2015 Launch Reports

Jan   Feb   Mar   Apr   May   Jun  LDRS 34  Jul   Aug   Sep   Oct   Nov   Dec

January, 2015

No club launch took place this month due to poor field and weather conditions.


February, 2015

No club launch took place this month due to poor weather conditions.


March, 2015

No club launch took place this month due to poor weather conditions.


April, 2015

April 19, 2015 was not a bad day to be in the middle of a field in St. Albans, launching rockets. The temperature seemed a bit colder than the forecast predicted and the winds were also a bit stronger. Still, 4 CRMRC members and 7 spectators showed up to watch us fly, including one newspaper photographer. There were a total of 8 flights: 1-C, 1-D, 1-G, 2-H, 1-I, and 2-J. The total was a K and the average was a G.

The field itself was dry so driving down to the launch location was not an issue. There brown grass from last year was dry, about 6 inches tall and everywhere; no skidmarks. I started setting up signs around 0900 and was starting to set up the launch equipment by 0915. Dave and Molly showed up around 0945 and started helping get the launch equipment ready. By 1005, everything was ready to push the button for the first CRMRC launch of 2015. Alas, the batteries did not cooperate and it took about another 15 minutes of trying all the batteries I had brought before giving up. I turned my truck around and connected that battery to the launcher and the button finally worked.


The flights were as follows:
Guest Charlie built and flew a CRMRC saucer on an Estes C6-5. It was a typical saucer flight to about 100 feet before landing about 50 feet from the pad. Scott walked out with Charlie just to make sure the deployment sparks did not cause any issues.

CRMRC's Molly H had the first flight of her blue and black Rocketry Warehouse Scarab 54, named Blue Thunder. The rocket was equipped with an RRC2 altimeter, Garmin GPS and propelled by a CTI H120 Red. The up portion of the flight was picture perfect, straight as an arrow. From the ground we could see the apogee charge go off, followed by the main charge. The main parachute only peeked out of the top of the tube causing the rocket to hit the ground hard in the direction of Maquam Shore Rd. There was no damage to the rocket. It will live to fly again with a smaller parachute.

CRMRC's Dave L also had a first flight. His was a Gary T Painkiller 3 in natural fiberglass and black. The Painkiller 3 was flown with a Stratologger and Garmin GPS. The CTI J335 Red got the rocket up to 3222 feet before landing picture perfect about 200 feet from the pad. The crowd ooed and awed as they watched it land so close. Dave did not need the GPS to find the rocket.

CRMRC's Scott T had two flights. First was a classic Estes Blue Ninja on an Estes D12-E. Even with the breeze, Scott managed to keep it close for a nice flight. His second flight was more in line with what Scott typically flies. Scott flew an Applewhite Saucer 29 on a G57. I had told the photographer not to expect a quick launch, but boy was I wrong. The Saucer leaped off the pad for a great saucer flight.

As for me, I got three birds off the ground, including the first and last. My first flight was my Saranac Root Beer bottle rocket (or rocket in a bottle) on a CTI H120-R with a 7 second delay. The flight was fine although the parachute deploy seemed a bit late. A modified PML 3 inch AMRAAM was my second flight on a CTI I212 Smokey Sam. The RRC2 handled the deployments just as was planned. The final flight of the day was a Performance Rocketry Quarter Scale Patriot fitted for dual deploy on a KBA J540 Fast. The flight up was nice and the dual RRCs did their jobs perfectly. The main deploy was planned as a 48 inch PML parachute pulling out the deployment bag for the 60 inch Sky Angle main, keeping the nosecone and 48 inch PML attached. It turns out the 48 inch PML parachute was too large as it prevented the 60 inch Sky Angle from inflating. The rocket came down harder than expected but landed in very soft wet dirt for no damage.
We were off the field by about 1300 to a nice lunch at the Bayside, with plenty of rocketry conversation also going on.

Remember this June 25th - 29th is the premium launch in the USA; LDRS (Large Dangerous Rocket Ships) in the gorgeous Finger Lakes Region of New York state. If you have a hankering to watch big rockets, this would be the place to be. Howie, Dave and Molly will be there! http://ldrs34.org/featured-flights/

Until next month, happy flying.


May, 2015

Sunday May 17th was a great day to be launching rockets in our field in St. Albans. The skies were mostly sunny, winds light at less than 6mph, and the temperature started in the mid 60s but progressed to the lower 70s as the day went on and no bugs!

