Launch Report, Bayboro, October 15-16, 2022

Mother Nature once again looked after us, yielding perfect weather for flying rockets last weekend. The temperature on Saturday was in the mid 70s with very little surface wind and stayed that way for most of the day. Sunday was a little hotter, and winds were higher, but everyone who came down to the launch site made the most of each day. Here is the motor table summary for last weekend’s activities.


We had some wonderful certification flights this weekend – the most important part of any launch! Up first in the certification department was Ian Edgerly. Ian brought out a 4″ diamater rocket that he calls New Horizon and put it up on an Aerotech H-242T for a perfect NAR Level 1 certification. Mike ‘Mr. 2, Sometimes 3 Stage’ Nay took the time to prep just ONE rocket, that was ONE stage last weekend for his Level 3 certification! After the majority of the Tripoli East NC regulars grilled him on his checklist, Mike shoved an Aerotech M-1297W in his 5″ diameter Blue Iguana and had a picture perfect flight to about 8200′. Ralph Reda was also in search of his Level 3 certification and he was not going to be let down. Ralph built a beautiful 7.5″ diameter Patriot replica and it went up on a CTI M-1160G. After a lengthy burn time, Ralph’s rocket recovered successfully and he certified without issue. Congratulations to Ian, Mike and Ralph!!

The normal suspects were on site and everyone stayed busy launching at least one rocket, if not more. Mark Peot opened the launch with his rocket that he calls Cheerwine  with an Aerotech K-480W. I really like this motor, it’s a full K with about 5 seconds of burn time. Mark also brought out his Lydia the Rocket which went up on an Aerotech J-540R. Matt Willis flew two K motors on Saturday – the first was in his Honest John (Aerotech K-805G), and the 2nd was an Aerotech K-375NW in his Drago rocket. The K-375NW is really cool! This motor fits the 54/2560 hardware and is filled with ‘Boost-Sustain’ type grain geometry. When the motor comes to pressure, the aft most grain acts like the booster of a two stage rocket, burning faster Aerotech calls this Warp-9 propellant) which leads to a high average thrust right off of the pad. The rest of the propellant is Aerotech’s classic White Lightning, which has a much slower burn rate. The total burn time of this motor is 6 seconds with 300lbs max thrust for 0.5 seconds, dropping down to about 90lbs for the rest of the burn. 

Alan Whitmore and Kurt Hesse show up in the research department, both flying six grain 38mm I motors. Kurt chose a propellant type called Everclear (low metals, so an almost transparent flame with very little smoke), and Alan flew a Thing motor (filled with all sorts of propellant from various mixing sessions). Both flights were nominal. Allan Rose flew a pair of Aerotech I-284Ws. One was in his Warlock rocket, and the other was in his Skyraider rocket. I enjoy watching Allan’s flights because they’re always in large diameter, short rockets which lead to a loud, low and slow lift-off. Brent Bierstedt stayed busy on Saturday with four flights – his Patriot on a F-22FJ, Tomahawk on a K-550W, Honest John on a G-125T, and Der Red Max on a J-180T. Phew, I think the last time I got four flights in on a single day was back in Whitakers when I was about nine years old and had the energy to do such a thing. My hat is tipped to you, Brent! Dave Morey joined us again and flew some rockets that we’ve seen several times before. His 3″ upscale of Aerotech’s Arreaux on a J-415W, and his Big Daddy Cluster on a central CTI F-79, air starting four D-12s in two separate sequences. Speaking of clusters – Paul Kraemer brought out some spectacular cluster rockets. Paul’s first flight was with his Energizer II rocket which had a central J-570W surrounded by six CTI I-540s. The second was his classic King Viper III which was loaded with three J-315Rs. The bright red flame against the super clear blue sky was really something. Very nice!! Joe Hill put his 4″ diameter Iron Moon rocket up on a L-1390G for a nice high flight, Ralph Malone flew a Loki I-405 in his Sudden Rush rocket, and Richard Powers kept the low power pads busy.

