(From the Original DART Member: Dave Cook)
The progenitor club to DART came into existence in 1972 as the East Des Moines Model Rocket Club (EDMMRC) in Des Moines, and was based at Goodrell Jr. High School. We had a fabulous 8th grade chemistry teacher, Mr. Larson, who encouraged us in all kinds of activities, and got permission for us to have launches on the back fields at the school (Google Earth 41.624958, -93.564807 to see the launch site). In June 1972 I attended my first NAR contest in Davenport, IA and got really hooked. Club members attended various contests in the Midwest during the spring/summer 1973 season, flying as independent members. The club changed its name to DART sometime in 1973. DART received its NAR charter as the Des Moines Area Rocketry Team, Section #317 on 8 February 1974 (I just checked the actual date on the charter certificate) after I finally was able to convince 8 other kids to send in for their NAR memberships. I distinctly recall this was not an easy task - in those days you had to have 10 NAR members to make a Section. Besides myself the charter members included my father George H. Cook and several of my classmates including Steve Howard, Jerry Wanek, Mark Clark, Jim Sandin and Kevin Garrison.
The club newsletter WARP IX -- the original name used Roman numerals -- came into being at the same time in the mid 1970's. I have the first issue somewhere with the exact date but it may be in storage. [For extra credit, if I can find it I will scan it for you].
During the period up through 1980, DART was almost totally a competition oriented club. We did not do many local launches except for testing contest models. Over time the membership evolved so that we had active competitors scattered over Iowa and Illinois - almost a "virtual" organization, though the Internet was still years away. During those years DART was often in the Top Ten sections, the most active members collectively won dozens of NARAM trophies. Alan Jones and I even won the Reserve US Team Championship once.
Relocation to San Diego
In 1981 I permanently moved to San Diego and basically brought the club with me, since the way the club operated at the time meant the exact location of any one of its members didn't matter that much. The first contest I attended in California was SPOC-6 at Lucerne Dry Lake in June 1981. We also did an RCBG slope soaring record trials at Torrey Pines sometime in 1981. Chris Flanigan was there for that event.
It wasn't until about 1984 -1985 that DART's local launch activity in San Diego really got going. The earliest group in SD included Jeff Brewer, Don Brent, Ken Harkema, and Todd White, and we pretty quickly found John Salgado and Bob Prinzivalli (who was a true Old Rocketeer), and David Lucas a little later.
The late 1980's added a new option for local rocketeers with the formation of Tripoli San Diego a.k.a. Ocotillo Test Range. Local members of Tripoli Rocketry Association wanted to launch larger motors than those limited by D.A.R.T. A launch site in Ocotillo was secured and D.A.R.T. members now had a location where they could fly high power rockets and attempt their Certifications.
The two clubs have worked closely since then promoting rocketry in the San Diego area. Both clubs are non-profit organizations comprised of individuals and their families from all walks of life. Club members are committed to community involvement as well as instructing groups in the sport of Rocketry.
Check out Dart on Channel 4 -