Launch Report, Butner, August 26, 2017

After a grueling June and July, we finally caught a break in the weather and had a (relatively) cool Saturday for our launch at Butner, the last Butner launch of 2017.  A light breeze and occasional cloud cover made for some very pleasant flying conditions.  I shall try to list every flight, alphabetically by flyer’s last name.

There were a whole family of Ambrose there, and they were certainly busy.  Owen Ambrose flew his Orange Arrow on a B4, the Solar Warrior on an A3, a rocket called Yankee on an A3, and a 2 stage Loadstar II on a B6-0 to a B6-4.  Jarrod Ambrose flew the Old School on a B6 and then Blue and Gold on an A3.   Somewhere in there, Sadie Ambrose flew her Scout II on an A3.  The Ambroses have benefitted from the generosity of Matt Fletcher, who gave away a lot of his low power rockets before going off to college.

Jimmy Blackley flew his Aspire on a D12 and had a much more satisfying flight than with last month’s C11.  A whole bunch of kids showed up at about the same time and just filled up the sky.  Natalie, Nicole, and Nery Flores all had good flights on small rockets with the A8 motor, and Natalie learned something about stability and short rockets with the two flights of her Super Flyer.  The first was unstable, but resulted in no damage, and she was able to put some modeling clay in the nose cone to bring the center of gravity forward, and the second flight worked perfectly.  Armand LoBuglio also flew his Maverick in this group.  Nice flight and a good recovery.

Chuck Hall flew a beautifully-finished Little Joe II model on an Aerotech E28T reload, for a great flight.  Safe recovery far away from the asphalt.  Elio Lobuglio flew his Sky Writer and Big Bertha, both on B6’s, for two more fine flights.   Dave Morey had two good flights; one with his Centaur two stage on a C6 staging to an A8, and the other using his Defender ground-starting 2 B6s and 1 C6.

Mike Nay flew his helicopter-style recovery rocket called Flip Flyer on a C6, and then his Blue Streak on an F15 which worked extremely well.  We were a little apprehensive about this one because the F15 does not exactly have a glowing reputation right now.  Mike also enjoyed a moment of triumph when he got all 3 E12 motors in his Triple Trouble project to light on the pad, and then realized that he may have put too much parachute on the rocket to bring it down from the maximum altitude of a perfect motor ignition sequence.   Two of the 3 separate parts drifted off into the woods to the Southwest.  Extremely unfortunate, because there was a key-camera on the main section.  I have the other side-pod in my truck.

Alan Whitmore flew his Micro Stealth Blue on a B6-4 and the Mini Red Rudy on a C6-7.   Ed Withers was active all day and made four flights; the Photon Probe on a B6, the Twister on a C6, his famous Caffeine Power on another C6, and topped the power chart with Der Red Max using the Aerotech G53FJ reload.

Thanks to everybody who came out to Butner to fly with us this summer, and a special thanks to the NCSU High Power Rocketry Club for helping watch the gate, collect signatures on the waiver forms, and assist with equipment set-up and tear-down.   I hope to see most of you in Bayboro this Fall.

Alan Whitmore, Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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Launch Report, Butner, July 22, 2017

You will recall that I complained last month about the lack of kids at the June launch.  This month was an entirely different story.  A cub-scout group from North Raleigh came by with a pile of rockets they had built, and kept us and their adult supervisors extremely busy.    Here is the motor use summary:

Size Number
A 11
B 9
C 12
F 2
G 1
Total 35


The heat was a major factor.  Temperature in the upper 90’s and a heat index of 113 degrees.   Even life-long Southerners like myself were wilting by mid-afternoon.   Just watching the kids run across the field was exhausting.  I didn’t bring any rockets, but the heat was so oppressive that I probably wouldn’t have flown anything.

The cub scout group (pack? den? troop?  What is the proper collective noun for a group of cub scouts?) consisted of Aidan Quinn, Ben Teele, Reed Sexton, Conlan Lewis, Ethan Braun, Dempsey Lewis, and Brenner Lewis.  They were flying A’s, B’s and C’s non-stop from the moment the range opened until early afternoon.  I noticed a few broken fins and similar small problems, but everybody found their rockets and took them home.  I would call that a great success!

Emme and Joseph Moore were flying their matched Thingamajigs on motors in the A to C range also.  The kids are about the same size, and I wonder if they might be twins.

Ed Withers was flying rockets of all sizes, everything from his Viper on an A3-4T all the way up to the day’s heavyweight, the Red Max on a G76G.  The only flight that Ed attempted that was not perfect was a staging attempt with a venerable Centuri kit with no name.  The booster failed to light the sustainer, which came in ballistic on the asphalt.  Ouch.

