2010 Launch Reports
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun  NERRF 6 Jul  Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Happy New Year to everyone.
I hope Santa managed to fill your all your new kits requests and your stocking was stuffed full of APCP or a tank of N2O.
The first launch of 2010 had weather better than expected for a January. The temperature was in the upper 20s and very low 30s. The wind was minimal at ground level, less than 1-2 mph. The skies started out cloudy at 1000 but by 1100, there was bright blue sky and a brilliant sunshine to warm everything up. Walking was not difficult as the field itself was covered in about 4-6 inches of snow. The snow in the ditches was level with the rest of the field. So crossing a ditch was tricky because you would sink. It turned out to be a great day and snow shoes or skis would have been more of a hindrance than a help.
Four CRMRC members were in attendance: Tom O, Scott T, Jeff O, and I. Tom did not bring anything to fly. He did show off his almost-ready-to-fly Wildman Jr painted in blue with a sparkle. It looked to be 95% complete and Tom has aspirations of flying this almost minimum diameter 2.1 inch rocket on a 38mm J. Hopefully the ice will cooperate because I do not think the 10000 waiver will permit that flight. Tom also was working on custom made igniters which were tested both alone and in rockets. Everyone else managed twelve flights, from A to H (2-A, 1-B, no C, 1-D, 1-E, 1-F, 3-G, and 3-H) with an average of F.
- Jeff O had the most flights of anyone, six. His first two flights were of an Estes Little Joe II on Estes A10-3T motors. Both flights were as expected and landed close by with the parachute as a somewhat open wad [ed: maybe Jeff should pay attention to an article in the Jan/Feb issue of Sport Rocketry about “Cold Weather Flying”]. The second flight hit the crust on the snow and the fin snapped. I am sure this will be rebuilt. Moving up the power tree, an Estes B6-4 powered Jeff’s classic Alpha (in the traditional paint and decals) to another excellent flight. What would you expect to follow an Estes Alpha? Why an Estes Omega. Jeff rebuilt this and added a piston to protect the chute. The deploy was at a vigorous speed so the Kevlar thread holding the piston zippered the airframe for a couple inches. Wrapping masking tape around the shock cord where it contacts the airframe should disperse the energy and prevent the airframe from tearing next time. Another rebuild in the works I think. And what should follow an Omega? An even bigger custom 2.5x Alpha on an AT F39. What looks better than a sunlit white Alpha rocket flying against a blue sky? What more could you ask for? In Jeff’s case, it was his PML Bull Puppy (PP2) on an AT H112J with a dark smoke trail following. This four pound combination flew the highest of the day, to around 2000 feet. This rocket did have a 1:1 flight and landed about 2000 feet north of where it launched. Jeff found it easily and came back ready to fly again. I think the rocket gods had us confused as it is usually my rockets that make for the longest walks. Obviously, he is the more handsome one, so I am not sure how the rocket gods confused us.
- Scott managed three flights, an E, a G and an H. Scott’s custom Sputnik flew on an AT E15-7. After some initial igniter problems, there was a great flight up. The 7 second delay was significantly long but not too long as the rocket was barely in the air when the charge separated the pieces. Next came another custom rocket, the Apollo-ESQ on a Pro38 G79SS. This actually looked like an Apollo capsule atop a black smoke trail as it flew in the sunshine and blue sky. The chute came out successfully but there was minor damage as a small piece came off. I suspect this will be glued back on by the next launch. The most exciting flight of the day was Scott’s custom Hot Red Wax tubed fin crayon on Scott’s first Skidmark, a Pro38 H123. At about 150 feet or about one second into the flight, the nosecone came off and the red and white laundry deployed. This was immediately followed by a plume of black smoke and sparks flying through the top of the rocket along with through the nozzle at the bottom. All the flames were out by the time the rocket hit the ground. A post-flight examination showed that the ejection delay was somehow bypassed very early in the flight. We are unsure how this could have happened, except for a manufacturing defect as there is nothing adjustable here. Only the shock cord was scorched to a crisp; everything else survived to be flown again. I have always said that a successful flight is exciting to watch; and an unsuccessful flight is even more exciting. This last flight certainly was the latter!
- As for me, I too had three flights. I flew my PML MR1-b on an Pro38 G114-10 with the delay drilled down about five seconds to 8. It flew straight and the ejection was close to apogee, and almost no walk after going up about 1500 feet. Next was a PML AMRAAM 2.1 purchased from former member John G on an AT G64W-10 also drilled down to an 8. This was the second most exciting flight as at about 300 feet, it started spiraling and then came down ballistically. At about 30 feet off the ground, the chute deployed and no damage was done. The piston stuck at about 1 inch from the end of the tube, and this prevented any zippering. The final flight of the day was a Hanger 11 Arthur kit called King Arthur on a Loki H100 Spitfire, also drilled down to an 8 second delay. This 4 inch kit wobbled a bit on the way up but eventually stabilized as it went to around 1500 feet. It was a classic sight as lit by the bright sun and backed by dark blue, this rocket started to backslide for about a second before the deployment charge went off. A small 15 inch X chute attached to the nose cone then pulled out the loosely packed 58 inch main chute and the rocket majestically floated to the ground.
No parts were left on the field, no cars had problems driving, the weather was warm, sunny, with no breeze and temperatures in the upper 20s made for an almost perfect day in January. If you were not there, you should have been. I hope to see all of you at the February annual meeting and then at the February launch two weekends later.
The weather prediction for Saturday, February 20th 2010 was not a great one but the actual weather was a bit better. The skies were cloudy and the ceiling was between 2500 and 3000 feet. The winds were expected to be above 10mph, but the actual winds were extremely light and likely less than 2 mph at ground level. It snowed during the whole launch but it remained as a light precipitation while we were flying (it did come down hard on the drive from the field to the Bayside) and all flights were visible for the entire flight. There was almost no snow on the field (except for the ditches which were level) and temps started in the mid 20s and finishing in the mid 30s. Overall, a good launch day for February, and our 23rd consecutive launch month.
There were four CRMRC members and six guests at the launch which is excellent for a winter launch. Members Jeff O and Tom O were there to help run the launch while Dave G and I flew. Guests were Evan O, Dave L (who was at an Essex launch and LDRS and will be joining in 2010), Ian B and Nathaniel G (who were attempted their L2 certs at a previous CRMRC launch), along with Luca and Eric V, who had never seen any model rocket launch before.
No only were there more guests in attendance but those guests had more flights than club members. Overall, there were 9 flights: 6 guest & 3 member, or 4 model power & 2 mid-power & 3 high power. There were 2 As, 2 Cs, 1 F, 1G and 3 Hs for an average of F. And the flights were:- Guest Luca (and dad Eric) purchased a CRMRC saucer kit and were given two flights. After decorating their saucer, the first flight was to an unimpressive 25 feet on an Estes A8-3. The second was much more impressive 75 feet on an Estes C6-5. The smile on Luca's face told me this about six year old wants to fly again. I know Eric has contacted me and they will be back after working on an Estes kit to fly (do not forget to bring your motor and igniters). This was the flight card to use the new rubber stamp on the bank (thanks Doug).
- L2 guest Ian B flew
a custom Centennial Falcon on an AT H123. The bottom half of this rocket was
a PML Tethys and the custom top half was added to extend the height. The flight
was a good H flight and the rocket landed successfully without any damage on
the hard ground. It landed about 50 feet from Luca, Eric and me when we were
coming back from recovering one of my rocket.
- L2 guest Nathaniel
G had the most flights with 3. His smallest rocket was an unnamed Apogee on
an A4-9 which came down with helicopter recovery. The rotor blades were held
by string which was burned by the exhaust gas from the ejection charge at about
200 feet up. Everything worked as expected and it was near to see the rocket
rotate down in what looked to be upside down. The second flight I will discuss
was the last flight of the day. It was a LOC Cycloton on an AT F22-4T. The RSO
approved this flight on the high power pad 100 feet out. The motor barely powered
the rocket off the rod and it arched up to about 100 feet. We could all see
the ejection charge as it arched toward the flight line. The first flight of
the day was an AT H238T powered rocket called "The Brick." This was
the first flight Luca and Eric had ever seen and the blue thunder went off with
a loud bang which made Luca
cover his ears for every subsequent flight. This rocket went up to about 2000 feet and came down very successfully on a chute.
- L2 member Dave G managed
one flight of his Estes Guardian on an Estes C6-5. Dave's rocket landed barely
off the field and so Dave did not need to walk very far (and no golf cart was
- As for me, I managed two flights. My first flight was my PML MR-1b on an AT G64-10W. This flight flew straight and went up about 2500 feet and landed in the field to the north of where we flew. My second flight was my modified Hanger 11 Arthur kit called King Arthur on a CTI H225W drilled down from 14 to 9 seconds. I have learned from experience that on this kit the ejection charge will eject the nose cone but the parachute does not always come out. I attached a small 24 inch chute to the nose cone which pulled out the over-sized 58 inch main chute. The over-sized chute slowly drifted the rocket down and protected it from damage as it hit the frozen ground.
The day ended with four of us going to the Bayside where Dave L asked many questions as he looks towards his L1.
The prediction for Saturday, March 20 was mostly sunny, temps in the 50s and winds increasing as the day progressed. The sun never really appeared but the field was dry enough to drive on and the landings were relatively soft. For the CRMRC’s 25 consecutive month launch, and a March launch, attendance was great with eighteen guests and nine CRMRC members. It was a great launch, including two new CRMRC members.
Chris M showed to help with setup for the launch and the debut of the CRMRC anemometer that he had picked up. Kudos to Jeff O and Chris M for picking this instrument. It shows instantaneous wind velocity, maximum velocity and average velocity. The LCO should now check this before every launch, along with the sky and range being clear. There is a blue plastic case that the anemometer will be stored in; please put it away carefully and make sure the power is turned off.
Safety is our number one concern. There was one safety issue that occurred that could have been dangerous so I want everyone be aware of it so we can eliminate it. No one should approach the pads without asking permission of the LCO AND checking to make sure the safety key is out. I would much rather “test the safety system” more often rather than have someone approach the pad when something is armed. If you see someone approaching the pads when the key is in, please ask them to stop to be safe. Thanks.
As for the launch itself,
there were 25 flights and 28 motors burned, which breaks down into: 2-A, 3-B,
9-C, 4-D, 2-F, 4-H, 1-I, 1-J, and 1-K, which includes one two-engine cluster
and one three-stage rocket. Fifteen model rocket launches, 3 mid-power and 7
high power launches totaled up to an L and an average per launch of G. Here
is what everyone flew:
- Guest Christina flew
up from NYC with a new rocket getting through all the security checks. She flew
an Estes “The Gnat” on an Estes A10-3 mini motor. The streamer brought the rocket
down almost in a tree, but it did end up on the ground.
- Guest Tony also managed
a single flight of his rocket named “Dad’s Antique” of an ancient Estes kit
on an Estes B6-4. It was a good flight.
- Guest Cody flew six
times but did not really remember the names of all the kits he flew. In increasing
impulse order, Cody flew a red/white 3.5 oz Estes rocket on an Estes B6-4. He
also flew a black/red 1.9 oz rocket on another B6-4. Next, a home built orange/green
4.3 oz rocket flew on an Estes C6-3 for a cool flight. A Semroc black/red 3.3oz
rocket flew on an Estes C6-5. Cody next flew a Fliskit Lighthouse on a D12-5.
This is an interesting kit. The most exciting rocket in Cody’s arsenal was a
two-C6-3 clustered rocket. Cody did fly a two fin rocket that used spinning
to create stability, but it was not noted on the flight cards, so I do not know
which rocket it was. Additionally, Cody lost a rocket in a tree, again not marked
on the flight card.
- Tom O flew a single
flight with his new blue Wildman Jr. on an AT I161W. This 4 pounder with a Raven
for dual deploy jumped off the pad and went well above 4000 feet. This was dual
deploy at its finest.
- Dave G expected his
black/orange Apogee Aspire on an Apogee F10-8 to be over a mile high. The motor
for this 5.8oz rocket burned for over two seconds and the rocket likely made
the altitude target. Next was a fluorescent orange Estes Comanche III on D12-0
to a C6-0 to a C6-5. The igniter lit the D and crowd oo’ed and awed as the staging
worked for both the Cs. Initially, both lower stage motors were recovered but
no one saw where the upper stage landed. Later in the day, someone searching
for another rocket saw something florescent orange lying on the ground and it
turned out to be the missing Comanche upper stage. Chalk one up to painting
rockets bright colors.
- Doug S flew his naked
PML Bull Puppy 3.0 on an AT H123W to around over 2000 feet. This is one of Doug’s
favorites and it did not fail to meet expectations. An AT J350W powered Doug’s
dual deploy glassed Giant Leap Escape Velocity to 4787 feet. The RRC worked
as expected and there were two “events” during the flight. Doug went looking
for the rocket and almost walked past it as the rocket was the same color as
the ground. Only a glimmer of purple in the parachute caught his attention.
Maybe Doug needs to take a hint from Dave G.
- Jeff O flew his custom
made 2.5x Alpha on an AT F39-6T to around 1000 feet. The classic form looked
great in the air. Jeff followed this up with his PML PP II on a kicky AT H242T.
