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President Bob April Launch report

April 14, 2008

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 Hof).
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 project. 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. bob

Posted by bobble at April 14, 2008 7:50 PM

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