Mike Nay is getting into clusters, air starts and staging, and so this weekend he got started with a rocket called Double Trouble which consisted of a main E12-4 and two D12-0’s in detachable side-pods that would come down under their own parachutes.  This one almost worked right – only one of the side-pods lit up, and the rocket was not stable and did some sky-writing before crashing.  Only slight damage.

Jimmy Blackley brought out an elderly Apogee kit called the Esprite which flew fine on a C11-7.

Lorenzo Shaikewitz is participating in the TARC program this year with a team from Jordan High School in Durham.  He flew his team’s rocket, which has yet to acquire a name or a paint job, on an F39J-7.   The flight was straight and stable, but significantly short of the contest goal.  More motor is needed for this particular application.

Everybody had a good time, and nobody needed first aid for heat stroke; a great summer launch.

Alan Whitmore

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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Launch Report, Butner, June 24, 2017

The silage has been cut from the pastures around Perkins Field, the weather was warm, sunny and clear, and the winds were mild.  A perfect day for rocketry, but, where were the kids?  We went to considerable effort to find a place close to the Triangle to hold monthly launches so that children and school, church and scout groups could have a place to fly in the summer.  But this weekend, only adults showed up.  Eight of them to be precise, and I’ll describe their accomplishments alphabetically.

Jimmy Blackley flew his Mirage, which is getting close to 20 years old by now, on an AT G40W, and it was recovered exactly like it should be, with two parachutes  and a tether connecting the two parts.   Old school!   The G40W sounded like it was getting a little old, also.  It chuffed twice on the pad and flew off with a spitting and sputtering that sounded like the carburetor was poorly adjusted.  None of this drama prevented a perfect recovery.

Chuck Hall brought back his Cobra loaded with 3 B6’s and made another perfect flight.   This was the weekend for clusters, as you will see in the rest of this report.

Joe Hill started his day off with a flight of a new rocket designed as a 1/3 scale model of his L3 certification rocket, which he calls the Shorter Spoon.  The first flight was made on an AT G76G, and worked great.  Later on, Joe flew the Irsay on an F44W for another perfect flight.

Dave Morey had three fine flights.  The first one was a new unnamed rocket that looks a little like a scaled-down LOC  4-29SS that carried 4 A3’s.   3 of the 4 A’s lit and the flight was perfect.  Dave has challenged me to come up with a good name for this rocket, and 2 that occur to me are Four of Hearts, and QuadREDic Equation.   Anybody else have a good name for a red 4-motor cluster rocket?  Dave also flew his smaller Starfire on a C6, and the Defender on 3 x C6’s.   This time, all three motors lit and contributed to the effort.

Eric Noguchi is new to the group and he arrived with a technical tour-de-force.  The first was an eRockets HeliRocktor, the basic helicopter recovery technique.  This worked just perfectly, and created such a drag/lift that even on an A3, it almost drifted off of the field.   Next, Eric brought out a scratch-built design called the RingHawk, which was a glider-recovery device that looked like a ring-fin rocket on the pad, but at motor burnout half of the ring slid forward to the base of the nosecone and the whole device glided down with almost perfect trim.   It was a delight to watch.

David Snow is also new to our group, and he was very busy on Saturday, making seven different flights.  David had four glider flights:  The Delta Katt flew on a 1/2A, and another glider called Robin boosted on an A3.  Another glider called the Manta flew twice on B6’s, and I recall that one of them spit the nozzle out just a few feet off the pad, messing up the flight slightly.   David had a rocket made from an old motor packaging tube, called EBR-I  which flew on a C6, and for the big power flight of his day, flew his Cherokee-D on a D12.  Other than the nozzle popping out of the B6, everything apparently worked just fine for David.

Alan Whitmore took his chances with 2 commercially manufactured motors.  He flew the Mini Red Rudy on a C6, and the Micro Stealth Blue on a B6.  Nothing blew up, so the weekend was counted as a success.

Ed Withers was flying all day long.  He tried the Apogee Heli-Roc on an A3, but something went wrong with recovery, and the airframe didn’t spin on the way down.   Ed flew his new Photon Probe twice, once on a B4 and again on a C6.  Ed also had 2 Goliath’s on site, and I don’t actually know whether the following flights were made by just one of them or a combination of both.  One Goliath flew on a C6, another on a D12, and a third flew on a cluster of 3x C6-5’s.  Two of these flights were recovered with a Jolly Logic Altimeter III, and seemed to work just fine.

It was a great day outdoors, especially nice to see old friends and make new ones, and a special thanks to the NC State University HPR club for providing assistance with parking and registration.

Alan Whitmore

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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