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Mark Howe Boy Scout launch/event report

May 24, 2010

Thanks to the BSA for inviting SPARC to participate in an unusually large and exciting scouting event this past weekend. . It’s been estimated that ~5,000 scouts and their families attended the affair. The SPARC contingent consisted of Joe Cooney, Dave Glass, the Luders (Dave, Teresa and son Brian) and me, with a short appearance from Bob Yanecek. We requested and received a 10’x10’ indoor booth for a large static rocket display (from model to high power), and the Luders provided a laptop based projector system that showed High Power launch videos all day. The initial booth setup was done on Friday by Joe, Dave Luders and Bob. Everyone was there around 7:30 on Saturday morning to complete the display. Our booth was located next to the “rocket building area”, which was manned by six Air Force Volunteers who mentored scouts in the assembly of model rocket kits. ~200 rocket kits and motors were donated by various organizations for the event. There were 12 building areas, so each mentor worked with two scouts at a time. As soon as a scout got up from a chair with his completed rocket another scout immediately took his seat. At times the line for each chair was 4 deep! The Air Force crew deserves a lot of credit. All six of them worked continuously from the start of the event until they ran out of kits, which was around 3PM. Not only were the scouts able to build rockets, they were able to launch them as well. The launch area was located in the parking lot behind the steam engine. We set the range up on Saturday morning and converted it for 24 model pads instead of our usual 12 model, 6 mid-power, and 6 high power arrangement. (Thanks to Joe for building the additional 24 pads). Since we were so close to Felts airfield we were limited to a 300’ ceiling and restricted to launching every 30min (at the top and bottom of the hour). All of the rockets built were “Estes Generic E2X” kits (available only in bulk packs) and were flown on A8-3’s. Software simulations placed the expected altitude to be ~260’, but I think most went a tad higher. Launches started at 10AM and a total of 131 flights were logged for the day. We assume that a number of scouts built the rockets but decided to take them home instead of flying. Our busiest launch window had 18 models, our least-busy had 3. To meet the short launch window requirements “drag races” were performed all day…up to 6 rockets (a full rack) were launched simultaneously each time, which made recovery very interesting. All of the parachutes had spill holes cut into them to reduce drift, but a number of them still managed to drift into other activity areas due to the wind. We experienced practically every kind of weather throughout the day…sun, wind, drizzle, rain, even some “semi-hail” (frozen slush), and flew through it all! There were ~150 booths & events for the scouts to see and experience. Our neighbors to the north of our launch site along the fairgrounds fence consisted of Paintball, Water Bottle rockets, Hatchet Throwing, and Archery, just to name a few. Many people inquired about where to buy model kits, and a fair number of SPARC club fliers disappeared so I’m hoping to see some new faces at our upcoming launches! Regards, Mark W. Howe

Posted by bobble at 5:45 AM | Comments (0)

