This weekend marked the last launch of the 2017-2018 season at Bayboro and the weather was just perfect! Warm but not too hot, blue skies, and calm winds for most of both days. A real rarity for Pamlico County, NC. Our host was spraying and planting in the field where we usually set up, so we pulled into the field next to the porta-potty and set up there. I’ll put in the Motor Use Summary to give you a general idea of where everybody was going this weekend, and then fill in some details.
It was a good weekend for high power, as you can see, but the low-power pads were not neglected. Davis Wendel is another young flyer who first heard about our group at Astronomy Days, and on Saturday he flew his Big Bertha and Baby Bertha on a few C6’s. He also made a staging attempt that I will describe later. Ralph Malone was also flying low power this weekend, using the A3 and C6 for two of his smaller models.
The Chute-Release device from Jolly Logic is becoming a lot more popular as time passes and more people figure out how to use it. There were eight flights on Saturday alone that used the Jolly Logic to open up the main parachute.
Two-stage rockets were also popular projects on Saturday. Davis Wendel flew his Lodestar on a C6 to a C6, Jimmy Blackley flew the Mongoose on a C11 to a C6, Dave Morey brought back the venerable Upscale Arreaux on an I435T staging to an H45W, and Mike Nay flew the Double Shot on a K535W to a J340. The only problem I remember was that Davis’s Lodestar was underpowered in the booster, and the sustainer lit up in a sort of horizontal direction.
Dave Morey’s Upscale Arreuax. Photo by Jim Livingston.
A lot of our regulars were on hand doing their usual thing and keeping the pads warm. Eddie Haith, Mike Collier, Charlie Moss, Robbie Kirk, Allan Rose, and Dan Fritsch all had some fine flights. Several newcomers to HPR were delighted by Johnny Hoffman’s Pizza Box flown on a pair of G40’s.
I have a great illustration of how I classify rockets with more than one motor installed. Dave Morey brought back his Cluster 10, and flew it by ground-starting 4 x E30T’s and 2 x E28T’s. After a few seconds he lit up 2 x F67W’s and 2 x D21T’s. That adds up to 10 motors, and those total impulse figures add up to one I motor, which is where it is listed in the motor use summary.
South Carolina regular Tom Binford made the trip from Statesboro, GA to check out the field at Bayboro and make a few flights that could not be attempted at Camden. The most exciting by far was a flight of his well-worn Goblin on and Aerotech M750, an extremely long-burning motor. It was a very good stroke of luck that we got that one on the pads early on Saturday, when the winds were almost dead-calm. The Goblin left the pad at a very slow crawl, and just kept accelerating for at least 8 seconds, like a bowling ball falling down a well, an absolutely awe-inspiring flight! Recovery was perfect. Tom also flew his Ultimate on a cluster of 7x F15s, and another rocket called Was Formula 98 on a 30 year old K675. This motor required a taped-on thrust-ring, which failed in a fairly spectacular way, which resulted in the motor going this way and the rest of the rocket going the other way.
Tom Binford and his Goblin. Photo by Eric Noguchi.
Joe Hill brought out a new rocket called Carbon GTR, which was inspired by Jim Livingston’s nose cone and fins, and Alan Whitmore’s signature paint jobs. This one flew quite well on an AT J275W. Joe also had another successful flight of his Voodoo Ranger on the very strange Aerotech I59WN motor. The I59 uses one White Lightning BATES grain to get things moving, and then a longish slug of Warp Nine burning in the end-burn configuration until it burns out. This particular motor has always struck me as an answer to an unasked question, but people do fly them occasionally. In fact, my own flight records show that I flew one back in January of 2010.
The usual crowd of Research motor enthusiasts were ‘in the house’ on Saturday: Kurt Hesse flew the Shiny Diner on a 38mm I motor made from CP4, and Alan Whitmore flew his Red Flag of Mortal Peril on an almost identical 4-grain 38mm I motor made from CP3. Jim Livingston flew his H-Roc on a 6-grain 38mm I motor using his white-smoke, yellow flame formula. The H-Roc spit the nozzle out for some unknown reason, but no damage to the airframe.
Brent Bierstedt brought out his big V-2 on Saturday and attempted an M motor flight, but something went wrong with one of the altimeters and the nose cone popped off at about the time we were starting the countdown. Brent put that one back in the truck and brought out a slightly smaller V-2 (Brent has a LOT of V-2’s!) and flew it on a Loki J712 for a fine flight. Charles Long flew his MECO [insert shameless plug for Carolina Composites here] on another very loud Loki J motor, the J820. Mike Nay was also in a “J” kind of mood, and flew his Yellow Jacket on the CTI J760.
The only L motor in the stack of cards was Jim Livingston’s new rocket, called the Load-Lifter which flew on a 76mm homemade L1400 made from the old reliable White Smoke formula. A perfect flight and a perfect recovery.
