2008 Launch Reports

Jan   Feb   Mar   Apr   May   Jun   Jul   Aug   Sep   Oct   Nov   Dec


January, 2008

This months launch was scrubbed


February, 2008

This months launch was scrubbed


March, 2008

March's launch was a very low key affair yet there was more attendance than I expected. At the launch were Scott, Tom (and son), Jeff R (and 3 sons), myself and three visitors: Mike (from the Green Mt. RCers who use the field), along with the landowner's son and grandson. The latter two had been watching from the house and then showed up on a snowmobile.

The drive around the barn was extremely muddy. But past the barn, the road was solid -- either stone or drivable snow. Everyone who drove down had 4WD. The fields itself had less than six inches of melted/frozen snow on it and corn stalk stubs were everywhere. Weather was cloudy with a slight breeze, with temperatures in the high thirties or low forties.

We launched from about two-thirds of the way down to the RC'ers field, just in the middle of the corn field. Setup was very basic: one blue pad with a rail and my twenty plus year old homemade single rod pad with holes for one eighth, three-sixteenths, and one quarter inch rods, sitting on the ground. An upturned toboggan was used as a launch "table" for my homemade launch controller. We did not fill out flight cards, so some rockets or motors on my report are close but not exact.

The day started with my 24mm Fat Boy clone which went significantly higher than the last time it flew at this field (remember -- last time the plug stuck in the nozzle and the rocket only went about four feet high before landing on the snow). Other flights included (in no particular order):

- Jeff R's Initiator on an F-52T to around 1500 feet (and a long walk to retrieve). It was Jeff's first attempt to use an RMS motor and casing.

- Scott launched his Initiator on an F-20R. Nice red flame with the SU casing being ejected but the chute did deploy. Yes, the casing was retrieved -- we do not want to leave garbage on the field. Scott also launched his Fruit Fly on another F-20R (motor ?) but only the nose cone popped -- no parachute and it landed hard on the frozen ground. Like the Phoenix, I think this will be reincarnated. Scott's had the highest flight of the day to around 1500 feet on his crayon bank based CV2 on a G80T (motor ?) which was successful and will fly again.

- Tom flew a complex Estes Interceptor on a B6-2 (motor ?) which was successful. Now that this pretty rocket has actually flown, it will be retired to the display model shelf. He then tried his Comanche-3 with all three stages. Not all stages lit so the top stage did not pop the ejection charge and the rocket came in ballistic. It will live to fly again as a shorter rocket. I did not catch the engines used for the Comanche-3 because I was out retrieving a rocket while it was launched.

- There was one high power launch -- my rebuilt 1/4 Patriot on an H97-BJ. The motor was left over from when we flew at the same field in December (as I spent too much time recovering my MR-1 and did not have time to fly it then). One of the fins of the Patriot had been severely damaged in November at St. Albans, but the repair seemed to be successful. The takeoff was slow and majestic up to around one thousand feet, where the motor ejected the parachute at apogee and the yellow chute opened perfectly to allow the rocket to float gracefully to the ground.

1 - H
1 - G
2 - F
1 - D
1 - B
1 - A, B, C (the Comanche-3, but not all lit)
for an average flight of G-class.

With two L1-wannabees there, after the launch there was a discussion about high power construction and Tom showed pictures of his PML Miranda in the automotive paint shop. It looked great; time will tell if Kevin's prediction comes true. It should be ready to fly by the next club launch.

As a reminder, anyone who wants to order motors with me, get me your orders by the end of March. For those of you who are L1-wannabees, make sure you have joined either NAR or TRA. I will be sending a note to Giant Leap to see if he is getting AMW. If not, the only other dealers who have AMW, AT, and Pro-X that I know of are Wildman (assuming his trailer is not burning) and The Motorman.

For fields, I am going to renew with NAR and have three fields: Old Stage Road, Brown's River Road, and someplace in St. Albans. Tom has said there are several possibilities around St. Albans. He and I (and anyone who wants to join us) will select one.

Remember to set aside the third weekend of every month for club launches and to get your reservations set for NERRF and NYPower. Especially NYPower if Kevin is able to get everything ready to try to certify to become the first L3 in the club.

Howie D.


April, 2008

The launch on April 30 was a low key affair. It took place on the Essex High School field and consisted of 4 flights: 1 each A,B,C & E. Howie D. and Scott T. were the fliers.

We have a new member, Bob H. Bob has been flying Estes models in the past but has never been to a CRMRC launch. Welcome aboard and we look forward to seeing you at a launch.

Tom O. has been working diligently to get us a new high power field near St. Albans and it looks like all the landowner hurdles have been cleared. The field is over a mile in diameter allowing a flight ceiling of 10,000 feet. Additionally, there is mostly farm land surrounding the field, so recovery outside the field should also be relatively easy. When everything is ready, I will add this to our NAR fields and get the FAA permission to launch to christen the field. I know the three folks in the club who are working toward their level 1 certification should be happy with this development; as is everyone else. A big thanks to Tom!


May, 2008

First, let me start off with congratulations to Tom O, Jeff O and Brian A for successfully getting their L1 certifications. Welcome to the world of high power rocketry and be prepared to raise your line of credit on your credit card.

Things have been busy around here, both rocketry related and everything else (notice how the world gets split). I finally put some Who, Stones, and Zeppelin on the computer to get myself to sit down and send out the May/June/July CMRMC newsletter.

Saturday, May 10

Let me start with the Boy Scout Land of Champs Camporee on Saturday, May 10 at the Champlain Exposition (Fairgrounds) in Essex Junction. Scott T and I were there most of the day. Across the dirt road was one of the CRMRC founding members, John G, helping with the BB gun range. For the CRMRC, it was supposed to be a joint radio and rocketry demo but did not turn out that way. The camporee organizers made rockets an entire offering rather than half of one. So we showed off what we brought and taught some rocket science. We also launched a rocket for each group. It was supposed to have a tracking device inside to follow the flight by the radio members. My first flight of my reliable AstroSamD spit the motor and augered in. The second flight was Scott’s Initiator which lost a fin upon landing; so much for the larger rocket demos. Scott did fly saucers and other small stuff for the remainder of the day. Both rockets have been rebuilt and are ready to fly again.

