2009 Launch Reports
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul LDRS Aug NERRF 5 Sep Oct Nov Dec
The CRMRC January 2009 launch was held on Saturday, 17. As with most winter launches, it was a low key affair with seven fliers and four visitors. One guest had a kit in the build process and will be flying with us in the future.
The day was mostly sunny, light winds with occasional gusts, and a temperature at 1000 of 4degF. Scott, Kevin, and I arrived early and began creating a launch site. After a minor problem with my snowblower (the impeller was frozen to the case) which was solved with a few minor taps of pipe, we created a path through the snow bank and a parking area big enough for seven cars. Brett joined us as we set up the red pipe pads about 150 feet off of Towers Road and about 70 feet from the cars. Additionally, one blue pad was set up another 150 feet further onto the field. We christened Kevin's new pad controller by connecting it up to the red rack and the wireless controller was connected to the blue pad.
The first order of business was to take a picture to verify that we had the fortitude (stupidity) to hold a club launch at 4degF. The three aforementioned CRMRC members plus Doug put rockets on the red pads fora picture. Then the flying could begin. There was a total of 16flights, with an average thrust of an E motor and a total thrust of anI motor. The breakdown was: 2-B, 3-C, 4-D, 1-E, 2-F, 4-G.
The cold made doing even the simplist things difficult or impossible.It looked like everyone was prepared for the weather and snow. Everyone had motors prepared in advance as much as possible. The flying included:
Newbee to the CRMRC (but not members, yet) were Chris and his brother Mark. Each had bought Estes StormCaster from the club consignment sale and each flew them twice. The first time each flew was on a D12-7. Both Chris' and Mark's rockets went almost 1000 feet up and landed across Towers Road, taking their sweet time coming down from altitude. Their second flights were on the club provided C11-5 and they still managed around 500 feet. Mark's came down under full chute but Chris' had thechute tangle but still survived to fly again.
Doug kevinized, and managed the highest flight of the day on his PML Bull Puppy 2.1 on an AT G64 to around 2000 feet. It still managed to land in the field and was recovered without any damage. It was just a small spec in the sky when the event happened. Doug likes his small Bull Puppy and it has not disappointed him yet.
Kevin did not kevinize and flew some black powder in a Quest Nike Smoke on a B6-4. The Nike went to about 250 feet before ejecting the parachute and coming back to the earth for a landing. This was followed by another non-hybrid flight of an Aerotech Initiator on an AT F22-5 to almost 800 feet. The yellow bird arched over and came down on chute.
Brett must have been feeling low -- not because he felt bad, but because he only flew two rockets and for the first time, did not have the most flights for the day. An original Estes Der Rot Max (Red Max)flew on a B6-4 to about 250 feet and ejected the chute for a soft landing less than 100 feet from the pad. This was followed by a classic Estes Big Bertha on a C6-5. It is a great low and slow flier and performed flawlessly.
Scott had three flights for the day (as a benchmark -- one more than Brett), including flying the same rocket twice. He did manage to use the most igniters though. The custom Bionic Fruit Fly started on aD12-3 to around 250 feet before landing under chute with only minor damage. This rocket was quickly refuelled and sent up on an AT E28 to over 500 feet. More damage to the same fin but could be repaired with some glue. Scott's big flight for the day was his crayon bank based Crayon V2 (CV2) on an AT G33. This rocket has seen many flights and is yet another low and slow that did not disappoint.
I had four flights for the day, starting with an Estes Phoenix on aD12-3. Even with a 36 inch X chute, one fin was loosened because it hit hard snow instead of softer drifts. Such is the fate of a Phoenix's lower fins. Next was my rebuild on an Aerotech Astrobee-D to fly on the same motor it crashed on the last time it flew. The result was almost identical as it spit the engine and no chute deployed. This time I thought I was smarter and held the engine in with a cable tie, but the cold made the tie brittle and then engine still managed to get lost before deploying the parachute. Another rebuild with significant work is in the works. Next came my fully custom, bottle rocket which was built like a rocket in a bottle, based on a Coors bank, called Golden Bullet,had it's maiden flight on an AT G104-5. This flier flew straight and true without any waiver and landed on a 36 inch standard chute without any damage. The final flight of the day was a new naked PML BlackBrandt Vb (like the one that burned and melted at St. Albans) on an AMWG69 skidmark motor. For those of you who like skidmarks and are not yet certified... this is the motor for you. All the sparks and smoke and noise you come to expect with a skidmark. The chute did not fully deploy on the way down, but the carbon fiber reinforced fins survived the rough landing.
Afterward, Kevin, Brett, Doug and I returned to my house for about 3.5hours of pizza, Boston Creme Pie, and rocketry talk. Both Doug and Brett are L1-wannabees so they asked many questions about getting there and how to build things. Doug has a Giant Leap Escape Velocity and wants to learn how to fiberglass the phenolic tubing. Kevin and I have experience on doing this so we shared what we had experienced. There were dozens of other topics discussed and we watched Brett's compilation of videos from the 2008 flight season. I have extra CDs for anyone that wants them -- it's a great way to see other rocket nerds inaction.
The weather on Saturday 2/21 in St. Albans was in the teens with bright sunshine and winds from 10-15 MPH; this is certainly better than what the weather forecasts predicted, and an order of magnitude better than Sunday. There were few clouds so we were restricted by our current 6000 waiver, even though no one got close. There was almost no snow on the ground, except in the gullies between the fields. This snow was frozen solid, so crossing between fields was almost trivial (no thumbs were in danger during these crossings). The ground was frozen solid so it was like walking on and landing on concrete. Vehicles did not have any problems driving out to the launch area.
Setup started around 0910 with just one table for the controller, the red pad set up with all rods, and one blue pad with an eight foot rail and Transolve launcher; everything was ready to go at 0930 thanks to Scott, Jeff, Brett, my son Sam, and myself. I was forewarned that several guests were going to show up. Three of these (Chris, Jason, Mark) had already purchased kits for their L1 and were interested in seeing a high power launch. So we waited until around 1000 to begin, when another guest (Matt with son Nate) drove down the field. Flight operations began shortly there after, after the conciliatory Calisto nod to the east.
There were a total of 5 CRMRC members, and 5 guests, who accounted for eleven flights and for a total impulse in the J range and an average of F: 1-B, 2-C, 4-D, 1-G, 2-H, and 1-I. The flights, in order of kids first, then number of flights and the author last, were:
- Nate D (aka Matt) flew a naked Estes Spaceship 1 on a C6-3 with a 12 inch nylon parachute. The flight was great, but one of the extended, narrow, balsa fins did not survive the concrete (aka ground) landing. Scott suggested gluing a chop stick along both fins to strengthen it. A rebuild, some paint, and it will look and fly better.
- Jeff O showed up with his four inch upscale Alpha and a pre-built AT H242. The long fins sticking out past the bottom of the airframe would have been ripe for breakage if they landed on the ground, so Jeff decided to kevin0ze and protect his expected L2 craft.
- Mark M flew the same orange/black Estes Storm Caster that was flown in Essex last month on an Estes D12-5 without any issues. There is a lesson learned story here -- Mark's brother Chris left his motor in his Storm Caster after the Essex launch and was unable to successfully get it out after a month. Take all motors out immediately after launch!
- Jason V attempted to fly a PML Pit Bull on an AT G40. The RSO (aka me) nixed that idea because the rocket, although superbly built and painted, weighed in at 2lbs, 6 ounces. The G40 did not make the recommended minimum power to get it going fast enough, especially considering the wind. I did offer up use of my AMW/Pro-X G185 SC with a burn time of 0.69 seconds. This, along with Scott's 38-1G casing enabled a first flight for this rocket. As one would expect, the rocket took off like an Estes Gnome on an A10 (if you were not looking up before it took off, you missed it!) and the motor smoke ended less than 50 feet off the ground while the rocket coasted upwards to around 1500 feet. This rocket did qualify for longest walk, landing near where Scott's Gizmo landed. [I like that reload and it will support up to 7 pounds as long as you do not mind not going up too high.]
- Brett O managed a mere 2 flight, lowering his average significantly. The first of the day was an Estes Der Rot Max (the Red Max) on an Estes B6-4. Brett's walk was not too far for this one. Brett's second flight was a Mercury Atomizer on a Estes D12-7. For a model rocket, this went high and landed two fields over, but easily seen as you approached it. Another nice flight for Brett.
- Scott managed four flights. The
smallest was a homebrew (aka dumpster/after-Christmas-sale-table) Sputnik wannabee
on a Estes C11-3 with the new and improved dual streamer recovery system which
worked like a charm. Next came another homebrew, Pi R Feared, on an Estes D12-5
which flew in typical saucer fashion and a nice landing on the concrete. The
[Bionic 6 million dollar; scratch that and make it 6 cent] Fruit Fly with a
recently reglued fin flew on an Estes D12-3. Given the wind conditions, it was
a great flight. Finally, another homebrew, the Red Hot Wax flew on an AMW/Pro-X
Red Rhino H120. This was another lesson learned flight but the harder than expected
landing did result in one ring fin needing to be replaced. The lesson was not
to allow your chute protector to slide up the shroud lines on the chute. The
ejection charge made the chute protector slide against the nylon, totally reefing
the chute. Clipping the protector to the quick link that attaches the chute
have been a ring-saver.
