Launch Report, Bayboro, February 24-25, 2018

I better get this launch report started before we hold the next launch or I will get things confused.  Saturday was extremely busy, with lots of scout troops, TARC teams, BOTR teams and University teams all trying to get information about their projects and making qualifying flights.  At least two boy scout troops were on hand working on merit badges.  The morning was a non-stop blur of A motor flights, with other scouts using the triangulation method to gauge maximum height.  Twenty-three A motors got used up in essentially identical kits.  One glance at the motor use summary will let you know just what a madhouse it was at the LCO table.

Size Sat Sun Total
A 23 23
B 3 3
C 2 2
D 2 2
E 2 1 3
F 7 7
G 2 1 3
H 4 4
I 7 7
J 5 1 6
K 6 1 7
L 3 3
M 1 1
Total 67 4 71

I’ll hit the high spots by proceeding through the motors in order of increasing motor impulse.  Cade Brinkely found a little spool somewhere, and he was flying it on a C6 and a D10.  It was a great pleasure to see Tanner Lovelace again, and he was extremely busy on Saturday. I have cards for flights he made using an A8, E9, Cesaroni F120, and an F79.  Two Jordan High School TARC teams were hard at work getting data on the Aerotech F67, one group with The Mighty Sven, and the other with a rocket called Nemo, Fish of the Sky.  Dave Morey brought out another one of his masterpieces of complexity, called the Cluster 10.  This rocket left the pad using six D12’s in two side-pods that fell off and were recovered under their own parachutes, and then air-startedfour4 E9’s.  Three of the E9s failed, which is to be expected.  The total installed impulse on this very challenging combination was more than 160 N.s, so this flight is classified under the H motors in the motor use summary.   Jordan HS also has a team working on the Battle of the Rockets competition this year, and they flew their entry Valkyrie on an Aerotech I284W for a fine flight.

Cluster 10 liftoff and sustainer ignition. Photos by Jim Livingston.

Cluster 10 E9 fireballs from onboard video.

After a long layoff to pursue other hobbies (ask him about lawn-mower pulling, sometime) Lionel Overton, one of Tripoli East NC’s best friends, was back with a beautifully finished Black Brant II  which he flew for an L1 Tripoli certification using the AT I285R.  A successful flight and on to level 2!  Mike Nay is getting very good at staging, and on Saturday he made it work again with a flight of his Double Trouble on a CTI I345 staging to a CTI H163.  Charles Long made his last flight with a rocket called The Fire-Breathing Turtle on a Loki J175.  The flight card does not contain any details of what actually happened, but Charles reports that it is indeed not reparable.

Tanner Stroup flew his Fast Mess on one of my homemade J motors and the combination worked well for a perfect recovery.  Brent Bierstedt also had a taste for some high-impulse propulsion and used the Loki J712 in his larger V2 for another fine flight.

In this paragraph I will get into a group of school groups who are all working toward the NASA Student Launch Initiative contest that will occur in Huntsville, AL on April 3 through 8.  The North Carolina School of Science and Math had their as-yet unnamed rocket on hand to fly with the K1000, an Aerotech Blue Thunder motor.  High Point University was also there with another K1000 that they flew in their Nervous Energy.  The team from UNC-Charlotte brought out Rocket Rick and flew that one on an Aerotech L1500.  The High Power Rocketry Club from NC State University made an attempt with their Flat Earth Research Vehicle using an Aerotech L2200G.  This rocket wins my “Best Rocket Name of the Month” award!  All of our High School and University teams had successful flights, but the NCSU rocket sustained some damage that will require a repair and another qualifying flight.

NCSSM NASA SL rocket first flight, K1000T. Photo by Jim Livingston.

Jim Livingston flew his Carbon High on a 3” L motor made from the ridiculously fast ‘Jim Scarpine Tribute Blue #4b’ propellant.  That one topped out at almost 10,000 feet but was recovered fairly close.  The only M flight of the weekend was made by Joe Hill with his L3 rocket, Short Spoon, on the Aerotech M1297W.  Completely successful, as I recall.

I don’t recall what was wrong with Sunday, maybe the weather got cold or windy or both.  There were only four flights attempted on Sunday.  Robbie Kirk flew his Terra Cotta in an E23 and his Red and White on a G77.  Mike Nay made another 2-stage flight on Sunday, this time with his Double Shot on an AT J460T staging to an AT I357T.  This one also worked perfectly and was recovered intact.

Then, I launched the newly rebuilt Generic Four Inch on a homemade 4-grain K motor, and both altimeters failed to fire at apogee and the rocket hit the asphalt road at full speed.  I am sure that many of you have had rockets come in ballistic and hit the dirt, but until you hit something hard like pavement, you don’t know how total destruction can be.

