Joe Hill is leaving us! Election for new Prefect.

From Joe Hill:

Good evening everyone.

I wanted to let you all know that I have accepted a job as a propellant manufacturer with Aerotech. I will be moving to Cedar City, Utah sometime in early-mid September. This is a huge deal for me, as it’s been a lifelong dream to have a job in anything rocketry related, specifically propulsion. 

With that said, it’s now time to try and find a replacement for me as prefect. The first three people that come to mind are Kurt Hesse, Mike Nay and Brent Bierstedt. These three gentlemen attend launches with regularity and I would trust all of them with the job, as I’m sure everyone else in the club would. If anyone else who is qualified is interested, please let me know. This is something we should attend to sooner rather than later. 

It’s been nothing short of an absolute pleasure being able to serve you all as prefect, sharing the enthusiasm for the hobby, whether it was at a launch, talking on the phone, mentoring, etc. The comradery in HPR is like nothing else, and I will never take it for granted.

Very respectfully,

Joe Hill

Please join me in wishing Joe good luck in his dream job!

Dennis Hill, the Prefecture Secretary will hold an election for a new Prefect. If you are a Tripoli member you may nominate someone by sending an email to The period for additional nominations and seconds will be open until EOD (12pm) Saturday, August 5, 2023. At that time, Dennis will initiate the election process on the ncrockets mailing list.

Dave Morey

Results of the election from Dennis Hill, our Secretary:

Kurt Hesse is our new Prefect! Congratulations!

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Launch Report, Bayboro, March 19, 2023

Once again, Mother Nature dealt us a hand that wasn’t exactly extraordinary for rocketry. Operations were cancelled on Saturday due to rain and overcast skies, but Sunday turned in a wonderful day for flying. The day started out cloudy, breezy and cold, but around noon, the sky opened up and temps rose to a semi-comfortable 55 degrees. Here is the motor table summary for Sunday’s activities. 



We had an exceptional amount of flights in the certification department; six successful Level 1s, and one successful Level 2. I usually talk in some depth about each flight, but that would result in a lengthy paragraph, so I’m just going to list the stats below.

Successful Level 1 Certifications;

  • Christopher Luzzi, Just in Time, Aerotech H-242T
  • Kennedy Anderson, Purple Pointer, Aerotech I-140W
  • Gabriel Valenzano, Splatterbug, Aerotech I-140W
  • Thomas Owens, Tech 20, Aerotech I-140W
  • Lorenzo Botter (all the way from Italy!!), Loc IV, Aerotech I-140W
  • Jonathan Grose, Hi-Tech 45, CTI H-125C

Successful Level 2 Certification;

  • Parker Rhyne, Ugly Dragon, Aerotech K-535W

Congratulations are in store for everyone! Job well done!

Other than the several certification attempts, we had the usual club fliers on site. Jim Livingston started the day off with his Carbon High rocket which took his tried and true White Smoke propellant formula. The designation this time was a L-1100, and took the Carbon High to 4500′ with a nominal recovery. While we’re talking about research motors, Alan Whitmore put up two rockets, both of which came home just fine. The first was his 5 Point 5 on a propellant he calls Alan’s Accidental Achromatic. The motor was a four grain 54mm K and took 5 Point 5 to just under 2000′. The second flight Alan had was in his trusty Astro*Mollusk 7, which took a six grain 38mm I motor filled with Thing propellant. Dave Morey showed up with his 4″ Darkstar rocket, which went up on a classic Aerotech K-550W. While Dave was on site, he oversaw the Jordan High School BOTR team who put up their Taurus rocket on an Aerotech J-500G. Joe Hill brought out his workhorse 4″ rocket that he calls Iron Moon and flew it on a K-550W. Brent Bierstedt had three successful flights – a beautifully done 5.5″ Honest John scale model on a CTI K-670R, a smaller 2.6″ scale model Honest John on an Aerotech G-64W, and a plastic UFO saucer that took an Estes D-12. Our local club member, Robbie Kirk, kept the low-power pads busy with several flights, and Nathan Potvin finished the day out with his Karat rocket which went up on an Aerotech J-500G. 

Our next launch is April 8th and 9th, come join us if you can!

Joe Hill

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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Launch Report, Bayboro, March 4-5, 2023

Mother Nature has not been the kindest as of recent. This launch was a rescheduling of the weekend prior due to rain, and we didn’t get much better weather this weekend either. Saturday yielded ~18mph constant winds, but Sunday was sunny and fairly calm. Here is the motor table summary for this past weekend’s activities. 