- I managed two high power flights. First was my beer-bottle Golden Bullet on an AT H97. The flight was great but there was some damage when the rocket bounced about 15 feet off the ground upon landing. This rocket will fly again. Another lesson learned here: the red cap that AT uses to hold the igniter in place was too cold to be removed by the motor, so it burned through and stayed on for the entire flight, dragging the wires scorched behind. Fortunately, the launcher wires wrapped around one of the legs of the launcher, or those would have flown also. My second flight was my PML 1/4 Patriot with the custom eBay containing a GWiz MC2 on an AMW classic I315 Skidmark. The hard landing of the Golden Bullet made me upsize the Patriot parachute to a 70 inch Top Flight chute. The takeoff was typical skidmark, and the streamer sparkled in the sky at apogee. The rocket came down to 800 feet where the main opened and gently lowered the rocket to the ground.
After the launch, we headed to the Bayside for a nice meal and allowed the newbees to pick the brains of the more experienced fliers for suggestions/recommendations. The food was excellent. We will do that again.
Overall, a great day. Attendees got to see AT, classic AMW, and the new AMW/Pro-X motors fly to enable them to decide where they want to place their loyalties.
I certainly picked the better day of the weekend and another month's rocket launch has gone up in smoke. First, let me start off with congratulations to Doug S and Mark M, our latest two members to certify to L1 (when you complete your paperwork). Congratulations and open up your wallet! Next, thanks to Tom O, Brian A, and myself for picking up all the pieces of what went wrong (and condolences for what happened).
There were two adult guests and with their children along with one member brought his young child, so there were witnesses to the event. Although they were not crazy enough to stay for the entire launch. There was new person who, based on what he saw, is interested in joining the club. We also had one person show up as we were cleaning up who was interested in seeing us fly [next time].
The launch itself went fairly well, with a few exceptions that we need to address:
1.There was only one high power pad set up, and in the middle of the launch, there was a queue to get in the air.
2.We had a second blue pad but did not set it up. In upcoming launches, as the weather gets warmer, we should set up the second (and third) high power pad.
3. The high power pad was powered
by the Transfire wireless launcher. There were a couple of times where people
attempted to connect up a rocket without turning off the launcher as a safety
precaution. More on the solution to fix this later.
4. A rocket came down right next to people who were walking back from recovering their rocket and they attempted to pick it up. Do not touch a rocket that belongs to someone else because: you are not sure if there are live charges which have not gone off, the person who owns the rocket will be looking for the rocket and if you move it there will be issues, the first thing the owner will do when he/she gets to the rocket is verify all the pieces are exactly where the rocket landed, and if something is damaged the owner could accuse the handler of not handling the rocket correctly. There is only one situation where you should touch the rocket -- if the rocket keeps getting dragged in the wind. All you should do is prevent the parachute from catching the wind.
5. There was a small pad fire that was fortunately caught by someone walking in. All other eyes were watching the rocket [crash]. The ground was damp but the grass on top was very dry and it took several minutes of stomping on the grass to put it out. This is a major problem that we need to solve. More on this later too.
As far as rockets, there were 22 flights: 1-C, 4-D, 1-E, 1-F, 4-G, 6-H, 5-I; with an average of G:
- Karin A flew her new, naked, Giant Leap Thunderbolt on a AT G69W to over 1000 feet. The flight went smoothly without any issues and Karin will be launching this rocket for her L1 cert.
- Brian A flew his Giant Leap Escape Velocity on an AT I200W with the AT EFC for apogee and MAWD set for 500 feet for the main. The apogee deploy did not occur and the rocket was at terminal velocity when the main ejected -- shredding the chute and destroying the airframe and prebuilt fincan. Not a good way to fly.
- Dave G, who flew rockets years
ago, and will be joining the club, flew a classically painted AT Initiator on
an F40W. The roughly 15 year old girl flew well and had no issues except for
hanging about 30 feet off the ground in a tree on the way back down. I went
back on Sunday, drove to where the tree was and found the rocket lying on the
ground with one fin partially broken off. I have since returned both pieces
to Dave and hope to see the Initiator back on the pad after a quick CA glue
- Doug S happily made his L1 on his PML Bull Puppy 3.0 on an H148R. The rocket went high but was successfully recovered without any damage. Keep the credit cards handy!
- Chris M managed two flights for
the day. His Estes Chrome Finger flew on a D12-5 and landed successfully. The
second was a high power AMW/Pro-X G115 in an unpainted PML Bull Puppy. The three
inch rocket snapped off the pad and had motor ejection to bring out the chute
and landed fine.
- Mark M managed the same as his
brother -- two flights. First was an Estes Storm Caster on a D12-5 with a nice
arch and recovery. Mark's L1 cert attempt was with a primer gray PML Explorer
to 2000 feet on an AT H128W. There were no rockets harmed in this certification
attempt. Credit cards should be kept nice and warm from now on.
- Jeff O accomplished two high power
flights. His all white 4X upscale Alpha wobbled a bit on the way up on an AT
H242T but stayed on track. Motor eject was almost perfect and the rocket landed
on a single fin, having stuck that fin into the ground. The second flight was
an AT H148R powered flight of the Pull Puppy II (PP2) to a nice altitude and
back to the ground. I think the Alpha is ready for an L2 attempt.
- Tom O flew an Estes Flat Cat glider
on an Estes C6-3. As with all glider flights, the flight path was an interesting
set of arcs, but the glider seemed relatively stable once the motor and tube
ejected. Next came an AT I225FJ powered flight of the terrifically painted PML
Miranda with an avbay attached and dual deploy via the RRC2 to over 2500 feet.
The computer worked fine and the rocket was recovered intact. Tom's final flight
was again the Miranda on an AT I245G again with the avbay and dual deploy. This
flight was less successful as the apogee charge separated the rocket but the
main chute never ejected. The contact with the ground was hard and certainly
some fins were no longer where they were supposed to be.
- Scott T managed the most flights
for the day. First, the custom built [Bionic] Fruit Fly on a short hop via an
Estes D12-3 with no visible damage upon landing on the large fins. Home brewed
Pi R Feared was next as a typical low saucer flight on an Estes D12-5. Then
came an impressive Sputnik (custom made "rocket") flight that powered
up for a long time before separating and landing in two pieces on two streamers.
Moving up a notch, his PML IO went as high as Scott likes to go on a Pro-X G60R.
But not to be left out of the high power arena, Scott flew is repaired Hot Red
Wax tube fined crayon tube on a Pro-X H120RR. Another bounce on the landing
but no harm done.
- I planned three flights for the
day, all high power and all dual deploy on three different motors and altimeters.
First was the PML Black Brandt Vb with a stretched avbay containing an RRC2
for the first successful flight of the avbay (the last time the avbay flew,
the remainder of the rocket went up in flames) on an AMW/Pro-X H123 Skidmark.
Next, was my PML AMRAAM 3 with the stretched avbay on an AT I215R and a Transolve
P6 to handle the electronic duties. As with the Black Brandt, both charges went
off and the rockets came done on chutes. My final flight was my L2 cert rocket,
a PML 1/4 Patriot with a stretched avbay to hold the GWiz MC2. The rocket was
beeping properly just before lighting the AMW I315 Skidmark. That was the last
thing the altimeter did successfully, as there was not deploy at apogee nor
was the main ejected at altitude. Instead of parachute recovery, shovel and
bucket recovery were used to recover the dozens of pieces that were spread across
a 50 foo!
First, congratulations to Chris M for getting his L1 -- open up your wallet and say "Ah" to some more exciting propellants. Second, congratulations to Jeff O on getting his L2 -- since your wallet is already open, you had better raise the line of credit on your credit cards.
The weather was almost perfect, given that it was April. The day was cloudless and sunny, temperatures started in the 40s and went to the 50s, with breezes around 8-10mph. The ground was dry in most places and there was almost no smell from the farmer's spreading earlier in the week. The wind was toward the entrance on the road, so we set up the pads closer to the road than the cars and slightly further away from the road than normal.
Jeff, Scott, and I had everything ready to go by 0945 which gave some a chance to get their motors ready by the opening bell at 1000. The day started with the obligatory nod to the east and everyone prayed that the tree gods were still satisfied with their catch and none others would share the same fate. The first flight of the day was at exactly 1000, with a total of fourteen flights. There were nine fliers, five guest and one member who did not fly anything. The flights consisted of seven model power (2-B, 1-C, 4-D), three mid-power (3-G), and four high power (2-H, 1-I, 1-J), with an average of a G class motor.
The details are:
- Karin A flew her Giant Leap Thunderbolt on an AT G79W-M to around 1500 feet. The ejection was several seconds late and the classic phenolic zipper was about a foot long. The rocket will fly again, but about a foot shorter.
- Brian A flew his new Giant Leap Vertical Assault on an AT I435T to over 2000 feet. The T propellant is quick burning and it got up there in a hurry. Two Perfectflight MAWDs were used for recovery; apogee was fine but the first charge for the main only separated the nose cone and did not deploy the chute. After a few heart-wrenching seconds (remember that Brian crashed last month), the second charge allowed the main to successfully deploy.
