Butner Launch May 27, 2017 is Cancelled

Dr. Chuck Hall of NCSU reports that the Butner field is still waist high in hay. The wet spring has delayed harvesting. We can’t trample on the food for the herd.

So, the launch this Saturday is cancelled.  We should not have a problem next month.

Dave Morey


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Launch Report, Bayboro, April 22, 2017

This weekend marked the end of the flying season at Bayboro, when the land becomes a working farm again, and we shift our operations to the Butner Beef Cattle Research Facility for the summer.  Because it was the last high-power launch until September, I was expecting a big crowd, and that is exactly what we got.  Motor use summary:

Size No.
C 1
D 3
F 4
G 5
H 5
I 6
J 2
K 4
L 3
M 1
N 1
Total 35


As usual, this is a tally of total number of flights; clusters and staged projects are listed as total installed impulse.  For example, Joe Hill brought out a new project, called FrankenRocket which had a central I161W and in the side-pods, 2 G53FJ motors lit “old-school”, with flash bulbs and thermalite.  The plan was to light the I161 on the pad, and then after the thermalite burned up into the G’s, they would light in the air.  It actually occurred the other way around.  The total installed impulse on this combination is 510.3 N.s, so it is listed among the I’s.

I will attempt to mention every flyer and each flight, alphabetically by name or academic affiliation.  Brent Bierstedt flew his Intimidator 5 on a sparky L1040.  This month we had a complete field of bare earth, so the flight was made without drama.  Cade Brinkley flew his small diameter, still unnamed rocket on a CTI I800 Vmax motor, and it simply disappeared off of the pad in a flash of light and sound.  Mike Collier had 3 successful flights in the low-power range. Stratus 1 flew on a pair of C6’s, the Thunderstrike on a D12, and then Grave Danger on an F24.

Jeff Goldstein had a great flight of his Swamp Thang on a K900 made from his version of the ‘Stinger’ recipe.  Kurt Hesse also brought a homemade motor to fly in the Shiny Diner.  The 38mm I300 made with the CP4 formula worked extremely well.  In addition to the flight of FrankenRocket described above, Joe Hill also flew his Primus Frenzy on an Aerotech J570W which tore the case open at the forward bulkhead, messing up the back end of the rocket.

Thomas Keith was fairly busy with 3 flights on Saturday (because of the unusually high winds, every flight involved a long walk to recover the rockets).  Thomas flew his Formula 38 on a F31, his Optima kit on an H163 [to about 1900 feet], and his Tomach on an H123R to about 1546 feet.  Thomas must have socked away a good cache of Cesaroni motors, because that is basically all he flies, and he’s still got a pile of them.  Robbie Kirk had 2 flights:  The Tan Sam on F15 power with the Jolly Logic cute release device on board, and his Red Checkers on a G7.

C.J. Lucas had two successful flights; his Nike Smoke flew on a Loki I405, and his Eagle Claw 4 made a fine flight on a K850 Everclear motor that he made in my basement, both the casing, nozzle and forward bulkhead, but also the propellant. The records show 2 flights by Charlie Moss.  His Sahara flew on the F44, and his Leviathan flew on a G88.  Both successful, as I recall.  Anybody who could fly and recover four rockets in that kind of wind must have been working their butt off, they were certainly getting their exercise.  Mike Nay was the only flyer to accomplish that on Saturday.  Mike made the F15 to F15 combination work in a 2-stage flight with his Ascender, tried a G80 single-use in his Sahara, and also took advantage of the bare dirt to fly a I280 Metalstorm in his Torrent.  Mike also brought out a fascinating motor that I had never seen before, the Aerotech I49N end burner which uses the amazing Warp-9 propellant and has a listed 7.7 second burn time.  The Torrent just crept off the pad and assumed a 45 degree flight path and then just burned until it was long out of site.

We have two NCSU Senior Design teams who have been working with us this year, and this weekend was “final exams” time for both teams.  This years mission was a ‘cube-sat’ project: 3 cubes about 6” on a side that contained various engineering projects.  They were designed to deploy separately at apogee.  This year the motor of choice was an Aerotech L1390G.  Team 2 brought a rocket called 200 Proof and Team 3’s rocket was called Hall’s Hiros.  One of the payloads got tangled with the main package shock cord and the other one fell free, but in both cases all parts were recovered undamaged, for a very good result.

Tyler Perkins was one of the group of flyers from Southeast Virginia who have coming to Bayboro lately, after the loss of their field in Fentress.  Tyler had 2 good flights – the rocket called Allison flew on a G180 (which I cannot find listed among the certified motors, so I am probably not reading the letters right) and then aced the Tripoli L1 flight with an H195T in The Flash.  It certainly did.  Randy Regan is another SEVRA flyer who comes to East NC to fly and this month he was working with a GPS unit in his Pit Bull which flew on an H268R motor.  Allan Rose had a fine flight with his Minie-Mag on an AT H123W.  A pair of Ryans were on hand flying some small motors.  Makaylu flew her Alpha on a C6, and Steve made a flight of his Honest John with a D12.  Long walks for both, which may have shortened their day at the field a little.

Jim Scarpine was on-site this weekend and flew a rocket called OCF (Our Childrens Future) on a homemade N2961.  A shock cord snapped and a fin got broken, but all the parts came home and it is definitely fixable.  Fred Schaffer is another guy with a stash of CTI motors.  Fred flew his Punisher 3” on a 38mm J381, and then flew his Rogue with a 54mm K635.  Tanner Stroup passed the NAR L2 written exam and then flew his Fast Mess on a CTI K740, which uses the C-star propellant formula.  Everything was present and undamaged when he brought it back!

