2011 Launch Reports
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun NERRF 7 Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Jeff O has been bugging me to be brief so I have divided this report into two halves, the first for Jeff and the rest for others who want to read details.
Winds: 3-5 from the WNW
CRMRC members: 5 (Doug, Jeff R, Scott, Tom and myself)
Flights: 7 (1-D, 1-E, 1-F, 3-G, 1-H); average F, all successful
Doug: PML Bullpuppy 2.1 on AT G64W-7 with FOB camera inboard
Scott: Estes Blue Ninja on Estes D12-3, Cycline 3 on E15-7, AT Initiator on AT F42-4, custom Apollo-ESQ on CTI G60R
Howie: Performance Rocketry Gold Star on AT G64W-10, Performance Rocketry Lil Rascal on CTI H123-9 skidmark
Lunch afterward at the Bayside.
Okay, Jeff O, you can stop reading now.
OMG -- it was an excellent day for flying; much better that the forecast had predicted!
Scott and I arrived at 1115 and drove onto the field. There was a small snowbank and snow had piled up around where we crossed onto the field we normally are on. After about 10 minutes of shoveling, we leveled this enough that normal cars could drive on this without any issues. The conditions at that time was temperature around 9F, almost no breeze, no clouds and brilliant sunshine. Scott and I did not need jackets to do this work.
Scott and I proceeded to the launch site and started setting up in the 3 inch deep snow. Doug parked just off the road and started walking to the launch site at around 1130. We removed all the launch gear from the truck and I drove back to pick up Doug, who was about a quarter of the way out. The three of us got the launch site all set by around 1150, when Tom came down. Scott, Doug and I hung out in my truck, which was warmed by the sunshine and very comfortable. Scott prepped his rockets.
About 1210, a car full of our 4 UVM
student guests arrived on the field. None of these students had ever seen anything
bigger than an Estes. So when we started launching, they were in awe of how
loud, how fast and how high we went (and we really did not do anything very
big to let them see what high power rocketry is REALLY all about)
- Doug was first off the pad with
his PML BullPuppy 2.1 on an AT G64W-7 which has flown naked [without paint]
many times. Doug had purchased one of those FOB cameras and put it inside the
rocket. The flight was picture perfect into the cloudless sky. It went straight
up to around 2000 feet when the parachute and camera ejected. It landed NW of
the pads, two fields over. I can not wait to see the video.
- Scott was in regular fashion as
he got four birds off the ground, including the Cycline on the E15 which managed
to eat up 4 igniters and remain on the pad in November. Alphabetically, motors
were D, E, F, and G. An Estes Blue Ninja flew straight up on an Estes D12-3
and the parachute came out at apogee and the rocket landed less than 50 feet
from the pads, barely into the field to the west. Scott's E flight was the Cycline
which had been prepped with one of Scott's special igniters, scratching of the
APCP along the slot and black powder to get it going. When the button was pushed,
the igniter lit and the rocket jumped about a foot and settled on the pad. About
2 second later, the black power lit and the rocket jumped about 2 feet and then
settled on the pad. Another 2 seconds later, the APCP burped and the rocket
jumped about a foot before settling on the pad. Finally, the motor caught and
it screamed skyward. All of us were very worried that if it would have jumped
any higher, there would have been a land shark as it resettled on the ground
instead of the rod, but this did not happen. This 3 ounce rocket on an E was
a very fast takeoff (finally) and went up around 1800 feet before a reflective
silver streamer brought it back to the ground on the northern end of the launch
field. An AT Initiator flew on an AT F42-4, straight up and with yet another
short walk for Scott. The big odd-roc for the day was Scott's Apollo-ESQ on
a CTI G60 Red Lightning. The G struggled as it pushed the funnel rocket up around
800 feet. The rocket came down in a tree about 40 feet tall, but managed to
work it's way to both sides of a crotch about 20 feet off the ground. The pieces
were both about 15 feet off the ground. The combination of the an 8 foot launch
rod and the back of Tom's truck enabled Scott to snag the pieces and get it
down with just one parachute shroud line damaged. I expected everyone to jump
into the back of Tom's retrieval "golf cart" but the remain!
der of the recovery crew walked back to the pad.
- I had two flights, G and the only high power flight of the day, an H. The G was an AT G64W-10 with a brand new forward closure on my AT 29/40-120 casing (as I had suffered a forward delay failure the last time I used the casing and roasted a hole in the old forward casing). With no wind and the additional nose weight removed, this shot straight up about 2000 feet and even started to backslide for about a second before the delay ejected the nosecone. This landed on the field, in the NE corner. The big flight of the day was a brand new, naked (not yet painted) Performance Lil Rascal. This 4 inch x 31 inch rocket is the little brother of the Gizmo. It is definitely short and fat, so I added about 6 ounces of weight to the nosecone. This made the rocket marginally stable but the CTI H123 Skdimark, drilled down to 9 seconds made a picture perfect flight. The landing was near one of the ditches so only about half an inch of the rocket was visible above the snow.
We were done flying by 1315 and off the field by 1340. It was off to the Bayside for Scott, Jeff R, Tom and myself for an excellent lunch and discussion for a couple of hours. We confirmed with the Bayside that we could have our annual club meeting there for 2-3 hours as long as we made a reservation. The Friday before was acceptable to them. Their very large TV in with the tables was gone, replaced by a much smaller one. The waitress did not know why (the owner lost a bet or the old one caught a beer bottle where our guesses). We will patch into the TV to show the club stats and pictures for the meeting, which will be after next month's launch. All members are encouraged to attend, even if only for the meeting, which I will start roughly two hours after the start of the launch.
We will be collecting dues as our fiscal year is March 1 to February 28/29. Additionally, anyone wishing to contribute to the Montange fire fund is encouraged to do so at the meeting. Any new proposals for equipment should be made then and voted on, as will officers and any proposed changes to the by-laws. If you have pictures from club launches in 2010 that you have not sent me already, please figure out a way to get them to me (email is not always the best way for large files).
As for external work next year: the Vermont Astonomical Society is interested in doing "Look Up In the Sky II", the Shelburne Museum Space Camp has asked for saucers and help with a launch, and one Boy Scout Cub pack has asked for saucers and help with a launch. We are almost out of saucers (having launched almost 200 last year), so will have to get more supplies
Get that epoxy curing!
The February 2011 launch was interesting in many ways, so let me start with the flying and proceed from there. At the launch itself, there were 4 students from MIT, 2 from UVM, one other guest, and from the CRMRC: Scott, Mark, Tom, and myself (although Dave managed to watch somewhat from the road). There were 9 flights: 1-C, 1-F, 3-G, 3-H and 1-K, giving an average of an H. Two people managed to L1 certify -- congratulations and open up you wallet.
-Guest Christian, one of the MIT
students, flew his custom carbon fiber VX1 on a CTI H153-8. This rocket would
not win any beauty prizes, or straightness prizes. The flight up was certainly
full of coning but the deployment was very close to apogee at about 2000 feet.
The main opened and the wind pushed the rocket landed closer to Dunsmore Rd
launch site. Since this was the last flight of the day, the team used the Tom's golf cart to get the rocket. It was farthest from pad but no damage and a successful L1 certification.
-Guest Andrew, on the MIT team, flew
a 40 pound, 6 inch x 134 inch deployment vehicle of mostly carbon fiber, called
Tyr. The flight was a test of their vehicle that would be used to launch a glider
as part of a NASA contest. A CTI K1035 roared and pushed this rocket straight
up. An ARTS2 and MAWD were inside handling the apogee and main deploy. A 60
inch drogue was deployed at apogee but the main never came out. The rocket survives to fly again. Post-flight analysis showed that the sheer pins holding in the nosecone were stronger than the nosecone/nosecone-shoulder connection, so all that was ejected was the visible portion of the nosecone.