- Mark M downsized from last month to fly his Estes Stormcaster on a D12-5; a nice high flight. I suspect that Mark flew something else on a G, but there was no flight card in the box at the end of the day so no credit is given. [Did you fill one out for that flight like?]
- Guest Tom M flew an Estes Big Bertha on a B6-4 and the rocket was successfully recovered. The flight was slow and not too high -- you could see it all the way.
- Guest John M flew an Estes Big Bertha on another B6-4 and the results were the same.
- Jeff O flew his white primed 4X Alpha with motor deploy for his L2 Cert flight on an AT J275W-M. The flight was the highest of the day. The previous flight was a bit wobbly because one of the fins was not too straight. Jeff managed to fix this and the cert flight was as straight as an arrow. The main opened at over 4000 feet and the rocket drifted in the wind, sometimes seeming to stop coming down and only going sideways. The successful landing was beyond the road by about 50 yards. Tom O drove out to help Jeff shorten the trip for the "Farthest From the Pad" flight.
- Chris M had two flights: an Estes Chrome Finger on a D12-5 to under 1000 feet and no issues on the flight. Chris' more exciting flight was his light sky blue Bull Puppy (the color difference is to differentiate his rocket from the other Bull Puppies in the club) to over 1500 feet on an AT H165R-M. It was a quick burn and up into the sky.
- Scott managed to maintain the most flights of the day with four. The first flight of a Model in Minutes spider on a ring, called Space Spider on an Estes C6-3 kept up with Scott's usual flight profile of low and slow. Continuing on that aspect, Scott flew a homebuilt Stealth Saucer on a D12-0. It was cool to see all the sparks fly from the ejection charge at about 50 feet. The first flight of the day was Scott's homebuilt Fruit Fly on a D12-3 to around 200 feet. The chute opened up and the rocket landed between the crowd (all 4 of us). The most exciting flight of the day was also Scott's as he flew his ever reliable (and now former) CV2 on an AT G64W-5. The forward closure ruptured and the charge went off at about 20 feet with flames shooting out both the front and the back. The parachute was only slightly toasted because the charge went off prior to the flames out both ends. Everything else of the rocket, except a few screws was a total loss. Not counting the forward clos!
ure, the estimated replacement insurance value of what was lost was estimated to be around $8.00.
- I managed two flights. My naked PML Black Brandt on a AT G71R-M without a drilldown went up around 1000 feet with nothing exciting happening in the flight. The other flight was a PML/homebrew rebuild of my destroyed 1/4 Patriot. The fincan survived the crash and I had a separate payload bay and nosecone. A new center airframe tube (still naked) was added and the flight on an AT H268R-M drilled down to a 6 was straight and flawless, with the landing being stuck. Now I am not sure what to call this rocket -- is it a Phoenix (having been reborn from the ashes) or a Patriot (as originally intended).
Safety wise, there were no issues and the fire extinguisher was kept near the mod rock pads, which would have to have been passed on the way to the away cell. There was one leg injury when someone unsuccessfully attempted to jump across one of the drainage ditches. Please remember that when you land on the far side of the ditch, the earth slopes up sharply and the way you need to absorb the landing is drastically different from landing on flat ground.
Five of us ended the day with lunch at the Bayside -- turkey was the meat of the day.
Our May launch started at 0900 with a launch at the library in Montgomery Center. Five kids and four adults showed up for a rocket science talk and then launching of CRMRC saucers. Scott T, my son Sam and I gave the talk, which covered rocket parts, CP vs CM, and conservation of momentum. From there, the kids each decorated a saucer. Scott and I prepped them for launch. Each kid launched their saucer on A8-3s followed by my foam pyramid on a G79W. The G amazed the kids and it is something they will remember for the rest of their life. We then splurged and let the kids fly a second time on a B6-4. On the second go through, one kid went solo and the other four in a drag race.
Kevin created the kit for the club so that people could build their rockets and then fly them minutes later. All the kids need to do is just decorate, CA the two pieces together (an adult will do that), and put in a motor and you are ready to fly. We sell them for $5 each, including a motor. I expect to sell over 50 of these this season. Hopefully getting more kids interested in flying along with making the club some money.
After packing up, the three of us grabbed lunch and headed for Maquam Shore Road, arriving around 1215. About nineteen people were waiting as the launch was supposed to start around 1200. Additionally, the farmer was also haying the next field over with two of his kids. The ground was very wet and soft, so just two trucks were permitted to drive out to minimize the tearing up of the field. Even with four wheel drive and mud and snow tires, there were several places where I was not fully sure that I would make it out to the field.
It was breezy on the field so there were several 1:1 flights (one foot downwind for each foot up in altitude), with a few Estes rockets going above 1:1. The high fliers realized that you have to walk twice or three times further downwind thank you think your rocket could go. The three who went high were rewarded for their long walks by certifying. Congratulations to Jason V and Dave G for getting their L1 -- get your wallet open. Additionally, Brian A successfully got his L2 -- raise the limit on your credit card; you are going to need it! Karin A did try to L1, but there was nothing left but worth saving.
As for flying, there were ten fliers (seven club members, three kids) for a total of fifteen flights, with an average G motor. The details are: 1-1/2A, 1-A, 2-C, 4-D (including a D to D stage), 1-F, 1-G, 4-H, and 1-J. Thirteen of the fifteen were successful with the rocket being recovered.
- Jeff O and Brett O managed to Kevinoze; complaining about the wind.
- Jason V's single launch was an accurately painted PML AMRAAM3 for its first flight and his L1 cert flight on an AMW red H120-9. It was a 1:1 flight, with the rocket being successfully recovered two fields down.
- Dave G launched a nicely painted PML Tethys on an AMW (Pro-X) white H225 for his L1 cert flight. Another long walk ended in another successful L1 cert.
- Brian A flew his Giant Leap Vertical Assault on an AT J350W for his L2 cert attempt. Two MAWD altimeters were the primary and secondary means of getting the apogee and main deploy; and the primary worked both times. This was the longest walk of the day, three fields downwind and now Brian can pay $325 for an single AMW L1400 skidmark.
- Karin A kept with the family tradition of Giant Leap, and attempted a Thunderbolt on an AT H128W L1 cert flight. There appeared to be a closure failure as there were flames coming out of the rocket at many places. The casing was roasted, as were the fins, airframe and everything inside the rocket. No joy in Mudville for this flier on this certification attempt.
- Ethan V flew an ever reliable Estes Gnome on an Estes 1/2A3 with a streamer for recovery. These are great kits with tremendous kick off the pad.
- Andrew W flew a green Estes Storm Caster with a yellow nose cone on an Estes D12-3. The rocket matched the field... mostly green with yellow dandelion blooms. Fortunately, Andrew was able to find the rocket.
- Mark M managed two flights. His first was a florescent red Estes Storm Caster on a D12-3. Mark did not find the rocket, likely because he did not go twice the distance he thought the rocket went. Someone else who went out to find a high power rocket managed to find it for Mark. Mark's PML Explorer on an AT G76G needed two igniters to get off the ground. This is typical of green motors, whether they are AMW or AT. I had heard that the last flight of the Explorer was one where the piston did not fully eject but the parachute did. This flight was resulted in a lawn dart requiring shovel recovery to pull the nose cone out. The only damage was a few inches to the top of the airframe -- the rocket will fly again a few inches shorter AFTER Mark proves the recovery system is going to work successfully. It is the role of the club to ensure safe launches.
- Scott T flew his Spider on an Estes C6-3 and it was great to see the chute come out. Using less than the typical five igniters, Scott managed to get his home built Pi-R Feared saucer rocket off the ground on a red F20. It came down successfully.
- Kyle R took the title with four flights, all on Estes motors. A Estes Dragonite on an A8-3 and a C6-7. The streamer recovery helped let Kyle get this rocket back (I think -- I know Kyle lost one of his rockets to the Rocket-Eating-Tree gods, but it was not noted on the flight card). An Estes Serno flew on a D12-5 (this is the one that I thought was the sacrificial attempt to the tree gods -- correct me if I am wrong). Kyle did manage a two stage Estes Express on a D12-0 to a D12-7 with both halves being recovered.
- I Kevinized with my highly modified PML Black Brandt Vb with an avbay and dual deploy on an AT H250G. Between tipping the rail upwind, and the RRC Mini working properly, this high power flight landed about one hundred feet upwind and in the same field as the launcher.
Saturday, June 6 was a good day for flights in Essex, albeit not many club members showed up: Jeff O, Scott T, and I. Scott was running Space Exploration merit badge with the Boy Scout troop from Essex, and the boys were invited to do their flights with the CRMRC. Keeping track of all of the scouts and their flights kept Scott busy for most of the launch. For me, I was, and still am, working on a project with the Stern Center for Language and Learning (SCLL) in Williston. The SCLL is launching a new program, "Building Blocks for Learning." The word "launching" is theirs, not mine, but they were interested in launching rockets as part of the rollout of this new program. Scott and I took it one step further to suggest an alternative shape to fly associated with the word "block." Ed from the SCLL came to the launch to see how the pyramid I had designed for him would fly. I spent most of the time working with Ed. This left Jeff to act as RSO and LCO for all the scouts. Thanks Jeff, especially for stopping the scout who taped his nosecone on in an attempt to come in ballistic.
