This weekend was a perfect testament to how you really don’t know what the weather is going to be like until you arrive on site, regardless of what the forecast looks like. Friday night’s prediction for the weekend yielded low winds on Saturday, but an 80% chance of showers and considerable cloud cover. While the cloud cover was true, it didn’t rain at all on Saturday and we got in a full day of flying. The sun even showed its face later in the day. Sunday’s forecast was partly cloudy with moderate winds, but it was mostly sunny with very high winds(for rocketry anyway). Below is the motor table summary for this weekend’s events.
We had a very busy day in the certification department on Saturday, which is always the most important part of any launch! Nick Pyrtle made the trip down from Greensboro and brought along a finely finished 3″ Wildman kit. After passing his Level 2 written exam, Nick put up his rocket Cloud Maiden on an Aerotech J-350W for a nominal flight. Abhi Kondagunta was in search of his Level 2 certification as well and he brought along a 2.6″ diameter rocket that he called Uh.. Bee?. He chose a single use Aerotech J-250W for power and Abhi had a textbook dual deploy flight. Mike Pudlo was the third person looking for a Level 2 certification and he would not be disappointed. Mike flew his rocket Wish You Were Here on an Aerotech 38mm J-420R for a perfect flight. J.W. Mason was the last person to go for a certification flight on Saturday. He decided to go on the slightly more extreme side of things with a minimum diameter Loc Precision rocket loaded up with an Aerotech H-242T. After a long walk, J.W. brought his rocket home for a successful Level 1 certification. Congratulations Nick, Ahbi, Mike and J.W.!!!
We had some regulars join us and they were all able to get in one flight, if not more. Matt Willis put his original L3 rocket Space Dragon on an Aerotech L-850W. This was a relatively slow lift-off, but left behind a beautiful column of dense white smoke. He later flew his Punisher 3 on a CTI I-345WT for a nice flight. Mike ‘Two Stage’ Nay did something completely unlike himself on Saturday to the likes of which very few have seen.. He flew a single stage rocket! He called this project Prometheus 3 and put it up on a CTI J-380SS. Mike later fulfilled his duties as ‘Mr. Two Stage’ and flew his very reliable Double Shot rocket on a CTI K-780BS to an Aerotech K-185W which hit 13,000ft and change. Mike clearly has some seriously reliable GPS units in his rockets, and knows how to use them because he always gets every bit of his rockets back. Joe Hill put up his 3″ Mac Performance rocket that he calls Pink Dog on a CTI K-570C for a nominal flight to just over 11,500ft. It’s always nice having Brent Bierstedt on site because he brings out some of the most beautiful rockets that I’ve ever seen. Brent had three flights – first was a two stage Terrier Black Brant loaded up with an Aerotech H-242T in the booster and a CTI H-133BS in the sustainer. 2nd was his 6″ Bullpup on a AMW K-1075 sparky, and 3rd was a 6″ Black Brant on an Aerotech M-1297W. All of Brent’s flights were perfect and he brought home each individual rocket. Dennis Hill came down to fly with us, and brought along a modern version of his very first model rocket, a Centuri Wac Corporal, which went up on a B6-4. Robbie Kirk and Sebastian Linquist also joined us and kept the range busy with several flights.
We had two universities on site Saturday, NC State and NC A&T. NC A&T brought their Aggie Comet rocket that we’ve seen fly several times now, which is always a pleasure. They chose an Aerotech L-1520T for propulsion. I love that motor because of how percussive it is, and it’s always cool to hear the sound echo off of the woods behind the flight line. NC A&T had a nominal flight and I’m sure we’ll see Aggie Comet fly again in the future. NC State flew a couple projects – first up was That’s Hot on an Aerotech J-825R and second was Catastrophe on an Aerotech L-850W. I believe there was a slight issue with the recovery of Catastrophe, but nothing serious. I’m sure the students will take that project back to the lab and have it fixed up in no-time.
Sunday morning gave us constant 18mph winds, and it only got worse as the day went on. That didn’t keep a few hardcore rocketeers from flying though! Mark Peot brought out two rockets and despite the high winds, flew anyway. The first rocket he put up was called Cheerwine and it flew on an Aerotech DMS J-435SW, and the second was his Lydia, the Rocket on an Aerotech DMS K-535W. Paul Kraemer flew his Downscale Ultimate on a central G-145BS with three Aerotech E-30Ts, all lit on the ground. He later flew his No Name II on a CTI I-255RL. Robbie Kirk returned to the field on Sunday and put up a few rockets as well.
Duke University brought out a 5″ diameter carbon fiber rocket that they rolled themselves and planned to fly it on a CTI N-1800W. This was to be a test flight for their Space Port attempt which was expected to see 30,000ft AGL. Unfortunately, there was a forward closure issue with the N-1800, and the motor CATOed almost immediately. The Duke team is very resilient, and I’m sure they’ll have another project ready for Space Port.
For those of you who have ever helped set up or break down launch equipment, you’re no stranger to the cumbersome hand cart in the trailer that was built in the late Cretaceous period, about 70 million years ago. High power rocketry and Tripoli East NC was in its infancy when we used that cart.. I have finally disposed of it, and it no longer plagues the people who volunteer their time with range set up. May it rest in pea’ – just kidding, I couldn’t be more happy to have that thing out of the trailer.
We have one more launch of the 2021/2022 season next weekend, and I hope to see you all out on the field.
Prefect, Tripoli East NC