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Mark Howe Launch Report

May 21, 2007

Weather could have been better...but it definitely could have been worse! The rain stayed away, but gusty winds were prevalent throughout the day, which grounded all of my bigger gliders. :-( Arrived on site at 9:05AM. The GSE was already being set-up. It does not bode well when the Launch Director shows up 5 minutes late, however the range was set up by 9:30AM primarily due to many helpful hands, and Ray Stoner called to activate the waiver for a high power start time of 10AM. I managed to be the first flight off of the pad, only because Joe Cooney was gracious enough to let me take a place in front of him on the "A" pads. The flight was my Edmunds Tinee...which turned out to be the only glider flight of the day and the smallest impulse at 1/2A. According to a count of the flight cards, a total of 16 fliers shot 45 rockets into the sky, using 53 engines. Motor impulses ranged from 1/2A to a J, with Lou Bragg blasting the largest engine, an AMW J480-BB in his Skeletor. The most flights were put up by Joe Cooney and his "team", which consisted of Gage Pomeroy and Connor & William Waldman. They made good use of our remote "self-launch" button and managed 18 flights. I came in second with 6 flights, and Bob Shaw from Colville was a close third with 5. Bob was the only person to attempt staged flights on this windy day, and tried both B6-0/A8-5 and C6-0/B6-4 combos. He also suffered the only CATO of the day, with the A8-5 totally destroying the upper stage of his first 2-stage flight. Joe Cooney went in the other direction and was the only person to fly clusters. He had a 3-Motor BigBertha/Ranger clone that took to the skies on B6-4's, and a couple of LOC kits that were flown on a 2-motor E9-8 and 4-motor E9-8 combos. Two certification flights took place, one for L1 and one for L2. I believe the L1 cert ended up in the power lines across Wild Rose Road. Not sure if either cert was successful. Three electronics based dual-deployments were attempted. Jeff Halstead flew an I211...the rocket wobbled a little shortly after leaving the pad, and the main chute got fouled in the drogue. It was recovered but sustained a good bit of damage. Lou Bragg used dual-deployment with the largest engine of the day, and had a successful flight...although it did take him a while to find/recover the bird. John Hearns bid for his dual-deployment flight on a H268 ended in disaster. Both the drogue and main charges fired, but not enough BP was used in the ejection canisters. The rocket came in ballistic (far away from the flight line), and is obviously a total loss. We all feel your pain, John! Bryon Schopp made his trek over from near the Mansfield area, and we had a father&son who drove over from Missoula. There were a fair number of spectators in attendance as well. Joe Cooney had the last flight of the day with his AeroTech Mustang (nicknamed Mustang Sally) on a G38-7FJ. Tear down was quick, again due to large number of "helping hands" available. A big thank you to everyone who assisted with the launch. Ray, Krys, Charla, Lou & Katie for spending the night, assisting with set-up/tear-down, RSO, LCO and waiver/registration/wrist strap duties. Bob Y for delivering/removing the trailer, and supplying some of us with an excellent lunch of Brats! Many more people to thank...but I can't remember all of the names. Looking forward to next months 2-day "WheatChex" launch. I'll be thinking about everyone going to FITS in Mansfield next weekend...I'll be in Bellingham over the holiday weekend... Thanks! Best regards, Mark W. Howe

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