Launch Report, Bayboro, November 19-20, 2016

From the editor: Another out-of-order report from Alan, written just recently, long after the actual launch. Note that we will accept submissions from other attendees. Alan’s rocketry work load will increase this year as he is now in charge of Tripoli motor certification. If anyone is interested, speak up.

Immediately after the November launch I flew to Cedar City, Utah for 4 days and came back to a major problem at work that required my attention.  For this reason, I could not sit down and write a launch report until the event was completely out of my mind, all I had were the launch cards.  Therefore, this report is going to be a little sketchy and short on the sort of details I can remember in the 2 or 3 days after a launch.  But I’ll give it a shot, starting with the motor use table.

Size Sat Sun Both
C 5   5
E 4   4
F 2   2
G 7   7
H 4 1 5
I 7   7
J 9   9
K 3   3
M 2   2
Total 43 1 44


As you can see, this was almost exclusively a high-power launch.  What I can recall of the weather was that it was OK as far as temperature went, but it was windy.  Most people, myself included, brought more rockets than they were willing to fly.  One of the reasons may have been that there were still soybeans in some of the neighboring fields.  There were no A, B or D motors flown this weekend, but Allen Harrell, Ed and Sonya Withers, and Eddie Haith all had at least one Estes C6 to fly.

It has been a while since I awarded the Best Rocket Name award, and in November it went to Allen Harrell’s Wiggle Wump which flew at least twice on the Aerotech E15.  Charles Long also had an E motor flight with his X-15 boosted glider on the Aerotech E6-RC.  I recall that it was trimmed a tiny bit nose-heavy but landed safely.

A lot of our regulars were there.  Charlie Moss and Jeff Goldstein came down from Virginia Beach and Charlie flew several rockets on Aerotech F and G motors.  Jeff flew his Red Stick on the Cesaroni K160, a long-burn motor that I had never seen before.  Mike Collier was very active, flying 4 different rockets on motors in the E through H range.  As I mentioned in one of my earlier (=later, chronologically) reports, one of these was lost, lay in the corn for a month, and was recovered in December by someone looking for their own rocket.

Ralph Malone was there also, flying his Quicksilver on an AT H123W, and the Sudden Rush on 2 different AT I motors.  I think Ralph is from the Charlotte area, but that is one of the details that get lost after too much time.  Steve Polk and his wife, from Oriental, NC, were in a nasty car accident back in the late summer, and are only now getting back into flying some rockets.  They flew the 6722 on the Aerotech H250, and it was recovered safely.

Even more regulars showed up and flew some rockets:  Joe Hill, Mike Nay, Charles Long, and Eddie Haith were occupied all day long.  Joe collaborated with his father Dennis to fly Dennis’s 7.5” diameter Honest John on an AT M1297W.  Dennis assembled the motor and the rocket and Joe wired and programmed the altimeters, and the flight was perfect.

Most of the NCSU teams were on-site Saturday getting the year started right.  The HPR team brought out their subscale model called Quicky and flew it on an AT I435T.  Team 2 flew a rocket called Moon on a J350W, and the other team flew another device called Hall’s Hiros on the same motor.  One of those rockets has some serious recovery problem, but I can’t remember which at this point.

The homemade propellant group was represented only by Alan Whitmore, who flew his first red-flame propellant in a 6-grain 38mm I motor configuration in the venerable Astro-Mollusk 7 (not very red, needs some work), and Jim Livingston, who flew the Sea Hawk on a 54mm K500 and his new Stability Challenged on a 76mm M1500.  In fact, it wasn’t.

I think Sunday must have been extremely windy, or maybe the rain moved in or something happened, but there was only one flight card on Sunday:  Joe Hill flew his new Apollo in the Forge of Vulcan on the new Aerotech H550ST single-use motor.  Trivia question:  Apollo was a god in  the Greek pantheon and Vulcan was one of the Roman gods.  Who was the greek god of fire and the forge?  The first person who brings a rocket with that name to a future launch at Bayboro wins a mention in a future launch report.  Hint:  a character in the old western TV series “Gunsmoke” had a shortened version of that name.

My apologies for the brevity and inaccuracies, but this report spent too much time on the back burner.

Alan Whitmore

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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Launch Report, Bayboro, October 22-23 2016

From the editor: This October launch report from Alan got lost in the shuffle and is out of order with previous ones. Sorry for the delay.

The first October launch at Bayboro was rained and blown into oblivion by hurricane Matthew on the weekend of October 8 and 9.  Our friend Terry, who shows up at the launches on his 4-wheeler to assist with rocket recovery, reports that on Saturday that weekend, there were wind gusts up to 75 MPH on the field at Clifton’s farm.  In addition, there was about 9 inches of rain that weekend.  Not especially good “rocket weather”.

