehicle capable of getting you on and off the field. Easy-ups and RVs were commonplace along the flight line when we were there…Usually a couple rows are set up for the bigger events.

It is worth mentioning that (at least 2 years ago) not all of the neighboring land-owners were as accommodating or rocketeer friendly as the Torry Farm folks. In fact some of the adjacent landowners were quite adamant about NOT allowing rocketeers to trespass on their property to recover rockets. The URRG organizers were generally able to negotiate permission with the neighboring landowners to come over ONCE at the end of each launch day, AT A SPECIFIC TIME, to pick up any rockets that had drifted over the property line. One year, they organized a group of rocketeers who had lost stuff to all come over as one big group at the designated time. Another year, only the URRG representatives were allowed to come over to recover what was lost. Less than ideal if you happened to have a rocket leave the Torry Farm property, especially if you missed the pre-designated recovery visit window. But the URRG folks were very upfront about the situation and rules regarding the neighboring landowners. Of specific note was that the 2 times we were there, the flight line was set-up only a couple hundred feet East of the property line with one of the less-than-friendly neighbors. And if the wind happened to be blowing from the East or Northeast, many rockets ended-up drifting back over the flight line and onto this particular neighbor’s property. (Or into the stand of trees along the property line on the West & Southwest end of the launch area.) We were lucky and able to plan and angle our launches to avoid problems, but despite our careful approach, we still had a few recoveries over the spectator area and close to the property line. The tree line behind the flight line is VERY CLOSE…only a couple of hundred feet away, so take care.

The Potter Field is somewhat remote to civilization. Although the small town of Potter is only about a mile away, Geneva is the closest town of size and is about a 30-40 minute drive away. The drive out to the field is pleasant, however…Lots of bucolic, rolling countryside. You’ll see some of the local Mennonite farmers working their fields, driving horse-drawn vehicles on the roads, and selling their produce roadside. Had some of the freshest strawberries ever on the drive back to the hotel one day! And don’t be surprised if a group of Mennonites comes by during the launch and sets up folding chairs to watch!

The 2 times we went, my son and I opted to stay in hotels rather than camp. Although there are closer options, we decided to stay once in Geneva (at the Days Inn…kinda run-down when we were there), and once in Seneca Falls (at the Holiday Inn…much nicer). Geneva / Waterloo / Seneca Falls are all on the same state road (Rt. 20) with lots of options for chain hotels, dining, entertainment, etc. And still all within 40-ish minutes from the field. Folks who camp seem to gravitate to a campsite near the field. Check the Rocketry Forum URRF page if you’re interested in camping…The local site of choice tends to fill-up.

The Potter and Geneseo fields are only about an hour or so apart and have different feels. But we’ve been to events at both fields over the past 4 years (LDRS & URRF 3 at Potter, and NYPOWER 21 & NSL 2018 at Geneseo), and had great times. If you liked Geneseo, you’ll probably enjoy Potter and URRF.

Hope you find this info useful. Hoping to get back there myself sometime soon…Maybe not this year (my son is graduating HS this year and is pretty busy with those festivities). But maybe we can resume our annual father-son rocketry trip to upstate NY next spring. We’ll see.
Last Edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by Daniel Tyszka. Reason: typo

Please Log in to join the conversation.

More
3 months 3 weeks ago #9479 by Brenton DeBoef
Hi Frank and Daniel. Thanks for the eye-witness reports. I was planning to go to NY Power this past weekend, but my schedule got the best of me. I'm now hoping to attend URRF next month, though all of the projects at my house may get in the way. I have a Blackhawk 38 that is itching to break Mach 1, so I'm going to have to travel to a suitable place to fly it.

One other drivable rocket trip to consider would be to visit MDRA in Delaware. While it's not necessarily convenient to DC (especially with traffic), it's not inconceivable to make a small vacation out of a launch and then some sight seeing. I did my L2 flight at their summer launch site, which is a large sod farm that is comparable to the now-defunct MMMSC site. In the fall and spring they launch from a farm that sounds comparable to the Potter site. Lots of big, interesting rockets get flown there.

Please Log in to join the conversation.

  • Frank DeAngelo
  • Frank DeAngelo's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Platinum Boarder
More
3 months 3 weeks ago - 3 months 3 weeks ago #9480 by Frank DeAngelo
Dan, awesome review. This is great information for rocketeers to have on hand when considering attending launches at different locations. You covered all aspects of importance. Thank you for taking the time and effort to provide this information.

Brenton, thanks for providing information concerning MDRA.
Last Edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by Frank DeAngelo.

Please Log in to join the conversation.

More
3 months 1 week ago #9491 by Curtis Heisey
I have been to NYPower two times, and Potter several times (two for URRF launches and one club launch). NYPower had high grass both times. The second time, there was two inches of water on most places on the field. A lot of fliers were getting damage to rockets and altimeters upon landing in water. Although I was ok, I decided never to go again.

URRF and URRF in general very good. It rained the year LDRS was held there, and there was several inches of mud on the road. Rain prevented flying for the most part. They have since, I'm told, recently improved the road.

I plan on attending URRF 6 this year. I would be interested in connecting with any other club members who are going.

Please Log in to join the conversation.

  • Frank DeAngelo
  • Frank DeAngelo's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Platinum Boarder
More
3 months 1 week ago #9494 by Frank DeAngelo
At the 2018 NSL the conditions were perfect which led be to believe that the high grass in 2017 was an anomaly. But after this year and talking to several people, you can't depend on the conditions at Geneseo. I know they had a lot of rain this year but it really irks me that their website advertises mowed grass and then when I get there it's like a jungle. We can go on and on about this but what it done is done. I'll learn from my experiences and plan accordingly.

Please Log in to join the conversation.