Launch Report, Bayboro, December 16-17, 2017

The last launch of the 2017 season took place under weather conditions that were just about ideal on both Saturday and Sunday.  The winds were calm both days, and a lot of people were bringing out big motors and going for some real altitude. Our academic teams were also working hard all day on Saturday, and demonstrated that they were very well-prepared.  First the motor use summary:

Size Sat Sun Total
C 1 1 2
D 1 1
E 2 2
F 5 5
G 2 1 3
H 5 1 6
I 5 4 9
J 5 1 6
K 3 1 4
L 0
M 1 1 2
All 30 10 40


I shall try to mention every flyer and work my way through the flight cards in an increasing-motor-size order.  On Saturday, Alexandra Lowery flew her first-ever rocket on a C6 for a fine flight, once we settled a problem with the low-power launch device.  Dennis Hill is working his way through a treasure trove of old kits given to him by David Rushing, and the first today was a Cherokee-D on a D12.  Dennis also brought David’s Lil Nuke to fly on an F15, and the Graduator made a flight on the AT G64W.  One of these had a hard landing when the shock cord frayed through, a problem with old rockets that have been on the shelf for 15 years.

Chuck Hall flew his Astron Cobra on the usual cluster of three motors, this time it was three C6’s, which add up to an E total impulse, so this one is listed in the “E” row in the motor use summary.  Charlie Moss came south from SEVRA-land and enjoyed several good flights.  His Executioner flew on an E9, the Partizon on an F42T and using the Jolly Logic Chute Release, and a LOC Forte using the AT G79W, also recovered with the aid of the very cool Jolly Logic device.  Charlie’s big flight of the day was his Vulcanite on an H165R red-flame motor.  I don’t recall any major incidents with Charlie’s flights.  Randy Regan also made the trip down from Southeast Virginia with Charlie, and he was also busy.  Randy made two flights with his PML Pit Bull, one with the AT H180W and the other with the H220T.

Jonathan Aman was also filling up the mid-power section of the days flights.  His rocket named Blue Tip flew on an F12, the Grey Fin on an F26, and a nice-looking Estes kit called the Mammuth on an F16.  Joe Hill flew the Shorter Spoon on an Aerotech H135W, a 29mm single-use motor that I don’t recall ever seeing before.  Later, Joe flew the Apollo in the Forge of Vulcan on the very sharp Loki I405W.

Allan Rose flew a beautifully finished Minnie-Magg on an H123W, and an I-ROC on the I211W. Charles Long was very busy on Saturday with four successful flights.  The Scorpion flew on an I242, his Red Arrow on the J270, the Fire-Breathing Turtle on the CTI J355 (What else for a Fire-breathing turtle, right?), and finally, he put a J820 in one of Charlie Ogino’s MECO kits, for his big altitude shot of the weekend.  This one was way up in the 8000 foot range, and the Eggfinder Tracker did the job of bringing it home.  Mike Nay has been prepping for a 2-stage flight for a while, and this weekend it all came together.  The Double Trouble was loaded with an I218 in the booster, and a G80 in the sustainer, and everything worked perfectly.  I think the nose-cone came loose at apogee, but otherwise everything worked perfectly.  It was a thing of beauty.  Mike also flew the Yellow Jacket on the new AT K400 Classic.

The team from the NC School of Science and Mathematics flew their NASA Student Launch subscale model on an AT I211W and all of the recovery steps worked perfectly.  This team is working toward the competition in Huntsville next April.  The NCSU Team 2, who were unable to launch a subscale model in November when the weather nullified our Sunday launch day, were able to get their Celestial Being 001 launched with a J420R motor.  This one had 2 altimeters and a recording payload.  This was another fine flight where everything worked just as it should.  The team from High Point University, led by Padraig Clancy, are looking at the IREC competition in New Mexico in the spring.  They had a rocket called Nervous Energy that was loaded with a K560W motor for this flight.  This team had another fine flight where everything came out at the right times.