On the way down, the piston went through the hole in the parachute. You would
think this is difficult to do, but not for Jeff as this is the second time Jeff
has managed this. The rocket came down hard. I do not know if this will be the
last flight of the PP II.
- Mark M had two rockets
and three flights. A “god-awful” orange Estes rocket named Stormy Monday flew
on an Estes D12-5 to around 1000 feet. Maybe Mark and Dave G should talk to
Doug about colors. Mark’s PML Explorer flew on a CTI G106. This was a nice flight
of a 2lb 4.5oz rocket to over 1000 feet. The Explorer also flew on a CTI H123
skidmark. The extra propellant added 1.5oz to the weight and enabled the rocket
to fly to around 2000 feet. It was a great day for Mark.
- New member Dave L
had five flights to for his launch day. I will start with his white-primed Estes
clone Scout on an Estes A8-3. This little rocket screamed off the pad and landed
in the field nicely with the motor kicked out. [When I was a kid, I had an Estes
Scout which never managed to keep the motor] A yellow Estes Cosmic Cobra on
an Estes C6-3 managed the up part of the flight successfully, but the down part
ended in a lawn dart. A florescent yellow, saucer-like Estes Snitch managed
two flights, both on C6-5. Saucers never go high and you could see the entire
flight easily. Dave’s big flight of the day was his 26 year old red/black Estes
Renegade on a 20 year old Estes D12-5. It was a great flight. Dave also managed
to get many pictures of the day which he has sent to everyone. I also know Dave
will be going for his L1 sometime this year.
- I managed two flights. First was a modified PML Black Brandt Vb with dual deploy added. The CTI H123 skidmark did a nice job with the up portion of the flight. I think the cold affects the RRC mini as the apogee deploy was a second late. The main deploy also seemed to be late and much lower than the planned 500 feet. Overall, it was a great flight and landed about 50 feet from the pad. The final flight of the day was my “Giz gone wild!” on one of those new K610 AMW/Pro-X skidmark reloads. I had issues assembling the motor as the nozzle did not fit inside the liner. I whipped out my battery powered Dremel and sanded down the OD of the nozzle until it fit. As I assembled the rocket, I forgot to tape the nosecone, so the nose cone came off at apogee at over 4000 feet. This caused the flight to be almost 1:1 as the rocket drifted almost 3700 feet downwind. The airframe landed about 100 yards from the swamp, and the nosecone about 10 yards from the swamp. Whew!
The April launch was scrubbed due to poor weather.
The launch in May was another great day: temps in the 60s, sunny, breezes 5-10mph (according to the CRMRC anemometer) to the southwest and the field was in great shape. We had six club members and eleven guests, including three guests who flew. There were 23 motors consumed in twenty-one flights. The average per motor and the average rocket flew on a G. This broke down into: 3-B, 4-C, 1-D, 1-E, 2-F, 1-G, 7-H, 2-I, and 2-J. There were seventeen rocket flights that made it off the field and sadly, two that did not get recovered successfully (I do not count shovel recovery as successfully recovered - merely a way to keep the farmer’s land clean).
We did have Dave L L1 certify - congratulations to Dave and open your wallet. Additionally, Dave G had two firsts that I know about. Dave flew the first multi-engine high power rocket for the CRMRC and followed that with the first hybrid flight that was not Kevin.
So here is how the flights went:
- Guest Stephen T flew an Estes Shuttle
Express on a C6-5. A great flight but what I liked most about this was that
Stephen wrote on the flight card, under “RSO/LCO Comments” was “none.” This
was even before the rocket flew.
- Guest Samantha T had the ever popular
Estes Snitch on another Estes C6-5. As always, the crowd loved the ejection
charge which popped just as the rocket hit the ground.
- Guest Jeff R managed three flights,
all Estes models and motors. An Estes Screaming Eagle on a B4-4 which competed
with the Snitch for minimum altitude. An Estes Patriot on a C6-5 ripped off
the pad and managed to get Jeff fairly high in the air. The most interesting
flight was an Estes SR-71 Blackbird [I have that kit] on a C6-3. Once off the
rod, the wind took the rocket and made it fly south, toward the road. I know
from experience that that kit needs a calm day to fly well but approved the
- Guest Jack S managed to fly his
home brewed “20 Year Launch” (as it took him 20 years to build) first on a C11-3.
Jack’s “nosecone” was a Styrofoam pyramid similar to a Nike Smoke (if you closed
your eyes most of the way and imaged most of it). The issue was that that nosecone
prevented the rocket from fully sliding down the rod. The solution was to poke
the rod many times through the Styrofoam until it fit just fine. Jack followed
this same rocket on an Estes D12-3 and then an Estes E9-4. Each flight was successively
higher. Jack also flew the same Estes Shuttle Express on a B6-4.
- Dave L certified on his nicely
painted red and white PML Matrix on a CTI H118-5. If you like installing fins,
this is the rocket to buy as there are a total of 12 (6 canard, 3 upper, and
3 lower). The flight was great and recovery was a bit downwind. Congratulations
- Doug S managed a single flight
of his new naked Wildman kit stretched with an avbay to almost six feet tall.
The first CRMRC CTI 54mm motor ever flown was a J295 classic and propelled the
almost eleven pound rocket up nicely. Two RRC minis handled the apogee deploy
(and apogee +2 sec) along with the sixty inch main at 700 feet (and 500 feet).
The altimeters reported 3747 feet. A very nice first flight.
- Kevin O attempted a single flight
on his scratch built, brightly orange painted, “Just for Laughs” with a hybrid
Contrail I307 handling the “up” and with a Mars-4 handling the “down.” The up
portion of the flight was very successful but the down portion did not go as
planned; there was no apogee deploy nor was there any main deploying. The rocket
came in ballistic and telescoped within itself to several feet shorter. The
CRMRC shovel recovery tool was called into action to recover the rocket, along
with a five gallon pail. The motor casing appears to be intact, but that would
require further analysis at home. Everything else had to be assessed but the
airframe and altimeter were destroyed. ?.
- Dave G had three flights, all very
different from each other. A florescent orange Apogee Espire proved that you
do not need to be high power to go out of sight. An AT (?) F10-8 which burned
for what seemed like forever took this bird out of sight. No one saw where it
landed and this rocket was given up for gone ?. Dave’s Loc Precision King Viper
III flew on 3 CTI H400 Vmax motors. All three motors lit and these ultra-quick
burning motors got this eleven pound beast moving quickly to around 2000 feet.
Finally, Dave took the first step into flying hybrids, under the guidance of
one of the best hybrid fliers on the east coast (Kevin). Dave flew a Giant Leap
Escape Velocity on a Contrail H211 hybrid. Sounding like a classic hybrid, the
rocket went up to around 2000 feet before the RRC2 mini handled apogee separation
successfully and the main at 500 feet.
- Jeff O also managed three flights.
A CRMRC classic start to the day was a custom 2.5x upscale [Estes] Alpha on
an AT F39-6T. This rocket went up nicely but was a long walk for the recovery.
Next was another CRMRC classic, a PML PP2 (rebuilt Bull Puppy) on an AT H112JM.
In keeping with the Estes upscale, a first flight for a custom 3.9 inch Goblin
in classic yellow with black colors. This upscale was a great flight to around
1500 feet on an AT I300T and the motor deploy worked just fine.
- As for me, I also had three flights, but nothing too high. My custom Coors Bottle Rocket flew on an AT G104-5. This high power G went up to around 800 feet with a motor deploy. Next was my PML AMRAAM 3 on an AT H238T. I am not sure if the altimeter armed properly or if the rocket went high enough to arm the altimeter. The robust motor ejection charge did forcefully separate the rocket in the middle and at the same time both altimeter charges fired so the main chute did eject. My final flight was my stretched Performance Rocketry “Giz gone wild!” on a KBA J740. The rocket only went up about 800 feet so again, I am not sure how the altimeter performed. But the apogee deploy caused the nosecone to come off and the main chute deployed. Both charges on both altimeters did go off. I think the graphite nozzle has seen better days as the hole appears to have been worn too big. Time to pick up another nozzle.
Overall a great day.
Look Up In The Sky! - June 12
The forecast was for rain off and on all day with 90% cloud coverage. It was drizzling all morning in Essex as I packed the truck. At the field, the actual weather was totally different. I approached St. Albans, I called the BTV tower and the flight ceiling was 6000 feet at BTV and 8000 at PBG, with visibility of six miles with light winds. Those conditions are not bad for flying, but as the day progressed, everything cleared out. We ended up with a cloudless sky over the field from about 1630-1900 and again starting at 2000 the entire viewing sky cleared, except to the far south. It actually turned out to be a perfect day for flying and for star observing: winds less than 6MPH, sunny with an unlimited ceiling for visibility, and temperatures in the upper 60s to mid 70s.
I arrived at the field at 1300 hours and started setup with stakes marking for a: 500 foot pad (M), 300 foot pad (L), 200 foot pad (K), 100 foot pad (H-J). First I staked and put out yellow caution tape for a flight line. Then the red pad was set up to be in front of the crowd at 50 feet, and the two blue pads were put at 100 feet. On the new controller, bank 1, switches 1 and 2 were used to control the two blue pads. Bank 2, switches 5-8 were used to control 4 wires on the red pad. Tom O helped with the setup and left the yellow pad at the 300 foot stake, about half assembled.
Dave L, Jason V, and guest Bill K arrived in time to help set up my tarp to cover the RSO table, just in case of precipitation. At 1500 hours, it was just us rocketeers on the field so we did not rush to complete everything. But by 1505, three guest cars were making their way down the field, so we were completely ready to go at 1515. People came and went all day. I estimate was that there were a total of 30 guests, 6 VAS members, and 6 CRMRC members (I am double-counted since I am both a VAS and CRMRC member).
For flying, there were a total of 31 flights, starting at B and progressing to L, only skipping K. Total propellant burned was over an M. This consisted of 1-B, 7-C, 4-D, 3-E, 1-F, 3-G, 7-H, 3-I, 1-J, and 1-L amongst 5 CRMRC members and two guests. The average was an H. Kevin O came all the way up but did not bring anything to fly, so he helped with RSOing. In detail:
- Guest Jack S was a one trick pony,
flying the same rocket 5 times with different motors and different results.
The scratch built “20 Year Launch” flew twice on Estes C11-3, twice on Estes
D12-7, and once on an Estes E9-4. Twice the recovery system worked exactly as
planned, once the chute became very tangled, once the chute did not make it
out of the airframe (and the rocket floated in like a plane), and once nothing
happened so a self-destructive lawn dark occurred. Maybe Jack should consider
expanding his fleet or even looking into a mid-power kit.
- Guest Bill K also had five flights
with varying degrees of success. An older Estes AMRAAM flew on an Estes C6-5
with good results. A 1997 Estes Patriot had its 55 and 56 successful flight,
although it did take about 10 minutes searching the field to find it once. An
AT ARCAS flew on an AT G40-7. The delay acted more like an 4 so ejection was
extremely early but no damage occurred. Bill’s big flight of the day was a LOC
Mini Mag on an AWM I300 black bear (black smoke). This rocket flew towards the
west as it went up and landed near Dunsmore Road for a long walk through wet
grass that was waist deep or higher. It was recovered and will fly again with
another casing (since this one was spit out).
- Jason V managed two high power
flights, an H and an I. A Polecat V-2 flew on a CTI H225 to over 1500 feet.
The nosecone ejected but no chute came out (it ended up stuck inside the nosecone).
There was no damage and this nicely painted yellow and black rocket will fly
again. Another Polecat kit, a naked Pershing I flew on a CTI I350SS for its
maiden voyage. This rocket coned on the way up but successfully deployed and
landed safely, although somewhat of a walk to retrieve the rocket.
- Scott T arrived after dinner and
still managed one mod flight and two high power flights. First was a custom
Apollo Esq on a CTI H143 Smokey Sam. It was a great flight and the black smoke
was easy to track. The crowd pleasing and ever popular Estes Air show, with
its central core coming down on a parachute and two gliders flying down, flew
on an Estes C6-3, getting applause from the crowd as everything separated and
came down. Scott’s big flight of the day was the re-dedication of his Hot Red
Wax crayon tube finned rocket that suffered a forward closure failure the last
time it flew. This was late into dusk, but the CTI I180 Skidmark looked great
against the darkening skies.
- Dave L had the most flights and
is starting to look like Scott in terms of what he flies. Dave took the head
of a Betty Boop figure and put it on top of a yellow and white 4FNC. Betty looked
good atop an Estes B4-4 to around 300 feet. Next was a classic florescent yellow
Estes snitch on an Estes C6-5. As always, the crowd liked the ejection charge
going off as the Snitch is returning to earth. A custom orange double cone scratch
built Alien Invader flew on an Estes D12-0 to around 200 feet and then tumbled
back to the ground. Another custom was another 3FNC with a Super Mario figure
attached to the top (rocket appropriately called Super Mario) which flew on
an Estes D12-5 to around 800 feet. One of the scary flights was a less than
stable custom Buzz Lightyear kid's sprinkler flying on an Estes E9-6. This proved
to be unstable but gently returned to the ground. A classic yellow and black
AT Arreaux flew to over 1000 feet on an AT F20-7W. This was a great flight showing
what you can accomplish with an “F” motor. Finally, Dave flew a custom yellow
Crayon on a 29mm CTI H123 Skidmark. This custom rocket with clear Lexan fins
went over 1500 feet on the standard Skidmark trail.