But, two weeks later we were back under clear, blue skies with moderate winds.  Allow me to insert the motor use summary, and then we’ll get down to cases.

Motor Sat Sun Total
½ A 1   1
B 4   4
C 1   1
D 1   1
E 1 1 2
F 6   6
G 1   1
H 1 2 3
I 1 4 5
J 1 2 3
K   2 2
L   1 1
M 3 2 5
Total 20 14 34


As always, the certification flights will occupy  front center stage.  Richard Harris has been working on his L3 project for almost a year, and on Saturday he decided to put this one up.  It is a 6” diameter Hyperloc 1600 kit fitted out with an Aerotech M1350.  The flight up and the recovery sequence were perfect, but the rocket landed about 1.9 miles to the South (the wind was steady at 10 knots and gusting up to 20 at that time) and spent the night in the beans.  Rich and Frank Schnieder were back early Sunday, and they found the rocket, in perfect condition, before noon.  It was a pleasure to sign the paperwork on that project.

Phill Ash flew the smallest motor of the weekend, an Estes 1/2A3, in a scratch-built copy of the Big Bertha, scaled down to 1/2A size.  Allen Harrell came with his grampa to fly his Cow-cow on B6-4’s for several flights ( I have 3 flight cards, but I think there were more flights).

There is a recurring problem that I have seen at every launch I have attended lately, all over the southeast US of A:  the problem of getting the smallest Aerotech single-use and reloadable motors to ignite.  Phill Ash had this problem with many attempts to get the D10 to light up, and Trevor Leggette was working in a science project involving the same motor (AT’s F26J) in three different rockets, flown multiple times.  Lots of frustration all around, and some unwarranted aspersions cast on the club’s launch equipment.

Another big moment was the first flight of a homemade motor by Chuck Hall.  Chuck machined the casing, the nozzle and the forward bulkhead, and cast up the propellant in my basement.  The motor was a 4-grain 38mm I motor made from the blue-flame formula called “CP3”, and he used it in his Patriot.  The flight was perfect and the recovery was spot-on.

The High Power Rocketry Team from NC State University needed an early-season project to build up some experience and interest among all the new members of the team, so they decided to dust off a rocket that the 2011 team left in the shop, fix it up with new electronics, new recovery apparatus, and fly it on an M motor.  There were a few hold-ups and problems that were all valuable learning experiences, and the rocket finally flew.  The rocket was a little heavy for an M motor, but it deployed the parachute and was recovered safely.  When you think about it, a safe flight on an M motor for the first team effort is an amazing accomplishment.

Frank Schneider brought out a new all-fiberglass rocket that he wants to use for some extreme altitude flights, and he gave it a shake-down cruise with a CTI M1450.  All the events occurred when they should, but the winds were “brisk”, shall we say, and the rocket landed a long way away.  This one also spent the night among the soybeans, but was also recovered on Sunday morning.

The weather on Sunday was even nicer!  The winds were about half of what they were on Saturday, the sky was crystal clear, and the temperature was warm.  T-shirt weather in late October!

Mike Nay made a successful NAR level 1 cert flight, using his EZI-65 and a CTI H97 I-max motor.

Joe Hill introduced a new rocket, which he calls Pee Dee.  He started things off with an Aerotech I284W and everything worked fine.

Alan Whitmore had two flights on Sunday, both to the mile-high territory.  Bertrand Brinley’s Beta carried a 3-grain 54mm J motor, which burned with no smoke and no flame, which made for some very curious lift-off photos.  Then, the rebuilt Stealth Blue flew on a 2-grain 76mm K motor.  Both rockets put the laundry out at exactly the right time and were recovered easily.    Jim Livingston flew his 7.5” diameter V2 on a 54mm K500 (white smoke) to a perfect apogee main deployment and an easy recovery.  Does anybody know why V-2 models always wag their tails and cone around after burnout, no matter how straight the fins are?

Kurt Hesse had another fine flight of his Performer 98 on a homemade L motor and Chuck Hall flew his Extended Little John II on an Aerotech M1550R.  Both flights were perfect.

One of the last flights of the day took most of the day to set up.  Johnny Hoffman likes to come up from South Carolina to do his higher hybrid flights, and on Sunday he loaded up his Hi Tek Red Nek with the Hypertek M1010.  It took more than 3 minutes to fill it with 5.4 liters of nitrous oxide.  When it finally got fired up and took off, it CATO’d at about 1000 feet up.  I have never seen a hybrid CATO anywhere other than on the pad, so this was unusual.  The APCP motors and the hybrids use very different chemistries and physical arrangements, but when they blow up, they both make a LOT of noise.

