April is usually one of the most active months in our rocketry year, because it contains 2 launch weekends: The historical WELD event held the second weekend of the month, and the regular 2-day launch held on the fourth weekend. It is also the last month in the spring for high-power activities, as we leave the Paul farm to grow crops, and we switch over to low-power events at Butner. I?ll put in the combined motor use summary and then get to some details, day by day.
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Saturday the 9th was predicted to be windy, but I drove to Bayboro anyway, we set up a bare minimum of launch pads, hunkered down behind my truck and waited to see who would show up. Even by Bayboro standards the wind was prodigious! Steve Polk and his wife came by, and he flew a new rocket of his own design, Tanked 2016, on an H128W. There was one broken fin, but this one came back later in the month. Eric Sambuayah brought his whole family to fly a rocket called Atomic Crush on a D12. The winds were at their worst at this time and Eric walked and walked, got some phone directions and walked some more. I was watching him with binoculars during this long search, and he got so far out that he was disappearing over the curvature of the earth as he followed the little yellow parachute farther and farther. By some miracle, the little Atomic Crush came home and flew again the next day.
By mid-afternoon, the winds were picking up dirt and making a little dust-bowl right there on New Ditch Road. We could not see most of the tree lines because of the thickness of dust and grit in the air. Time to give up and go back to the hotel.
Sunday the 10th was A LOT better. Lots of people showed up, including both NCSU Senior Design teams for their last graded flights of the year. ?Team Rocket? flew the Giovanni on an L1150R flight that was successful, and the other group, styling themselves ?Legio Luporum? (headed by Austin Rohlman) flew Eruca mortis on an L1350G. No problems were recorded on the flight cards.
C. J. Lucas was very busy on Sunday, flying Gone in 60 Seconds on an F24, his Daily Driver on a G64W, and then he collaborated with Jim Livingston to fly his Eagle Claw on a 54mm K777. All flights worked just fine, I recall.
Jim Livingston had the most ambitious flight of the weekend, installing a homemade O4400 made from his white-smoke formula, in the Viper, a very large rocket that has been flying since the Whitakers days. It will be a while before we see the next version of the Viper because at about 650 MPH a fin ripped off, the body turned sideways and the entire airframe shredded. Joe Hill flew his new Frenzy on a J460 for a fine flight.
Dan Fritsch was extremely busy on Sunday and burned up a lot of propellant. The cards I have recorded flights with and H97J, H135W, H410, a J350W and a K535W, in five different rockets. Kurt Hesse had two flights with homemade motors: The Shiny Diner flew on a I350, and his Performer 98 on a K800. Alan Whitmore flew his Red Rudy on a 4-grain 76mm L motor made from Ed Rowe?s White Lightning formula, and Bertrand Brinley?s Beta on a 2-gain J motor.
Chuck Hall flew his recently rebuilit Extended Little John on an Aerotech M1315W for a very impressive flight.
The week after the early April Launch, many of us took off for Huntsville, Alabama with college and high school teams to participate in NASA?s Student Launch Initiative.
On the 23rd of April we were back in Bayboro for the last weekend of high-power activities at Bayboro. Mike Collier was very busy all day long and flew the most rockets by far. He flew the Shrike on a C6, the Diamondback-Gold on a D12 (after messing around with one of those hard-to-light White Lightning RMS 24mm loads, and finally giving up on it), his beautifully finished V2 on and E9 (which did not CATO), the Double Diamondback on a G64W, Childs Play on a G80, and Safety First on an H225. I think the Shrike was also flown in a 2-stage configuration with 2 B6?s. Speaking of staging, Ryan Chavis was back with his rocket called The Watney II, which had the fins glued on a little better, and this time it flew without damage. Ryan and his brother Ian flew another rocket called Hermes on an F23, G80, and a G77. Their younger sisters Ashley and Sarina flew a small rocket called Bubble Buddy for most of the day, and I am pretty sure it went home in good shape.
Jim Livingston had two (almost) perfect flights on Saturday: The first was his Carbon High on a homemade L motor made from his white-smoke formula. This flight would have been perfect except that a shock-cord caught one of the fins at just the right angle when the main parachute came out and popped the fin off. Later in the day Jim flew his I-Roc on a 38mm I motor made from the same propellant.
Alan Whitmore was going for personal altitude and speed records with a homemade M2000 in his Stealth Blue. A very loud CATO ended that project about 1.2 seconds into the burn, and the damage was widespread.
Eddie Haith was on hand this weekend, flying a lot of his old favorites. The Big Daddy flew on a D12, Chicken Lips on a G138, and Eddie attempted a flight of his 2-fer on a pair of E9?s, but both of them were from a particularly bad batch, and they both CATO?ed upon ignition. Later on, Eddie flew his Red Rascal on an H128 and Big Red on Aerotech?s J350W. Except for the flight with the treacherous E9?s, everything worked very well.
Steve Polk fixed a fin and shortened a body tube, and his scratch built Tanks II was back for another flight. This flight used the G76G, and performed perfectly. He also flew What Rocket on an H238T and made the first flight of his steam-punk themed Mongo II with another G76G.
I think I can mention every Sunday flyer and list all of the rockets. Jeff Goldstein brought his Swamp Thang down from Virginia and flew it on a K940. Jeff also carried a gift to the club from Skip Cutting, who donated a 40? fiberglass extendible lineman?s pole to help with tree recoveries. Tommy Harrell brought his Twisted, which he flew with an H165R.
Joe Hill made two flights with his new Frenzy. The first was on an Aerotech J825 which was a gift from Jim Scarpine. Later he flew the same rocket with a CTI J330. Johnny Hoffman brought a variety of rockets from South Carolina: Dare to be Square flew on a C6. Johnny then brought out another odd rocket made from a pizza box and flew it on a pair of G80?s. One of the single use motors CATO?ed, but the box made a fine flight anyway. Johnny had two more flights on Sunday, and these were actual rocket-shaped rockets! The unnamed Sunward kit flew as a staged project, a D12 to a D12. His Nike Smoke flew on an F52 but the parachute failed to deploy and the project came in hot and fast.
Tom Keith and family were also in attendance Sunday, and Tom was busy. He flew his Argent on an F26, a Dark Star Mini on an F120, his Leviathan on a G126, Bullet Bill on an H144, and the Optima on an H133. Many of these flights made use of the new Jolly Logic parachute release devise and it worked very well. Jim Livingston gave the I-Roc another flight on Sunday with another 6-grain 38mm I motor. This flight suffered a small failure of the main chute to open completely, and there was a little damage.
Charlie Moss is another Virginia flyer who took advantage of our last day of the season to burn a bunch of motors. Charlie flew the Screech on an F44, the Ascender used an F26, and the Leviathan flew on an F42. His G motor flights included a flight of the Lil ?Diter on a G80, his Argent on a G53, and a lovely old LOC Forte on a G76. Alan Whitmore flew both Astro*Mollusk versions on Sunday, starting the day off with a flight of A*M7 on a 6-grain 38mm I motor made from the spooky-fast Ferric Fudge propellant. The burn was so fast and explosive that the LCO reported that flight as a CATO, but it was just business as usual for Ferric Fudge!! Much later in the afternoon, when the wind had died to almost dead calm, the A*M6 flew on a 5-grain 54mm K motor to 8596? and was recovered only one ditch away.
Many thanks to all of you who did your part to make the 2015-2016 high power season at Bayboro a complete success! Please join us again in September.
Prefect, Tripoli East NC