April 13, 2005

Launch Report - 4/9/2005

Where: Great Meadow Equestrian Center, The Plains, Virginia
When: 9am – 6pm
Who: Northern Virginia Association of Rocketry (NOVAAR)
Weather: 60’s, variable gusty winds, sunny.

This was a two-day launch packed full of activities. In addition to flying several contest events, NOVAAR was handling TARC students making flights on the last weekend before qualification closed. Also, there were students from a high school physics class making flights, a scout group, a Junior ROTC group, plus a team from Oakton high school making final test flights for their NASA Student Launch Initiative flight (I supervised construction of their Aerotech I300 motor). All this going on while still managing plenty of just-for-fun launches, both model and high power.

The evening before I called Ken at Performance Hobbies and ordered some high power motors for delivery at the field. He arrived not long after I did and once he got set up I picked up my motors and got ready to fly.

1. Groove Tube Upscale - H165R-M - Beautiful boost (as usual) from this rocket. She coasted to an estimated 1500 feet before ejecting the 36” parachute right at apogee. I’d gone with an undersized chute – normal is 45”, I need a 40” – to minimize drift and she landed softly on the thick grass without damage. (takeoff photo here).

Since I planned to return on Sunday, that was the extent of my high power flying for the day. Everything else was from the Sport Range.

2. Pacifyer - D12-5 - This battleaxe shaped rocket always gets noticed. Beautiful boost and good altitude, she’s picked up a bit of spin since repairing a broken fin. Recovered nicely very close by.

3. YJ-218 - C6-7 (x2) - Arrow-straight boost for this dual-engined cluster and a perfect recovery.

4. Vampyre - A10-3T - This mini-engined ring-fin always surprises people by how fast it is. 3-2-1 and gone. I’m used to it and followed it all the way. Recovered undamaged on a streamer.

5. Zen Doggie - C6-7 (x3) - It’s been quite a while since I flew this rocket. Remembering that her last flight was a little squirrely (the fins are a tad undersized), I added some clay to the nose to increase stability and asked it to be announced as “heads up”. Only two of the three motors ignited. The delay was about two seconds too long due to missing one-third of the thrust during boost phase, but the climb was stable and she recovered nearby without damage. I’ve regained confidence in the design and I’ll start flying her again.

6. Sparrow Upscale - B6-6 - It doesn’t take much to boost this plain-jane rocket way up there, and the B6 did a nice job. She came down on one fin and slightly cracked it. Already repaired.

At 4:30 I took over as Range Safety Officer (countdown and button-pushing guy) and had a great time announcing and launching some fun flights, including some TARC qualifiers.

On Saturday night it became apparent that I wouldn’t be out flying on Sunday because I’d gotten so wrapped up in events that I never applied sunscreen and wound up with a severe and painful sunburn on my neck and ears. Since I do this every year on the first or second launch, you’d think I’d have learned better by now. Sheesh.

Posted by Ted at April 13, 2005 12:26 PM
Category: Rocketry

Ted,when ya say stuff like that you almost make me feel bad about missing saturday.Almost.Would have loved to see it it all but given how bad I felt it would have taken a lot to make me enjoy it.
Also,I know all about how the burn thing goes.A few years back I went to the spring launch in Culpeper wearing a sleaveless shirt and both my arms and half way up my back where nothing but one huge blister.Weird thing is that it didn't start to blister until about a week later.If I'm not mistaken that was the launch where you and I first met or was that NARAAM?It had rained for something like a month or more non-stop and then suddenly.....summer!
BTW Maelstrom has some pics up on his Vertical Force site.

Posted by: Russ at April 13, 2005 01:25 PM

I'd like to see you start arming these rockets...conventional warheads, of course. Unless you think dog shit would be a nice touch.

Posted by: Paul at April 13, 2005 03:21 PM

Why would anyone want to do that?We've already got the ATF stuck so far up our asses that they don't know where they leave off and we begin.

Posted by: Russ at April 13, 2005 03:25 PM

Paul, Russ is right. The BATF is seriously screwing with hobby rocketry and RC plane fliers because we're easy targets. They can screw with us and claim a victory in the "war on terror".

It's bad enough that we don't even joke about it, and I carry a letter from our (as in the national rocketry organizations') attorneys to the BATFE regarding the judge's rulings on case Civ. Action 00-273. In the letter, the BATFE is reminded that the judge spanked 'em pretty good for disregarding their own rules and going after hobbyists. The final status is still pending, but for now, that's as close to a legal "leave me the hell alone" as I can get if a BATFE agent decides to screw with me.

Posted by: Ted at April 13, 2005 07:25 PM
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