3, 2, 1 Here comes the Rocket man

Rocket man Leonard Good shows Sacha Burdsal, 13, how to prepare the charge before launching his model rocket. - Brian Kelly
Rocket man Leonard Good shows Sacha Burdsal, 13, how to prepare the charge before launching his model rocket.
— image credit: Brian Kelly

On the first day of model rocket class every year, Leonard Good writes on the blackboard: “I am the famous Leonard.”

Good is famous, indeed, as the man responsible for helping kids to launch hundreds of homemade rockets for seven years.

The program is a mainstay of the South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District’s summer program. Kids are offered two sessions to live out their dream of traveling into space via a rocket.

Participants of this week’s program were gathered on the field at the Community Park in Langley where they took turns launching their creations.

The students design, build and launch the electric ignition rockets to which they’ve attached a recovery parachute. Longtime rocket class student Logan Skjelstad said the recovery is important to him.

“The best part is being able to keep them after they fire,” he said. “Unless it lands in a tree.”

Skjelstad said he has been coming to Good’s class for five years or so and is proud of the more than 15 rockets he’s made over the years.

The rockets are individualized with an array of colorful marker-colored designs and each rocket designer’s signature.

After a group countdown, each student got to launch their own rocket with a clockwise turn of a key on the charger.

“This way?” asked Grace Lee, ready to fire.

Good smiled and shrugged a little.

“In this digital age, I forget these kids don’t really know what clockwise is,” he said.

Patricia Duff can be reached at 221-5300 or

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