Launch Report, Bayboro, November 19-20, 2022

This weekend’s launch was much better than the launch we had at the end of October, mainly because of the glorious weather we were given on Saturday. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced better conditions out at Bayboro. Absolutely cloudless skies, virtually no surface winds, and temperatures hovering in the upper 50s. Sunday was a different story, however. Overcast, breezy, and chilly. Here is the motor table summary for last weekend’s event.


Something special happened this weekend in the certification department. Out of the five successful certifications we had, there was one rack of rockets where four of them were certification attempts. Excellent! Up first was Steven Singletary who brought out a rocket that he named Lazarus, which went up on an Aerotech single use J-250W. Steven had his rocket loaded with all sorts of fancy electronics, and they worked just as intended. Steven left Bayboro as a Level 2 flier with the Tripoli Rocket Association. Nathan Potvin was up next, and he was after a Level 1 certification with the TRA. Nathan flew a rocket that he calls Karet on an Aerotech H-242T which turned in a nominal flight. Franklin Rice showed up with a rocket he calls Sad, also in search of a Level 1 certification, and he wouldn’t be disappointed. Franklin chose an Aerotech H-242T for propulsion and had a textbook flight. Ben Lewis is fresh off of getting his Level 1 certification, and is climbing up the HPR ladder very quickly. He brought out his rocket You Can Fit a lot of Text on a Rocket This Big (the same rocket he got his Level 1 certification with), and threw an Aerotech J-250W in there. After a beautiful liftoff, Ben’s altimeter functioned as it should have, and Ben walked away with a Level 2 certification. Lastly, Evelyn Ong was in search of a Level 1 certification. She brought a 4″ diameter Loc IV which took an Aerotech I-180W for power. Eveyln knows what she’s doing, because her flight was perfect, and she is now Level 1 certified with the TRA. A big congratulations to Steven, Franklin, Nathan, Ben and Evelyn!!!

When we have weather as nice as we did on Saturday, it brings out a lot of people. I think at one point I counted thirty three cars on our flight line. Of those, we had a lot of the usual suspects. Alan Rose brought out a couple of rockets, all of which he took back home after wonderful flights. He flew his Condor rocket on an Aerotech J-420R, and his Big Cletus rocket on an Aerotech I-284W. Brent Bierstedt brought out a couple of rockets on Saturday – a minimum diameter Mongoose which got an Aerotech I-229T, and his Tomahawk which flew on an Aerotech J-520W. Mike McKeon kept busy with four flights – a Stealth 54 on a classic Aerotech long burn J-180T, an Estes Big Daddy on an E-12 (twice), and his Bob rocket on an Aerotech K-1100T. Tom Keith joined us again and flew his Red Reaper rocket on an Aerotech super fast J-1299N and his Optima on a CTI I-345WT. Nick Pyrtle brought out a minimum diameter rocket, chose the stout Aerotech K-1275T for power, looking for Mach 2, and to kiss the waiver. The last data packet that Nick got on his ground station was that it had hit 17,299 ft. Richard Powers has become a Bayboro regular and keeps the low power pads nice and busy. Alan Whitmore had his Astro Mollusk 6 rocket with him and put it up on a two grain 54mm J motor filled with his very reliable Black Velvet propellant, this time with 5% aluminum. Joe Hill brought out a new rocket that he named Beta Wolf. This rocket was 9.5″ in diameter, 15′ tall and weighed 135lbs on the pad. Jim Livingston had mixed up a 7 grain, 115mm motor with his tried and true White Smoke formula yielding ~20,400Ns making it a 99% N/1% O. Jim’s motor put out just shy of 1600lbs of thrust, and burned for 4.3 seconds. After a spectacular liftoff, Beta Wolf came back home unscathed. 

We had two academic teams out with us on Saturday; the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, and NC State. The NCSSM brought out their rocket ‘B.R.R.D.S’ for a 2nd flight on an Aerotech L-1000W. This rocket was to go supersonic and just shy of 13,000ft. Unfortunately, everyone lost sight of the rocket, and it was not recovered until mid-afternoon the next day. There’s your reminder to always fly with some sort of tracking!! NC State had a new rocket that they named ‘Purple Nurple’ which flew on an Aerotech J-420R. This project had 2 prototype tracking devices onboard which may or may not have worked. I didn’t get a chance to talk to them about it, but would love to hear more about this. Either way, the rocket performed well, and they took it back to Raleigh. 

Sunday was extra slow, and we only had three flights. Robbie Kirk has been getting into mixing up experimental motors, and he tested a two grain 38mm H motor filled with Black Velvet propellant that had 3% aluminum in it. Robbie’s motor performed well, which really got his spirits up about experimental motor manufacturing. Alan Whitmore flew his Astro Mollusk 7 on a 38mm six grain I motor which had Livingston White propellant in it. I believe Alan was running this motor at a Kn of about 240 and that is definitely a sweet spot for Livingston White. Mike Nay had a 3″ all fiberglass rocket with him, and he decided an Aerotech K-550W would give it a nice ride. To finish out the day, NC A&T flew a 12′ long, 5.5″ diameter rocket on an Aerotech L-1150R. 

I want to take this time to sincerely thank a few people for helping me get Beta Wolf in the air. The first big thanks goes to Jim Livingston for taking the time and effort to mix up such a big motor. The second big thanks goes to Paul Schaefer for lending me the room/assistance in wrapping two 9.25″ OD body tubes with fiberglass cloth. The third big thanks goes to Alan Whitmore for turning the aluminum thrust plate and centering rings. The fourth big thanks goes to my dad, Dennis Hill, for letting me take over his shop for a full day to put the whole thing together. The fifth big thanks goes to my girlfriend, Lexi Tucker, for continuing to encourage me to work on this thing when I wanted to give up. She was an extra set of hands when I needed them the most, as well. I also want to thank Kurt Hesse and Mike Nay for helping me get the rocket on the pad. I couldn’t have done it without you all.. I’m eternally grateful for your everlasting help, and friendship. This project is as much yours as it is mine. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

We have one more launch of 2022, and I hope to see everyone out on the field! As always, join us if you can.

Joe Hill 

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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