Launch Report, Bayboro, January 18-19 2020

The weather report was discouraging, the conditions were pretty much exactly as predicted, and people stayed home in droves, but those who came were active and had a good time, although a lot of walking was almost always involved in recovery.   Let me stick in the motor use summary to illustrate the light turnout.

Size Sat Sun Both
A 2   2
C 1   1
D 2   2
E 3   3
F 1 1 2
G 3 5 8
I 1   1
J 1   1
K 1   1
L 2   2
M 1   1
All 18 6 24

There were no successful certification flights this weekend, but two flyers reported their first rocket flight ever.  Daniel Knowler had two flights of his Estes Dragonite on the A6-4 motor and recovered both.   Austin Rich also made his first rocket flight with Alpha 3 on a C6-5.  Congratulations to both of you, and please come back and fly with us again!

Allen Harrell and his grand-dad Tommy Harrell were filling up the skies all day.  The two-stage Cow-cow flew with C6-C6 arrangement and later on a D12-C6 arrangement.  Their Semroc Mars Lander flew on a D12, the Egg Crate and Wigglewump both carried the Aerotech E15W for successful flights, and the Black Leader carried a G26 and then a G125 to successful flights using the Jolly Logic chute release device.

The year got off to a bad start for several rockets and flyers with an unusual amount of rocket carnage on Saturday morning.   Both Estes D12’s used by the Harrells CATO’ed with some damage, and two experienced flyers suffered total losses when rockets came in ballistic with complete or almost complete destruction.  Alan Whitmore and Mike Nay showed up with high hopes and went home minus a rocket and considerably poorer.

The usual EX enthusiasts were on hand, and Jim Livingston flew his I-Roc on a 6-grain 38mm I motor and Kurt Hesse launched his Performer 98 on a 4-grain 54mm K motor made from CP4.   Both flights were successful and recovered intact.   Joe Hill flew his Carbon GTR on an Aerotech J570W for a very fast and exciting flight.

We had two motor flights on Saturday.   The first was made by the NCSU High Power Rocketry Club, who were practicing field prep using last year’s rocket, No Promises, flying on an Aerotech L1390G.  They had a very athletic recovery over beyond the big ditch to the northeast, but all the parts (and students!) came home intact.   Brent Bierstedt brought back his beautiful Black Brant II to fly it on an Aerotech L1040DM.   As I recall, both flight and recovery were successful.

We had a little rain on Saturday night, and the field was cold, wet, and very windy when we arrived about 9:00 in the morning.   A few of the hardest of the hard-core showed up and we flew rockets until about 3:00, when the rapidly plunging temperatures convinced everybody to pack up and go home.   Robbie Kirk was doing a little rocket launching and A LOT of video recording, so maybe he will share the product with us in the future.   He flew 2 different small rockets on F and G power and recovered them with the Jolly Logic.

Paul Schaeffer and Ray Bryant brought out their own tube launcher prototype, called Stalin’s Organ Proto 2, and flew a pair of 3” diameter flip-fin rockets in various combinations on Aerotech G80T single use motors or CTI G80 Skidmark motors.  The flights were all interesting, and not nearly as hazardous as the earlier prototype launches back in 2019.   The stability of the flip-fin rockets was good early in the flights and then they began to wander and cone around.   Strange behavior.

I hope to see most of you next weekend at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh for our annual Astronomy Days exhibition, and then again in February at Bayboro.

Alan Whitmore, Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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Launch Report, Bayboro, November and December 2019

November 2019 was a difficult month for rocketry in North Carolina, but we gathered in the cold and rain on November 23 to get some academic projects airborne to meet a few deadlines.  The big deals for this weekend were the SLI teams from NC State University and University of North Carolina-Charlotte, who had their subscale models to fly and demonstrate stability.  The NC State team fielded a rocket called That’s Hot on an Aerotech J570W and the UNC-Charlotte team brought their Return of the Jedi for a flight with the Aerotech I300T.   The flight card specifies two I300T’s but my memory of the event differs.

Another group of the NCSU HPR club brought out last years’ full scale rocket, No Promises, and trained a lot of new club members on rocket preparation techniques by flying it on an Aerotech L1390G.  We also had two NCSU senior design groups working in their ‘proof-of-concept’ flights.  Team ‘Wolf3’ flew the Magic Bean, and team ‘NASB’ flew NANC (pronounced Nancy) for excellent flights, both using the AT G80T.

Mike Nay was also on site, helping with the equipment and flight prep, and he used the nasty weather to exercise his Double Up 2-stager on an Aerotech I500 in the booster to a CTI I100 long burn in the sustainer.   If memory serves, all parts of this came home in good shape.

Fast forward a few weeks to just before Christmas, December 21.  Temperatures were above freezing but the air was wet and raw and an unfriendly wind was blowing almost directly out of the north.   Here is your motor use summary table:

Size Sat Sun
B 2  
C 1  
D 3  
E 4  
F 1  
G 2  
H 1  
I 5  
J 2 1
K 2  
L 2  
M 1  
Total 26 1

The big news first:  We had two successful certification flights this weekend.  David Vestal, from High Point University, made a successful TRA L1 flight with his Loc kit called Fate Amenable to Change on a CTI I285 CL.  A fine flight and it was recovered with a slightly cracked fin.   Andrew Adams was back in town for the holidays, and made good use of his Saturday to ace the TRA L2 written exam and then fly his Sirius I on an Aerotech J270G.   This was a motor ejection at apogee followed by Jolly Logic deployment at 500 feet, and everything worked perfectly.   Congratulations to both David and Andrew!