-Guest Jamie, from UVM, managed two
flights of his black and yellow, fully custom, ring finned scratch built rocket
called Oops 2. This 3 inch rocket flew first on a CTI G79-8 Smoky Sam. The flight
was perfect, the delay a couple of seconds late without damange. The rocket
was ready for the second flight and an L1 certification attempt. The second
flight weighed in at 2 pounds 2 ounces and flew on a CTI H143-8 Smoky Sam. Again,
the flight was perfect, going nice and straight up on the boost to around 2000
feet before the black parachute opened and we watched it drift on the wind toward
the east-southeast. It was quite a walk but the rocket survived and the CRMRC
has produced yet another
-Mark M flew his PML Explorer on an AT G64W. We have seen this rocket fly many times and this flight was still nice. The parachute came out and the rocket landed in the field, northeast of the launch pad.
-Scott managed 3 flights, to take home the prize for the most flights. The day opened with an Estes Blue Ninja on an Estes C11-3. The boost was fine and the parachute came out to bring the rocket down on the field. A rocket named Clear Saucer flew on an F24-7. In typical saucer fashion, the rocket did a nice job up to around 400 feet before it flipped over and floated back to the ground, not that far from the pad. Scott's big flight of the day was an Art Applewhite saucer on an AT G63FJ. Another great saucer push into the air and yet another close landing.
-As for me, I flew my 4 inch naked L'il Rascal on a CTI H400-10 Vmax but a delay of 7 would have been better. The kick off the pad was stellar and the flight landed two fields over to the northwest.
All in all, a great day flight wise;
nothing lost, damaged or destroyed.
We were delayed in starting because there was significant water on the field by the road and a significant breakable crust elsewhere so that we had to assess if we could get vehicles on, and more importantly, off, the field. This made for a single-track ride between the launch area, across the water and back to the road; much like riding a roller coaster as everyone climbed into one of two vehicles. [Tom did attempt a new track and needed some pushing to get moving before he got back into the track.] Additionally starting delay were caused when the MIT team managed to park their vehicle at about a 45 degree angle with the left wheels on the pavement and the right off the road in a ditch (in their defense, the snow did make it look like it was flat and not a 5 foot drop off). It did take a couple of attempts of my truck pulling to their vehicle on dry pavement with all four wheels on the ground.
Sometimes, the driving is more fun
than the launching. Jeff R -- eat your heart out. Click HERE
for photos of the event.
The field behind the Essex High School was not a bad place to hold a model and mid-power launch. There is enough flat space. The only drawbacks to using it on Sunday was the temperatures in the 20s and winds in the 8-12mph range. The bright sunshine helped with the temperature but exposed fingers did get cold in the wind.
Two fliers and 6 guests showed up for the launch. When we first got there, a guy was flying helicopters with rotor diameters of roughly between two and three feet. It was fun to watch and with the winds it was obvious he had done this before. Our guests, two dads each with two young kids, also enjoyed watching him while we set up. As we were ready to start flying, the helicopters were removed from the field.
We had a total of six flights, 4-C,
1-E, and 1-G, for an average of E. Only one rocket was not of the saucer variety:
- Dave L managed 3 flights. Dave's
first. and biggest of the day was his custom orange Alien Invader saucer on
an Estes E9-6. The saucer continued to climb and was ultimately the highest
saucer flight of the day. The kids and dads watching enjoyed it. Next was Dave's
Estes Snitch on a C6-5 which also had a classic snitch flight. Dave's final
flight of the day was his custom silver Sputnik on an Estes C6-0. Prior to starting
the day flying, I sanded the 1/8 rod in full view of all of the guests, explaining
that we did this to help the rockets go higher. One of the kids asked how much
did this help the rocket, and I said sometimes the rockets stick on the pad.
Well, the Sputnik stuck on the pad so we got to watch the whole flight, up close
and personal, including the ejection charge. But nothing was damaged so I would
consider Dave's day a success.
- I also managed 3 flights. The first
flight of the day was a CRMRC saucer on an Estes C6-5. Since it was the first
flight, all of the kids liked it very much (and since Dave's Alien Invader was
second, it was a good 1-2 punch to start the flights). My second flight was
my custom Pumpkin on an Estes C6-3. The delay was about 2 seconds too long as
the ejection charge went off about 5 feet off the ground; not enough time for
the parachute to deploy. The top of the Pumpkin was slightly crushed but it
will fly again. My third flight, and last of the day, was my gold colored Wildman
Dark Star Lite kit called Gold Star, on an AT G53FJ-8. It was the only real
rocket these kids had ever seen fly and it took off to about 1000 feet. The
delay was about 1 second too long but the chute came out and it landed about
30 feet off the field, in the tall weeds, without damage. I had taped my new
Booster Vision camera to it, but did not get any video. I think the camera turned
on in my pocket !
and used up all the memory before the flight. I need a new procedure for this.
After the flying, Dave and I spent about ninety minutes working with the club's Garmin Astro 220 and Dave's Garmin DC-40. We walked all over the field and were able to use the units to "find a lost rocket" that Dave had hidden and I used the tracker to find. We did several experiments like that and have decided that in the compass mode (where the Astro 220 gives you a direction and distance), while you are still far away the unit works very well in keeping you on your heading. As you get within 100 feet, you need to go about 10 steps in the heading and then let the unit become more stop "searching" and stabilize before walking again. But it did get you within 5-15 feet of the rocket when it finally said you had "arrived." This is as accurate as non-military GPS units can get. The map mode enabled you to follow where your "rocket" and where you had gone, including telling you how far you had traveled.
The unit also has one nice feature. When you begin a new "hunt," it allows you to mark your location as the truck (at least that is what I call it) so that once you find your rocket, you can have it point you back to the truck and your starting location. I will need to set up a set of instructions quick use instructions for anyone wanting to try to use the club's DC-40 in their rocket and the Astro 220 to find it. Click HERE for photos of the event.
The April launch was scrubbed due unprecedented rain and our field being too wet to access. (sorry Dave L -- I will get another L2 test ready for you).
The monthly May launch was scrubbed due to unprecedented rain and our field being too wet to access.
Thundering Skies Airshow - May 29, 2011
Scott, Tom, Dave L, and myself set up and manned a booth at Thundering Skies airshow at the Franklin County State Airport on Sunday, May 29. There were about 800 people at the show and most stopped by to look in. We had video running along with many static rockets, including Tom's Climb Maxx on the yellow pad. We managed to get four mid-power flights off the ground, including Tom's AT Mirage on an AT G77R while Miss Vermont was singing The Star Spangled Banner (at the appropriate time during the song "And the rocket's red glare" -- red flames and all). Click HERE for Dave Lang's photos of the event.
Cub Scout Pack Launch - June 5, 2011
Sunday, June 5, Scott and I ran a Cub Scout pack launch. Scott flew a two stage saucer for the scouts and each of the scouts or siblings flew a CRMRC saucer. The kids flew a total of 40 flights and each kid loved their flight, plus we added $200 to the club's treasury.
Monthly Launch - June 19, 2011
Sunday, June 19, Father’s Day, made for a great day to fly rockets. The temperature was in the upper 60s to mid 70s. The winds were out of the west (WNW if I had to guess) from 4-8mph. The skies were generally clear and sunny. The weather was nice enough that we did not get the first flight off until 10:15 as no one seemed in a rush. We also hung around under the tarp even after everyone finished flying. It was a great day to be outside -- no bugs, no smell, pleasant temperatures, and even better company.
As we approached the field, the land
owner said he would be spreading manure on the field we normally use so he told
us to go to the Western of the two fields accessible from where we normally
leave the road. With the winds from the West, there was surprisingly little
smell. Even walking across the recently sprayed area was not that bad.