Joe Cooney Boy Scout launch/event report

May 10, 2010

Well the launch is officially over and in the books. Next up is the Boy Scout Jamboree and then June 5th & 6th launch. The weekend started out as cloudy with winds from the NNE, making it hard to decide where and how to set up the flightline. The weather was definitely weird to say the least, winds started out from the NNE and slowly throughout the day went completely around from the east, and then the south, then from the west and finally back to where they started from. Clouds and rain threatened all day and flying was interrupted for about 30 minutes, while we experienced rain, sleet and finally hail. This all gave way to clear skies and great flying weather. Bob arrived on site at about 0903, trailer in tow. Three flights off Dave Powers' launch pad were already in the books. Once the range was set, flying began in earnest. Nick & Jack Egan who came along to watch there Dad's level 1 attempt, started out the official flying day with Quest RTF rockets. All in all Saturday had 20 fliers putting up 93 flights. There was 111 motors used from 1/2A to an I161 with a total impulse of 3172ns (Small "L"). Mark Howe, Joel Phillips and I managed to wear out the launch equipment, Mark with 12 flights held a slight lead when he decided it was time to pack up and go home. After the short rain delay I kicked it in high gear and managed 22 flights all with a bum ankle. I greatly appreciated and would like to thank all the people who brought some of my rockets back. I loaded my recently restored Estes Black Brandt II with a D12-5 and walked out to the pad, that's when I realized I never installed a launch lug. Thankfully Bob had his tower set up and the BT-55 bird slid in nicely. So, thanks to Bob, I managed my first tower flight. Joel finished with 11 flights and we spent the last hour of flying mostly drag racing rockets, although there were instances were only one rocket launched. Joel got credit for the last rocket flight of the night, some time after I left at 6:30pm. Mark had some good flights but his Edmunds 2 stage Thunder had to be one of the best. Both gliders were recovered safely. Some of the highlights of the day; we had a three rocket CC Express drag race, all parts were recovered. Dave Glass showed up with a rocket built from 5.5" tubes he picked up from Lou Bragg, who got them from me, who got them from our friends from BMR a few years earlier. Dave didn't get a nose cone so he went with out and created a classic called, "Dude, Where's My Nose Cone", the rocket flew great with minor fin damage on recovery. Marty Weiser managed a 7' high glider flight. Marty also won the closest to the pad award, when the glider rolled over and landed safely at the base of the pad. Lou finally got his first flight with his old reliable Estes Patriot on a D12-5. We also had Brian Egan, attempting Level 1 with a very nicely constructed 4" upscale of the Flis Kit Spitfire. Unfortunately a motor malfunction prevented the successful completion of the flight. Hopefully Brian will be back with another attempt soon. His other son Wesley flew a nice Aerotech Sumo on a G64-4, against mine, named "Orange Tango Jam" on a H97J-M. Wesley easily took me off the pad, as the Black jack motors take some time to light. But as Wesley was entering burnout mine was coming up to pressure. I easily over took him as the Orange Tango Jam screamed by. Both flights were safely recovered just a little south of the flightline. All in all Saturday had just about every wind and weather pattern one could expect, but what a great day for flying. Sunday was supposed to be the better day weather wise and in the morning it was just that. Light winds with clear skies; I decided I would start the day off with my first "I" motor flight. I loaded my stubby 4" scratch built ugly painted, "Little Nemo in Nightland" with an I211. The launch was great as the little rocket screamed on a tail of fire. I had a nice launch photo but forgot to reinstall the memory card and so it was lost forever. We managed 8 fliers for Mother's Day and although early morning conditions made for good flying, things just didn't hold up. Winds picked up later in the day and pretty much grounded us from flying. I did managed to fly several Estes Goonybird clones, and finally decided to launch my LOC onyx named Peggy-O on a G53-10. The flight was nice but recovery was a little hazardous. I managed to land in the cow pasture. When I got closer I noticed that every time the chute inflated and the rocket moved a small stampede of cows (2 or 3) could be seen running away. I managed to get the rocket back but the cows regrouped and the fin was left in the coral. Unfortunately for Doug Phillips he managed to do what I have tried to do for years. During the drag race, his Mustang was last seen under chute and then lost. A massive search turned up nothing. Sunday flying was cut short and by the time I returned with my Onyx, those back at the flightline made the decision to tear it down. So the launch came to an end with a few broken rockets and one lost to the winds. For the weekend we had 20 different fliers, who put up 119 flights, and used140 motors with a total impulse of 4888ns (large "L" motor). I would like to thank everyone who made this launch possible and for everybody who came out and flew.

Posted by bobble at 6:54 AM | Comments (0)

Whitworth launch report

May 6, 2010

What is a college education? Whitworth college physics program offers a rocket class every other year and this was an ‘on’ year. The students are provided with a supply of 29mm SU G-impulse motors. Their objective: Design and build a thrust stand, measure thrust characteristics of various motors, build a stock rocket kit (airframes varied from 38mm to 4” diameter), predict max altitude (no commercial software allowed), fly the rocket with a recording altimeter, and then report on the differences between theory and reality. Class size was approximately 15 students where only one had ever built/flown a rocket before. So, what did they learn? Weather plays a significant role in a rocket launch (had to postpone twice due to wind/rain). Copperheads earn their ‘crapperhead’ reputation, but attention to detail (careful installation, clean clips, diligent hook up) allow them to work just fine. Spare igniters are always a good idea. A freshly charged battery works better than the one you’ve been using all quarter. Launch lugs vs. rail buttons coupled with rods vs. rails for launch stability. Friction fit, means motor needs to be tighter than N/C + laundry (result could be either lawn dart or flat spin (they demonstrated both)). Thrust rings need to be secure or motor can push up into the airframe and both lift the rocket off the pad and burn the airframe in half before getting back to the ground. PerfectFlite data transfer cable will break if you pull on the wires instead of the connector. Laptop screens need to be in the shade before they ‘work’. Dog barf sounds funny but works well. You can take a bazillion pix of a rocket on the pad if/when an igniter fails. It’s easy to over write files when downloading data from multiple altimeters. Needle nose pliers don’t work well for pulling out spent motors. 5 minute epoxy takes longer than 5 minutes to repair a loose fin. Vern Knowles makes it look easy (I loaned them a couple DVD’s). Rocket are cool, fun, educational, and exciting. While they experienced multiple anomalies, they also had several successful flights and returned to campus with gobs of data to analyze. President bob

Posted by bobble at 7:18 PM | Comments (0)

Launch dates 2010

May 3, 2010

2010 membership is now at 17. We have one launch in the books and 4 remaining launch dates identified. Jeff Halstead served as launch director on Saturday April 17. Bob Yanecek will assist Whitworth Physics class with a Class-1 only launch. Due to poor weather on 4/27 and 5/4, this launch has been slipped a third time to Thursday May 6'th. Joe Cooney will perform launch director duties for a 2-day Mother Day weekend (5/8-9), June 5-6 (Wheatchex), and also a Halloween themed launch on October 30. Midway Elementary has opted to skip rocketry this year. SPARC will also be hosting a booth at the Spokane Fairgrounds on May 22'nd in support of the 100 year anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. president bob

Posted by bobble at 4:32 PM | Comments (0)