- Tom O flew higher and bigger. Higher
was a blue Wildman dual deploy kit on a AT J570W with a Raven handling the deployment
duties. This rocket had a tracker inside and it was necessary to recover it
as it landed near Joe’s farm after coming down from 8800 feet (according to
the altimeter). Since we lost site of it, we are not totally sure if everything
worked successfully, although we did hear two charges go off as it came down.
Bigger was Tom’s L3 certification rocket, Climb-Maxx by Performance Rocketry
on a KBA L2300G. This 32 pound rocket appeared to come off the rod and tip a
little before going completely stable. As a result it landed on the farm to
the northwest. The deployment duties were carried out by both an LCX and RRC2
mini; we heard all the charges go off and watched the entire flight.
- As for me, I managed seven flights – but nothing big. I had destroyed a Estes Fat Boy but the nose cone survived. So I built a scratch Fat Boy III out of a small section of PML quantum tubing and 1/8 plywood fins covered with carbon fiber and fiberglass. Rocksim said it was stable when I added the cone to the back that you are supposed to use with short/fat rockets. This was called a “heads up flight” and it proved to be unstable, looping and spinning and landing well before the parachute ejected. It survived and will be modified with more weight in the nose to be stable. The quick burning Vmax in a CTI G186 burned for 0.6 seconds as it pushed my PML MR-1b to around 2000 feet – great flight. I flew my custom Coors Bottle Rocket on an AT H165R to around 800 feet and everything worked just fine. My Saranac Root Beer bottle rocket again proved that putting a cone behind a rocket in Rocksim does not always make a rocket stable. This rocket must be marginal as the first time I flew it on a 29mm AT G104, everything was fine. This time was on a 54mm AT I115W in the “beercan” casing. This was unstable. Fortunately I called this a heads up as it spiraled and land-sharked. This rocket was flying parallel to the ground as it “landed” in the waist high grass in the field to the west. This managed to slow the rocket down and keep everything intact as it landed under thrust. A few seconds later the parachute ejected on the ground. There was a trail through the grass as to where it flew and grass was wrapped around the forward edge of all the fins, the rail button, and the nosecone. The first flight of the day was a modified Hanger 11 Arthur insta-kit on a CTI H118 Skidmark. It was easy to see the entire flight and it was a great intro to our guests of what high power rocketry is about. I did attach a small (9 inch) purple chute to the nosecone as the main does not always come out at the ejection charge. As the rocket descended from around 1500 feet, you could see the little chute [that could] pulling and tugging and pulling and tugging until at about 100 feet, the 58 inch main came out and inflated. It pays to keep track of which of your rockets have these problems and have a mitigation plan to prevent damage. As dusk became more prevalent, I flew my RRC2 mini controlled dual deploy PML AMRAAM3 on an AT H250G. This was not a high flight so you could see and hear the initial charge separate the pieces at apogee (followed by a motor backup separation charge) and then the main coming out at 500 feet. The apogee chute was a 24 inch red chute and the main an orange 58 inch chute, in the limited light, I thought the 24 inch apogee chute was the main but was corrected when the real main popped. The last flight, well after the sun had gone past the horizon but still in dusk was my foam pyramid on a CTI G69 Skidmark. This was a really cool flight to watch – the noise was there, as were the highly visible white sparks, which you could see as the motor struggled to push the pyramid up. Immediately after finishing burning, the cone pointed toward the ground and floated downward. A great way to end the flying.
One VAS member (whose name I do not know) brought out a scope and was treated to almost 360 degree visibility and near perfect viewing conditions. He had a dew shield on the 6 or 8 inch scope and it was necessary. There were almost no lights on the field, and the moon was not out so viewing was great. He gave five CRMRC members a brief tour of the sky, including the exceedingly bright Venus, Saturn with the rings at a very small angle so they look like lines, Mars (nothing really special as it was too far away), the ever popular globular cluster M13, and the ring nebula. We packed up the scope and left the field around 2230.
Overall, how was “Look Up In The Sky!”? Weather south of the field where the population lived certainly restricted the crowd significantly. I was hoping for about 3-10 times more people. I was also hoping for more VAS members with scopes showing up. Several whom said they would be there did not show, likely due to the perceived weather. I even called the member with the 14 inch club scope and told him that the skies were going to provide good viewing, but he did not show up. Also, there was limited CRMRC membership participation, with six regular fliers not flying. In these aspects, it was a bit disappointing to do all the work and only have minimum number of rockets, telescopes, and guests.
The farmer, Joe, did a great job for us. He had a load of stone poured around the entrance to the field so there was no mud near the entrance to the field. Additionally, he cut the field so it was only about 6-8 inches tall, along with leveling the former corn field. The field to the west was not cut and the grasses were waist high, so the cutting made a huge difference. Additionally, the Porta Potty delivery person was unsure where to leave the box, so Joe worked with him and had it in a great spot.
Flying at dusk and into night was also great. The motors and the colors and the effects were great. In that respect, it was worth the additional effort. I really wanted to see a Metalstorm motor at that time of night but no one brought one to fly. The two drawbacks were recovering in the limited light and putting everything away in the dark, covered with dew. Thanks to Scott’s help, everything was out of my truck by 2330 and left open and out to dry.
NERRF 6 - June 25-28
I asked each of the
CRMRC members who attended NERRF6 to give me their own flight reports and they
are included below, edited for clarity and comments (and abuse). I did manage
to find an on-line video of a small section of NERRF 5 from 2009 which contains
references or pictures of at least two CRMRC members and one non-CRMRC Vermonter
From Kevin O:
On Friday, I only managed to get one flight aloft at NERRF - a scratch-built, all composite, minimum diameter J research hybrid. Sims said about 8500', but I only achieved 5,000. The steel injector melted in the combustion chamber, and wasted a lot of the potential boost. The rocket named 'Know One's Home' launched out of a tower and flew beautifully, recovering about 2000' from the launch site.
On Saturday, a critical relay in my hybrid GSE failed after that first flight, and I was not able to get any further flights aloft... though I had five more planned. Unfortunately the GSE was not field-repairable. The manufacturer, Pratt Hobbies, is either repairing or replacing my unit free of charge. This is typical of the customer service Doug offers [ed: hint, if someone else is going to buy GSE].
One thing I learned during this launch
was about FIRE!!! There were two grass fires that were ignited during this launch,
and on both occasions I happened to be the first person to the fire [ed: Kevin
left on Saturday after he determined his GSE was dead. There was one more fire
after he left along with a rocket blowing apart on the pad which was called
a fire but was not.]. Some points:
- Fire can spread very quickly.
- Stomping on a blaze does nothing.
- In order for suppression equipment to be effective, you have to know how to use it. The pack pump was a mystery to several folks. [ed: Should this be on the list of things to buy on top of the dry chemical and water fire extinguishers? If so, someone needs to put together a formal proposal. And by the way, many decades ago, in Boy Scouts, I was trained in using the pack pump.]
- In order for suppression equipment to be effective, it has to be in working order. One 35# water extinguisher lost its' air charge and did not work. [ed: This should be part of our launch prep to make sure ours still has pressure.]
[ed: The fires were the grass on top of the sod, not the sod itself. There were small to medium sized patches of brown, parched grass that caught fire. These were typically 10-40 feet from the pads and all fires were as a result of skidmark motors. Nothing close to the pad caught fire because Craig, the landowner’s brother, had rigged up an agricultural sprinkler system around all of the pads and kept the bare sod well watered prior to launching each day. Craig did so because he wanted to fly a big skidmark and his was not one of the three which caught the grass on fire.]
From Brian (and Karin) A:
On Friday I flew my new 3" Wildman on an AT J-500G to an altitude of 2300' (this was a test flight for the new rocket and the ARTS GPS system). The GPS worked as planned, but the rocket was moved on me so the fix that I had was invalid. [ed: Brian’s system uses his laptop to find the coordinates and then his laptop stays in the tent. The Garmin dog tracker I was contemplating is a hand-held unit which records up to ten “rocket” positions and displays them on a screen along with the rocketeer’s present position as he moves around -- this would eliminate the problem that Brian had.]
On Saturday I had planned to fly the same rocket on a AT K-700W to about 10K, but due to a problem with a battery holder in the Avionics Bay I did not fly (did not want to test tape as a battery holder under 30 Gs of force). When I decided not to fly on Saturday this gave Karin had a chance to test fly her new Wildman Jr. The motor was an AT I-245G, which went to about 1500'. We saw this flight land. But someone else thought it was theirs and picked the rocket up and moved it. By that time, we were confused about which rocket was which. After spending about 1.5 hours in the HOT sun we found out it was our rocket and retrieved it in the lost and found [ed: Unless you know the owner of the rocket, just leave it and they will come get it. If it is blowing around due to the parachute, you can stuff the chute into the airframe.]
After Karin got her rocket back, she was asked by Tim Lehr (Wildman) if she wanted to enter a drag race. The question was moot as she had to say, “Yes.” Her motor was an AT I-435 Blue Thunder and she went up against 3 other flyers, including Tim, with the rest of them using much bigger J motors. She was third off the rail but only went to about 4400', Tim won with an altitude of about 11K. Tim told her she is now an official "Wildwoman". [ed: We have know this all along!]
My second and last flight was a drag race with Dave. It was with two Giant Leap rockets, his Escape Velocity on a CTI H-400 and my Thunderbolt on an AT H-165 Redline. He got off the rail first [ed: Ya gotta love those Cessaroni motors for how they light quickly.].
Just a note: I bought the Wildman tracker and will be willing to lend to other flyer's planning higher flights.
From Dave L:
On Friday, June 25th I flew my scratch-built Yellow Crayon with 36" Spherachute and CTI H123 Skidmark to about 1725' with recovery about 500' East of the pad. This was a perfectly vertical flight. Nice and noisy too [ed: Ya gotta love those skidmarks!]. Great flight.
Saturday, June 26th I flew my white and red painted PML Matrix. This was the Matrix's second flight (after my Level 1 certification flight of May 16th) and my first dual deploy ever. I used a CTI I212 Smokey Sam with recovery on the grass about 800' from the pad. This was the largest motor I have flown to date. My Perfect Flight altimeter read out 2194'. Again, this was another perfectly vertical flight with an 18" drogue at apogee and a 54" main at 500'. The Smokey Sam left a nice fat black smoke trail too. I was a happy camper!
Also on Saturday, I decided to launch
the Yellow Crayon again, this time on an AT H123 White Lightning with an expected
altitude of 1725'. I also swapped out the orange and white 36" Spherachute
for an inexpensive yellow K+S KSP PS 36" chute (no spill hole) that I bought
on the field. At the June 12th evening launch, Howie inferred that a yellow
Crayon should really have a matching yellow chute, and I figured I'd please
him this time [ed: That means that anything that goes wrong is my fault -- so
what else is new?]. Little did I know that the lack of a spill hole made that
rocket drift forever. It seemed to land behind a row of trees at the south boundary
of our 300 acre field about 3/4 of a mile or more away. I figured it was just
behind the row of trees.
Craig [ed: the same Craig who watered the field], whose sister owns the farmland that we were using, is Metra's club recovery guy. He jumped in his white pickup truck to see if he could find my rocket and a bunch of others too. I was getting a bit anxious as it was now getting late in the day and the weather was changing. We could see dark clouds approaching the field and there were one or two drops of rain. The Crayon rocket is an unpainted, cardboard tube with a yellow paper covering. It would not survive any kind of rain without some serious damage (can you spell dissolve?). When Craig returned 1/2 hour later with 3 rockets in the back of his truck, mine was not there. He said "Dave, I've got bad news. Your Crayon is about 60 feet up in a tree in the middle of a swamp and my fiberglass recovery pole only goes to 50 feet. [ed: I priced a pole like the one Metra uses and it is around $700. If someone thinks the club should get one, submit a formal proposal.] I'll go back before dark to try again, but it doesn't look promising". Realizing I would probably never see it again I decided to walk the mile and a half there and back to see if I could at least find the tree and say goodbye to my beloved Crayon. I finally did find it after encountering stinging nettles and a woodchuck who snarled at me as I crossed a stream on a bridge made from a 2 x 6 plank. There it was, totally entwined in the tree. I took some photos and headed back. I also found a huge 6 foot long nosecone as well as someone else's rocket in another tree in the swamp but it was even higher than mine. I told Craig of my find and he said he'd try to pickup all three before dark.
After seeing how high my Crayon was I doubted it would get recovered. So my wife Barbara consoled me as I mentally added up the hardware costs and tried to extrapolate the cost per flight over the 3 beautiful flights it had flown. I finally resigned myself to the loss and went to the BBQ at 6:00 PM. [ed: Rule number one about flying rockets: If you can not stand to lose a rocket, do not fly it!] The rain never happened and the food was delicious and plentiful.