Sunday was much slower and we only had seven flights. First up was Alan Whitmore who had a five grain 54mm K motor mixed up with JSTB #4B (Jim Scarping Tribute Blue). This is one of my favorite formulas that Alan mixes. It’s very aggressive, and puts out a beautiful blue flame. Brent Bierstedt flew a 8″ diameter V2 on an Aerotech M-1780NT which really took off nicely. Jim Livingston flew his trusty Carbon High on a four grain 75mm L motor that was stuffed full of his Livingston White propellant. Joe Hill flew his Pink Dog rocket on a K-550W and lost track of it after the motor burned out. Thankfully, his tracker took him straight to it, and Pink Dog was about a mile straight out from the pad, a direction completely different than the surface winds were blowing. Nick Pyrtle brought out a minimum diameter rocket that he plans on tickling the waiver with for a test flight. This time it went up on a small I motor, and everything functioned perfectly. He plans on flying it at the end of the month on a K-1275R to almost Mach 2 and 17,500ft. Brent Bierstedt finished out the launch with a beautiful 2.6″ scale model of the JayHawk missile on H-242T power. 

We have a launch next weekend (10/29-10/30) and I hope to see everyone out at the field, weather permitting. As always, join us if you can!

Joe Hill

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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Launch Report, Bayboro, September 24-25, 2022

As summer begins to come to an end, the fall welcomes another season of rocketry in south eastern North Carolina. Saturday dawned sunny and clear with winds that stayed light and variable throughout the entire day. Temperatures were in the upper 50s in the morning, and only rose to around 75 by mid-afternoon. Sunday was slightly hotter, and much windier. Here is the motor table summary for this weekend’s activities. 


The most important part of any launch are certification flights, and we had five successful certifications this weekend. First up was Eric Peot who was after a Level 1 certification with the Tripoli Rocket Association. He brought along with him a Mac Performance kit that he named LithoProbe which flew on an Aerotech H-100W for a nominal flight. Cameron Brown was up second with a Loc Precision Ezi-65 that he named Sonder. Cameron chose an Aerotech I-300T for power and he achieved his Level 1 certification with no problem. Ben Lewis joined us for a re-attempt at his Level 1 with a newly built 4″ diameter Loc Precision kit that he named You Can Fit a Lot of Text on a Rocket This Long. Ben threw an Aerotech I-366R in his rocket and had a perfect dual deployment flight for his Level 1 certification with the TRA. Meredith Patterson was in search of her Level 2 certification and would not be disappointed. She flew a 2.6″ diameter fiberglass rocket that was named Echo on an Aerotech J-250W for a successful Level 2. Donald Gemmel would be the last person who was seeking certification on Saturday, and he did so by flying his Super Wicked Rocket on an Aerotech I-180W for another successful Level 1. Congratulations to Eric, Cameron, Ben, Meredith and Donald!!

Ralph Malone joined us again and put up one flight on Saturday – his Quicksilver rocket on an Aerotech H-130W with a Jolly Logic chute release set to 400′. Dave Morey comes out and launches with us every now and again, and put up a couple of rockets early in the day. Up first was his Upscale Arreaux on an Aerotech J-460T. I believe Dave had a camera on this rocket, so it’d be nice to see that footage at some point. He later flew a rocket named Big Daddy Cluster on an Aerotech F-51NT and air started four Estes D-12s with a Raven altimeter. 

A few of the regulars were out keeping the range busy on Saturday. Mike Nay flew a two stage rocket (par for the course) hat he calls Double Shot. This particular time, Mike chose a CTI J-760WT for booster propulsion, and an Aerotech J-460T for the sustainer. Mark Peot flew two rockets; the first being Lydia, the Rocket on an Aerotech J-415W, and the second being Cheerwine on an Aerotech K-550W. Mark knows what he’s doing and he took both rockets back home with him. Alan Whitmore flew the largest rocket this weekend – a 7.5″ diameter scratch build that he calls Spork II with a homemade 115mm motor filled with CP5 (copper propellant, 5% aluminum). I counted about four seconds of burn time, and CP5 in this configuration falls somewhere in the 11,000Ns range, so I’ll ball park this designation at a N-2750. This motor put out a wonderfully deep, bass rich sound and bright blue flame with white smoke which took Alan’s rocket to just over 10,000ft. An absolutely spectacular flight. Kurt Hesse has been flying a lot of a propellant called Everclear (due to it’s transparent flame and no smoke) as of late, and he flew his Butt Ugly rocket on three grain 38mm version of said propellant for a nice quick flight. Probably about a H-200 or so. Joe Hill put up his 4″ diameter work horse rocket that he calls Iron Moon on an Aerotech L-1520T, which took it just over the speed of sound and 10,600′.