The launch site was mostly covered with deep green grass about 6 to 8 inches high and it was ablaze with yellow dandelions. The distant mountains and neighboring farms were a lush green. It was a glorious day to be outside. Too bad the attendance was so low as flight conditions were as perfect as one could possibly hope for. Only Howie D. and Dave L. were in attendance.


Setup went much better than last month. By 8:45 Howie started setting up the signs. By 9:30 the pads and launcher were ready with a new lead-acid, garden tractor battery. The FAA had been called. Howie even had time to debug a couple of non-working launcher switches. At 9:45, Howie was still the only one on the field and climbed back into his truck and waited for anyone else to show up. Club member Dave L.'s car pulled up shortly thereafter. Dave had brought 2 rockets and a saucer to fly and Howie had brought 3 rockets.
We talked for awhile and decided that even though nobody else was in attendance to watch, that we should at least launch one rocket each which we did.

Howie: I prepped my Wildman Gold Star on a CTI G36 Smoky Sam. The battery worked fine and the flight up was nice but only half as high as I expected it, around 400 feet. I had set the ejection charge delay based on the rocket going higher. The rocket reached apogee and headed downward. Fortunately, it came down in a slow flat spin. At about 100 feet off the ground the parachute ejected, letting the rocket land nicely, about 200 feet from the launcher. If it had come down ballistically, it would have hit the ground before the parachute ejected.

Dave loaded a 38mm CTI H123 Skidmark into his custom Yellow Crayon. The winds were so light that Dave decided not to include his GPS tracker. The skidmark was surprisingly loud on takeoff with sparks and black smoke everywhere. The rocket went up about 2000 feet before the yellow parachute was ejected very close to apogee. The rocket gently floated down to a nice landing about ¼ mile away in the bare cornfield to the Northeast, a very nice flight.

We cleaned up, and were driving off the field by 12:30. As we drove back toward Macquam Shore Rd, a car was driving down to the launch site. We stopped and talked to the person, showing him the rockets we fly and gave him information on how to know when the next launch was happening. He lives on the road to our launch site and was pretty excited to see the size of the rockets we had with us. He said he and especially his kids would have loved to see them fly. He said he would come by next month. Hope you will too!

Remember next month on June 25th - 29th is the premium launch in the USA; LDRS (Large Dangerous Rocket Ships) in the gorgeous Finger Lakes Region of New York state. If you have a hankering to watch big rockets, this would be the place to be. Howie, Dave and Molly will be there! http://ldrs34.org/featured-flights/

June, 2015

June 20, 2015 turned out to be a great day; sunny, with few clouds in the sky, winds less than 7mph with occasional gusts to 14mph. It seemed many people also thought being in the middle of a field watching rockets was a great way to spend the morning. A total of sixteen people were on the field at one point or another, with five flying rockets and one flying a quadcopter. Included in the population were 2 CRMRC members, 2 ex-CRMRC members, and 2-joining CRMRC members. For the CRMRC of late, it was a veritable crowd, and a condition which I hope continues.

The equipment was set up by 1005hrs and the first rocket was on the pad by 1015hrs, although it did not take off when the button was first pushed. But things looked up after that as the mod rocketeers kept the red pad filled with rockets until around 1300hrs. The grass on the field was about knee high so it was important to keep track of where your rocket landed. Mosquitoes were everywhere. Fortunately the parents of the little kids were watching their kids, so none of the kids were taken away by the buzzing pests.

There were a total of 12 flights, 9 model power (1-B, 5-C, 3-D), two mid-power (2-G) and one high power (1-H), for a total of an I and an average of an E.
Guest Jim brought one rocket to fly, a black Estes Amazon on a B6-4. The flight was fine and the rocket landed with a minimal walk. I think this is the first time Jim had flown on a high power field where the odds of losing a mod rocket are almost nil. Jim had seen us exhibit in the North Western Vermont Model Railroad train show and is now a CRMRC member.
Guest Brett brought three rockets to fly. A black Estes Big Bertha flew low and slow on a C6-5, landing just fine. Next was an Estes Silver Comet flying on a D12-5, which was a bit faster and higher, but also landed without too much of a walk. Brett's final flight was a BSD Green Machine on an Aerotech G69-7W that Brett had built many years ago. We were all amazed that it lit with the first igniter and the flight was text book. Brett had been a CRMRC member a few years ago and it was his treed rocket that we paid homage to as we drove in.
Guest Ron and guest Nick (father and son) flew the most rockets, with six flights. They had flown at the field before so they knew they could push their mod rockets with the largest engines and still recover them. A reliable Estes Patriot in classic red/white/yellow colors flew fine on a C6-5. The crowd loved the blue box shaped Estes Porta Potty Shot on a C6-5. An older Estes Andromeda flew on a C6-5, but the kit is very delicate and some pieces were lost. It will take some work to get it ready to fly again. Stepping up to a larger motor was an Estes Air Commander on a C11-3. The flight was straight and high and landed just fine. The final two flights were an Estes Big Daddy on D12-5s. Nick had tried this at a previous launch and lost the nosecone. The nosecone was replaced and the first flight went more horizontal than vertical and landed nosecone into the dirt without a parachute. It was a long walk to retrieve and Ron was discouraged about flying it again. He made a few adjustments (less recovery wadding) and the flight was perfect. The third time was a charm.
I flew the same rocket twice, both on CTI Vmax motors (very high thrust but also very short burn times). My PML Black Brandt flew on a G185 (0.68 second burn time) flew with motor ejection and it was not a bad walk. The second time was with dual deploy on an H400 (0.64 second burn time) to 1700 feet. The main parachute came out at apogee but the walk was still less than 200 yards.
All in all, it was a great day for flying.



