Launch Report, Bayboro, October 10, 2020

I usually rise about 5:00 AM on regular launch Saturday mornings, and conditions Saturday morning were about as bad as you can imagine in Chapel Hill for a potential rocket launch.   The rain was pounding on my roof so hard at 4:30 that it woke me up.   As I drove out of Chapel Hill the rain was coming down so thick I could not see the reflective dots that mark the lanes on I-40.

But, as we know, conditions in Pamlico county are often not even remotely like conditions in the middle of the state, so I continued to drive East and the rain got lighter and lighter.   At Bayboro, the rain had almost stopped by 10:00, and by noon we had the equipment set up and started flying rockets for one great afternoon.  Not many people showed up, which is very understandable because of the forecast.  We only had nine or eleven flights, so I can describe them individually.

We began the day with a TRA level 2 cert flight from Morgan Willis, who flew her new Psychedelic on an Aerotech J270W.  The flight was perfect and the rocket came home in mint condition, so we now have one more L2 cert flyer who I can bug to take a turn as RSO or LCO!!  Heath McPherson then flew his Steampunk to some serious altitude on a CTI J410R.  Brent Bierstedt brought out his well-used 7.5” V2 for a flight using the Aerotech K850.   All of us who are familiar with V2s remarked that it did NOT do the usual wiggly tail-dance that the short rocket usually does when flown in the hobby ballistic mode.  Tell us Brent! How did you do it?

Matt Willis, father of Morgan, then flew his JLT #3 on one of the extremely brassy Aerotech H550ST motors.   He was testing out the Jolly Logic chute release products, and he got it to work perfectly.  Alan Whitmore then made the first Research launch of the weekend, with a 2-grain 54mm J motor made from Augmented Livingston White propellant.   Very gratifying results with a perfect recovery.  Heath McPherson flew his second rocket of the day, the Mystic Encounter on a CTI H255ss motor.   I’m not sure that one made it back home.

William Felton was back at Bayboro for the first time in almost a year, and he made a successful TRA level 1 cert flight with his rocket called Cookie using the CTI H143.  William is getting into the potential complexity of HPR at an early stage, using dual deployment for recovery, even though this is not required for L1 certification.   All aspects of the recovery went well, so William’s progress through the cert levels looks very promising.  I have some memory that Williams daughter Evelyn made at least one flight of her rocket on an F motor, but there is no record of the rocket name or motor choice on the clipboard.   We’re still getting this ‘no-contact’ record keeping system worked out in detail, but I want to thank every single participant in this launch and the one 2 weeks ago for their cooperation with our anti-CoViD measures.  It is (to me) a fascinating coincidence that in a day that only 9 or 11 flights took place, 2 pairs of flights were made by father-daughter combinations.

Alan Whitmore then made another Research flight with his Red Flag of Mortal Peril on a 4-grain 38mm motor made from the Ferric Fudge propellant, and Jim Livingston wrapped things up with a fine flight of his rocket LZ on a 6-grain 38mm I motor using his White Smoke formula.

It felt great to be back in the wide-open farm land with my rocket friends, and I hope that all of you who have not come back to Bayboro since the pandemic started will come back and fly with us soon.

Alan Whitmore
Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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