IMPORTANT – before I get into the report, I have some bad news unfortunately. One of the farmers has made it crystal clear that he doesn’t want any vehicles on the field, AT ALL. I know we have been allowing tenured club members to drive on the farm roads ever since the big issue we had a couple years ago, but that will not be happening at all for the foreseeable future. EVERYONE will now have to travel by foot to get their rockets back. Please respect this as it’s a zero tolerance rule moving forward. 

As stated before, Saturday was pushing the limits as far as the Tripoli rules allow regarding the winds, and there was a ton of sitting around talking rocketry instead of flying. This report will be relatively short simply because there wasn’t a whole lot of activity! 

We had some hardcore regulars that were willing to make the trek to retrieve their rockets, and they weren’t going to let the wind keep them from flying. Mike Nay was the guinea pig on Saturday with his rocket named Mini Demon, which took a CTI H-255WT. He set the main parachute deployment altitude to 300′ to try and keep it close, but it still drifted quite a ways. Joe Hill decided to put an Aerotech I-211W in his 3″ rocket called Pink Dog, which only took it to 2400′. Joe’s rocket, even with dual deploy, drifted farther than it went up. Lexi Tucker, who is newly level 2 certified, put up the same rocket that she certified with called Oliver White on an Aerotech J-275W. Lexi’s rocket went up almost 5,000ft, but thankfully the weathercocking brought her rocket right back, and Oliver White laid down closer than every other rocket flown on Saturday. Jealous!! The final flight of the day was by NC A&T. They brought out a 12′ long, 5.5″ rocket that weighed in at 60lbs. They decided to shove the very high thrust Aerotech L-2200G in it, which turned in roughly 3500′ of altitude with a nominal recovery. 

Sunday was almost a complete 180 as far as the weather, and we got many more flights in. Jim Livingston started the day off with one of my favorite research propellants – Jim Scarpine Tribute Blue #4b. For those of you who have not witnessed JSTB#4b before, it’s basically a clone of Aerotech’s Blue Thunder propellant. Jim had mixed up a four grain, 76mm configuration which was designated an L-1500. Jim threw this motor in his 5.5″ Carbon High rocket, and it turned in an absolutely text book flight. While we’re on the subject of research flights, Alan Whitmore had two picture perfect flights on Sunday. First up was Alan’s Bertrand Brindley’s Beta which took a 54mm 2 grain JSTB#4C motor. I’m guessing this was about a 800Ns J-600ish, and if I remember, he started this motor at a Kn of about 190 or so. Alan later flew his Extended Irene on a six grain 29mm H motor filled with AlFeO propellant. He really ramped up the Kn in the motor, so it went out of sight pretty quickly. Richard Powers has been consistently joining us for a couple years now, and always keeps the low power pads busy. It’s always great seeing Richard, and am glad he got back into the hobby after so many years of not flying. Joe Hill put up a new 4″ rocket that he calls The Man with Fire on His Face on an Aerotech L-1150R to 11,000ft. 

We had one successful certification this weekend. John Meredith joined us from Greenville with his 3″ Loc Precision ‘Iris’ in an attempt to become Level 2 certified with the TRA. John clearly knows what he’s doing because he had an absolutely beautiful flight. John’s Iris went for a super fast flight on an Aerotech single use J-435WS, and came back home unscathed. Congratulations are in store for John! Great job.

We’ve got a launch coming up this weekend (3/18-3/19), so come join us if you can!

Joe Hill

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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Launch Report, Bayboro, January 21, 2023

The forecast this weekend looked wonderful on Saturday, but the complete opposite on Sunday – so much so that we cancelled activities. Saturday dawned chilly, but with almost no winds. It didn’t get above 48 degrees or so, but thankfully there wasn’t much of a breeze. We had a spectacular turn out, and had more flights in one day than we’ve had on most weekends at Bayboro. Here is the motor table summary.