There were a total of 8 people at the launch, not counting those spreading manure, who also got to watch the flights: six members, one family member and one guest. There were 17 flights, 19 motors burned, and 15.5 rockets recovered. The flights were: 2-C (including a 3-C cluster), 1-F, 2-G, 7-H, 1-I, 4-J, for an average and median of H.
The flights themselves were as follows:
- Guest Mark K showed up very late
and still managed two flights. An Astron Cobra on 3 Estes C6-5s was the only
cluster flight of the day. An Excelsior-made Der Fat Max (a red and black upsize
of the Estes Der Red Max) flew on an AT F12-3. This long burning F was a nice
flight. Scott graciously helped Mark as one of his rockets drifted two fields
to the west.
- Tom O had the most exciting flight
of the day by far, and was the only one not to have recovered his complete rocket.
“Tom’s Rocket” was a custom made, ultra-light, carbon fiber weighing 1.1 ounces.
This Raven dual deploy rocket was powered by an AT H699 Warp motor. The rocket
lit, jumped about 20 feet and then disappeared straight up to around 5000 feet.
We searched and finally saw the parachute, but only the avbay and upper half
were attached. Somewhere on the field is the fincan and motor casing. I hope
we find the fincan as that is one flight I would like to see again!
- Jeff O managed two flights. His
reliable PML Bull Puppy (PP-2) flew on an AT H148R. It was a very normal flight
to around 2000 feet and the 48 inch PML chute brought it back safely. Jeff’s
big flight of the day was his highly modified PML Patriot using dual deploy
on an AT J460T. The 9 pound 10 ounce flew to 3400 feet according to the altimeters:
two Perfect Flites. This flight was very important to Jeff as it was the two
altimeters he will be using in his L3 attempt, with all settings (apogee, apogee
delayed, upper main and lower main) as they will be in the attempt. Everything
worked as planned, all charges deployed, and Jeff has his altimeters ready for
his L3 beast.
- Scott had his streamer recovery
Cycline on an Estes C11-5. Another light and high flying rocket had a great
flight. The big flight for Scott was his custom yellow crayon flying on a CTI
H175. Crayons are always fun to watch and this was no exception.
- Doug managed two naked flights,
continuing to shun painting. A fiberglass Wildman Wild Child (1.5 in x 33 in)
with a mini-camera inboard flew on an AT G64-10. The camera did come out with
the ejection charge and Doug did get the view of the flight on the way down.
It was a long walk to retrieve this 14.6 oz rocket (without motor). A CTI J293
Blue Streak powered a custom made Scratch One 54 to an altitude of 5861 feet
(actual). This was a minimum diameter rocket with a prebuilt fincan so the build
was relatively easy, albeit the rocket was very tall (84 inches). The RRC2-mini
did an excellent job and brought the rocket down relatively closely. Doug’s
two flights showed using an altimeter does cut down on walking, but does add
complexity when setting up the flight.
- Dave L had three flights. First
flight was his scratch built Red Crayon with a red parachute which flew on an
CTI H123-7 skidmark. It was the first flight for this new crayon and the skidmark
was loud, smoky, and sparky. What more can I say, other than, “Ya gotta love
skidmarks!” Dave flew his newly constructed Performance Rocketry Lil Rascal
on a AT H123 White lightning with a nice landing 200 feet away from the pad.
See the video HERE.
A red and white Polecat Woket called “Oh Canada” was Dave’s attempt on L2 certifying
prior to going to NERRF 7. Wokets are modified high power saucers with a motor
tube in the middle. Dave attempted his L2 using an AT J90-10 with a 9 second
burn. The motor was extremely marginal for the 6 pound 6 ounce rocket (I prefer
25Ns for every pound and this was 15 -- close to the absolute minimum). The
actual flight had the motor barely propel the rocket to 252 feet (verified by
Doug's Jolly Logic Altimeter One), arced over, still under power, and head downward,
still thrusting. About a second before the rocket hit the ground, the motor
finished its long burn. Several seconds after hitting the ground, the parachute
ejected. Dave admitted this was not a successful L2 flight, in spite of the
manufacturer’s recommendations for this motor. You can watch the video HERE.
Notice the parachute ejection on the ground at the last moment.
- For me, there were four flights. My gold painted Wildman Dark Star Lite called Gold Star, flew on an AT G76G-10 for a nice flight to around 1000 feet. I did have an insurance parachute attached to the NC just in case, but it was not necessary. My black/red/silver painted modified PML Black Brandt Vb flew on an AT H250G and the RRC2 mini did an excellent job bringing the rocket down from 1084 feet (actual). My next two flights were to verify new altimeters before using them in my L3 attempt. Neither was very high because I wanted to see/hear the altimeters work. A naked stretched Performance Rocketry Lil Rascal with 28 inch avbay added flew on an AT I285R with an outboard camera. This rocket arched over significantly but the Perfect Flite Stratologger (primary) and RRC2 mini (backup) did a nice job in brining this 9 pound rocket down from 942 feet according to the RRC and 948 feet according to the Stratologger. My Giz gone wild! flew on a KBA J740G with an RRC-2 as primary and MARSA4 as backup. The altimeters read 892 and 866, respectively. The Stratologger (primary) and MARSA4 (backup) are the two planned for my L3 attempt. The video is HERE.
Click HERE for Dave Lang's photos of the event.
NERRF 7 - June 24-26, 2011
Report from Dave Lang:
I drove to NERRF 7 with high school buddy Max V. from Montreal. (Max and I have been flying rockets since the sixties). The intention was for me to certify Level 2 and for Max to get his Level 1. We both succeeded. We arrived late Thursday afternoon to find Howie D. already there setting up the CRMRC tent. We set up our own 10 x 10 canopy next door, walked around a bit to say hello to some friends and then headed back to the hotel for supper at nearby Friday's and a good night's sleep.
Friday morning we arrived at the field, unloaded our rockets and tools and proceeded to the flyer's meeting. It had rained the night before and it was overcast with temps in the mid sixties with intermittent rain and thunderstorms forecast for the day. Hmmm.
I started prepping my 4 smaller rockets that I wanted to fly over the next 3 days and got them all RSO'd to avoid lineups. The two that were not ready were my "Oh Canada" Polecat Woket saucer that I had crashed the week before in St. Albans and my newly built 8 foot tall Rocketry Warehouse X-celerator that I would fly for my Level 2 attempt. It couldn't be RSO'd until I installed the Garmin DC40 GPS tracker in the nosecone, 4 ejection charges on the avbay, and the 6 shear pins. Also the CTI J355 Red Lightning motor had to be assembled and the ejection charge removed since I was using two redundant altimeters to handle the dual deployment. What was also needed prior to flight was an inspection by my certification team; in this case Howie was to be the primary team member with Matt R. from upstate NY state as the secondary. I only had a small window with Howie's attention as he was very busy prepping his own rocket for his level 3 attempt as one of his certification team members observed.
Before I knew it the afternoon was partly gone and the wind had picked up. I went over to Wildman to buy some West Systems epoxy as well as the CTI J355 Redline motor for my Level 2 run. Turns out there was a level 2 promotion and I got the case for free! I only had to buy the closure. I then continued to do some prep work while watching and filming some of the day's flights. Due to approaching thunderstorms, the NERRF RSO decided to end the flying day early at around 3:30 PM. In retrospect, the storm never materialized and the evening was quite beautiful. I never flew on day one.
