Launch Report, Bayboro, April 10, 2021

This weekend’s weather is a perfect testament to the ever-changing conditions that Mother Nature provides us with down in Pamlico County. The forecast just a few days prior to the launch called for 50%-60% chance of rain and scattered thunderstorms. Well, luckily, we got in a full day of flying with partly cloudy skies and relatively moderate winds.

The highlight of any launch is always certification flights/attempts. Matt Willis brought back his stoutly built Space Dragon for a TRA Level 3 certification flight after a successful shakedown flight last month. He chose an Aerotech DMS(Disposable Motor System) four grain, 75mm M-1350W for propulsion and when the button was pressed, it came to pressure almost immediately and off the Space Dragon went. Matt got about 9,000ft of altitude and all deployment events were right on time. Congratulations on a successful Level 3 flight, Matt!!

The range stayed busy with a mixture of heavy duty regulars and a couple newcomers. It’s always a pleasure seeing what rockets Brent Bierstedt ends up bringing out because of how nicely finished they are, and how much attention to detail he has. Brent brought out a brand new Bullpup that looked like it had just been sent over by Martin Marietta themselves and flew it on an Aerotech K-1100T. Those types of rockets take a lot of nose weight to get the CG/CP right because of how far forward the fins are, and Brent clearly knows that because it was a perfectly straight flight. He also flew his 11.5″ diameter V2 on a CTI N-1800WT which took it to about 7,000ft or so. The main came out at apogee, the rocket drifted far to the east end of the field, but Brent was able to bring it home after a lengthy search and rescue mission. Dennis Hill was on site with another one of David Rushing’s ‘donated’ rockets and put this one up on an Aerotech G-64W. Allan Rose launched three rockets on various Aerotech I motors, Robbie Kirk kept the low power pads busy, and Mark Peot attempted his first dual deployment flight on a classic J-350W. Mike Nay and Mike McKeon both put up several beautiful flights as well.

Kurt Hesse, Alan Whitmore and Jim Livingston joined us as usual and put up some really cool research flights. Alan brought out a scale model of one of his larger rockets and it looked like he did just that – scaled down all the building techniques, the way the electronics were incorporated, etc. The name of this rocket was Ettarre and he launched it on a 5 grain, 24mm homebrew F motor. Kurt put up his Shiny Diner on a 3 grain, 38mm CP4 motor and ran it at a Kn of 250. It kicked the nozzle out and will need a little repair work, but I’m sure Kurt will have it done in no time and we’ll see the Diner fly again. Jim flew his trusty Sea Hawk on the eccentric Jim Scarpine Tribute Blue #4B propellant formulation in a 76mm, 4 grain configuration which turned out to be about an L-1000. The motor let loose at about 200ft above the ground and the bottom half of Jim’s rocket will need to be rebuilt. Jim has my vote for ‘Best Attitude’ when it comes to this hobby. After the L motor catoed, he immediately burst into laughter. He really doesn’t let those types of things bother him, and that’s just the approach you need to have in this hobby or you’ll get burnt out real quick. I’m sure he’ll rebuild the booster section and the Sea Hawk will see many more flights to come.

The clouds and wind would break about twice an hour and there were a couple people who were patiently waiting for the right time to go for some serious altitude. Heath McPherson launched his 4″ diameter rocket named 4 the Girls on a CTI M-1101WT and got just over 13,000ft out of that flight. Eric Lynn flew with us for the first time this weekend and I could tell he was eager to fly high. He shoved a CTI L-1030RL in his 3″ Shape Shifter 75 which turned in over 13,000ft of altitude as well. Joe Hill brought out a new 3″ diameter rocket called Pink Dog made with ‘canvas phenolic’ to test how strong that material really is. He put it up on an Aerotech K-695R which turned in a supersonic flight to just shy of 10,000ft, and it held together just fine.

NC State was back with the same rocket they’ve been flying for the past couple of months, called 81.5. They chose an Aerotech L-1520T which lifted the 50lb rocket with ease. I believe they had some payload issues, but all the parachutes came out on time and there was no damage done to the vehicle. Lenoir-Ryhne University out of Hickory brought out a 4″ diamater, 10′ tall rocket made out of various 3D printed parts and carbon fiber. They selected a 99% CTI L-1115C as the motor, and the rocket went out of sight rather quickly.

Now, for a not so great note – We had a few people drive in areas of the field this weekend that resulted in us losing the privilege of driving on the field. I was asked nicely by one of the farmers to NOT allow ANY vehicles on the field moving forward. We owe a great respect to the landowners and farmers who are gracious enough to let us all over their land. I’d like to maintain a great/positive relationship with them and this is what’s been asked of us. If you decide to drive on the field, you’ll kindly be asked to leave the launch site and not come back. This is a ZERO tolerance rule. I’ll be posting an updated set of rules on this website in the next couple of days.

We’ve got one more scheduled launch in Bayboro before the season is over, and I hope to see everyone on the weekend of the 25th!

Joe Hill

Prefect, Tripoli East NC


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Launch Report, Bayboro, March 27, 2021

I left Raleigh at about 5am Saturday morning, and until I got to about Vanceboro, there was some of the most dense fog that I’ve ever seen. Seriously dangerous driving conditions. The weather at the field was just as predicted by most weather apps, but the clouds seem to break about once an hour, so we still got some flights in, and I’ll list them in the table below. As you can see, the high power pads were getting some serious love. Good stuff!

