Carmel father, daughter hope for model rocket success repeat


By Desiree Williams

Ryan Woebkenberg and his daughter, Katie, are ready for another competition.

The Carmel residents have worked diligently to advance their model rockets since competing one year ago in the FAI World Championships for Space Models in Wloclawek, Poland.

“The competition has really improved,” Ryan said. “I had a disqualified boost, the rocket motor portion of the flight, because I inadvertently flew into the sun on my first flight and I lost visual on the model and it got out of sorts. Katie flew better than I did, but still not quite well enough to win a medal.

“That said, I was very proud of how much she had improved in the time from when she was named to the Junior Team to the World Champs in her piloting.”

The Woebkenbergs fly rocket gliders, which shoot into the sky from a launch pad using a model rocket engine and glide to the ground. Radio controls allow Katie, 14, and Ryan to use a transmitter to send signals to a receiver on their model to control its direction, height and roll.

Next up is the National Association of Rocketry’s Annual Meet at the International Aeromodeling Center in Muncie. From July 27 to Aug. 3, rocket flyers from across the nation will meet to compete in various event levels.

The first three days consist of team selection events for the 2020 World Championships in Romania, which Ryan and Katie will vie for again in the same RC Rocket Glider categories. The second portion involves four days of national championship competition.

All events are open to the public for viewing. In addition, NAR will offer a Fly it/Take it program for those who have never flown a rocket or those younger than 13 in an effort to grow model rocketry. Interested visitors can select a rocket, add a motor and recovery system with help from an experienced flyer, fly it on the sport range and take it home.

Online registration has closed, but participants can register onsite. For more, visit