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Alan Roberts launch report

April 21, 2010

This is the first time that I have posted a launch report so please bear with this neophyte. First many thanks to Jeff for stepping up to Launch Director duties so we could have a launch and many thanks to Joe for accurately forecasting a beautiful day even in the face of steady drizzle and cloud cover at the start of the day. Great job guys! My first launch of the day was my Level 1 Certification attempt. My rocket for this attempt was a Binder Design Excel that I modified slightly to a “zipperless” design by swapping out the payload tube and the fin can tube (not sure why they don’t design it this was from the start). The motor (not an engine for those that demand correctness) was an H180-W with a medium delay. Many thank to Bob Y for helping out with the ground tests on the ejection charge. We calculated 10 grains as the proper charge and had two successfully ground tests at that size. Of course, nerves being what they are I upped the charge to 15 grains the day of the launch. The rocket simulated out at 2,300 feet and called for an 11 second delay for an apogee deployment. The launch went smoothly with a straight and true flight. Deployment was without problem but about 1 second after apogee suggesting that the flight was very close to simulation. Recovery was made a short distance from the pads with no damage and full motor retention. Needless to say I am very excited that I can now begin to spend money on high power at a much faster rate! I’m already searching for an “I” reload for the Mothers Day launch. My second launch of the day was a Comanche 3 on a C12-0, C6-0, C6-7. I was only going to fly it as a two-stage but quickly caved to the peer pressure and loaded all three stages. This was my fourth attempt on a Comanche 3 with all previous attempts resulting in only partial recovery. Today was indeed my lucky day with a smooth stable flight and recovery of the main rocket as well as the two booster stages. Perhaps I should call it good and retire this rocket with a “Mission Completed” sign under it. On second thought I think I’ll put a bigger load in it for the Mother’s Day launch and see just how lucky it really is. My third and last launch of the day was an LOC Hi-Tek on a G78-7G. This rocket was my back up L1 certification attempt bird in case things did not go as planned with the Excel. The rocket flew straight and true on a beautiful green flame. The delay was a about 2 seconds short of apogee but caused no damage other than to my pride (It pains me to see a rocket abruptly stopped short of max height) so I will be working on delay timing for Mother’s Day. That was my launch day but the “fun” did not end there. Monday morning I flew to Seattle for business. At the airport lucky me got the random swab test of my hands for explosives which read positive (this after three showers and who know how many hand washings). Instantly I was escorted to a private room where I was interviewed by several people from TSA and Homeland Security. My first instinct is to make a joke about challenging situations so when they asked me why my hands would test positive for explosive residue I smiled and told them it was because I had been playing with explosives all weekend. Hopefully this will never happen again but if it does I can guarantee you that I won’t joke about it with the folks wearing the dark sunglasses. Lots of questions but after 30 minutes I was allowed to board my flight. Of course everyone on the flight kept a very close eye on me! Next stop GITMO. Alan Roberts

Posted by bobble at 3:55 PM | Comments (0)

Mark Howe launch report

April 19, 2010

Saw some new faces today… An elderly gentleman who lives north-west of the launch site. He’s seen our signs on Wild Rose Road over the past couple of years, and finally decided to check us out. I think he’ll be back for the Mother’s day launch. Pat Rice, who is the activities coordinator for the BSA Camporee coming up on May 22nd, also paid us a visit along with his son, Marcus. I’m pretty sure he was impressed with what he saw. He also talked to Ann Yanecek regarding the dog-sled organization which may have a booth at the Camporee. It’s still not too late to volunteer! (shameless plug for assistance). Anywho, we ended up having one heck of a launch! I was a little perturbed at the rocket/weather gods when I woke up in the morning, so I only bought a box of donut holes instead of regular donuts. I guess that, along with Joe’s promise of good weather, was enough to satisfy their hunger, because the weather continued to improve throughout the day. Kudos to everyone who helped set-up, tear-down, LCO, RSO, etc… Special thanks Jeff for being the launch director. I brought 20 rockets with me, but only managed to get 13 up in the air. Four flights were “first timers” for kits I built over the past winter: • “Protectors Of the Northern Galaxy” (P.O.N.G) which uses a ping-pong ball as the nose cone. It flew quite respectably on an 13mm A10-3 motor. • The other three first-timers all used 18mm motors. o “Daddy Long legs” on a B6-4…flight was OK but it really needs a “C”. o “S.L.V.” on a B6-4…chute did not open was no damage was incurred. o “Interplanetary Shuttle” on a C6-5. I stretched this kit by 9”, and there was a ton of nose weight, so a C6-3 would have been more appropriate. My two glider flights did not fair too well, but it was a bit breezy. (this prevented me from even trying my 2-stage “D” gliders): • Edmonds “Gemini” on a 13mm A3-4T. This is a recommended motor but the 4 second delay is just too long for the dual gliders. Next time I’ll go with an A10-3. It’s first flight on a 1/2A3-2 last year was perfect. • Estes “Shuttle Express” on a B6-2 with two parasite gliders. This kit is a piece of crap… This was the 4th flight of this rocket and the mini-gliders acted more like Kamikaze dive bombers…time to add even more tail weight! If you like gliders, I would suggest you stick with anything produced by Edmonds Aerospace. Managed to get in two Alpha-III test flight for possible use the BSA Camporee on 05/22 (volunteers anyone?? ). The 18mm 1/2A6-2 performed better than the 13mm 1/2A3-2T, but as the prez would say there was definitely no “woohoo” factor. Both flights were well under 100’ which is a requirement for the Camporee. I flew my 2-stage saucer (A Flis Kits “Frick & Frack”) on a C6-0 to C6-0 combination. This was its’ 3rd flight. The best of the 3 being a B6-0 to C6-0 combo. My “Gyroc” clone by Semroc flew on a 1/2A6-2…next time I’ll bump it up to an A8-3. I do like the helicopter-drill recovery method of this old Estes kit clone. Another clone I put in the air was a remake of the Centuri “Point”. It’s basically a motor recessed into a cone, which acts as a megaphone. You’ll never heard a “C” motor sound this loud, unless it explodes! My two mid-power flights of the day were: • Estes Maxi-Force on a cluster of three D12-7’s • Aerotech “Mirage” on a 29mm RMS G64-4W. I was worried this one might go into the strand of trees to the northwest of the field, but I was safe by about 10 yards. So, no lost rockets and no broken rockets…at least on my part. Can’t say the same for some of the other members who experienced motor CATO’s and motor ejection failures… I’m sure my time is coming.  Looking forward to Mother’s Day weekend! Regards, Mark W. Howe

