Garbee Rockets

Building and launching model rockets is one of our favorite hobby activities right now. While everyone in the family gets into the act in one way or another, Bdale and Robert are the most serious and so most Garbee rocket projects ended up being father and son affairs before Robert went off to college.

Bdale is NAR Sr member 87103 and Tripoli member 12201, and holds a level 3 high power certification. Robert is NAR Sr member 87104 and Tripoli member 14036, and also holds a level 3 high power certification. Robert was one of the first kids to pass the Tripoli Mentoring Program exam, and flew a lot of high power including a fair number of research motors in mentored projects before turning 18...



See some of our launch photos in the Garbee Gallery, and on Bdale's Flickr Photostream.


We have family memberships in (and regularly enjoy flying our models with!) local clubs Tripoli Colorado, SCORE (which is now dual-homed and also known as Tripoli Southern Colorado!), and NCR.

We have also flown with ARS, COSROCS, Kloudbusters, Metra, NRVR, NZRA, Oregon Rocketry, and QRS.


  • Apogee Components is a local company. Perhaps best known as the place to get the RockSim rocket design and simulation software (which we wish came in a Linux version!), we've also bought lots of parts from them for building rockets from scratch, and we really like some of the Dynastar mid-power kits like the Rip-Roar and Sky Torpedo. Apogee is also a distributor of our TeleMetrum starter kits!

  • Giant Leap Rocketry is a great source for components for building high power rockets. We particularly like the Pinnacle nose cone series, and DynaWind pre-glassed airframe tubing. Local rep Joe Hinton shows up at various launches we attend, and gets most of our commercial motor reload business.

  • What's Up Hobbies is the home of the Polecat Aerospace line of kits, plus Jack carries a lot of other useful bits and pieces.

  • Public Missiles make very nice parachutes and HAMR retainers, which are our favorite retainers for 29-54mm motors.

  • Aero Pack makes the flanged motor retainers we like the large projects that contain 75 and 98mm motor mounts.

  • Chris' Rocket Supplies handled a problem caused by one of their suppliers with an order brilliantly, and will get more of our business in the future.

  • Discount Rocketry used to consistently have the best prices on kits and motors, but recently has seemed to be mostly out of stock on things we want. We've bought lots of Estes motors, smaller Aerotech reloads, and Rouse-Tech cases from them. And they're responsive and helpful on the phone, so we'll happily buy things from them that are in stock.


Bdale and friends develop fully open hardware and software designs for rocketry avionics, under the name Altus Metrum.


While a lot of great information is available on the web, there are some paper books that we've found very helpful at various stages.

  • Handbook of Model Rocketry, 7th Edition (NAR Official Handbook) may be the best first book on model rocketry. While the focus is on small rockets, the basic principles of static stability and construction covered here are important at all levels of the hobby.

  • Modern High-Power Rocketry 2 covers a lot of material, and is a great resource if you're starting to think about a high power certification and don't have a club nearby, or just like to read about how other people have done things and why.

  • Topics in Advanced Model Rocketry is definitely not for everyone, as it's heavy on math and isn't a "how to" book at all! But, if you really want to understand what's going on with higher performance models and/or inside the simulation software we use when designing rockets, the material here will take you a long way!