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Mark Howe Launch report

November 8, 2009

The last launch of the SPARC 2009 season has come and gone…Boooooo. It was pushed a week from the originally planned 10/31 Halloween launch…Booooo. Weather forecast was real sucky….Booooooo. It was windy all day…Booooooo. Did we have a good time anyway? You betcha’!!! While the wind was present all throughout the day, the rain never arrived, so least we were dry.
I arrived at the site ~9:15 and setup was extremely easy…especially since it was already done by the time I got there. Joe Cooney (this months’ launch sponsor) arrived earlier than planned and along with Ray (who had spent the night RV camping) had everything ready to go by the time others started arriving. The normal rabble rousers showed up, which included Dave Glass and Marty Weiser, as well as newcomers and a bunch of scouts. I only managed to put up 5 flights, but that was one more than Joe, who had numerous igniter issues throughout the day. First up was my stretched Estes “36 D-Squared”, powered by a cluster of two D12-5’s. This was a departure from my norm of starting with 1/2A motors and progressing up the ladder to larger ones. Boost was fine but the wind caught the 24” chute and took it for a long ride. It was recovered about 10 yards from the cow pen to the northeast…mostly due to the wind dragging the rocket across the newly plowed & planted winter wheat field. I lost a fin…not sure if it happen during boost (it a little wobbly near the top), or during its’ “tour” of the wheat field. Next up was my Estes “Pop-Fly”, a miniature (2’) baseball bat with a ball on top. It flew on a B4-2 with no issues. Third in line was the Sunward “Box Racer”. You’ve all heard of rockets with tubes for fins, well this model has square boxes for fins! It flew on a B6-4 and was recovered close to the pads. Joe chastised my next flight, which was an Estes “Hi-Flier” on an A8-3. Although it was not a true high flier in terms of pure altitude, I believe the height obtained was acceptable for that size motor. Joe really thought I went off the deep end when I pulled out my Estes “Scissors Wing Transport” glider for my last launch of the day. Of the 6 gliders I brought with me I figured this one would have the best chance of working in the windy conditions due to its’ wing design. Alas, the winds were too strong, and coupling that with a poor trim effort on my part since it’s last rebuild, the glide was less than optimal…more like a dive bomber that didn’t pull up in time. No damage was done, so once it’s re-trimmed I’ll try I again. Joe made a huge pot of chile that most fliers and spectators sampled (or in some cases gorged themselves). Joe also performed most of the LCO duties, although Marty and I did take a turn of two while he was away on recovery missions. Taylor, a teen whose been to a few launches this year, started his NARTREK journey, but missed capturing his streamer duration requirement by I believe a scant .61 seconds. Better luck in the spring! We had one large “I” powered bird auger into the southeast of us…the “thud” of impact was heard by all present. Tsolo put a few in the sky, including the first SkidMark motor flown at a SPARC launch…love those motors, but there’s no way they can be used during the Summer months around here… The brothers from Oregon who showed up in their old Plymouth “feather” Duster seemed to have 2 rockets on every rack that was flown…their glider fleet, along with most of mine, was grounded by the weather. I don’t think Ray put up any flights, and neither did PreidentBob who was only on-site for about 1.5 hours. We also had a visit from the newlyweds…Katie & Lou Bragg. The highlight flight of the day hands down was Marty’s Halloween themed “Jack O’Cooney”. Which looked like a squatting skeleton with a Pumpkin head. Check out the pictures on the NWR site. With a head full of candy that was dispersed to the remaining crowd when the chute deployed, it was truly a work of art. Teardown started ~2:20PM and we were all on our way by 2:50. See ya next year!!! Regards, Mark W. Howe (509-981-5200)

Posted by bobble at November 8, 2009 1:50 PM


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