This weekend yielded exceptionally good weather for rocketry – a complete 180 from the conditions two weeks ago that resulted in cancelled operations. Saturday and Sunday both gave us light winds and almost completely clear skies. Temperatures hovered in the mid 70s with relatively low humidity. Here is the motor table summing up last weekend’s flights.
|Motor||Sat. 10/23||Sun. 10/24||Total|
As always, the most important part of any launch we hold are successful certifications. Rick LaVassaur brought out his 3″ Mac Performance rocket called Bolt 3 and chose a 54mm CTI J-210 Classic for power. This rocket had a beautiful finish, and looked like it came straight from the Air Force. Rick used an Egg Timer Quantum with CO2 ejection and brought back his rocket for a successful Level 2 certification. Sebastian Lindquist was also on site with his 4″ fiberglass Madcow Little John – also going for a Level 2 certification. After passing his exam, he went with a 38mm, 5 grain J-357 Blue Streak, using a Jolly Logic Chute Release for dual deployment. The flight was perfect, and Sebastian is now successfully certified Level 2. Last, but not least, we had Nick Pyrtle join us with his Loc Precision 4″ Goblin. Nick decided to use a CTI H-152 Blue Streak for his Level 1 certification. After setting up a few cameras around the launch pad to capture some slow-motion video, the button was pressed and Nick’s flight was perfect. Congratulations to Rick, Sebastian, and Nick! I’m sure we’ll be seeing them at more launches.
We had just about as many low-mid power flights as high-power flights this weekend, which is a testament that one can have just as much fun flying smaller rockets, as larger rockets. Allen Harrel kept the low-power pads busy, flying six different rockets! Richard Powers is a new Bayboro regular who has come out to launches before, but only as a spectator. The rocketry bug bit him and he finally brought out a few rockets to fly after a forty year hiatus. Welcome back to this wonderful hobby, Richard! Dennis Hill took himself down memory lane by building the very first model rocket he ever constructed in the mid 60s, a Wac Corporal, and flying it on a B6-4, which also happened to be the very first motor he ever flew. Brian Resees flew a rocket that was about the size of a golf tee on an Estes A3-4T and I’m pretty sure it disappeared into another dimension…
We had a few hardcore regulars out at the field that kept busy with multiple projects. Mike Nay brought out a new two stage rocket and flew it on an Aerotech J-460T in the booster with the very peculiar Aerotech I-59WN in the sustainer. This motor has one BATES grain of White Lightning propellant at the nozzle end, butted up against a solid grain of Warp-9 propellant with no core. The BATES grain gets things going and burns out very quickly, and then the end-burning grain sustains the flight for about another seven seconds. This results in a loud initial start up, and then a ‘hiss’ for the rest of the burn. Very cool! Mark Peot found some time to fly a couple of rockets on Saturday – one of which he called Lydia the Rocket on my absolute favorite commercial 54mm motor, the Aerotech J-415W. Joe Hill decided to put his 4″ workhorse rocket that he calls Iron Moon up on an Aerotech L-1420R which was expected to see 14,000ft, but got just over 12,100ft due to some strange weather-cocking. Charles Long and Tom Keith came back out for the first time in a while, and they both put up at least two flights, if not more.
Sunday morning was slightly more windy, but it only died down as the day went on. Declan Rowe brought several Estes rockets with him and flew almost every single one of them. Looking at the flight cards, he had seven flights! Alan Whitmore and Kurt Hesse scaled things back and flew a couple low-powered rockets as well. Both of Alan’s rockets were smaller scales of his larger rockets.
Allen Rose wasn’t able to make it Saturday, but he joined us on Sunday and had two perfectly successful launches. The first was his Gremlin on a 54mm Aerotech J-275W, and the second was his Condor on a 38mm Aerotech J-570W. Charles Long flew his Blue Toad tube-fin rocket on the spicy Loki 38mm J-474CT which turned in a perfect flight. Joe Hill flew his Carbon GTR on the very exciting Loki 38mm K-1127LB. This motor is 25″ long! Jim Livingston came out on Sunday too, flying his LZ rocket on an experimental I-300 motor, with Thing propellant. I’ll bet that between Alan Whitmore and Jim Livingston, they have flown 100+ Thing motors; various I motors that would have otherwise been thrown away. While we’re on the topic of research motors, Eric Fadely and Jeff Goldstein both had a few flights on homebrew motors, all of which were nominal.
If you joined us last weekend, you undoubtedly noticed some motor testing going on downrange. Alan Whitmore spent most of the day Saturday testing a few new propellants, and gathering all sorts of data. Alan tried out a new test series, using 15% bismuth trioxide, with a standard 3% aluminum fuel and this was meant to see if the dense material could increase the delivered Isp in 2 grain 54mm configurations. One of the most interesting things about this additive was the flame color. It looked to me like it was greenish, with dense whitish-gray smoke. Beautiful! He also tested out new versions of JSTB (Jim Scarpine Tribute Blue), AlFeO, Black AlFeO, and Livingston White. A fine testing session indeed, with oodles of data. This makes Alan a happy man!
I had a wonderful time last weekend between getting to host the launch and seeing some motor tests. We’ll be back out on the weekend of Nov. 20th. Hope to see you there!
Prefect, Tripoli East NC