Saturday, May 18

Next came the Cub Scout Pack 635 launch on Saturday, May 18 at Old Stage Road. The weather was sunny, upper 60s-70s and most of the day had little or no breeze.

The farmer had put up an electric fence across the road down to the field. I drove down the weekend before and it was not there, so it was new news to me when I got there at 0800 to begin setup. With the help of the farmer, we are now to enter the field from Towers Rd. Once overcoming this glitch, flights started on time, 0915 with the singing of our national anthem and a red flamed AT G71-R flew at "rockets red glare" which surprised many of the unsuspecting scouts and their parents. There were about forty scouts and siblings, about the same number of scout parents, and enough CRMRC members to make the launch go smoothly: Tom O [pad manager] and Evan O, Scott [LCO] and Matt T [photographer #1], Jeff O [pad manager], Kevin O [RSO], Randy W [photographer #2], and myself [fixit guy].

We did set up stakes with tape and create an entrance to the loading area which created a flow for the scouts. I was told by the scoutmaster that the scouts tend to get unruly. With the exception of one or two missteps, all of the cubs obeyed all rules and there were no major issues (except with a few parents who did not want to stand up for some of the heads up flights). Overall, each scout was given three motors by their leaders, so there were well over one hundred model rocket flights. If someone wants to crawl through the flight cards, you can figure out the exact number -- I would call it 120. A few rockets got lost and a couple augured in. The highlights for the scouts included: an all Estes Alpha III 5-way drag race, a dual stage with the motors reversed, a pair of just-in-time glider deploys, and on the field refreshments (either muffins or McD's sandwiches with hot chocolate).

Starting at 1100, the CRMRC member flights were:

2-A, 2-C, 4-D (including a D0-D7 staged), 1-E, 1-F, and 3-Gs.

- Tom and Evan flew their long and tall pair: Estes Mean Machine and AT Mirage along with an Interceptor and Outlaw.

- Scott launched his Bionic Fruit Fly (rebuilt from the March crash) along with the usual odd rocs (Acme Redstone, Salad Shooter, and Cluster Boink).

- Jeff O flew a restored vintage Goblin and Omega, and the first ever flight of his L1 cert rocket, a PML Bull Puppy called Pull Puppy. The Pull Puppy went straight up and started back-sliding slightly before the ejection charge went off.

- I flew my Black Brandt Vb as part of the opening ceremony and the first flight of my MR-1b ("b" was added for adding the buttons instead of the quarter inch rod).

Saturday, May 26

Sunday, May 26 was our first launch at our new high power field in the St. Albans bay area.

The day turned out to be a stellar day to fly, albeit I was running late. It was my hope to get the sign up before everyone got there. This was not to be and both Scott and Kevin beat me to the place and looked around. I did get there about twenty minutes late, about the same time as everyone else. Tom was leading the way with the rest of us following behind. At the end of the road, we had to decide which field to fly in – we picked one. After a quick setup, we started launching.

The totals for the day were 50 flights spread across sixteen fliers:

4 A
5 B including a two engine launch
8 C including a six engine launch
5 D
5 E
6 F
9 G
7 H
1 I

for an average impulse of an F engine per flight.

Unfortunately, my memory of the day is a bit fuzzy after all the time, but here is what little I can remember:

-Jeff O and Tom O completed their L1 certification.

-There were eight visitors: one local family from St. Albans (friends of Tom), a family who was at the Cub Scout launch, and a couple heard about us and wanted to check it out. These folks accounted for 5 Estes flights [I always like to see the expressions on the faces of those who have only seen Estes rockets fly when they watch their first high power launch.]

-One Estes rocket disappearing at takeoff and never seen again.

-Eli O’s Initiator flew on Fs twice

-The Olivers kept up the tall rocket theme with two Estes Mean Machine flights [man, how I wanted one of those when I was a kid!] and an Aerotech Mirage, along with two high power flights of his nicely painted PML Miranda. The nose cone paint job was not even damaged by the landing after separation.

-Not to be out done, the Jones managed eight Estes flights (Estes Freaky Flier, Chrome Dome, Blue Ninja and Semroc Skyhook), two mid power flights of Aerotech’s Cheetah and Mirage followed by a H high power Aerotech Sumo with a red flame behind it.

-Jeff O went big by flying his custom Maxi Alpha, and a QModeling Hawkeye and his PML Bull Puppy "Pull Puppy" on a nice smoky H motor, including landing in the pasture and being licked by the cows. The Hawkeye augered in but landed in soft mud in one of the drainage ditches only suffering minor damage to the forward section of the airframe. It will live to fly again.

-Scott T flew an assortment of seven usual rockets and oddrock flights, including the Decafinator, the rebuilt Bionic Fruit Fly {formerly just the Fruit Fly), the rebuilt Initiator on an F, two Gs in his CV2 and beer bottle Coors Flight. By far the most memorable of Scott’s flights was his saucer Pie R Feared on an F20 that took what seemed like a dozen igniters to light.

-Brian A drove up for Charlestown, NH to have his first mid-power launch and he was not disappointed by his G powered Giant Leap Thunderbolt 38.

-Brett O, a new member from Barre, VT had the best day as he quietly launched eight rockets: Mercury Atomizer on a D, BSD Horizon on three different Gs, and Estes Silver Comet, Big Bertha, Der Red Max and Firebird

The following folks were there but may not want to let it be known:

-Kevin O got Opportunity NOX off the ground on a hybrid H, only to have to run after it as it landed in the field where the cows were. After that, Kevin ran out of gas, literally. Just for Laughs failed to light with an I sparkie, just sitting on the pad and Gas Guzzler’s K motor never had filled.

