Launch Report, Butner, August 24, 2019

Saturday dawned cloudy with a significant probability of rain in the forecast.  But it wasn’t actually raining at that time, so we loaded up and headed to Butner.   Scattered drizzle all the way and some actual rain drops as I turned onto Range Road, but when we finally arrived at the BBCRF, we realized that the day’s main problem was not going to be the weather.   As we crossed the last hill before arriving at Perkins field, we spotted about 200 frisky young Black Angus steers milling around in the space between the last two gates between us and the launch site.   Hmmmmm.   What to do?

Lucky for us Chuck Hall was there, and he drew on his innate knowledge of things agricultural and technical to show us how to shoo cows.  With the help of several of our undergraduate helpers, he kept them herded over around the Northwest corner of their field so that we could open gate one when somebody drove in or out and let the rocket people slip by the bovines into low-power promised land.  We’ll have to buy Chuck supper at a launch soon, to reward him for sacrificing his rocket flying for a morning of cattle wrangling.

Here is a little motor use summary, which provides a good outline for mentioning all of the flyers and participants.

Size No.
1/2A 5
A 4
B 2
C 6
D 9
E 3
F 1
Total 30

 

All five 1/2A motors were flown by Phillip Burnett, who was attending his very first rocket launch.  He was accompanied by his grandfather, Dave Hash, and his uncle, David Hash, who is well known for his knowledge and enthusiasm by all of us who were around during the Whitakers era.  It was a treat to catch up with David and hear about what he has been doing lately.   All four of the A motors (A8-3’s) were flown by the Fothergill brothers, Jack and Sam, in two almost identical Estes E2X kits.

The B range is occupied by Alex Guarascio who flew his Shuttle Express on an Estes B4, and Gage Ancarrow, who flew his Astro Jr. on a B6.   Some handwriting is so distinct that I can tell who filled out the flight card without any prior knowledge.  The impeccable printing on Gage’s card leads me to think that Mike Collier filled out this one!

When we get to the C range of the table things get a little busier, but all motors were the old reliable Estes C6.   Joseph Guarascio flew his 1:200 scale Estes Saturn V for a good flight, John Allman gave his Tomahawk a little workout, Joe Lobuglio flew his Interceptor, and Mike Nay flew an odd little device called the Twister which brought the nose cone down as a little helicopter and the rest of the body under parachute.   Gage Ancarrow had two successful C motor flights in the Delta 5 and the Amazon.

Reporting gets a little complicated in the D range, because I always classify individual rockets for the ‘motor use summary’ by the total installed impulse.  For example, John Allman flew his CC Express twice with a C11 staging to another C11.   John also flew his Defender on 3 B6’s, which also add up to the D range.  Landon Casstevens also went the ”2 C’s make a D” route when he flew his Maverick on another C11 to C11 staging arrangement.    This is a good time to mention that in spite of the rather brisk wind (by Butner standards, by Bayboro standards it was dead calm all day long) only one rocket was lost to the trees (DRM -I believe it as one of MikeCollier’s).   Congrats to all for intelligent motor/parachute size choices!   To continue with the actual D motor flights:  Joe Lobuglio flew his Estes V-2 on a D12, Mike Collier flew two veterans, Stonebreaker and Diamondback on D12’s, Mike Nay aired out his modified Saturn V kit on a D12, and John Freed flew his neat Mean Machine on yet another D12.

In the E range, Mike Nay flew a rocket called Savage with a D12 staging to a C6, Landon Casstevens flew his Maxi Alpha 3 on an Estes E9, and John Allman gave the QCC Explorer a good ride on another E9.  Mike Nay gets the nod for biggest motor used with a flight of his Blue on an Estes F15.

Dave Morey had originally planned to close down Saturday’s launch at 1:00 because of the anticipated summer heat, but by 12:45 the weather radar stations were showing a lot of rain heading our way, and the 1:00 closing time was beginning to look like a VERY good idea.   We closed the range, packed up the equipment, and by the time we were driving back through Butner the cold front appeared for real.   The drive home, and indeed the rest of Saturday, were very rainy.   Many thanks to all who attended, helped with various aspects of equipment set-up or tear-down, and cow control.  I’ll call Clifton Paul in about 2 weeks and find out how harvest is proceeding in Bayboro, and let everybody know where we will be setting up for the September launch.   Remember that the first launch of the season always includes the ceremonial EX Scraps, Shavings and Poorly Cured Propellant Burn to officially kick off the Bayboro flying season.  Bring your mistakes, your leftovers, and any propellant (EX or commercial) that you would like to see disappear, and we’ll do it in one big fireball at a safe distance from everything except your camera lenses.

Alan Whitmore, Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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