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Mark Howe launch report

June 12, 2007

I only made day-1 of the 2-day SPARC WheatChex launch, but it was definitely worth it! I arrived around 9:15 on Sat, The 4th car on-site (D.Glass, R.Jopson, and another vehicle had beat me). With no club trailer in site, I began to wonder if I had the right weekend! A few calls were made and we were assured that B.Yanecek was "on his way". He arrived about 10min later and set-up began in earnest. D.Glass was the first off the pads...he brought a nice array of scratch-built birds, as usual. He even found time to repair his Robert Goddard "Hoop Skirt" rocket (which I think is a 1/4 scale model of a 1929 vintage). It's always a treat to see Dave's creations fly...(and he makes a mean "ceaser salad" too)! For the third time in as many launches, I came with no rockets pre-prepped for the launch. I did bring a large "box-o-rockets" with me, however, and managed to put all of them up into the sky except for my small 13mm powered glider...which broke after the wind that was present for most of the day caught the glider on the pad and broke the nose. Seeing that as an omen, I waited until much later in the day to attempt additional glider launches.
I managed 16 flights for the day...not bad for not having anything pre-prepped, and even managed some stints at LCO & RSO. The large number of flights was basically due to the small motors I was using (due to the wind) and thus relatively short recovery times. I placed five 13mm motor based rockets up, with the best of the bunch being an old Estes "Little Joe II" kit. Five 18mm rockets followed. My "Klingon Battle Cruiser" lost a fake outboard engine pod on landing, but thanks to some fellow racketeers it was found in short order. The FlisKits "Tres", with the canted 3-motor cluster of C6-5's, shattered a balsa fin on landing...the second time it has done so in 4 flights. Both rockets are repairable. I flew a 2-stage "Hercules" in which the booster failed to ignite the sustainer. The sustainer came in ballistic with the nose completely buried in the dirt. To my surprise the rocket suffered absolutely NO DAMAGE! Next I moved on to models that were powered by the Estes "Mighty-D". A Maniac/Executioner on a 15' streamer, a SeaHawk SM3, and an Estes V2 (which flew off pad B2). By this time it was around 6PM and I noticed that the ever present wind had died out...it was the calm before the storm and I took advantage of it to get my gliders in the air. First up was a 18mm dual glider by Edmonds Aerospace named the "Twinsee". A low altitude boost on an B4-2, but they still managed to tickle the edge of the wheat field. Next up was another Edmonds kit called the Ci-Ci 2-stage. It's another dual glider combo, but uses 2 stages with a 12" gap between motors. I decided on a B6-0 for the bottom stage and an A8-3 for the upper. Both gliders landed downrange outside of the wheat field. Last to go up was my Edmonds "Gemini Thunder" gliders. Another dual glider setup that uses a 24mm motor (D12-3). They boosted straight as an arrow...and took off on paths that were 180 degrees opposite of each other! Jim Jopson recovered the one to the south, while I waited for the range to open so I could retrieve the one to the north. As you can probably tell I really enjoy the Edmonds gliders...he generally makes an upscale (called thunder) based kit for every normal sized glider he creates. Easy assembly, minimal trimming, and unique designs make his kits a favorite of mine. Things wound down and it was time to put on the feed bag. Great Cornbread Chile, Ceaser Salad, Brats, Burgers, Chips, Chicken, etc...kept our spirits high even though the anticipated/dreaded "drizzle" began to commence form the skies. I headed out around 8PM with a full stomach and pleasant memories...wishing I could return for Day-2 but knowing that other obligations awaited me. Bob and Ann, Lou and Katie, Jim and Rob Jopson, and a few of the Phillip's clan came prepared to spend the night. Though the number of people were not up to my expectations on Saturday, I think it was largely due to the various graduation ceremony's/parties going on over the weekend. People came and went throughout the day. The Schopps arrived with their grandson in tow, but left mid-afternoon to hand him off to his other grandparents. Larry Waldman and his 2 sons made the trek from Missoula again, and this time brought a few rockets with them to launch. Those among the notable "missing" were the Stoners, Weisers, Moore-Reads, and Joe Cooney (who I'm sure would have given me a run for the $$$ in the # of flights category). Can't remember too many flights other than my own, but I do remember Joel Phillips putting up a number of mid-power flights, and Lou Bragg putting up some high power. There was one CATO of an Estes motor...not sure if it was a "D" or an "E". Kudos to Bob Shaw for finding my small 13mm X-Ray in Emerson's wheat field, and to all of those who helped to track my gliders... Lou did a another fine job as Launch Director, and a good time was had by all. Thanks! Best regards, Mark W. Howe

Posted by bobble at June 12, 2007 10:00 AM

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