Around 7:30 I saw Craig leave the BBQ with his truck and head toward the swamp for more rocket recovery. I watched intently through my binoculars waiting for him to emerge. He finally did after 3/4 of an hour and I ran to meet him. His pickup bed was filled with the top branches of a tree with half of it trailing behind the truck as he approached. Low and behold, there was my Crayon totally engulfed in the branches. YEAH! I broke out laughing at the sight of the tree in his truck. Craig had ripped the top of the tree off with his recovery pole. Amazing! It took a few minutes to extract the rocket which involved breaking a lot of branches. Hardly a scratch on my Crayon! THANK YOU CRAIG!!! [ed: Anyone want to pay Craig to fetch all of our rockets? ].
From Dave G:
It was a great NERRF for me. I was disappointed not to have had my L3 certification rocket ready in time, but the rest of the weekend was excellent. I got in Friday afternoon after some flight delays returning from Las Vegas the day before [ed: he did not tell us what happened in Vegas]. It was very warm and I was very tired so I decided to just sit in the shade and watch the afternoon's activities.
Saturday dawned with nice weather, a little less warm but a bit breezier, so it was time to get to flying. I decided to go high early, so I prepped my first flight, the Giant Leap Escape Velocity on a Cesaroni J285 Classic motor. Dual deployment was set up drogue-less at apogee with a main at 500 feet. She leaped off the pad for an excellent boost to 5484' as recorded by the altimeter. At the top, the apogee charge separated the rocket as expected. Unexpectedly, it also separated the nose cone :-), allowing the main to deploy [ed: been there, done that; now use sheer pins]. The rocket took a long, wind-driven ride several fields over, where we were not permitted to go for recovery. The landowner's representative, Craig, went and got it about an hour later. I guess I am really going to have to look into using shear pins. The rocket is already drilled for them, time to use them [ed: great thinking].
My second flight of the day was my trusty PML Tethys on another Cesaroni, the H152 Blue Streak. This was a good flight, with the delay timed almost perfectly, and it recovered perhaps 100 yards away. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and shopping!
Sunday arrived with clouds and a chance of rain in the afternoon which never really materialized, beyond a few brief periods of droplets. I decided it was a great time to burn up some old vintage motors. I first prepped the Tethys with my last Rocketflite H220 Silver Streak. These were the original sparky motors, and are made with Black Powder instead of AP. It made for quite a nice sight going up, with a wide saucer of sparks around the blast deflector, and the LCO did a great job announcing the flight. I'm hopeful someone might turn up with a photo of it. It ignited immediately and flew nicely, but the old delay element was a bit too long, probably stretching out to around 11 or 12 seconds. It did deploy and recover in the end, but suffered a crack, probably from zippering, in the Quantum Tube. It will fly again [ed: Jeff O has some stuff you can use to repair Quantum]!
I then prepped the Escape Velocity for a drag race with Brian A and his Giant Leap Thunderbolt. It was pretty clear I would have the edge off the pad, with my CTI H400V Vmax but the rest of the flight was going to be interesting. For a change I set the Escape Velocity up for motor eject and left the electronics off. At the launch signal, I jumped off the pad to an early lead [ed: actually, it was his rocket that jumped off the pad, but all of us imagine being in our rockets when they fly, so just go with the illusion], but with my burn lasting only six tenths of a second, Brian soon caught up and passed me for the overall win. It was a great flight to watch and both motors did their job right at the button press. I recovered about 300-400 yards away but surprisingly, Brian was considerably further out and had quite the walk.
After a lunch break, I prepped the Escape Velocity again with another vintage motor, a Vulcan H242 low smoke. Already set for motor eject from the first flight, it was a quick prep and then off to the pads! The Vulcan also ignited immediately and flew with the same profile; in other words, the delay was long :-) The rocket recovered again with no damage, landing about 50 yards from the pads for a short walk.
My final flight was an Aerotech Strong
Arm on an AT G33-5 reload. It burned the igniter on the first attempt and I
was unable to remove the burnt igniter from the motor. After getting it back
to the table and
disassembling it, I got it out but it was getting late so I decided to just save it for another day.
On Friday night, Karin, Brian, Kevin, Howie and I had a nice dinner all together Friday night at the Outback. On Saturday night, Howie led me to a yet untried diner which was excellent. [ed: I like diner food; cheap and plenty of it. This one had either a roast beef or turkey dinner, with soup or salad, starch, veggie and dessert all for $14 plus tax and tip. The menu was almost 8 pages, so there was a plethora of choices. It reminded me of the Geneseo Family Diner for NYPower or Connie’s Diner for LDRS.]
Oh, one other thing I learned.... I really want to make some research motors.
I left for NERRF at about 2300 on Thursday, after getting off the ice for hockey and driving home to unload my gear and switch to my fully loaded truck. Hockey always leaves me wide awake for at least two to three hours so I took advantage of that time to drive south. I was still wide awake when I reached the Champlain Bridge ferry and just walked around for half an hour waiting for the ferry. I had hoped to take a quick nap, but that was not to be. The rest of the night, I drove south, stopping at rest areas when I was tired and sleeping for about an hour twice. Just before the turnoff to go down the road that NERRF is on, is a greasy spoon called Tooties. It has great breakfasts and the bacon is real bacon -- not the store bought stuff that Oscar Myers sells. It was 0545 and Tootie was sitting on a chair outside the place when I pulled up. He walked in and put on his apron and made me an egg and bacon on a fresh hard roll. I was out of there before 0600, the time the restaurant officially opened.
I was on the field by 0615, had the large tarp set up, and unpacked by 0700 with no one on the field at all. I pulled out my chaise lounge and went to sleep. People started arriving around 0830 to prep the field. Both Tim Lehr (Wildman Rocketry) and Ken Allen (Performance Hobbies) were early arrivers and it was interesting to hear what the two of them had to say. Both talked about how much of their business is mail order and how difficult it was to get the shipments right. Tim did state that the best part about the rocketry business is that 99% of the people he dealt with were honest and settled out the accounts. I told Tim that I had to check each of his orders and verify what was missing or wrong or extra. Ken then said he did his order fulfillment in the morning, before the phone started ringing so that he always got it right. I said, “Ken, I need to speak to you about my last order.” I was missing some rail buttons, but he made good on that later.
I did one shift as an RSO, and had to endure many rocketeers who stated their rocket had successfully flown on that motor. I responded with, “That is great, but this is the first time it is flying with my initials as the RSO on the flight card.” I wiggled the fins on each rocket, checked for launch lugs/buttons, looked for motor retention, saw how tight nose cones or couplers were, looked for appropriate launch bracelets, and verified that the motor was big enough to fly the rocket. I especially spent time with the kids flying low power Estes or Fliskits. I tried to make them feel important as I reviewed every aspect of their rockets. There were three high power flights which I rejected because the motor was too small to safely get the off the pad. Two of these were marginal and the launch director signed the card. The third was a 2.8 pound rocket on an F-40 which even the launch director would not sign. I saw the rocketeer later that day and he said another RSO signed and he flew. At least it was not with my initials on the card. My hat did get its fair share of comments and a few pictures.
As for flying, I managed nine flights, three on each day. I had an epiphany on the way down and it altered my approach to flying. At a CRMRC launch, any I or J or K motor is a big deal, but at NERRF, these are just another ho-hum flight. So I planned to keep things small and just fly things that were unique when I could. In keeping with this, my first flight was my custom SRB (Saranac Root Beer) on an AT H210R-M drilled down 3 washers [ed: I do keep a log of every flight and delay so I know next time how to set the delay. Additionally, I have a custom delay drilling tool which allows me to take a washer thickness off at a time -- roughly 1 second per washer.]. This was the third flight of this rocket -- the first on an AT G104 was great, but the second was on an AT I215 beercan motor proved to be unstable. I added a few large extra steel washers under the bottle cap and it flew fine for the NERRF flight. Next came my naked PML AMRAAM 2.1 on an AT G77R-M also drilled down 3 washers. Again, the last time this had flown, it had proved to be unstable so the NERRF flight was with about two ounces added inside the nosecone. This was another successful improvement and successful flight. The last flight of Friday was my PML AMRAAM 3 with avbay on a KBA I550R to 3084 feet according to the RRC mini. The flight computer handled everything just right. This concluded red Friday with all 3 flights on red motors. Off to dinner at The Outback.
Saturday started with my custom Fat Boy III on an AT E23-8 drilled down by 3 washers. The first flight of this rocket had proved to be unstable, so I added a 5/16x3 steel lag screw inside the nosecone. This made the rocket stable but the delay should have been 4 washers as delay was late. No damage though and another successful flight into the log book with a walk of less than 100 feet. Next was my PML Black Brandt Vb with avbay on an AT H220T-M. Again, the RRC mini did its job with the altimeter reading 942 feet although it seemed higher. My Black Brandt is painted according to the pictures on the Briston Aerospace web site and not how PML shows it. I did see one other Black Brandt painted identical to mine. My final flight of Saturday was my custom light blue styrafoam Pyramid on a CTI G78 skidmark. The LCO, Greg G, who likes finless rockets announced the rocket with some nice comments and then flew it to around 500 feet before it floated back to the ground.
Sunday started out overcast so I started with my somewhat rare PML MR1-b flying on an AT G64-10W without any drilling. The delay was well within acceptable and another successful flight. Next, I wanted to fly my Coors Bottle Rocket but did not have a motor for it. So I walked down to Wildman, took an AT H165R-M off the shelf, added to my tab and went back to the tent to build it. I built the motor and shortening the delay by five washers. The flight was flawless and the 36 inch X chute brought the rocket back down. My final flight of the weekend was my highly modified, build-on-the-filed Hanger 11 (the vendor closest to the RSO table) Arthur kit called King Arthur on an AT H250G-M drilled down 3 seconds. This roughly three pound rocket snapped off the pad and the 12 inch chute attached to the nosecone popped at apogee. After dropping about 500 feet, it managed to pull out the 58 inch main and the rocket drifted slowly down to the ground, giving me my longest walk of the weekend, about 45 minutes round trip.
Also on Sunday, someone from southern Pennsylvania moved into the spot next to my tent which Kevin had vacated. It started to drizzle just a bit and it was looking ominous. He did not have a tent, so I offered him space under mine, which he gladly accepted. It never did rain but the sun came out and it would have been brutal to be out in the open sun, with temperatures in the 90s and high humidity, so he definitely enjoyed the shade. We talked on and off throughout the day as we both prepped rockets. As I walked to the food vendor for lunch, he caught up with me and paid for my lunch, which was nice of him to do.
Overall for me, 9 flights, no damage, three rockets which were previously unstable and had been improved showed that they were now stable, saw many old friends and acquaintances, made one new friend, had two great dinners and came back with $650 worth of APCP to burn in St. Albans, along with one new Sky Angle chute. It was a great three days.
The next CRMRC launch is the third weekend in July, either the 17th or 18th, If the launch is Saturday, July 17, then I need to be off the field (packed up and heading south) by 1300. I have a CRMRC booth at the Essex Junction block party and setup starts between 1400 and 1430 and needs to be complete by 1530. Dave G has offered to help as I will need to take breaks and someone will need to watch the equipment. Anyone else is welcome to man the booth if they want to. The following weekend, July 23-25, is NYPower 15 in Geneseo NY, on the field of the Historic Air Group (HAG) which is another large east coast launch.
I hope to see you at either St. Albans or Geneseo.
Saturday, July 17 was the Essex Junction Block Party and the CRMRC had a booth. It was a static display manned by Dave L, Dave G, and myself. We had about 20 different rockets on display ranging in size from my 1/60th Patriot to my Giz gone wild!. Dave L brought along his collection of assorted oddrocs (Super Mario, Betty Boop, Sponge Bob Square Pants, etc) and the kids that dropped in liked these. Additionally, I showed all the videos from Look Up In The Sky! repeatedly all afternoon. About 40 people stopped in the booth while others merely walked by. It was interesting to see the expressions on their faces as they saw the size of the rockets we flew.
Sunday, July 18 was the CRMRC’s 28th consecutive month launch. The weather was mostly sunny, temperatures in the upper 70s to mid 80s with the winds from 5 to 15mph (and one gust to 19.1mph according to the CRMRC anemometer). Winds started blowing south and then went west. The field was recently cut so about 6 inches tall or less. The field to the east, where corn was last year, had been smoothed out and was planted with grass, which was also cut to less than 6 inches. The field to the west, which was greater than waist high last month, had been cut too and was less than a foot tall. However, after about 200 feet, the field was planted with silage corn, which was waist high already. This came into play quite a bit as the wind was to that direction.
The usual three arrived at about 0915 to set up: Jeff O, Scott T, and I. We set up the tarp, the red pads and one blue pad at about 150 feet. The grass was green with many dried stalks -- so skidmarks were out of the question as we could not water down the field enough (suggestions were made as to how to water down the field, but these were not practical). We did convert the 8 foot 1010 rail from the ½” adapter to the all stainless ¾” adapter as all the parts were there and we had the time. There was one problem with the blue pad though. The bolt which locks in the adapter into the pad was rusted and coated, so opening it up another ¼” was difficult, but we got it done. Jeff O, who did an excellent job refurbishing the pads, has taken the pad home to see what he can do. Thanks Jeff.
