The Rocket Doc
High Power Rocketry
Brad Evans
Gilbert, AZ
Tripoli Phoenix
NAR #88880 L3
TRA #13578 L3  

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I was a physician for over 22 years and joined the pharmaceutical industry in 2004. So, they call me Doc.  I began playing with rocket toys when I was 10. By the time I was 14, I had been doing black power rockets for a couple of years or so when I found Rocket Manual for Amateurs by Capt Bertrand Brinley. I got immediately into sugar fuel and powdered zinc and sulfur. Back then and for another 3 years I was building rockets with my friends made out of metal airframes and fins. Metal shop, wood shop and electrical shop in high school moved me right along. Things really slowed down in college (BSc, Chemistry), but I always built black powder rockets right through med school. Like so many of my rocketeer friends, we all settled into our professional lives and raising families. And like so many rocketeers, kids grow up and leave home. I was getting itchy back in 2009. My grandson, Gunnar, was 4. He was interested in rockets for some reason, so I bought a couple of Estes kits (Bull Pup and Patriot), and the "torch" was past to a new generation. I was a flight away from a rocket a day. I got on the internet, found high power rocketry, and the rest is history. I built an Initiator from Aerotech and joined the Superstition Spacemodeling Society out of Phoenix, AZ. I brought the rocket to one of the launches one Saturday anxious about my first mid power launch. I bought some little motor for it. I showed it to Dwain Desbien who said I needed something big. He found the biggest 29mm motor he had. "Go big or go home!", he said. I've been living by that motto ever since. Thanks Dwain! Maurice "Moe" Bertrand, whether he knows it or not, has been a mentor from the start, a great friend and photographer for my and many others' launches. This site is filled with his photos. Thanks Moe!  My L3CC Terry O'Brien, former President of the Superstition Spacemodeling Society, and Gerald "Skippy" Meux, Jr have been invaluable moving me to the top of the game. So, the site is dedicated to my grandson Gunnar, my rocket widow Kris, Moe, Dwain, Terry and Skippy.

You have to start somewhere (Aerotech Initiator).


                                                                                   Photo Maurice "Moe" Bertrand

All Launch and Test Videos


The National Association of Rocketry (NAR)

The Superstition Spacemodeling Society (SSS Rocketry)

Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA)
What is Tripoli?

Tripoli Phoenix (TRAPHX)

Tripoli Phoenix (TRAPHX) is Prefecture #47 of the Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA). It is a club of like-minded individuals who have joined together in the pursuit of high power rocketry. Their main goals are to provide a safe, fun, inclusive environment for our members, which enable them to further their aims and purposes as related to high power rocketry.

Eagle Eye Launch Site
Aguila, AZ

From a few thousand feet, the town of Aguila (about 40 miles west of Wickenburg, AZ) is in the upper right. Eagle Eye Mountain is near the center of the image.


Arizona High Power Rocketry Association

AHPRA was formed as a Tripoli Rocketry Association Prefecture to promote high power rocketry in Arizona. They host the annual BALLS launch at the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.

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Most Recent Launch

General Dynamics AGM-78 Standard ARM

Tripoli Phoenix Eagle Eye Launch Site
Aguila, AZ
January 24, 2015

Flight 3

My L3 Certification rocket, the AGM-78 flew again at the Tripoli Phoenix Eagle Eye Launch Site on a Cesaroni N1800 Classic. Here are some screen shots off the various video cameras. Thanks to Terry O'Brien and Dwain Desbien for help with set-up and launch.The rocket was 80 lbs on the pad! Special thanks to Terry and the incredible TRAPHX Lost Rocket Recovery Team. It took all day to find as the drogue chute opening and harness stretch separated the 13.5 lb nose cone and the main deployed at apogee The rocket drifted ~3.5 miles west of the site and was recovered with no significant damage.

Terry O'Brien and Dwain Desbien at the pad.  


Click the image for launch video


Lift off and stable flight. Click to view nose cone video from launch to drogue/main deployment and initial decent

 Click to view ground launch to drogue/main deployment


Predicted (Rocksim)
Altitude- 9101 ft
Maximum velocity- 915 ft/sec
Apogee- 23.7 secs

Altimeter 1 (Perfect Flight Stratologger)      Altitude 8,369 ft (barometric)     Apogee in 24.6 secs
Altimeter 2 (Missile Works RRC2mini)     Altitude 8,309 ft      Peak Velocity 980 ft/sec, apogee in 23 secs

                             Tripoli Phoenix Launch Schedule

                          Tripoli Phoenix goes to BALLS 24             Black Rock Desert, NV
                          (September 25-27, 2015)                                 
                          October 24-25, 2015                                     Oktoberfest
                          November 14-15, 2015                                 Eagle Eye, AZ
                          December 12-13, 2015                                 Eagle Eye, AZ

The Raytheon (General Dynamics) RIM-67 Extended Range
1/3rd Scale
"The Rocket Frog"
Tripoli Phoenix Eagle Eye Launch Site
Aguila, AZ
March 28, 2015

Completed Project
Failed Sustainer Recovery (See Crash Analysis)
Booster Recovery
Partially successful flight


See RIM-67 Extended Range Maiden Flight for complete videos and great HD Photos by James Donald.
Set-up, Ignition and Lift-off (James Donald)
(Click the lift-off photo below for the ground video from my HD camera)

Full Power to Booster Cut-off and Coast (James Donald)
Good ignition and initial boost. However, the rocket began to fly west after leaving the launch pad.


Sustainer Air-Start and Booster Drift (James Donald)
Note the additional puff of smoke after sustainer ignition in the photo on the right. While substantially off vertical, the sustainer still looked like it was heading up. But suddenly there was a dramatic change in trajectory.



Up Camera Video for Staging and Capture of Premature Drogue Deployment
(Click the photo below left for the full up camera video.) The up camera provided good separation and sustainer ignition video for analysis. Premature drogue deployment appears to have occurred. The puff of smoke noted in the photo above was likely the drogue deployment charge. The still photo from the video (below right) shows the loss of the nose cone with its chute and harness. This event led to the sudden erratic flight. The reason for the drogue deployment at that time is still unclear, though the sustainer was predicted to go mach shortly after ignition.

There was successful booster parachute deployment and recovery of booster, inter-stage coupler and parachute. Deployment was at 2713' with 3300 predicted by Rocksim.                                 


There was also successful recovery of the nose cone with its chute and harness 1.5 miles west of the launch pad (Tragic Little Aerospace nose cone GPS transmitter brought me to about 8 feet from the cone.) The sustainer lower airframe and its avionics bay with the Featherweight Altimeter and Missile Works RRC2mini) were lost.

Many thanks to Dwain Desbien (TRA, NAR L3) and Terry O'Brien (TRA, NAR L3) for help with setup, launch and booster recovery.

                                                                    Terry O'Brien


Click here for the full, edited flight video

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Current Project

General Dynamics (Convair) SAM-N-7/RIM 2-D Terrier
1/3rd Scale "Lulu" 


 Future Project

The Western Electric MIM-14 Nike Hercules
"Bad Boy"
2/5 Scale

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