Launch Report, Bayboro, September 24-25, 2022

As summer begins to come to an end, the fall welcomes another season of rocketry in south eastern North Carolina. Saturday dawned sunny and clear with winds that stayed light and variable throughout the entire day. Temperatures were in the upper 50s in the morning, and only rose to around 75 by mid-afternoon. Sunday was slightly hotter, and much windier. Here is the motor table summary for this weekend’s activities. 


The most important part of any launch are certification flights, and we had five successful certifications this weekend. First up was Eric Peot who was after a Level 1 certification with the Tripoli Rocket Association. He brought along with him a Mac Performance kit that he named LithoProbe which flew on an Aerotech H-100W for a nominal flight. Cameron Brown was up second with a Loc Precision Ezi-65 that he named Sonder. Cameron chose an Aerotech I-300T for power and he achieved his Level 1 certification with no problem. Ben Lewis joined us for a re-attempt at his Level 1 with a newly built 4″ diameter Loc Precision kit that he named You Can Fit a Lot of Text on a Rocket This Long. Ben threw an Aerotech I-366R in his rocket and had a perfect dual deployment flight for his Level 1 certification with the TRA. Meredith Patterson was in search of her Level 2 certification and would not be disappointed. She flew a 2.6″ diameter fiberglass rocket that was named Echo on an Aerotech J-250W for a successful Level 2. Donald Gemmel would be the last person who was seeking certification on Saturday, and he did so by flying his Super Wicked Rocket on an Aerotech I-180W for another successful Level 1. Congratulations to Eric, Cameron, Ben, Meredith and Donald!!

Ralph Malone joined us again and put up one flight on Saturday – his Quicksilver rocket on an Aerotech H-130W with a Jolly Logic chute release set to 400′. Dave Morey comes out and launches with us every now and again, and put up a couple of rockets early in the day. Up first was his Upscale Arreaux on an Aerotech J-460T. I believe Dave had a camera on this rocket, so it’d be nice to see that footage at some point. He later flew a rocket named Big Daddy Cluster on an Aerotech F-51NT and air started four Estes D-12s with a Raven altimeter. 

A few of the regulars were out keeping the range busy on Saturday. Mike Nay flew a two stage rocket (par for the course) hat he calls Double Shot. This particular time, Mike chose a CTI J-760WT for booster propulsion, and an Aerotech J-460T for the sustainer. Mark Peot flew two rockets; the first being Lydia, the Rocket on an Aerotech J-415W, and the second being Cheerwine on an Aerotech K-550W. Mark knows what he’s doing and he took both rockets back home with him. Alan Whitmore flew the largest rocket this weekend – a 7.5″ diameter scratch build that he calls Spork II with a homemade 115mm motor filled with CP5 (copper propellant, 5% aluminum). I counted about four seconds of burn time, and CP5 in this configuration falls somewhere in the 11,000Ns range, so I’ll ball park this designation at a N-2750. This motor put out a wonderfully deep, bass rich sound and bright blue flame with white smoke which took Alan’s rocket to just over 10,000ft. An absolutely spectacular flight. Kurt Hesse has been flying a lot of a propellant called Everclear (due to it’s transparent flame and no smoke) as of late, and he flew his Butt Ugly rocket on three grain 38mm version of said propellant for a nice quick flight. Probably about a H-200 or so. Joe Hill put up his 4″ diameter work horse rocket that he calls Iron Moon on an Aerotech L-1520T, which took it just over the speed of sound and 10,600′.

Abhi Kondagunta flew a project called Chimken Temdy, a version of NC State’s Bojangles inspired rocket that was meant to test out a new motor/fin assembly design on an Aerotech J-420R. Matt Willis brought out his Drago rocket and flew it on an Aerotech J-540R for a nice flight. His daughter, Morgan, joined him this weekend and she flew rocket called Chuffed to Bits on an Aerotech J-415W. Both of these flights were perfect and I’m sure we’ll see Matt and Morgan again. Tom Keith made the trip down to Bayboro and had a few really nice fights. One of which I think may have been the most interesting flight this weekend; a 3D printed yellow cone that was about 2″ in diameter and flew on a A-10 motor. After making a flight profile that wasn’t exactly straight, it tumbled back into the soft, turned farm land. I’m sure Tom has a lot of fun flying that little thing. He later went on to fly his Red Reaper rocket on the new Aerotech J-615T, equipped with an aerospike nozzle, and his Dark Star Mini on the insanely fast CTI F-120 Vmax. Allan Rose had two great flights as usual – his Bandit on an Aerotech I-161W and his Sun Dog on an Aerotech J-350W. Paul Olivieri joined us for the first time and he put up his PML Endeavor on the long burn CTI I-100CL and brought it back home after a long walk. Allen Harrel, Richard Powers, Robbie and Samuel Kirk kept the low power pads busy for most the day Saturday with all sorts of A, B, C, and D powered rockets.

Sunday was much slower, and there were only a few fights. Alan Whitmore started the day out by flying his Red Flag of Mortal Peril on a 4 grain 38mm research motor. Shortly there after, he flew his Astro Mollusk 7 on a six grain 38mm motor with Thing propellant. I speak on this propellant every so often – Thing propellant is a mixture of the left over propellant from several mixing sessions that would otherwise get thrown away. Alan is not one to waste good propellant, so he packs a 38mm casting tube with these scraps and once it’s filled, cuts and cores it. Alan told me that this was the 98th flight of this particular rocket, and the 76th Thing motor. The commercial equivalent of this motor is about $70 in 2022, so I’ll let you all do the math there. 😉 

NC A&T was the only university that we hosted this weekend and they flew a 3″ diameter rocket on an Aerotech H-128 as an interest launch to try and get more students involved in their high-power rocketry program. Robbie Kirk finished out the launch with his 2.0 RI rocket that went up on an Aerotech single use G-74W.