In addition to Tom Binford’s M750 flight, there were three more M motor flights on Saturday. Frank Schneider flew a new rocket called the 5 Minute Express on an M2245, Chuck Hall put his Extended Little John II up on the Aerotech M1550R, and Brent Bierstedt flew his Patriot on an M2250 (maybe the same one that was installed in the V-2 earlier). All flights were perfect, but Chuck gave us a little worry as we watched it land about 50 feet from the tree-line to the north.
Sunday started out cloudy but the skies quickly cleared. The winds were out of the north, but the clouds and the upper-level winds were moving towards the northeast, so the rockets were coming down all over the place, depending on the altitude of the flights.
The one common theme for the Sunday launch was the occurrence of very strange malfunctions, things that nobody had ever seen before and for which we had no explanation. I’ll mention them when we come to them.
Jimmy Blackley flew his Espire on an Aerotech F26T, and I think that one may have been lost. Charlie Moss was back for a second day, and made five flights on Sunday. CJ Lucas was also busy, flying the Darkstar Lite with an AT G138T, his Phoenix with an I245, and the Nike Smoke on an AT I161W. I think this last one came in ballistic, for essentially complete destruction. Dan Fritsch made 3 flights on Sunday.
The first weird incident actually happened all day long. Thomas Cox tried all day to fly his Norad Pro Max on the Aerotech H268R motor. He put 2 or 3 of his own ignitors in it, and nothing would light it up, then other flyers started offering their own special ignitors for difficult motors, and everybody failed miserably. After every 2 or 3 ignitors, Thomas would pull down the motor and scrape the propellant at the top end down to bare propellant, and try again. Finally somebody came up with a special M motor ignitor that would burn hotter than the surface of the sun for 5 minutes, and we stuck that in there. The H268R chuffed once, twice, …… and kept chuffing six or eight times until it finally lit up and the Norad Pro Max was finally on its way.
Sam DeLong flew his Patriot and Warthog, both on K motors. The CTI K570 burned through near the top end, causing some damage to Patriot in the recovery phase. Sam’s rockets are all scratch-built, and the finish on them is just perfect. You all need to take some time to check out his rockets up close, they are all works of art!
Lorenzo Shaikewitz flew his rocket called Hope on an AT I211W, and the ‘Payload/Special Flight Information’ blank on the flight card lists a “Landing Control Thing”. Hmmm.. I wonder what that was? Maybe Lorenzo just temporarily forgot the word for ‘parachute’.
Kurt Hesse was trying out a new rocket that doesn’t have a name yet, on a homemade 3-grain 54mm motor made from the mild CP4 propellant. In mid-burn, the casing melted in the middle and disassembled the fin section. The burn-through occurred at a place that did not exactly correspond to the end of any specific grain, so this one gets filed under the ‘hard to explain’ heading.
Mike Nay also had a flight on Sunday that fell into the “twilight zone” of inexplicability. You will recall from a lot of my recent launch reports that Mike has been working hard to perfect the 2-stage flight, with at least 2 different rockets, called Double Trouble and Double Shot. He has been getting very good at the process, and we were all expecting another perfect Mike Nay 2-stager, when just at the moment of separation of sustainer from booster, the whole affair went horribly awry, and the sky was filled with pieces. The inexplicable part of this flight comes not from the lack of data (everybody saw it and all of the parts were recovered) but from an excess of data: So much was going on during the flight and so many broken parts were recovered, that is was impossible to say what actually caused the problem. I feel sure that Mike will bring that one back again in the fall, all fixed up and ready to try again.
Jim Livingston flew an old Larry Zupnic rocket called LZ889 on a homemade K560 that worked perfectly. Senior Design teams 2 and 3 from NC State University were finishing up this year’s project, which involved active roll control. Both flights were flown and recovered perfectly, but I don’t know the results of the roll-control experiments. Team 2 flew a rocket named Golden Badger and team 3 was working with an almost identical rocket called Barbra. Both used the Aerotech L850W. Your correspondent got Sunday going with the first flight of the day, with a homemade L motor in his Stealth Blue, which disappeared somewhere before the 7800’ apogee, and ended up about 1.25 miles to the northeast, over where the farmers were planting and spraying. Because the rocket disappeared at motor burnout, and the ground wind were blowing everything to the south, it took a lot of driving around and working with the Walston receiver to finally find the Stealth Blue. As I got closer to the signal, I also got closer to a prodigious cloud of sea gulls, which were following the tractors around to eat up any seeds that were put down. The sound of the gull cries were almost the same frequency as the chirps from the receiver, so I had to stick the speaker into my ear with one hand, plug my other ear with the other hand, and aim the antenna with my third hand. It was very difficult, but everything came home.
I hope to see all of you back in Bayboro in September. Have a safe summer and join us in Butner if you can.
Prefect, Tripoli East NC