Saturday morning, The weather was a bit overcast with calm winds. I finalized all the work on my level two rocket and was ready for inspection but Howie was now totally involved with his build and certification team. So Matt became the primary inspector of my work with some comments from Howie who had seen a lot of it already. After Matt's sign-off, I carried my X-celerator to the RSO table to have it weighed and inspected once again. All went well and off to the high power pads I went with my 14.6 lb rocket. I had already armed the GPS tracking system and a third altimeter, a Jolly Logic Altimeter Two, both of which were in the nosecone which was now shear-pinned in place. I put my rocket on the rail and armed the Raven II and Perfect Flite altimeters and turned on the Boostervision high definition camera which would record the flight. I then walked to the spectator area to wait for the launch.
It wasn't long before my rocket was heading aloft arcing away from us as it climbed with a nice red flame and white smoke out the rear.
I saw the first separation and heard both primary and secondary charges go off. A 6 foot long orange streamer made it easy to track as it fell to main deployment at 500 feet. I saw it land just beyond the far edge of the farthest soybean field. Howie handed me the Garmin Astra GPS receiver which had tracked the rocket perfectly. I followed the Garmin about half a mile (.525Mi. to be exact) to the landing site. I realized as I approached the edge of the field that the rocket was not visible and had landed beyond the field. I climbed up onto a burm to discover that the rocket was lying entirely in the back river with the altimeter bay submerged. The nosecone was bobbing in the water with the Garmin DC-40 submerged too! I'm amazed the signal got through the water. The booster section was half submerged having landed in reeds with the video camera luckily out of the water. It wasn't even wet. The 70" parachute was floating on the water's surface. I was pretty upset that we had 1000 acres of field and my rocket chose to land in the water! I tried using my cell phone to call Howie to get the recovery team out to the river with a grappling pole, but his battery had died. I decided to wade in to get the rocket. I grabbed the booster section first making sure to keep it high and dry because of the camera and placed it on dry ground. I pulled the rest of the rocket and chute across the water by the shock cord watching the AvBay sink deeper as I pulled. The chute filled with water and was difficult to pull as it submerged like a giant bucket. When I lifted the forward section with AvBay out of the water there were no altimeter beeps and I could see through the fiberglass that the AvBay was totally filled with water which was now peeing out of every vent and crack. I turned the arming switches off. When I picked up the nosecone it too had partially filled with water. I also saw that the Altimeter two which is waterproof had recorded 3302 feet and a max. speed of 302 MPH. (I had predicted 3311' and 310 MPH with Rocksim 9). I opened up the GPS bay in the nosecone and the Garmin GPS tracker was soaked but still happily blinking away. It's waterproof. I shook out as much water as I could from the nosecone and Avbay and re-assembled the rocket on the field and carried the otherwise unscathed rocket back to our canopy where both Howie and Matt were waiting. There wasn't so much as a scratch on my new polyurethane paint job! Howie had to go fly his level 3 project so I waited until later on for my sign off. In the meantime I managed to borrow some isopropyl alcohol from Matt and had both altimeters submerged to absorb the water. By the time Howie was back he was had succeded with his level 3 attempt so could sign me off by himself which he did. That was a good day despite the water landing. We went back to the hotel, showered and ate dinner at the Outback steak house next to our hotel.
On Sunday, the weather was perfect and the first rocket I flew was my "Oh Canada" 24" Polecat WOKET saucer with an Aerotech J135 Classic long burn (9 second) motor. Great flight unlike the one back home the week before using an underpowered J-90 long burn. The 54"chute popped out in plenty of time to softly land the saucer. The crowd really liked that one!
Gary Tortora the designer of my Level 2 X-CELERATOR came by to congratulate me on my successful level 2 certification. That was cool.
Next I flew my Madcow Squat on a CTI H123 Skidmark, A perfect flight to 1800' landing only a few hundred feet away. My final flight of the day was my newly constructed Rocketry warehouse Formula 54 fiberglass rocket on a CTI G88 Skidmark to 1500'. (Love those Skidmarks!) Then it was time to pack up and drive back to Vermont.
Once back home, I decided to see if either of my two submereged altimeters would power up. After submersion in alcohol at the field, I had dried them off for two days on the warm dashboard of the car. I replaced the batteries in the Avbay and powered up the Perfect Flight MAWD and it began beeping. It had recorded my L2 flight and beeped out an altitude of 3084'. I wasn't so lucky with the Raven II. It would power up with LEDs flashing but no beeps. I attached it to my laptop and amazingly, the flight profile was still in memory saying the X-celerator had climbed to 3307' with a max. speed of 324 MPH.
All in all I had a really good time. I met a lot of interesting people, saw some really neat rockets and learned a lot of things. The onboard video of my L2 certification flight is also featured on the Rockets Magazine NERRF 7 DVD which is really cool. And I got my level 2 certification!
Report from Howie D:
I drove down on Thursday to reserve a site and set up the tarp. All of the field setup that could be done was complete so I waited for Dave L to arrive to show him where to set up his tarp; the space next to mine. I then drove down to White Plains, had dinner with my dad and his wife, and spent the night with him. I asked him if he could join me on Saturday but his wife’s car had died so he had to ferry her to all her appointments that day. I never told him that I was going to L3 certify on Saturday because it would have upset him to know that I wanted him there and that he could not make it.
I left White Plains early on Friday and arrived at the field around 0830 and set up my stuff. The skies were mostly cloudy with the ceiling ranging between 1000 and 3000 feet for most of the day. I did not want to fly into the clouds so the theme for my day was “low” (there were several folks that went many thousands of feet into the clouds but I had nothing to do with them). I started the day with the first RSO shift and found no issues with any of the flights, including making sure they did not get into the clouds. As for rockets, I kept things simple; no electronics. The flights included my Wildman Dark Star Lite called “Gold Star” on an AT G53-10FJ to around 800 feet. I flew my beer bottle Saranac Root Beer (SRB) on an AT H165R drilled down to 5 seconds also under 1000 feet. Both flights were good and stayed out of the clouds. My friend Matt R joined me under the tarp as he worked to prep a new rocket that needed the avbay internals completed. I spent the rest of the day shopping at Wildman, AMW, and Hanger 11 looking for G & H motors for myself and four SU AT G motors for the club (Wildman announced 40% off so I did save the club some money on both shipping and motor costs). The rest of the day was spent reviewing everything for Saturday’s certification flight.
Saturday’s skies were mostly sunny. My advisor was not scheduled to arrive until after noon, so I spent the morning taking out everything I needed for my L3 flight. My advisor had seen and approved the airframe already, but I still had to take him through everything in the recovery system before I could assemble the rocket: electronics, ematches, charges, shear pins, shock cords, anchor points, parachutes, streamer, quick links, and deployment bag. Everything was satisfactory so the assembly could be started. My charge tests at home indicated that 1g of black powder was enough to separate both the fincan and the nosecone. I had spoken with others about how much charge they use for an Ultimate Wildman and these ranged from 4 to 7 grams. I trusted my own experiments, and ran with 2g each for both of the primary charges, and 2.5g for the backup charges. I assembled the entire recovery system and packed it in the rocket. During this time, Dave L was asking me questions about his certification flight. I said I was involved in my flight and could not answer him; I hope this appeared polite to him as I tried to make it that way. I then assembled the 6 grain CTI 75mm M 1770 Skidmark after checking with the people running the launch to make sure Skidmarks were allowed. It was the first time I was assembling the motor so it went relatively slow as I kept referring to the instructions. When it was done and installed, I went back through all my checklists to make sure there was nothing missing from what I had planned on doing. The rocket was RSOed at 55 pounds and away I went to the away cell.
