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David Powers launch report

June 10, 2010

I would like to thank Mark for his gracious understated "a few unstable" comment. It was not my most successful day in many ways including a Wheat Field Hat Trick. • Space Plane o I started the day with what had to have been the most interesting launch of the day. It was my Space Plane from May which I decided was under powered on the C6 motor. I modified the plane and built a booster for it to up the power. It was unsuccessful to say the least. I launched from A1 with a D12-0/C6-5 combination. It came off the rod at 100+ mph and immediately crashed under B6, with pieces flying in all directions. The funny thing was after it drove itself into the ground the C6-5 motor went off and the rocket plane jumped up off the ground into the sky, with what was left of its nose cone crammed into the front. The upper tail section was missing and one elevator was missing, but it went straight up about 50-100' or so. After the motor stopped it can down at a steep angle but landed on the parachute which came out 10' off the ground. I am not sure why it immediately went into a dive (it didn't go 2 " above the end of the rail). Isn't that an indication that it was nose heavy? Which it wasn't. I wonder if it got stuck on the rail. I was tempted to try launching what was left of the plane again, without the booster but I did not. • Paper Boy o It launched beautifully on a C6-5. It is a rocket I made from Butch Paper. It went straight up, maybe 800 or 900', and came down (a little too fast) on a streamer and landed not 100' north of the launch stand. I don't know why but it had a clear smoke trail all the way up, even while it was coasting. It broke two fins off on the landing. Not surprising considering that they were only glued onto butcher paper. I glued them back on and launched it again as my last launch of the day. I added some streamer to try and slow its return. The Second launch was on a C6-7. It went even better, straighter and higher. It's return wasn't so great though. It came down ballistic. My guess is the knot in the steamer where I added to the streamer got stuck on something, or I didn't pack it carefully enough. The nose cone did not come off. It landed right inline with the Launch pad, about 50' to the West. Bye Bye nose cone, but otherwise it seems OK. I am going to build a 24mm version for the October launch. • Bunker Buster o This was a squat little, very solid rocket that started out life to be a motor mount for a larger rocket, but, I turned it into a rocket instead. I set the angle wrong on the launch rod, too angled to the North. It flew great on an E9-6, the streamer came out, and it came down at a reasonable speed. It landed in the middle of the wheat field where the wheat was knee high. I did not find it. It was no great loss, though I would have liked the nose cone back. . Too Slim It lived up to its name. It was the XR-3C from the May launch, but, shorten by 4" and the fins narrowed. The fins were too narrow and it as cork screwing. It turned with the wind, and went nearly as lateral as up. It was on a E9-8 and went a long way. I also never found it. It had had a long and mostly successful life so its no big loss, though I would have liked the parachute back. It will be easy to build another, and better one, if the urge should strike. • Sextet o Not a good design, it was better with only four fins. It was what I called Tiny Tin for the May launch, it launched nicely then on D motors. I had removed the aluminum foil and added two small fins between two of the four fins. It was not wildly unstable, just some kinking around. I launched on a D12-7 instead of an E9-8, because I didn't want to lose it. Which I did. It was lost three in a row. It wasn't even in the wheat field, it was open stubble, and I still couldn't find it. Not sure if it would have flown better with the E9 I designed it for, though I doubt it. It kind of cut into my launches losing my three primary rockets on their first launches. • Glider o The wind stopped completely so I set my glider up for launch, 2 seconds before it launched the wind came back. It launched on a B4-2. It still went up OK, but it turned into the wind;was up about 50-100'. The glider looked like the wind was pushing it down (which it turns out it was not). It landed on the edge of the wheat field, which was likely a good thing since it was coming down fairly steeply. I launched it a second time just before I left in the evening calm, also on a B4-2. The boost was beautiful, straight up maybe 300-400'. It came down ballistic, like a rocket who's chute didn't open. It was in three pieces (its back together for the October launch). The patching I did with grain filler made it too heavy. I put the grain filler on the wing and filled the hole the motor burned into the wing during the May launch. I think it must have also lost the tail ballast weigh on the first launch. • Toothpick Charlie Too o This was my small rocket with fins made out of toothpicks. This version had more toothpicks, and an X-fin configuration. It launched better than in the May, but still needs work. Launched on a C6-5. It turned into the wind and was cork screwing. The delay was too long, it only got to 50 -100'. Discharge was only a blink before it hit the ground, no time to slow down. At least it didn't drive the nose cone inside. Broke two of the "fins" and put a pretty good dent in one side of the top. But version 3 will fly in October. That was about it for me. David