LDRS 34 (Large Dangerous Rocket Ships) was the following weekend and three CRMRC members attended. LDRS is the premier large rocket launch for Tripoli Rocketry Association, running for 5 days from Thursday June 25 through Monday June 29, 2015. There were over 200 launches on Thursday and over 500 on Friday. It rained Saturday and Sunday so there were no flights, although weekends typically have more flights than weekdays. Monday was around 30 flights. There were rockets over 200 pounds, up to 20 feet tall, and motors up to "O" with about 40 pounds of propellant. There were also many rockets with multiple motors, the most being 19. There was one rocket with 4 stages which lit one after the other. It was rocketry non-stop.

Howie D : As for me, in the two days of no rain, I managed 3 flights. The very first rocket of LDRS34 was my Coors Beer Bottle rocket on a CTI H255 White Lightning to around 1200 feet before the 36" X parachute came out to bring it down nicely. My second flight was my 76 inch tall, 5 inch diameter, 20 pound Giz Gone Wild on an Aerotech K456 Dark Matter (black smoke, titanium sparks and loud) to 4500 feet. Dual altimeters handled the parachutes just fine. My final flight was a just completed 90 inch tall, 8 inch diameter, 56 pound Gizmo XL on a CTI L1720 White Lightning. As a first flight for the rocket, it flew just fine to about 3500 feet and the altimeters handled the 12 foot main parachute just fine. The plan was to fly this rocket again on Saturday with a M1810 Red Lightning and then air starting three J400 White Lightning motor to near 10000 feet; but the rains prevented this.


Dave L. & Molly H. : Molly and I arrived on Wednesday evening and set up our canopy on the field so we could get an early start on Thursday morning. We were hoping to fly all of our 9 rockets we brought over the next 5 days. The forecast weather however indicated that Saturday and Sunday would be a wet wipeout with good weather retuning on Monday, the last launch day. We decided to fly on Thursday and Friday only, packing up on Friday night. The short time frame prevented us from launching everything we had brought. I brought my Rocketry Warehouse Formula 75, Formula 98, Sub-Lime and newly built Adventurer 3 on which I wanted to do a personal altitude record to 10,000 feet. The rocket simmed out to 13,300 feet with a 54mm CTI K300 6G XL motor so I was pretty sure to hit my goal. I also brought my Miller light beer bottle rocket and my Gary T. Painkiller 3.

Molly brought all 3 of her rockets; Betty Boop (her first built), Purple Haze Crayon (her L1 rocket) and her newly completed Rocketry Warehouse Scarab 54 which she named Blue Thunder.

On Thursday we spent a lot of time prepping our rockets as well as watching the various launches. We only managed to get in one flight each that day. I launched my green Formula 75 which landed only a couple hundred feet from the pad.

Molly launched her newly completed Scarab 54 which did not fare well. For some unknown reason, both the electronically deployed black powder charge or the backup motor charge failed to break the shear pins off and no apogee event took place. The rocket began to come in ballistic until 500 feet where the altimeter successfully deployed the 30" parachute. By that time the rocket was probably traveling over 500 MPH so the parachute tore off of its shroud lines and floated away. The rest of the rocket continued earthward and the payload end of the rocket took a nice, deep core sample when it hit the ground with a thump. Neither me or Molly were able to pull it out of the ground without leaving a portion of the fiberglass tube deep in the earth. The nosecone had also sheared off mid flight leaving only the coupler portion attached to the shock cord. We never did find it. The sustainer and avionics bay had zero damage. So a new 14" payload tube and nosecone will get her up and running again at minimal cost. Next time the ejection charge will be increased in size after first doing some ground testing to make sure this problem doesn't happen again.

