Launch Report March 26-27, 2011

Saturday was a great example of a point I have been trying to make for several years: The weather forecasts for the far east of North Carolina are not very accurate. Saturday?s forecast was fairly discouraging, promising only a few hours of poor weather followed by drenching rain starting at about noon to 1 PM. In fact, the skies were cloudy, winds were mild, and we could have flown all the way to 6:00 PM without getting wet. The cloud ceiling was around 3000 to 3500 feet all day, so nobody was extremely inhibited about flying, everybody had something in the box that would stay within that range.

Attendance was poor, mainly because most people were scared away by the weather forecast.

Craig Anfinsen had a fine Saturday, making flights with his?D-region Tomahawk?on an H152, his?Endeavor?on a J220, and finishing the day off with another flight of the?Tomahawk?on an I238 or I236 (kind of hard to read). All flights were just about perfect in both the up and down phases.

Mike Collier was back for a very prolific day: His?Delta 5?flew on a D10, then he tried his?Blow-Wind-Blow?on an Econojet F42, and this one CATO?ed just like the last one he flew. Time to send that batch back to the manufacturer! Mike also made perfect flights of his?Moon Cricket?on a B6, the?Lil Grunt?on a D12, and theThunderstrike?on a D21.

Eddie Haith came down from Pittsboro to make 4 flights: The?Crayon?on an H148, his?Modified LOC 4?on an H128W, the?2″ AMRAAM?on a G67R, and finishing things off with a flight of his?Big Red?on a LOKI J712. This flight failed to put out the chute at apogee, with the usual predictable results. The nose cone and fins looked to be in pretty good shape, so we will probably see?Big Red?again.

Tommy Harrell is getting really proficient at 2-stage flights with his?Crazed Pink. On Saturday he had two perfect flights ? the first one with an H238 staging to a G79, and the second with an I236 staging to an H128.

Jim Livingston made several instructive tests with copper thermite igniters that taught us a lot about the practical aspects of lighting and using this very dangerous material.

Dave Morey has made a few mods to his?Cluster 8, notably the moving of the on-board camera up into the nose cone section. This was a fantastic flight, with 4 F39T?s lighting on the ground for a super-fast liftoff, followed by 2 F35Ws lighting up at burnout, followed by 2 E9s at 2.5 seconds. The F35s and the E9s blended together for a nice, long smoky second phases. Almost all parts were recovered intact.

Matt Raymond, from Jacksonville, NC, was on site very eary Saturday to help with setting up the launch equipment. A BIG thank-you to Matt for your assistance!! Matt also had four very successful flights: he started off with a fine flight of the?Pirate One?on a B6, followed by a good flight and recovery of the?Tornado?on a D12, a 2-stage flight with the?Firebird?staging a B6 to a B6, and ending the day up with a very high flight of the?Pirate One?on a C6. As far as I recall, all were recovered safely ? good work Matt!

We got really lucky with the weather conditions on Saturday. Not only did the rain hold off until after dark, but the wind was out of the northeast. This was especially nice because the launch site was surrounded on 3 sides by wheat that has grown up to more than a foot high. But, on Saturday, most of the rockets were being blown out over the only remaining area of bare land.

Sunday was not quite so nice. I got to the field about 10:00 AM and the wind was just ridiculous, it tried to take the door off my truck when I backed up to the trailer. The rain had been very hard during the night, so the ground was very muddy and I had a little trouble getting the truck to turn when I turned the wheel during the hooking up process. It was cold and drizzly and the wind was damp and clammy. I managed to get the trailer off the field and back to Lionel?s and that was that for Sunday. Let us all hope that next weekend, the Spring WELD TRA Research weekend, will have better weather.

Alan Whitmore

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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