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wheatchex report Joe Cooney

June 11, 2008

Well the weekend has come and gone, three days filled with varying weather, but all things considered I think it was a total success. All in all 100 different fliers put up at least one rocket. That is nothing short of outstanding.
Friday was set up for Midway Elementary School, Bob Y the Rocket Guy was the man in charge. Winds from the south west didn’t damper the spirit of the kids one bit. Rain was held off for the entire time they were flying rockets. I am not sure exactly how many times I was asked if I had seen this rocket or that rocket. The winds were carrying rockets with streamers a long distance, the ones with parachutes went even further. Over seventy students participated in the rocket program, built painted and then flew there creations. Using Estes Alpha’s as the basic rocket kit, some were built stock, others had 18” body tubes added to the front, while some were set up for minimum diameter flights. Some interesting names were giving to these rockets, at times I thought I was in an Ice Cream Parlor or down at the Candy Shop. Abbie R named hers The Banana Split, while Jaydee flew the Strawberry Banana Swirl. Isabella A was flying the Cotton Candy Carrier and Taylor C had Cotton Candy in Space. Some of the comments on the flight cards were also creative. Danielle F flying Jerry, ensured nobody could mess it up by adding, “This Rocket Name is Jerry, Nothing but Jerry”. Many comments of Awesome or family dedications were made. Some SPARC members put up some demo flights for the kids. Marty was leading the way in terms of impulse, as he was able to put up both I & J flights towards his Alphabet project. He followed that up with a Meaner Machine flight on an E18, that wasn’t recovered till the next day. Mark Howe was constantly asked when he was going to put his Porta-Potty up in the air. He declined due to the high winds, but he managed four flights. Mark Lyons stepped up to the pads and launched some unique rockets including a square rocket aptly named, “Hip to be Square”. Mark and I drag raced our 29mm Fat Boys (His Looked Way Better than Mine), photos showed simultaneous ignition and that I had him by a Nose Cone leaving the rod. Great race on F20-7W’s, it was amazing to see both airframes leaving at the same time, they took similar paths to altitude, recovery was different. Mark recovered his wedged under some rocks, minor damage to his nose cone will buff right out. I put up a few other flights, but scaled back after landing my LOC Starburst (4, E9-6 Cluster) named Shakedown Street in a tree. A little rake recovery and I was happy to get my bird back. Friday night was great, we sat around a fire and ate some delicious Shrimp and pasta created by Mark Howe. Several other fliers brought some Cajun themed tidbits to the table and dinner was nothing less than amazing. Rain picked up shortly after dinner and people found there way to either tents or trailers. Saturday morning at 0400 hrs brought me outside to find clear skies and calm winds. After walking the dogs I set about stoking the fire back to life temps in the mid 40’s. I took the dogs home and came back with donuts around 0630 hrs and found the clear skies replaced with clouds. Flying was sporadic and only a few brave souls stayed the entire day. Much of that time was spent either around the fire or under Mark’s tent depending on the current rate of precipitation. Rain cleared out by the afternoon leaving only the clouds and rockets returned to the air. All in all 60 flights were recorded on Saturday, with the launch atmosphere relaxed do to low turn out. Most flights were simply announced by yelling the information to the onlookers, no need for a PA system. One midway student heartbroken at the loss of his rocket returned with his Father and brother to search the wheat fields for his prized rocket. I walked with them thinking it would be a good time to also search for Marty’s Meaner Machine. The boys father quickly spotted the Mean Machine in the 8” wheat. We picked that up and continued walking. We walked to where there where two rockets hung in the wires and found one of them fell sometime the night before. He recognized the nose cone and we searched the ground for a rocket. The neighbor across the street came out and promptly reunited the boy and his rocket. I replaced his nose cone with an extra I had laying around and he went home most happy. Joel Phillips managed 13 flights with a few drag races thrown in the mix; he flew mostly “D” flights with a few impressive “F” flights to round it off. Joel and I raced Mean Machines, while he chose D12-0 to D12-5, I opted for D12-0 to E9-6. He beat me off the pad while mine struggled with altitude under the D12. Hard to tell which flew higher as they chose different flight paths. I think Joel waxed me though, as mine rolled over towards the end of the flight. There recovery was illuminated by the setting sun close to the horizon. Both chutes highly illuminated, made an impressive sight. I got him back on the Deuce’s Wild race as he only got one motor lit. Mark Lyons put up some impressive flights on Saturday, he nailed two Dual Deployments on his Excel Jr +, on an H128 (1672’) and then again on an H220 (2128’). The later recovered just short of our camping location. The winds were almost non existent for most of the afternoon, which made recovery much easier. Mark Howe managed 8 flights of his own before departing, leaving his tent to dry out and providing the perfect excuse for a Sunday return