Abhi Kondagunta flew a project called Chimken Temdy, a version of NC State’s Bojangles inspired rocket that was meant to test out a new motor/fin assembly design on an Aerotech J-420R. Matt Willis brought out his Drago rocket and flew it on an Aerotech J-540R for a nice flight. His daughter, Morgan, joined him this weekend and she flew rocket called Chuffed to Bits on an Aerotech J-415W. Both of these flights were perfect and I’m sure we’ll see Matt and Morgan again. Tom Keith made the trip down to Bayboro and had a few really nice fights. One of which I think may have been the most interesting flight this weekend; a 3D printed yellow cone that was about 2″ in diameter and flew on a A-10 motor. After making a flight profile that wasn’t exactly straight, it tumbled back into the soft, turned farm land. I’m sure Tom has a lot of fun flying that little thing. He later went on to fly his Red Reaper rocket on the new Aerotech J-615T, equipped with an aerospike nozzle, and his Dark Star Mini on the insanely fast CTI F-120 Vmax. Allan Rose had two great flights as usual – his Bandit on an Aerotech I-161W and his Sun Dog on an Aerotech J-350W. Paul Olivieri joined us for the first time and he put up his PML Endeavor on the long burn CTI I-100CL and brought it back home after a long walk. Allen Harrel, Richard Powers, Robbie and Samuel Kirk kept the low power pads busy for most the day Saturday with all sorts of A, B, C, and D powered rockets.

Sunday was much slower, and there were only a few fights. Alan Whitmore started the day out by flying his Red Flag of Mortal Peril on a 4 grain 38mm research motor. Shortly there after, he flew his Astro Mollusk 7 on a six grain 38mm motor with Thing propellant. I speak on this propellant every so often – Thing propellant is a mixture of the left over propellant from several mixing sessions that would otherwise get thrown away. Alan is not one to waste good propellant, so he packs a 38mm casting tube with these scraps and once it’s filled, cuts and cores it. Alan told me that this was the 98th flight of this particular rocket, and the 76th Thing motor. The commercial equivalent of this motor is about $70 in 2022, so I’ll let you all do the math there. 😉 

NC A&T was the only university that we hosted this weekend and they flew a 3″ diameter rocket on an Aerotech H-128 as an interest launch to try and get more students involved in their high-power rocketry program. Robbie Kirk finished out the launch with his 2.0 RI rocket that went up on an Aerotech single use G-74W.

It was really nice to get back out to Bayboro and launch rockets with everyone. I hope those of you that attended enjoyed your time, and I look forward to seeing you in a few weeks. Join us if you can!

Joe Hill

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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Launch Report, Bayboro, April 23-24, 2022

It’s been quite some time since Mother Nature has given us the type of weather we received this weekend. Saturday’s forecast gave us almost completely clear skies with temperatures hovering in the upper 70s, and virtually no surface winds. Sunday started out basically the same as far as the clear skies and temperature went, but the winds were a little higher. I’ll list the motor table summary below for this weekend’s launch.