Alan Whitmore

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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Launch Report, Bayboro, January 20-21, 2018

The weather in Bayboro was never in doubt for this weekend, but a lot of the flyers in our club live in the central part of the state, and we had between 6 and 12” of snow on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a lot of people were not sure they were going to be able to drive safely on Saturday morning.   However, the temps were very warm on Friday, and most of the hard-core managed to get themselves out and on the road.  Skies were clear and sunny both days, windy on Saturday and very, very calm on Sunday.   Let’s have a look at the motor use summary:

Size Sat Sun Both
C 3   3
F 5   5
G 1   1
H 6   6
I 8 2 10
J 1 4 5
K   2 2
M   2 2
N   1 1
Total 24 11 35


Eli Maybee anchored the upper end of the motor use summary with fine flights of his Litch King  on C6’s and one very nice flight on his Viper with an F27.  Dennis Hill had another C motor flight in a very small Big Dawg that he acquired from David Rushing.  Gordon Cameron has visited Bayboro a few times recently and this month he actually flew a rocket called Majestic on an F15.   This flight was somewhat less than stable, and the Majestic made 3 or 4 full turns before finally exhausting the long-burn F15.  Gordon is one of the old Whitakers hands, and last flew with us about 20 years ago.

The Jordan High School TARC team was there on Saturday, and they made 3 flights with their entry, called Waddle, on the F39 motor.  The data gathered during these flights will help with the modifications they need to make going forward into the national competition.  Thomas Cox flew he new Madcow Formula 38 on an AT G76G.  This rocket was blown out towards the Northeast, after the parachute came out, and was never recovered.  I am fairly sure this was an all-fiberglass rocket, so even if it rains a lot in the next few months, somebody will find it and bring it back in a fly-able condition.

The most important flights at any launch are the certification flights.  We had two successful cert flight on Saturday:  Ralph Reda brought a new rocket called Steeler #1 and flew it on an AT H112J.  Ralph used the Altus Metrum electronics package to bring the parachutes out and recovered successfully.   Lorenzo Shaikewitz flew his rocket called Hope on an I211W for a successful Junior Level 1 certification.   Congratulations to both of you!

Steve Polk debuted a new rocket called Rocket 1, which is a very exact model of the Washington monument (with some fins for stability).  Steve was trying for an airstart, with a central I200W to get the project going, and 2 F40W motors lighting up a few seconds later.  Things did not go exactly as planned, and the F40’s did not light, and the black powder charge blew out one of the sides of the monument, but the parachute came out and brought everything back soft.  Joe Hill brought out another new rocket, the Voodoo Ranger and flew it on an AT I245G, for a fine flight.

You will notice a lack of very large motors on Saturday, and the reason was the wind, which was really quite high.  Everybody was taking long walks on Saturday.   Sunday was an entirely different proposition:  very calm winds and warm temperatures.  The star of the show on Sunday had to be Jim Livingston.   Jim flew his Sea Hawk on a homemade N3400 to within a few meters of the 17,500 foot waiver, and recovered on the field!  This was a magnificent flight, and the recovery was just perfect.   Somewhat later, while your correspondent was recovering the shattered remains of his rocket, Jim flew his extremely up-scale Fat Boy  on another homemade motor, this time in the M range.  Recovery was nominal for this rocket also, but it took the efforts of several people to bring the parts home.  That nose cone was ballasted very, VERY heavy.

Thomas Cox is coming back to the hobby in a big way. On Sunday he certified Level 2 with his rocket called Liberty 4 on a K550W.  This was another text-book flight that worked perfectly.

There are 3 cards in the pile from three different Duke University teams, all coached by Greg Twiss.  The rockets were fairly simple single-stage recovery Nike Smoke  models, and they all flew on the J450 Dark Matter motor.  Each rocket was loaded with a suite of electronic data-gathering equipment, and they were recording air pressure, speed, relative humidity, acceleration, a Geiger counter on one of them, and some light sensors on another.  There were GPS units riding along to help with recovery.  I have not heard any reports about how the data gathering and recording went, but we will hear more in the future, as Greg reports that they all want to come back and fly some more.

Mike Nay is really getting into the two-stage  thing.    On Sunday he had another great flight with his Double Trouble which flew on an I280 in the booster staging to an H112J in the sustainer.  All the parts came home just as planned.

I hope to see most of you at Bayboro on the 24th and 25th of February if the weather cooperates.

Alan Whitmore

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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Astronomy Days 2018

Last weekend we had another successful Astronomy Days exhibit at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh.

We were selling Semroc Boid kits at cost for the first time. We sold out all 30 kits on the first day. As an enticement to get people out to the Butner launch next weekend we offered free motors if people bring a built kit to the launch. The hope is this will get more new people out to the launch.

The NC State University Tachos Lycos team displayed many of their projects and helped out as exhibitors. In addition, the NC School of Science and Math and Jordan High School teams were displaying their past payloads and rockets and getting some public speaking experience.

The museum counted 14,064 visitors over the two days.

Thanks to all who supplied display items  and volunteered as exhibitors.

Dave Morey

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