On Friday I got in two flights and Molly did one. I first launched my Sub-Lime on a 75mm CTI L645 green reload to nearly 8000 feet. Flight was perfect and my newly installed Mobius 1080P high definition video camera took a perfect video of the event.

In-flight video and more stills are HERE

Next up was Molly's purple Crayon rocket "Purple Haze" which flew flawlessly on an H123 Skidmark motor to 1700' and landed close to the pads.

Final launch for me was the maiden flight of my black fiberglass Adventurer 3. After loading up the 54mm 6 grain XL K300 Classic reload, I noticed there was a lot of propellant slop within the aluminum motor casing. Tim Lehr at Wildman was unable to determine why this was and verified that the motor was assembled correctly. He suggested I have Jeroen, CTI's technical advisor paged to his trailer and 45 minutes later I was able to get a verification from Jeroen that the slop was normal. I was still feeling uneasy about this but brought my rocket to the RSO pad for approval. Since everyone knew that bad weather was coming on Saturday, EVERYONE decided to compress 4 days of flying into one ( Like me) and fly as much as possible on Friday. My earlier flight of the day took a long time to get off and now the lineup to get onto an available pad was over an hour and the FAA was reducing our waiver from 20,000 feet to 12,000 feet for the remainder of the day. Add to this technical problems with the left side high power pads and everyone was going nowhere fast. I finally managed to get onto a pad.

The Adventurer 3 was set up to deploy drogueless at apogee with the main chute deploying at 500 feet. The boost was perfect until about 6 or 7 thousand feet and then I saw the large 72" Red, main chute deploy. A second later the canopy could be seeing falling by itself and I lost sight of the rest of the rocket because I was following the chute. Shortly thereafter the nosecone, payload tube and sustainer could all be seen attached and freefalling at great speed. A Heads Up call was given over the PA system, the safety horns were sounded and everything thudded into the parking area narrowly missing someone's car. Phew! The expelled (through the forward end of the motor casing) reload case liner with some un-burnt propellant was found about 30 feet from the rocket.

I examined the wreckage and figured out what happened:

First the forward end of the motor casing ruptured allowing the remaining propellant to char the Kevlar shock cord and rear cap of the Avbay and to ignite the rear-facing apogee black powder charge. This separated the sustainer from the payload tube which had the avbay screwed to its aft end and the nosecone shear-pinned to its forward end. The expanding motor case and the high gas pressure generated, caused the sustainer tube to delaminate in the area immediately adjacent to the CATOed portion of the motor casing. Also because the rocket was still accelerating, there was a tremendous tug on the rear shock cord as the now open sustainer tube caught air and decelerated hard. This tug did a number of things. First the 3 stainless steel button head screws that attached the avbay it to the payload tube zippered both the payload tube and the coupler tube that surrounded the altimeter sled, but they held together. Next the deceleration jerk broke the battery retainer allowing the battery to disconnect from the altimeter so all data was lost. Next the shear pins holding the nosecone sheared as the nose continued forward from its momentum. This caused the main chute to deploy. As soon as it inflated it tore all 16 lines which were found attached to the wreckage. Another area of the sustainer tube was delaminated by contact with the ground or possibly the nosecone after separation at speed. The 1000 lb rated swivel between the chute lines and the shock cord deformed to the point where it could not be removed from the 3/16" quick link. The shock cord started a short zipper in the forward end of the payload tube too. Two of the fins have the epoxy joints broken at the body tube and possibly at the motor mount tube too. (Had I had time to put external fillets on before going to LDRS, these would probably have survived intact.) All quite spectacular but a big, expensive bummer. This was my first high power CATO ever. I forwarded a report to Jeroen at CTI and he agreed to replace both the $107.00 motor casing and $173.00 K300 reload under warranty.)

After examining everything at home, There is a good possibility that I can rebuild and reinforce the sustainer section and trim about 1/2" of tube away to get rid of the zipper. Then build up the fiberglass on the coupler and install a switch band for reinforcement which will also make up for the trimmed body tube. I think it will fly again.