-Randy W "homemade" spool [if you can call adding a launch rod through existing holes on a wire spook that exactly fits a 38mm casing, then taping a parachute on top "building" a rocket] and Estes flew well, as did his first Aerotech motor build PML Probus. The I powered PML Eclipse had an electronic deploy malfunction and came in hot from a couple of thousand feet but far from the crowd. (RIP) Finally, his six engine powered Hydra 7 landed hard and will not live to fly again (another RIP).

-My G powered PML MR-1b flew straight and landed with the fins on one side of the launcher, and chute/nose cone on the other, with the shock cord on the pad – closest to pad for the day. But my luck did not hold as my H powered PML Black Brant Vb fractured the motor casing at liftoff, leaving one propellant grain burning unprotected in the bottom, one burning at the top of the airframe, and the remaining two stayed with what was left of the casing and shot into the air. Three different flame in three different areas – the quantum tubing melted, the motor mount was scorched beyond use, the Aeropack adapter was melted – only the ebay and nose cone which were ejected by the motor flying through the inside of the rocket was salvageable.

There were many first time Aerotech motor builders at the launch and they appreciated the help they received from those of us who are more experienced. This is what a club is about.

The land is great and there are only a few drawbacks: cow plops about every twenty square feet, [and almost everywhere you put your foot down when you are not looking, like when you were watching your rocket fly] electric fences separating the fields [what are the odds of rockets landing on the fences? very small but we,managed it several times], drainage ditches between some of the fields, and cows in one of the pastures. Next time we fly there, I would like to use a different launch location for two reasons. First, although we met all requirements on setbacks, we were closer to a house then we needed to be. I failed to notice the house until after everything was set up. Second would be to get further away from the cows; not because of what the cows could do to a rocket, but what a hot rocket could do to a cow. Until we can train the cows to look up whenever they hear a "heads up" and then move away from the landing site, we need to protect them as much as we can. Fortunately, all the flights that came in hot (at least 3, including one large one, one with flames everywhere and one without a chute) landed away from the cows. But we may not be as lucky next time.


June, 2008

The June launch was at the three day NERRF near Middletown, NY. The club members who made it down included: Kevin and Eli O, Nick E (who runs Essence Model Rocket Review) and kids, Jeff R and crew, Tom O and crew with extras, the Abilds, Jeff O, Scott and myself – seven adult fliers from the club. A great showing for the CRMRC, given the size of our club. And we certainly did our share to support the launch and vendors. CRMRC members were there for setup and accounted for more than our share of volunteer shifts as parking, RSO and pad manager. The overall launch had 771 launches, including 427 on Saturday. There were numerous highlights including many high powered flights, but I will stick to what the CRMRC did. Printyourhobby.com has thousands of pictures, including many of club members.

The CRMRC main group was on the bridge side of the pads which provides for better viewing for most of the day due to sun. I think we will stay there next year if we can. We had about 37 flights as a club.

-I forgot to ask Nick what he and his crew flew. So I tried to look on EMRR to see what was under his name and there was nothing there. I do know he flew mostly Estes. My main memory/miscue with Nick was that I RSOed his first flight and we did not recognize each other. I was there with my CRMRC shirt on and he with his card that said he was from Willston, VT. Shame on both of us.

-Jeff O could not send me what he flew because my server does not accept email from him and because he too does not record his flights on EMRR. He did fly his PML Bull Puppy "Pull Puppy" but it augered in hard on it’s first NERRF flight. The nosecone, and airframe were a total loss, but the fincan stayed in one piece. It will be reincarnated as the PP2 and fly again. He also enjoyed flying his Maxi Alpha (2.5") several times and it got many comments as most of the rocketeers have flown an Alpha as a kid. Jeff did comment to me that he learned a great deal on both Thursday and Friday as helping set up and being a pad manager. For those who are there, both are great learning experiences to see what other clubs have for launch gear and what other rocketeers have, up close and personal.

-Jeff R brought his kids to a big launch for the first time. They got to fly their Estes rockets, watch dozens of Ks, L,s and Ms fly, and ate hot dogs. Jeff’s plan last year at NERRF was to L1 certify but procrastination prevented this from happening. This year a bit of the same thing, plus kids and something about a vendor not giving him the motor to fit his casing caused yet another delay. Maybe a launch in Vermont or possibly the third year at NERRF will be the charm.

-Tom O showed up with his clan and extended clan to take over the most of the CRMRC tarp. None of the extended family knew anything about high power rocketry so they were watching in amazement. Tom liked seeing my skidmark at the first St. Albans launch and has reported that his "boss" likes skidmarks, especially the long burning kind. Fortunately, they were able to see many of them fly. Now all Tom needs is a rocket big enough to handle the AMW J skidmark motors (does the boss know that the motor is $150, reloads are $85 each without igniters, and a rocket big enough to fly on a J365 will be over $500?). Tom did manage to get his PMP Miranda off the ground 3 times: two H123Ws and one H112J.

-Kevin and Eli O had ten flights. Kevin was permitted to set up his pad in a field unto himself so he never had to wait. And this time he brought enough gas and then some. All of his hybrid flights took off, including the extremely unique dual hybrid motored Hamlet on two G69s. Hamlet has had many unsuccessful launch attempts, but NERRF has been good to her/him [are rockets like ships and gendered as female; or should a rocket called Hamlet be gendered as a male?] as two years in a row she/he flew successfully. Most fliers have trouble with hybrids, but at NERRF, things were almost flawless for this flier. With the exception of a primary altimeter failure (the backup worked), all flights went well: Hamlet on 2 G69s, Bumble Bee on a G100 and G123, Opportunity NOX on a H155 three times, Just for Laughs on an I290 sparkie (no black smoke though) and Gas Guzzler on an K555. Eli flew his Weasel twice on an F50 and was a great help to his dad in launching the hybrids. My one funny memory of Kevin had to do with launching Gas Guzzler. With hybrids, you have to wait until the tank is full, which is indicated by condensation as the excess vents from the tank. On warm days, such as what we had at NERRF, this condensation is difficult to see, so Kevin stood near the rocket as it filled up. Once he could see the condensation, he turned around and ran away from the rocket, waving his arms madly. Personally, the running away from the rocket was enough to signal to start the countdown. The waving of the arms was definitely over the top since all eyes were focused on him.

