- The National Experimental Launch or BALLS 2004 is a three day event
running from Friday September 10th until Sunday September 12th. The Black
Brant is scheduled to fly on Saturday September 11th. Sunday
is being reserved as the backup day.
- From Reno:
Take Interstate 80 East from Reno, about 30 miles from Reno take the
Wadsworth/Pryamid Lake exit #43. (The last cheap gas is available at the
I80 truck stop at this exit.) Take highway 447 north about 75 miles to
Gerlach. As you approach the town of Nixon don't take the Pyramid lake exit,
instead drive through Nixon and continue north to Gerlach. About 5 miles
before you get to Gerlach you will pass through the company town of Empire.
(The store by the road here is the only thing locally that can be considered
a supermarket. Stop on your way through to buy ice and anything else you
forgot.) Be carefull about your speed going through all these little towns.
From Gerlach (Brunos), go northwest on Highway 447 for one mile to the
fork. Take the right-hand fork, Hwy 34, and continue 11 miles to the
entrance of the playa. Note: The 3-mile playa entrance (first
turn-off) is not an entrance to the launch site. The launch site is
about 6.3 miles from the entrance. If you have not been to a Black Rock launch or are not familiar with
driving in the desert it would be best if you follow someone who has been
there before or at least go out in pairs of vehicles. If you do not
have a GPS it strongly recommended that you do not attempt to find the
launch site, follow someone.
If you'd like to
follow the Black Brant out to the launch site see the section on
Travel Schedule and Meeting Points.
N 40 degrees 48.5 minutes (40.80833 Degrees
W 119 degrees 9.0 minutes (119.15000 Degrees
- Range fees pay for the BLM fee, and for providing the porta-potties at
the launch site. All who attend must pay the range
fee. The fees are:
Driving on the Black Rock Playa
- The Arizona High Power Rocket Association (AHPRA) has compiled some
great tips for
driving at Black
Rock. This is considered must reading for anyone planning on
Camping & Lodging
- Stay at
Bruno's Country Club and Casino
(775) 557-2220, the only motel in Gerlach, with only simple clean rooms.
Register at the bar just down the street and do book ahead. We try and
organize our launches so that we don't collide with other users but Brunos
is usually fully booked weeks before a launch.
- Stay in Fernley or Reno, but it's a long drive. Motels in Fernley
include: Fernley Super 8 (775) 525-5555, the Truck-Inn Motel and Casino
(775) 351-1000 and the Starlite Motel (775) 575-2444.
- Camp out. The BLM allows us to camp out on the lake bed, or at the Cove
near the launch site. All garbage must be packed out and you must use
the PortaPotties we are required to provide. There is often a strong wind in
the late afternoon and/or early evening (it usually passes after an hour or
two). Make sure that your tent is firmly staked (many people take them down
for the day). See the following
- Take an RV. They can be rented in Reno and can be driven onto the lake
bed without problem (but be carefull if it rains). Please park your RV end
on at the launch site, or in the second row, so as not to take up as much of
the flight line.
Travel Schedule and Meeting Points
- The Black Brant and team departs Los Angeles on Wednesday September
8th and stop for the night in Reno. The team will be staying at the home of
Jimmy & Jonny Oldham. The rocket & team depart Reno and meet for
lunch at Bruno's Country Club and Casino.
Jeff Jacobs and his "R" hybrid project will be joining us. After lunch we will head out to the launch site. Anyone who is not
familiar with driving on the playa should try and meet up with the team
either in Reno, or at Bruno's and follow us out.
- If you can not meet the team get to
follow someone out.