It was really nice to get back out to Bayboro and launch rockets with everyone. I hope those of you that attended enjoyed your time, and I look forward to seeing you in a few weeks. Join us if you can!

Joe Hill

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

Posted in Launch Reports | Comments Off on Launch Report, Bayboro, September 24-25, 2022

Launch Report, Bayboro, April 23-24, 2022

It’s been quite some time since Mother Nature has given us the type of weather we received this weekend. Saturday’s forecast gave us almost completely clear skies with temperatures hovering in the upper 70s, and virtually no surface winds. Sunday started out basically the same as far as the clear skies and temperature went, but the winds were a little higher. I’ll list the motor table summary below for this weekend’s launch.

A1 1
C2 2
D2 2
F 11
G 11
L2 2
M3 3

Matt Willis was the first to go on Saturday and set the bar for flying rockets early with his Space Dragon rocket (his original L3 build that we’ve been seeing a lot of recently). He chose an Aerotech M-1315W for power and the Space Dragon had a nice climb to about 11,500ft AGL or so. He later flew his Zephyr XL on an Aerotech J-250W for a nominal flight. Brent Bierstedt brought out two rockets on Saturday – his 54mm minimum diameter Mongoose which had a long, slow ride on the classic Aerotech I65W, and his 4” diameter Nike Smoke which had the opposite type of flight on an AMW K-670RR. Ralph Reda hauled out a stout 7.5” Loc Precision Patriot and put that up on a CTI L-851WT. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe this was a test flight for his L3 certification that he plans on going for in the fall. Mike Nay shot par by flying a two stage Nike Tomahawk with an Aerotech L-1170FJ in the booster and an Aerotech J-340M in the sustainer. Nick Pyrtle got bit by the HPR bug in a big way and after getting his Level 2 certification just last weekend, he skipped all the in-between stuff and went straight to flying an L motor. Specifically, he chose a CTI L-935 Imax to stuff in his 3” Cloud Maiden which took it to slightly over 12,000ft. Nick’s got everything figured out with that rocket, and he brought it back without a scratch. The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics joined us again on Saturday and brought with them a scratch built 4” diameter rocket that they call Phoenix. An Aerotech K-1103X was chosen for propulsion which delivered a nice, fast flight to just shy of a mile. The electronics performed their duty and the NCSSSM brought Phoenix back home and I’m sure we’ll see that rocket fly again. Allan Rose kept the range busy with three flights, as did Richard Powers, Mark Peot, and Robbie Kirk. Joe Hill went for a personal altitude attempt on Saturday with his 4” diameter rocket named Iron Moon. This time he chose an Aerotech M-1500G for power and Iron Moon achieved an altitude of 13,244’.

Last weekend, we had four successful certification attempts, and this weekend we had FIVE successful certifications. Excellent! Ana Vestal was the first to go for a certification attempt on Saturday. She flew her Loc IV rocket named The Unicorn on an Aerotech H-219T for a successful Level 1 certification. Up next was Alex Laughrey who was also going for a Level 1 certification. She brought along her rocket 13 Voices and chose an Aerotech H-219T for the motor. After a quick boost, the parachute came out right on time and Alex achieved her Level 1 certification as well. Jeff Regester made the trip down to Bayboro and was on a serious mission to get not only his Level 1 certification, but also his Level 2 certification. Jeff brought out his 4” diameter rocket named Level 2 (an Apogee Components kit) and put it up on a CTI I-255 for a successful Level 1 certification. He then aced his Level 2 written exam and put the same rocket up on an Aerotech J-250W for a perfect flight. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen someone get their Level 1 and Level 2 in the same day. Awesome! Jack Sommer was the last to go on Saturday, and he was also after a Level 2 certification. Jack chose an Aerotech J-315R for his attempt and his rocket Lucid Daydreams had a perfect flight. Congratulations to Ana, Alex, Jeff and Jack!!!

Sunday dawned sunny and breezy, but the breeze was welcome because by about noon, we were approaching almost 80 degrees. If you have ever been out to Bayboro, you’re aware of how it’s almost impossible to hide from the sunshine due to how wide open the field is. Attendance was much lower, but those who attended had just as much fun as they did on Saturday. Mike Nay got things going with his Pink Lady rocket which went up on an CTI K-360WT. Mike later flew his 2.6” diameter Blue Iguana rocket on an Aerotech K-550W for a nice high flight. Brent Bierstedt came back out on Sunday and flew his 4” Little John on a CTI I-303 and his 2.6” Patriot on an Aerotech F-51T. Ben Mount came down from Cary for the first time since the beginning of the season to put up his Loc IV on an Aerotech G-125T which turned in a perfect flight. Kurt Hesse flew the only research motor of the weekend in his 54mm diameter rocket that he affectionately refers to as Butt Ugly. The motor was a three grain 38mm motor loaded with Everclear propellant, which probably ended up being something like an H-150 or so. Joe Hill was back with his Voodoo Ranger rocket which went up on a Loki J-320R and knocked on the front door of a mile. Richard Powers closed the season out with his Baby Bertha on an Estes C6-5. 

And just like that, another season has come to an end for Tripoli East North Carolina. I had an excellent time getting to fly rockets with you all, and look forward to doing it again beginning at the end of September. Come join us if you can!

Joe Hill

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

Posted in Launch Reports | Comments Off on Launch Report, Bayboro, April 23-24, 2022

Launch Report, Bayboro, April 16-17, 2022

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.

B1 1
D1 1
L4 4
M1 1
N 11

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.

Joe Hill

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

Posted in Launch Reports | Comments Off on Launch Report, Bayboro, April 16-17, 2022