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Mark Howe Launch Report

April 13, 2009

Here's my brief report on the Sat 04/11 SPARC 2009 kick-off launch. Arrived on-site at 8:40AM and was greeted by rain. As the day progressed the rain turned to showers, then disappeared completely. Launching in the late morning and afternoon was cloudy but fine. Ray & Krys and their mobile home were already on site when I arrived. Jim Jopson was next, followed by Jeff Halstead (the launch director) and Bob Y. Unfortunately I was "takin' care of business" for my company and tied up on a conference call...was not able to join the crew for schmoozing until 9:50. We had a respectable turnout considering the morning weather conditions. We only put up one model pad saw-horse, and didn't bother with setting up a pair of mid-power and a single high power pad until very late morning when we were pretty sure the weather was turning in our favor. I believe Bret Simpkins made the furthest trek to the launch site, and also put up the biggest rocket/motor combinations. (I think he flew an "I" on at least 3 occasions). I preferred to stay in "model land" for the day. Brought 27 rockets with me, but only managed to get 11 in the air. Here is the breakdown, in order: 01) Estes "Invader" Glider clone on an A8-3. Not much of a glide...in fact, it pretty much did a power prang into the ground, with no resulting damage. The engine ejected further than the glider went! This prompted Bob Y to move his new truck to a "safer" distance from the model launch pads. 02) Estes "Rock-It" on a D12-5. The crepe paper streamer I used as wadding fouled the chute. It came in a little hard and broke a fin on landing. 03) Sunward "Box Racer" on B6-4. This was my first Sunward kit, and the fin assembly formed a box around the bottom of the rocket. It was a pretty non-descript flight. 04) Edmonds "Geminee" dual gliders on a 1/2A3-2T. First flight for these small gliders...I've flown the upscale version on "D's" many times before. They both glided in the same direction, which is unusual, as most often than not my dual gliders take off in opposite directions. They glided straight back towards the flight line and one managed to hit Lou's truck. No damage to the truck, but upon returning home I noticed the nose strut on the glider was cracked and needed a minor repair. 05) Semroc/Estes "Gyroc" clone on a 1/2A6-2. Helicopter recoveries are one of my favorites...though I heard someone say it looked more like a drill than a helicopter during its' descent. 06) Estes modified "36 D-Squared" on a cluster of two D12-5's. I stretched this kit by 8"...and renamed it the "44DD", The two D combo got it off the pad in a hurry...it turned in a great flight. 07) Semroc/Estes "Golden Scout" clone on a 1/2A6-2. Never paint a 6" rocket totally gold/brown when you're flying in a wheat field! I thought I had a good line on it, but after 20min could not find it. Ray came out and we spent another 20 min looking. Finally more reinforcements arrived (Jim, Bob, Jeff...) and it was located rather quickly. Thanks guys! 08) Scratch built "Howitzer" a 2-stage bird using a C6-0 to C6-7 combo. This was my sons' design. It went a little squirrely off the pad, but held together. Thanks to the many eyes that were tracking it (I didn't see a darn thing) it was recovered without incident in the far west farmers field. Thanks to Jim for supplying the GPS tracker and Bob for taking the long walk with me. 09) Custom "Triton-X" on a B6-4. A rather non-descript flight 10) Estes "Der Red Max" on a C6-7. Winds were starting to pick up...more drift than I would have liked. 11) Estes "Terrier Sandhawk" on an AT E18-4W 24mm RMS. Nice flight with good boost, but it did sustain a small ΒΌ" zipper on the top tube. With the winds picking up some of my odd-ball rockets (such as the port-a-potty, decafineator, and frick&frack saucers) were grounded. I'm pretty sure I managed to put up more rockets than Joe Cooney for once, but only because he was unable to attend the full-day session. The good news is that I already have 16 rockets prepped for the Mothers' Day weekend launch, which is a 2-day event (May 9th & 10th). Saw some new faces and some old faces that had not been around for awhile. Some other familiar faces were noticeably absent. :( That wraps it up...I told ya I'd keep it short this time! Best regards, Mark W. Howe

Posted by bobble at 5:38 AM | Comments (0)


Jeff Halstead Launch report

Although we got a soggy start, SPARC fliers kicked off the 2009 season yesterday at Emerson's field. While most of the crowd was comprised of our old crew, we were graced by visitits from a few families. Bret Simpkins and his son drove up from the Tri Cities to wow us with his beautiful scratch-built birds. Showing up between and after soccer games, Joe Cooney for once took a second place to Mark Howe in number of birds lofted. Mark flew consistently from beginning to end and had 11 flights. As the day progressed, the cloud ceiling finally raised to an elevation to allow Bret's high-power rockets to fly. For most of the day, though, we were lauching model rockets. Here is the impulse breakdown: A - 12 B - 14 C - 8 D- 8 E- 8 F - 2 I - 3 SPARC's next launch will be a two-day affair May 9 and 10. We're all hoping for better weather for that weekend. Jeff Halstead April Launch Director

Posted by bobble at 5:35 AM | Comments (0)