July, 2015

Photos to follow shortly

July 25, 2015 was a nice day, sunny with few clouds in the sky and light winds. I had everything ready by 1000hrs and settled down to wait for people to arrive. I had brought all the parts to assemble some CRMRC saucer engine holders. I sat down on my truck's tailgate and started assembling more engine holders. A father and son showed up and purchased two CRMRC saucers, which was the start of flying for the day. In total, 5 guests and 2 CRMRC showed up. There were a total of 6 flights: 2-C, 1-F, 1-G, and 2-H, for a total of an I and an average just below a G.

The guests were Peter, the owner of Turner Toys, a father and 10 year old son, a father with a son less than 4 years old; more on that later. The CRMRC members were Dave L and myself.
Guest Liam purchased 2 CRMRC saucers which were decorated and then prepped for flight. By the time the saucers were ready to fly, everyone had showed up. Both saucer flights were perfect, going up about 150 feet before gently tumbling back to the ground.

Member Dave L had 3 flights. Dave brought out his cardboard pyramid "Going Postal" a former USPS Priority Mail box on an AT F23-7. This black smoke motor pushed it to about 300 feet before it floated back to the ground. This was the first APCP motor of the day and those who had not seen APCP before were amazed at the power and smoke. The second APCP flight was Dave's CTI G80 -7 skidmark powered Aerotech kit bash, called P. O. C. (Piece Of Crap). The skidmark was loud, with even more black smoke and sparks everywhere. The crowd was even more impressed, except the father and small son. The noise was too loud for the little one so the two of them drove down to the Northern end of the field to watch the rest of the launch (still more on them later).

Dave's last flight of the day brought the launch to a halt. His 5" diameter large yellow Crayon rocket was launched on a CTI H159-10 green motor to over 1500 feet. The flight up was straight as an arrow and the parachute came out, allowing the rocket to drift down nicely. As it drifted down, we all debated whether the rocket would come down beyond a row of trees or in front of the trees North of the field. The wind caused the rocket to split the difference and end up about 50 feet off the ground draped over two trees. Everyone walked to the trees and many things were tried to retrieve the rocket but nothing worked. On the walk to get Dave's rocket down, we passed where the father and small son were parked. The father asked us as we walked by, if we would come back and give him a jump to get his car going. After giving up on recovering Dave's rocket, Peter came down and gave him a jump to get his car going.

Dave was very upset at leaving the rocket exposed in the tree as rain was forecast for later in the day. The rocket was cardboard so if it got caught in the rain, it would have been ruined. With the help of club member Tom Oliver, Dave located the farmer who offered to climb the trees on Sunday morning before any real rain happened but later that afternoon told Dave he couldn't find the tree with the rocket in it. So that evening Dave brought over two friends who are competitive archers to see if they could puncture the large, black parachute pulling a line through to pull the rocket down. That failed because the line attached to the arrow kept getting snagged in tall grass. On Monday Dave contacted a professional tree climber who lives near the field, and he agreed to meet Dave on the field later that morning. Ten minutes of setup, 5 minutes of tree climbing and 10 minutes of putting gear away allowed Dave to get his rocket back. The guy did an amazing job scampering up the tree and bringing the rocket down. The club now has access to a resource it did not have before.

As for me, I brought 2 Patriots to fly: 1/6 and 1/4 scale. This was the first flight for the 1/6 scale using dual deploy and second flight overall. The CTI H120 red pushed it up to 2218 feet before the RRC2 flight computer took over and brought it down successfully. The ¼ Patriot had been prepped to fly 3 launches earlier but was never flown. This time, I had gotten far enough to put a CTI J381 skidmark and created a flight card. But when Dave ran into difficulties with his Giant Yellow Crayon, the 1/4 scale Patriot stayed on the ground again as I had stopped to see what I could do to help get the rocket down.

Since Dave was ultimately able to get his rocket back, I would consider the day a success.

August's launch will be postponed one weekend, to the fourth weekend of the month.

August, 2015

Photos to follow shortly

August 22, 2015 was a stellar day, temperature in the mid 70s, sunny with few clouds in the sky and light winds. For the past several launches, no one else was on the field at 1000, so I was still setting up when the first family arrived at 1000. It was a mother, father, two sons under 5, and a grandfather who were interested in having the boys (all 4 boys) see some smoke and flame rockets. We had run into the grandfather two launches ago as we were driving off the field. He had been flying baking soda and vinegar rockets with his grandsons. Now was the time for them to see real rockets.

I pulled out two saucer kits for the kids to work on while I completed the setup. The kids were the first to fly, starting off a great day of rocketry. In total, 16 people were on the field: 9 guests, 4 CRMRC members, and 3 CRMRC family members. There were 18 flights, averaging a "G" and totaling a "K" including: 6-C, 3-D, 1-E, 3-F, 2-H, 1-I, and 1-J. Flying and takedown completed at 1445 and we were off the field at 1545 for a long day of flying.

