November 2019 was a difficult month for rocketry in North Carolina, but we gathered in the cold and rain on November 23 to get some academic projects airborne to meet a few deadlines. The big deals for this weekend were the SLI teams from NC State University and University of North Carolina-Charlotte, who had their subscale models to fly and demonstrate stability. The NC State team fielded a rocket called That’s Hot on an Aerotech J570W and the UNC-Charlotte team brought their Return of the Jedi for a flight with the Aerotech I300T. The flight card specifies two I300T’s but my memory of the event differs.
Another group of the NCSU HPR club brought out last years’ full scale rocket, No Promises, and trained a lot of new club members on rocket preparation techniques by flying it on an Aerotech L1390G. We also had two NCSU senior design groups working in their ‘proof-of-concept’ flights. Team ‘Wolf3’ flew the Magic Bean, and team ‘NASB’ flew NANC (pronounced Nancy) for excellent flights, both using the AT G80T.
Mike Nay was also on site, helping with the equipment and flight prep, and he used the nasty weather to exercise his Double Up 2-stager on an Aerotech I500 in the booster to a CTI I100 long burn in the sustainer. If memory serves, all parts of this came home in good shape.
Fast forward a few weeks to just before Christmas, December 21. Temperatures were above freezing but the air was wet and raw and an unfriendly wind was blowing almost directly out of the north. Here is your motor use summary table:
The big news first: We had two successful certification flights this weekend. David Vestal, from High Point University, made a successful TRA L1 flight with his Loc kit called Fate Amenable to Change on a CTI I285 CL. A fine flight and it was recovered with a slightly cracked fin. Andrew Adams was back in town for the holidays, and made good use of his Saturday to ace the TRA L2 written exam and then fly his Sirius I on an Aerotech J270G. This was a motor ejection at apogee followed by Jolly Logic deployment at 500 feet, and everything worked perfectly. Congratulations to both David and Andrew!
Allen and Tommy Harrell were working the lower end of the motor size range with seven flights on Saturday, from the B range all the way to several E flights. John Allman was also busy with the smaller rockets: he had six flights on Saturday and only one of those came to a bad end. John’s Arcas failed to deploy a chute at apogee, and came in ballistic.
Bart Merkley made the trip from SEVRA country to check out the scene at Bayboro and flew his Forte on a Loki H-180 sparky and later the Yellow Crayon flew on another Loki sparky, the I-316. Allan Rose was giving his short, fat fleet their usual workout with and Aerotech I284W in the Big Cletus, and an Aerotech J275W in his Gremlin. Mike Nay flew the Double Up again with an Aerotech J435WS in the booster and a CTI I100 RLLB in the sustainer. Another perfect flight that needed the GPS tracker to bring it home. The J435WS and I100 long burn add up to a total installed impulse in the K range, so this rocket is listed among Saturday’s K’s.
There were a few memorable Research motor flights this weekend, also. The biggest event was a collaboration between Joe Hill and Jim Livingston who were attempting to break the 10,000 foot altitude mark and go into the trans-sonic range for the max velocity. They used Joe’s Iron Moon 4” diameter rocket, and a 3” full L made by Jim from the high Isp* formula Black Velvet. Both goals were reached with large margins! 12,956’ altitude and Mach 1.25 max velocity. Recovery was in the same field just a few ditches away. Congratulations are in order!
Jim Livingston flew his I-Roc on a 6-grain 38mm I motor and his Sea Hawk with a 3” small L made from the very energetic ‘Jim Scarpine Tribute Blue #4b’ propellant. The flame color and length were just awe-inspiring under slightly cloudy skies. Alan Whitmore flew the Astro*Mollusk VII on a 6-grain 38mm I motor made from Black Velvet, and the Generic Four Inch on a 5-grain 54mm K motor made from a blue-flame formula. All of these rockets came home with slight or no damage.
Note: as we were packing up on Saturday night, I found a stuffed animal on my table. About 11” long, bright yellow, with transverse black stripes on the back and two rosy dots on the cheeks. The most interesting anatomical feature of the creature is that its ears are longer than either its arms or legs. If this is yours, let me know when you are coming to the next launch and I’ll be sure to bring it.
Joe Hill was back on Sunday to fly his Carbon GTR on a Loki J-474-CT 38mm motor for a completely successful flight. The weather forecast was much worse for Sunday, but the weather turned out to be much better: the winds died down to essentially nothing, the temps were warmer, and it was just an altogether pleasant day. But, Livingston and I had flown everything we had on Saturday, Joe was done for the weekend, and nobody else showed up.
We are flying again on the third weekend of January, the 18th and 19th, to allow our members to attend the Astronomy Days festivities at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. Join us at one or both events if you can.
Alan Whitmore, Prefect Tripoli East NC