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October 2005 launch report

October 30, 2005

I believe I volunteered to do the October launch report during the September meeting so here's a quick swing before I head back to Seattle. An addendum should follow in a day or four with techno-stats from flight cards. I encourage anyoneveryone to post their own observations/reports.

In too many ways this launch was unique for me. I have learned there are times other than rocket launches where you may have little to say about your immediate future. And that you may also find out without any countdown, warning, or ability to prepare.

I unexpectedly found myself in Seattle on Friday and heading back home to check on things before needing to return Sunday morning. Normally I'd say "what luck there's a SPARC launch scheduled for Saturday", but really, it just worked out that way.

My morning dawned to clear skies and bright stars followed by a nice sunrise. Later, as I approached the launch site, I noticed a big white wall about a mile west of the site. Arriving in pea soup it was surreal seeing an already established flight line take shape in the distance.

A full crew deployed and with weed whacker and rakes running, we had everything ready to go in no time.........Still socked in solid.

About 1130, some blue began showing and we had models in the air. By noon, we were in rocket heaven!! Clear skies warm sun almost no wind.

Racks filled fast and continued to cycle steadily all day.

Too cool seeing all the scouts. From total disappointment to how fast can you fly, recover, reload and go again. Bring on the next generation.

Whitworth Physics class showed up with several rockets flying on primarily G40's and G80's with recording electronics. I hope to hear more from them regarding results but I believe the flights were mostly nominal. A couple unplanned 'dual deployments' where laundry initially hung up though managed to wiggle out well before too late. Not sure if they had a cheer leading squad as I didn't see any Pompom's but they sure lit up every time the LCO called a flight. It was really good to see, hear and feel their presence.

Marty pretty well filled the first rack and then made a quick departure. He did tag notable bases. He had the first Dan Johnson flight in an Edmunds glider for a nice boost and a great flight line fly-over.Then there was another glider to compensate for NOSHOWHOWE who almost always tags first flight, and most gliders.

Dave Glass was there all day doing everything. His early morning flight that poked the low fog, disappeared, and then slowly reappeared for a perfect close in recovery was superb.

Nice tight dual deployment by Ray Stoner but then he boogied so lost any real points;-)

Thanks Charla for the wristband(s).

Sure glad Krys could run and get more flight cards made up when we ran out.

It was fun funning Bryon Schoop for his homemade igniter failures untilthe LCO got switches straightened out.

Lotsa nice Lou Bragg action. I suppose his last flight had a little more action that he might have thought of as 'nice' so let's just say'remarkable'. If the motor don't push straight, the rest of burn is going to go badly.

Really thought I was going to see Rich Maes GPS thingamajig but dint. Scratch "Forgot power supply" from the list of available excuses:-) Other than that, he and Kristen did some nice airframe and electronic deployment test flights with good lessons learned for shear pins. One drag separate = zipper ouch easy repair and one main at apogee due to drogue deployment shock though main charge was confirmed to fire as designed down at a real low 200'.

Jim from Colville who will be coordinating 2 full TARC teams for 2006!!!

PSP was early (first??) on site and 'come on bill' late with an almost last rack spit igniter then go flight.

First time I'm aware of our waiver actually 'getting in the way'. Med star was inbound and advised of our activities/location. They happened to approach us while the range was open, so no issue but apparently they thought they had passed our location then 'stumbled' on us and were surprised. Pretty sure we haven't moved in the past few years so we'll be talking with officials and figure why they think we're not where we have been ... forever.

Unfortunately Dan was really here in spirit only that that really SUCKED. For me this morphed into an away launch from Seattle where I camped out at home, attended the launch and have to be back in Seattle for 'workomitments' next morning. As I result I flew models only and named each one Dan Johnson. My first flight was after Dan's as he caught an early ride on Marty's glider. It was still cloudy so I sent Dan up on an 18mm airframe and a little B6-4. Should have used a B6-6 but no damage and nice chute deployed at high velocity upwardeployment. Of course, flying models means there's mid power and high power yet to go. I miserably failed the 'watch your rocket' rule and had only a general bearing to search after losing the rocket well before touchdown. A quick search was abandoned due to Dan'Spirit not needing to wait. Next up was in a 24mm airframe via E9-8 push. It was a klugie unit and flewell but stayed well off 'riding a rail'. Walked right to it, wasted a few minutes looking for first airframeand returned. I bounty of a free B6-4 motor resulted with Dan's first airframe returned in A-1 shape. It took a while but I finally got to put Dan in charge of a flight. We started with a kluge and put together a D12-0 with fins, followed by a naked D12-3 with eject charge removed, and then put a 24mm airframe with E9-8 on top. With 8' rails in the box tower, exit velocity was good and boost was straight. Second stage was right on que and theNothing. After a long 3 seconds, Dan lit the E9 and a great smoke trail showed the final boost. Tracking chalk showed good binocularecovery, then mid/high power stole the show and rocket was not seen during final decent.

Enjoyed a bit of time searching with Dave Glass, Alan Roberts and Jim/Rob Jopson but nothing.By the time I returned, the range was all but tore down and just waiting for the trailer to pick up the pieces. A great tear down crew quickly loaded stuff into the trailer and I was heading back to reality. One quick reprieve as my cell phone 'buzzed' and the Jopsons had found the upper 24m airframe just north of Wild Rose in the field, a very good ways beyond my outer search envelope (oops). They whipped around and caught up to me allowed the day to be fully recovered.

As the recent several days have been, this one is a blur of happy thoughts filled with overwhelming waves of emotion.

GO DAN GO

A 10
B 19
C 27
D 10
E 6
F 4
G 18
H 4
I 8
J 2
No motor listed 3

Clusters 1
Two-Stage 1
Three-Stage 1
Cert. Flights 0

Total Motors 111
Total Flights 106

Posted by ray at October 30, 2005 1:38 PM

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