Posted by bobble at 7:35 AM | Comments (0)

Joe Cooney launch report

April 18, 2010

Well the April Launch is in the books and the SPARC Flying Season is under way. Thanks goes out to Jeff Halstead for doing a superb job of getting us started. The weather started out wet but Jim Jopson’s coffee was plenty strong enough to make the rain go away. Set up started around 0900 and I got things going with Orange Tango Jam (AeroTech Sumo), on an H165R. Great boost strong ejection nice landing minus a motor casing. All in all I got 13 flights in, 2(H's), 2(G's), 1(F), 4(E Cluster's), 2(E's) and 2(C's) for approximately 1120ns. I also had four guest flights on two of my birdie rockets. The 13mm Biride was fairly stable and produced good flights, the 18mm was more show than go. I also suffered an E9-8 Cato in my 4 motor cluster, LOC Starburst named Shakedown Street . Although the rocket did clear the pad and the chute deployed for a smokey landing. I flew enough rockets to find my missing case late in the day, unfortunately I lost another case, this time my LOC Aura spit its case on a G64-10. That case is still out there in the field somewhere, falling from about 4000 feet. I guess I will resume the search in May. I hope to see you all for the Mother's Day Launch coming soon to a wheat field near you. Joe

Posted by bobble at 8:10 AM | Comments (0)

Jeff Halstead launch report

April showers may bring May flowers, but today it brought an afternoon of great launch weather. As SPARC members gathered at Emerson's field before 9 a.m. this morning, rain fell and temperatures hovered in the high 40's. Jim Jopson's motor home became the staging area for coffee, doughnuts, and conversation. About 15 minutes after 9 a.m., the rain stopped, and Joe Cooney, the Weather Man (no relation to the terrorist group we hope), hustled us out of Jim's motor home to set up. Weather Man Cooney predicted clear skies and 65 degrees by the afternoon. As the launch day progressed, the weather improved as predicted. About two dozen people attended today's launch -- reasonable by April standards, but that doesn't mean the day was without drama. Probably the biggest loss of the day was David Glass's "Goddard's Ghost," a near scale model of one of the great rocket scientist's creations. Dave may be the Northwest's most creative rocket builder, and "Goddard's Ghost" was a good as any we have seen. Dave suspects an overly greased forward closure kept the ejection powder from igniting, resulting in no chute deployment and destruction of the rocket. "Goddard's Ghost" appears to be aptly named, since at this time, it may be communing with the specter of Mr. Robert Goddard himself. Joe Cooney was nearly dethroned from his title as SPARC's most compulsive rocket flier. Joe commonly begins lofting rockets before any of us arrive at Emerson's field. Today, though, he had serious competition. Joe scored 13 flights, as did Mark Howe. Due to igniter problems, both left rockets on the pads at the end of the day, so Joe is still secure in his title. David Powers, though, was one rocket behind both of them with 12 flights to his credit. Nearly all flights were low powered, with no I or J motors posted. Here is the record of motor use by impulse: A - 7 B - 8 C - 31 D - 12 E - 15 F - 2 G - 4 H - 6 As we broke down the launch equipment, Joe's forecast had become a reality. Blue skies and temperatures in the high 60's prevailed. Can Joe pull this off again? We'll see come Mother's Day weekend, when Weather Man Jim Cooney is the launch director for SPARC's May launch. Faithfully reporting, Jeff Halstead, April Launch Director

Posted by bobble at 8:04 AM | Comments (0)

April launch concluded

April 17, 2010

The first launch of the season is now history. I left home this morning with moderate rain falling. Soon after 0900 the remaining drizzle fizzled and conditions only improved as the day progressed with steady flights until around 1600 when we packed up and headed home. Next launch is Mothers Day Weekend with Joe Cooney as Launch Director. President bob

Posted by bobble at 5:07 PM | Comments (0)