The scout’s handwriting reminds me that most of them should consider being a doctor. From the flight cards, here is what I can tell. There were seven "A" motors to flown (3 A10-3T and 4 A8-3), five "B" motors (all B6-2), five "C" motors (all C6-5) and three "D" motors (all D12-5). [Later in the week on Wednesday evening, Scott and I did a launch just for the troop to allow everyone who wanted to earn the merit badge or just to fly, that opportunity. Since this was not a CRMRC launch, I did not record what was flown. ] CRMRC members did fly too:
• Jeff flew three times: an Estes Bull Puppy (similar design to his L1 vehicle) on a B4-4, and an Estes original Alpha (similar design to his L2 vehicle) on a B6-4. Next was the highest flight of the day, an Estes Omega on a D12-0 to a D12-7.
• Scott also managed three flights: his usual saucer flight of one kind or another, Pi-R-Feared on a C11-3, followed by an Estes Blue Ninja on that same motor. To give those scouts that were there a taste of bigger rockets, Scott’s AT Initiator flew on an AT F50-4.
• My only flight of the day was the stealth version of my homemade SCLL Pyramid on a AT G77R. There was not delay charge as it uses tumble recovery.
This meant CRMRC members had a total of a 7 flights with an "E" average flight (even though no one flew an "E").
I did manage to find the flight cards from the high power launch on Sunday, June 21. They were still in the launch controller, where I always leave them. To be honest with you, I can not remember what the weather was like, nor do I remember who was there to help. Thanks to Tom who acted as LCO. Here are the flights and what I can remember:
• Dave G flew his patriotic (red/white/blue) PML Tethys on a AMW/Pro-38 G69SK drilled down to 5 seconds. The rocket only went about 300 feet up and so we got a close-up view of the flight events, including a nosecone separation. It was cool to see it all "up close and personal."
• Kevin O managed two flights without any nitrous. His white spool from scratch flew fairly high on an AT F32-4 (not that the 4 really matters). This was followed by a second oddroc of a Pyramid Rockets 9" Pyramid on a G52-4. This had rear ejection and flew to about 800 feet.
• Doug S flew his L1 cert vehicle, a PML Bull Puppy on an AT H123-W to almost 2000 feet. Next, Doug took a large step toward flying bigger rockets by using an RRC-2 mini altimeter as part of the test flight of his Giant Leap Escape Velocity 2.6 which he fiberglassed all the phenolic. The naked Escape Velocity flew on an AT I211W for what was one of the two highest flights of the day. The altimeter released the 18 inch drogue at apogee and the 48 inch main at 500 feet, for a nice flight. All that is left is now to up that "I" to a "J" and certify.
• Jeff O got three birds off the ground. His highly modified green Estes Redstone flew nice and high on an AT 18mm D24-7T reload. Next came his custom 2.5X upscale Alpha in classic Alpha colors and decals on an AT F39-6T. Finally, Jeff’s rebuilt PML Pullpuppy on an AT H148R.
• Scott flew his ever-reliable homemade Fruit Fly on an Estes E9-4 for a long, slow burn. Next came a Q-Modeling Q-Viper, which is an upscale of the Estes Q-Viper on an AT F12-5T. Scott too took a big step toward flying bigger and higher. His extended crayon-tube based Red Hot Wax flew on an AT I300T with a P3000 altimeter for his first dual deploy on the largest "I" motor he has ever flown (and his first AT 38mm motor).
• As for me, I kevinized with a flight of my totally rebuilt extended PML ¼ Patriot with a first-time use of an RRC2 mini altimeter on an AMW classic I315 Skidmark. The streamer popped at apogee and the main was at 500 feet.
There were a total of twelve flights and an average of "G".
LDRS 28 July 2-6
There were 8 CRMRC members at LDRS 28: Karin and Brian A, Eli and Kevin O, Ian and Bill C, Jeff R,and myself. Additionally, two longtime Estes flyers Dave L. from Williston, VT and Max M. from Montreal came to LDRS 28. Dave had been to a CRMRC launch and both he and Max want to move up to midpower rockets. The club had 3 people complete certifications at LDRS 28: Karin A. for a TRA level 1, Ian C. and Bill C. for NAR level 2. Congratulations to all three of you. Open up your wallets and raise the limits on your credit cards!
There were some amazing launches:
- a sparky O that CATOed at about 200 feet sending flaming pieces down everywhere, like a chrysanthemum fireworks ball
- a perfect 3/4 Patriot on a central N surrounded by 4 Ms (see the cover of the Aerotech brochure)
- a seven M rocket drag race with 5 AMW Skidmarks and two White Wolfs
- an up close and personal 3 Stealth Pyramid drag race on K1000 Skidmarks
The launch has been nicknamed LDRS Woodstock. From the start, the fields were muddy. The first day the road was closed to all but 4WD vehicles. Most of the city drivers who did not know how to drive in mud or snow got stuck and the farmer had two tractors full time pulling out cars and trucks, or bringing out trailers. On Friday, the second day, the road was even worse and the farmer was using a hay wagon to ferry people out to the launch field. Saturday morning was a slight improvement and the first sunny, non-raining day that allowed the top layer to dry out. The farmer graded it somewhat smooth and by the end of the day, even a 2WD vehicle could drive through. Sunday was a great day; the best of the launch and the road firmed up nicely. My truck managed to make it out every day, even Thursday, pulling Kevin's trailer with ease. A METRA member whom I know asked if he could ride with me on Wednesday, so that his front wheel drive van would not get stuck. He road with me eve!
ry day but Sunday night and Monday. Kevin and Eli, after driving out on Thursday, thought it better to ride with me also and rode with me every day. Real 4WD and limited slip differential on all wheels with Goodrich T/A mud and snows, along with knowing how to drive in mud, got us through all the time without even a hint of getting stuck. But my truck was covered in mud for having accomplished it every day!
About 2000 feet from the flight line the field was a potato field. This was extremely muddy up until late Sunday. As you high-stepped over the rows, your boots picked up 5-10 pounds of mud on each foot making it extremely tiring to walk through. If you stopped to rest, you would sink deeper and deeper into the mud. It was so bad that one club member went out to recover their rocket and lost both boots. They walked back with their boots in their hand, not on their feet. Additionally, the potatos were about two feet tall and parachutes did not stay on top of the rows, so unless you knew exactly where your rocket was, it was a huge chore to find it.
Kevin and I each had two hand-held radios which we started using to aim folks. The person retrieving the rocket would be kept on line by someone back at the launch area. All they had to do was follow the line and eventually they would cross paths with their rocket. This was an extremely valuable method and it became the Plan Of Record (POR) for anyone making a CRMRC launch. I highly recommend that the club use this at CRMRC launches. We used channel 14 - 4.
So how did everyone do and what did they fly?
Here is Ian's words about how his brother, dad and himself did:
I flew my G-force on a G79-4G for a good flight, and my Quantum Leap upper stage on an I-435 T, J350W, and another J350. first flight on the I went straight up, but both parachutes came out at apogee. the first J350 was a cert attempt, which failed when the main chute failed to open due to an altimeter brown-out. The rocket recovered under the drogue and flew again for a textbook dual-deploy to just under 4000' and a successful L2 cert. My dad flew his [3 inch AMRAAM] on a J350 for his L2 cert- rocket boosted nicely and drifted about a mile downrange. My brother flew several small rockets, including his Rustbucket, Mongoose 2-stage on a C6-0 to C6-7, Spool on a G53-5FJ, and his Mercury Redstone on a C6-5.
Thursday 7-2-09: I flew my Giant Leap Escape Velocity on a Aerotech I-245G. My MAWD recorded an alitude of 2690'. Recovery was not too far (half way into the onion field.) Thrusday for us was rough, we were not sure if our SUV was going to make it out of the mud field without a tow, we just made it out.
Friday 7-3-09: Karin flew her Giant Leap Thunderbolt on a CTI G-69 Skidmark, no altimeter, but rocket went up probably around 1700 to 2000'. Her rocket landed about 400' into the potatos, I spent about 1.5 hours looking for it until Eli came out to help, (we finally found it) [Editor: Eli was being given a bearing by Kevin and I over the radio and the rocket was directly in line with the bearing, but much further out than expected]. This was the flight in which Karin got stuck in the mud, to the point were she had to remove her boots and walked back in her socks.
This was one of the days the farmers were shuttling people in on hay wagons and we took them up on their offer. We rode in and then later on out on the Hay Wagon Express.
Saturday 7-4-09: Due to the high winds neither of us flew. At least the winds helped the field dry out.
Sunday 7-5-09: I flew my Giant Leap Vertical Assault on a Aerotech J-500G. I fly this rocket with two MAWD altimeters (one for redundancy), apogee was detected at 2891'. Recovery was close, not even out to the onions. I also flew my Giant Leap Thunderbolt on a CTI H-163 White, to about 2300'. This was a good fast boost.
Monday 7-6-09: This was the important day for us, Karin certified. We first decided to fly both our Thunderbolts in a drag race (to give Karin extra practice in prepping a motor). We both flew CTI G-133 Smoky Sam motors. Both the rockets left the rails at the same time, crossed in the air and... Karin won. She won both alititude and duration aloft.