Size Saturday
B 2
C 2
D 2
E 1
H 5
I 6
J 2
K 8
L 4
Total 31

Jim Livingston brought out his freshly repaired LZ rocket and flew it on an 38mm I motor made with a very exciting mixture of Ferric Fudge and Jim Scarpine Tribute Blue #4B(JSTB). For those who don’t know, both of these propellants are wickedly fast and this motor turned in about a 0.5 second burn. Explosive, almost! He also flew his 5.5″ diameter SeaHawk on a K-560 made with JSTB #4B for a perfect flight. Alan Whitmore was on site with his Astro Mollusk VII and flew it with a 6 grain I motor filled with his Ferric Fudge propellant. I think I overheard him say that this flight was #85 or #86 for that rocket, impressive! Brent Bierstedt flew two rockets; a finely finished V2 on a KBA K-1750R and a beautiful Patriot Missile on a Loki J-320R. Dennis Hill flew his scratch built Army Hawk on an Aerotech H-180 for a perfect flight. He also flew one of David Rushing’s old kits he acquired some time ago for an out-of-sight flight on a 25 year old Aerotech H-45W long burn motor. Allan Rose came out and launched 3 rockets – his IROC on an Aerotech I-211W, his Minnie Magg on an Aerotech H-123W, and his Mongrel on an Aerotech J-540R. Joe Hill flew his 4″ diameter rocket that he calls Iron Moon on a CTI L-1350C* for a very fast/high flight, and after some extensive searching, brought it home with the help of his Marshall tracker and a farmer that happened to be wayyyy out in the field. Kurt Hesse flew his reliable 4″ diameter Performer 98 on a homemade 4 grain 54mm motor stuffed with CP4 propellant which came out to a K-1100ish with no problems.

Mike McKeon has caught the HPR bug in a big way and put up an extended version of his already built Zephyr on an Aerotech I-285R for his first attempt at using electronic two stage recovery. After a few adjustments to the size of his ejection charges, he got it figured out perfectly. Good job, Mike! Dorsey Delavigne launched his first all fiberglass rocket, Viper, on an Aerotech H-135W and as I recall, it hopped off the pad pretty quickly. Matt and Morgan Willis made the trip down and flew one rocket each. Morgan flew her 5.5″ diameter Psychedelic on an Aerotech K-400C and Matt flew his scratch built Level 3 project on an Aerotech L-875DM sparky motor as test flight. Both rockets came home safely.

Matt Willis’ ‘Space Dragon’ on a Aerotech L-875DM . Photo by Jim Livingston.

A couple people came out and made use of the low power pads, especially Allen Harrell. He flew 5 different rockets, including a two stage, on various Estes motors ranging from Bs to Es. Eddie Haith flew his XL Hi Flyer on a D12-5 and Jeffrey Daniels flew his Smithsonian Member on a B6-4.

Everyone has their own particular likings when it comes to this hobby, and I’ve always appreciated those who have done the hard R&D to figure out how to do clustered flights, two stage flights, or just flights on more than one motor in general. Having said that, Mike Nay and Paul Kraemer joined us and flew some really cool rockets. Mike put up his Loc Magnum on a central CTI K-515 Skidmark, and then air started two Aerotech H115DM sparky motors. He also flew his two stage rocket Double Shot. He chose a CTI J-780 White Thunder for the booster and an Aerotech J-135 long burn for the sustainer. Both flights were perfect. Paul flew his Loc Ultimate on a central Aerotech H-238T surrounded by six Estes F15s and his Loc King Viper III on three Aerotech J-180T motors which put out a beautiful bright blue plume.

Lastly, we had three universities join us – UNC Charlotte, NC A&T, and NC State. UNC Charlotte flew their project Olympus on a CTI L-730 Classic, NC A&T brought back their rocket called Pizza Planet on an Aerotech K1000T, and NC State flew their rocket called 81.5 on an Aerotech L-1520T. It’s quite evident that all these students are very passionate about their respective projects, and they all did a great job this weekend.

It was great seeing everyone on Saturday, and we’ll be out there again in two weeks. Join us if you can!

Joe Hill

Prefect, Tripoli East NC


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Cancelled – Bayboro Launch Added for March 20/21, 2021

Ed: The launch described below has been cancelled due to poor weather.

There are a couple universities that need to make qualification flights before our 27th/28th scheduled launch, so we’ve decided to host a special launch this upcoming weekend on the 20th and 21st to accommodate them. Since the MCAS and the waiver will be activated, I see no reason why we can’t have everyone else out to have some fun and get out of the house for the weekend.

If you plan on attending, we’ll begin activities at the normal time(10am). I personally won’t be able to be at the field on Saturday, but I plan on arriving that night, staying over, and being there on Sunday. As of now, the weather looks pretty good both days.

If you can’t make it the following weekend, this is a good opportunity to come fly some rockets. Or, just come two weekends in a row. 🙂

Also – all the CoVid rules we’ve been following will still be in place for both launches.

I look forward to seeing everyone there!

Joe Hill

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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