The launch started and ended with me putting a smile on a child. There are few things as rewarding as watching a smile from a child from something you have done for them.
The two young brothers, Mason and Cameron were the first to fly, both flying CRMRC saucers on Estes C6-5s. Mason colored his red, green, yellow and brown. Cameron favored green and orange. I watched the two kids faces as they pulled the switch to launch there rockets. There was awe, amazement and a huge smile for both boys as the motors lit with flames out the bottom, and the saucers went up to about 150 feet, flipped over and floated back down.

A father, young daughter, and pre-teen son were at the launch and were responsible for 5 flights. The family had moved from Oregon where the father was a NAR L2 certified flier who had let his membership expire. The daughter, Keira, had a very pretty pink and purple Estes Payloader (http://www.amazon.com/Estes-3022-Payloader-Flying-Rocket/dp/B001XIQLFQ) which was flown twice on Estes C6-5 motors. The flights went straight up to around 400 feet with white smoke trailing behind and came down with scrunched up parachutes, but no damage was done to the rocket. (Note: if you store the parachute in the rocket, make sure to take it out and "fluff" it before flying so it opens during flight.)

Bailey, the son, had a nicely built and excellently painted 2 inch Estes V2 (http://www.estesrockets.com/rockets/kits/skill-3/003228-v2-semi-scale-model) which flew on an Estes D12-5. This camouflage painted rocket went to about 500 feet before the blue parachute came out. Dad, Eric also flew this same rocket on the same Estes D12-5 with the same results. Eric also flew an amazing Estes Black Star Voyager on another Estes D12-5. This is a really cool looking kit (http://www.estesrockets.com/rockets/kits/skill-5/007222-black-star-voyagertm). The flight up was as expected, and the parachute opened to bring this nice rocket back down. Hopefully Eric will bring this to other launches so more people can see it fly.

CRMRC member Jeff R. brought his 3 sons along for flying and watching rockets. Son Stephen had an unpainted Estes Mega Mosquito (http://www.amazon.com/Estes-Mega-Mosquito-Model-Rocket/dp/B004LGXCKY) on an Estes E9-6. This kit was built at the LDRS in Potter, NY (the one with Kari Byron in attendance) so it was special to its owner. The E9 gracefully pushed that rocket nicely over 600 feet before the parachute opened up and the rocket drifted downward. Unfortunately, it ended up in a tree, about 35 feet off the ground. Son Ben put up another unpainted Estes kit, named "ralph" twice, both on Estes C6-5s. As you would expect with an Estes kit, it hopped off the pad to around 500 feet, where the parachute came out and the rocket drifted back to the ground both times. Ben also flew a naked Estes Hornet to around 500 feet on another Estes C6-5, and the results were just as successful. Dad Jeff, flew a red and white Aerotech Initiator (http://www.aerotechstore.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3&products_id=6) on an F25-6W. Jeff had flown this at a previous launch on that same motor, and my comments to the crowd before the countdown were not to expect too much with this rocket on an F. I was wrong last time, and continued to be wrong as the rocket raced off the pad to around 1000 feet before the parachute came out and the rocket floated down.

CRMRC member Molly H. managed a successful flight of her blue Rocketry Warehouse Scarab 54 (http://rocketrywarehouse.com/product_info.php?products_id=848) named "Blue Thunder." This rocket has a checkered past. The maiden flight had apogee separation but the main chute did not deploy due to an insufficient black powder charge but it landed with no damage. The second flight at LDRS 34 had no apogee deployment despite having the motor's black powder charge as a backup. The main chute deployed OK at 500 feet but also at 500MPH!! so it tore off. The nosecone was never found and the forward airframe suffered some damage which was subsequently replaced for August's club launch. The CTI H180 skidmark was loud, smoky, and sparky as you would expect and it pushed this 4 pounder to 2140 feet, as recorded by the RRC2 altimeter. The RRC2 did its job this time, with initial separation at apogee and parachute out at 500 feet. This was the first skidmark and first dual deploy of the day so the crowd was awed. Member Dave L.had two flights, both of which were black rockets. A one pound Wildman Dark Star Mini (http://www.wildmanrocketry.com/ProductDetail.aspx?product=2905) flew on an AT SU F27-8R to about 1200 feet before the yellow parachute came out and the rocket drifted to the ground. Dave's second rocket was an 8 pound Rocketry Warehouse Adventurer (http://rocketrywarehouse.com/product_info.php?products_id=821) without the payload/av bay. The Maiden flight of this rocket at LDRS 34 was with a motor forward closure failure so the rocket came down with lots of damage. Some of the damage was repaired but for this flight Dave flew with motor eject only and no avbay or payload section so the rocket was about 2 feet shorter than normal. The flight up on a CTI I218 white was more successful but the down was less successful as the motor ejection popped off the nosecone but the parachute did not come out. The rocket hit the ground hard and more damage was done to the airframe. Dave decided to use a small drogue chute on all his main chutes from now on to prevent this.

