Launch Report, Bayboro, November 21, 2015

Launch Report, November 21, 2015

This was the finest day for rocketry that we have experienced in a LONG time. The weather was warm and sunny, the mosquitoes were gone, the winds were calm to non-existent, and the sky was a kind of crystal-clear blue that was absolutely perfect for following rockets to great altitude and all the way back down. I don?t know when I have ever had so much fun at a rocket launch. A lot of other people were glad they came: at one point I counted 28 cars parked along the road. It looks like the long dry spell for rocketry activities in East NC that started with the loss of the Whitakers field is finally beginning to turn around: Every month when we have good weather I see more and more people coming out to fly, and more new people coming out to fly with us.

Lets have a look at the motor use summary and then get down to some specifics.

1/4A 1
1/2A 2
B 1
C 2
D 1
E 3
F 10
G 10
H 7
I 8
J 4
L 1
O 1
Unknown 1
Total 52

It is always a pleasure to see new flyers come to Bayboro and fly with us, and this month we had three new folks: Charlie Moss was busy all day long, making 7 flights in the E to G motor range.?? Tommy Harrell brought another member of his extended family, young Charlie Oates, who made 5 flights in the 1/4A to C motor range. Charlie?s little rockets had some of the finest paint jobs I have seen for a while.

We continue to entertain visitors from South Carolina and East Virginia, and the last of this month?s new flyers was Dave McCloy, from Columbia, SC. Dave flew his Wildchild on a Cesaroni F240 (!) which checked out with almost unbelievable acceleration, and then flew his G3 on a Cesaroni J425. Both flights were recovered perfectly, according to the flight cards.

Jeff Goldstein was back this month from SEVRA-land, and had one of the potent AMW Red Rhino L1276?s loaded up in his Swamp Thang. For some reason neither apogee charge fired, so the rocket had a pretty good head of steam built up when it finally put out the main chute and did some damage. The zippers were repairable, and we will see that rocket again.

There were no D motors flown at Bayboro this weekend, and this is usually one of the most popular sizes. You will see one D motor flight listed in the motor use summary, and this is because I list all clusters and staged flights under ?total installed impulse.? Chuck Hall?s nifty little Astron Cobra was loaded with three B6?s, and the total impulse adds up to a D, so that is where this flight was listed.?? At the other extreme was the F motor festival that was going on. In addition to the freaky-fast F240 that Dave McCloy brought, we saw 9 more F motor flights, and 7 of those F motors were new to me. It seems like Gary and Anthony (Aerotech and Cesaroni, respectively) have realized that there is a huge market for composite propellant motors just off the upper range of what is possible with black powder motors, and have rushed to fill the void with a lot of really interesting motors. Good for us!

The big news of the weekend was the flight of Jim Livingston?s Viper on a homemade O4100. This motor was made from the reliable ?Black Velvet? formula and placed in one of Ed Romani?s 7-grain 115mm casings.?? Something around 22,000 N.s put this 138 lb rocket up to the 9,400 foot altitude, and Jim?s system brought everything down safe and undamaged about 2 miles away. We put a sheet of 3/8? plywood under the away cell to avoid digging holes in Clifton?s dirt road, and the plywood was burned through and shredded. Lots and LOTS of power there.

CJ Lucas was back after a few month?s absence, and his brother Theodore was with him, and they were busy in the mid-range section of motor sizes. They flew their Pitbull on an E16, and then made 2 flights with CJ?s Dark Star Lite on the Aerotech G76G motor. The object of these flights was to get familiar with dual deployment, and CJ used the Stratologger altimeter for successful deployment. Nice job, CJ!

Alan Whitmore flew a new rocket patterned from a diagram in Capt. Bertrand Brinley?s book Rocket Manual for Amateurs, published in 1960. The rocket was called the Beta, and this 3? diameter rocket has a 54mm motor mount tube. On Saturday, it flew on a 2-grain 54mm J motor made from Jim Livingston?s White formula, and made it to 4800 feet before a perfect main and apogee recovery.

Kurt Hesse has caught the homemade propellant bug, and performed a perfect static test with a 4-grain 38mm I motor and then followed that up with a 3-grain H motor from the same propellant in his Look Out.?? Kurt then flew his big Performance 98 on an Aerotech J800T, for another perfect flight to 7005 feet, according to the Stratologger.

Steve Polk had in mind to use this weekend for a NAR level 1 certification flight, and he was not disappointed. He flew the 34 on and Aerotech H128W for a very fine flight. Congratulations Steve, and welcome to high-power. Steve then spent most of the rest of the afternoon in a profoundly frustrating attempt to get an Aerotech G76G to light. The flight cards record 4 unsuccessful launch attempts before the nearly-inert Mojave Green could be coaxed into ignition. Once it lit, the rocket called (or to be exact, numbered) 12, made a fine flight.

Two NC State Senior Design teams were on hand this weekend to get some flights in with their sub-scale projects, and the efforts were successful. Team 2 had a rocket named Eruca Spei or something like that (flight card filled out with a very blunt ?Sharpie?) that flew on an Aerotech H148R. This flight lost a nose cone, but was otherwise successful. Team 3 was flying Jessie and James on a motor that they forgot to specify, but I remember that the flight went well. These lessons will be taken back to the lab and incorporated into the full-scale rockets, that we will see in early 2016.

Lots of other people were on hand to enjoy the perfect weather: Joe and Dennis Hill, Dave Morey, Charles Long, Tommy and Natalie Harrell (with the somewhat dented and scratched Calvinator), Mark Yeager, David Cox, Dan Fritsch and Tom Keith. I hope to see you all again, same place, on December 19.

Alan Whitmore,
Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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