Throughout the launch, Dave L, Doug S, and Jeff R (with kids in tow) came to the field. Additionally, we had 13 guests, including Travis Roy. Travis has a Vermont-less-than-two-degrees-of-separation connection to the club as Jeff O’s wife is the director of his foundation. If you do not know who Travis is, check out http://www.travisroyfoundation.org/travis-roy/ . Travis did not fly rockets as a kid but really enjoyed watching what we did fly when he was there. He hoped to be back next month with his nephew.
The launch was very low key as we
did not get anything off the ground until around 1030. Throughout the rest of
the day, there was no rush to get flights into the air. There were a total of
12 flights for the day across the roughly 4 hours that we were flying: 1-C,
3-D, 1-F, 1-G, 4-H, 1-I, and 1-J. The overall average was a G. The flights were:
- Doug S flew a single flight. His
modified Giant Leap Escape Velocity 2.6 on an AT J340M to around 4340 feet.
Since this flight was early in the day, it ended up almost at Maquam Shore Road.
I did walk out to the pad immediately after the launch to make sure nothing
was on fire. There was no fire and no damage to the rocket so this bird will
fly again. Personal note: I am still not that impressed with Metalstorm. It
would have been interesting to see this fly at dusk when the sun was down.
- Jeff O started his day with his
PML Bull Puppy (PP2) on an AT H112J. The flight up was fine but at the motor
eject burned through the piston cord so the airframe separated from the upper
section and parachute. Being light, the parachute and parts drifted quite a
ways toward Dunsmore Road but landed short of the road itself. While everyone
else was watching the parachute, I noticed the airframe and watched it land.
It landed about 10 rows from the far end of the corn and was found. It will
take some work to figure out how to reconnect the piston to get this bird to
fly again. Jeff did take a large leap toward going higher with his second flight,
his extremely modified PML ¼ Patriot on an AT I285R-M. He included a
Perfect Flight Altimeter and it was his first use of electronics to control
recovery. Everything worked fine for this 8 pound, 9 ounce bird as the rocket
popped apart at apogee, followed by the engine backup, and then the main deploy
at 1100 feet. Scott and I triangulated the landing in the corn and I gave Jeff
a radio so finding this rocket in the corn was relatively simple.
- Dave L got off the ground 3 times.
His scratch built Buzz Lightyear which had weight added to the nosecone flew
straight this time on an Estes D12-3. Next was another scratch built rocket,
a 4 inch Styrofoam ball with sticks pointing backwards, named Sputnik. This
also flew on an Estes D12-3 and the D managed to get it about 500 feet off the
ground. Dave’s third flight was his custom Yellow Crayon on a CTI H175 Smoky
Sam. The 3 pound, 6 ounce rocket had a great flight although it did come down
on a red and white parachute.
- Scott T managed the most flights
with four. The recently repaired Estes Air Show, which is always a crowd pleaser,
flew on an Estes C6-3. The wind was somewhat high when this flew so as the rocket
went up, it drifted downwind. As both gliders flew, they also flew downwind.
Scott did have help recovering all 3 pieces though. The first flight Travis
saw was Scott’s Fliskits Decaffenator on an Estes D12-3. There was an interesting
discussion as it was the first rocket he had seen and about how the pieces/parts
are collected and assembled. It flew great and the chute managed to make the
entire airframe land flat with no damage. An Art Applewhite saucer flew on an
AT F42-4 Econoline motor. The motor pushed that rocket up to a nice altitude
and then everything drifted back to the ground. The original CRMRC beer bottle
Coors Flight flew on an AT G64W-4 and came down nicely on a red parachute without
too long a walk.
- As for me, I managed two motor eject H flights. I had spent all day Saturday at the block party and got home at 2230, only to spend the next 45 minutes emptying out the truck and then refilling it with all the club launch gear so I did not have time to prep anything ahead of time. First, was my custom Saranac Root Beer bottle on an AT H165R-M drilled down to 5 seconds. This worked just fine and it was the only rocket to land upwind for an easy walk. My second flight was a rarity. I flew my PML AMRAAM3 on motor eject with an AT H210R-M. The delay was about a second or two too long, but not too bad for motor eject. This rocket landed in the corn and Scott helped me find it.
The Transolve remote launcher battery died 2/3s of the way into the launch. I will be looking into what it will take to use an external power supply for this. Additionally, it is interesting how much the fleet of two of our rocketters is turning out to be similar: flying crayons, saucers, sputniks and a fourth club beer bottle will duplicate them here also.
After the last flight, the crowd left, leaving Jeff O, Scott, and I to pack up everything and fit it all in my truck. Jeff’s wife did help too. After stopping to get a bite to eat, Jeff came back to my house and spent another 30 minutes unpacking all the club gear and putting it away. I really appreciated the help I got from Jeff O and Scott in setting up, packing and unpacking.
Saturday, August 21 was one of the best launches we have had in a long while. The field was in good shape, relatively hard for driving and not too hard for landing. The grass on the field we flew on was six to twelve inches tall. The weather started in the 60s and progressed to the upper 70s with skies mostly cloudy. Winds were light most of the day, varying from almost calm (under 1mph) to a maximum of 8mph according to the anemometer. No one ended up in the corn to the west and for those that did have to walk; recovery was either to the east or to the north, or a in between.
There were many hands available for setup which made things go much faster. We were ready to fly at 0950 although no one wanted to be first off the ground. The first flight was around 1015. Doug S had worked to rebuild the Transolve remote launcher. He replaced the internal battery with the ability to connect an external 12v battery. The launcher itself appears to be working but the remote was not able to send a signal very far at first and eventually died. Doug now has the remote and will continue to do more testing once Jeff O gets him a new battery. Stay tuned on this. If we can not get the Transolve working, we will be purchasing a replacement three channel version for around $250.00.
For the day, the long cord was run out to the high power pad and connected up as bank two on the controller. This could have allowed us to operate the high power pads independent of the low power racks as the low power racks were on bank one. Since the launch controller is still new to most folks, I preferred to wait. As more and more folks become familiar with this new controller, eventually we will treat the two banks as independent. Remember, safety is our number one concern always.
I am expecting more folks to act as Launch Control Officer (LCO). Technically, there is no requirement for being an LCO, although I would expect every L1 or above to work pushing the button. It is not difficult to announce the flight, check the sky and range, and then push the button. There were several members there who only had a couple of flights who could have stepped forward it but did not. Please step forward and take your turn so that others can prep and fly too.
There were a total of eleven CRMRC members there (including one junior member) and seven guests. Nine members and one guest managed to put up a total of twenty-eight flights, with a total impulse of M and an average impulse of H. These consisted of:
- Guest Nathan D flew a naked Estes Der Red Max on an Estes C6-5. This was an excellent flight.
- Mark M had two flights. First was
a bright orange Estes Storm Caster on an Estes D12-5. The vibrant bird took
to the sky quickly and landed softly with the chute having deployed as expected.
Mark’s big flight of the day was a red and gold PML E[x]plorer on a 29mm CTI
H133 Blue Streak. The rocket kicked off the pad nicely, the chute ejected and
it landed without too far a walk after going up about 1800 feet.
- Doug S flew his three inch PML
Bull Puppy on an AT H123W to around 2000 feet. This naked bird deployed the
chute and landed without damage. Doug’s heads up flight was the first flight
of his Wildman Dark Star. This all fiberglass, 2.1 inch diameter rocket went
up on a AT I211W and came down on an RRC2-mini with drogue-less separation at
apogee at 3023 feet and then the 48 inch main was at around 500 feet. The electronics
worked flawlessly and it was a nice flight to watch land in the field.
- Brian A managed two flights and
burned the most propellant. A Giant Leap Thunderbolt which is painted tan and
black left the pad powered by a CTI G79 Smoky Sam with black smoke trailing
behind. This was the trial run for using the tracker and everything worked fine
with motor ejection at around 1800 feet and the rocket descended under chute
to the ground. The highest flight of the day was an orange and white three inch
Wildman dual deploy kit called “Kiss the Clouds.” This eighty-eight inch tall,
fifteen pound rocket flew on an AT K700W and was packed full of propellant and
a plethora of tracking equipment: ARTS II altimeter, ARTS 2GPS, MAWD altimeter,
and a radio tracker (all of which adds to the cost risk). It disappeared upward
immediately after ignition and went to 9958 according to the GPS (which I will
use as the club official record). We could hear the charges go off and the rocket
landed relatively close just north of the field we were in. Since the waiver
is 10000 feet AGL (above ground level), our maximum altitude is 10120 feet.
This leaves a window of about 160 feet to fly to and become the holder of the
- Chris M was able to get three flights
off the ground. An Estes Stormcaster painted silver flew on a D12-7. The black
chute brought the eight ounce bird back gently back to the ground. Chris’ sky
blue PML Bull Puppy went upward on a CTI Pro-38 G60 red lightning. The color
was not as bright as the AT red, but still obviously red flamed. This rocket
had a second flight on Chris’ first skidmark, a CTI Pro-29 H123 SK. The skidmark
had black smoke with sparks and was loud, which impressed the visitors. The
up was good but the down was hampered by a separation of the parachute and nosecone
from the airframe. Jeff O was out recovering his rocket near where the airframe
came down. The RSO pushed the button on the air horn to warn Jeff who looked
up to watch the pieces come down. Jeff recovered the nosecone and chute as it
was floating into the cows with less weight attached. A quick repair and this
bird will fly again (or maybe Chris will start working on his Wildman kit to
get that off the ground).
- Kevin O was still waiting for his
GSE so all hybrid flights were grounded. Kevin flew a white spool flew on an
Estes C6-5. The flight was also enjoyed by the crowd as the ejection charge
went off as it floated downward with the streamer trailing in the wake. The
same rocket also flew on an AT SU F32-4 to an amazing height given that it was
a saucer. This time the streamer drifted away when the ejection charge went
off. The spool was heavier with the larger SU casing which caused some slight
damage from hitting the ground. Not wanting to be without a high power flight,
Kevin flew a Loki H100 spitfire. Loki had a special at LDRS last year -- buy
the casing and get five reloads at a much discounted price. Kevin picked up
one of these so that Eli could get his junior L1. The spitfire reload is a moderate
imitation of a skidmark (not as smoky, nor as sparky, nor as loud but much longer
burning), but it was Kevin’s first high power APCP motor. The custom “Bumble
Gee” flew with the long burning spitfire. Since motor ejection would work, no
altimeter was required. The flight was up to around 3000 feet and it landed
northwest of the launch pads.
- Jeff O had three high power flights: H, I, J. The H flight was his recently rebuilt PML three inch PP3 (the third rebuild of his Bull Puppy -- this rebuild was to add a new centering ring to which was anchored a Kevlar strap for the piston). This flight went up on an AT H242T-M to around 2000 feet and the 48 inch PML chute brought it down also northwest of the launch site. The I flight was a four inch custom Alpha upscale, painted in the classic Estes white with red and blue. The AT I300T pushed the rocket up around 2000 feet and floated gently back to the ground on a Skyangle chute. Jeff’s J flight was his four inch pseudo-1/4 scale red/white/black highly modified PML Patriot with a Perfect Flight altimeter for dual deploy. An AT J250FJ propelled the ten pound rocket to 3100 feet when the altimeter separated the rocket and then at around 900 feet the Skyangle chute popped out to bring the rocket to the ground.
- Dave L was one of three fliers
who got four flights off the ground. The smallest was an Estes Snitch pseudo-saucer
on an Estes C6-5. This is always an interesting flier as the ejection charge
is visible to everyone on the ground. A scratch built orange Alien Invasion
which looks like two cones pointing away from each other flew on an AT F27R.
The F motor struggled as it burned for what seemed like 10 seconds as the Alien
Invasion continued to climb ever upward. It was an excellent flight to watch.
Dave’s scratch Buzz Lightyear flew on another AT F27. This was called a “heads
up” flight due to marginal stability; but the reality was that the rocket was
not stable. Fortunately, the rocket flew away from the flight line. As a measure
of safety, this rocket can not be flown again until Dave ensures it is stable
and will not endanger the crowd. Another “heads up” flight was the first flight
of a naked Madcow Squat on a CTI H123-7 Skidmark. As expected, the motor was
showy and loud as it pushed the rocket to just under 1800 feet. A green chute
brought the four inch diameter, twenty-three inch long rocket safely down to
- Scott T also managed four flights
although none were “heads up.” The smallest of these was his custom Salad Shooter
saucer on an Estes C6-3. It was a typical saucer flight which had an interesting
ending. All of the motors in this package returned to the ground with the top
of the motor intact. If this motor would have been used to eject the parachute,
it would not have happened. But as a saucer, it was good. The multiple-rebuilt
custom red Bionic Fruit Fly (mosquito-like) also flew on an Estes motor. This
time it was a D12-3 and the ejection charge successfully deployed the parachute
to bring the rocket smoothly to the ground. An AT F52 struggled and pushed an
Applewhite saucer up into the air before it turned around and headed back down
to the ground. The second 1/4 PML Patriot flight of the day was Scott’s uniquely
painted version which flew on a CTI Pro-38 I212 Smokey Sam. The black smoke
trailed as the rocket went up and near apogee the 48 inch chute brought the
five pound, nine ounce rocket back to the ground.
