November 2004 Launch Report
November 19, 2004
Submitted by Marty Weiser
SPARC held its latest ever official launch of the year on Sat. 13 November, 2004. The forecast was for good weather, even though it was low overcast in the morning – unfortunately, the weather folks blew this one and it was overcast almost all day.
About six of us were on site at 9 am and it was damp, slightly drizzly, and a low ceiling. So we stood around and talked with Matt Hobson, a former L3 flyer and owner of the new HobbyTown USA in north Spokane who had stopped by to meet with us. We bent his year about what high power rocketry stuff might sell in Spokane for about 40 minutes and got him to volunteer the store for SPARC meetings so it was time well spent.
Bob showed up with the trailer a bit before 10 am and the ceiling was going up a little so we set up a minimal range - six model, three mid power, and one high power pad. This proved to be just about right for the 48 flights we ended up doing over the next six hours. Mark Howe got the first flight of the with his Estes Ninja on an A3-4 and I had the second with a Flis kits UFF Odysseus on an A10-0 (can you see the theme for the day?). We launched a variety of models over the next couple of hours as a few more people showed up and the ceiling rose.
Around 12:30 Ray Stoner called the tower to open the waiver and was told the solid ceiling was 3100 ft. and we were to stay below this unless it broke up and we called them to confirm the higher ceiling. This worked fine for a range of mid and smaller high power rockets. Around 3 pm it broke up a bit - enough for John Hearn to make his L2 cert flight and Jim Kurilich to make his L1 cert flight - more on those later.
Eleven different people made flights, with all but one of them making multiple flights. Mark Howe once again took honors for the most flights with nine, I had seven, and Lou Brag and Joel Philips each had six. Comanche's were once again a big part of the day with several one and two stage flights and a pair of three stage flights - Rebekah Lindsey brought beautifully and recently finished black and silver Commanche-3 out for two flights on the full load of D12-0/C6-0/C6-5 including recovery of all three stages each time. I flew my clustered Fatboy on 7xB6-6 motors and it is once again lost on the field (the only rocket I know of that was lost), but it may not come back this time since it came in ballistic off in the scrub and I forgot to include a beeper.
John Hearn made his fourth and fifth L2 certification attempts on J350s and finally had proper deployment of the recovery system for certification on the fifth try. John found four different ways to have the recovery system fail and still recover the rocket in flyable form over the past couple of months. Perhaps it is because Sylvester truly has nine lives like his namesake. Jim Kurilich flew his Sleepy Time Gal on an H97 for his level one cert after spending about 20 minutes sanding the piston down enough so it slide easily in the quantum tube - I don't think it broke 40F all day long. Bob Yanecek and I both made good dual deployment flights in our 38 mm min diameter birds - Bob reported 3700 ft. on an H180 and I got 1739 ft. on an H128.
I would like to thank everyone for their support during my three years as SPARC President. We plan to hold a meeting in early January to elect a new President so I can focus on flying and helping folks with their rockets including certification.
Here are the stats for the launch. I plan to write a summary of the stats for the last couple of years and put it on the SPARC website in the next month or so.
Total Motors 64
Total N-s 3,498
Motor Equiv. L
Ave N-s/flt 73
Motor Equiv. F
2 Stage 3
3 Stage 3
2x Cluster 1
7x Cluster 1
Total Flights 48