The rocket would not slide down the Unistrut rail -- it jammed up. So rather than force it, we removed the center rail button and plugged the hole. Then with just two buttons, we still had to force the rocket down the rail. It seems that the new buttons were very tight fitting on the top of the rail (even without a rocket) and dropped inside the rail at the bottom. When I was finally comfortable that the rocket was correctly on the rail, we raised the rail using the electric hydraulics. I climbed up the tower and turned on both altimeters (primary Perfect Flite Stratologger with apogee and main at 1000, and backup MARSA4 with apogee plus 1 and main at 700 feet). Both armed correctly and I climbed back down the tower and inserted the igniter into the almost 3 foot tall motor and went to the spectator area. The flight itself was almost picture perfect. Greg Gardener did the LCO and announced that this was a spectacular motor and everyone should watch. Greg wished me luck and counted down. The motor took what seemed like an eternity to fully ignite(in actuality, about 5 seconds) and it roared skyward to 5700 feet with a smoke trail following it the whole way. At apogee, the primary charge separated the rocket and the burrito opened to show the sparkling silver “Welcome Home” streamer. The backup charge could be heard about a second later. Then at 1000 feet the main charge went off and I watched as the 44 inch red/white/blue/black Sky Angle parachute pulled the nosecone and deployment bag away and the red/white/blue/black Sky Angle XL brought the rest of the rocket down a couple of fields to the left of where it took off. Everything was perfect and Matt helped me recover the rocket. I showed it to my advisor and he signed my paperwork. I then went back to the tarp and cracked open a Saranac Root Beer that I had on ice that had been reserved to celebrate [or drown my sorrows] and signed Dave L’s L2 paperwork as the only person required to sign because I was L3.
I was so drained on Sunday, that I did not plan anything big. I decided to re-fly my L1 and L2 rockets in similar fashion to the actual certification flights. My original PML Black Brandt VB had been destroyed so I flew my rebuild of that rocket on an AT H165R-7 to around 3000 feet. I then flew my twice rebuilt and once refinned PML ¼ Patriot dual deploy on a KBA J740 with two RRC2 minis doing deployment duties. The flight up was great but the main deployed at apogee and the rocket drifted quite a way down, out of the field that mere mortals like myself could recover it. I asked the landowner who has permission to retrieve rockets on other farmer’s land to recover the rocket. He found it easily (as the parachute could easily be seen from the spectator area), but when it was returned to me, one of the fins was severely damaged. I am finally retiring this airframe. I also helped Matt fly the one rocket that he had been working on all weekend.
Overall, I was very appreciative of all the help I received from all my friends with my L3.
Saturday, July 16, was another good day to be out on the field and flying rockets. The weather was mostly sunny, winds 3-8mph, and temps in the mid to upper 80s. In the shade with a breeze, it was very comfortable. Upper winds were almost calm with the wind starting below about 500 feet.
There were 11 guests and 7 CRMRC members who witnessed a total of 25 flights. There was one staged rocket and one cluster, so 27 motors were burned. This included: 1-1/2A, 1-B, 5-C, 1-D, 1-E, 2-F, 6-G, 6-H, 3-I, and 1-K. This made the launch overall average per flight and per motor of a G. Counting just the CMRMC members, both of these become an H. In total, an L motor was burned.
Flights were as follows:
- Guest Ethan (son of CRMRC member
Jason) flew an Estes “Fighter” on an Estes 1/2A3-4T. This rainbow colored beast
flew up over 100 feet before the orange streamer brought it gently to the ground,
leaving the rocketeer with a smile on his face.
- Guest Maeve flew a nicely decorated CRMRC saucer named “Star Catcher” on an Estes C6-5. As Maeve pushed the button, the motor struggled to push the rocket upward and the ejection charge went off as the rocket drifted downward.
- Guest Kate flew another CRMRC saucer flier. Hers was colored “red black green orange yellow purple green pink.” Her rocket was christened “Cherry bomb” and also flew on an Estes C6-5 with the same effect as Maeve’s. Everyone loves the pop the ejection charge makes on the way down.
- Guest Teresa (sister of Kate) was the third flier of a CRMRC saucer. The rocket was named “Stars” and the color was “colorful stars.” Another Estes C6-5 pushed this rocket gracefully into the sky about 100 feet before arching back down and popping the ejection charge.
- Jeff O flew his up-scaled Papa Tango “Mars Lander” on an AT G64-4W to over 500 feet. There was a problem with one of the parachutes on the way down, so the rocket came down on only a single chute. The landing legs hit the ground hard. In his usual preference, Jeff flew an Alpha. This custom “4X Alpha”, painted in classic colors of white with red and blue, flew on an AT I285R-M. The red flame was clearly visible as the 6+ pound rocket went up to around 2000 feet. A pretty 44 inch Sky Angle chute brought the rocket safely down to the ground.
- Dave G came back from hiatus to have two flights. The first was a 1 pound, yellow and black AT “Arreaux” on a new motor from AT. Dave predicted the altitude to be 1500 feet, but the consensus on the field was closer that the rocket went to 2500 feet. (ed: Rocksim 9 says it should go to 3460 feet and I think it was closer to that figure.) A matching yellow parachute brought the rocket back to the ground safely without too long of a walk, considering how high the rocket went. The motor was a new motor for the AT 29-40/120 casing: G138T. This is considered a high power motor even though it is a G. Dave really likes this motor and wants to fly it again. A blue and white PML “Tethys” with a camera strapped to the side flew on a CTI H152-9. The delay was a few seconds too long for this 6+ pound rocket but the PML 36 inch gold and purple chute brought it down safely. The onboard video is available HERE.
- Kevin O also returned from a hiatus to have two flights. Scratch built “Hamlet again” flew on two G69 Skyripper hybrid motors to 2106 feet. Jason got a great picture of both motors burning shortly after takeoff. An RRC-2 mini handled the deployment duties and the three pound rocket came back nicely on a streamer. Kevin also had the biggest flight of the day; scratch built yellow and blue “Blue Moon” on a Contrail K525 hybrid with a G-Wiz MC handling the deployment duties. This rocket went to 6570 feet with a maximum airspeed of 637 feet per second (about 434 MPH). The rocket was supposed to be dual deploy but the apogee charge burned through the restraint for the burrito holding the main chute, so the main deployed at apogee. Fortunately the winds aloft were calm but the rocket did drift eastward a couple of fields. It took an entire search party about an hour to finally find the rocket and bring it back on the new CRMRC golf cart donated and driven by Logan.
- Scott flew four times, including one rocket twice. In honor of the final Space Shuttle launch, one glider flew aboard the Fliskit “Decaffeinater.” The duo flew on an Estes D12-3 with the launch vehicle (aka the stack of Styrofoam cups and a motor mount) floated down gently, while the foam glider flew down in a similar fashion to what the real Space Shuttle did. A custom four inch yellow crayon named “Yellow Beered” flew on a CTI P29 H151 red and came down gently on its parachute. A slightly modified white plastic patio umbrella stand with a motor mount inside and a ‘nose cone’ made from an inverted flower pot was the rocket that flew twice. One flight was with a CTI P38 H143 Smokey Sam. This almost four pound configuration flew very nicely with the black smoke trailing behind. A nice red 36 inch chute brought everything down gently. A kickier CTI P38 H255-4 white proved that once out of fuel, parachute deployment needs to be close behind when flying objects with a very high coefficient of drag. Both flights of “Patio Ryan” were successes.