Alan Whitmore

Prefect, Tripoli East NC


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Launch Report, Bayboro, December 17-18 2016

The weather forecast for this weekend was not at all promising.  Rain and high winds were a universal feature of all of the forecasts.  However, several University teams involved in either the NASA SLI competition or some other activity had flights that needed making and deadlines to meet, so I called in the NOTAM, loaded the truck, and got up early Saturday and headed to Pamlico county.  Before dawn on Saturday, I-40 was a parade of horrors:  light freezing rain the night before had left most of the overpasses and bridges extremely slippery, and there were wrecks and pile-ups every few miles.  I spent the entire trip tip-toeing around the worst ice patches and questioning my own judgement.  Then, between Raleigh and Smithfield, I ran into an icy fog that extended all the way to New Bern.  The fog dispersed just about the time I drove into Lionel’s back yard to pick up the trailer, and by the time I was ready to unload the trailer, the sun was out and the temperature was warming up.

Attendance was, as you might expect, not robust.  But, the people who came out flew some rockets and had fun and enjoyed the company.    I can dispense with the usual motor use summary and mention every flyer by name and most of their flights.  I shall proceed alphabetically.  On Saturday, Joe Hill brought out a new rocket, called K Rocket and flew it on a J500G, Apollo in the Forge of Vulcan on a H178 Dark Matter, and his PeeDee on a J275W.  This latter flight was one of the last 2 flights of the day, and the sun was just dipping below the trees when it launched.  It was a very high flight, and landed a long way away, and it was almost completely dark when Joe finally appeared out of the gloom, carrying the rocket.

Robbie Kirk was back with some more rockets:  Red and White  flew on a G104 and Starchaser  with an I195.  One of these rockets is still lying out in the corn stalk stubble somewhere, but while Robbie was out in the field, he found Mike Collier’s rocket which was lost back in November.   Jim Livingston waited until fairly late in the day when the wind had died down a little bit to fly his Seahawk on a 54mm EX K motor made from his white smoke formula.  Charles Long had a box of new Loki Research motors to play with and try out the snap-ring configuration.  He flew his Mac Performance Scorpion on an I210, the Blue Toad on an I405, and his Minie Magg  on the I350.  Like most of those who came this weekend, Charles enjoyed several LONG walks in the corn stubble.

Mike Nay also made an appearance to fly his EZI-65 on a J180 for another perfect flight.  Mike was also gone a long time before finally re-appearing with his rocket.

NC State University Senior Design team 2 was back for another attempt at dual deployment of recovery parachutes (after a most unfortunate outcome back in November), flying the White Lightning on an Aerotech I284W.  This flight was a lot better, but the main parachute did not fully deploy, so they still need to refine their approach before the final grade is awarded.  The NC State High Power Rocketry Club, who are entered into this year’s NASA Student Launch Initiative, flew their subscale model, Red Rocket, on a K1103X (a new motor for me!) for a very good flight, but something  happened that prevented both  altimeters from firing the main charges.  Only slight damage there as the rocket was built extremely strong.  Greg Twiss is the faculty adviser for the new Duke University rocketry team, and he was attempting a NAR level 1 cert flight.  The rocket was a beautifully finished Madcow Nike Smoke which was flown on an H230, but the winds carried that one so far that everybody lost sight of it before it landed.  That one is still out there to the ENE in the corn stubble, so be on the lookout for that one in January and February.  If the rocket is recovered “in flyable condition” or in a condition that looks it was flyable before it got rained on, Greg gets certified.

Sunday:  Even warmer than Saturday, and, if possible, even windier!    Jeff Goldstein brought a new rocket, the Black Mambo, and also tried out one of the new clam-shell fall-away rail button mounts.  Everything seemed to work just fine.  Joe Hill came back to make one more flight with the K Rocket, this time with a J315R motor.  Another great flight and another long walk.

Charlie Moss made a number of flights on Sunday and did not let the wind discourage him at all.  His Ventris flew on an F32, the Vulcanite on a G70, and his Forte on a G64W.  I just love that G64, I need to get one of the 29/40-120 cases to replace the one I left hanging in a tree deep in the malarial black-water swamp next to the old, unlamented field at Battleboro, NC.  Mike Nay stayed overnight to fly his Formula 75 on an I345, for another perfect flight.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte SLI team was another academic group who needed to make a subscale flight in December to stay on schedule, and the Midlands activities were cancelled because of rain, so they made the long drive out from Charlotte to check out the flight characteristics of a rocket they called Big Subber on a J315R.  This flight was just about perfect, but a very large main parachute dragged it a long way over the field after landing.

Alan Whitmore got Sunday started with a test of the winds aloft conducted by his Astro*Mollusk 7 on a 6-grain EX 38mm motor made from the ultra-reliable Livingston White formula.  The main parachute got tangled with the aft section shock cord, and the landing was hard, but the damage was slight

Please join us at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh on the weekend of January 29-30 for the annual Astronomy Days Event.

Alan Whitmore, Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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