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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 April 21, 2010 3:55 PM

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