After her win at the drag race her confidence was up (from Sunday) she decided to attempt her cert. flight. She flew a CTI H-163 White to about 2300'. The rocket did drift into the potatos about 100', but the chute was sitting on the top of a row (like it wanted to be found). This time she was about to walk out to the recovery area (mud dried up).
This was our flight log from LDRS 28. I was a great time and I learned a lot. Even with the mud I would not have traded this experience in for nothing.
Kevin had the following to say:
The folks from MDRA have a saying - "Some days you're the bug, some days you're the windshield." For LDRS, I was a bug. Nothing I did seemed to work correctly, and except for the flight of a 9" pyramid on a G53 AP motor, nothing flew without anomaly.
Opportunity Nox, my most reliable rocket, took three tries to light, and when it finally did it spit the injector to give a flight with excessive chamber pressure (hence the unusual sound). This gave excellent
performance but places a lot of stress on the motor hardware. I've had motors 'rapidly disassemble' under these conditions. Fortunately this time I suffered no damage to the motor hardware.
I tried to fly Blue Moon on a K265 Sparky, but in two tries I couldn't get it to light, and on the second try it took several minutes of fiddling to get the GSE to work properly to dump the thing properly
after I cooked the igniter. By the time I managed to get things working the nitrous had chilled so much the dump was a stream of liquid at -65F rather than a cloud of vapor. The remote dump switch didn't work so it was rather, umm, interesting to safely clear the rocket from the launcher.
My coolest flight of the weekend was N2 Oh No!, a two stage hybrid attempt. I'm working on a failure analysis, helped greatly by pictures from Jeff R and video from Ian C, and I'll share that when I'm
done. For now I'll just say that things didn't go quite as planned. The booster suffered multiple cracks and breaks on landing when the parachute didn't have time to deploy. The sustainer had 6"+ zippers in
both the drogue and main sections (carbon fiber tubing) and the fin can suffered significant damage from back pressure when the sustainer lit.
The rocket retired. [Editor: I was about 2000 feet from the rocket on the opposite end of the field and was able to watch the sustainer fly horizontally toward me, landing about 200 yards away at the other side of the potato field -- fortunately, I saw it hit the ground and was able to get it without much searching but mud was still everywhere.]
I had a little better luck in the raffle. I won a Little Dog kit from Performance Rocketry, and commit heresy - I bought a Loki H case and 5 reloads so Elyas can pursue his Junior L1.
The most important thing this weekend was the teamwork. By using field radios and spotters spaced at different locations around the field, we were able to recover rockets from some pretty foul conditions - hundreds of rows deep into a potato field full of mud.
You already have my comments on the mud but here is what I flew:
Thursday: my beer bottle rocket Golden Bullet on an AT H165R-M with 5 seconds drilled out. The crowd and photographers loved it as it was the third flight of LDRS 28 (following a micromaxx first flight and another high power flight). The parachute ejected at apogee and it landed in the second field (called the onion field). Next was my PML Black Brandt Vb on an H250G-M with 3 seconds drilled out. It was about one second late when the parachute popped out and the 48 inch PML chute caused it to be about 100 rows deep into the potato field -- when this field was at its wettest! I was exhausted when I finally made it back to the tent.
Friday: was windy so I was looking for fast burning motors. My stretched dual deploy AMRAAM3 on a CTI H400 went up with a bang. The Transolve P6 opened up at apogee and the Top Flight 58 inch main at 400 feet for a landing in the same field as all the launchers -- ya gotta love dual deploy as my legs were still sore from the day before!
Saturday: my stretched PML 1/4 Patriot on a KBA I500R as the day was again windy and the quick burning I got the rail speed up there. Again, the dual deploy on the RRC-2 mini did the trick to keep it out of the potato field. The Golden Bullet on a AT G105T-M minus 5 seconds was another crowd pleaser.
Sunday: the nice weather and light winds enabled me to start thinking bigger/higher. I flew my completed "Giz gone wild!" on an AT J575FJ to around 1800 feet with the Transolve as primary and the RRC2-mini as backup. I had pinned the booster but not the nosecone. So when the apogee charge went off, the nose cone came off. The nose cone came down on a TF 36 inch chute (too big -- a PML 30 with a hole will be the chute of choice next time) and the rest of the rocket on a Sky Angle 72 inch chute out of the deployment bag. [Editor: sheer pins have been added to the nosecone already.] The "Giz gone wild!" had been fully painted, lettered and striped with 24 karat gold by did not draw nearly as much attention as the Golden Bullet flight that followed, again on an AT H165R-M minus 5 seconds. C'est la vie.
Monday: while packing up, I prepped my MR1-b on an AT F52-5T and it worked perfectly, landing 10 feet from where I was standing.
I enjoyed the trip immensely, from being beside the big boys, having a blast mud bogging in my truck, having less than a blast mud bogging in my boots in the potato field and flying rockets. I was never bored at any time and saw many people I knew and made new comrades in arms.
Saturday, July 25
Let me start off by congratulating two of our members, Doug S and Scott T, both of whom successfully flew their L2 certification flights over the weekend. Doug did his as part of the CRMRC launch here in VT while Scott made his flight in Geneseo, NY as part of NYPower 2009. Get those credit cards greased so that they can be used often!
Saturday, July 25, turned out to be an almost perfect day for flying rockets in St. Albans. The temperature started in the mid 70s and climbed to the lower 80s. We arrived at the field to overcast with about a 1500 foot ceiling and 5-10mph winds. As the day progressed, the skies continued to open up and the winds dropped such that by the time we stopped flying the sun was out most of the time and the breeze was nil. The only drawback were the mosquitoes. They were vicious and huge.
As far as field conditions, the entrance had the usual muddy second turn, but Kevin and I did some work with the official CRMRC recovery shovel to reduce the water and flatten down the path. The drive to the field only had a few sections that were slightly muddy and all vehicles made it out without incident. The grass was about ankle high with the corn next door up to two feet high. One field to the northeast had grass up to Jeff O's waist, while the field to the northwest was recently cut. Finally, the cows were grazing in the fields to the west, on the way to the barn and where we initially started flying. Why do I tell you about all of this -- because each of these areas came into play sometime during the day.
Many thanks to Chris M for cleaning the second rail. It almost looks like aluminum again. We now have a six and eight foot rail to use, along with the four foot one for the Estes pads.
Several new pieces of club equipment made their way onto the field for the first time: a refillable air horn, a first aid kit, the aforementioned shovel, a new PVC pipe rod holder, and a club equipment box.
My tarp was set up by 0945 and the group was slow to get off the ground, with the first flight at about 1015. Marge O (the better half of Jeff O) took a picture of all the CRMRC fliers, which I have attached. Some folks were a bit scared to fly first for the day, others were working hard to get their rockets ready. But we got there eventually. And for the six flier and six guests, it turned into one of the best CRMRC launches ever. There were three minor casualties for the day; nothing fatal though.
Guest Alex R showed up just to watch with his dad and brother and a box of Estes Rockets. Alex ended up having the most flights for one flier and certainly had closest to pad, landing less than 15 feet away from where he started for one flight. All of Alex's flights were on C6-5s and none were lost. This included an Estes Max Trax, Fat Boy (with an early deploy for a C6-5 so it flew like the correct C6-3), USA which did not get the streamer out, and two SDS kit: a Tidal Wave and a Snitch. Nice job Alex - you used to think those Cs were big engines, but we learned ya!
Doug S kevinized with only one flight -- his first J and his certification flight of his Giant Leap Escape Velocity 2.6 on an AT J350W with an RRC2 mini controlling the deployment of both parachutes. The altimeter recorded 4625 feet and the rocket landed amongst the cows and processed cow food. The parachute will never look as new, even when he gets it cleaned. Either it was stepped on in a pile or a cow used it for target practice. Given the height of the flight, how far away it landed, Doug's testing of the electric fence (the report was that they are indeed on), the fact that it was a certification flight, and the work needed to bring the chute back, Doug was content to watch the rest of us fly for the remainder of the day.
Chris M managed the second flight of the day, with an Estes Chrome Finger on a D12-? to around 700 feet. It should have been the first flight of the day to be the test flight to check the winds, but one high flying high power rocket went before it. Chris then flew his light blue PML Bull Puppy twice. First on an AT H165R and it was the rocket's first flight since being used to L1 certify, to about 1700 feet. One small upper fin snapped off, but Chris had another which he superglued on for the next flight. This a neck-snapping flight on a AMW/Pro-38 G185 scalded tiger. This motor burns in 0.6 seconds and the rocket was off the pad extremely quickly. No one was able to catch an image of the rocket as it lept off the pad, on it's way to 1400 feet.
Jeff O's custom 4X Alpha was the first flight of the day and the winds were not what Jeff was expecting, so the pad angle could have been better if we had known how the winds were blowing. The I285R put the rocket up to about 3000 feet and it landed in the same field that Scott's Gizmo did a while back. Except this time, the ditches between the fields were full of water and the grass was waste deep. We had four citizen band radios on site and used them to help keep Jeff on the proper line to find his rocket. This is something that Kevin and I learned at LDRS, and it helped with almost every flight for this launch. Jeff's second flight was the first flight of his highly modified to make more scale like PML 1/4 Patriot in an Estes paint scheme. This almost 6 pound rocket flew on an AT I300T to around 2000 feet before the motor ejected. There was some damage to the airframe when the rocket was recovered.
