Launch Report, Bayboro, December 17-18, 2022

Mother Nature was kind enough to give us one more shot at launching rockets in 2022. Saturday was cloudy, but the cloud deck was about 10,000ft, so we got a good day of flights in. Sunday was cool and sunny, but the winds were much higher. Here is the motor table summary for this weekend’s activities. 

MotorSaturdaySundayTotal
A
B11
C66
D
E11
F11
G
H123
I44
J314
K314
L11
M22
N
O
Total23427

We’ve been having a lot of certification flights per launch as of recent and this weekend was no exception! Up first was Lexi Tucker with her rocket that she named Oliver White. Lexi chose the stout Loki I-405W and went with dual deployment for recovery. A gutsy way to get a Level 1 Certification, but she nailed it! After a nice quick boost, Oliver White deployed at apogee, drogueless, and fell to 500ft where the main came out right on time. Next up was David Vestal who was in search of his Level 3 Certification. He brought out a finely made scratch-built vehicle called NOT Unfinished Business and stuffed an Aerotech M-1297 in it for propulsion. David did a great job, and NOT Unfinished Business came home without so much as a scratch. John Lindquist joined us with a minimum diameter rocket in search of a Level 2 certification. After passing the Tripoli Level 2 exam, John put a long burn CTI K-261 in his rocket John 54mm, which transported it into another dimension. I’m sure John was very thankful that he put a tracker in his rocket, because it landed about two miles away to the east. While on the topic of Level 2 Certifications, Nathan Potvin brought out a rocket that he named Cerat which was loaded with an Aerotech J-500G motor. Cerat went up very nicely and came back home with no issue. Sailor Keoplinger was the last person to certify on Saturday – Sailor had a rocket with him that he named Wolfline which took an Aerotech H-242T for power. Sailor had a perfect flight and is now Level 1 Certified with Tripoli. Congrats to Lexi, David, John, Nathan and Sailor!! Great job by all. 

We had a gentleman make the trip down from update NY this weekend, and flew some of the coolest rockets that I have ever seen. Steve Gregorki is a very intelligent fellow who had some really neat homemade electronics that he brought along. He wrote the programs/code AND designed most of the hardware. The first rocket he flew was called Wicked Sugar High which had active stabilization in the nose cone. Wicked Sugar High went up on a research J-650 sugar motor and was a test flight for a two stage rocket he later flew in the same day. Said two stage rocket was called Sweetness and had a research sugar K-1200 in the booster and a research sugar J-450 in the sustainer. Both of these rockets had homemade GPS systems on them, and the sustainer had the same active stabilization as Wicked Sugar High. The best part (in my opinion) about these flights was the robotic ground station tracker that he had set up. This was a mechanical arm that actively tracked the rocket and pointed to it for the full duration of the flight. We all lost sight of the sustainer of his two stage, but kept looking back at this device and it was moving along with the rocket, tracking it all the way. Really, really cool!! 

The usual suspects were on site this weekend and they all seemed to get a flight in. Brent Bierstedt put up a minimum diamater rocket on a research I-300. Alan Whitmore flew his Astro Mollusk 7 on a homebrew six grain 38mm I motor filled with Black Velvet 2.57, and Jim Livingston had a research I-300 motor filled with Thing propellant in a rocket called LZ. A good day in the research motor manufacturing department! Sebastian Lindquist had a scratch-built rocket with him named No Name and flew that on the incredibly fast CTI K-1200WT. Joe Hill took advantage of the rain the field saw on Thursday and put a Loki M-1200 Spitfire (sparky propellant) in his 7.5″ diameter rocket called Short Spoon

We had a good amount of low power flights on Saturday as you can tell by the motor table summary. Richard Powers has called himself a Born Again Rocketeer and has been joining us consistently now for about two years. Richard had four successful flights with two different rockets, all on B and C motors. Katherine Jackson also helped with keeping the low power pads busy. She had four successful flights as well with four different rockets – three of which were on C motors, and one on an E motor.

