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January Late launch report

February 6, 2007

Whoopsie, it's February and I never posted the January launch report. Better late than never but late is bad :-( .....sorry. Bob Yanecek Well, the stellar forecast degraded to high clouds and 10% chance of snow flurries in the afternoon as of Saturday morning. Didn't sound too bad and the clouds were high and visibility good as Lou and I finished packing supplies and headed for the site. Arriving about 15 minutes after 11 it was great to find a car already on-site. Keith Stormo and his friend Kurt Schroeder drove up from Pullman for a little early season rocket fun. We were still in set-up mode at 1202 when the snow flurries began (I guess it was after noon). While we could see the outline of the sun and specks of blue the snow continued all afternoon keeping the high power birds grounded. A fourth vehicle pulled in with Jim Baker and his son Thomas ready to fly. Not to be dissuaded, we launched what we could while chit chatting around the propane fire, sipping hot beverages and chewing on hotdogs. The official high for the day was 12 so while we hit double digits, we stayed shy of the teens. Keith was first off the pads with his 'water wee' on a D12-3. This 'thing' was a foam tube with a carved N/C and fins augmented with duct tape. Boost was great but the eject charge failed to separate the airframe and it came down in a soft flat spin for a light bounce landing. Keith's second rocket was aptly named 'camo' and consisted of a white body tube with balsa N/C and fins. The colors matched perfectly with the snow and wheat stubble. The 18mm airframe boosted fine on a C6-5 and the streamer deployed fine for a short walk recovery where Keith discovered the N/C missing. Kurt also had two flights. First up a nice V-2 on an E9-4. It had a very realistic flight profile that looked like weather cocking but no wind present. As it arced over and headed for the ground the eject charge fired and stripped the chute. Landing was hard but no damage other than the chute. Kurt's second flight was with his Black Brant on a D12-7. It boosted high enough into the snow to briefly disappear but we heard the eject charge and soon Lou sighted the rocket under chute recovering slightly to the West. Thanks to the snow cover, he 'stuck' the landing. Jim and Thomas flew their rocket named 'Garage Rocket' twice, once on a C6-5 and then on a C6-3. On the first flight, the streamer stripped but the airframe flat spun down nicely. This prompted the second flight to go streamer-less and predict flat-spin for recovery. No disappointment as the garage rocket again came down soft and slow. Lou had ambitions for a high power flight and prepped off and on through the day with hopes of some real blue sky to aim for. In the meantime he put up his Phoenix on a D12-3. Boost was good and the chute deployed right overhead allowing for a catch attempt. Lou opted to let it land and paid the price with a broken fin. Lou's second flight was his Arminius on a G64-4. This flight was perfect. I had the most flights of the day with 2.1. I started with my 18mm airframe and a C6-7. Definite wiggle on the way up and no visual at apogee but shortly the orange streamer was located and the rocket recovered close in. My second flight was with the same airframe but this time a B6-4. Boost was arrow straight and this time streamer deployment was visual for another nice close in recovery. While I find it difficult to believe the difference in motor mass changed the flight trajectory, I look forward to future comparison flights in that airframe. My final flight was in a 24mm airframe and an E9-8 which I had pre-prepped the day before. I was prepared to lose it but with the low winds, and no losses yet, I figured to take a chance. Motor lit fine but at about 30' up, the E9 CATO'd spectacularly. Both ends of the motor blew out and the fin can was destroyed. It was my first 'new' airframe for the season and a first/last flight for the rocket. By 3 P.M. we were packed up and heading out with snow still falling. Woke up this morning to conditions much like Friday. Clear, calm, sunny, and cold. I still have a couple pre-prepped models in my stockpile so perhaps this will evolve into a two day launch yet. Bob Yanecek

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