Tom O managed the highest flight today with his wrapped Giant Leap Talon 4 on an AT K700W. The rocket arched over as it flew to 7100 feet, so it managed the furthest from the pad when it came down. It was an exciting flight as the rocket continued to climb for what seemed like over a minute, but was really around 15 seconds. The rocket landed in a swamp to the northeast, but two kids watched it land and one went into the swamp to get it before Tom got there. Tom paid the kid $40 -- so the bar has been set for rocket recovery. The nose cone, on a separate parachute, was not recovered. I can not wait to fly one of these K700s!
Kevin O managed two successful hybrid flights. First, was the custom ten pound Just For Laughs on an I290 Sparky (no black smoke though) to around 2000 feet. The GWiz LCX performed as expected and brought the rocket down using dual deploy. Kevin's second flight was the last and one of the loudest I have ever heard. Homemade Blue Moon flew on an almost 5 second burning Contrail K265 to 6240 feet. The main popped at apogee so Kevin had to walk quite a way into the cut field. Another great flight to write about.
As for me, I had two flights. My stock PML AMRAAM 3 flew on a Loki Research H100 Spitfire motor. It was the first Loki ever flown at a CRMRC launch and the Spitfire is very similar to the AMW Skidmark. The almost five pound rocket flew nicely and landed two fields over. My second flight of the day was my stretched Giz gone wild! on an AT J415 to 2430 feet according to the altimeter. It was the second flight of the rocket, and although the nose cone was pinned by two 2-52 nylon screws, it still deployed the main at apogee. Even with that, the rocket and separate nose cone decended together, landing about 20 feet apart and less than 100 feet from the pad.
The average flight for this launch was an I! (a large I if you do not count non-CRMRC members and a small I if you count total flights).
Saturday, August 1 was an exceptional day to fly given the weather we have been having lately. The day was sunny and in the 80s with light breezes. The grass at the Essex field was between ankle and knee high and the ground below was soaked. Cars parked by the road and everyone had to walk in.
It was also Rocketry 102 for the Jericho town library (Rocketry 101 was build day, eight days earlier). Several of the kids from Rocketry 101 came to fly. There were two kids who sustained stress meltdowns, but there were parents on hand to deal with them. As long as you did not mind the screaming and crying, it was a pleasant afternoon. There about seventeen guests, including two who never left their car, several hundred feet from the launch site -- something about deathly afraid of snakes in tall grass (I wonder how they feel about flying in a plane?)
Included in the guests were Olaf V who taught the course at the library and Eve B, a teacher who attended a camp in Huntsville, Alabama. Eve is interested in bringing the excitement she experienced at camp back to her students and would like us to help with that. Additionally, former member David H joined with a bunch of guests in tow.
All fliers were instructed to sight a line to your rocket and then follow that line to find it. Especially since the grass was so high that almost any Estes could hide in the grass.
So how did the Rocketry 101 guests do, flight wise? Here is what the flight cards tell me.
- Finn V managed two flights on his (father's) classically painted Estes Alpha on an A8-3 and a B4-4.
- Eric managed two flights on his Estes Alfa 3: an A8-3 and an 883.
- Josh S used his two motors in an unknown rocket on a A8-3 and a K83.
- Jenna's Estes Alfa 3, flew it both times on a 883.
- Juliana S flew a 3 finned Estes Viking on an A8-3 both times.
- Paul S flew a 4 finned Estes Viking on an A8-3 and some unknown motor.
Guests from the non-Rocketry 101 group included the following.
- John D with an Estes Gamma on a B6 (tough to tell if the rocket has blown past the normal ejection charge time when you do not know what the ejection time should be)
- James D (same handwriting as John D) flew an Estes Rocky on a C6-5 to a nice altitude and was recovered.
- Anthony flew an Estes The Flash on another B6 and then a classic Estes Blackbird (yeah, I have one of these skill level III kits which has seen many flights and took me dozens of hours to build) on a B6-4 and a C6. The Blackbird is always sensitive to the wind and this was no exception.
- Timothy (same handwriting as Anthony) used three different rockets for three different flights. In no particular order: An Estes The Flash on a rare C6-3, and two rockets that come down in two pieces; a B6 powered Estes Helicat with it's propeller recovery nose cone, and an Estes Bailout on a B6.
And finally, how did the club members do?
- Dave G managed three flights on 2.5 rockets. Described first is the Estes Comanche I (actually a Comanche III without the two boosters) on a C6-5. Next is an Estes Comanche II (actually a Comanche II with just one booster) for the only two stage flight of the day on a C6-0 to a C6-5. Teamwork was used to find both pieces and the Comanche's streamer brought it down in the field. The first AP motor for the crowd was Dave's AT Strong Arm on an AT F40-7 to wow the crowd with what an AP motor can do.
- Scott also had three flights. Homebrewed Sputnik on a D12-5 recovered nicely in the as designed two pieces. The crowd was surprised it could fly so well. Next was the scratched built (and rebuilt and rebuilt) Bionic Fruit Fly on another rare motor, an Estes D12-3. Scott's AP contribution to wow the crowd was the very loud AT G4-5 powered Coors Flight. This rocket is the inspiration for my Golden Bullet, which was in attendance but did not fly. Again, the crowd was amazed at how well and high it flew.
- As for me, I managed two flights. First was a CRMRC saucer flying on a A8-3 to show the kids what kinds of things could fly. Olaf and Eve were interested in what a simple, small field design looked like and how well it flew. Finally, my nose-less styrafoam pyramid (having blown off the nose cone when the motor CATOed at Smuggs) flew on an AMW G69 skidmark.
The crowd had a great time and most stuck around to the end. Thanks to Scott and Dave for helping set up and running the launch.
NERRF 5 - August 14-16
I did manage to find an on-line video of a small section of NERRF 5 which contains references or pictures of at least two CRMRC members and one non-CRMRC Vermonter Click HERE.
Our last summer launch at the field in Essex had a total of fourteen flights, with three two-stage jaunts. This made an average of E and the flights were: 1-A, 6-B, 1-C, 4-D, 4-F, 1-G
- Guest Dave L flew an AT Cheetah on an AT to around 2000 feet on an AT F20-7W. It landed near the road and took a while to find in the tall grass.
- Dave G had just one flight, an AT Initiator on an F40-7 with a late deploy and shredded chute. No one came to pick him up in a golf cart or jump the ditch to get the rocket.
- Scott T managed three flights. A two stage Estes Renegade on a C6-0/B6-4 with both stages retrieved. His Fliskits Decafinator huffed and chuffed and finally flew on an AT F24-5. The big flight was a scratch built Apollo-Esq cone with an escape tower on a G-79.
- Jeff O managed five flights from the pad. Jeff’s Estes Bullpup (not the AT PPII) flew on a B6-4. Also flying was the original Estes Alpha, dressed in classic white on a B6-4. His modified Estes Redstone flew on an AT D24-7. The classic dual stage Estes Omega flew on a D12-0/D12-5. The maxi-flight for the day was an upscale Maxi-Alpha on an AT F-39.
- I managed a CRMRC Saucer on a B4-4 to about fifty feet. My classic Estes Dagger on a B6-4 flew. Next was another Estes classic Phoenix on a D12-3, and then two CRMRC saucers on a B6-0/A8-3.
Our high power launch in St. Albans had a great day with Tom acting as RSO/LCO. The winds were from the south and the corn was over head height. For this launch, there were 18 flights including 1-A, 2-C, 1-D, 1-F, 3-G, 5-H, 3-I, 1-J, 1-L and an average of a very big H motor (without our guest, our average doubles to an I motor).
- Guest Gareth purchased, decorated, and flew a CRMRC Saucer twice, first on an Estes A8-3 followed by an Estes C6-3. The smile on his face was ear to ear after the first flight. The second flight is not normally available for CRMRC saucers, but we gave him a second one and the enthusiasm he had was amazing.
- The token female in the club, Karin A, flew her Giant Leap Thunderbolt part of a drag race on an AT H165R-10. Karin was second off the pad but first in our hearts.
- Brian A had two successful flights. His Giant Leap Thunderbolt was the winner of the drag race on an identical H165R-10. The kick in the pants flight was another Giant Leap product, the Escape Velocity evaporated from the pad on an AT I435T. Deployment was handled by a MAWD set for a main at 500 feet. Altitude was recorded as 4817 – did not make the mile mark, either static or nautical.
- Dave G managed a single flight with his Estes Comanche 3 with just one motor, a C6-7 which ended up in the corn.
- Hybrid maven Kevin O had two successful takeoffs and the number of successful recoveries was in doubt until the end of the launch, but made it up to match the number of takeoffs. Scratch built Just for Laughs flew on an I307 with a MARSA-4 altimeter controlling the flight to around 1700 feet. The biggest motor and rocket of the day was scratch built Dr. Fill, an L3-capable rocket on an L1428 to 2855 feet. Bigger rockets have both a primary and secondary altimeter, which were Gwiz MC and ARTS2, respectively for this flight. Finding Dr. Fill in the corn was a team effort as the corn was over the head of anyone in it. The rocket was found somewhat easily as the chute stayed on top of the corn. The nosecone took almost 45 minutes and needed radio-flag-step ladder-recovery with more than five people involved.
