My name is
John Pretto, TRA#573. Welcome to my Tripoli
Level III certification rocket project. The name of the rocket is
VidRoc was the world’s first live webcast from an amateur rocket!
Vidroc flew on St. Patrick's day, March 17th at about 4pm. I used
a composite video camera linked to a transmitter to a downlink and then
demodulated the video and feed it into a PC with an Internet connection
via 2.4Ghz wireless antennas out to El
Dorado Dry Lake. In addition to the feed from the rocket, I will had
on the ground watching the rocket launch upwards.
The level III Tripoli
certification is the “Black-Belt” of amateur rocketry.
Growing up in Las Vegas in
the 60’s was quite adventurous. I would walk out my back door into the desert
and catch lizards, scorpions, snakes, and horny toads.My father, the radiologist, would take us out
behind Vo-tech High school which today is known as “Green Valley” to shoot our
Estes™ Rockets off. Ironically, Les Derkovitz (Las Vegas based rocketeer) retired from
Vo-Tech High School in the video broadcast
department. He probably was there as we launched our Estes a few miles away.
I remember thinking we
were in the middle of nowhere. My father and other Physicians built VW-based
Dune buggies that we used as “Recovery Vehicles.”
I remember, very clearly,
the night my father took my “Honest-John” Estes rocket and covered it with
gasoline and shot it off in our back yard on the fourth of July! I was mad for a
long time, and now I think I would do the same thing! My father the Doctor is
very cool. He is a certified welder, has his Commercial Drivers License (CDL),
is instrument rated pilot, built his own dune buggy, and had two dozen
automobiles and five vintage tractors. He’s done everything I like to do. I was
very proud to have him out at the last “Turkey-shoot 2000” when I certified level II
on my “Cohiba” rocket on a J90 long burn.
As I build the VidRoc, I’m
already ruminating its storage location in my garage during the idle moments of
is my son, Gianni Quintano, with his rocket Gianni
Salame. This is a LOC kit painted like a Gallo
Salami. I scanned in the Gallo logo and changed it
so it reads "Gianni Salame." Additionally,
I added the bar code and the nutritional facts.
Salami was "Best of Show" at Turkey Shoot
Here is my RDS Quasar, Slim-Jim.
The Slim-Jim red just happens to be the same color as 2000 PPG
Plymouth Prowler red; that is what we used here. Slim-Jim sports a
single 54mm motor mount with a Missile Works RRC˛ altimeter.