Winter weather in coastal North Carolina is always the biggest variable we have to deal with in our hobby. This month the forecast for the weekend of January 21-22 was about as bad as we have seen it except for the weekend of Hurricane Matthew back in the fall. Sixty percent chance of rain on Saturday and 100 percent chance on Sunday. Hopeless, right? The only thing I have learned beyond any doubt in the last 10 years of running a launch at Bayboro is to take the weather forecast, add the word “maybe”, and get in the truck and go anyway. I left Chapel Hill at 6:00 AM on Saturday in a fog so thick that I could not see the end of the driveway. The roads and fields were filled with mist and murky fog all the way to New Bern. The sky began to lighten up as I crossed the river, and by the time I got the trailer to the field, visibility was beginning to stretch out. The ceiling was still very low, however, and I could not see the top of the temporary tower that has been erected north of the current launch site – which is about 150 feet high. The cloud deck moved up gradually all day long, and by mid-afternoon the ceiling was up to 1500-1800 feet broken to 4000.
Only the hardest of the hard core were there early to help with the set-up, Jim Livingston and Chuck Hall, but by about 10:30 people started pouring in and we ended up staying busy all day. Motor use summary?
I am always interested in advertising the new flyers, because they are the future of our club. Elijah Maybee brought a new rocket with him to fill up the lower end of the motor range. Thanks to Natalie Harrell for helping to get him sorted out with parachute packing and motor installation. Sam DeLong was one of the flyers who used to gather at the field at Fentress, and has recently moved to Wilminton, NC. Sam brought a set of gorgeous mid-power rockets, at least 2 of which were scratch-built, and flew them on motors in the G through I range. Beautiful flights and good parachute recovery, but I think one of them is still in the field, the Patriot, which was launched on a CTI I242W.
Mike Collier came to pick up his Safety First, which was found in the corn last month, and stayed to fly a bunch of rockets. The flight that sticks in my mind is the flight of his small V2 on an Estes E9. This is one of the few V2s that I have watched that did not “wag its tail” after motor burnout. Eddie Haith brought a new rocket, the Estes Ascender, and made several flights with the black powder F15 motor.
Our academic teams did extremely well this weekend. The North Carolina School of Science and Math TARC team made four very impressive flights with their rocket Halo on an Aerotech F39T, and gathered a lot of information that will be useful for dialing in their rocket for qualifying flights later this winter. The North Carolina State University High Power Rocketry Club needed to get the fine tuning done on their subscale model to get the several separation stages done right and to get the parachutes to come out at the right time, and this time they nailed it perfectly! Their rocket, named Red Rocket, even though it wasn’t, flew on one of the new Aerotech K1103X motors and performed perfectly.
Joe Hill had 2 flights, the first with his Frenzy Primus on a 6-grain 38mm motor that Jim Livingston made from the extremely fast-burn formula called ‘Jim Scarpine Tribute Blue’, and a later flight with the PeeDee on an Aerotech I600R. The action got thick and fast as the day ended, and I am not sure that that one made it back home, either. By about 3:30 the wind had shifted from out of the east to a more northerly direction, the only really bad wind direction at this field, as it blows the rockets toward the closest tree line, about 0.7 miles away.
I was delighted to see four Aerotech G64W’s flown this weekend, one of my favorite motors. Dan Fritsch fliew one in his Pyramid, Eddie Haith used one for his Big Orange, CJ Lucas flew the DarkStar Lite on another one, and Sam DeLong tried one in his Stinger. I left my only 29/40-120 casing hanging in a tree deep within the malarial black-water swamps at Battleboro in 2007, and I really need to buy another .
The homemade propellant group was represented by Kurt Hesse and Jim Livingston, both of whom flew successfully in their own rockets and supplied others with motors with which to make extremely exciting flights.
Join us at the Museum of Natural Sciences on the weekend of January 28-29 if you can, and, if not, come out to Bayboro February 25-26 for some more high-power adventures.
One of our flyers brought back a rocket that had obviously been lying in the field for a long time, probably more than a year. The plywood fins had rotted away to mush, and green slime was growing on the 4” diameter white-painted body tube. It had an Aerotech 38/600 case in it, which was removed from the rocket and we will make an attempt to clean it and see if it is still usable. The most unusual feature of this rocket is the parachute, which is about 36” to 38” in diameter, black and white, and has the word IRIS embroidered on the white part. This is an extremely unusual parachute, it has little plastic rings sewn around the edge of the canopy and the shroud lines are tied to the rings. The parachute is in good condition, the motor case may be usable, and the nose cone is probably salvageable, but the rest is waterlogged and rotted away. If this is your rocket, drop me an email.
Prefect, Tripoli East NC