Dennis Hill attempted an extremely ambitious flight with his Far Point.  He had it loaded with a central H115DM and six G40W’s located around the center.  The goal was to light the six G40’s on the ground, and then air-start the H115 using a Missileworks timer.  The G40’s all lit right on schedule, but for some reason the H115 never got ignited.  No problem, everything was recovered according to plan.  Alan Whitmore flew the Astro*Mollusk 6 to around 8300 feet on a homemade 5-grain 54mm K motor, and then Jim Livingston put the Carbon Hi to the 8900’ region on a very long 3” M motor that hung out the back of the rocket by about 10 inches.

For the first time this autumn, we actually got to come back to the field on Sunday and fly some rockets.  The temperature was slightly warmer, and there was a thin, extremely high cloud layer so the sky was grey/white instead of Saturday’s blue, but the wind was in the right direction, so people started flying high again.

Chuck Hall brought out an Apogee 2, which was made from scratch to plans published by Estes.  This was a 2-stage affair, B6-0 to B6-6, and the sustainer was way out of sight at apogee.  Michael Monteith flew his Warp Core on a G80.  Charles Long was back for a second day and flew the Bad Penny on an H112, and the Blue Toad on a J354.  Both flights worked well I recall, but the Blue Toad was a long way away when it was finally found.

Kurt Hesse flew the veteran Shiny Diner on a 4 grain 38mm homemade motor made from CP4.  Kurt is exploring just how far he can push the Kn on this particular propellant, and this flight, at 240, was extremely fast.  Mike Nay tried the two-stage Double Trouble again using the same motor combination, and this one worked well, also.  Mike also flew a LOC Pro Max on the long-burn I55 motor.  The rocket adopted the characteristic off-vertical flight patch of low-thrust motors, and Mike took a long walk.

Jim Livingston had two good flights using his reliable white-smoke formula; the first involved a 6-grain 38mm I300 in his H-Roc, and then the LZ889 flew on a 5-grain 54mm K570.  The LZ889 recovery involved a fairly long walk but it all came home.  Alan Whitmore was going for a personal altitude record on Sunday with a flight of his Stealth Blue on a 5-grain 76mm M-something.  The altitude record remains unbroken, but this flight did set a recorded speed record with the Raven indicating 1600 feet per second at motor burnout.  This particular flight was carrying not only a radio tracker, but Charles Long’s Egg Finder GPS unit. A good thing it was, too.  The main chute jiggled out at about 8000’ on the way down, and the rocket ended up on the other side of the block of trees located about 1.2 miles in front of us on the flight line.

We will get 2018 started at Bayboro on the weekend of January 20-21, and don’t forget about Astronomy Days on the weekend of January 27-28.  Dave will be looking for volunteers to meet and greet the visitors, display your best-looking rockets, and provide videos, demonstration items for motors, recovery, and on-board electronics and other rocketry related items and literature.  Even if you can only spare an hour or two, come by the museum and share your enthusiasm and experience with a lot of very eager children and adults.

Alan Whitmore

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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Launch Report, Bayboro, November 18, 2017

Saturday was a superb day for rocket activities except that the wind was a little high.  That is really not a factor at Bayboro, it just means that we walked a little farther to get our rockets back.  I’ll leave off the motor use summary for this month and just hit the high spots, in order of increasing motor size.

Jacob Usher and Andrew Katz were gathering data for a high school science fair project, and they were comparing the results of one or more altitude simulation software packages with the actual attained altitudes, as recorded by a small altimeter.   They had two rockets, the Sightseer and the Liftoff, and they flew both on 3 B6 motors and 3 C6 motors.  They were recording wind speed, temperature, and atmospheric pressure at the moment of each flight, so they should have a lot of data for their analysis.  That adds up to 12 flights, all successful, and a lot of running after rockets.  Nice work!

