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.
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