Greetings! Recognizing that our rocketry club has had 3 Presidents in less than a year, I thought I'd introduce you to your current/2024 SARA President. And that'd be me - Michael O'Brien.
I flew my first model rocket in 6th grade; an Estes "Astron Alpha", built and launched as part of a science class project. I subsequently joined the school Rocketry Club and have been building and flying ever since. My brother and I purchased rocket kits at local hobby shops and Thrifty Drug stores. I still possess a little log book of Estes "Astron X-Ray" flights we launched, each with a spider or ant in the payload section, recording passenger condition after each trip into space! I joined the Estes Aerospace Club as a teen for $2.00 and happily built the Viper rocket that accompanied the membership kit.
Over the years I have built and flown model rockets with my kids, and now with my grandkids. I have also shown the marvels of this hobby to the young men’s group at my church by giving model rocket kits as birthday gifts, conducting build events, and flying with the young men at TIMPA launches.
I’ve also discovered the joy of giving back to the hobby. As I am sure you have experienced, the first question people ask when starting in rocketry is “Where can I launch?”. To address this need, I created a video series about where to fly model rockets in the Phoenix, Arizona area, posting them on my “mobrockets” YouTube channel.
I joined SARA to fly rockets. (I know, weird.) As I got to know the members and the board, I decided to get involved; first as a Member at Large, then as Secretary, and now as President. I recognize that 80% of the work in any organization is done by 20% of those involved. I decided long ago to "get involved," as work always needs to be done. And every organization needs help doing all it sets out to accomplish.
I am a member of NAR and have certified as a Level 1 high power model rocket flier. But my passion lies with low and mid power rocketry, the kinds of rockets I launched as a kid and as an adult. The wonder of building, creating and launching a rocket "into space" has never left me. And rocketry provides a much needed respite from adulting.
As a result of this type of rocketry involvement, I’ve met some amazing people who are as passionate about the hobby as am I. My goal is to get to know each of you at our launches and club events as I recognize that each of you share the same passion for rocketry.
My commitment to you the Southern Arizona Rocketry Association member is to work with our wonderfully dedicated board and members to grow and improve our club. We are stewards of this hobby and must keep it safe and fun. There are places in our country where model rocketry is outlawed, thanks to a few irresponsible folks. We must never be such people. Actually, we must be the opposite of those who would jeopardize our beloved hobby. Judging by the club members that I've so far met, we are on the right track.
I will communicate with you as changes and improvements are made. If you feel like you are not being heard, or have some ideas for the club, please reach out to me via club email or directly: email@example.com. This is your club!
So here is to a great 2024 of flying. We are rocketeers, after all. Let's have fun launching our rockets!