Allen Harrell flew 3 of the 4 remaining C6 motors in his Cow-cow and Red Max.  Dennis Hill flew the other C6 in an old rocket he acquired from David Rushing, called the FireFlash.

Robbie Kirk was obviously “batting for the cycle”, making successful flights in the E, F, G, and H range.   Dan Fritsch, Dennis Hill and Steve Polk were also flying rockets in the F through H range.  Steve gets this month’s Best Rocket Name award with his Adult Supervision Required, which flew on an Aerotech H180W.

For some reason, perhaps related to the wind, a lot of rockets that might have been launched on J or K motors, made very successful flights on I motors.   The I motor was clearly the recurring theme for the November launch this year:  Charles Long flew his extremely robust Blue Toad on a Loki I350, and the new MECO on a Loki I405.  Kurt Hesse flew the lovely Shiny Diner on an Experimental 4-grain 38mm I motor made with the Cu4 blue-flame formula.   Ralph Malone made another great flight with his EZI-65 with the green-flame I245G.  Dan Fritsch flew his Mad Cow Super DX3 on an I357T.  Dennis Hill brought a new rocket made from spare parts found in his workshop, which he dubbed the SP-3, and flew it on an I284W.   There was some deployment difficulties, if I am thinking about the right rocket, but the damage was minimal and SP-3 will be back soon.  Alan Whitmore flew the Astro*Mollusk VII on a homemade 6-grain 38mm I motor made from a low-metals formula called ‘CATO 1’.  And finally, to wrap up the I motors for the weekend, the NCSU High Power Rocketry Club flew their 2017-2018 subscale model, Very Nuts II, on the Aerotech I435T.   The main parachute on this project came out at apogee, so the students from State had one of the longer walks of the weekend.

NC State’s Senior Design team #3, headed by Matthew Lampe, flew a small, ridiculously complex rocket called BMER on an Aerotech J420R, for a perfect flight.  This one flew fairly late in the day, and the students were coming back with the rocket right at sunset.  Ralph Malone flew his Sudden Rush on an AT J350W, but anything that flies on the J350 is sudden!  Joe Hill flew a new rocket called Deus Deceptor on a J570W, which is even suddener.  Mike Nay tried out the J270 in his EZI-65, and the flight and recovery were just fine.

Charles Long flew his Big Nuke on the Loki K960 White motor, and Charles and David had one of the more involved recoveries, way over yonder.  Andrew Eulberg made the trip from South Carolina to attempt some altitude not available at the Camden field.  He brought a slim rocket called the Javelin which he had loaded with the long-burn Aerotech K250.   This rocket was on a great flight until one of the fins came off and it began to cork-screw.  The rocket broke in half, with the front section including electronics bay, coming down under drogue, and the motor and remaining fins continued on under full power.  That portion has not been recovered yet.

Joe Hill flew his L3 rocket, Short Spoon, on the lovely Loki L1487 Blue motor, and recovered it safely.  The big event on Saturday was the flight of Jim Livingston’s venerable Viper on a homemade 115mm full M motor, made from his white-smoke formula.  Slow, stately takeoff, LOTS of smoke and noise, and a perfect recovery over to windward, in a place where very few rockets were coming down.   When a rocket weighs 106 lbs, the wind can’t do much with it until the main parachute comes out.

Sunday was a heartbreaker.   Clear skies, warm temps, and a wind that was so bad it was hard to stand up straight.   One of the NCSU Senior Design teams was planning to fly on Sunday, but they have been pushed back to December.   I hope to see you all there for the weekend of December 16-17.