I’m extremely pleased with the amount of certifications that we’ve had this season, and we had two more successful certification flights on Saturday! Lexi Tucker has really taken to the hobby, and got her Level 1 certification with Tripoli last month. After acing her written exam, she brought out the same rocket as last month, one that she calls Oliver White and went for her Level 2 certification! Lexi chose the wickedly fast Aerotech J-500 Mojave Green for power, using dual deployment as a means of recovery. Lexi’s got it all figured out, and is now successfully Level 2 certified. Up next was Frances McBride who was in search of her Level 1 certification. She built a 4″ diameter Madcow Torrent that she calls Huevo and painted it accordingly. I personally enjoyed the cracked egg style paint job on the nose cone. Frances stuffed an Aerotech H-242T in her rocket which sent it off rather quickly. The parachute deployed right at apogee and Frances left Bayboro with a Level 1 certification with Tripoli. Congratulations are in order for both Lexi and Frances!! 

We had a good amount of propellant show up in the research department on Saturday, and it was really nice seeing all the different formulas burn. First up was Jim Livingston with his Carbon High rocket. This time with a four grain 76mm filled with Orange Sunset propellant. The designation of this motor was about an L-600, so Carbon High went for a nice, long trip. Jim later flew his LZ rocket on a 38mm, six grain Thing motor, which looked to have a lot of copper in it because it put out a beautifully bright blue flame. He designated it an I-500. Alan Whitmore flew three different rockets, all of which he took back home. The first was his Red Flag of Mortal Peril on a four grain 38mm Thing motor which looked to have a lot of his tried and true Black Velvet propellant, second was his 6″ diameter Red Rudy rocket on a six grain, 76mm AlFeO 5% motor which yielded about a 1:1 rocket length to flame ratio, and third was his Astro Mollusk 7 on a six grain 38mm Thing motor. The last person to fly a research motor was Kurt Hesse with his Butt Ugly rocket which took a four grain, 38mm I motor filled with Everclear propellant. 

We had a few regulars on site on Saturday, all of which put up some really cool flights. Mike Nay flew his two stage rocket Double Shot Avalanche with an Aerotech K-1100T in the booster staging to a CTI K-650S in the sustainer. Mike’s two stage flights are always impressive, and this one didn’t let anyone down. Mike later flew his 2.6″ diameter rocket Blue Iguana on an Aerotech K-270W long burn to just shy of 13,000ft. He clocked in over 23,000ft of altitude between both of his flights on Saturday!! While on the topic of high altitude flights, Nick Pyrtle brought out a 38mm minimum diameter rocket that he named El Diablo and stuffed a CTI six grain XL J-150P which took it to somewhere around 13,000ft as well. He told me the actual altitude, but I can’t remember what it was at the moment. Meredith Patterson was also in search of some serious altitude with her rocket ECHOECHO took an Aerotech K-695R, and fell in the neighborhood of 10,000ft. Dave Morey has been joining us regularly again, and flew his Starfire rocket on an Aerotech two grain, 75mm K-560W which turned in a nice flight. Ben Lewis had a 4″ diameter Loc Precision Iris rocket with him that he calls You Can Fit a lot of Text on a Rocket This Long. This time he loaded it with an Aerotech K-805G motor which took it to around 6,000ft or so. 

The award for coolest rocket last weekend goes to Mike Pudlo and Abhi Kondagunta. Their project was built out of Mountain Dew Cans, some Blue Tube, plywood fins and a 3D printed nose cone. They called this rocket Bad Dewcisions, put it up on an Aerotech J-435WS and it was basically transported into another dimension. Abhi later told me they achieved a top speed of Mach 0.93. Nathan Potvin got his Level 2 last month and flew the same rocket he certified with on an Aerotech I-600R for a nominal flight. Paul Kraemer made the trip down from Charlotte and flew some REALLY cool rockets. First was his Loc VII on a cluster of three Aerotech K-513FJs, which put out one of the densest clouds of black smoke I have ever seen. Second was his King Viper III on a cluster of three CTI J-150Ps. NCSU was the only university we had join us this weekend, and they flew their rocket Catastrophe on an Aerotech L-1520T. The goal of this flight was to have air-brakes reduce apogee and to gather general telemetry. We had all sorts of low power flights this weekend as you can tell by the flight table, but Richard Powers is the real MVP of black powder flights because he had five successful flights with C and D motors. Joe Hill launched the last rocket of the day, which was a new 3″-3″ two stage which took an Aerotech J-825R in the booster and an Aerotech J-350W in the sustainer. 

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing everyone this past weekend. Even though we only got one day of flying in, everyone seemed to have a great time.

Our next launch is the weekend of 2/25. Join us if you can!

Joe Hill

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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