I was able to get 3 flights off the ground. I have been looking for a small rocket I could fly on a small field and tried my custom juiced up Fat Boy III last weekend on a 24mm CTI single grain E to around 300 feet. Today's attempt was on a 2 grain 24mm CTI F70 white. The rocket screamed off the pad up to around 500 feet before the parachute came out and it drifted back down. I also flew my custom plastic [root] beer bottle rocket called Saranac Root Beer on a CTI H120 red. I have flown this combination many times before and this was not a let down to about 1200 feet before the motor ejected the parachute and the rocket came down. The biggest flight of the day was a stretched Performance Rocketry ¼ Patriot on a CTI J381 skidmark. The takeoff was loud, sparky, and had black smoke everywhere. The dual RRCs handled the recovery just fine and the large yellow parachute brought the rocket down successfully.

Flying stopped about 1415 and the field was cleared by 1445 as we drove off the field. But there was still a treed rocket out on the field. Jeff and I left the field and drove back on the way we used to enter the field so we could get our vehicles near the tree with the rocket in it. When we got there, the rocket was almost at the top of a 35 foot tall tree which was not climbable. I pulled a rope out of my truck and tied a single ½ inch quick link onto the end and tried to throw it over the limb. A single quick link was not heavy enough to pull the rope high enough. So I tried a second quick link and this was heavy enough to get the rope up and it took many tries to get the rope looped over a branch close to the branch the rocket was on. But the 2 links were not heavy enough to pull the free end of the rope down to the ground. A third quick link was still not enough weight to pull the looped end of the rope down. I added a fourth and my last quick link to the end of the rope. With this, and another dozen attempts, I was able to loop the rope over the branch the rocket was on. I started carefully flicking a wave up the rope and each time it reached the branch the weights would drop an inch or two. This eventually became up to a 6 inch drop each time, and after many attempts, we were able to grab the weights, holding on to both ends of the ropes. First we tried quick jerks of the rope but the rocket was too tightly wrapped in the branches. So we tied both ends of the rope to Jeff's jeep and he drove away. This pulled down the branch and the rocket, only snapping the elastic shock cord. Stephen collected the two halves of his Mega Mosquito with a big smile and a "thank you" to me.

September, 2015

The forecast for September 19 was supposed to be warm with temps in the 70s, sunny, and winds under 10mph. Two out of three was good for the low fliers but not for the high fliers. The winds started in the low teens and eventually made it to the high teens, and our anemometer read 22mph for the highest gust of the day.

The launch was lightly attended, with one other member besides myself, one family member, and one guest, along with a couple of college students. There were 2 flights of one rocket by one rocketeer, averaging a B and totaling a D: 1-A, and 1-C. Member Jim flew his Estes LGM 0095. The first flight was an A8-3. The rocket flew up to about 10 feet off the pad before it turned and headed directly into the wind. The A motor had burned out before the rocket left the pad and so the rocket weather-cocked into the wind with what momentum it had left. It never got more than 15 feet off the ground and parachute deployment was well after the rocket landed. The second flight of the same rocket was with an Estes C6-5, with 4x the power. This time the motor was still propelling the rocket even after it left the pad so the rocket continued skyward. It still weather-cocked but not at an angle parallel to the ground. It flew to a couple of hundred feet before the parachute came out and it was successfully recovered.
I had prepped the recovery for three high power rockets, expecting to fly an H, I, and J motor. But I felt it was too windy to fly, so I never put any motors in any of the rockets. The rockets will be ready for next month's launch.

The college students had driven up from Daniel Webster College in Nashua, NH. They have elected to be part of a NASA sponsored rocket launch to 10K feet as part of their senior project. No one on the team had ever flown rockets, so this was supposed to be their introduction to high power rocketry. Alas, there were no high power flights. I did spend a couple of hours showing them the construction techniques for high power rockets along with what is involved for dual deployment. I also told them about the Maine Missile Math and Science Club (M3SC) in Berwick, ME. The M3SC is about 90 minutes from Nashua, rather than the 3.5 hours to St. Albans.
Overall, it was a disappointing day.