- In spite of having the most flights earlier in the month, Jeff O had one flight of his PML Bull Puppy (PPII) on an AT H148R with motor deploy to nearly 2000 feet.
- Jeff R, kids in tow, eked out two flights of his PML IO. First was an AT F52-5T which nearly hit the spotter out in the field. The bigger flight was the same IO on a black smoke trailing AT G53-7FJ to around 1500 feet.
- Doug S used an AT H123W to get his PML Bull Puppy up in the air and successfully back to the ground.
- Scott T had three flights off the ground and back. The scratch Sputnik – 24 flew on a Estes D12-3 to around three hundred feet. In keeping with oddroc theme, an Art Applewhite saucer flew on an AT G64-7, tumbling back to the ground. Finally, the scratch cone with escape tower Apollo-Esq on a CTI G60-5 (red rhino) and inadvertently tumbled to the ground.
- I had three flights scheduled for the day and two were successful and the other came in as a "heads up" ballistic landing. My PML Black Brandt with dual deploy RRC-2 mini flew on a Loki H144W to around 1500 feet. Shovel and bucket recovery was required for the return of my PML ¼ Patriot. I forgot to turn on the Transolve P6 and the delay on the AMW I315 Skidmark ejected the casing after the rocket hit the ground. I will rebuild it as a non-flying model. Picking myself up and borrowing a backup altimeter, I flew my Giz gone wild! on an AT J415W with the RRC-2 mini as primary altimeter and Kevin’s MARSA4 as backup. The nosecone popped off at apogee but the main did not deploy until around 600 so the flight was successful.
In total, the CRMRC launched 32 flights and still managed an average of an H motor.
The day was perfect for anyone to fly rockets except for the CRMRC L3 fliers. The weather was in the 40s and with the sun and almost no breeze it seemed much warmer. The great weather made for a terrific turnout, both for fliers and guests. A total of thirty-three people were on the field at one time or another, including eleven CRMRC members, and twenty-two guests. Even three of the guests flew rockets.
Included in the guests were three family members of Jeff R, Tom O’s father-in-law, Jack S of the Vermont Astronomical Society (VAS) brought four family members (more about Jack later), along with three other IBMers with three family members. This also included eight folks who had been to a launch before. Not bad considering that there have not been any announcements in the papers about the launch.
Kevin drove all the way up to deliver a unistut rail for Tom to fly with. After delivering the rail, Kevin, who was not feeling well and had an appointment, left. Tom showed up after Kevin left but his 75mm motor did not assemble the way he expected it to. The liner and load was about an inch shorter than the casing was expecting. Rather than risk something, Tom opted not to fly his fifty pound L3 rocket. No modifications of the motors are allowed. Tom will be working to put that rail on the CRMRC yellow pad which will handle rockets more than twice the size of the blue pads. We will now have all rods from 1/8 to ½ inch, standard rail, and unistrut rails available at launches. All we need is an extreme rail – but as of right now, no one needs the extreme rail yet. This is the same as the 8020 1515 rail and can be picked up if necessary.
There were a total of twenty-eight flights, including twelve model rocket flights, four mid-power flights and twelve high power flights. This include everything from a ¼ A to K and only three holes in that range (no ½ A, B and J). The average was an H; another average high power launch for the CRMRC. Here is what everyone flew:
- Guest Ben K bought a CRMRC saucer. Ben decorated it and named it the Star Streaker. We gave him two flights with the purchase of the kit. First was an Estes A8-3 to about thirty feet. This was followed by an impressive Estes C6-5 to about eighty feet. The crowd liked the pops from the ejection charges.
- Guest Stephen T flew an Estes Snitch for two saucer-like flights, both on C6-7s and both to around eighty feet. Again, the crowd liked the pop of the ejection charge.
- Guest Samantha T had the lowest flight of an Estes Discovery rocket, with about forty feet on a 1/4A-3 which wowed no one. A drag race between Samantha’s orange Estes Alpha 3 on an Estes C6-7 and her brother’s Snitch (mentioned above) was interesting to watch. The Alpha took off like a shot while the Snitch lumbered up. Her final flight was with the family Snitch on another Estes C6-7.
- Karin A’s Giant Leap Thunderbolt (her L1 vehicle) snapped off the pad on an AT H165R-M (10 seconds) to over two thousand feet. There were no issues with the chute and the Thunderbolt came back relatively close to the pad.
- Brian A set a new field record to 7923 feet by using an AT K695R in his Giant Leap Vertical Assault (his L2 vehicle I think) which weighed just over ten pounds fully loaded. The rocket went out of sight and fortunately the two MAWD altimeters controlled the apogee separation and main at five hundred feet. This was the longest walk of the day and was less than one third of the way from the launch to the road.
- Jeff O flew his scratch built 3.9 inch 4x Alpha upscale (his L2 vehicle) on an AT H242T to about 1200 feet. Jeff borrowed my Sky Angle 60 inch white/red/blue/black chute which matched the classic paint. The light breeze allowed this rocket to float graciously down to the ground with just a short walk without putting the piston through the spill hole (there are no spill holes in Sky Angle chutes). I think one of these Sky Angle chutes is in Jeff’s future. Last month I missed noting Jeff’s PML Bull Puppy (PPII) on an AT H148R with motor ejection to about two thousand feet. Sorry about that, Jeff.
- Mark M, one of the twins, took some abuse as we trained him on how to set up the blue pads and how to use the launch controller. Neither of these tasks is rocket science, so I expect Mark will be capable of doing these tasks at future launch (abuse is part of being a CRMRC member). Mark’s first flight in a long time was an Estes Storm Caster on an Estes D12-5 for a nice flight. Stepping it up a bit, was a PML Explorer (his L1 vehicle) on a G64W to around 1300 feet. This rocket had survived a lawn dart landing with minimal damage; only a few inches shorter in the airframe.
- Chris M, the other twin, also took abuse on setting up a blue pad and the launch controller. Chris blamed it on a lousy instructor (no one). Chris flew a silver-painted Estes Storm Caster called Chrome Finger on what else, but an Estes D12-5 (just like his brother). Chris has a nylon chute inside his bird, so it did not fly as high. Next was a light blue PML Bull Puppy (his L1 vehicle) on an AT H238T-M to just below two thousand feet. Wanting to duplicate what his brother’s rocket had done on an earlier launch, the Bull Puppy failed to eject the parachute and was whistling when it lawn darted into the mud near a drainage ditch. The CRMRC shovel was called upon to assist with the recovery. Amazingly, and just like his brother’s rocket, there was minimal damage to the rocket (one small upper canard fin and the upper launch lug fell off but were found, along with a nail used for weight punctured the nosecone). A good wash and ten minutes will make this rocket flyable (including 5 minutes for the epoxy to cure).
- Jeff R got two flights off the ground even though he arrived after kid swimming lessons. First was a PML very high altitude IO G53-7FJ to around 1500 feet, with the engine casing staying in the rocket. Next was Jeff’s AT Sumo (his L1 vehicle) on an AT H128W. The rocket was recovered successfully but seven cable ties did not keep casing inside the rocket. So if you happen to see an AT 29/180 casing on the field, I am sure Jeff will give you a reward. I still prefer positive engine retention such as a Aeropack, HAMR or Slimline. In the long run, I think it costs less.
- After a relatively long sabbatical, Jason V showed up with two new rockets. An American V2 Polecat kit in yellow and black flew on a CTI H125 Classic. At just under five pounds, this rocket still managed almost 1500 feet. That same rocket flew on a CTI H400 that burns in 0.6 seconds to about the same height, but for this flight if you were not looking up, you would lose it. What a great kick in the pants (?pads?) motor. Jason’s third flight (as listed) was a PML AMRAAM3 in classic colors flew on another CTI load; an I212 Smoky Sam. The four pounder did over two thousand feet and was recovered successfully.
- With Brett off flying on two wheels, Scott took his place with the most number of flights, five. Moving from smallest motor to largest, Scott first flew his Estes Air show on an Estes C6-3. The two gliders lazily glided down in the very light breeze. The ever popular Fliskit DeCaffenator managed to eke out a flight on an Estes D12-3 to around sixty feet and gently Styrofoam-floated down. The new classic for October, the Pumpnik made its debut. This scratch orange plastic pumpkin with a wine box cap and green bamboo garden stakes (like the Sputnik) with orange crepe paper trailing from the tips flew very stably and straight. Interestingly, the when the Pumpnik is on the red pad, it does not touch the blast deflector because the bamboo sticks hit the ground – no standoff required. The first flight on an AT E23-4 went off as expected and recovered with the pumpkin down but dragging a parachute to slow it. To add to the excitement, this was followed by another flight on an AT F40-5 to around two hundred feet. No parachute ejected this time and the rocket hit the ground pumpkin first. However, no pumpkins, plastic or otherwise, were damaged in this flight. The Pumpnik has since been renamed "The Great Pumpkin" in homage of Linus Van Pelt. Scott’s final flight was his plastic funnel-based Apollo-Esqape (I had this wrong on previous flight reports) on a CTI G69 SK – the first Skidmark of the day. The escape tower separated at the base and the nosecone, with the parachute attached to the nosecone. The rocket came down in three pieces instead of one. All landed in soft grass and were recovered without damage.