- As for me, I also managed four flights and flew a 1/4 PML Patriot. My smallest flight was a custom Fat Boy III on an AT E23-5T. This rocket was originally unstable but I added a couple of ounces of weight in the nose cone and ever since then, all flights have been stable. I like this motor for this rocket and will fly it again. The chute did get burned a bit and a couple shroud lines were burned/cut so the rocket hit the ground hard; but the carbon fiber fins and quantum tubing survived without any damage. Getting larger, next was my modified PML MR-1b on an AT G77R-8. Parachute ejection was almost perfectly at apogee so I had drilled down the delay just about the right amount. Another custom rocket, my SRB beer bottle, flew on an AT H165R- drilled down to 5. This too had parachute issues as the parachute tangled with the piston and did not fully open. Again, the rocket hit hard but survived without any damage. The final flight of the day was my modified dual deploy PML Patriot on a KBA I301W. The two RRC2 minis worked as designed and brought out the streamer at apogee around 2214 feet and the main at about 500 feet.
All in all, it was an excellent day
for flying, albeit with very large mosquitoes being the only nuisance.
Afterward, eight of us went out to the Bayside for an excellent meal and beverages. Four fliers, one male guest and three wives managed to keep the talk split between rocketry and other topics. This was a great way to end the flying day.
Back at my house, Jeff O helped me as the two of us spent 30 minutes to empty my truck of all the club gear. Thanks Jeff, I really appreciate this. I had already spent about an hour assembling the gear and loading it into the truck Friday night, along with on Thursday night having contacted the FAA and sent out the notices to everyone. Yes, it does take a lot of work to pull off each launch, so when I ask everyone to pull their fair share and do RSO or LCO duties, please take the opportunity to help out. It is always appreciated.
Things have been busy here at CRMRC central; some things related to rocketry and others not. As far as the club goes, about another 100 CRMRC Flying Saucer kits are ready to go for the Boy Scouts 100 year anniversary (76 kits on October 2) and the Fairfax library (24 kits build on 10/19 and fly on 10/26). Kevin has the final touches to complete the plate portion and with that everything will be ready. The Boy Scouts have asked for an all day event so they are willing to cover at least 4 G motors; these too were ordered and have been received, along with all the motors for the above 100 kits. Thanks to Brian, Kevin and Chris who will be helping me man the booth and launching the saucers and my pyramid throughout the day. It should be an exciting day. If there is anyone who wants to help me with the Fairfax library, that would be great.
I know you all of you are not reading this because of what we are going to do. So here goes with the launch report.
The day started in the 50s with light winds and mostly sunny. The temperatures increased as the day went on, and so did the winds. There were a total of fourteen flights, with the most common letter being H and the average was an amazing I. This is the highest average the club has ever had since I have been recording it. The total impulse was one D motor shy of getting to M.
There were eight members, five guests and one sheriff who showed up while we were still setting up. He left before we flew anything. Kevin O and Doug S were there in support but neither flew anything. Both Kevin and Tom showed off their all carbon fiber creations for the November speed challenge. The red pads were set up at the usual 50 feet, the blue pad at 100 feet and the yellow pad at 300 feet. The yellow pad used the Transolve and everything else used the extension cords. The Transfire is on its last gasps. Doug took out the internal battery because it was not charging enough. This has been replaced with a set of clips to enable connecting to an external 12v battery. Additionally, the transmitter fob has an LED alight any time there is a battery inside. So the new procedure is to keep the battery out of the transmitter except during launches. The drawback is that this will quickly destroy the screw holding the parts together. We have several choices as to what to do here: $30 for a new transmitter or $245 for a replacement 3 channel Transfire (which does not have an internal battery). At present, we do not justify enough flights to have the new 3 channel Transfire but I do not want to throw good money away trying to keep the old one going. If you have a preference, please let me know.
Okay, back to the launch report:
- Karin A flew her recently silver
painted Giant Leap Thunderbolt on a CTI H133 BS. This 2 pound, 3 ounce rocket
jumped off the pad and wet to around 2500 feet when the very feminine pink parachute
popped out and drifted to the farm just north of where we launch.
- Brian A also had a single flight
with his bright orange Giant Leap Escape Velocity on an AT J350W. A MAWD altimeter
handled the deployment duties with drogueless separation at apogee and a 36
inch orange main at 500 feet. The altimeter read 5833 feet which is slightly
above what was predicted. This had a Brian’s radio tracker in it and it too
landed in the farm to the north.
- Dave L had three flights. His scratch
built Sputnik, weighing 1.4 oz, struggled its way up to around 200 feet on an
OOP (out of production) Estes B4-4. Dave also flew a short (30 inches) and fat
(4 inches) Mad Cow Squat painted mauve and white. This 3 pound rocket flew on
a CTI H175 smoky sam to around 1000 feet at which time the motor ejected the
green parachute. Dave’s heads up flight was a brand new beer bottle design which
he calls “Miller Lite” in honor of the decals that were on the bottle. Another
short (22 inch) and fat (6 inch) creation; this time a total custom job. This
2.5 pound rocket flew on a CTI H163 white thunder to almost 1500 feet before
the infamous 36 inch yellow chute (ala NERRF fame) safely brought it back to
earth. Three more beer bottles in the club and we can fly a six pack.
- Jeff O had the most flights with
an amazing five, including three Alphas. Starting small, Jeff flew his Estes
Alpha (not Alpha III) on an Estes B6-4. This classically painted flier went
up about 800 feet at which time the shock cord burned through. The airframe
and fins were recovered but the parachute and balsa nose cone were last seen
attempting to cross the frontier into Canada. Jeff already plans to rebuild
this rocket. Next, the Estes 2.5x Alpha upscale flew to around 1000 feet on
an AT (?) F39-6T where the motor ejected the orange chute which brought the
rocket back to the ground. The big custom seven pound 4X Alpha, also painted
in the same classic colors as the other two flew on an AT I300T-M. The motor
ejected the 60 inch Sky Angle parachute and the rocket drifted slowly back to
the ground, landing to the north. Next was another 4x upscale -- a custom 8.5
pound Goblin also flew on an AT I300T-M and the PML purple and yellow chute
brought this yellow and black rocket back to the ground without any damage.
The big flight for Jeff was his customized (at least much more scale than the
original PML version) PML Patriot. An AT J250FJ-L powered this 10 pound beast
to around 3000 feet where the altimeter separated the rocket. At 900 feet, out
came the red, white, blue and black 44 inch Sky Angle chute for the main deployment.
- Tom O had the most exciting flight
of the day and one of the longest anticipated flights. This rocket and motor
were supposed to fly as part of the “Look Up In The Sky!” celebration but not
all of the motor components made it to Tom on time. This was the first club
usage of a CTI reload in an AMW case. The forward closure had many screws --
not what you normally see in a casing. The CTI L1410 skidmark pushed the almost
black Performance Rocketry Climb-Max to 5978 feet according to the G-Wiz LCX
and 5715 according to the RRC2 mini. Deployment went without a hitch; drogueless
at apogee and then freebagging it on a sixteen foot main with another chute
for the nosecone. This 45 pound rocket also landed in the field to the north,
but no barns were harmed in this flight. On-board video is available on the
web. [Ed: Ya gotta love an L skidmark!]
- For me, it was not a high power day as I did not have enough time to prep everything I wanted to fly at home and by the time I was able, the winds were increasing to over 15 mph, so I thought discretion was the better part of valor. Someone from the Boy Scouts attended the launch to see what we would be flying for them. I built and flew a CRMRC Flying Saucer on an Estes C6-5. It was a great flight as the custom design flew to around 200 feet before flipping over and coming back down. He was impressed enough to enable us to “sell” another 76 of them as previously mentioned. My one pound, bronze and green custom Fat Boy III flew on an AT E23-6. This short (12 inch) and fat (2.6 inch) rocket exhibited the classic flight pattern for a rocket that short and fat. Most long and skinny rockets weathercock into the wind but short and fat ones just drift downwind. With this rocket, I was the only person who retrieved a rocket in the field to the west. My big flight of the day was a first time flight of a Wildman Dark Star Lite kit called Gold Star. It was a good test to see if the air horn worked as this gold and red rocket powered by an AT G77R-M, huffed and chuffed and huffed and chuffed on the pad before it took off. It then spiraled in the air after leaving the rod. It is hard to tell if enough of the motor was still left after the rocket left the pad to get the rocket up to speed or whether the kit is unstable. Rocksim with the actual finished rocket showed this combination to be stable (I went back and re-reviewed it after the launch and confirmed this). The rocket landed flat on the ground without damage and then three seconds later the parachute popped out. Next time I fly this, I will add 1 oz to the nose to see if that helps.
Vermont Boy Scout Jamboree Launch - Oct. 2
Given that Thursday
and Friday of last week were some of the worst rain in decades, the weekend
did not turn out too bad. Mt. Norris scout camp in Eden, VT was the site of
the launch. The day started out a bit shaky for me though. The truck was packed
the night before and I was committed to being at Norris at 0730 to meet with
the jamboree staff. By the time I was rolling, my GPS unit said I would arrive
at 0724. But that was not to be as I did not even make it to Cambridge on Rt.
15 before being redirected due to flooding. I had passed some corn fields on
the way into Cambridge and these were totally covered with water -- no corn
was visible and all I could see was acres and acres of water instead of the
corn that I knew was there. I did manage to roll into the dining hall at 0735
and learned the details of what was happening: 0800 was the opening ceremony
and as soon as that was over, I could start setting up, with the goal of being
ready at 0900. I garnered three scouters!
to help me and by 0900 had the tent up but was not really set up. Brian A arrived and the two of us plus the three others got the tables out, demos set up, the red pad ready to go, along with a 1/4 inch rod in one of the blue pads. Chris M showed up and at about 0930 we sent my pyramid up on a G64W for the first flight of the day. The field was small, about 150 x 200 so that was all that could be flown. Next, we found 3 scouts who wanted to fly saucers and they decorated them I showed Brian and Chris how to install the motor tube and what to do with the tape for the motor. Since I only had one standoff, I used it to fly the first C saucer flight of the day. It went fine. The motor from this flight was put on the second rod, and the next two saucers flew, filling in two more rods. The next group was 4 saucers and one of the motors from that group became the final standoff. All throughout the morning, we continued to have kids come up and decorate and fly saucers. We did run out of plates around 1000 but Kevin showed up at 1030 with th!e rest of the plates. Saucers flew right and left, intermixed with two more G powered pyramid flights.
Lunch was 1200-1300, and was provided by the scouts. I asked for my filet medium rare but all I got was the standard fare. Nothing to write home about -- hot dog on a roll, small bag of chips and a can of soda.
All afternoon we flew C powered saucers and 3 more pyramid flights, for a total of 82 "C" powered saucer flights and 6 G pyramid flights. What was amazing about the whole thing was for a total of 88 flights there was one igniter failure and no motor failures; just C after C after C after C after C after C. Brian and Chris worked with the kids to prep and build the saucers, Kevin kept the pads moving and I did the launch duties. Between activities we all talked about flying with the CRMRC, rocket science and answered whatever questions came up. Kevin brought his Trident and carbon fiber newbie. Brian had both of his Giant Leap kits, including his Escape Velocity on the pad. I brought my Giz gone wild!, Saranac Root Beer Bottle, and my Patriot collection (1/60, 1/30, 1/20, 1/10, and 1/4).
Things went fairly smoothly all day. There were a couple of planned stops besides lunch: a helicopter was scheduled to land and we were not allowed to fly anything while it landed, around 1030. Additionally, when it took off, we were also grounded, around 1145. Once or twice, unknowing people wandered into the launch area and we stopped to let them pass.
The weather was 50s and winds from calm to 15mph, but nothing left the field. Many thanks to Brian, Chris and Kevin to help with this. I have received two notes from two of the scout leaders and both appreciated our work there. Additionally, one scout leader was collecting images from everyone. I will be getting all the images and will find all the rocket related ones.
Our next public outreach is with the Fairfax library. So far there are 16 kids signed up. The schedule is as follows: 10/19 at 1800 for intro to rocketry, rocket science experiments, and saucer decoration and building. 10/25 at 1700 will be the flying of the saucers (and a pyramid) and then something back inside. I am looking for some help with this. It would be great if someone had a pumpkin rocket to fly since 10/26 is so close to Halloween. The field is large enough to fly about 500-800 feet up so things other than pyramids could fly if you wanted to bring them.
Regular October club launch - Oct. 31
This flight report is as much about
not flying as it is about flying. First let me start with the weather, as this
was critical. The hourly forecast on weather.com had the following:
• 0800 - 80% rain/snow
• 0900 - 60% rain/snow
• 1000 - 20% rain
• 1100 - 20% rain
• 1200 - 40% rain
On the way up around 0845, Scott and I drove though a relatively hard snow squall. Hard enough that we noted to each other that if it was this bad when we got to the field, we would just sit in the truck. The squall did end as we continued to drive but the skies were cloudy all the way down to ground level. Still not a good sign, but as we approached the field, the ceiling started to lift and the skies were brighter to the northwest, the direction the wind was coming from. I called into the BTV tower to let them know that we would be starting to fly and asked what the ceiling was at BTV: 800 and below. I then asked what the ceiling was at PBG (Plattsburgh) and it was reported as 3200 feet. Since the wind was from the northwest, it looked like the weather was going to at least let us fly.
