Launch Report, Bayboro, November 16-17, 2013

This was one of those weekends that starts off under very uncertain weather forecasts and ends up being one of the finest weekends for any sort of outdoor activity that any of us has ever experienced.? I left Chapel Hill before dawn on Saturday in rain, heavy mists and fog, and ill-tempered gusts of wind.? The weather remained un-promising all the way to Grantsboro:? I crossed the Tar River at little Washington in fog so thick I couldn?t see the river.? I got to the field, we unloaded the trailer and set up the launch equipment and proceeded to prep rockets for the rest of the morning.? Shortly before noon the fog lifted, sun shone down from clear blue skies, and the wind was just non-existent.? Sunday was more of the same, just delightful weather for flying anything, we had several radio-controlled aircraft operators show up and share the airspace with us.? I shall stick in the usual motor-use summary here and then fill in some details:

Size Sat Sun Total
C 2 2
D 4 4
E 6 6
F 4 1 5
G 2 4 6
H 6 2 8
I 6 1 7
J 1 1
K 1 1
L 1 1
N 1 1
33 9 42

Mike Collier and Steve Polk filled up the upper rows in the table with 7 low- and mid-power flights each.? Both Mike and Steve seemed to be ?on their game? Saturday, because I can recall no failures or major wrecks from either of them.

Tommy Harrell flew his Crazed Pink twice, on the first flight the sustainer failed to light, but on the second flight, which staged an Aerotech I566 to? a Cesaroni H140, all of the events occurred on time, and the flights and recoveries of both parts were perfect.

Dave Morey was trying something different with his taped-on keychain camera this weekend.? He flew his Starfire with the camera looking up, so that he could get some video of the main parachute opening and carrying the whole rocket down during recovery phase.? Dave?s wife Liz makes most (or perhaps all) of his parachutes, and she wanted to see some video of the chute in operation.? I would also like to see that video, and it would also be interesting to see what the sky looks like during the boost phase of the launch.

CJ Lucas passed his TMP exam, and flew his Knight Rider on an I125 for a beautiful flight a little later on.? Jim Livingston flew his AMRAAM on a 4-grain 76mm homemade L850, and like a lot of AMRAAM models of all sizes, it coned around a lot during motor burn, but was recovered good shape.? Two NCSU teams of aerospace engineering students working on USLI projects were on hand Saturday to fly their subscale models on a stability test.? Both tests worked fine, although one had a slight wobble right after leaving the rail.

Alan Whitmore flew his big Beelzebob on a homemade 115mm 4-grain N motor, producing somewhere in the region of 12,000 N.s of power.? The flight and recovery were both perfect, and the altimeters reported 7181? and 7355? max altitude.? One of the body tubes was damaged a little on landing, but that will be repaired before I will find the time to make another motor that large!

Dave Morey also air-started 3 of the new Estes F15 black powder motors in a flight of his Sinister 29.? I have been wanting to get a good look at the performance of these motors for a while, and they seemed to work well, although the rocket was a long way away when they lit up, so I don?t have a good feeling for how they sound.

Craig Anfinsen was back after a layoff of several months, but he hasn?t? lost the touch: Six flights and only one malfunctioning G64W marred his perfect performance.

Sunday was just like Saturday: ?dense fog early, lifting by noon, followed by hours of superb flying weather.? Unfortunately, rocket flyers stayed away in droves.? Andrew Billin was there, flying 4 rockets:? his Vostok on an F32, the IQSY Tomahawk on a G57, ?his Honest John on a G126, and finishing up with the Small Endeavor on an H152.? All recoveries were nominal, as I recall.

Chuck Hall was busy coaching the third NCSU team with their stability test, but found time to fly his Hustler on an Aerotech G138T, and a rocket called Brighton on 3 F39s.

Alan Whitmore started the day off with a flight of the Astro*Mollusk 7 on a 38mm homemade 8-grain J motor made from the ?Whitmore Blue? formula, which recorded, according to the Raven altimeter riding on board, 85G on liftoff, during the 0.5 second burn.? The main charge failed to deploy, and a few repairs will need to be made.? He then flew the elusive Red Snake on a 6-grain 38mm I motor to? 5918 feet.? As usual, Red Snake disappeared completely after motor burnout, but was tracked down near the north end of the field using the amazing Walston apparatus.

Alan Whitmore
Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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