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Wheatchex report Lou Bragg

June 9, 2008

Wheatchex 08 was a three day deal with Friday being primarily for Midway Elementary stundent launching. I wasn't able to make it but I heard that the kids had a great time and got to see some really neat demo flights.
Saturday started out nice but rapidly deteriorated. Undaunted, I loaded up the truck and headed out. Arrived on site around 9 am to a fully set up range but no flying. Most of the attendees were huddled around the fire barrel. Eventually Mark Lyons decided we were at a rocket launch and put something up. He was followed by Joe Cooney and Mark Howe. After more BSing I took off with Bob to retrieve some motors for tomorrow and then headed home. Sunday morning was quite nice but a little breezy. Not enough to keep me away though. I had some flying to do! Arrived on site about 8:50 am in time to see Bob load up his Sport 2.5 in his tower. I got my Patriot ready for the D rung of the Alphabet Ladder, setting it up with a D12-5. I LCOed this round and both of our flights went off without a hitch. Bob got somewhere around 3K with a very nice boost and great dual deploy recovery. My Patriot ripped off the pad as usual and returned under streamer. D rung complete! I got it back and reloaded for the E rung...with an E-28T! I asked the crowd for help tracking and after a failed ignition it lit and pretty much disappeared. No real flame and not much tracking smoke made it hard to track. With no deployment heard I wrote it off as lost. A little while later I was scanning the field with binocs and I spied Joel Phillips holding something red and white. Could it be? Yes! According to them they were out looking for another rocket and they heard the streamer fluttering and saw it come down within a few feet. Woohoo! E rung complete! Had second thoughts about using the F21 in it now. So I loaded up Some Spare Parts with an F52-8T. Nominal flight with an easy recovery. F Rung complete! Loaded up a G64-9W in SSP for G rung. Ripping boost with recovery a little further out but not bad. G rung complete! Got it back and started prepping for H rung. I was using Hobgoblin and was going to fly it on an H669 Warp 9 motor(Thanks Joe!). Got it prepped in about an hour and put out on the pad. Had a hard time arming the electronics since the arming switch is about 8 feet above the ground which coincidentally is about the limit of my reach when standing. Got it armed though and retreated to the flight line to watch the flight. After pressurizing we all heard what sounded like a gunshot and then watched my rocket coast all the way up to 914'. Dual deploy worked well with the main deploying about 2 seconds after apogee with the 700 foot charge. H rung complete with my lowest dual deploy flight! If I had more time I would have put it up again on an I211 for I rung but it was not to be today. Katie showed up a few minutes later and I decided I should put up Katie's Purple People Eater on an I357T. Easy prep with a few people looking on and out to the pad. Great ignition and boost but that is where the good part ends. We watched it arc over and pick up speed. No deploy with a screaming lawn dart just behind the flight line. Almost hit Katie's car. That would not have been good! It hit and crumpled rapidly until the fin can hit the nose cone base and it popped apart in a shower of purple cardboard. Not much left except the rail buttons, fins, and motor case. Decided to call it a day after that and helped with range tear down. Got home around 6:00pm. All in all a good weekend even with the cruddy weather. Looking forward to the next one, Lou Bragg

Posted by bobble at June 9, 2008 9:29 AM

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