-Scott too worked on setup and pad manager on Thursday and as the very first shift on Friday, respectively. Scott and I have learned that most launches do not start on time on the first day, so working the first shift on the first day means you still get to volunteer but lose little flying time. NERRF was no exception to the rule, as flying did not start until 45 minutes into the first shift. One of the vendors on site was able to get Scott the Pro38 reloads that he prefers (build time and cleanup is nil, compared to AT or AMW). We’ll be seeing more of these at St. Albans, especially now that they come with a red flame. Scott’s L1 cert vehicle, the red crayon tube finned Red Hot Wax flew with a red motor twice, as did the rocket he got at the CRMRC garage sale, a PML ¼ scale Patriot now called U(sed)VM Patriot. His QModeling Viper had it’s first flight as did his almost clear Cloaked Saucer, and his Decaffinator drag raced with Flis’(the Decaffinator is a Flis Kit), all on E9s. The Bionic Fruit Fly managed to go nose first into the ground again but the Six Million Dollar Rebuild Fruit Fly should be ready to fly by the July club launch (okay, maybe Six Dollar Rebuild Fruit Fly)

Scott and I participated in Wildman’s Great Gizmo race. Scott with his Gizmo called First Glass Rocket which was painted similar to an oversized Estes Big Daddy. Mine was called Giz Gone Wild and was black with a gold nose cone. A gold nose cone – was I crazy? No, the metallic red I normally uses requires a gold undercoat and almost two weeks to dry to solid. All I had time for was to get the gold on the nose cone [it has since been painted red]. Both of our rockets weighed exactly the same when fully prepped: 7lbs 5 oz. Seventeen Gizmos launched at the same time. Not all were on the required I motors, including one on a K700 and one with three J570s. The one with the K700 was lost visually and only two of the 3 J570s lit so that rocket took an immediate right turn off the pad. The Gizmo is marginally stable as designed. One was built with the fins pointing upward instead of downward. This one got about 100 feet off the pad and then started spiraling. All others were pretty normal launches, including Scotts and mine on I215R motors. Scott’s landed a couple of hundred yards from the pad – a short walk. Mine, on the other hand, landed about a thousand yards from the pad on the other side of the river. Like what happened at Browns River, it was 1/2 mile to the bridge away from the rocket and then ¾ mile back to the rocket, then everything in reverse. Fortunately, Tom let me borrow his car and there was no snow on the ground, so I was able to find it and return in about half an hour; about 3 hours shorter than at Browns River.

-As for me, I flew my PML AMRAAM3 for the first time on an H250G; it will go bigger next time with an ebay on top. Next was my MR-1b which goes high enough on a G79 and my PML ¼ scale Patriot on an AMW I375. I too had an altimeter failure very similar to what Kevin experienced. Both were using the same altimeter. The failure I had was that the main ejected shortly after apogee, at around 3000 feet. I heard two pops so I know both charges went off about 2 seconds apart. No damage to the rocket as it came down on the main chute, but it did make for a very long walk [but I am getting used to them by now]. I need to understand what happened as I was planning on using this altimeter when I supersized my Giz to add an ebay and then fly it on a K700 to almost mach and over 7000 feet. I would not want the main to open at 7000 feet. I also flew my Giz on an H250G – this will be great in St. Albans to about 1000 feet.

For me, it is these big launches that allow me to learn a great deal. I see many designs (including the 6 inch X15 that is on my todo list) and see which ones I like and which are only so-so, either in their looks or performance. I also get to see many different motors. Al, in the tent next to us, flew one of the new AT H669 motors with a burn time of 0.4 seconds. Talk about getting a rocket off the pad quickly and loudly! Everyone there is willing to help you and even the vendors will help you out with both advice and having the right piece when you need it.

A couple of things that come to mind as far as good memories from the launch. It was the help we all provide each other at the launch, from assistance in building motors, to noticing when there are still things on the table after you have declared yourself ready to launch, to a second or third pair of eyes focused on your rocket as it flies, to helping with the recovery (even shovel recovery to find all the bits and pieces). Jeff O was there watching my MR1-b as it landed on the edge of the woods as I ran to get a bead on where it went down. Jeff O and I watched Scott’s Red Hot Wax to see where it had gone over the river (Scott had lost sight of it and only knew a general direction), to the extra pair of hands that helped Jeff O as he located and dug in the dirt to pull what remained of his Pull Puppy. To me, this is what the club is all about.


July, 2008

Congratulations to Jeff Rogers for getting his L1 certification. The total flight time was almost 30 seconds, and over 14 months of prep time. Be prepared to open your check book.

The launch today had good points and bad points. Since the good outweighed the bad, I will start with the bad:

- Getting started was very late, almost 1030. The original intent was to move away from the cows, but storms on Friday soaked the area and the ground was too squishy/greasy to allow car/truck traffic on the open fields. So we decided to go back to the original location from last month. That did not work either as the road was too wet too. So we decided to setup on the road and set the launchers on a high spot in one of the paddocks.

- The fields and roads were wet making walking around muddy, slippery, and soaking.

- Conditions were hot and sticky with flies everywhere.

The launches went well and that was the reason why we were there. We had a total of twenty-four launches with an average of a very large G (almost an H). As far as I can recollect, there were no flights that were not successful. A couple of motors that took second igniters, and that was the worst that happened. There were a couple of long walks, but all were recovered, including the one that was recovered from a tree landing.

So how did we do:

B - 2
C - 1
D - 1
E - 3
F - 1
G - 6 including a 2-G
H - 5
I - 3
K - 1

- Our one guest who launched was Demetrious D, launching an Estes Fat Boy on a C6-5. There was a slight zipper, but rebuildable.

- Jeff R showed up without his kids and allowed him to make two relatively unencumbered flights: an AT Initiator on an F and his cert flight of a yellow AT Sumo on an H128.