- Dave L managed five flights with one rocket taking two trips skyward. On his way back from NERRF, Dave stopped at Johnny Rockets restaurant near Lake George. There he picked up a stack of paper ketchup saucers, one of which was converted into a rocket by adding a motor tube. The first flight of this custom rocket named appropriately “Johnny Rocket Saucer” was on an Estes B6-4. This orange and black rocket flew like any other saucer; up until it ran out of fuel and then tumbled down. Dave G then let Dave L fly this on a slightly bigger motor (8 times the thrust), an AT E25-4. This time the 5 inch saucer snapped off the pad (at least as fast as saucers can “snap”) to an altitude of several hundred feet before floating back to the ground. A video of the flight is HERE. A pyramid made out of a USPS Priority Mail box flew on an AT F20-7W with a Jolly Logic Altimeter Two onboard. This white with red and blue rocket managed around 500 feet but unfortunately the Altimeter Two did not record anything. “Going Postal” did float gently to the ground. Going bigger, a beautifully painted Performance Rocketry “Formula 54” flew on a CTI G88-11. This rocket is painted with sparkling, color-changing paint and looks awesome. Being just over a pound and a half, the G managed to take this up to about 1500 feet for a nice flight. The 18 inch orange chute brought it down nicely. Next a short and stubby blue Performance “Lil Rascal” flew on a CTI H118-9 Classic with a Boostervision High Def. camera on board. This 4 inch x 25 inch rocket weighed a bit over 4 pounds. The H propelled it to 1500 feet before a 36 inch red and white chute brought it down. The onboard video is HERE.
- I got six flights off the ground. My first flight was the two CRMRC saucer designs stacked on top of each other and staged. The larger diameter with holes was on top of the smaller diameter as the Estes C6-0 to C6-5 staging worked as expected. The rocket did start to arch over as the second motor was burning. My custom “Fat Boy III” flew on a CTI 1G P29 F120 Vmax. This kicked off the pad to around 1000 feet before coming down in the field to the north. The CTI ejection charge is too big for the 10 cubic inch space inside the airframe, so the nosecone separated from the rocket. I found the nosecone about 100 feet from the rocket; repairs are required. I too wanted to try the new AT G138T, so I used my Wildman Dark Star Lite “Gold Star.” It also also kicked off the pad. This G motor pushed the rocket to almost 2000 feet. A small 24 inch PML red and white parachute brought the rocket back safely (there was a Top Flight 10 inch X chute attached to the nosecone for insurance purposes). My Coors plastic beer bottle flew on an AT H165R-6 to under 1000 feet and then the green chute brought it back on the field we were standing on. Everyone got to watch it bounce as it hit the ground. My naked Performance “Lil Rascal” flew with a 24 inch avbay/payload bay. This added section doubled the height of the rocket and more than doubled the weight. The avbay bottom is recessed inside the coupler and everything that hangs down inside the airframe (U bolts, electrical blocks, and charge holder tubes) are pushed to the outside of the bottom of the avbay to allow the AT 38-480 casing to just barely fit (by about 1/8 inch in length and 1/8 inch in diameter). An AT I225 flew this to 997 feet, where the Perfect Flite Stratologger popped the apogee charge, followed by the RRC-2 mini a second later, and then the motor eject a second after that. By the time all of this had happened, the rocket was at 700 feet and the Sky Angle 44 inch chute was ejected, followed immediately by the main backup charge. There were 5 pops, about a second between each one, before the rocket hit the ground. My grey PML AMRAAM3 modified with dual deploy flew on an AT I200T to about 2000 feet before the RRC2 mini apogee charge separated the rocket and then the main fired at 500 feet. A 58 inch yellow chute managed to bring this rocket down in a tree, just out of reach. The CRMRC flagpole (sans flags) was used to catch the parachute and then ultimately the rocket was dragged over the end of the branch. There was some zippering, so repair is necessary.
This was the inaugural use of the new radio controlled Transolve Mini-Fire. This is a 3 channel launch controller with a safety key at the pad and a fob for use at the flight line. The directions say it should be several feet off the ground, so it was set up on the case for my tarp, standing on end. The directions also state that the fob should be pointed at the Mini-Fire and held with the width pointing vertically. The latter was critical as one flight did not go off until the LCO pointed it that way. We were at 100 feet and the launcher is rated to at least 800 feet. We will have to see how far it can go. If you are the LCO with this, remember to rotate the fob and raise your launch arm (and push the right launcher button for the correct pad).
For the CRMRC, 25 flights at one
launch is a lot. Thanks to everyone who helped with setup, take-down, packing
and unpacking of all the club gear.
Some times, deciding which day to fly on a weekend is a difficult choice. With the remnants of Irene arriving on Sunday, the forecast was 100% chance rain or thunderstorms all day and high winds (greater than 20mph). Compare that to Saturday, which had a forecast of mostly sunny, winds starting calm and getting to 6mph. It made the choice a no brainer. During the launch, there were several times I looked at the anemometer and it was not spinning at all, reading 0.0mph. Watching the flights, there was very little drifting as the rockets came down. The grass was about eight inches tall but the dirt was dry and hard. Little rockets landed softly but the ground was hard for the bigger ones. Tom O kept repeating, “Today is the day to go high!” It was a great day for flying rockets. It was one of those days where you could have flown almost anything on the biggest motor for it and there was almost no chance of it leaving the field.
The launch was attended by five CRMRC members: Dave L, Doug S, Jason V, Tom O, and I. There were seven guests: Doug’s better half Cathy, three kids and their dad, and Charles & Chuck (son and father), and Tom’s family stopped by on their way past the field after we completed flying. Eight fliers managed to burn 25 motors in 24 flights, and an average flight of “G” and total impulse of an “L.” The flights were: 1-1/2A, 4-B, 4-C, 1-D & 1-double D, 3-F, 2-G, 4-H, 3-I, and 1-J. There were two successful certification flights; one L1 and one L2. We did end up leaving one rocket hanging high up in a tree (maybe the winds of Irene will blow it down).
Flights were as follows:
- Guest #1 had two Estes flights. The smallest motor of the day was an Estes Puma on a 1/2A3-2T. This tiny rocket kicked off the pad quickly to around 300 feet but suffered a separation of the airframe and nosecone with streamer. Both pieces landed softly in the grass and were recovered. A pink Estes Baby Bertha also jumped off the pad on an Estes C6-7 to around 700 feet and the chute brought the rocket gently back to the ground.
- Guest #2 had three flights of her chrome Estes Metalizer. All three were perfect flights, with the parachute deploying each time and soft landings in the grass. The flights were two Estes B4-4 to around 500 feet and an Estes C6-7 to around 700 feet.
- Guest # 4 also flew three flights, including the only cluster flight of the day. These include an Estes HiFlier on an Estes B4-4 with a streamer to bring it down. This same rocket also flew on an Estes C6-7 to around 800 feet before landing safely. The cluster flight of the day was an Estes Double D on two Estes D12-3s. Both motors took this 8 ounce rocket up to about 300 feet before the “shoot” ejected. The fincan did slide up the motor tube so some simple repairs are necessary before this bird flies again.
- Guest Charlie H managed two flights. His small flight was a classically painted (red/white/yellow/black) Estes Patriot on a B6-7. The flight was without incident. Charlie’s big flight of the day was his L1 certification; a blue LOC Phantom on a CTI H100 drilled down to 10. This was the first flight of this 4 pound rocket and there was a minor issue getting the motor into the casing. Having resolved this, the rocket made it up to almost 2000 feet before the green 36 inch chute opened and the rocket gently floated down. Congratulations, Charlie. Welcome to the world of high power rocketry. You can now spend up to $42 for motors that fit the casing you have (plus $33 to get it shipped to you); or almost $60 for an I skidmark if you invest another $52 for a larger casing. Time to get your own credit line going.