- I did not manage the most flights but I think I burnt the most number of APCP Newtons (and likely the most money for propellant). After a summer spent at the Jeffersonville Varnum Library as part of the NASA and space exhibit, my Hanger 11 Arthur kit named King Arthur flew. I had told the library folks who said they were going to be at the launch that it would fly – but none of them made it there in time to see it fly on a Loki H90R. At 4.5 lbs, it barely cleared the minimum impulse for safe launch but flew fine to around two thousand feet. A small nine inch parachute connected directly to the nosecone pulled out the main 58 inch yellow chute for poor-man’s dual deploy and a safe landing. For the October theme, I went with Octoberfest and flew my scratch built Golden Bullet beer bottle on an AT H165R-6. The 36 inch X chute brought down the rocket with minimal walking. Next I flew my modified PML AMRAAM3 with an avbay added on an AMW I315SK. [It did have a "Remove Before Flight" tag to remind me to turn on the altimeter!] This was my tribute to Paul Robinson, part owner and founder of AMW, who passed away the week before our launch. Paul helped me significantly as I built my first AMW reload (the dealer did not provide me with all the correct parts) at NERRF and then showed me how to clean the motor. At the next NYPower, Paul came over and talked about the upcoming merger of AMW and CTI to help fight AT taking over the model rocket motor market. This reload, the I315SK, was one of five that Paul custom made for me. The flight went off perfect to 2826 feet with the RRC-2 altimeter ejecting a Mylar streamer at apogee and the main chute at five hundred feet. Thanks Paul. My final flight, and the final flight of the day, was my highly modified Performance Rocketry Gizmo kit with four feet added, called "Giz gone wild!," named after the video series advertised on TV with the similar name. This flew on another Skidmark – a K1000. After a small huff and chuff, this impressive motor belched sparks and smoke for over one thousand feet. A pair of RRC-2 altimeters controlled the Mylar apogee streamer deploy at 4720 feet and the one thousand foot main deploy with the nosecone staying on until the charge went off. It was almost a perfect textbook nosecone on a second parachute removing the deployment bag for the main for the rest of the rocket.
Afterwards, most of the fliers went to The Bayside for lunch and discussions about the day’s events. Jack S was there with his crew. Their comments were that the launches well exceeded what they had been expecting and they appreciated the chance to fly with us. Jack said he was going to tell members of the VAS what he had seen and how impressive it was. Additionally, someone asked Jack what it would take to have an afternoon/evening launch followed by a star party with the VAS’ telescopes. We asked Jack to ask everyone what their favorites were for the day. They responded:
1) Definitely the Skidmarks
2) The Pumpnik
3) The rocket that went whistling in (Chris’ Bull Puppy)
All in all, it was a great day.
As with every launch, I continue to learn things. In this case it was two things. First, bring everything to the launch because you never know what you or someone else is going to need. Tom wanted to fly his L3 project on an L but had issues building the motor. I had all the pieces to fly a KBA L2300 on the field – propellant, casing, closures. The problem was that this was 54mm and Tom only had a 75-98mm adapter. Sitting at home, on my desk was a 54-75mm adapter that could nest inside the 75-98mm adapter just underneath it. Looks like I need to move those into one of my flight boxes just in case. Next, I need to modify how the strap connects the fincan of my Giz gone wild! when using the AMW 54-2550 casing (K1000). The casing is so long and sticks out so much that it wants to float down with the fins pointing up until the parachute is ejected. I do not want another zipper here so there needs to be a slightly different approach on this. Maybe someday I will get everything right.
No info available
The CRMRC’s last launch for 2009 was great way to end the year. The weather was predicted to be sunny, with light winds and temperatures in the teens to low 20s. That was exactly what we had on launch day. There were occasional breezes but for the most part the weather did not seem as cold as the thermometer showed. The breeze was definitely toward Maquam Shore Road for anyone who went high; and several of high flights end up near the road. But for most flights, there was plenty of room in the field near the launch pad. The ground was frozen so driving was easy but landings were tough.
There were eight people on the field who braved the weather; all where high power fliers and no audience. This included six CRMRC members and two guests who had come up from Brown University to get their L2 certifications. At the end of the day, the average certification for everyone present was L2. There were a total of thirteen flights: 4-C, 2-D, 4-G, 1-H, 4-J and 1-K, for an average of I. Here is how the flights went, in no particular order:
- Guest Ian passed his NAR L2 written test and attempted his L2 flight with a modified PML Tethys called Centennial Falcon on an AT J350W. This five pound rocket flew to around 4500 feet and the up was very successful. The chute came out and the rocket came down quickly, landing hard near the road. Ian jumped into the passenger side of Tom’s Toyota golf cart to retrieve the rocket. Two fins came off cleanly so the rocket was not in flyable condition. Final score: ground 2, rocket 1 and one unsuccessful certification attempt.
- Guest Nathaniel also passed his NAR L2 written test and attempted his L2 flight with a DGA Armageddon. The frozen ground caused Nathaniel to increase the size of his chute to ensure a safe landing. The Pro-38 J400 Smokey Sam did an excellent job propelling the 12 pound rocket upward to about 1500 feet. The ejection charge separated the rocket and the best the larger chute could manage was to peek out of the airframe. The rocket came down hard on the front of the aft section, crushing about six inches. Final score for this flight: ground 1, rocket 0 and another unsuccessful certification flight. While his friend Ian was going for his flight, Nathaniel cut the crushed section off of his Armageddon and prepped for a second attempt on his L2 certification. This flight was on a borrowed AT J540R-L and a smaller parachute. Again, the 2000 feet up was the easy part. The L delay was a couple of seconds longer than necessary but ejection popped the rocket apart and the chute fluffed. This flight landed near the road and Tom’s golf cart was again used. This time there was no damage to the rocket and Nathaniel is now L2 certified. Congratulations and open up your wallet (especially to pay for the reload you borrowed from me).
- Between golf cart retrieval rides, Tom O did manage one flight. Tom had purchased a PML Mini Endeavor from John G, one of the original CRMRC members who had decided to leave the hobby. Tom put an AT H148R inside to see how well the parts were put together. The flight was text book and the rocket came down under chute without a long too long a walk for Tom.
- Chris M flew his standard lot, his light blue PML Bull Puppy on a Pro-38 G115W. The flight was exactly what was planned. There were no surprises up to 1400 feet and then to a great landing. This flight landed nearby and Chris did not have a long walk to recover his rocket. I know Chris is looking to expand his high power horizon so his lot will change in future launches.
- Mark M opened the flying with an Estes Storm Caster on a bright orange Estes D12-5. The streamer brought the rocket down close and based on this flight, no one was too concerned about drifting too far. Mark followed this with his PML Explorer on an AT G76G. This motor suffered the same problems that all greens do – multiple igniters to get the thing going. This is a flight that Mark has done numerous times before and this flight was not a letdown.
- Dave G managed the most flights and burned the most motors: 3 flights and 7 motors. The lone single motor flight was an AT Mustang on an AT G33-FJ. It went up to around 1500 feet and the streamer brought it back to the ground nicely. Dave’s first multi-motor was an Estes Comanche III on an Estes D12-0 to a C6-0 to a C6-7. All of the staging worked great. It is always great to watch and hear each of the successive motors ignite. Teamwork helped Dave get all three of the pieces back. Dave’s final flight was a Semroc Hydra 7 on three Estes C6-7 expected to come down in two separate pieces on three chutes. It looked like only two of the motors ignited on the pad and the rocket arched as it took off and did not successfully deploy all parachutes. There was damage to the rocket. We shall see if it flies again.
- Kevin O was the high flier of the day as he flew his scratch Blue Moon on a hybrid K525. This was a perfect hybrid flatulence sounding flight on the way up to 7447 feet. The GWiz MC2 performed flawlessly as it handled the apogee drogue-less separation and the deployment of the main. Going that high was tough to see but collectively, all the eyes kept the flight in sight. This was one of those high flier flights that landed near the road and Tom’s golf cart was used to handle the recovery transportation duties.
- For me, it was a two flight day. I started with my PML MR1-b on an AT G64W. Again, I drilled down the delay. The rocket took off fine but the delay was too short and the rocket was still moving up quickly when the chute came out. There was no damage and the rocket landed just fine. My final flight was my Giz gone wild! on an AT J540R to 2170 feet. I have done this before but this was to try a new deployment bag and a larger parachute. Everything worked fine. The colder temperatures made the two RRC2 mini altimeters run a second or two late but nothing which created an havoc. It was great to see the backup charge "up close and personal." This will be the way that I fly the rocket from now on (the new deployment bag and chute -- not with the main that low).
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the December challenge. For the year, the CRMRC has made it to the next letter for total flights of the year. I will announce what this total is at the February club meeting. You are free to start your guessing (certainly not below an M and certainly not above the space shuttle’s AA SRBs).