The weekend before Thanksgiving can be a very slow time for organized rocket launches, but the great weather on Saturday brought out a fine crowd; I saw 20 cars on the road at one point on Saturday afternoon. There was a TARC team on hand, getting the feel of adjusting a rocket for altitude and duration, there were 2 teams from NCSU (one is a NASA SLI entry), and we had a TRA Level 1 certification attempt. Motor use summary first:
It?s clear that this was a launch for mid- and high-power, and not much low-power activity took place.?? The TARC team of Keenan and Nikolas (no academic affiliation listed) had two excellent flights with their Little Red on the F39 motor, and gathered a lot of good baseline data. NCSU team 2 had an essentially perfect flight on an H123W, and are ready to try dual recovery next month. Team 1 had a fine flight of their subscale model on an I284W, but the pair of Perfectflite Stratologgers failed to bring out either parachute. Fortunately the rocket fell from apogee in a flat spin, so the damage was minimal. The data from one of the altimeters indicated that the flight took place as programmed with both apogee and main charges fired on time, but clearly that didn?t happen. We are still pondering that one.
Dan Fritsch was busy, as usual, and this month he attempted his first two-stage recovery flight controlled by an altimeter. He was using a Mad Cow Tomach, the Stratologger, and a CTI H550.?? The flight was perfect, and everything came home as planned. Dave Morey flew his 2-stage Crayon on an F35 staging to an E12, and the E motor CATO?ed. Dave has a long string of successes with E motors, but lately the little brats are acting up on him. This flight was listed among the G motor flights because the combined installed impulse was in the G range.
Ed Withers made a fine TRA Level 1 certification flight with his Loc IV, which is painted in the classic colors and called Deere John because, what else could he call it? The H123W and all the recovery steps worked great, and the flight was a success!
We had a few visitors from the Southeast corner of Virginia this weekend.?? Randy Regan flew his Pit Bull twice, once on an H230G and another time with the H180W. He also had another fine flight with his Patriot on an I357T. All of Randy?s flights were apparently carrying a GPS-based recovery device. Jeff Goldstein flew his Swamp Vindicator on a homemade K801 white-smoke formula.?? The Swamp Vindicator was also carrying a GPS/telemetry link device. Pat Harden had brought his veteran fiberglass Dominator to fly on some M power and go to altitudes not feasible at Fentriss. This one was loaded with an M3700 for a very fast lift-off, and, unfortunately, this one met with a bad end. Both altimeters failed to make a separation at apogee, and only one fired the main charge, but by that time the Dominator was moving so fast that some form of disaster was inevitable. I understand that a large part of this rocket remains underground, even after several hours of digging.
Mike Collier and Dan Fritsch ended up tied for the ?most rockets flown? distinction, with 6 apiece.?? This accomplishment is a lot harder when most or all of your flights are composite motors, and some flights are 2-stage, as were both of these. Both Mike and Dan flew more than one H motor during the day, so they both were very busy! Craig Anfinsen returned after a bit of a layoff to fly his Mystic on an H110.?? Jim Livingston brought his V2 and flew it on a 54mm homemade K motor with a white-smoke formula that worked fine.
I am particularly gratified to see a lot more people flying the extremely fast burn motors and giving their airframe construction a real test. Dan Fritsch had 2 ?shotgun? flights, one using the Vmax G250 from Cesaroni and the other with the H550 (mentioned above).?? Alan Whitmore flew the Red Snake on a homemade 6-grain 38mm full I that burned in about a half a second, making it something like an I1000. Pat Harden?s M3700 flight was also so fast that it sounded like a slightly elongated explosion.
We stretched Saturday out until the sun was almost on the horizon, and Sunday dawned cloudy and wet. Professors Hall, Livingston and myself met in ?executive session? on the tail-gate of my truck until about 10:30, when the drizzle turned to rain, and we packed up and came home. We are flying again on the weekend of December 20 and 21. Join us if you can!
Prefect, Tripoli East NC