- Jason V flew his nicely painted Polecat Pershing II twice. The 5.5 inch rocket was mostly green with yellow and orange scale markings and a few other pieces added to make it more to scale. A BoosterVision camera was taped to the side. The nosecone itself is an interesting shape. The first flight was attempted after Jason successfully passed his L2 test. It was a perfect flight on a CTI J285 Classic which used motor ejection to get out the pretty green and black 60 inch TAC chute. There was no damage when the rocket landed in the field to the north (one of the few to leave the local fields) after coming down from about 2300 feet. To celebrate his successful L2 certification, the rocket made an encore flight on a CTI I212 Smoky Sam. The results were just as spectacular and with almost no wind, the rocket landed about 20 feet from the cars. Welcome to the next step in high power rocketry. Raise the credit limit on your credit card and get ready to spend up to $300 on a single flight. The onboard video of the certification flight is HERE. The second flight video is HERE.
- Doug S had two flights. The first was the maiden voyage of a scratch built, unpainted, minimum diameter 38mm rocket with a pre-built fincan, called “Scratch Two 38mm.” The rocket was tall (1422mm) and thin (38mm). This used motor ejection and was expected to hit just above 3100 feet. A borrowed 36 inch X chute brought the rocket down nicely (see note below on X chutes). Everything went as planned. Doug’s only painted rocket, his yellow Wildman Dark Star 2.1 flew on an AT I300T to exactly 3000 feet (according to the RRC-2 mini). The dual deploy worked perfectly with a 48 inch red and white PML chute coming out at 700 feet.
- Dave L managed an amazing eight flights; one third of the total for the day. His custom orange and black “Johnny Rocket Saucer” flew in typical saucer fashion to around 150 feet on an Estes C6-5 before it turned around and drifted back down. Custom blue and black “Moon Doggy” flew on an Estes D12-5 to above 500 feet. The flight and ejection were great but it landed quite high up in a rocket eating tree. There was an Altimeter Two in this rocket now dangling in the rain. The maiden flight of another scratch built rocket was Dave's “M&M” which was red and white with an M&M candy figurine as the nosecone. This flew on an AT F27-8 redline to over 1500 feet before successfully coming back. Dave's scratch built orange “Alien Invasion” flew on a CTI F20-7 white lightning to about 250 feet before flipping over and bouncing off the tarp as it landed. No damage to either the tarp or the rocket. Scratch built “Going Postal” provided the most interesting flight of the day as shortly after leaving the rod, there was black smoke coming from both the top and bottom of the AT LMS F23-0. It got about 5 feet above the pad before spinning end over end and coming to the ground for closest to the pad. Cause was a forward bulhead burn-through. Aerotech agreed to replace the motor under warranty. A rocket called “P O C” flew on a CTI G80-7 skidmark. The skidmark at 50 feet was very loud. This modified Aerotech kit had the chute tangle and landed hard on the ground. One fin snapped and another was loosened. Time will tell if the first flight of this rocket is the last. His purple and white Madcow Squat flew on a CTI H123-7 skidmark to an expected altitude of 1800 feet. The recovery gear appeared to tangle around a swivel but the rocket survived with no damage. The last flight in this report was a custom yellow crayon rocket called “Yellow Crayon” on a CTI H175-7 Smoky Sam. Motor ejection handled the recovery and everything worked fine on this flight.
- I got two flights off the ground. My first flight a gold colored Wildman Dark Star Lite called “Gold Star” flying on an AT G76-10. I used the Transolve Mini-Fire at 100 feet and it worked fine. In fact, there was smoke but no flight when the button was pushed. There was a short in the copperhead and so much current, that the masking tape caught fire. One igniter later, the flight itself was nice, with the two pound rocket going to around 1800 feet before the 30 inch PML chute brought it to the ground (with a 9 inch insurance chute attached to the nosecone). My second flight was my 3 inch PML AMRAAM after being repaired from last month’s zippering. This flew on a KBA I301W to 2883 feet before the RRC2-mini took over the dual deploy duties. Everything was fine.
Tom handled the RSO and LCO duties -- thanks.
Before loading the truck on Friday night, I spent about an hour sanding and cleaning all the rods. I then wiped all of them down with PB Blaster before putting them back in the tube. These were also wiped down again after launching. I did bring my 1010 rail cleaning pipe and Jason cleaned both the 6 foot and 8 foot 1010 rail. They certainly needed it. After the launch, Tom wiped these down with PB Blaster also to keep them clean. Dave L took home all of the clips and will replace any that need replacing (send Jeff O the receipt for anything you spend on replacement clips). This should put us in good shape for next month’s Look Up In The Sky II.
There was some discussion afterward about how to handle food in the middle of Look Up In The Sky II. Two members had some suggestions. Rather than commit people, I will let them respond as to what they are willing to do.
Note on X chutes: With a regular circular chute, there is more material as you get further away from the apex of the chute. Sometimes, fitting a chute into a minimum diameter rocket can be difficult or disastrous if it jams when it is supposed to eject. X chutes do not increase in the amount of material the further you are from the apex. So these are excellent chutes for smaller diameter rockets. It does take a larger chute to get the same amount of air resistance though. For example, a Top Flight 24 inch round and a Top Flight 36 inch X have about the same amount of drag. But the 36 inch X will easily slide in and out of a 38mm airframe.
Saturday, September 17, 2011 was
Look Up In The Sky II (LUITS II), the joint launch and star party with the Vermont
Astronomical Society (VAS). This launch had a starting time of 2:00PM to enable
launching up until dark with sky viewing afterward. Notification was put in
the online events for Craig’s List, Burlington Free Press, Williston Observer,
Seven Days and the St. Albans Messenger. Additional, notifications were sent
to everyone whom had ever contacted the CRMRC about rocketry, including the
teacher at the Shelburne Community School who does rocketry classes every year
at the school.
Setup began at 12:30 with the positioning
of the 500 foot (M) pad at the far end of the field. From there, the location
of the 200 foot (K), 100 foot (H-J) pads, the red rail and the flight line were
determined. Pads were electrically controlled as follows: red pads and the 2-100
foot pads by the usual launch control box, the 200 foot pad by the wireless
Transolve Mini, and the 500 foot pad by the hybrid controller. The tarp was
set up on the western side of the field and a small gap to enter the launch
area was next to it. Then there was about 100 feet of caution tape indicating
the flight line. Starting about the middle of the caution tape was where CRMRC
members could set up their tables. The space between the tarp and the CRMRC
members was the spectator area. Dave L brought his gas BBQ and provided hamburgers,
hot dogs and soft drinks.
There were only about 5 guests at
1400 when flights began but by 1500 there were almost 60. Total attendance was
around 80, including ten VAS members (Joanna and Dennis W, Meghan and Doug W,
Jack S, Joe C, Sharon P, Bob H, Scott T and myself, and nine CRMRC members (new
member Jason S, Tom O, Doug S, Kevin O, Dave L, Brian A, Jason V, Scott T and
myself. Scott and I are both VAS members. Tom O volunteered to be RSO/LCO for
the day so he did not fly anything. The rest of the CRMRC members, two VAS members,
and eleven other non-members flew. The last flight of the day was at roughly
7:30PM, after the sun had set.
The weather was mostly clear and
in the 60s for most of the day with light breezes. It was a great day for flying
but as evening approached, the sky clouded up and sky viewing was severely limited
to holes where we could find them. Joe C set up his personal telescope and Dennis
W set up the 12.5 inch scope he and others are building for Camp Common Ground.
This did enable us to see: Epsilon Lyra (a double double -- what appears to
be a single star without any magnification is actually seen as a double star
with binoculars, and as two double stars with a telescope), Gamma Andromedae
(another double star with the bright one being golden yellow and the dimmer
being indigo blue which makes the color contrast easy to see), M57 (the ring
nebula), NGC 457 (open cluster called Owl or ET Cluster), NGC 404 (a lenticular
galaxy of stars and dark matter) and the ever popular M31 (a fuzzy star with
the naked eye that is viewed as galaxy consisting of thousands of stars through
a telescope [and estimated to be 200-300 billion stars in total]). It was too
bad that no one from the public really stayed around to even see this much (although
the CRMRC members did enjoy looking through the scope).