When we finally got on the field
and set up around 1015, the sky was at least 3200 feet with patches of blue
starting to appear to the northwest. By 1030, it was sunny and mostly clear.
We could go to 10,000 feet if we avoided the occasional cloud rolling through.
This continued until around to get better until 1130, when the sky started to
get more and more
cloudy. By 1200, we were completely overcast and the ceiling was dropping. By the time we had packed up and were driving off the field, it was flurrying again and the ceiling was under 1000 feet. We had been granted about a two hour launch window and it just happened to be the two hours we were there for flying. Absolutely amazing!
The weather was in the 30s and maybe got to around 40 when the sun was out. The winds were averaging around 10-12mph from the northwest. The field was drivable but definitely wet and there was standing water everywhere. Anyone without waterproof boots ended up with soaking wet feet (two attendees can tell you from experience). Working without gloves was tough and at least one attendee was glad someone else had brought two pairs to the field. [Remember to be prepared for the weather!] The ditch along the road had running water in it and was higher than I had ever seen it. The ditches around the fields were also higher than I have ever seen them, except for possibly in early spring. There were places where I was not comfortable walking as I thought it would be over my 12 inch boots, so I crossed in other areas. All the water on the field did make for some interesting things. The red pad was set up and ended up with a puddle underneath it about 2 inches deep. But we got through it.
As for something that will go in
the annals of CRMRC lore, I managed to do something that will live on forever.
I had just pulled off Maquam
Shore Road, when I stopped the truck. Scott and I got out and started setting up the signs, and creating the parking lot with CAUTION tape,
stakes and a “ROCKET LAUNCH PARKING” sign. By this time, Doug had showed up and was parking in the new lot. I also changed from my comfortable driving shoes to my waterproof high top boots. In the process of putting my boots on, I must have leaned on the door and caused the doors to lock (with the keys on the console). Unknowingly, I closed the door and was locked out of the truck. Definitely not a good thing - cold, windy and no truck to hide in, and no way to get all the launch gear out to the field. I called Tom and asked if he was planning on coming to the launch, “No. He was just getting up. He had worked most of the night as it was mischief night, albeit not too busy due to the cold and wet weather.” I asked him if he had equipment to get into a truck and his only question was whether it was a pullup or slide lock. Tom said he would be there shortly, and it takes him roughly 20 minutes to get to the field from his house.
In the mean time, Scott and I started working the doors and windows to find the weak point. The back slider did not budge, nor did the doors. But the back side windows did seem promising. After just a couple of minutes, we managed to get the window open about half an inch. This was just enough to slide a long bladed screwdriver up and cause the window latch to flip open. Now we had a 2 inch gap along the back of the window to operate from. Not big enough to get an arm in and angled. The angle was not good for reaching the door in front, nor the window in the middle in the back. But with a 4 foot ¼ inch rod we could get almost diagonally across the vehicle toward the buttons on the car door on the other side. We were about a foot short, so we taped two ¼ inch rods together and it was long enough. When I finally got the end of the rod into the truck and into the right place, I managed to tap the lock side of the switch and then the unlock side. We were in, taking less than 15 minutes and not causing any damage to the vehicle. I did call Tom to let him know that we were in and he could head home. But he decided to come watch the launch.
Now for the launch part…
There were 3 CRMRC fliers, Doug, Scott, and myself, along with Tom and two guests. Guest Alex is a St. Mike’s journalism student who had flown model Estes rockets as a kid but had never seen a high power launch. Alex videotaped and still camera imaged the entire launch and prep and retrieval of rockets. Guest John was there to help sendoff one of his SamStones. John’s son Sam was tragically killed four years ago and one of the ways John keeps his memory alive is by giving away SamStones to others. SamStones are ceramic disks, 2-3 inches in diameter and ¼-1/2 inch thick. I had offered to fly one in a relatively large rocket and so John documented that portion.
There were a total of 5 flights:
1-C, 1-F, 1-G, 1-J, and 1-K, for an I average. The most common shape was two
pumpkin shaped rockets, after all it was Halloween. The total number of igniters
used was 9: 1 Estes Igniter, 3 AT copperheads, 1 AT First Fire Jr, 2 custom
Magna-lites, 1 AT First Fire and 1 Wildman Big-En, for an average of 1.8 igniters
- Scott flew the rebuild of his Pumpnik
on an AT F-40. This is the round orange pumpkin basket that kids use for Halloween
candy collecting, with 4 green bamboo sticks angled out the bottom for stability.
For those of you that remember, this also is off the pad because the sticks
hit the ground before the rocket rests on the red launch pad. The motor was
at least seven years old and appeared to have oxidation inside the slot. The
first copperhead was installed while the motor was being built as the slot was
tight. This was a no-go. Another
copperhead was tried with the same result. Then a scraping of the slot and another copperhead, nothing. Next came a Magna-lite. These burn real hot but still the rocket sat just off the pad. Magna-lites had never failed before, so this was a first. The next try was another Magna-lite and some black powder poured into the slot -- get it up or blow it up. The igniter lit the black power but for the first few seconds, the rocket motor refused to light. Finally, a couple of seconds later the Pumpnik left the ground. It had a wonderful flight to around 500 feet as it arched into the wind. It will live to fly again.
- Doug also managed a single flight,
albeit a nice one. Doug brought out his newly painted rocket (it was hard to
believe that Doug actually has a painted rocket!). It is a bright yellow Wildman
Dark Star 2.1 with dual deploy, on an AT J500G. This was the first high power
launch for Alex and we tried to explain that with the J500, this was going to
disappear quickly. And it screamed off the pad and went out of sight. We heard
the apogee deploy but could not find the rocket, even with Tom managing the
binoculars. After several tense seconds, we heard the main deploy and located
the rocket coming down. Its landing was somewhat interesting. The nosecone and
fin section landed on the ground but the middle section with the screamer was
up in a tree. Tom, Alex and Doug went to get the rocket in the tree line just
to the north of our field. Scott and I, who remained at the pad, could tell
how they were doing
because we could continue to hear the screamer. Once it stopped, we knew they had gotten that section down. All pieces were returned and Doug has now joined the mile high club, at 5711 ft. Congratulation
- I managed 3 flights on the day.
My first was a fully custom $1.99 Styrofoam pumpkin with fins added and a motor
tube installed. I put an Estes C6-5 inside this head’s up flight but it needed
more of a 2 second delay as the rocket arched upward nicely but was already
on the ground for a few seconds by the time the delay charge went off. Between
the rocket weighing only 6 ounces, being 4 inches in diameter and the soft ground, there was no damage when the rocket hit. The rear ejection motor tube was destroyed by the ejection charge, but that will be rebuilt and the rocket will fly again. My second flight was a gold colored Wildman Dark Star Lite called Gold Star. The last time the Gold
Star flew, the motor huffed and chuffed and the rocket flew unstable and spiraled; hitting the ground several seconds before the chute came out. This time, I changed two things to get it to fly right. First, I added a 2 oz quicklink to the nosecone, and I went up to the second biggest G motor I know of -- AT G105T-M. This time the up portion was straight and true and the delay was 1-2 seconds late but everything survived. This rocket landed in the field to the east, and was less than 2 feet from the tree line. My final flight of the day was my Giz gone wild! on a K555 Skidmark. There was little chance of this starting a fire with the Skidmark. John’s SamStone was on top of the deployment bag, attached to a 24 inch Estes parachute. The igniter went off and nothing happened for about a second. Then a yellow flame started out the back for another second, and finally, the entire motor caught and the rocket took off. It was not as loud as a typical Skidmark, but the smoke and sparks were still there. Two RRC2 minis handled the deploy duties and the 24 inch apogee chute looked a bit late either due to the rocket arching over or the backup causing the chute to pop (examination of the rocket at home showed both apogee charges went off). The main opened at 800 feet and when the deploy bag was pulled out, so was the SamStone. The rocket landed in the field to the north with the nosecone full of water when I got there and the main chute very wet. The SamStone continued to lazily float downward, drifting southeastward with the wind until it went out of sight. Peace be with you John and hopefully Diane can make the next time we try it.
Overall, it was a great day. As part of the interview process, Alex asked each of us what we thought of the launch. This has made me think about what makes a successful launch. Is a successful launch one in which ever rocket intended to go up, does and is recovered by the rocketeer? Or is it where no one gets hurt? Or where every rocketeer accomplishes whatever they set out to do? Or is it just having the opportunity (aka weather and ground conditions) to enable the launch to happen? Or is it getting on and off the field, after having a good time in spite of what went wrong? I would be curious to know what your thoughts are on this.
Bonus Launch - November 13. This was an extra launch decided on prior to the usual third Saturday of the month launch. I finished last month asking, “What was a successful launch?” This extra launch was certainly one of the top five for the CRMRC. The weather was the biggest factor: sunny, unlimited ceiling, temps in the 50s, and winds under 5mph all the way up to 6000 feet. Facing the unusual November sun made you feel warm. The day was beautiful and it was a pleasure to be sitting outside. There was not a big rush to get flights off, but we did manage nineteen flights total. The field was in the exact same condition as last month, wet but drivable; which made for very soft landings. All in all, it was an excellent day to be out and flying rockets.
There were five CRMRC members and
one family of four which were guests. We managed to burn twenty-two motors on
the nineteen flights, with an average of G. There were four “First Flights,”
one staged and one clustered flight, for a total of six “Heads Up” flights.
No wind meant everything went straight up. Nothing landed too far from the field
and rockets would lazily drift south then north and back south again as the
descended. As for the flights themselves, by rocketeer, they are:
- Scott managed two flights for the
day. His brand new custom four inch yellow crayon, named “Yellow Beer’ed” made
its maiden flight on an AT G-71-5R. With absolutely no wind, it was possible
to get away with motors that otherwise could not have been used. This 3 pound,
3 ounce rocket with clear fins went straight up and came down quickly on red
and white 36 inch parachute. Scott’s big flight for the day was his custom white
Apollo-ESQ on a CTI H143 Smokey Sam. The black smoke trail was also straight
and we were able to watch the whole flight, with the 24 inch chute bringing
it gently back down slightly to the north.
- After a hiatus, Dave G returned
to make three flights and burn six motors. It was amazing to watch a black and
yellow Estes Guardian fly on an AT E25-5. When the motor lit, the rocket shot
up almost 1000 feet; 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 - and then out of here! If you blinked,
you missed it. The rocket held together and returned successfully under chute.
Dave’s bright orange Estes Commanche -3 (minus 1 stage) flew on an Estes D12-0
to a C6-7. Dave used the new Quest Q2 igniters, and they are a significant improvement
over the Estes ones, albeit more expensive. Both stages of the Commanche lit
and the flight went straight up. The first stage tumbled down and was caught
in a tree about six feet off the ground -- easy to find. The streamer brought
the rocket down on the field. A Semroc Hydra 7 with just 3 Estes C6-7 motors
(instead of the maximum of 7) went about 800 feet up and the two halves both
were recovered on separate parachutes without damage.
- Dave L queued up four flights.
A fifth was half loaded on the rail, when he realized the “nose cone” would
not fit past the rail, so this was scrubbed until the design could be updated.
This non-flier was a white Halloween themed rocket with a skull as a nosecone.
A hole in the head is needed to enable the rod to fit through (for the rocket,
not the rocketeer) As far as flying, an Estes C6-5 powered a white Quest Falcon
to around 750 feet before the orange parachute brought the rocket gently down.
Dave customized an Estes Blue Ninja to add a stuffed blue dog over the nosecone
for his “Moon Doggie’s” first flight. An Estes D12-5 brought this rocket up
nicely and at apogee the ejection charge not only ejected the parachute, it
also covered the blue dog with dog barf; how appropriate. Dave overpowered his
scratch “Alien Invasion” saucer with an AT F20-W (no ejection charge). This
was amazingly fast for a saucer and it just kept on climbing. This landed less
than 50 feet from the “crowd” but Dave had taken the time to put his camera
down and did not see exactly where it landed. So it took a while and 3 others
to find the rocket The big flight for Dave was his purple and white Madcow Squat
design on a CTI H118 classic. Our small female guest liked the purple rocket
(she liked the color purple). It went over 2000 feet and came down nicely on
a green parachute.
- Jeff O managed an amazing 7 flights.
Jeff started in classic style with a white Estes Alpha on a B6-4, with a replaced
shock cord, parachute and nosecone (after the last had drifted off north a couple
of months ago and was never seen again). It shot straight up and landed in the
field it was launched from. To complete the Greek alphabet, next was an Estes
Omega [Alpha to Omega] on an Estes D12-5. Jeff warned us that this rocket did
not always fly straight. In no wind, it went up straight as an arrow and the
white/blue/black rocket drifted nicely back to the ground. A custom olive drab
Redstone flew on an AT D24-7T with a great kick off the pad, up into the air,
and back down softly on a 24 inch parachute. An AT F39-6T propelled another
Alpha flight. The custom 2.5x upscale red/white/blue rocket came down nicely
on an orange chute. The most anticipated flight of the day was a Papa Tango
1.6X (6 inch) Mars Lander. Jeff had spent many hours assembling this kit and
it looked great as it sat on the pad, ready to fly on an AT G64-4W. The flight
up was straight and true, with the legs sticking out acting as stabilizers.