- Jeff O launched his QModeling Hawkeye on an E. With all the balsa fin on that rocket, it came down a little too hard and broke off a part of a fin. Jeff O also flew is completely rebuild Pull Puppy (now called PP2) with just white paint on it. It looked almost naked, but flew fine.

- Brian flew his L1 cert Giant Leap Thunderbolt 38 on a AT G redline to try out the AT EFC timer. He was the first in the club to use one. He followed this a first flight on another Giant Leap, the Escape Velocity on an H250G with dual deploy: motor eject and the EFC timer. An unusual approach, but it worked fine.

- Tom opened with his AT Mirage on a G, and followed it with his orange colored L1 certification rocket on an H123.

- Scott flew his homebuilt silver Sputnik-24 on a D, then followed this up with two E flights, on a QModeling Mega Viper which had a shock cord failure for the nosecone, and an Estes Fat Boy for a successful flight.

- Kevin had a great nitrous day. Scratch built Opportunity Nox on an H (I think) landed in a tree but was recovered. The extremely unique dual G hybrid Hamlet flew successfully -- not a small feat. Kevin's final flight was the biggest of the launch; Gas Guzzler on a K for a crowd pleaser.

- As with last month, Brett quietly had the most flights: two Bs for his Estes Firebird and Red Max, and three Gs (a green, blue and white) for his BSD Horizon. One Horizon flight was a long walk for Brett.

- As for me, I flew three Is. My first was a Performance Rocketry Gizmo which was a very long walk. Next was a first flight Hanger 11 "build-on-the-field-instakit" which took me nine months to build, King Arthur on an AMW green gorilla. My final flight was the first dual deploy of my PML AMRAAM3 on a AMW skidmark. Everyone lost sight of the flight until the main opened at 400 feet.

There were about fifteen people who came to watch. Some drove out all the way to where we were launching and others just stayed where the road mud started.

Driving out was an adventure. I only got to watch three or four people driving out and there were many instances of tires pointing one way while vehicles going another, vehicles going from facing left to facing right by bumping into a rock, and people trying keep out of ruts to keep wheels on the ground. It reminded me of the last trip to Cobbleskill and the very first St. Albans launch.

The next launch for the club is at Geneseo, NY, next weekend. The next launch in Vermont is the third weekend of August, at St. Albans.


August, 2008

First, everyone should congratulate Tom O. for completing his L2 flight.

August 17

We arrived on the field at 0900 with the day starting cloudy with about a 3000 foot flight ceiling and winds around 15mph. As the day progressed, the clouds became less and less and the wind diminished. By the time we left the field at 1600, it was clear with light a light breeze. The grass was between twelve and twenty-four inches tall and most of the field was dry except for the ditches which had water in them.

A parking lot was set up just off the road and a launch site was setup about 2000 feet off the road. Scott, Tom, a visitor Joe (who walks with a cane) and I (with Jeff O) drove out. Everyone else parked by the road and walked it. The field was ready to go around 1000, with Brett O, Jeff O, Scott T, Tom O, Evan O, Brian A, Karen A and nine other guests besides Joe.

I missed the first couple of flights as I was helping Joe get out on the field so I do not have anything to report on them. They did have flight cards so they are included in report. The day had twenty-two flights: eleven low power including one staged flight, four mid power, and seven high power flights. The average flight was G. The flights, by rocketeer, in increasing number of flights order, were:

- Jeff O managed to kevinize the day, with a single QModeling Hawkeye flight on an AT E28-7T reload. For the Hawkeye, and that much breeze, it was a straight up flight. The flight was not one hundred percent successful as the rocket zippered about three inches and the casing ejected in tall grass (not to be found).

- Tom O brought down his Talon 4 which is still under construction. An impressive kit, although I do not know if I would call it the "sexiest kit available." Tom flew his PML Miranda with a new dual deploy ebay section added. The first flight was successful with an AT I218R to about 3000 feet with a MMRC2 altimeter. The second flight was a bit more nerve wracking as it was the same configuration on an ATJ350W for his L2 certification. Takeoff was snappy and almost out of sight to around 5000 feet. The MMRC2 worked as expected, deploying the main at 500 feet and landing about 1500 feet away, one field over.

- My first flight was the first high power flight of the day with my PML 1/4 Patriot with an ebay on an AMW I220 skidmark. I still love skidmarks, and this was the smallest available. The Transolve P6 worked as expected, with the main coming out around 400 feet. The chute tangled and did not deploy so the rocket landed hard on a fin, which snapped off. There is enough sticking out to rebuild it. The last flight of the day was my PML AMRAAM3 with an ebay on a Kosdon by Aerotech (KBA) I555R which uses AMW casings. The flight was definitely a neck snapper as the I555 pushed the rocket up quickly and the P6 worked exactly as expected, with apogee around 3000 feet. Landing was around 1000 feet away; easily seen from the launch site. (I did include the Pet Tracker in the AMRAAM3 and it worked as expected to lead me to the rocket. More on the Pet Tracker later.)

- Brian O managed two flights of his Giant Leap Thunderbolt 38, both with the Aerotech EFC-1 being used to deploy the parachute at 9 seconds: G79W and an H165R. Brian should start tracking the delays for this rocket and the motors as both a G and an H on the same delay were long on the G and short on the H, as you would expect. Brian’s third flight was the second flight of his Giant Leap Escape Velocity on an H210R. This flight used the EFC for first deploy and a Perfect Flight altimeter for main, which was set for 500 feet. All flights were successful.

- Scott T got four flights off the ground: two saucer flights of Pi R Feared with a D12-5 and then as a staged rocket with another saucer, Cloaked Saucer as the upper “stage on a D12-0 to a D12-5. The latter was a crowd pleaser as staging always adds a bit of excitement. The ever reliable Fruit Fly went up on a D12-3. Scott’s Performance Rocketry Gizmo was the long walk of the day on a Cessaroni I285. It was well more than a 1:1 flight as Scott, Jeff, guest Doug, and I wandered three fields down to recover the rocket. Fortunately, Scott had installed the Pet Tracker in the rocket and it lead him right to it (again, more on the Pet Tracker later).

