Nummer des Beitrags: 6559
|Veröffentlicht am Montag, 20. Juni 2005 - 23:02 Uhr: ||
Wie ich soeben erfahren habe, ist John Steward, ein schottischer Modell- und Wasserraketenpionier, bereits am 28.3.05 verstorben. John und seine Gruppe Paisley Rocketeers Society (PRS) sind seit Jahrzehnten führend in der Herstellung von Wasserraketen in Europa und haben auch viele mir bekannte Kollegen auf dem europäischen Festland, darunter den inzwischen ebenfalls verstorbenen Heinz Steinböck aus Kärnten oder seinen "Schüler" und meinen langjährigen Weggefährten Karl Gum für dieses Hobby begeistern können.
Ich stand mehrmals in Kontakt mit der schottischen Gruppe, die mich auch ein paarmal zu ihren Wasserraketen-Flugtagen in Schottland eingeladen hatte. Leider habe ich es nie geschafft, die International Rocket Week zu besuchen, obwohl ich schon mal sehr nahe in der Gegend (nahe Glasgow) war. Ich bin mir sicher, ohne die berühmten Aquajets von John und seine Gruppe wären Wasserraketen nie so bekannt in Europa geworden - ein wirklich tragischer Verlust!
Hier ein englischer Nachruf aus der Times:
JOHN D. STEWART
1922 - 2005
JOHN D STEWART, one of Britain's greatest rocket pioneers, died aged ~83 in Paisley, Scotland. Amongst many innovative projects that he led, was the first three-stage rocket launch in the UK on the last day of 1937.
THE INITIAL INSPIRATION for John Stewart's rocketry had been the tour around Britain of the German mail-rocketeer Gerhard Zucker in 1934, including his attempted flights in the Hebrides that summer. Several rocket experimenters in the 1930s used the carrying of rocket mail to finance their flights. These items were carried to demonstrate the use of rockets and to carry mail to inaccessible places like islands and across mountain ranges. Subsequently these stamped postcards & letters became a lucrative source of income from certain philatelists.
Being Britain, there was no source of proprietary rocket motors, so fireworks were pressed into service for these flights. Instead of carrying sky-burst stars, the front compartments were ideal as mail compartments. Together with a small group of school friends, John Stewart began his rocket flights on 27 November 1935 with a rocket that had the distinction of taking off and landing four times.
If the first rocket had worked properly, it’s likely the flights would have stopped after the novelty had worn off. But a desire to master the techniques resulted in the formation of Paisley Rocketeers Society (PRS) on 27 February 1936. Members soon included Arthur C. Clarke & Eric Burgess, leading lights in the formation of the British Interplanetary Society.
1936 was a busy year, with the construction of a thrust-measuring device and the testing of a gas-rocket using coal-gas and compressed air. In 1937, the flight distance record was raised to 580 feet, but the rocket landed on a road and run over by a vehicle and squashed, before the boys could recover it!
Between 1935 & 1939 the PRS launched 61 rockets, including Britain's first three-stage rocket and a camera payload, which on its first flight on 22 August 1938 photographed some clouds. Also in 1938, experiments with rocket-aircraft began. These other experiments were made while the mail rockets continued to be flown, most carrying several or dozens of postcards and letters. A two-way birthday message was sent by rocket to a member, the first wishing the boy a happy birthday and the return flight thanking the Society for the felicitations. On the occasions when the rocket-mail was scorched or got wet in a river or lake landing, these markings only increased the value of the rocket mail to collectors.
During the war and until 1965, John Stewart was employed as an industrial designer, first in Scotland and later in London. Persuasion from philatelists in the 1960s resulted in the PRS re-forming for their 30th Anniversary on 27 November 1965, when the 62nd rocket was launched. From then until 1969, a further 26 rockets were launched, all carrying rocket mail for collectors. But in 1969, the full weight of the government machine descended on the rocketeers, due mostly to the Home Office Explosives Branch's incorrect interpretation of a report that the rocket motors were inserted into the back of the models. The Home Office assumed that explosives were being mixed and hammered into tubes instead of the entirely innocent application of an existing product. It was true that the change in use of these products was, strictly speaking, not according to the law - as is still the case - and the ban had to be observed.
In 1966, it had been drawn to the PRS's attention that water-powered "rockets" were being marketed, and this solution was put in hand, so that flying rocket mail could continue. These are on sale in every toy shop in the world now, but in the 1960s only one firm was making them. Improved types were developed using "Fairy Liquid" bottles, pumps & release mechanisms. The application of 2 litre "Cola" bottles produced the ultimate "Aquajet", as John Stewart dubbed these things and distances of 850 feet were obtained.
Many hundreds of mail flights with Aquajets followed into the new century, while about two dozen conventional rockets were also flown from 1974 onwards, coinciding with the huge world-wide growth of the model rocketry hobby and sport. The business of inserting motors into models was finally sorted out with the UK government in the 1980s with pressure from the British Space Modelling Association, and since then Britons have been able to compete in the World Space Modelling competitions and have, on occasions, done very well. John Stewart was a pioneer of both model rocketry and water-propelled toy rockets, which have given pleasure to millions around the world. Sport rocketry is now a respected activity with an unrivalled safety record.
John D. Stewart, rocket pioneer, born ~1922, died Paisley, 28 March 2005 ~ RIP