Sunday was extremely slow, but we got in two excellent flights. Alan Whitmore put up his Stealth Blue (one of my personal favorite rockets in Alan’s fleet) on a four grain 54mm K motor filled with Mag Blue propellant which turned in a beautiful launch. Nick Pyrtle was in search of some serious altitude on Sunday, so he decided to put a Loki J-712LB in his 38mm minimum diameter rocket named El Diablo. Unfortunately after liftoff, he never saw it come down. However, Nick wasn’t about to put a rocket that small up that high without some sort of tracking. The tracker took him right to it, and El Diablo came back home. Robbie Kirk has been getting into mixing up his own propellant, and he tested two, two grain 38mm H motors at two different Kns on Sunday. Both worked great! I think Robbie is feeling more confident in his manufacturing skills now. 

My apologies for getting this report to you all so late – between how busy work is and the holidays, I’ve just not found the time until now. Our next launch at Bayboro is the weekend of 01/21, so join us if you can!

Joe Hill

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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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.

MotorSaturdaySundayTotal
A11
B11
C11
D22
E55
F
G11
H213
I516
J88
K213
L213
M22
N
O11
Total33437

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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Launch Report, Bayboro, October 29-30, 2022

Those of you who opted to not make the trip last weekend, didn’t miss a whole lot. The weather was absolutely atrocious for rocketry. When I left Raleigh Saturday morning (at about 4:45am), there was a slight drizzle and it was very breezy. That drizzle continued for the entire trip down east, and did not stop until about 11:30am. Only the hardcore regulars showed up, and even then, only a few stuck around. Sunday was slightly better at best, and we got in a couple more flights than we did on Saturday. Here is the motor table summary.

MotorSaturdaySundayTotal
A
B11
C22
D
E11
F11
G22
H213
I123
J11
K22
L
M
N
Total7916

For about the first two hours of the launch, most of the people who showed up enjoyed conversation with one another due to the low cloud deck. It was very apparent that no one was going to try and fly a rocket in the type of weather we were dealt on Saturday. As time went on, there were very few breaks in the clouds, and we launched rockets when we could. Jeff Goldstein was up first with his Scarab 54 rocket that was loaded with a homebrew H-191 motor, filled with what he called ‘slow green’ propellant. If there’s one thing that overcast days are good for, it’s providing a nice background to compare the exhaust flame of rocket motors against. Jeff’s homebrew motor put out a really nice, bright green flame. Paul Kraemer made the trip all the way from Charlotte and put in the majority of the flights we had on Saturday. First up was his No Name II on a CTI J-600RL, second was his HV Arcas on a Aerotech long-burn K-185W, third was his 5.5″ diamater Big Nuke on an Aerotech boost-sustain K-455NW, and fourth was his Quadraphonic on a cluster of two Aerotech G-75FJs and two Aerotech G-77Rs. I gotta say – seeing the red flame of the G-77s cut through the black smoke of the G-75s was really cool! Joe Hill flew his Motor Holder rocket on a central CTI H-255WT with two outboard Aerotech G-40s, but failed to light the outboards. Sophia Harrell finished out the day with his Sophi rocket on a B6-2.

Sunday started out virtually the same as Saturday, minus the rain. Once everyone got out to the field, we all just putzed around until the cloud deck was high enough that we could launch a few rockets. Jim Livingston was up first with his LZ rocket, which took a 38mm six grain I motor with ‘Thing’ propellant. When the button was pushed, it was very apparent that this motor had a lot of Livingston White propellant in it. Ralph Reda joined us again and put up two flights; his Nike Zeus on a longburn CTI I-100, and his Aerotech Initiator on a Aerotech F-52C. Alan Whitmore flew one rocket on Sunday named Extended Irene on a 29mm 6 grain H motor that had Thing propellant in it. Alan likes to say that these motors are filled with propellant from a good neighborhood, which is very true! Robbie Kirk, our New Bern local, flew one rocket, which took an Aerotech E-11J motor. Lexi Tucker has now been to every launch this season so far, but flew her very first rocket this weekend. She prepped Joe Hill’s Yersinia Pestis rocket, dual deployment and all, with one of the G-40Ws from Joe’s Motor Holder rocket that didn’t ignite from the day before. Everything worked perfectly, and she seems pretty intent on going for her L1 certification soon. 

Hopefully we have better weather at the next launch! We can control a lot of variables, but mother nature is not one of them. I’m also working on the schedule for our 2023 season, so keep an eye out for that soon. 

Joe Hill

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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