Hello, my name is Robert Watson (aka pyrobob in certain circles). My interest in rocketry began sometime in the mid to late 80's when my Dad bought me my first rocket, an Estes Laser. From that day I was hooked on rockets and what would become an obsession with combustion, propulsion systems and pyrotechnics. I was fortunate that my group of friends shared the same interest and it was rare that we weren't concocting some flying object propelled in the opposite direction of hot exhaust gasses...
We would regularly fly Estes rockets and motors (and on rare occasions Centuri motors). Just about our only sources for supplies was Michael's or certain hobby shops in the Dallas, TX area during that time. I remember visiting the Michael's in Mesquite one day and saw some really big motors in plastic bags. The motors were black with yellow markings - and were EXPENSIVE. I can't say I had a grasp on what the motors actually were, or what the designations of A, B, C and so on, were, but I vividly recall that they were just plain expensive. I called my friend that day and told him what I spotted. He said he had seen the same thing on a prior visit and concurred that they were indeed expensive! We never mustered up the will, let alone the funds, to buy one (and what were we going to fly it in anyhow??). Then, just like that, those black and yellow motors were gone. Never to be seen again, these special rocket motors would later become a myth amongst my friends.
Perhaps a few years later I was visiting a local hobby store in Mesquite off of Galloway and Town East (if anyone remembers the name of this store let me know). It had all kinds of Precious Moments type figurines in the front and hobby stuff in the back. I was casually walking down the main aisle which happened to have the magazine rack at one end cap. Out of the corner of my eye I spot a red magazine with what appears to be a MASSIVE rocket on the cover. I stopped. Stared at it for a bit. Checked to make sure I wasn't dreaming or completely misreading the name of the magazine, which was: High Power Rocketry. I snatched that magazine off the shelf and leafed through it only to be amazed at a hobby I never knew existed. It was simply the coolest thing ever. I twisted my Mom's arm to buy it (I was only ~14 at the time and hardly ever had cash; so what was I going to do??). I read and scanned every square millimeter of that magazine. To this day I can recall certain rockets, certain names (how about Kief Adler and Pius Morozumi and Frank Kosdon's Full Metal Jacket rocket?). It was such a big deal to me and if I had to guess it was defintely a top ten moment in my life. Take a look at this well worn magazine here on my Blog.
I dove head first into High Power Rocketry with Tripoli #3135. Back in those days there was no multi-level certification system. Simply being "Confirmed" was all that was necessary. And to be confirmed? Well, just fly an H motor and sucessfully recover it and you're now ready to fly and M! It was sweet. I joined a couple of local clubs, the very first one being MARS, or Metroplex Area Rocketry Society that used to fly in a vacant (but now very well built out housing development...) in Rowlett, TX off of Dalrock Road and Highway 66. I learned about DARS, or the Dallas Area Rocketry Society at some point and joined their club as well. DARS had a sweet setup with a K capable field in Plano, TX that was extremely easy to get to. At some point I needed to get confirmed and so I convinced my parents that a trip to the Sooner Boomer launch in Blackwell, OK was in order. I remember buying motors out of Ross Dunton's Magnum Rocketry truck and a friendly local prefect named Rick Lockwood took care of the paperwork. I got confirmed using a LOC Hi Tech 45 on, what else, an Aerotech H45. honestly don't recall much of that but my Dad remembers that we almost never recovered it. Fortunately we did and that was that. Off to bigger and badder rockets and motors it was. I also managed to convince my Dad to take me to the following LDRS held in Argonia, KS.
I wound up flying a bunch of F and G motors over the years and on occasion some H's, a J and a K. I flew to Las Vegas in the mid 90's with my parents and while there my Dad drove me over unannounced to Aerotech's then headquarters. Not knowing what to expect I met Gary Rosenfield for the first time along with his assistant, secretary, or whoever she was. Not sure what I had in mind, a tour of some sort would have been sweet, but we settled on a conversation, a recommendation to visit the local HobbyTown USA store, and a photo outside of Aerotech's main entry (I'll post a picture of that when I can find it...).
A stop by HobbyTown and I managed to snag my first reload hardware, the 54mm system. I remember the shop owner had a video of one of the larger local launches playing. It was probably my first time to see what a LOC Magnum drag race looked like all flying on a K550's. We also picked up some thermalite, something you old timers probably remember...
