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Joe Cooney April Launch report
April 14, 2008
Well I woke up at 0600 hrs and took the dogs for a walk. While watching the sunrise I thought this is going to be a great flying day, so I went home loaded the Durango and headed out.
The drive into the field was great I got there around 0730 in the morning. After I ate breakfast I got started on unloading my gear. I set up my launch pads and prepped a few rockets thinking I could get a couple in the air while I waited for Bob and the trailer. One launch led to another, somewhere around #7 Jeff, our Launch Director, showed up. I launched another two rockets while he was parking his car. While getting ready for my 10th flight, Jeff said he saw Bob coming up the road. So I changed plans and quickly prepped the Pride of Cucamonga for another flight (about 30 sec). Loaded with an E9-4 and sitting on the rod, I waited for Bob. As soon as he was in view I hit the launch button and shot #10 into the air.
Set-up didn't take to long, the waiver was called in and I was getting ready for the Alphabet Project, while not a competition I was certainly well behind the others. I loaded my Baby Bertha aptly named A to E Flat Jam with an A8-3 and set it up to fly. I got all of about 30 feet and two seconds of flight on a three second delay. It came back in for a perfect BOINK recovery (a second later the ejection charge fired). Not exactly happy with the flight I tried to launch my two stage tube fin on an A8-0/A8-5 Combo, perfect flight -- perfect LAWN DART recovery. Both rockets survived in tact, so I called my first "A" Flight good and pressed on to "B".
I loaded A to E Flat Jam with a B6-4 (Probably Should Rename it B to E Flat Jam) and got a successful chute and recovery. Next was "C". I decided it was a good opportunity to launch the Alien Space Probe and loaded it with a C5-3 and a large chute; another great flight with upright landing. With "C" out of the way I moved on to "D". Again I loaded up A to E Flat Jam, this time a D12-7; wow the Baby Bertha rocks on this motor. Nothing left to do but fly the Baby on an "E"; nice slow burn for three seconds really puts this one up high. Not sure how high but I had trouble tracking it.
For the "F" rung I decided to load the Pride of Cucamonga (Scratch built Estes Mean Machine) with an F12-5. Nice smoky flight, not as extreme as the F39 but still gets the rocket up there in a hurry. I decided to go back to Estes Black Powder for the "G" rung. I loaded 4 E9-8's in my modified LOC Starburst and walked it out to the rod. Another excellent slow lift off followed by a three second burn. Ejection at the top, slight winds were going to make for a longer walk, but it landed softly, the wind dragging it across the ground while I was walking up to it.
I backed off from the Alphabet Flights so I could launch my Big Betty upscale. It has three 24mm motors canted at 15 deg, each exhausting from between the fins. Nailed all three and captured a great photo of lift-off showing all three flames canted out the bottom of the rocket. I had to scrounge an H97 off Marty for the "H" rung and loaded it into my AeroTech Sumo named Orange Tango Jam. The rocket still sports sanded primer finish so I am not sure about name. Launch was great; ejection was just past apogee but no chute. Actually the chute was fouled, I would like to mention Marty was nice enough to show me how to properly fold and pack a chute for High Powered Rockets. Apparently the wrapping the chute cords around the parachute is not recommended. So there was my Sumo coming in on basically a 33" wide streamer. Thank God for soft dirt or this would have been a lot worse. Small crease in the lower body tube, otherwise no worse for wear. After impact it suddenly
e that Marty was using a lot of TUMBLE recovery that day as he was launching nothing but Skeeter's. All in all a GREAT flying day, my car indicated 80 deg on the way home, my head is beat red and it was great seeing all the people out at the launch. No sure how many but cars were coming and going all day long. See you all in May for Mothers Day.
Number of Rockets Flown 16
Total Number of Flights 22
Different Type Motors Flown 9
Total Number of Motors Flown 32
Total Impulse 820ns (Small J)
Posted by bobble at 8:03 PM
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Marty Weiser April Launch report
We had a great day at SPARC today - sunny to high clouds, temperatures in
the 60s and perhaps low 70s, and the field slightly damp. As a result we
had lots of people show up - I bet there were 40 - 50 cars at one point.
Congratulations to Launch Director Jeff Halsted and the rest of the crew for
putting on such a great launch. Hopefully, Mark Howe and I will be able to
do as well over Mother's Day weekend.
I flew a total of 7 flights with a total impulse of 70.75 N-s as I started
my climb up the alphabet ladder. This may be the lowest average impulse of
my life, but I had a great time. I recovered all but a nose cone from the 4
different mosquito's and upscales that I flew. I have successfully
completed 1/2A through D and hope to tag E through I or J next month at
I am sure others will post more details including a summary of all of the
Posted by bobble at 8:01 PM
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Mark Howe April Launch report
SPARC held its' first launch of the 2008 flying season on Sunday, 04/13.