A1 1
C2 2
D2 2
F 11
G 11
L2 2
M3 3

Matt Willis was the first to go on Saturday and set the bar for flying rockets early with his Space Dragon rocket (his original L3 build that we’ve been seeing a lot of recently). He chose an Aerotech M-1315W for power and the Space Dragon had a nice climb to about 11,500ft AGL or so. He later flew his Zephyr XL on an Aerotech J-250W for a nominal flight. Brent Bierstedt brought out two rockets on Saturday – his 54mm minimum diameter Mongoose which had a long, slow ride on the classic Aerotech I65W, and his 4” diameter Nike Smoke which had the opposite type of flight on an AMW K-670RR. Ralph Reda hauled out a stout 7.5” Loc Precision Patriot and put that up on a CTI L-851WT. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe this was a test flight for his L3 certification that he plans on going for in the fall. Mike Nay shot par by flying a two stage Nike Tomahawk with an Aerotech L-1170FJ in the booster and an Aerotech J-340M in the sustainer. Nick Pyrtle got bit by the HPR bug in a big way and after getting his Level 2 certification just last weekend, he skipped all the in-between stuff and went straight to flying an L motor. Specifically, he chose a CTI L-935 Imax to stuff in his 3” Cloud Maiden which took it to slightly over 12,000ft. Nick’s got everything figured out with that rocket, and he brought it back without a scratch. The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics joined us again on Saturday and brought with them a scratch built 4” diameter rocket that they call Phoenix. An Aerotech K-1103X was chosen for propulsion which delivered a nice, fast flight to just shy of a mile. The electronics performed their duty and the NCSSSM brought Phoenix back home and I’m sure we’ll see that rocket fly again. Allan Rose kept the range busy with three flights, as did Richard Powers, Mark Peot, and Robbie Kirk. Joe Hill went for a personal altitude attempt on Saturday with his 4” diameter rocket named Iron Moon. This time he chose an Aerotech M-1500G for power and Iron Moon achieved an altitude of 13,244’.

Last weekend, we had four successful certification attempts, and this weekend we had FIVE successful certifications. Excellent! Ana Vestal was the first to go for a certification attempt on Saturday. She flew her Loc IV rocket named The Unicorn on an Aerotech H-219T for a successful Level 1 certification. Up next was Alex Laughrey who was also going for a Level 1 certification. She brought along her rocket 13 Voices and chose an Aerotech H-219T for the motor. After a quick boost, the parachute came out right on time and Alex achieved her Level 1 certification as well. Jeff Regester made the trip down to Bayboro and was on a serious mission to get not only his Level 1 certification, but also his Level 2 certification. Jeff brought out his 4” diameter rocket named Level 2 (an Apogee Components kit) and put it up on a CTI I-255 for a successful Level 1 certification. He then aced his Level 2 written exam and put the same rocket up on an Aerotech J-250W for a perfect flight. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen someone get their Level 1 and Level 2 in the same day. Awesome! Jack Sommer was the last to go on Saturday, and he was also after a Level 2 certification. Jack chose an Aerotech J-315R for his attempt and his rocket Lucid Daydreams had a perfect flight. Congratulations to Ana, Alex, Jeff and Jack!!!

Sunday dawned sunny and breezy, but the breeze was welcome because by about noon, we were approaching almost 80 degrees. If you have ever been out to Bayboro, you’re aware of how it’s almost impossible to hide from the sunshine due to how wide open the field is. Attendance was much lower, but those who attended had just as much fun as they did on Saturday. Mike Nay got things going with his Pink Lady rocket which went up on an CTI K-360WT. Mike later flew his 2.6” diameter Blue Iguana rocket on an Aerotech K-550W for a nice high flight. Brent Bierstedt came back out on Sunday and flew his 4” Little John on a CTI I-303 and his 2.6” Patriot on an Aerotech F-51T. Ben Mount came down from Cary for the first time since the beginning of the season to put up his Loc IV on an Aerotech G-125T which turned in a perfect flight. Kurt Hesse flew the only research motor of the weekend in his 54mm diameter rocket that he affectionately refers to as Butt Ugly. The motor was a three grain 38mm motor loaded with Everclear propellant, which probably ended up being something like an H-150 or so. Joe Hill was back with his Voodoo Ranger rocket which went up on a Loki J-320R and knocked on the front door of a mile. Richard Powers closed the season out with his Baby Bertha on an Estes C6-5. 

And just like that, another season has come to an end for Tripoli East North Carolina. I had an excellent time getting to fly rockets with you all, and look forward to doing it again beginning at the end of September. Come join us if you can!

Joe Hill

Prefect, Tripoli East NC

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