Anyhow, my interest in rockets and more specifically, propulsion, ultimately lead me to studying Engineering. I was fortunate that my school LeTourneau University, although small, was able to cater (somewhat...) to my interests. Thanks to Dr. Hellmuth and Dr. Thrasher (my Adviser), my friends/classmates and I managed to get a dedicated propulsion class setup and with a bit of arm twisting (a lot actually...) got approval to design, develop, and test a hybrid rocket motor. We really had a slick setup on campus and a treasure trove of various parts and pieces that only an engineering geek could appreciate; from a helicopter fuselage to an earthquake shaker, we used the side of the "ATP" building to do our testing. It was all definitely a highlight of my young career at that point and I'm thankful to a lot of people for making that all happen. Specifically my parents, Dr. Bill Thrasher who successfully convinced me to stay with the Mechanical Engineering program when things got tough (the weed out classes of Circuits I with Dr. Graff and Dynamics with Dr. Gonzales had taken their toll...) , Dr. Hellmuth (one of the coolest professors and individuals I've ever met), and friends and Senior Design colleagues Afolabi Ogundelli (Arafat), Jeff Hamilton (Jeff), Mark Christianson (Mark) and some dude name Jaque. A shout out to a good friend Jason Fowler for keeping me out of trouble when it could have all easily fallen apart. Oh, one last thing, my appologies to Dr. Thrasher for being a handful on multiple occasions, including during an infamous presentation I made where he walked out.... With their collective help, I managed to cram 4 years into 5 and graduated with a degree in Engineering in 2001.
So, let's fast forward to present day, about 13 years after school.
Well, graduating, finding a job, having money in my pocket, and a girlfriend; I started to have a really good time. Bought a house and converted half of the 2 car garage into a metal shop. You see, I caught a mad case of metal working and machining sickness while in the engineering program. Machining metal just floats my boat, I'll be honest. I was more into hybrids than anything else and didn't frequent or fly at many launches, but did make it to BALLS in 2002 for an epic vacation with my Dad. I also made it to an AIRFEST or two and both LDRS's held in Amarillo with my buddy and travel agent Pelham Swift of Alpine Travel, a few trips to the HOTROC's Asa launch site as well as DARS' Windham launch site. The dream of one day working for a rocket company never materialized (I really wanted to work for Beal Aerospace and Space X wasn't around back then), so got involved in real estate due diligence. I started a consulting company called NOI Engineering that focuses on traditional Due Diligence with an emphasis and Energy and Sustainability. Most recently I spun a software product that we had developed, a web based on demand utility monitoring and benchmarking tool, into a standalone LLC called Benchmarx I also received a patent a few years back for the data rendering and visualization that Benchmarx uses.
I've learned a lot about business over the years and what makes one company or professional different from the others. Working with clients and how to interact with them (not necessarily engineering tradecraft...), how to manage expectations, and how to do business in a professional way, is why I'm still in business.
I now have a son that's old enough to drag to rocket launches, so started to re-engage in the hobby. It is this culmination of events that has led to BuyRocketMotors.com. You see, I've tried to buy High Power Rocket Motors from 2 large very well known vendors online. I won't go into great detail as I'm sure many of you already know, but that experience was amazingly disappointing. Honestly, I just don't understand how these vendors are able to stay in business. Communication - a minus 10 out of ten. Inventory - they really have no clue. Shipping - when they get around to it. Other's have actually been cursed out for canceling an order after going through all of this! Amazing. How these guys have gotten by all of this time is a mystery to me.
Be that as it may, I welcome you to BuyRocketMotors.com, the Most Transparent way to buy High Power Rocket Motors. Here you will find:
Real Time Inventory
VOLUNTARY Pre Ordering (also known as back ordering by the other vendors, or the classic, "Oh, I'm out of stock and will have to back order)
Very Reasonable Prices
Regular and Predictable Shipping
You will actually know when an order ships and be able to track it
You know, all of the customary stuff that vendors should be providing
In general, we utilize a little known technique called "basic communication skills." Have a question, we'll give you a response. Order something, we'll confirm it. It's all very sophisticated....
Now, I won't be delusional and promise the world. There will always be exceptions. I have no intent to stock every conceivable product carried by a manufacturer. If it's popular enough and sells often, I will stock it. If it does not, I will still offer it but on a pre order basis only - and with a discount.
There will be much trial and error at the beginning, especially with what I initially stock and inventory levels, but rest assured if BuyRocketMotors.com shows a product in stock, it is indeed in stock and it will ship to you with a tracking number.
Do know, this is a One Man Show, as with most other vendors. I willfully admit that this is not a full time endeavor and make no assertions that it is. If you want to call me, then please do, but do understand I have other commitments - but again rest assured - if BuyRocketMotors.com shows a product in stock; it is indeed in stock and it will ship. Most rocket questions can easily be answered by a quick Google search or by rocketryforum.com If we speak, I may have to keep things short so please try these resources and use me as a last ditch effort.
We very much appreciate the opportunity to be of service to rocketry endeavors. If you have a question or would like to see something regularly stocked then just let me know.