Launch Report, Bayboro, October 23-24, 2021

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
A 4 4
B 1 6 7
C 1 5 6
D 4 1 5
E 1 1
F 3 1 4
G 6 1 7
H 8 2 10
I 2 4 6
J 4 4 8
K 1 2 3
L 2 2
Total 37 26 63

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!

Joe Hill

Prefect, Tripoli East NC


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Bayboro Launch Canceled, October 9-10 2021

I’ve tried to wait as long as I could to see if the weather is going to clear up this weekend, and it’s just looking absolutely atrocious for rocketry. The field is going to see a lot of rain, and since we have to park on the field(we’re still backed up in the corner along the deep well), I don’t want to have a whole lot of vehicles driving on the field, potentially getting stuck. We could park along the road, but Paul Farm Rd. sees 2-3 times more traffic than the road we normally park along, and I don’t feel comfortable having everyone set up there either.

So – having said that, I’m canceling this weekend’s launch. Let’s hope the weather is better in two weeks and we’ll try again!

Joe Hill

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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Launch Report, Bayboro, September 25-26, 2021

I don’t think that we could have ordered better weather for the first launch of the 2021-2022 season. Saturday gave us clear skies, moderate temperatures, and light winds. You could tell that several eager fliers wanted to take advantage of this weather because we had one of the largest attendances that I’ve seen in quite some time. The weather on Sunday was very similar to Saturday, but slightly windier. We had a total of 74 flights this weekend, and I’ll list the motor table summary below.

Motor Sat. 9/25 Sun. 9/26 Total
A 7 7
B 7 7
C 5 5
D 7 7
E 2 1 3
F 3 3
G 3 1 4
H 8 3 11
I 8 6 14
J 4 2 6
K 3 3
L 3 3
M 1 1
Total 61 13 74

As always, the most important part of any launch are successful certifications. We had three Level 1 certifications on Saturday. Ben Mount made the trip down and brought his Loc IV rocket, along with an Aerotech H-180W for propulsion. This is a great kit/motor combination for a Level 1 certification and Ben’s flight was flawless. Sean Aiton and Mike Pudlo are both NC State students who had successful L1 certification flights as well. Sean had a rocket he calls Sky High, and Mike had a rocket he calls Wish You Were Here (a nod to Pink Floyd). They both chose an Aerotech H-242T motor and each flight was nominal. Congratulations to all!

A lot of the hardcore regulars were on site this weekend and found some time to put up a least one project. Alan Rose flew his Warlok on an I-284W, possibly one of my favorite commercial 38mm motors. He was also able to get his Bandit in the air on an Aerotech I-161W. Mark Peot is a relatively new Bayboro regular and he flew a couple rockets earlier in the day on Saturday, all of which were successful. Joe Hill flew a new rocket; a 6″ diameter 1/2 Little John missile replica on an Aerotech L-1520T. Brent Bierstedt never ceases to amaze me with the finishes on his rockets, and on Saturday he put up his gorgeous 7.5″ diameter, 60lb Patriot on a Loki M-1650 Cocktail motor. For those who don’t know, Loki’s signature Cocktail loads have a mixture of blue and red grains, giving off a fluorescent pink flame with visible Mach diamonds. Brent’s flight was perfect, and he brought the Patriot back home with him. There were several other regulars that joined us – Mike Nay, Robbie Kirk, Ralph Malone, John Allman, and Dan Fritsch to name a few.

It’s becoming more and more common to have not just one, but several universities out at the field. We were joined by NC State and Duke on Saturday, both of whom put up ‘interest’ flights to try and get more students involved in their respective High Power Rocketry programs. Duke AERO flew one of their projects from last year; a two stage rocket with a CTI K-1440WT in the booster and a CTI J-295C in the sustainer. NC State was back with their 81.5 rocket that they’ve been successfully flying for quite some time now. They chose an Aerotech L-1520T for power, and their flight went off without a hitch.

Sunday was much slower in terms of attendance and flights, but that’s pretty common. Alan Whitmore started things out with his Astro Mollusk rocket on a 6 grain 38mm I motor. I happened to notice that he labeled this motor Thing 71. To catch you up to speed – a Thing motor is stuffed with the leftover propellant from multiple mixing sessions. So, this is I motor #71 that would have otherwise just been thrown away. Jim Livingston also flew a Thing motor, and he designated his an I-350. These guys don’t let good propellant go to waste!

Later in the afternoon, Alan also put up Bertrand Brinley’s Beta on a 2 grain 54mm J motor that was stuffed with Livingston White propellant, which is Jim Livingston’s White Lightning clone. Joe Hill was back on site with his Pink Dog rocket, which flew on a Loki J-712B. Mike Nay, Robbie Kirk and Dan Fritsch all stayed busy throughout the day and Ralph Malone finished out the weekend by flying his Quicksilver rocket on an Aerotech H-130W.

I had an absolutely amazing time this weekend, and I hope everyone that attended did too. Thank you to everyone who served as RSO/LCO or simply lent a hand when they could. We’ll be back out in Bayboro on the weekend of October 9th, and I hope to see you then!

Joe Hill

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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