Launch Report, Bayboro, February 27-28, 2016

North Carolina is currently experiencing an early spring, and we benefitted from this fine weather last weekend for our regular February launch at Bayboro. All the regulars agree that Saturday was the best day ever at the Bayboro site, with more people, more rockets and more action than ever before. High power is alive and well in Eastern North Carolina. Let’s have a look at the motor use summary, and then get down to cases.

Motor Sat Sun Both
B 1   1
C   3 3
D 1   1
E 4 4 8
F 9 2 11
G 8 2 10
H 7 3 10
I 3 6 9
J 6 1 7
K 4 3 7
L 1   1
M 2   2
N     0
O 1   1
Total 47 24 71

 

The Certification flights are always the big news, and we had 2 major successes this weekend. Carlos Zapata drove down from the foothills of Virginia, up around Blacksburg, to make his Tripoli L3 certification flight with a beautifully finished Mad Cow kit called the AGM 33 Pike. Carlos used the CTI M1830 for this flight and every detail was perfect!

Joe Hill was back for another TRA L2 attempt, this time with his Primus 4” Frenzy powered by an Aerotech J315R. Joe made his entry into altimeter controlled flights, and this one was right on the money. Congratulations to both Carlos and Joe!

It is always a personal delight for me to meet old friends at a rocket launch, and this weekend was full of reunions. Carlos Zapata brought his other TAP member with him this weekend – Bob Schoner! Bob used to be a regular visitor to Whitakers, but I hadn’t seen him for a long time. I would swear that Bob flew something at Bayboro, but I can’t find the card in the stack. We also welcomed back Warren English, who hadn’t been to Bayboro in at least 2 years, after getting his L3 cert back a few years. Warren was back with his family and made several flights with his Formula 54 and with the Dark Star 3. Greg Henderson, from Kinston, was back after a layoff of almost 3 years, and I’ll mention his flights with the Sunday summary. It was a great pleasure to see all of these guys again, surely the high points of the weekend for me!

There were at least 3 academic teams on site Saturday trying to get flight information and making qualifying flights for national competitions. There was a TARC team, led by Samantha Armistead, checking out their new rocket, called Orion, which flew on an Aerotech F39. The goal this year is 2 eggs, a specific altitude, and a specific flight duration. This particular flight failed to put out a parachute, and will need a little repair before it flies again. The Durham Area Rocket Team (DART), coached by Dave Morey, has been making a big impression in national competitions in the past few years, and this year’s effort promises to extend that success. They have been working on a gyroscopic roll-control mechanism and this year includes a heavier flywheel for greater torque production. Their rocket, the Millenial Falcon, flew on a Kosdon/AT K1000 for a successful flight that gathered a lot of good data.

The NC State High Power Rocketry Club brought out their full-scale rocket for its first check-out flight, and they have to be very happy. The Penumbra flew on an Aerotech L1150R, deployed the airbrakes for altitude control, put out the parachutes at exactly the right time, and landed without a scratch. Nice work team!

Frank Schneider brought back his supersized AGM33 Pike and flew it on another O3400. This time Frank kept the nose cone connected with a shock cord, and waited until the wind was pushing everything away from the trees, and his results were MUCH better than last time. All the parts came home after a short trip into the countryside.

C.J. Lucas brought back his extremely stout Eagle Claw 4 and was looking for some K motor power to give it a big ride. Jim Livingston was able to help out with a homemade 54mm white-smoke motor. The collaborative effort worked perfectly.

There was a new gadget on-site Saturday that provoked a lot of interest. A company called Jolly Logic has made a servo-operated device that simply releases a pin holding a rubber band at a specific altitude above the ground. This is perfect device for arranging two-stage recovery of short, fat rockets in which it is very difficult to fabricate two different compartments for the drogue and main parachutes and pop them open at different times. You simply wrap your main parachute in the rubber band connected to the Jolly Logic parachute release device, pop the nose cone off at apogee with motor ejection or with an altimeter, and the device waits until the programmed altitude and then just releases the pin, allowing the chute to open and bring everything down under the main. Steve Polk, Charles Long, and Dan Fritsch were flying this device all weekend, and were having a very high rate of success. I only recall one instance when the main failed to open. Dan Fritsch allowed me to fly my new rocket, the Confusing Fall Warbler II using his Jolly Logic, and it performed perfectly. The CFW II flew to about 3000 feet on a homemade 5-grain 54mm K motor, popped the nose cone, and drifted down to 600 feet where the main unwrapped and deployed exactly as planned. It’s a very neat little device, and when we see the price come down some, a LOT more people will be using them.

Jim Livingston brought out on old rocket he inherited from Larry Zupnic, called LZ889, that he modified and loaded up with a 3-inch M motor made from the extremely fast-burning Jim Scarpine Tribute Blue (JSTB). The 23-lb. rocket left extremely fast, pulling about 40g at max thrust, and coasted up to someplace around 10 to 12,000 feet. It drifted down a long way away, and darkness was coming on, so Jim left it in the field overnight. The tracker was still transmitting Sunday, so Jim and Chuck Hall were able to find it fairly easily in the morning.

Sunday morning was chilly, but the air warmed up quickly as more people began to arrive. We are beginning to see families who first attended our launches at Butner, make the trip to Bayboro to see what High Power is all about. Mitchell and John Amoroso visited Bayboro to fly a few rockets in the C range.

Greg Henderson was busy with a variety of rockets in the E motor range, and I have cards for the Ascender, the V-2, and a beautifully finished Aerotech Mustang. Ryan Chavis brought his entourage down from Durham, and had 3 successful flights with The Watney II, as a single-stage on an E9, and two fine 2-stage flights on a pair of E12s.

Charles Long and Dan Fritsch were both back on Sunday making a large number of flights of all sizes. Charles Long made three flights of his Art Applewhite pyramid on G and H motors. Kurt Hesse seems to have made the transition over to EX with great success. He flew the Shiny Diner on a 4-grain 38mm I motor made from Black Velvet, and used the same recipe on a 5-grain 54mm K motor in his Performer 98. In another experimental effort, Jim Livingston brewed up his first attempt at a sparky motor and placed it in another new rocket called Silver Bullitt, (homage to the great Steve McQueen movie, maybe). This flight was a lot more horizontal than vertical, and there was some damage upon landing.

Ray Bryant made 2 Sunday flights, his Super Onyx on an Aerotech K456 Dark Matter, and the Short Red on the AT J340.

It was a great weekend for rocketry activities and everybody seemed to have a good time. At one point on Saturday I counted 65 cars and trucks parked along New Ditch Road. Tripoli East NC is back in business.

Alan Whitmore, Prefect
Tripoli East NC

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