Launch Report, Bayboro, December 17-18 2016

The weather forecast for this weekend was not at all promising.? Rain and high winds were a universal feature of all of the forecasts.? However, several University teams involved in either the NASA SLI competition or some other activity had flights that needed making and deadlines to meet, so I called in the NOTAM, loaded the truck, and got up early Saturday and headed to Pamlico county.? Before dawn on Saturday, I-40 was a parade of horrors:? light freezing rain the night before had left most of the overpasses and bridges extremely slippery, and there were wrecks and pile-ups every few miles.? I spent the entire trip tip-toeing around the worst ice patches and questioning my own judgement.? Then, between Raleigh and Smithfield, I ran into an icy fog that extended all the way to New Bern.? The fog dispersed just about the time I drove into Lionel?s back yard to pick up the trailer, and by the time I was ready to unload the trailer, the sun was out and the temperature was warming up.

Attendance was, as you might expect, not robust.? But, the people who came out flew some rockets and had fun and enjoyed the company.??? I can dispense with the usual motor use summary and mention every flyer by name and most of their flights. ?I shall proceed alphabetically.? On Saturday, Joe Hill brought out a new rocket, called K Rocket and flew it on a J500G, Apollo in the Forge of Vulcan on a H178 Dark Matter, and his PeeDee on a J275W.? This latter flight was one of the last 2 flights of the day, and the sun was just dipping below the trees when it launched.? It was a very high flight, and landed a long way away, and it was almost completely dark when Joe finally appeared out of the gloom, carrying the rocket.

Robbie Kirk was back with some more rockets:? Red and White? flew on a G104 and Starchaser? with an I195.? One of these rockets is still lying out in the corn stalk stubble somewhere, but while Robbie was out in the field, he found Mike Collier?s rocket which was lost back in November.? ?Jim Livingston waited until fairly late in the day when the wind had died down a little bit to fly his Seahawk on a 54mm EX K motor made from his white smoke formula.? Charles Long had a box of new Loki Research motors to play with and try out the snap-ring configuration.? He flew his Mac Performance Scorpion on an I210, the Blue Toad on an I405, and his Minie Magg? on the I350.? Like most of those who came this weekend, Charles enjoyed several LONG walks in the corn stubble.

Mike Nay also made an appearance to fly his EZI-65 on a J180 for another perfect flight.? Mike was also gone a long time before finally re-appearing with his rocket.

NC State University Senior Design team 2 was back for another attempt at dual deployment of recovery parachutes (after a most unfortunate outcome back in November), flying the White Lightning on an Aerotech I284W.? This flight was a lot better, but the main parachute did not fully deploy, so they still need to refine their approach before the final grade is awarded.? The NC State High Power Rocketry Club, who are entered into this year?s NASA Student Launch Initiative, flew their subscale model, Red Rocket, on a K1103X (a new motor for me!) for a very good flight, but something? happened that prevented both? altimeters from firing the main charges.? Only slight damage there as the rocket was built extremely strong.? Greg Twiss is the faculty adviser for the new Duke University rocketry team, and he was attempting a NAR level 1 cert flight.? The rocket was a beautifully finished Madcow Nike Smoke which was flown on an H230, but the winds carried that one so far that everybody lost sight of it before it landed.? That one is still out there to the ENE in the corn stubble, so be on the lookout for that one in January and February.? If the rocket is recovered ?in flyable condition? or in a condition that looks it was flyable before it got rained on, Greg gets certified.

Sunday:? Even warmer than Saturday, and, if possible, even windier!??? Jeff Goldstein brought a new rocket, the Black Mambo, and also tried out one of the new clam-shell fall-away rail button mounts.? Everything seemed to work just fine.? Joe Hill came back to make one more flight with the K Rocket, this time with a J315R motor.? Another great flight and another long walk.

Charlie Moss made a number of flights on Sunday and did not let the wind discourage him at all.? His Ventris flew on an F32, the Vulcanite on a G70, and his Forte on a G64W.? I just love that G64, I need to get one of the 29/40-120 cases to replace the one I left hanging in a tree deep in the malarial black-water swamp next to the old, unlamented field at Battleboro, NC.? Mike Nay stayed overnight to fly his Formula 75 on an I345, for another perfect flight.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte SLI team was another academic group who needed to make a subscale flight in December to stay on schedule, and the Midlands activities were cancelled because of rain, so they made the long drive out from Charlotte to check out the flight characteristics of a rocket they called Big Subber on a J315R.? This flight was just about perfect, but a very large main parachute dragged it a long way over the field after landing.

Alan Whitmore got Sunday started with a test of the winds aloft conducted by his Astro*Mollusk 7 on a 6-grain EX 38mm motor made from the ultra-reliable Livingston White formula.? The main parachute got tangled with the aft section shock cord, and the landing was hard, but the damage was slight

Please join us at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh on the weekend of January 29-30 for the annual Astronomy Days Event.

Alan Whitmore, Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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