I arrived about 9:15...a little late due to the "fried chicken" not
being ready at the local Albertsons's market when I got there, which
caused a 15min delay in my travels. There were already half-a-dozen
cars at the field and the club trailer when I arrived. After greeting
old friends who had not been seen during the looong coooold winter
months, we got the range set up and activated the waiver around 10AM.
I brought 14 rockets to fly, but only managed to get 10 up in the air.
Most of the flights were first time flights of kits I built over the
winter. Here's a quick recap:
* Estes "Der Red Max". First time flight. Motor = C6-7. I would
definitely consider downsizing the parachute from 18" to a 14" or even
* Estes "Guardian". First time flight. Motor = B6-4. Nothing
spectacular to report...just a good standard flight profile.
* Estes "Pop Fly". First time flight. Motor = B4-2. This unique
rocket looks like a miniature baseball bat, with a ball attached to the
top. The bat portion recovers using a chute, and the ball tumbles down.
You're supposed to try and catch the ball...hence the name. I decided
that attempting to catch the ball was not really conducive in a
multi-pad range set-up...too many obstacles and wires in the way. I'm
thinking of purchasing a full size wiffle-ball bat and "upscale" this
kit for 24mm power.
* Estes "Screaming Eagle". First time flight. Motor = C6-5. A
replica of an F15 fighter jet which recovers on a chute. It turned in a
* Edmonds "Stage-2 Thunder". 2nd Flight. Motors = D12-0 & D12-3.
I really enjoy gliders and helicopter recovery rockets. Edmonds makes
the best gliders in my opinion, and I have practically all of his models
in my fleet. The Stage-2 Thunder uses 12" gap-staging...very unique!
The top stage didn't eject the motor fully which messed up the
weight/trim a bit. It still flew great and I had the added bonus of a
shorter recovery jaunt than if the motor has ejected properly. I still
had to walk about 150 yards to recover the top stage, which took off due
west in a straight line. Thanks to Terry for recovering the bottom
stage glider for me.
* Scratch built "Marvin (the Grateful Dead) Martian". First time
flight. Motor = D12-3. My homage to "Marvin the Martian" of Looney
Tunes fame. I painted the rocket to look like Marvins' uniform, and
added a number of decals picturing him (along with some Grateful Dead
decals...they produced an album called "From the Mars Hotel" so I
thought it would be appropriate). It turned in a good flight, but the
2.6" diameter and long length airframe really needs a bit more power
("E" or "F").
* Estes "Rock-It". First time flight. Motor = D12-3. The
"Flintstones" rocket. Looks like it's made from stone with a "chiseled"
nose cone and painted with stone textured paint. Two of these models
were at the range today, and both exhibited a fair amount of spin on the
* Estes "Rubicon". First time flight. Motor = D12-3. Based on
one of the "X-Prize" contestants, it's a multi-tube / multi-colored
contraption that was a pain to paint. The chute fouled on deployment,
and the resulting landing was a bit harsh...I need to re-attach 4 of the
six fins a one fake engine nozzle.
* Estes "36 D-Squared". First time flight. Motors = D12-5
(Qty=2). A 2-engine cluster, I stretched my version another 8" to make
it 44". It turned in a great flight.
* Rogue AeroSpace "Space Needle" 5th flight. Motor = 24mm RMS
E18-7W. Should have called it quits before this one...the faulty
copperhead igniter during its' first launch attempt should have been an
omen to me of things to come! This rocket is skinnier than a mean
machine, and 50% taller (9-feet). The wind picked up and rocket was
leaning...but I pressed the launch button anyway. Instead of
weathercocking into the wind it went horizontal, managed to do a flip
(really not sure how that happened) and crashed to the earth. One
broken fin and a couple of spiral separations on two of the body
tubes...a major rebuild will be required.
I assumed LCO duties for most of the day...it's something I really enjoy
and was still able to get a fair number of birds into the air.
Unfortunately, I was LCO when Jeff Halstead's shakedown flight went
roaring into the air. I can't believe I made such a rookie mistake and
had the wrong pad group selected. My apologies, Jeff!
The turnout of fliers was much higher than I anticipated. Thanks to
Dave Luders for bringing a bunch of teens, I think they were part of a
scout or explorers group. At one point we had three rows of cars behind
the flight line, I was impressed. One of our newest members, Peter
Hoff, showed up with some nice detailed kits in the model thru high
power range. Lou Bragg had a few nice high power flights, as did Bryan
Schopp, who also dabbled in mid and low power. Thanks to Katie for
managing the waiver & wristband functions.
Dave Glass had his "usual assortment of unusual birds", From Mad Maxine
to Normal Norman. Normal Norman put on a great show by air-starting two
D12 motors via FUSE! Joe Cooney had a nice selection of rockets, and I
believe progressed the farthest in the "Alphabet Ladder" race. Joe and
I always give our rockets nicknames based on Grateful Dead
tunes...Deadheads unite, we're everywhere!
Marty Weiser and his skeeter collection gave everyone eyes a workout as
we tried to follow their trajectories...and later on by searching for
them on the ground...
