What is XPRS all about anyway?

XPRS is the acronym for eXtreme Performance Rocket Ships.  The name was coined during a session in the AERO-PAC camp during the 2001 LDRS launch at Lucerne.  Tom Cloud came up with the concept with Ken Biba, TRA BOD and Brent McNeely of Extreme Rocketry.  The idea was presented to the membership at the LDRS Banquet and was met with resounding enthusiasm.  It's intent is to create a Triple Crown of Tripoli launches and it completes the triumvirate of LDRS and BALLS.

Black Rock, the supreme rocket launching site in the world for HPR, Amateur, and Experimental rocketry, is uniquely suited to field such an event.  Miles of recovery area and not a cornstalk in sight.  The closest powerline is 20 miles across the playa.

 

 


 

Why is it called the Tom Cloud Memorial Launch?

Tom Cloud was a much loved Aero-Pac rocketeer.  He passed away in late December of 2001 and will surely be missed by all his rocket flying pals.  Here are some words written by his clubmates.


Tom Cloud on right at LDRS 20 working on N-1 Project, July 2001

by Tony Alcocer
The first time AJ and I met Tom was at Aeronaut 2000. AJ and I were walking around seeing what was going on. Out in the distance we could see a group of people gathered around some guy. As we walked towards the group the guy that was doing all of the talking kept getting bigger and bigger. As we approached the van a gust of wind blew one of the rockets down that had been leaning against the van. The guy simply kicked the rocket under the van! Now we had to see who this guy was! It was Tom Cloud! He was telling the group how he made his rockets. How he made the body tubes and the couplers, from scratch!
To demonstrate how strong his rockets were he had one of the guys jump up and down on them. Everyone there was totally amazed including AJ and I. That was the first time that AJ and I had met Tom. We had talked to Tom many of times in the chat room and on the phone. We learned many things from Tom. The one thing that we learned about Tom from the very beginning was that he was always willing to help, whether it was answering our question or just lending us a hand. We only wish that we had known Tom longer then we did.
We will miss the Big Ol Guy!

by Sue McMurray
Tom Cloud was my friend. He made me smile every time I saw him. He made me laugh in surprise. He was warm and kind and he hugged me. He smelled better than Frank. I miss him in a way I can't describe right now. I'm afraid that I will miss him even more when he is not with us on the playa.

by John Coker
Tom was always fun and funny.  Each meeting he would bring some new find or invention.
Despite being on the "enemy" team, he jumped in and helped out with the N1 out at Lucerne when we needed him.
We will all miss him.  Goodbye.


Tom Cloud as Bubba von Braun, Dec 2000

by Bob Fortune
Tom Cloud was a big guy.  Tall, barrel chested, his scale hadn't seen the other side of 300 pounds for quite a few years, deep voice, with eyes squinting at the tobacco smoke that curled from the perpetual cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth.  Maybe the squint was from the sun as he tracked the rockets that left the pads at Black Rock.  Tom liked rockets in a big way, big rockets, big projects, big plans.  Ibpyronski (that's how a lot of us knew him from his email address "I be Pyro-n-ski") had a nice L3 project all ready to go which he talked about often.  He was this close to flying it, I'm holding my thumb and forefinger together so they barely touch, at Mudroc in June. Formed the tubes by hand in his garage using a fantastic system of his own design which you can read here in this newsletter.  I'm lucky enough to own a couple of those tubes, one day I'll make a nice rocket with them and call it the Cloudhopper or something zippy.  We would laugh and joke about his rocketeering, he was really homespun.  One memorable get-together I called him Bubba von Braun and the name stuck, he thought it was hilarious. From then on he was Bubba von B, Werner's distant Appalachian relative.  I'm going to miss old Mr. Cloud, TRA 0109.

Adios Bubba and rest in peace.

If my rocket zips by the cloud you're sitting on, make sure the parachute deploys, would you?

by David Wilkins
No better example of the good things in rocketters were embodied in Tom's ample girth. A sense of humor and a drive to make things better coupled with a wicked sense of humor.

It was privelged to meet Tom though ROL's chat system, and over time, "Bubba" become a firm friend his sense of humor brightening a sometimes heated debate and his willingness to share knowledge.

I shall never forget the selfless assitance he provided to the N1 Team when it became apparent we needed to have something to stablise the rocket with, he voulenteerd without hesiatation one of his hand wound glass tubes.. 

Fly high Tom, knowing the memories you left behind will last forever in the hearts and minds of those who you touched..  I for one am far richer for having known you.