I better get this launch report started before we hold the next launch or I will get things confused. Saturday was extremely busy, with lots of scout troops, TARC teams, BOTR teams and University teams all trying to get information about their projects and making qualifying flights. At least two boy scout troops were on hand working on merit badges. The morning was a non-stop blur of A motor flights, with other scouts using the triangulation method to gauge maximum height. Twenty-three A motors got used up in essentially identical kits. One glance at the motor use summary will let you know just what a madhouse it was at the LCO table.
I’ll hit the high spots by proceeding through the motors in order of increasing motor impulse. Cade Brinkely found a little spool somewhere, and he was flying it on a C6 and a D10. It was a great pleasure to see Tanner Lovelace again, and he was extremely busy on Saturday. I have cards for flights he made using an A8, E9, Cesaroni F120, and an F79. Two Jordan High School TARC teams were hard at work getting data on the Aerotech F67, one group with The Mighty Sven, and the other with a rocket called Nemo, Fish of the Sky. Dave Morey brought out another one of his masterpieces of complexity, called the Cluster 10. This rocket left the pad using six D12’s in two side-pods that fell off and were recovered under their own parachutes, and then air-startedfour4 E9’s. Three of the E9s failed, which is to be expected. The total installed impulse on this very challenging combination was more than 160 N.s, so this flight is classified under the H motors in the motor use summary. Jordan HS also has a team working on the Battle of the Rockets competition this year, and they flew their entry Valkyrie on an Aerotech I284W for a fine flight.
Cluster 10 liftoff and sustainer ignition. Photos by Jim Livingston.
Cluster 10 E9 fireballs from onboard video.
After a long layoff to pursue other hobbies (ask him about lawn-mower pulling, sometime) Lionel Overton, one of Tripoli East NC’s best friends, was back with a beautifully finished Black Brant II which he flew for an L1 Tripoli certification using the AT I285R. A successful flight and on to level 2! Mike Nay is getting very good at staging, and on Saturday he made it work again with a flight of his Double Trouble on a CTI I345 staging to a CTI H163. Charles Long made his last flight with a rocket called The Fire-Breathing Turtle on a Loki J175. The flight card does not contain any details of what actually happened, but Charles reports that it is indeed not reparable.
Tanner Stroup flew his Fast Mess on one of my homemade J motors and the combination worked well for a perfect recovery. Brent Bierstedt also had a taste for some high-impulse propulsion and used the Loki J712 in his larger V2 for another fine flight.
In this paragraph I will get into a group of school groups who are all working toward the NASA Student Launch Initiative contest that will occur in Huntsville, AL on April 3 through 8. The North Carolina School of Science and Math had their as-yet unnamed rocket on hand to fly with the K1000, an Aerotech Blue Thunder motor. High Point University was also there with another K1000 that they flew in their Nervous Energy. The team from UNC-Charlotte brought out Rocket Rick and flew that one on an Aerotech L1500. The High Power Rocketry Club from NC State University made an attempt with their Flat Earth Research Vehicle using an Aerotech L2200G. This rocket wins my “Best Rocket Name of the Month” award! All of our High School and University teams had successful flights, but the NCSU rocket sustained some damage that will require a repair and another qualifying flight.
NCSSM NASA SL rocket first flight, K1000T. Photo by Jim Livingston.
Jim Livingston flew his Carbon High on a 3” L motor made from the ridiculously fast ‘Jim Scarpine Tribute Blue #4b’ propellant. That one topped out at almost 10,000 feet but was recovered fairly close. The only M flight of the weekend was made by Joe Hill with his L3 rocket, Short Spoon, on the Aerotech M1297W. Completely successful, as I recall.
I don’t recall what was wrong with Sunday, maybe the weather got cold or windy or both. There were only four flights attempted on Sunday. Robbie Kirk flew his Terra Cotta in an E23 and his Red and White on a G77. Mike Nay made another 2-stage flight on Sunday, this time with his Double Shot on an AT J460T staging to an AT I357T. This one also worked perfectly and was recovered intact.
Then, I launched the newly rebuilt Generic Four Inch on a homemade 4-grain K motor, and both altimeters failed to fire at apogee and the rocket hit the asphalt road at full speed. I am sure that many of you have had rockets come in ballistic and hit the dirt, but until you hit something hard like pavement, you don’t know how total destruction can be.
Prefect, Tripoli East NC