- Guests Dylan and Dave L were there to fly model rocket; flying an Estes Cosmic Cobra on a D12-3 for high altitude, a 26 year old Estes Renegade on a 20 year old D12-5, and a Skywriter on a C6-5. Tall grass hampered looking for the rockets and a first search for the Skywriter turned up nothing. Later in the day, the unnamed rocket was found further out than expected, which lead to searching further out for the Skywriter and it was found. Unfortunately, the Cosmic Cobra was never found. Their big flight of the day was an A.C.M.E. Spitfire, the zig-zag rocket modeled after the Far Side cartoon. This is the same kit that Scott did in Mercury Redstone patterns. The Spitfire had a great flight.

- As usual, quietly, Brett O had the most flights. His classic Estes flights included Der Red Max on a B-64, the Big Bertha on a C6-5. Additionally, he flew Estes SM-3 Seahawk on a D12-5 for its maiden voyage along with a Silver Comet on another D12-5. I know one of these was lost, but I do not know which (maybe we should write the results in the “Comments” section of the launch card). Moving to more power (but not high power yet), the familiar BSD Horizon in green and black colors graced the sky twice on an AT SU G77-7R and an AT RMS G76G, matching the colors of the rocket for the latter motor. Additionally, Brett took his first step toward high power with a PML extreme altitude Callisto on a G53-7FJ. Brett did build his first AT motor too.

August 17

Kevin was out with an injury on 8/17, so we arranged a special launch the following Saturday, 8/23. Three fliers showed up for this launch, each one only flying one flight according to the flight cards.

- Robert K, a guest from Essex Jct., flew an Estes Express on a D12-0 and a C11-5. The two stage rocket went up but landed very far away and only the bottom stage was found.

- I flew my PML AMRAAM3 with an ebay on an AMW I325WT, The Transolve P6 worked as planned and the rocket landed less than 500 feet away after going up 3000 feet.

- The highlight for the day was the largest flight in Vermont. Dr. Fill, 7.5 inches in diameter, over 11 feet tall, and almost 60 pounds on the pad flew on an hybrid Contrail L2525 to 2720 feet. Everyone was focused on this flight, including the Burlington Free Press. You can watch their web coverage on their home page. Kevin made the front page of the Sunday Burlington Free Press and his ninety seconds of fame. The flight was textbook, with an almost perfect boost, and deployment of the three parachutes (one drogue and a nose cone main and eighteen foot main for the airframe).

August 24:

The Cub Scouts of Jericho held their yearly build and launch behind the Jericho Elementary School. I received an email on this and showed up to help. I set up the red launch pads with 1/8 inch rods while the kids built their Alpha III and Generic kits. I then showed them rockets from my 1/60 Patriot to my AMRAAM3 and ¼ Patriot. I did not fly anything but helped the scouts launch their rockets. The dozen scouts had about thirty flights. One Alpha III landed in a tree and ten rockets had separation between nose cone/parachute and the airframe (due to the glue not being dry on the shock cord). Overall, the kids had fun and I asked that they let us know earlier next year so that we could help them run the launch like we did for the Town of Essex Cub Scout pack.

As far as the Pet Tracker is concerned… this is one of the pieces of equipment that we purchased when we acquired all the stuff from the Essex High School. If you want the specifics, you can do a Google search on Pet Tracker and look for their cat tracker. The tracker is small, light and transmits for a couple of miles. It can be used to find your rocket. It is available to anyone in the club who wants to use it. It is expected back after your flight, either by giving it back or by replacing it if you lose it.

Remember that we are flying again in St. Albans on the third weekend of September. I will see you there.

Howie D.


September, 2008

Today's weather was better than expected except for the wind, which was higher than expected: sunny, 70s, and about 15MPH wind to the north. Fortunately, our field has a large area to the north and everything "landed" somewhere on the field. Six fliers showed up and about fifteen guests. There were twenty-four flights with an average impulse of G (1-A, 4-B, 3-C, 3-D, 1-E, 1-F, 5-G, 4-H, 1-J and a complex 3-E, 3-G, 1-H). Most fliers kept their altitude down to reduce the drift, but I would guess the average flight was 1:2 (one foot up and two feet downwind). We set up the tarp in the regular place except we left the southern set of legs off to allow half to be a wind block. This both kept us warmer and allowed us to assemble things without wind blowing things everywhere.

Tom O managed to Kevinize, but it was the biggest launch of the day. The first flight of his full custom wrapped Giant Leap Talon 4 on an AT J570W to almost three thousand feet. It took Tom almost three hours to prep the fourteen pound rocket with both a G-Wiz LCX and an ARTS RRC2. The flight roared off the pad and the altimeters worked perfectly at apogee. The eight foot main was supposed to open at six hundred feet, but it looked more like one thousand. The nose cone came down slower than the rocket but landed in the same field that Scott's Gizmo landed. No major damage occurred and a K looks to be in the works.

Jeff O flew his modified Estes green Redstone twice, both on AT D13-7 for stellar flights to around five hundred feet. The eighteen millimeter AT motors worked well. Jeff was happy with his Redstone flights. Jeff also spent some time searching with a metal detector looking for his 24mm casing that was lost last month.

Brett O flew one model and three medium power flights. Brett's Estes Firebird on a B6 drifted significantly downwind after the chute opened, as did most rockets. His green and black Horizon BSD, which has graced the CRMRC skies many times, flew on a AT G71R but the chute tangled and some rework is required. Two AT Gs (G53FJ reload and SU G79W) flew in his PML Callisto. The Callisto is one of the PML high altitude fliers and the Gs did not do anything to defeat this. The flights took off like shots and will live to fly again.