The last flight of the day, and the last alphabetically, was a project from group of engineering students from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, who are working towards participation in this years IREC competition in New Mexico.  This was a 10 foot long, 6” diameter, 53 lb unpainted rocket that flew on an Aerotech M1850W.  Even though the flight card lists the recovery electronics as “triple redundancy”, the rocket did not deploy a parachute and is probably in the woods near 306, south of Paul Farm Road.  One of our neighbors may bring us a report of that one, or you might see it if you are walking through the woods for some reason.

I’ll see some of you in Butner, and we will gather at Bayboro again in September.

Alan Whitmore

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

Postscript from May 6, 2017 – Heartfelt thanks to Tommy Harrell, who helped me repair the club trailer, clean the launch rods and rails, and load up the equipment that needs fixing, during a session in Lionel’s back yard today.

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Launch Report, Bayboro, March 25-26, 2017

Weather Saturday:  warm, sunny, winds out of the southwest and “brisk”.  Well, maybe a little more than brisk, maybe a little like “fierce”.  Close the tops of your tool boxes or they will blow off the table kind of windy.  But this is Bayboro, right?  Wind is the sea we swim in.  How ‘bout a motor use summary?

Size Sat Sun Both
C 1 1
D 1 1
E 1 1
F 4 1 5
G 5 2 7
H 6 6
I 4 1 5
J 5 5
K 2 1 3
L 4 4
M 1 1
N 1 1
All 33 7 40


I am going to bring the certification flights and the “preparation for certification” flights right up front, and then pick and choose among the other flights in increasing order of motor size and point out a few things that interested me.

CJ Lucas equipped his 4” Nike Smoke with a standard altimeter and two-stage recovery arrangement and powered it with the Aerotech J500G, and the flight was simply perfect, earning him the NAR level 2 certification.   Cade Brinkley has built an L3 project, which is almost finished (only needs a paint job) and he is one of the few people to take my advice about flying your L3 rocket on an L motor before you attempt the big deal, to see “how the parts work”.  On Saturday, Cade flew his rocket on a 3-grain homemade L motor to about 1800 feet altitude, and we all got to see how the deployment charges worked and how the parachutes came out, and how the parts lined up under the main ‘chute and a pile of other useful information.  The flight was perfect, and we all look forward to seeing Cade go for the L3.

Eddie Haith was back again working with a lot of motors in the lower range of the power spectrum.  Eddie was having some problems with Estes F15 motors that were delivering A LOT less power than advertized.  His 2-stage Estes Ascender just barely cleared the launch rod with the first stage, lay down flat on the dirt, and then fired up the second stage, creating the classic ‘land shark’.

Dan Fritsch made two flights with his Starheel on the Aerotech H100W DMS motor.  One of them fired the ejection charge before the motor quit burning, and the other worked perfectly.  I wonder what the difference was.  Allan Rose has a new rocket called Big Cletus which he flew on an Aerotech I284W.  I wonder if Allan is a reader of James Lee Burke?

Our various academic teams had a fine weekend.  The Jordan High School TARC team had two flights of their rocket on the F39 motor, and got some valuable altitude/flight duration data.  Jordan H.S. also has a team entered in the Battle of the Rockets (BOTR) which will be fought at a site in Maryland this spring.    Their rocket, called Green, was flown on an Aerotech J500G, and the flight looked perfect to me.  NC State had 2 Senior Design teams in attendance, flying rockets designed to carry and deploy a “cube-sat” package that was intended to deploy under its own parachute.  Both teams were using the AT L850W.  The first team to fly, Hall’s Heros, and the second team, 200 Proof, had flights that worked extremely well, with a few small problems.  The phrase is “teachable moments”.

Jimmy Blackley showed up late in the day to fly a rocket on the sparky J396, on some freshly plowed bare earth.  Charles Long had the only two K motor flight on Saturday.  He flew his Mud Puppy on a Lokl K960 and followed that with a flight of the Fire Breathing Turtle on a CTI K360.

Kurt Hesse is getting into the homemade propellant thing and building up a big data base of performance figures for the blue-flame propellant called CP4 (4% aluminum, black copper oxide).  He flew the Shiny Diner on a 4-grain 38mm, and his Performer 98 on a 3-grain 76mm motor.  Jim Livingston had an exemplary flight on his venerable Viper on a 4-grain 115mm N2711 motor made from his white-smoke formula.

Sunday was a LOT less windy and the wind direction was a lot better than the forecast predicted, Sunday was an almost perfect rocket day.   Just not very many people.   I can list all the flights:  Charles Long made 2 flights, the first on his Delta IV using a CTI G131, and the second in his new rocket – Bad Penny – on a Loki G70.  Both flights worked very well I recall.  Gordon Cameron came down from Elizabeth City to fly his Star Orbiter twice, once on an E16 and then on an F16.  Gordon was using the Jolly Logic chute release device, and it failed to open up on the second flight, resulting in a slightly crumpled rocket.

Sunday was a day for very strange, unexpected recovery system failures.  Jim Livingston flew his 6” diameter Seahawk on a homemade K500 and although both 4 gram ejection charges fired, the shear pins did not shear.  Some fin damage.  Chuck Hall flew his 4” Patriot on a 38mm homemade I motor, using the rare Entacore altimeter that had been performing flawlessly for him for more than a year.  For some unknown reason, the altimeter failed to fire either charge, with predictable results.

Alan Whitmore flew his Red Rudy on a homemade 76mm M motor to about 7100 feet, to a safe recovery.  As a footnote, this was the 40th flight for Red Rudy, and it has never flown on a commercially manufactured motor.

For those of you traveling to LDRS in Maryland this year, travel safe and have a good time!  I hope to see you all at Bayboro on the weekend of April 22-23 for the last launch of the High Power season.

Alan Whitmore

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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