Last but not least, Terry Moore-Reed and Ray Stoner showed up, but only
as spectators... :-(
Lots of new faces...great weather...PLENTY of rockets launched (who has
the completed flight cards????)...hope we have more of the same at the
next SPARC launch, which is a 2-day event scheduled for May 10th &
Mark W. Howe
Posted by bobble at 7:58 PM
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Jeff Halstead April launch report
Dear Fellow Rocketeers,
If SPARC members are working their way up the alphabet ladder, they are still largely in "elementary school" as shown by the numbers recorded below:
A - 12
E - 22
F - 8
G - 3
H - 5
I - 1
As usual, Joe Cooney set the record for the most flights flown: 22. He had nine under his belt when I arrived at 8:50 a.m. Joe is the only flier I know who has his flight cards preprinted with the rocket name on them. Congrats Joe for all the flights and keeping Estes in business. Lou Bragg flew the largest motor: I-284, and Marty kept flying the smallest rockets, those pesky Mosquitoes. Bob Yanecek has the longest deployment: about four hours in a tree. Mark Howe had the longest horizontal flight: the Space Needle, which flew for hundreds of yards horizontally east before turning into Lawn Dart. I learned an important lesson: My rockets can fly without me. My bird was almost down on a drogue before I knew it was launched.
Previous e-mails have covered all the big events of the launch.
In closing, the field was in perfect shape, the weather was excellent, and the crowd was large. It was great to have all the youngsters turn out to fly with us. Thank you to all who showed up early to set up, serve as LCO's, and stay late to tear down.
The next SPARC launch is Saturday and Sunday of Mother's Day weekend. We hope to see you all there!
Launch director (signing off)
Posted by bobble at 7:56 PM
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President Bob April Launch report
Well wooHOOOOOO for the beginning of the 2008 SPARC season eh?
Of the 16 members we now have, 13 made a showing sometime during the day
ranging from member #2 (Dave Glass) and our newest member #74 (Peter
I missed a lot due to my extended recovery effort, but did manage to see
some flights during what seemed to be a busy day of launching.
Poor Jeff Halstead, he did a great job as Launch Director but still got
'no respect'. He only planned one flight, a shakedown on his new 54mm
dual deploy bird on an "I" motor so he could get a good visual on boost
and deployment events. Well he's loaded on pad D1 and the LCO is just
starting the rack with A1. Jeff is busy getting his camera ready as the
P.A. announces "Pad A1 in 3-2-1 ....... There goes Jeff's rocket. He
spent the rest of the day getting verbal 'reruns' from those of us that
witnessed the flight.
There were several alphabet projects in the mix.
Joe Cooney got A-H using multiple airframes. He's still talking tough on
attempting the string with a single airframe. A cluster of 4 * 1/4A to
make the "A" rung seems to be a key component of his strategy.
You'd never know Marty got his L3 with a Mosquito. First he couldn't
come up with a 1/4A motor so had to skip over that threshold. Then he
promptly lost both airframes he used for 1/2A, and the "A" rungs. I did
my best to watch them but they zipped up and outta sight in an instant.
Both birds were returned by other folks in attendance over the course of
the day. I didn't keep track of how high he got on his ladder but he
bounced a few that suffered various recovery anomalies. I don’t think
any of his birds were damaged and at the days end he was only missing
one N/C so he's on his way to build a ladder using nothing but
mosquitos. At least the bigger ones will be easier to track.
I got stung by my personal rule of always tilting downrange. I over
tilted and, while I had a good boost, the rocket managed to drift over
the trees to the NW. I tracked the bird all the way to where it went
behind the trees and identified a good bearing tree, then went to snag
my GPS only to suddenly 'remember' I'd left it on the battery charger at
home. I took a chance and walked out. Somewhere in the woods I ran
into Steve Ramberg returning with his rocket. Steve said he had a GPS
back in camp that I could borrow. Still feeling confident I continued
outbound for another 20 minutes or so before finally giving up and
returning to camp to borrow Steve's GPS. This time I walked my bearing
right to (under) my rocket. I was a good 150 yards off my previous
attempt. The rocket was nicely hung up in a tree, in a bog. One step
and you knew it was the 'good stuff'. The leaves from fall lightly
covered a black tarry mess that sucked at your boots and stunk terribly.
I dejectedly returned to camp. Some time later, Marty offered to walk
out and see my predicament. We decided the rocket might be recoverable
with the addition of a few tools so back to camp we go again. The 4'th
attempt was the charm and I finally managed to get my rocket down that
last 40'. The final decent damaged the body tube enough to warrant
repair but the nose cone, fin can, chute, and shock cord were unscathed.
So, it took me all day just to tag the "E" rung of my alphabet ladder
project. The 172 gram pad weight airframe achieved a simulated 2418'
(what downrange tilt ;-) putting me up to a total of 4947' for the
My poor winter white skin is screaming from the sun exposure. Half joy,
half shock. It sure feels better than cold so I'm not complaining.
Looking forward to Mothers Day.
Posted by bobble at 7:50 PM
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