I mangaged one medium power and three high power flights. My PML MR-1b on a G53FJ drilled down to five seconds came off the rod and spiraled as though it was unstable to about fifty feet. Fortunately, the chute ejected with the rocket about ten feet off the ground so no damage was done but it was closest to pad. The MR-1b continues to amaze me as it has been flown numerous times without being unstable. My Performance Hobby Giz flew nicely on an AT H250G, with another 1:2 launch. The Hanger 11 build-on-the-field King Arthur had a slow, majestic and straight flight on an AT H165R drilled down to seven seconds. One fin bent on landing but that was removed after the flight and another will be crafted and put in the next time it is assembled. My last flight was a stock PML AMRAAM3 on an AT H242. This rocket took farthest from the pad and landed in a tree in a strange way. The rocket was about twelve feet off the ground and the chute and nose cone were about six feet off the ground. This let us release the nose cone and chute and shake the rocket out of the tree.

It was great to have to have Nick E and his son Elijah back on the flying field for fourteen flights. This included a Estes Blue Ninja on an unrecorded motor, a blue rocket called "no name" on an A8-3, a red Quest Superbird twice on a B6-4 and once on a AT D13-7, a black Estes Amazon on both a B6-4 and a C6-5, and a white Orion on a C11-5. All of these flights arched upwind and then floated quite a ways downwind. Kicking it up a notch, Nick's Hypersonic flew on an AT G64 and H165R. Nick had quite a walk on that one, as was his Binder Design Dragonfly on a no-longer available F101. This motor burned in less than half a second for a great kick off the pad, and another walk. Nick's yellow Nortic Meanie flew it's 60th and 61st flights on an Estes D12-5 and a big kicker AT E11-5; a great life for this rocket. The same can not be said for this 2X version of the Meanie 2X, which was attempted on a seven AT motors: 1-H165R, 3-G35W, and 3-E28. Unfortunately, the motor nozzles did not allow the same igniter in all of the engines. So the 3 E28s had a faster lighting igniter than the other motors. The 3 E28s lit but nothing else did so the rocket only got about ten feet high and then crashed hard to the ground.

October will have two events which are both on the CRMRC website: The CTRA Hurley Invitational on the weekend of 11/12 and the CRMRC launch on 18 or 19 (and a rain date of 25 or 26). From what I am hearing, there will be several large high power flights planned for the CRMRC launch: Kevin's M, Tom's K, and maybe a J or K of mine. Beyond that, the theme of the launch will be Octoberflyst, so bring whatever bottles you can fly.

Howie D.

October, 2008

First, congratulations to Ian and Bill for getting their L1. A whole new world has opened before you to max out your credit cards. Also, welcome aboard to Doug S who has joined the CRMRC, along with Ian and Bill. Our sympathies to Emily B, Brett O and Jeff O on the loss of their Estes Swift, PML Calisto, and QModeling Hawkeye.

For October, there were a total of 44 flights, with an average flight of an H motor. This is the first time since I have been keeping records that the average flight has been high power. The totals include: 4 As (A3, A8, A10), 3 Bs (B6), 9 Cs (C6, C11 and C6 to C6), 6 Ds (D12 and D12 to D12), 2 Es (E9, E15), 5 Fs (F20, F40, F50), 6 Gs (G64, G71, G77, G79), 7 Hs (H97, H120, H123, H148, H165, H268), 1I (I315), 2 Ks (K525, K700), and 1 L (L2525).

The day started out with very light breezes and nice sun, with temperatures making it to the lower 60s. I always learn something at every launch and this was no different. My first lesson of the day is to ALWAYS stake down the tarp. As the day progressed, it did get windier and my tarp decided to try flying. Many thanks to those who caught it and helped affix it to the ground. There were about nineteen fliers and about a dozen audience members. The flights included:

- Carter K flying an Estes Heat Seeker on a C11 for a nice flight.

- The Bs got three rockets off the ground: Emily's small pink (and now lost) Estes Swift on a mini A3 which went out of sight instantly, Jack's Estes Sizzler on a B6, and the ever classic Estes Mean Machine on a E9 for dad Ricky.

- Not to be out done, the Rs also got three flights off the ground. Matt flew an Estes Metalizer on a C6, Ben had an Estes Chrome Dome on another C6, and dad Jeff's Aerotech Initiator on an F40.

- The next flier seems to have been a bit confused about the paperwork. Rober, aka Robert flew an Estes Sizzler on an A3 along with an orange Estes Estes (Rocket name and rocket maker are both Estes) on an A83 (one can only imagine the burn time if this were true –it would need to be measured in milliseconds),

- Brian A, sans his better half, flew two Giant Leap products. The smaller, the Thunder Bolt, ran on an AT H165R along with the EFC to deploy the main parachute. Brian's second flight was the Escape Velocity on an impressive AT H268R using both a Perfect Flight altimeter and the AT EFC to get dual deploy. Nice flights both of them.

- Doug S flew a virgin PML Bull Puppy 2.1 twice on AT G64s almost to out of sight. Nerves were running high for Doug as it was his first motor build and the first flight for the rocket.

- Tom O had a PML Miranda on an H123 but that was overshadowed by his Giant Leap Talon 4 flying to 7000 feet on an AT K700. This rocket just kept on going up after the motor burned out. An RRC2 and GWiz LCX provided the primary and secondary altimeter support for the dual deploy. A great motor and a great flight.

- The Cs managed seven flights as a family, having driven from Maine. Devon flew a rocket called Rusty made by Myself on a C6, a no named Esties on an A10, an Estes Mercury Redstone on a B6, and a custom Big Daddy Miny on a C6. The little ones certainly take off fast. Ian flew an Estes Mongoose dual stage on a C6-0 to a C6-7 along with his PML Quasar on an H97 for his certification flight. Dad Bill was just as nervous in prepping his rocket, a PML AMRAAM3 for its maiden voyage and first into the realm of high power.

- David W accounted for 3 flights although I suspect he had some help. All three were an AT Initiator. The first flight was an AT F20 followed by two AT F50s to give it a bit more boost. David was excited explaining about flying a big F50!

- Scott T turned in three flights for the day, including the first flight of the day, his homebrew Red Hot Wax as part of the "Star Spangled Banner" on a Pro38 red H120 to get the crowd going. Scott also flew his homebrew Bionic Fruit Fly on a D12 and rounded off his flights with yet another AT Initiator on an AT F40.

