After the overcast weather earlier in the month, we had a beautiful day for flying rockets on Saturday: mostly sunny, cool and light NW and W winds.
We had a total of twelve flyers and thirty seven flights. The day reminded me of the launches many years ago at Whitakers. Motors ranged from As through Ms with a high percentage of high-power flights. Mixing research and commercial motors seems to be bringing more people out to the launches!
The soybeans to the east of New Ditch Farm Road were being harvested as we were flying. We should be able to return to our normal launch site east of the road at the launch in November.
The largest motors of the day included Jim Livingston?s Carbon High flying on a homemade 9000 newton-second M2200 to about 12000 feet. I lost sight of it even though I was using binoculars. Jim needs to add smoke grains to those motors!
Dr. Chuck Hall from NC State brought his wife to a launch for the first time. I think she enjoyed it. He flew his Extended Little John II on an impressive Aerotech M1297 White Lighting to about 6000 feet.
Dennis Hill flew Tiberius on a flight with a lots of personal firsts. He has finally come around to using rails! One of the firsts was the use of a deployment bag for the chute. He used the ?free bag? method in which the nose cone come down separately after pulling the deployment bag off of the main chute. He was also using an ALTS2 altimeter that I modified for him to change the orientation of the charge connector. It seems the apogee and main charges were reversed so the main chute was deployed at apogee. No problem though as the winds were light and it did not drift very far.
Dennis?s son Joe returned to fly for the first time in a long while. He flew his No Named rocket for the 27th and 28th times on a couple of G motors.
A bunch of cluster flights were flown, mostly successfully.
Mike Collier flew a cluster of four C6-3s in Eruption. Steve Polk flew a rocket named Eight (I see a pattern here, Seven was flown at the last launch) on two D12s. John and Ian Meredith (father and son) flew a rocket called 3-E on what else, three E9s.
I flew the Sinister 29 with a H180W ground start. A partial air-start of one of two G76Gs resulted in some coning. That was followed by two E12s and then two E9s. Peak altitude was 2333 feet.
David Cox and Ray Bryant tried to fly clusters using hard-to-light motors. David had his Magnum with a K185W and two I200W, all ground-started. Ray had Triple Sugar with three 29mm 5-grain sugar motors. Both performed about as expected. Only one I200W lit in David?s rocket and only one sugar motor lit in Ray?s rocket. The flight paths were not ideal and both crashed without any deployments.
Lessons: Use fast-starting motors for clusters, like black powder, Blue Thunder, Mojave Green, or Fast Black Jack. When clustering hard-to-light motors, find an igniter that can get them started quickly. Or ground-start one powerful central motor and light the rest in the air.
One multi-stage flight was flown by Mat Raymond. He flew a three-stage Estes Comanche named Firehawk using two B6-0s and an A8-3.
Two gliders were flown. Mat flew his Shuttle Express which has two foam gliders strapped to the side. One of the gliders flew ok. John and Ian flew an Edmonds Geminee glider. It separates into two gliders at ejection. Unfortunately the gliders were not trimmed correctly and tumbled back to the ground. Hopefully they can figure out the problem and fly again.
Andrew Billin had a couple of nice flights of a Madcow Honest John and a Small Endeavour. It took a while to find the Honest John in the soybeans, but due to having a good line to walk, it only took fifteen minutes or so after the launch was closed down.
I flew an Aerotech K375NW motor for the first time. It has a thrust curve that looks like an Estes motor with a massive scale change. It pushed my Darkstar DD to 6485 feet.
I attached an 808 Keychain camera to the side of the three rockets I flew. Great videos resulted.
We had no one to tow the trailer for Sunday, so the launch was cancelled.
Here is the motor use summary for Saturday: