The last launch of the 2017 season took place under weather conditions that were just about ideal on both Saturday and Sunday. The winds were calm both days, and a lot of people were bringing out big motors and going for some real altitude. Our academic teams were also working hard all day on Saturday, and demonstrated that they were very well-prepared. First the motor use summary:
I shall try to mention every flyer and work my way through the flight cards in an increasing-motor-size order. On Saturday, Alexandra Lowery flew her first-ever rocket on a C6 for a fine flight, once we settled a problem with the low-power launch device. Dennis Hill is working his way through a treasure trove of old kits given to him by David Rushing, and the first today was a Cherokee-D on a D12. Dennis also brought David’s Lil Nuke to fly on an F15, and the Graduator made a flight on the AT G64W. One of these had a hard landing when the shock cord frayed through, a problem with old rockets that have been on the shelf for 15 years.
Chuck Hall flew his Astron Cobra on the usual cluster of three motors, this time it was three C6’s, which add up to an E total impulse, so this one is listed in the “E” row in the motor use summary. Charlie Moss came south from SEVRA-land and enjoyed several good flights. His Executioner flew on an E9, the Partizon on an F42T and using the Jolly Logic Chute Release, and a LOC Forte using the AT G79W, also recovered with the aid of the very cool Jolly Logic device. Charlie’s big flight of the day was his Vulcanite on an H165R red-flame motor. I don’t recall any major incidents with Charlie’s flights. Randy Regan also made the trip down from Southeast Virginia with Charlie, and he was also busy. Randy made two flights with his PML Pit Bull, one with the AT H180W and the other with the H220T.
Jonathan Aman was also filling up the mid-power section of the days flights. His rocket named Blue Tip flew on an F12, the Grey Fin on an F26, and a nice-looking Estes kit called the Mammuth on an F16. Joe Hill flew the Shorter Spoon on an Aerotech H135W, a 29mm single-use motor that I don’t recall ever seeing before. Later, Joe flew the Apollo in the Forge of Vulcan on the very sharp Loki I405W.
Allan Rose flew a beautifully finished Minnie-Magg on an H123W, and an I-ROC on the I211W. Charles Long was very busy on Saturday with four successful flights. The Scorpion flew on an I242, his Red Arrow on the J270, the Fire-Breathing Turtle on the CTI J355 (What else for a Fire-breathing turtle, right?), and finally, he put a J820 in one of Charlie Ogino’s MECO kits, for his big altitude shot of the weekend. This one was way up in the 8000 foot range, and the Eggfinder Tracker did the job of bringing it home. Mike Nay has been prepping for a 2-stage flight for a while, and this weekend it all came together. The Double Trouble was loaded with an I218 in the booster, and a G80 in the sustainer, and everything worked perfectly. I think the nose-cone came loose at apogee, but otherwise everything worked perfectly. It was a thing of beauty. Mike also flew the Yellow Jacket on the new AT K400 Classic.
The team from the NC School of Science and Mathematics flew their NASA Student Launch subscale model on an AT I211W and all of the recovery steps worked perfectly. This team is working toward the competition in Huntsville next April. The NCSU Team 2, who were unable to launch a subscale model in November when the weather nullified our Sunday launch day, were able to get their Celestial Being 001 launched with a J420R motor. This one had 2 altimeters and a recording payload. This was another fine flight where everything worked just as it should. The team from High Point University, led by Padraig Clancy, are looking at the IREC competition in New Mexico in the spring. They had a rocket called Nervous Energy that was loaded with a K560W motor for this flight. This team had another fine flight where everything came out at the right times.
Dennis Hill attempted an extremely ambitious flight with his Far Point. He had it loaded with a central H115DM and six G40W’s located around the center. The goal was to light the six G40’s on the ground, and then air-start the H115 using a Missileworks timer. The G40’s all lit right on schedule, but for some reason the H115 never got ignited. No problem, everything was recovered according to plan. Alan Whitmore flew the Astro*Mollusk 6 to around 8300 feet on a homemade 5-grain 54mm K motor, and then Jim Livingston put the Carbon Hi to the 8900’ region on a very long 3” M motor that hung out the back of the rocket by about 10 inches.
For the first time this autumn, we actually got to come back to the field on Sunday and fly some rockets. The temperature was slightly warmer, and there was a thin, extremely high cloud layer so the sky was grey/white instead of Saturday’s blue, but the wind was in the right direction, so people started flying high again.
Chuck Hall brought out an Apogee 2, which was made from scratch to plans published by Estes. This was a 2-stage affair, B6-0 to B6-6, and the sustainer was way out of sight at apogee. Michael Monteith flew his Warp Core on a G80. Charles Long was back for a second day and flew the Bad Penny on an H112, and the Blue Toad on a J354. Both flights worked well I recall, but the Blue Toad was a long way away when it was finally found.
Kurt Hesse flew the veteran Shiny Diner on a 4 grain 38mm homemade motor made from CP4. Kurt is exploring just how far he can push the Kn on this particular propellant, and this flight, at 240, was extremely fast. Mike Nay tried the two-stage Double Trouble again using the same motor combination, and this one worked well, also. Mike also flew a LOC Pro Max on the long-burn I55 motor. The rocket adopted the characteristic off-vertical flight patch of low-thrust motors, and Mike took a long walk.
Jim Livingston had two good flights using his reliable white-smoke formula; the first involved a 6-grain 38mm I300 in his H-Roc, and then the LZ889 flew on a 5-grain 54mm K570. The LZ889 recovery involved a fairly long walk but it all came home. Alan Whitmore was going for a personal altitude record on Sunday with a flight of his Stealth Blue on a 5-grain 76mm M-something. The altitude record remains unbroken, but this flight did set a recorded speed record with the Raven indicating 1600 feet per second at motor burnout. This particular flight was carrying not only a radio tracker, but Charles Long’s Egg Finder GPS unit. A good thing it was, too. The main chute jiggled out at about 8000’ on the way down, and the rocket ended up on the other side of the block of trees located about 1.2 miles in front of us on the flight line.
We will get 2018 started at Bayboro on the weekend of January 20-21, and don’t forget about Astronomy Days on the weekend of January 27-28. Dave will be looking for volunteers to meet and greet the visitors, display your best-looking rockets, and provide videos, demonstration items for motors, recovery, and on-board electronics and other rocketry related items and literature. Even if you can only spare an hour or two, come by the museum and share your enthusiasm and experience with a lot of very eager children and adults.
Prefect, Tripoli East NC