October, 2015

The forecast for Sunday, October 18 looked to be in the 30s-40s and sunny on Thursday. By Saturday night the forecast was for mostly cloudy, windy and cold. In reality, the weather turned out to be in the 50s, light breezes and mostly sunny, a nice day for flying rockets. I still had the 3 rockets I had prepped for the September launch that were supposed to go 3K-6K feet. Based on the Saturday night forecast, I decided not to bring any rockets along when I packed the truck. I arrived at the field at 0900 but waited to start setting up. By 1030, no one had shown up so I started getting ready to leave when member Jim showed up. Jim and I talked a bit before I convinced him I was willing to set everything up for a single flight. Jim worked with me and in about 10 minutes the low power pads were ready. It took Jim about 10 minutes to prep his rocket and he was ready to fly. Jim brought a purple Estes PS Impulse. This was Jim's first complex rocket, using 2 Estes D12-3 motors. Both motors lit and the rocket raced off the pad. The rocket went up about 500 feet before the parachute came on and the rocket gently floated down to the ground. When we examined the rocket, a large flap of body tube was loose next to one of the fins. It looks like both ejection charges went off at exactly the same time causing too much pressure.

The totals for the day were 1 flight, total propellant E, and 2 motors were burned, both D-12s. Thanks to Jim for keeping the CRMRC flying. I still have three rockets prepped that will fly soon. Until next month, happy flying.

November, 2015

No club launch took place this month due to poor weather conditions.


December, 2015

(Video link at end of report.) The forecast for December 20 was supposed to start in the upper 20s and get to the mid 30s with the winds starting at 8-15mph but dropping as the day went on. By 10:30 we were ready to fly but the winds were still close to 10mph and gusting. Member Jim V and I sat in his truck and waited in the relative warmth for about an hour before Jim decided to fly a relatively low flier. The winds were still high when he launched but by the time we were back to the launch area, the winds had dropped significantly to 3mph or less. This opened the window for many more flights.

Two CRMRC members were at the launch, Jim V and myself. There were a total of 5 flights: 3 Fs, 1H and 1I, for an average of G and almost a J in total.
Jim started with his first fiberglass rocket, a Gary Tortora Painkiller Micro on his first ever rocket motor that needed assembly, an AT F24-4W. The first flight of the natural fiberglass rocket with black fins went straight up around 400 before the red chute came out a couple of seconds early. With the wind still high, it drifted one field to the east, at the far side of that field. It was the only flight of the day which left the field we were launching from.

Jim's next flight was an Estes Pro Series II Ventris on an AT single use F20-4W. Being a lighter rocket, this went about 500 feet straight up for its maiden flight and the parachute came out about a second early. Since the wind had dropped, the red, white and black rocket landed 50 feet northwest from where we were standing. The field was very soft so the rocket landed upright with one fin stuck in the ground. Landings this close continued for the rest of the day.

Jim's last flight was another Estes Pro Series II. This was a nicely painted orange and white Argent. Another first flight also on an AT single use F20-4W. This went up 600 feet and the parachute came out exactly at apogee. The rocket came down about 100 feet to the south east, about 50 feet from the pad. Jim went 3 for 3 on successful first flights.

I brought 3 rockets and 3 motors but with the winds initially high, I was not interested in losing anything. Once the winds died, I decided to fly two. My smaller flight was a dual deploy modified PML Black Brandt on an H123 skidmark. The RRC2 altimeter read out 1400 feet and all of the charges went off to bring the rocket back safely. I had assembled the rocket in August and this was the first opportunity to fly it. This meant the parachute had been inside the rocket, tightly packed. It did come out but never fluffed to catch air so the red, black and silver rocket hit hard. One fin on the fincan stuck in the ground and the center section stuck in the ground, so both pieces were upright.

My other flight was a 1/4 scale Patriot on an I180 skidmark also with dual deploy. The flight was to around 900 feet and one of the two RRC2 altimeters deployed successfully bring the red, white, yellow and black rocket down about 30 feet to the northwest of where we were standing. It was an up close and easy to watch landing. Upon taking the rocket apart, I see that both charges associated with one of the altimeters did not go off. I need to understand why before I fly that altimeter again.

Overall, it was a great day once the winds calmed down. We were off the field around 1:30 with all of the rockets surviving their flights. I look forward to 2016 and hope everyone's flights are successful, in whatever venture they undertake.

Flight video by Jim V. is HERE

Howie D.