visit. Mark was able to nail a Three CHAD (Cheap and Dirty) stage flight on his Mean Machine, named Slipknot, D12-0, to D12-0, to D12-5. The booster sections were not recovered but Mark didn’t seem to mind since it was a CHAD Stage anyway. Bob managed one flight and I did not witness it, not sure if I was hunting for my rockets or what I was doing at the time. I managed 26 flights in all, that day. I had several BT-5 downscale rockets I sent up on 1/2A3’s very nice flights with nose blow recovery. I made my first Spool Rocket (13mm), aptly named “The Un-Cool Spool”. Bob would say another waste of a motor, but Mark’s commented, “I thought that would tumble more?” I said, “On the way down?” He replied, “No on the way UP!” But I got some respectable altitude, 50 feet maybe. I had a couple of nice flights on my Mustang, a drag race with Bryon on an F20-7 and again on an F50-9. Bryon had a nice dual deployment flight on DeeDee3 on I218. To sum up Saturday I would say it was a nice relaxed pace with a few people and a few flights. Sunday was the best of the three days, I again woke up early, took the dogs home and proceeded to launch rockets at 0600 hrs. I managed over 20 flights and most of them were well before noon. I managed three “G” Impulse flights, my Fat Boy, named Heaven Help the Fool, flew nicely on G79-10W that I traded for. Notched a small hole in the blue sky, I also flew Peggy-O (LOC Onyx) on a G64-7 and Orange Tango Jam (AeroTech Sumo) on a G64-4. Other than that it was small rockets flying on E9’s, from A to E Flat Jam (Baby Bertha) to Good Lovin’ (Goblin Clone). As the sun shone and temperatures rose so did attendance. About 25 people in all (counting Ben Kenobe and Darth Sidius). Flying was heavy for most of the day 115 flights total. That is nothing short of GREAT!!! I took a small nap in the early afternoon at the LCO table and missed several racks of flights but from what I saw people were having fun flying rockets and that is what it is all about. Some highlights of Sunday included Dave Glass’ Goddard Hoopskirt Flight. He also stepped outside his comfort zone and built a kit, highly modifying it though. A terrier sand hawk kit was made into a two stage bird with gap staging. The flight was exciting mostly due to the near miss on the sustainer coming down over the flightline. Dave also flew, “Get the Lead Out”, a real scaled pencil rocket on an H180. Mark L continued his assault on the sky logging some impressive “I” flights, a scratch built Little John on an I161 and his Canadian Sprint on an I117. Joel Phillips gets credit for the most clustered motors (7 C6-5’s) in his Semroc Hydra. He also flew his Small endeavor on an H128 and his LOC Starburst on two F24-7’s (only one lit). Lou showed up in the morning ready to go and impressively got several flights in rather quickly. Lou managed to nail his “D” & “E” Alphabet Flights on his Stock built Patriot. His “F” & “G” flights were recorded on his “Some Spare Parts” rocket. The “H” flight was in his “Hob Goblin” on an H699. That is one half second of thrust and several seconds of glide to altitude. Dual deployment set for Drogueless at Apogee and Main at 700’ he just barely cleared that with recorded altitude of just over 900’. Lou won the prang award on his “I” flight with “Katie’s Purple People Eater”, no ejection at apogee lead to shovel recovery seconds after impact. Well at least you scored 8 feet of 5.5” tubing this weekend to replace it with. Can’t wait to see what you turn into. Mark H returned Sunday morning as well as President Bob. Mark and Bob combined for a Bakers Dozen flights. Bob flew his Sport 2.5 on an I211 and Mark managed to get twelve flights in finally flying the Porta Potty although the Midway Kids were long gone by then. Several others showed up for Sunday including Ted Warne, who managed seven flights with two rockets, an AGM-12 and a Polaris. While Steve and Nick Ramberg managed 20 flights to include an Q-Modeling Mars Snooper upscale. They also managed to recover the Richter Recker they lost last month in the trees west of the field. While the upper section is in need of major repairs the lower section looked pretty good despite being hung like a Christmas ornament for almost a month. Jarod T, Logan F, Kelby M, Jarret B, Ethan H, Ben and Jake were also on hand and combined to launch about twenty flights between them. Logan had a very nice Twister Rocket that spits the motor at apogee and helicopters down. It was a great flight and really cool recovery. Jed Duty also showed up with four rockets and managed to fly them all. Brian L and Daniel V rounded out the Sunday fliers, sending up some interesting rockets with passengers included. Although Woody (Toy Story) was scheduled for a flight, he got off at ignition and landed on the ground under the rod. I think he had last minute doubts about the safety of flight and just opted out. Buzz Lightyear would have stuck it out, no doubt about it. I would have to say, that 100 fliers, 270 Flights with 300 motors, 9500ns total impulse, would make this years Wheatchex a complete and total success, thanks for the opportunity to serve as your Co-Launch Director and thanks for the help Bob. I am looking forward to our next scheduled launch on November 1st. Since it is a Halloween Theme or more Technically All-Saints day themed lets see some unusual rockets and hope to see you all there. Motor Breakdown: 1/2A(10); A(36); B(38); C(97); D(34); E(48); F(18); G(8); H(6); I(7); J(1) Joe

Posted by bobble at June 11, 2008 2:48 PM

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