Launch Report, Bayboro, November 20-21, 2021

The weather this weekend was once again exceptional for rocketry, giving us very little cloud coverage and moderate temperatures. Saturday started off a little chilly and windy, but the temperature got to a very comfortable 65 degrees around noon. Sunday was a little warmer, but with virtually no winds. Here is the motor table summary for this weekend’s activities.

Motor Saturday Sunday Total
A   2 2
B   1 1
C   5 5
D 1 5 6
E 1 1 2
F 1 1 2
G 2   2
H 3   3
I 5 2 2
J 7   7
K 3 3 6
L 2 3 5
Total 25 23 48

As always, successful certifications are the most important part of any launch. David Vestal joined us again and this time he brought along a 4″ diameter, scratch built rocket that he called Untitled Spacecraft.ork (I have a sneaking suspicion that this is the name of the Open Rocket simulation file for this rocket). David chose the classic Aerotech J-350W for power and had an Altus Metrum Easymini riding along for a textbook dual deploy flight. Congratulations to David on a successful Level 2!!

We had three schools out this weekend – NC State, NC A&T and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. The NCSSM have been working about as hard as I’ve even seen on their rocket B.R.R.D.S. (Best Rocketry Research Determination System), and they finally got a chance to launch, two years after they started building this project (due to the pandemic). The whole goal of this rocket was to go supersonic, 10,000ft +, gather data off of air-pressure sensors that were installed in the nose cone, and get a 360 degree panoramic video. Not long after they showed up on site, they were ready for launch. This was a 3″ diameter thin-walled fiberglass rocket with in-house made carbon fins. They chose an Aerotech L-1000W for power which gave them a 23:1 thrust to weight ratio. The lift-off was almost explosive, and you could tell how excited the students and their parents were by the eruption of cheers and applause. B.R.R.D.S. reached a max altitude of 11,973ft AGL at a top velocity of 997mph or Mach 1.3, with a max acceleration of 26Gs, coming back completely unscathed. Unfortunately, the cameras shut off upon ignition. But, they met most of their goals and deserve some serious credit.

NC A&T came down to launch their rocket AR on an Aerotech H-180W, carrying an Altus Metrum Telemetrum altimeter which gathered some telemetry and took care of the deployment events. Their flight was perfect and I’m sure we’ll be seeing them fly that rocket again soon. NC State’s High Powered Rocketry Club flew two rockets this weekend – the first was a rocket they call That’s Hot, loaded with an Aerotech I-435T. If I remember correctly, they had installed an air-break system with cameras mounted near the brakes so they could have physical video proving whether or not the air brakes worked. Their second flight was with a rocket called Tragedy which flew on an Aerotech K-805G. This rocket was loaded with two cameras, a visual inertial data collection system and a weight simulator. Both of NC State’s flights were perfect, which isn’t surprising. All around, it was a great weekend for rocketry in academia, both from a secondary and collegiate standpoint.

We had our typical hardcore regulars on site this weekend, all of whom got to fly one rocket, if not more. Brent Bierstedt has been patiently awaiting the proper conditions to clear out his sparky motor inventory and had two perfect flights on Saturday. The first was a Loki J-396SF in his Patriot, and the second was a AMW K-1075SM in his Bullpup – both of which were beautifully finished military scale models. Matt Willis put up two projects successfully; his Punisher on a Aerotech J-540R and his Wild Child on an Aerotech H-165R. Robbie Kirk brought out his family and they launched a few rockets together as a unit. Alan Whitmore brought out his Astro Mollusk 7 and put that up on a research six grain I motor, stuffed with Thing propellant. Paul Kramer had a couple outstanding launches on Saturday – the first was his Energizer II on a cluster of 3xI-211s, 2xI-284s, and 2 J-350s, all Aerotech White Lightning motors. These seven motors were all ground started and put out a magnificent orange flame with some seriously dense white smoke. Paul’s second flight was with his HV Arcas on an Aerotech J-800T. Mike Nay flew one of his usual two stage rockets with an Aerotech I-500T in the booster and a CTI J-140WT in the sustainer. Ralph Reda, Allan Rose, Mark Peot and Ralph Malone all had successful flights as well.

Sunday dawned beautifully and gave us a second opportunity to take advantage of the exceptional weather. Richard Powers and Ian Hartshorn kept the low power pads busy, both launching four or five rockets each. Jim Livingston brought out his Sea Hawk and put it up on a research two grain 76mm motor which he designated a K-700 (filled with his white smoke formula). Alan Whitmore flew a new rocket that he calls Five Point Five on a trimodal form of his reliable Black Velvet formula, this one in a five grain 54mm configuration which I’m going to guess came out to be something like a K-800 or K-900. He also flew his Red Flag of Mortal Peril on a four grain 38mm I motor with Thing propellant. Joe Hill and Jim Livingston did another project together; this time Joe brought out his 7.5″ rocket that he calls Short Spoon and Jim provided a three grain 76mm L-1200 that had Ferric Fudge propellant. Mike Nay put up a three stage rocket on Sunday with an Aerotech K-1100T in the booster, a CTI J-425BS in the second stage and a CTI J-357 in the third stage, just utterly impressive. Greg Hanson is a new Bayboro attendee and he flew a 5.5″ rocket that he calls Everest Test on a CTI L-1395BS for a perfect flight. John Allman joined us on Sunday and put up three or four rockets. Brent Bierstedt finished out the day with his 5.5″ Honest John which flew on an Aerotech K-540MS.

As always, I had an excellent time this weekend, and I hope everyone who came out did as well. We’ll be back out in Bayboro on the weekend of Dec. 18th. Come join us if you can!

Joe Hill
Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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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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