As for rockets, here are the summaries
of what was flown, followed by some detail: total motors - 58, total flights
- 54, total impulse burned - N, average impulse - H. Unique motor combinations
included two staged (B6-0 to B6-4, I212 to H170) and two clusters (2@C6-3 and
2@C6-5). With this many flights, I will just list the rocketeer, the rocket
and the motor(s). Abbreviations used include Aerotech (AT), Cessaroni Technology
Incorporated (CTI) , Animal Motor Works (AMW)
Guests who flew :
- Alanna M flew a red, white & blue Estes Yankee on an Estes B6-4
- Daniel M launched a black &
orange Estes Alpha III on an Estes B6-4
- Paddy K launched an orange Estes Flying Ninja on a B4-2
- Allen W flew a green & yellow
rocket called John Deere on an Estes C11-7 (partial chute tangle but survived)
- Jamie L flew his black & yellow
ring finned rocket (his L1 vehicle) on a CTI G79-8 Smokey Sam
- Nick W launched two: a red &
blue Estes Hi Flier on an Estes C6-3 and a red & black Estes Big Red Screaming
Eagle on an Estes C11-3
- David W flew two: a yellow &
purple Estes Patriot on a C6-5 and a blue AT Initiator on an AT F23-?
- Zach L launched two: a black &
orange Estes Alpha III on a B6-4 and a staged red, silver & white Estes
Leg Ship on an Estes B6-0 to a B6-4
VAS members who flew :
- Dennis W flew a black Estes Big Daddy on an Estes D12-7
- Jack S. had a one trick rocket that was flown 6 times. The homemade red, white & blue bird flew on each of the following Estes motors: twice on a C11-3, twice on a D12-3, once on a E9-4 and once on a E9-6
CRMRC members who flew
- Brian A flew his orange, 13 pound,
88 inch tall Wildman called Flying Grand on a CTI K454 Skidmark to about one
mile high with Ozark Aerospace ARTS 2 & Perfect Flight MAWD altimeters handling
the laundry deployment
- Doug S launched his naked (unpainted)
14 pound Wildman Stretch on a CTI K630 Blue Streak to 6382 feet with two Missile
Works RRC2-minis handling the recovery
- Jason V attempted four flights:
a black and silver PML BBX had its first flight on a CTI H170 Blue Streak with
a PML CPR3000 handling the deployment; a green, 5.5 inch diameter Polecat Aerospace
Pershing II kit named “To Gorbachev with love” flew on a CTI I287 Smokey Sam
to around 1500 feet; a 4 inch, black & yellow Polecat V2 called “Von Braun’s
Revenge” flew on a CTI I170 Classic to 2700 feet; and the most exciting launch
of the day was a high power two stage attempt of a PML BBX with a Terrier with
a CTI I212 Smokey Sam on the booster and a CTI H170 Blue Streak as the upper
stage – the upper stage was ejected while the booster burned on the pad for
the first use of the CRMRC fire extinguisher
- Kevin O also had four flights:
a 4 inch diameter x 6 inch tall, scratch built spool named “Speaker Wire” flew
on an Estes C6-7 to around 100 feet; a larger (5 inch diameter x 6 inch tall)
scratch built spool called “Spool 2” flew to about 600 feet on an AT SU F32-6
Blue Thunder; a yellow & red, scratch built, 38mm minimum diameter, all
carbon fiber rocket named “Don’t Blink!” had its first flight on a Loki Research
H160 Blue to 8400 feet while breaking Mach 1 with a GWiz LC handling the streamer
deployment; and the biggest flight of the day and the first M motor in Vermont
was a flight by a blue & white, 7.5 inch diameter by 12 feet tall, 65 pound
rocket called “Dr. Fill” on a Contrail M2281 hybrid motor to around 3000 feet
with an Ozark Aerospace ARTS2 and a GWiz MC handling the deployment of the large
- Scott T got five birds up in the
air: his red custom Fruit Fly on an Estes C11-3 but no successful parachute
deployment; the orange plastic pumpkin with green bamboo stick fins and orange
streamers attached to the ends of the fins rocket named “Pumpnik” was nice to
watch on an AT F40-4; a custom rocket based on a red crayon bank called “Red
Hot Wax” flew on a CTI H110 White; a white plastic patio umbrella with a nosecone
about 17 inches in diameter and about 13 inches tall named “Patio Ryan” flew
on a CTI H120 Red Lightning; and by adding a strobe to the translucent nosecone
for night flight, “Patio Ryan” made a nice evening flight on a CTI I175 Smokey
Sam and it gently floated to the ground with the light blinking throughout the
- Dave L flew 8 times with 7 different
rockets: an orange & black mini-saucer named “Johnny Rocket” on an Estes
C6-5; a scratch built silver ball with stick antennae aptly called “Sputnik”
on an Estes C6-5; a scratch built white pyramid named “Going Postal” on an AT
SU F20-7W; a first flight of a scratch built "oddroc" named “To Infinity
and Beyond” on an AT SU F23-4FJ which suffered a forward bulkhead burn-through
with smoke and flames out both the top and bottom. An AT SU F23-7FJ was then
installed for a perfect flight; a custom rocket based on a yellow Toys R Us
Crayon bank named “Yellow Crayon” on a CTI H123-7 Skidmark to over 1200 feet;
a night flight with a 2 foot diameter red and white flying saucer Wocket from
Polecat Aerospace named “Oh Canada” on an AT J135 long burn White Lightning
motor to around 500 feet; and a beautifully painted blue Performance X-celerator
on a CTI K454 Skidmark with a Featherweight Raven II and Perfect Flite MiniAlt/WD
handling parachute deployments and a Garmin GPS tracker in the nose for recovery
as the rocket flew to 3741 feet.
- Jason S (new member) managed 8
flights (with just 7 cards): an orange & white Fliskit Deuce’s Wild cluster
flew twice on 2 Estes C6-3 and then on 2 Estes C6-7 with the latter being a
lawn dart; a blue and black Estes Ninja on an AT SU E304T (could use more delay)
to over 1000 feet; a yellow & black AT Arreaux also flew twice on an AT
SU E30-4T (first flight) and an AT SU F40-7W; a red & yellow AT Sumo had
it’s first flight on an AT SU G77R-4 and an Estes Saturn V in classic colors
flew (first flight) on an AT E15-4 with one section landing in a tree and a
second flight where it delayed on the pad after ignition and then only got about
30 feet off the ground (and hit the ground before the ejection charge)
- As for me, I flew five times: a
first flight of a partially painted Madcow 2.6 inch Patriot on a AT G79W-8;
a Wildman Dark Star Lite called “Gold Star” on a kicky AT G138T-10 to around
2500 feet. (This was lost in the corn but I recovered it after 10 hours of searching
over a 3 day period); my custom Saranac Root Beer plastic bank bottle on an
AT H165R-5 (filtered down through a tree); a 24”x24” light blue Styrofoam pyramid
on a CTI G69 Skidmark as the last flight of the night (Skidmarks in the dark
are excellent!); a black highly modified Performance Rocketry Gizmo (extended
by 4 feet) which weighed 21 pounds at take-off on a very impressive AMW K1000
Skidmark to 4214 feet with the deployment duties handled by two Missile Works
RRC mini altimeters
Eighty people is certainly the most fans we have ever had at a launch and LUITS is quickly becoming the CRMRC’s premier launch of the year. Now, if we can get the skies to cooperate, the VAS will get to really show what is up in the night sky.
No club launch took place this month due to unavailability of our field
No club launch took place this month due to unavailability of our field
No club launch took place this month due to unavailability of our field