The weather looked pretty grim during the morning hours on Saturday, but the clouds broke around noon and it warmed up to a very comfortable temperature. North Carolina has been seeing an immense amount of precipitation as of recent, and the field definitely reflected that. I arrived at the launch site around 8:45AM and there was visible standing water in just about every direction. However, we had some pretty determined club members and they didn’t let the muddy conditions stop them from putting up some rockets.
Certifications are always a highlight of any launch, and Mike Mckeon came out from Pittsboro to attempt his Tripoli Level 2 certification flight. After acing the written exam, he chose an Aerotech J-420R for his 4″ Loc Precision Goblin. The motor came to pressure almost immediately(which is sort of unusual for red flame propellants) and it took off rather quickly. Mike had trimmed down the delay perfectly, and ejection was right at apogee. He went with a Jolly Logic chute release and the main was released at 400′, bringing his rock back without a scratch. Congratulations on a successful Level 2 certification, Mike! I have a feeling we’ll be seeing Mike at Bayboro launches often.
Allan Rose was back out again and had two great flights. He flew his 6″ diameter Sun Dog on an Aerotech J-350W and his 5.5″ diameter Bandit on an Aerotech I-218R. John Allman sent his ‘early Indestructible for a wild ride on an Aerotech I-59WN and also flew his Thor rocket on one of the new Q-Jet D16 motors from Aerotech. Daniel Knowler sent up his classic Estes QCC Explorer kit on a D12-3 and his Shuttle Express on a C6-5.
A few students from UNC-Charlotte made the trip and flew their NASA SLI project named Olympus on an CTI I-MAX L-935. This rocket was loaded up with lots of electronics and everything seemed to perform nominally. Great job guys!
The regulars were out at the field once again and stayed busy prepping at least one flight, if not more. Brent Bierstedt put up three flights, and brought each one home with him. A beautifully finished V2 on a Loki J-528W, a rocket he calls Rebel Max‘on an Aerotech I-211, and most notably a Pringles can that he 3D printed parts for. He finished it with an Army green paint job, and fashioned it so it looked like a bomb from WWII. He rightfully named this rocket Ka Boom! and it flew just fine on an Estes E12-6.
Mike Nay brought out a new rocket that he plans on using for his Level 3 certification, and flew it on a 75/3840 L-1256WS made with Aerotech’s Super White Lightning for a test flight. If you haven’t seen one of these motors go, it’s quite the visual. It emits an almost blinding white flame. Alan Whitmore flew his Red Flag of Mortal Peril on a 4 grain 38mm homebrew motor which turned in a beautiful flight. Jim Livingston brought out a 4″ diameter rocket that he calls LZ 889 and put it up on an I-300 of his own making. Joe Hill flew his 7.5″ diameter rocket called Short Spoon‘on a Loki M-1650 Cocktail motor and brought that one home as well. Ralph Reda was on site with his Nike Zeus, and threw it up on a homemade 38mm I-200 made with Alan Whitmore’s very forgiving and reliable Black Velvet formula.
Paul Kramer has been flying with us again recently, and it’s always good to see him. He’s been a long time NC club member and even used to fly with us back in the Whitakers days. Paul is a cluster aficionado and did not let us down on Saturday. He flew a new rocket that he named Energizer II on seven J motors. Off the pad, he lit a central Aerotech J-825R and 2 CTI J-94s(made with CTI’s Mellow propellant), at 5 seconds lit 2 more J-94s, and at 10 seconds lit another pair of J-94s. This resulted in about 17 seconds of time under thrust. The flight went off without a hitch, and Paul got his rocket back in great shape.
I want to personally thank everyone who attended the launch for following the CoVid-19 protocols that we have in place to keep everyone’s health in mind. A few of our club members have had both rounds of the vaccine, and even more have had at least the first round. Hopefully the statistics continue to downtrend and maybe by the end of March, we can have a two day launch. Until then, continue social distancing, mask-wearing, and washing your hands.
Prefect, Tripoli East NC