- Jeff O went two stage with his Estes Omega on a D12-0 to a D12-7 for some high flying Estes. Jeff's QModeling Hawkeye did not fly very high on an AT E15 but did manage significant damage as the airframe was not strong enough to core sample. A classic Estes Goblin on a D12 was another nice flight. The reincarnated PML Pullpuppy (PPII) made it off the ground again in high power style on an AT H148.

- Brett O managed the most flights again; no surprise there. Another "Star Spangled Banner" flight was his PML Calisto on an AT G77R. just after the Red Hot Wax. Estes Firebird on a B6 and then Der Red Max on a C6, as did Big Bertha. Stepping up one notch was the Estes Silver Comet and Mercury Engineering's Atomizer on D12s. And the PML Calisto that was used to start the day also flew on a G71R, G64W, and G79W. One of those managed to have the rocket get snagged in the tallest tree on the field, about 150 feet up, in the very top of the branches. Maybe the wind and rocket gods will be kind and allow a landing.

- Kevin O flew his hybrids Gas Guzzler on a Contrail K525, and Doctor Fill on an L2525.

- For me, it was a day to kevinize with just a PML AMRAAM3 on an AMW I315 skidmark with a Transolve P6 for apogee deploy to around 3000 feet and a main at 400 feet.

One other thing I learned is why the US military likes Cessaroni (aka ProX). During the "Star Spangled Banner," Scott enabled both his Red Hot Wax on the Pro-X reload and Brett's Calisto on an AT reload when he hit the switch. The Pro-X lit almost instantly while the AT took a second or two longer. I have always known Pro-X includes a small charge inside to get the motor going. Now I saw how well it works.

Special thanks to Scott for taking significant time out of his flying day to help Ian and Bill certify. Also, thanks to Jeff O for spending a couple of hours as RSO/LCO. I also put in some time as both RSO/LCO and helping everyone find their motors from my magazine.



November, 2008

This months launch was scrubbed


December, 2008

The December launch was a low key affair with just two and a half people: Tom O, myself and Doug S. Tom and I saw Doug drive by a couple of times, but Doug did not want to risk getting stuck. Tom did drive down to meet the unknown car, but Doug had left for good by then. The temperature was in the low teens with a light breeze from the north that made the wind chill at or below zero. The day started out cloudy but at about 1000 hrs the skies turned blue even though the lake effect snow continued to flurry. Tom plowed out a path to the launch site along with an area to walk which became the launch area.

[Note: FAA regulations require that I keep my cell phone on while on the field. If anyone gets that close and is not comfortable driving out -- call me. We can make arrangements to meet you with a truck while you park your car somewhere safe.]

Tom did not bring anything to fly, so I was the only one there with motors prepped (it is much easier doing it in the warmth of my kitchen compared to removing my gloves and attempting it on the field). All I had to do was fluff the parachutes, add the ejection charges and igniters. After getting out of our trucks, Tom and I faced west and paid homage to the still hung up Callisto. All we set up was one blue pad with an eight foot rail which was controlled by the remote control Transfire in a soft-sided "cooler" to keep the battery warm. I flew:

The Giz on an AT I229T-M 54/426 beer can motor drilled down to seven seconds. Being so short and fat, the Giz did not weather cock and drifted downwind as it flew. Once the chute opened, this only got worse, making for a 1:1 flight at about 2800 feet up and 2800 feet down range. While I was cold in prepping the rocket, the long walk certainly got the blood flowing. Besides, I am used to long walks by now. The rocket stuck the landing and was sitting in the field on it's fiberglass and carbon fiber fins. Next time, seven seconds needs to be five as the chute was late.

King Arthur on an AT H238T-M also drilled down to seven seconds was the last flight. The flight up was as planned, again with a late ejection charge. The chute only made it to the top of the airframe and did not deploy. The airframe came down in a relatively flat spin but landed hard on one fin. This time the walk was about one hundred feet though. Fortunately, this is one of the Hanger 11 screw together kits and the fin is easily replaced. Even more fortunately, the last time it flew, it broke a fin, and I had built two replacements, so I already have a spare to use. The next time I fly it, I will add a small drogue chute attached to the nose cone to help pull out the main. As I have said previously, I learn something from almost every flight.

The blue thunder propellant produces a lot of white smoke which drifted over where we were standing, blocking out our view of the rockets for a while. What was even more interesting was the H238 burns so fast (0.6 sec) that all the smoke was in one small cloud. The breeze was so light by this time we had recovered the rocket and put the pad and controller back in my truck, we could still see the cloud. It had not even made it to Maquam Shore road yet.

On the way out, Tom and I stopped at the Bayside Resturant, at the 90 degree corner at the end of Lake Street. We picked up a $100 gift certificate for Joe, the land owner and had two virgin hot chocolates at the bar. This would make a great place to stop after a winter launch to get drinks, food and warmth. The bar wench (actually a very nice woman who went out of her way to get us whipped cream for our hot chocolates) asked if we were going to fly out on the St. Albans Bay so she could watch from the windows. It is a possibility.

Thanks to Tom for plowing the field, helping with the launch, keeping a second set of eyes on my rockets, and paying for the hot chocolates.

I am working on the waivers for 2009 and the new regulations have added a twist to what I want to do. The flight ceiling will be 6000 feet according to the new regs, but I would like to have occasional flights to 10000 feet. I am working with my contacts at the FAA to see if this is possible. As a heads up to everyone, there are several groups asking us for presentations in 2009. These are great times to show off what you know and have built, so please think about helping with one of these. I know we are working with several libraries (Jericho, Montgomery Center), the Cub Scouts (Westford, so far), the Vermont Astronomical Society (VAS) , the 4-H and the Civil Air Patrol (CAP).

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Stay safe, stay employed, and may Santa bring you that kit that you have requested. I know on Friday, Santa's elf in a brown truck delivered my project for next year.

Howie Druckerman