There is little room in this kit for enough parachute cloth to bring this rocket
down safely. It was packed with one 30 inch chute inside, and that did bring
the rocket down slowly. The rocket landed awkwardly on one of the legs and twisted
the mount for it. Hopefully, this will be able to be fixed and others will have
a chance to see the kit fly again. [Ed -- it has been repaired and will fly
again if Jeff is willing to risk it.] A kicky AT H242T launched a PML Bull Puppy
II (have been rebuilt nearly as much as my PML Patriot) to around 2000 before
the almost 4 pound rocket came back on a 48 inch chute. Jeff decided to add
some risk to his day when he put an AT I285R in his 4X Alpha packed with an
oversized 60 inch Sky Angle chute. The flight up was perfectly straight and
the chute deployed exactly as Jeff would have wanted. The 60 inch chute is very
large and with no wind the rocket took several minutes to gently drift toward
the ground, just hanging below the pretty chute. It was the last flight of the
day and it was cool to just watch it hang there as we packed up the pads. It
landed and was not the farthest from the pad for the day and it landed standing
up on all 3 fins.
- As for me, I managed 3 flights,
coming back with two good rockets. I had just put all the vinyl stripes and
lettering on my PML AMRAAM 2.1 so it was all decked out to fly. The AT G76-7G
got the rocket about 15 feet off the pad before the ejection charge went off
and green flames appeared out both ends This melted the plastic Quantum airframe.
This nicely decorated rocket is now being relegated to the shelf. All of the
parts of the motor were inside the casing, and in the correct locations, so
I do not know what went wrong. But the adage “don’t fly it if you are not willing
to lose it” still applies. My PML Black Brandt Vb with avbay was powered by
an AT H210R. I had assembled this rocket two months earlier and finally got
to fly it. The RRC-2 mini seemed to run late, both in apogee charge deployment
and with the main. Also, the reported altitude of 840 feet seemed to be off
by at least 50 percent, as at least 1500 seemed to be the right height. But
it was recovered, after having stuck the landing with two fins in the mud. With
no wind, I decided to risk a large motor in my PML AMRAAM 3.0. The Kosdon J740G
was slow to light but finally lit for about a second before burning out. It
took the rocket well out of sight. We saw the cloud from the apogee ejection
charge and the silver Mylar streamer flashed in the sun as it came down. Finally,
at around 500 feet, the main ejected and the rocket came to the ground undamaged.
Again, the RRC-2 mini was the altimeter. It was impossible to tell if the apogee
charge was late, but the main was set for 800 feet, but seemed a bit low when
it went off. Additionally, the altimeter read just 3490 feet, but the simulations
had the flight closer to 6000 feet, as what it looked like when it went out
of sight. But I got the rocket back, so I was happy.
Dave L and Scott got some nice shots of everything. We are in the process of moving the web site to another provider. This one has unlimited storage, so expect to be able to put pictures out in a month or so. All I ask is that you look through the pictures and take out seemingly duplicate ones.
I hope to see all of you at the upcoming speed challenge which is Sunday, November 21st. This will be the first CRMRC speed challenge to see who can go the fastest. So what is fast for a high power model rocket that can fly on our field? Mach 1? Mach 2? I would guess somewhere between the two. But what you have to remember is that at 1000mph, if there is the slightest imperfection anywhere, there is no gradual disintegration. Everything goes at once and all you are left with is pieces the size of a dime or less. Exotic materials like carbon fiber and Kevlar still have to be built properly to withstand the extreme forces associated with that kind of speed. And the rockets are just too small to make a sonic boom.
As one flier put it, "I am either going to need 6000 feet and eyes to find it or 400 feet and a broom to collect the pieces."
We do have incredible motors which will be used to try to go that fast though. These high power motors have 32x the power of an Estes C motor and burn in half the time (between 0.3 and 0.5 seconds). And if you blink when it takes off, you have lost the rocket.
Mach Speed Challenge - November 21
The November 21, 2010 Mach Speed Challenge launch was not as nice as the first November launch, at least in terms of weather. The temperatures were about 20 degrees colder and not as sunny, but the winds were still somewhat light. It was also the first CRMRC mach speed challenge. The field was a bit dryer for driving but still soft enough to land on without much damage.
There were a total of 7 CRMRC members and two guests (father and son). Jeff O, who had just launched 6 rockets the week before was there for RSO/LCO duties. Scott managed to Kevinoze, bringing just a single rocket and continued to have igniter troubles. This was very frustrating for Scott as he had a very light rocket with an AT E motor planned. Jeff R showed up just as the last flight was taking off and helped with the cleanup.
Additionally, we were supposed to have someone from Tupper Lake, NY join us as he is interested in certifying in the future. But he could not find the field even though he drove past where we were there and our sign was out on the road for the entire time.
Scott, Jeff O, and I arrived at 0915, put the signs out, and then put out just the blue pad clip with a rail and a single clip as the rockets we brought only needed a rail. We were done by 0925 and then retired back into my truck as it was cold (30s) and breezy. At 0930, Dave L arrived and he needed some rods, so the red pads and two clips, and were again done by 0945. At around 1000, the Chris and Mark showed up so we were ready to begin.
For the day, there were 12 flights:
3-C, 1-F, 3-G, and 5-H, for an average of G. The flight details are as follows:
- Guest Zach decorated and flew a
CRMRC saucer which he named Darth Vader on an Estes C6-5. This had the classical
saucer flight, and Zach left the field with a rocket to fly again.
- Chris M flew his sky blue PML Bull
Puppy twice and both were successful flights. The first H motor was a CTI H163
white. The 3 pound rocket went up nicely and the chute came out to float down.
The second flight was on a CTI H175 Smokey Sam. This left a nice black smoke
trail as it went up. As before, the chute came out and the rocket drifted nicely
back to the ground from around 1500 feet.
- Mark M managed 3 flights of his
PML Explorer. An AT G71R with a red flame pushed the rocket up to around 1000
feet before it returned under chute. A CTI G131 had more of a kick as it took
off, and the results were the same; about 1000 feet and a nice recovery under
chute. The fastest flight of the day was the Explorer on a CTI H255. This snapped
off the pad and flew well over 2000 feet up before returning to the ground with
the parachute above.
- Dave L got 4 flights in. His classic
Estes Snitch flew on an Estes C6-5.. After a flight of about 150 feet, the rocket
turned around and was almost on the ground when the ejection charge went off.
A custom 4 inch silver Sputnik with sticks out the bottom also flew on an Estes
C6-5. This rocket was a bit woozy as it flew, although it did go mostly upward.
It could use small tape tabs on the antenna to make it a bit more stable. It
was recovered and will fly again. A 2 inch custom rocket named Departed had
a foam skull as a nosecone. With a hole in the head this time (the rocket),
this rocket was flown on an AT F23-7FJ. It was a nice flight as it shot upward
fairly quickly. No skulls were damaged in this flight. Dave’s big flight of
the day was his scratch Miller Lite beer bottle on a CTI H123 skidmark. It went
up with the usual skidmark noise and show of sparks and smoke. The 24 inch chute
brought it down nicely.
- As for me, I managed two flights. If either were a certification flight, I would have failed. My PML MR-1b flew on a CTI G185 -12. The delay was about 2-3 seconds too long and when it did occur, it blew out half of the side of the airframe, including the custom adapter used to hold the oversized nosecone. Because of how I built the rocket, it will be rebuildable without a coupler, so about $40 later, my PML order is on it’s way to me to fix the rocket. This was my entry in the speed challenge, but given that the rocket did not survive, I do not feel I should be considered a finalist. My other flight of the day was my Hanger 11 King Arthur kit on a CTI H123 skidmark. The flight up was fine and I was experimenting with a new freebag Kevin made for me for the recovery. Again, the ejection charge was a few seconds late, but the smaller 24 inch nosecone parachute slowed the rocket down before opening up the main 48 inch chute. The problem was, that ejection charge had roasted the shock cord and so when the main deployed, the parachute just floated down by itself, and the airframe hit the ground hard.. One fin was damaged but because the fins are replaceable, I will create another and fly it again.
I do not know who had a worse day; Scott, who spent 3 igniters and got nothing off the ground, or myself, who got two rockets off the ground and severely damaged one, and minor damage to the other.
So who won the fastest rocket challenge -- Mark M with his PML Explorer on a CTI H255. Since there was no altimeter on board, this is purely a judgment call. Happy Thanksgiving.
December 18th was our last launch for 2010. It was also the first time in a long time that my guess of weather being better on Saturday verses Sunday was wrong. The forecast was for temps starting in the teens and getting to 30 with winds around 6mph and partly cloudy skies. The temperatures were correct but the winds ranged from 10-18mph according to our anemometer. Additionally, there was at best a 10% coverage of blue sky, so mostly cloudy would have been a better prediction. All in all, not a terrific day, especially when compared to Sunday which was mostly sunny and less wind.
There was about 4 inches of snow on the ground with the ground relatively frozen, but any puddles on top were just covered with a thin, breakable layer of ice. Everyone who showed up was prepared for both the weather and the ground coverage.
I was a bit late getting out of the house and so Jeff O, my passenger, and I arrived around 0930. Doug had been there and left and was just returning when we arrived. Doug was unsure if his car could drive out and, more importantly, back. So he put his stuff in my truck and rode out with us. Dave L joined us around 0940 and setup promptly began. We were ready to fly by 1000.
There were a total of 11 flights,
12 motors burned, including: 1-A, 1-C, 2-D (same flight), 1-E, 2-F, 3-G, and
2-H. The average per flight was an "F". Here was what was flown:
- Doug flew his reliable naked PML
Bull Puppy 2.1 on an AT G64W. The flight had the classic AT white propellant
roar and landed one field to the north. I was out returning from recovering
one of my rockets at the time, and it landed about 50 feet in front of me. I
checked all the fins, packed it up and met Doug just as he had entered the field.
- Jeff O managed three flights. A
classic (aka 20 year old) Estes Little Joe II flew on an Estes A10-3. The A
did a nice job going up to nearly 500 feet before returning on a chute. Next
was a white Estes Explorer/Jupiter on a C6-3. Another fine flight with all eyes
watching to make sure we knew where the white rocket was on the white ground.
The only two stage flight of the day was an Estes Omega on a D12-0 to D12-5.
There is always something cool about hearing and watching the staging work.
The rocket arched over toward the south under the booster and then the sustainer
made it go further south. Fortunately, the wind blew it back to a reasonable
distance away for retrieval.
- Dave L had four "flights;"
actually 3 left the pad though. An oddroc consisting of a gold plastic Christmas
bell about 7 inches in diameter and almost as tall had a motor in it. This is
called "Ding Dong." On the first attempt with an Estes E9-6, the nozzle
rang the blast deflector as it bounced off and the motor burned for a long time
but the rocket did not leave the pad. The second attempt was much more successful
on a CTI F23FJ. This time the rocket made it off the pad and went up around
500 feet with a black trail following. The rocket did squirrel around a bit
at the top, so I am still going to reserve judgement on whether this is stable.
Moving the motor further forward is certainly recommended. [Pyramid shaped rockets
should have a CM above 1/3 of the way down from the point.] Dave was proud of
his recently finished, unpainted Wildman Dark Star Mini. This was just over
a pound ready to fly and 1.6 inches in diameter. It scooted off nicely on another
CTI F23-7 Black !
Max but Dave was blessed with a bonus extra few seconds of delay before the parachute ejected. It was several seconds late and the parachute will need some repair and reattachment. The rocket is fine though. Dave's big flight of the day was a Red Crayon on a CTI H123-7 Skidmark. At just over 3 pounds, the skidmark was loud and got the rocket going fast. A 30 inch red chute brought the bird safely to the ground. Dave is now amassing a fleet of crayons with matching chutes. Only 62 more Crayola colors to go...
- As for me, I managed 3 flights
with two of rockets that were damaged in November. My MR1-b had a huge hole
blown in the side in November. The airframe was cut off and reattached to the
fincan, along with a new nosecone adapter. Now renamed as MR1-bs, was the first
flight of the day on a CTI G60-9 red lightning. An excellent flight but ended
up being 1:1 as it landed way to the north. No damage and it will live to be
painted and fly again. In keeping with the red theme, my Wildman Dark Star named
Gold Star flew on an AT G77R-M. Nice take off and landing. My last flight was
my purple and gold King Arthur again on a red motor, AT H165R-8 (drilled down
from an M). This had a fin destroyed in November and it was rebuilt and screwed
back in. This was another attempt at using a freebag on a 4 inch airframe. This
time, the shock cord was not burned through and the purple rocket came down
on a 48 inch purple and orange chute and the nosecone on a 12 inch purple chute.
to one of the fins, but it will be replaced and fly again.
We were off the field by around 1230 and had a nice lunch at the Bayside.
That makes 33 months in a row for the CRMRC.
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and/or happy New Year. I hope Santa or Judah Macabee brings/brought you your rocketry wish list.