A weekend of really good weather in the North Carolina winter is guaranteed to bring out a lot of enthusiasts, and last weekend was a really good example.?? The eastern part of the state is experiencing an unusually warm winter, and this weekend felt like April!? Saturday was way too hot for anything but a T-shirt (but windy) and a cold front moved through overnight, but Sunday way very calm for Bayboro.? Clear blue skies both days ? the weather was perfect, and because of this, the attendance exceeded anything we have ever seen before at this field.? At one point on Saturday I counted 36 cars and trucks on site.? Another interesting facet of this weekend?s gathering was that is was almost exclusively a ?high-power? weekend.? A look at the motor use summary will show what I mean.
Any launch where the total number of J motors exceeds the total of all C, D, E, and F motors flown, is, by definition, a high-power launch.? I?ll run through the highlights of Saturday and then move on to Sunday.
Dan Fritsch brought out a new rocket, a 3? scratch-built device painted in the sky-blue and white of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Dan?s home town), which he had named Starheel.? The undergraduates from NC State University in Raleigh were very impressed with the grace of the rocket and the beauty of the paint job, but tried very hard not to show it.
Allan Rose recovered from a nasty crash in December and recertified level 1 (TRA) with his I-Roc powered by an Aerotech I366R.? Greg Twiss also earned the NAR level 1 certification because his rocket that was flown in December and never found, was returned to the club in perfect shape in January.? We have some very good neighbors at the field in Pamlico County, if you get a chance to meet them, be sure to say thanks for helping us out with rocket recovery.
Matt Fletcher was also very intent on certification this weekend.? He passed the TRA written exam, and then flew a skinny? carbon fiber kit called Binary Sushi on a K700 for a successful cert flight.? The main parachute came out at apogee, and Matt had a very long walk to bring that one back, but it was in fine shape when it came home.
While we?re on the subject of certification flights, let?s introduce Saturday?s main event:? Joe Hill brought out a new rocket and successfully certified Level 3 with the TRA organization.? This was a big event for me (I?ve known Joe since he was about 8 or 9), it was a very big event for his Dad, Dennis Hill, and it was clearly a huge event for Joe, who almost needed auxilliary oxygen at several points during the day!!??? When the deal finally went down (recorded by a professional video photographer, no less),? Joe?s rocket, called Short Spoon, equipped with an Aerotech M1780NT, flew and recovered perfectly, and there was not a single person on the field who was surprised.
The NCSU high Power Rocketry Club finished up the construction of their full-scale model, called Vesuvius, and flew it on the Aerotech L2200G.? The engineering goal this year is to build a payload section that visually scans the ground and tracks the position of a contrasting patch of ground cover.? After a few little problems and false starts, they got the rocket launched perfectly.? The problems started on the way down, when an eye-bolt backed out and the fin section came down ?without benefit of parachute?.? This problem meant that some other portion of the structure was hanging from a parachute that was A LOT larger than it needed, especially in 20 MPH winds gusting up to about 30 MPH.? We watched helplessly as this parachute got blown all the way to the tree line 2.4 miles to the Northeast.? With the help of the farmer who works the section of land on that section of the field, all of that section came home safe and sound, but a little beat up.? The team will have time to get this little problem fixed and make a qualifying flight before we go to Huntsville.
As the sun was going down on a fantastic day of rocket flying, Charlie Ogino launched a small carbon fiber rocket from Carolina Composite Rocketry called MECO on a K935 motor (which I can?t find in my listings, so it may be an EX motor).?? This little bullet flew to the 13,000 to 14,000 range and was finally recovered ?way over yonder?.
Sunday was a little chilly, if you had become accustomed to the Havana-style February we have been enjoying, but still about 30 degrees warmer than the usual February launch.? The important factor was that the wind had died down to almost nothing.? The big guns came out early.? Jim Livingston and Alan Whitmore both had 115mm homemade M motors ?in the box?, and got them on the pads before the local church services were finished.? Livingston?s rebuilt Viper flew to about 3600 feet and Whitmore?s Spork II made it up to about 9300 feet, and both were recovered perfectly.
Robbie Kirk was busy all day, flying a pile of rockets on motors in the E through H range.? Robbie was working a lot with the Jolly Logic parachute deployment device, learning the details of how It operates and impressing everybody with its simplicity and effectiveness.
Charlie Ogino attempted an airstart arrangement in his Little John, with a central K700 staging to 2 H123W?s.? The H?s did not light up, but everything deployed the chutes and came home safe.
CJ Lucas absolutely aced the difficult NAR level 2 written exam, and then had some trouble with the Jolly Logic device that prevented his full L2 certification.? CJ will be back in March to finish off that job.? Kurt Hesse flew his Performer 98 on a homemade 3 grain 76mm L motor that performed flawlessly.
Sunday is usually the day that your prefect can relax and prep rockets and just fly, after a busy Saturday, but this Sunday was a little bit different – I was busier than a conflict-of-interest investigator in the the Trump White House.? Ken Allen brought his trailer back to sell some motor supplies, and regulars like Mike Nay, Charles Long, Joe Hill, Chuck Hall, Eddie Haith were very active all day.
It was a great weekend, with lots of memorable flights and lots of time hanging out with good friends.? ??A weekend that will stick in my memory.
The NC State High Power Rocketry Club returned to Bayboro for a special one-off launch on Sunday, March 19, and completed a successful qualifying flight.? Congratulations!!! ?And on to Huntsville.
Prefect, Tripoli East NC