March 07, 2006

Launch Report - 3/5/2006

Where: Great Meadow Equestrian Center, The Plains, VA
When: 10am - 4pm
Weather: Winds from 10-20mph

Our rocketry club, NOVAAR, had scheduled a two-day launch event for the weekend, but high winds scrubbed Saturday. Sunday was still quite windy, but we had a great time anyway.

I loaded up the car with some small rockets to fly, but wasn't expecting much because of the wind. When I got to the field I was amazed to see probably 50+ cars there.

I caught up with some friends and talked rockets for awhile, then I headed over to the launch control area to see what was up. On the way I passed a whole gaggle of high schooler's who were there with their Science teacher, prepping egg-lofting rockets. At the table I was drafted into helping do pre-flight safety checks because we were about to get swamped by all those students. I stayed busy for better than an hour, checking rockets, asking questions and making suggestions on things to do differently and/or better in the future.

Besides the egg lofters, there were a few high power flights made, including Mitch's Endevour clone on a J350. His rockets are so reliable that they're almost routine.

A young guy named Ben made a couple of memorable flights with a little orange rocket. By little, I mean about the length of your finger, and he stuffed the largest motor he could fit into this little thing, a C6-5. On the first flight, I watched it zoom nearly out of sight and somehow managed to pick it up on the way down and saw it land. It's too small and light for a chute or streamer, it does what we call tumble recovery. I had a line on it on the ground, and Ben and I walked out there and pretty much right up to it in the middle of the field. Unbelievable, because that combination is almost certain "fire-and-forget".

He did it again later, but lost it. After his family left the launch, Ben's orange rocket reappeared on the lost-and-found table. Someone else found it while looking for their rocket. Ben will be getting it back.

I picked several people's brains for ideas and suggestions for my Level 2 rocket. Then I admired Bart's photo album and stories about his successful Level 3 flight. Bart flew out to Arizona to launch with his brother at an event in the desert. His rocket flew on an "M" motor, weighed 40 lbs at take off and achieved an altitude of 7600 feet. It came down perfectly under chute and Bart now has his Level 3 certification so he can fly with the big big boys.

I did make two flights of my own, both small model rockets.

1. Vampyre - A10-3T - this minimum diameter ring-fin always screams off the pad and gives a great flight. Recovered undamaged on a streamer.

2. Groove Tube - B4-4 - a classic Centuri clone, you could see the wind pushing the rocket sideways as it ascended. It drifted a long way even though I used another streamer instead of a parachute.

Our next club launch is April 1 and 2. There will be contest flying (helicopter, chute, streamer and glider recovery models, plus an altitude event), and as always flying for fun is encouraged. I'm planning to be there both days, and I'll have something high power to fly too.

Y'all are invited.

Posted by Ted at March 7, 2006 04:53 AM | TrackBack
Category: Rocketry

Ted I have to say that I had a pretty good time the other day,too.It sure was great seeing you again.I really like the Flight of the Vampyre.That thing really does scream.Plus,I think I did see that little orange rocket of Ben's.Ted you may not realize it yet but you may have created a monster because I think I have something that can beat that.Or at least I did.I'm refering to my Estes Zinger.Unfortunately it was damaged on the way home from the last launch.Since it's been repaired about a half dozen times I finally decided to scrap it.That's o.k. though because I just picked up a pack of BT-20 tubing from Ken sunday and I do plan on building a new one.I've got a hankerin' for a drag race.
One other thing that I wanna ask you about Ted.Since I now have my NAR dues paid up again,my Forte is rebuilt and my 4'' V-2 is gonna need a minimum H motor I have no reason not to go ahead with my NAR Level 1 cert.Can I count on you to witness for me?It would be most appreciated.
Well before I wrap up this post I wanna say that I'm sorry I tore out without saying so long and all but my sinuses had been messing with me all day anyhow and they finally got to the point where it was just too dambed uncomfortable.When my sinuses start acting up it starts messing with my ears too and my sense of balance usually goes a bit loopy.
All of that besides being sore as hell from the fall I took last Tuesday.I was gonna freak you out on it but I just never got around to it.In a bit of irony the place I fell at is only about two or three minutes away from the launch site in Marshall at my great aunt Viola's house.I took on the job of getting her house cleaned up,cleaned out and ready for sale.In a nutshell I was removing boxes of canning jars from the attic(see where this is going?) and for just a split second I screwed up by not paying attention to a single step.Up until that point I had been very careful to always step on the rafters and not between them.All it took was that one single time.I stepped between the rafters and a millisecond later I was weightless and headed down through the ceiling FAST.Of course of all the places to land at I had to pick the edge of the bathtub.Well the back of my leg did anyhow.The rest of me hit the floor right beside it,luckily.Long story short it hurt......a lot!Right now my entire back of my right leg is solid black from my knee to my lower back.My right buttcheek caught the rafter on the way down and now has another buttcheek growing off of it.Needless to say I used to enjoy sitting but now I don't.Besides all of that a good sized bruise on my left kidney and possibly a broken lower right rib is all of the damage done.
Believe it or not I can actually laugh about it.Hell,I laughed right after it happened.The only time I didn't laugh was when It came time to get out of bed the next morning.Now THAT was painful!Why do I have an itch to watch The Money Pit?I'll holler at ya again it your 70's post.

Posted by: Russ at March 7, 2006 01:44 PM

Something I forgot:

Here is the address to Excelsior Rocketry.Fred Talasco(Astron Boy)is the owner.Something I should mention is that Fred is a traveling insurance adjustor and so it sometimes takes him a bit to get to doing stuff so be patient.That should be the only beef with him at all.

Posted by: Russ at March 7, 2006 01:53 PM
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