April 04, 2007

Launch Report: 3/31/07-4/1/07

Last weekend was a two-day club launch at Great Meadow Equestrian Center in The Plains, Virginia. The weather was beautiful both days, and even though the forecast called for rain on Sunday, it stayed dry and the winds stayed light.

Saturday was definitely the busier day, with upwards of 50 cars there, many filled with students making flights for the upcoming Team America Rocketry Contest. Lots of practice flights and more than a few qualification attempts.

Fifty cars might not sound impressive, but for a rocket club it's an almost unheard number, and it's become our norm. It wasn't too many years ago when a typical club launch was a dozen people. Very relaxed. For NOVAAR, those days are long gone, which is both good and bad.

On Sunday the crowd was lighter, but we were joined by a Cub Scout pack who upped the energy and enthusiasm levels considerably. I volunteered to work a shift at safety check-in both days, and in between socializing I still managed to get in quite a few flights of my own.


1. Snitch - D12-0 / C6-0 - I CHAD-staged (CHeap-And-Dirty) this Estes ready-to-fly UFO saucer. Great flight and recovered very close, but I cracked the plastic after recovery while pulling out the motor. A little epoxy will fix it good as new.

2. Pacifyer - D12-5 - This is my flying blood-dripping battleaxe and as usual it got a lot of attention. Nice quite boost but the ejection sounded very loud and the bottom half of the rocket (with fins) came tumbling down as the rest drifted slowly under the parachute. A "bonus" ejection charge blew out the baffle and scorched everything inside, including burning through the shock cord. Easily fixed.

3. Flying Jenny - B4-2 - The Jenny is a balsa bi-wing rocket glider that originally came out in the 60's or 70's. I love 'em, and this is the third or fourth I've had in my collection. She hasn't flown since last year, and winter can do some strange things to balsa, so I wasn't sure what kind of flight to expect. Straight boost and really high altitude, but not much glide. She went into the (soft) grass nose first and snapped the upper wing off. I found that the tail weight was missing, which probably accounted for the poor glide performance. No problem, I'll just build a new one.

4. Saturn Wannabe - A10-3T x4 - This original design turned in my first "perfect" flight of the day. All four motors in the cluster lit and at apogee it sounded like popcorn as the ejection charges went off. Perfect recovery under chute, and I got it back undamaged.

5. Angel - D12-5 - Sweet flight from this original design ring-fin. Recovered undamaged.

6. Groove Tube - C6-5 - Typical flight profile from this rocket: arrow-straight boost and recovered undamaged. This is a clone of the 70's model tube-fin originally offered by Centuri.

7. Der Red Max - C6-5 - Another clone, this one from Estes. Another great flight and excellent recovery.

After a shaky start I quit breaking everything I flew. The winds were very cooperative, so I was using maximum motors for almost everything (except the Flying Jenny).

Before heading over to do my shift as range crew I talked to Ken Allen of Performance Hobbies. He's been dealing with some very directed harrassment from the BATFE, who're still fighting our hobby every step of the way through the court system. We keep winning the judgements, they keep throwing up new and inane regulations in an effort to maintain their "power". Ken finally quit selling high-power rocket motors because of their actions (including confiscating his phones and computers) and has gotten more into kits and parts. In a wonderful development, his business is thriving even moreso than before, which is the best way I can think of to get back at those government assholes.

Saturday night I got home very tired and very happy with a day well spent.

Sunday morning I woke up to find that tick in my arm.


Another great day watching student teams make practice and qualification flights. Next weekend is the last day to submit results, so these kids are working hard and achieving impressive turnaround times between flights. Once again I put up several of my own.

1. Vampyre - A10-3T - I think this is the oldest rocket in my fleet that I still fly regularly. I designed it to fly on mini-motors and it's very quick and gets super altitude. The ring-fin makes for great stability too, even in windy conditions. Today we notice early on that the ground-level winds are blowing about 10mph, but maybe 100 feet up the air is still. Recovered nicely under a streamer.

2. YJ-218 - C6-7 x2 - Another cluster, this one an upscale of the Estes Yellow Jacket. Both motors lit. Great flight, fine recovery.

3. Edmonds Tinee - 1/4A-3T - This glider needs a 1/2A for altitude, but all I had was the 1/4A. It did glide, but pulled out of it's dive just above head level and made a strafing run on the people around the check-in table. It's light enough not to hurt if it had hit anyone. It landed in the grass about five feet from where I was standing.

4. Alchemy - D12-5 - Folks are noticing that I like ring-fin rockets. This one was an experiment in paint finishes. The aft end is done in that textured granite spray paint, and fades up through hammered silver to chrome at the nose. Flies great and recovered undamaged.

5. Dynamic Carrier - C6-5 - This is an interesting kit design. I finished it as an alien spaceship and she looks pretty cool. Nice flight, but the chute didn't open fully and she came down quickly. No damage because she landed on the soft grass.

6. Honest John - C6-5 - Scale version of the old US tactical nuke. She took a big arc off of the rod, but the chute ejected on time and I recovered her undamaged.

7. Sparrow Upscale - C6-5 - This is a slightly larger version of my very first rocket. It's not all that big, which points up that the original was *tiny*. Nice straight boost and good recovery.

8. Barenaked Lady - E11-3 - Super flight with a big honking motor in a very light rocket , but she drifted a long way because of the extreme altitude. Still got her back and she was fine and ready to fly again.

That was it for my weekend. I flew everything I'd brought, and after helping to take down the range went home very very tired but happy. Plus, I get to do it again next weekend! Yay!!!

Posted by Ted at April 4, 2007 08:15 PM | TrackBack
Category: Rocketry

so im gonna have my sweet 16 around the end of april/beginning of may and i have no freaking clue what to do. my mom said that she would rent a place and let me throw a legit party as in a 'lets get freaky bitches' kinda party but then she decided it would be too expensive (she said it would probably come to about 1000, which seems like A LOT) sooo...how much do you think it would cost and do you think that's too much? Also, i have couple close guy friends and the rest are more just people who are in my "group" at school, so i feel like it might be awkward inviting them and i def dont want an all girls partay like that, so what do you think?. Do you have any other options or ideas? something relatively small (10-15) people maybe i guess (i dont really know what goes on in my mothers head) Parties that ive had in the past probably cost around 250 and since this is a big un' i feel like she might go a tad higher, but yeah...just any ideas that would be fun and not insanely pricey. I know this is a tad long, so thanks for reading!.

Posted by: Tator at January 18, 2013 12:28 PM
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