Alan Whitmore

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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Launch Report, Bayboro, October 28, 2017

Our second October launch in 2017 was similar to the first launch (see previous report) in that it was a half-good weekend.  The weather Saturday was just about perfect:  a few high clouds in the morning that disappeared later in the day, and then some extremely high and fluffy clouds moved in.  Temps were in the 60’s in the morning and warmed to the low ‘70s later in the day, the wind was in the wrong direction, but calm by Bayboro standards.  Sunday was just foul, and I managed to get the trailer pulled off the muddy field and parked at Lionel’s house by 10:00 AM.  There was just a drizzle when I hooked up the trailer, but one of the tropical storm bands of rain moved in while I drove up 306, and I dropped the trailer in rain so heavy I couldn’t see the back of Lionel’s house.

This was a great weekend for seeing old friends.  The biggest surprise was seeing Stewart Whiteman, who has not been to an event in Bayboro for at least 5 years, maybe more.  Stewart came to re-certify L1 in TRA, and made a perfect flight with a rocket called Rudd on an H148R.  Dave Hash always helps out with the Astronomy Days events every January, but we hadn’t seen him at a launch in a few years, so it was a delight to see him back in agriculture-land.  David Cox was back for his second launch of the season, making several flights in the E through H range.

We were also privileged to see another successful flight on Saturday, when Joseph LoBuglio used an Aerotech H128W for a perfect flight in his Arcas for a NAR level 1 certification.

This is the season when our academic teams bring out their projects for preliminary performance analysis.   The NC School of Science and Math TARC team, led by Sahil Sethi, brought a rocket called Halo, that they flew twice on Aerotech E28s.  The details are not recorded, but I recall that deployment was safe in both flights.  Lorenzo Shaikewitz is leading another TARC team from Jordan HS and they flew a rocket called Waddle three times on the AT F39, for successful, informative flights.   The Jordan Rocket Team also brought out a rocket called Dark Matters that they plan to enter in the Battle of the Rockets.  This one flew on an AT J500G for a perfect flight and recovery.  For some reason, the lander did not manage to fall out of it’s deployment bag, so that aspect needs a little work.  Somewhere in all the other student flights, NCSSM student Jennifer Wolfe flew an Estes Maxi Alpha Three just for fun on an AT F24, for another perfect flight.

A bunch of the regulars were back doing what they do well.  Allen Rose, Chuck Hall, Kurt Hesse and Dave Morey all had excellent flights.  Dave Morey nailed another one of his spectacular air-start extravaganzas:  loading up hi Loc IV with an AT I245G, followed up by 3 Estes E9s, and then 3 D5s 2 seconds later.   At least one E9 blew up and some of the D5s may have lit, but it is had to tell from the ensuing fire and damage in the motor airframe. When I add up the total impulse of all seven motors, it still classifies in the I range, so this flight is listed among the I motors in the motor use summary.

Jim Livingston was very busy on Saturday, making three  flights on homemade Research motors.  The H-Roc flew twice on 6-grain 38mm I motors, one was a mixture of a little of this and a little of that, and the second flight was made with the extremely exciting “Jim Scarpine Tribute Blue #4” propellant.  Then, later in the day, he flew his 7.5” diameter V-2 on a 5-grain 54mm K motor made with a white-smoke propellant.  All three flights put the main parachute out at apogee (by design), so Jim did a LOT of walking on Saturday, for a man of his age.   Also in the Research area was a spectacular motor failure by your correspondent, in which a 4-grain 54mm K motor blew out the forward bulkhead at ignition, destroying 90% of the Generic Four Inch, a rocket that has been around for 13 years and would have made its 69th flight, if it had stayed together.  The design is just too good to abandon, and you will see Generic Four Inch II at some future launch.

The big deal of the weekend was a joint endeavor by Dennis and Joe Hill, who flew a beautiful scale model of the Honest John on an Aerotech L850W.   This rocket actually needs more motor than the L850, because the HJ laid over coming off the rail like it wanted to play like a real battlefield nuclear weapon and go destroy one of farmer Rice’s barns or something like that.  It got to about 35 to 40 degrees off vertical before the power band really came alive, and it continued straight at that angle.  Max altitude somewhere around 2180 feet.

I hope to see all of you in November…..

Alan Whitmore, Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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