Allen and Tommy Harrell were working the lower end of the motor size range with seven flights on Saturday, from the B range all the way to several E flights.  John Allman was also busy with the smaller rockets:  he had six flights on Saturday and only one of those came to a bad end.   John’s Arcas failed to deploy a chute at apogee, and came in ballistic.

Bart Merkley made the trip from SEVRA country to check out the scene at Bayboro and flew his Forte on a Loki H-180 sparky and later the Yellow Crayon flew on another Loki sparky, the I-316.  Allan Rose was giving his short, fat fleet their usual workout with and Aerotech I284W in the Big Cletus, and an Aerotech J275W in his Gremlin.   Mike Nay flew the Double Up again with an Aerotech J435WS in the booster and a CTI I100 RLLB in the sustainer.    Another perfect flight that needed the GPS tracker to bring it home.   The J435WS and I100 long burn add up to a total installed impulse in the K range, so this rocket is listed among Saturday’s K’s.

There were a few memorable Research motor flights this weekend, also.   The biggest event was a collaboration between Joe Hill and Jim Livingston who were attempting to break the 10,000 foot altitude mark and go into the trans-sonic range for the max velocity.   They used Joe’s Iron Moon 4” diameter rocket, and a 3” full L made by Jim from the high Isp* formula Black Velvet.   Both goals were reached with large margins!    12,956’ altitude and Mach 1.25 max velocity.   Recovery was in the same field just a few ditches away.   Congratulations are in order!

Jim Livingston flew his I-Roc on a 6-grain 38mm I motor and his Sea Hawk with a 3” small L made from the very energetic ‘Jim Scarpine Tribute Blue #4b’ propellant.   The flame color and length were just awe-inspiring under slightly cloudy skies.   Alan Whitmore flew the Astro*Mollusk VII on a 6-grain 38mm I motor made from Black Velvet, and the Generic Four Inch on a 5-grain 54mm K motor made from a blue-flame formula.   All of these rockets came home with slight or no damage.

Note:  as we were packing up on Saturday night, I found a stuffed animal on my table.  About 11” long, bright yellow, with transverse black stripes on the back and two rosy dots on the cheeks.  The most interesting anatomical feature of the creature is that its ears are longer than either its arms or legs.  If this is yours, let me know when you are coming to the next launch and I’ll be sure to bring it.

Joe Hill was back on Sunday to fly his Carbon GTR on a Loki J-474-CT 38mm motor for a completely successful flight.    The weather forecast was much worse for Sunday, but the weather turned out to be much better:   the winds died down to essentially nothing, the temps were warmer, and it was just an altogether pleasant day.    But, Livingston and I had flown everything we had on Saturday, Joe was done for the weekend, and nobody else showed up.

We are flying again on the third weekend of January, the 18th and 19th, to allow our members to attend the Astronomy Days festivities at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.   Join us at one or both events if you can.

Alan Whitmore, Prefect Tripoli East NC

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Bayboro Launch 11/16-17/19 Cancelled, Launch added on 11/23/19

Let’s do this 1-day launch on Saturday, November 23.   There is no rain in the forecast until later that afternoon, so Lionel’s yard and the field will be drivable.  The temps will be warmer and the winds much lower on Saturday than Sunday.   I will arrive with the trailer at the time I usually do, around 9:30.

It will benefit everybody for as much prep to be done on the rocket(s) before Saturday morning, because a light drizzle could begin as early as 2:00 or 3:00.  If we do this right, we will all be in our vehicles, dry, and driving home by the time any serious rain starts.

See you Saturday!


I am going to try to get enough equipment to the field on Saturday to launch 1 rocket, the NCSU HPR club subscale.   The weather forecast is not good, but it might improve.  Here is the situation:  my first potential problem point may be when I arrive in Lionel’s back yard to pick up the trailer.   The terrain is low and flat and significant rain will leave standing water.   I don’t want to leave deep ruts in Lionel’s back yard.  It might be necessary to make trips on foot from his driveway to the trailer to unload just the equipment necessary for this launch, and tote it down the road in my truck to the launch site.   The second potential problem will present itself when we get to the field.  If I can pick up the trailer, can I get it off the road into the field?   If this is impossible, I can pull off to the side of the highway and unloaAlan d the trailer there.  In years past we have actually set up on the paved road to avoid getting mud-stuck.

It is not going to be a fun day.   Wet, cloudy and windy is the forecast.  I can’t recommend that anybody show up, I will have enough personnel from NCSU to get the equipment set up and taken down, so I don’t actually need anybody else to attend.  If you do show up I will be grateful for your help and your company.   If you want to fly a rocket under such miserable conditions and it has 10×10 rail buttons, then by all means bring it on out.

The forecast may improve, or it may get worse.  I’ll call in the NOTAM on Thursday and we’ll just see what happens.

If the plan changes, I’ll post the news here.





The weather for this coming weekend is forecast to be extremely bad for rocketry. Rains forecast for Friday and Sunday means that it would be difficult to get the club trailer out of Lionel’s yard, and the winds on both days are right at 20 MPH.

I am going to try to hold a 1-day launch on November 23 or 24 to allow the NCSU HPR club to get their subscale model launched. I’ll let everybody know when that will occur, everybody is invited to join us and fly if they want to (and to help set up and take down the launch equipment!!).

Alan Whitmore, Prefect

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