Posted by bobble at 5:14 AM | Comments (0)


Joe Cooney WHEATCHEX launch report

June 7, 2010

Another Launch has come and gone and Saturday's weather couldn't be beat! Thanks to all who helped set up and tear down, especially to Mark who did most of the set-up, while I raced home to retrieve the Battery cord that Bob sent me in the mail. Left it right there on the table, where it had been sitting since arriving a week or so ago. I also want to thank Doug and Joel Phillips and young Mathew for spending the night. They alone saved the day by not having to tear down the range on Saturday night. Due to the winds coming form the south and the height of the Wheat to the north, I decided to set up as far south as possible and still be on Emerson's land. Saturday we had a total of 25 fliers and a fair bit more spectators, as we seemed to have cars stretching from one end of the flightline to the other. The Egan family got things off to a fine start on Saturday, with 4 flights on the first rack. Jack got things going with his Viking launched four times throughout the day on C6-3's. Amazingly he recovered the rocket each time, his brothers Nick and Wesley also got into the act. Wesley managed 8 flights with 6 Mid-Power birds, the most impressive was the two finned Vortex launched on a G71-7. It flew straight and true, no hint of corkscrews were evident. Unfortunately, their father suffered his second failure at Level 1 attempt, with an apparent motor failure. As a whole the Egan family wore out the equipment with a total of 17 flights. Chris Morlan, a co-worker of mine from Fairchild AFB came out with his slightly modified Estes Sky-Writer. The first flight was a little less than desired and actually danced across the sky leaving a trail of smoke in its wake. I helped him cut a few inches off the bottom and he re-glued the fins back on. While waiting for them to dry I offered him a few of my birds to fly. First up was a Quest Icarus, named Iko Iko, nice up and down, but Chris had purchased 24mm motors and wanted something to fly them in. So I offered up was my Maxi Icarus clone; nice boost, but the shock cord was burned through and the nose cone floated far away on a full chute. Eventually the rocket was recovered undamaged and will fly again. Well I then pulled out my Centuri Thunder Roc clone, this bird is big and flies straight as an arrow. Unfortunately for Chris, the E9-4 I supplied him with Cato'd just off the pad. A small fire was extinguished and the parts were examined. The E9-4 just split the case and tore the bottom of the rocket apart. The fins were recovered and fixing the rocket will be easy enough by removing the bottom body tube section and replacing it. Chris finished off the day by successfully launching his Sky-Writer on a C11-5. Cindy and Mark Vanderlip also put up a fare share of rockets through out the day, my favorite is the "Pool Noodle" rocket called "Hey Where's the Pool". The rocket has a great recovery system, during ejection it splits into four pieces and gently floats to the ground. David Powers brought out his assortment of eclectic rockets mostly scratch built designs, the best flight was a wild ride two stage rocket. Boost was all over the sky and then the ground and then the second stage ignited and took back off into the sky. I can't recall every seeing anything like it. Late in the day when things were winding down, a father and son showed up to see what a rocket launch was all about. Paul about 4 years old taught me a thing or two when filling out a launch card. The rocket was blue and I asked him if he knew how to spell blue, after a few seconds he looked at me and said he could just scribble some blue pen marks on the card, since it was blue too. I would never have thought that way, they were one of the few who came back out for Sunday flying. Jimmy Brokaw flew his Apogee Aspire on a G77, he said it would hit mach 1.18. Sometime soon after leaving the rod it shredded leaving pieces of confetti to float down like a ticket tape parade. I guess he was right, but the rocket just couldn't handle the transition into mach. Tsolo also joined us for the day, he put a variety of flights and ended his flying with a great flight from an unusual clustered rocket (two motors high, two motors mounted low) Flew geat and recovered nicely just east of the range. Joel Phillips and his nephew Mathew put up an impressive 23 flights on Saturday. Mathew edged Joel out with 12 flights, and he had several nice flights on Joel's X-Wing fighter from Star Wars. Joel had 11 flights total, he flew a nicely painted LOC High Tech on a H-170 and a PML Small Endeavor on a H123 as well as several models and a few Mid Power flights. While Joel may have finished third in total flights he was tops on Impulse with 783ns ("J" motor equivalent). Lou Bragg managed several flights through out the day, joined by his boxer pup. He had a several sucessful flights including the venerable Estes Patriot on a D12-7. Personally I managed 16 flights on Saturday, lost my 29mm case again out of my AeroTech Sumo (just like last launch, same case, same rocket). I hope to learn from this experience and will be replacing the motor retention on the rocket over the summer. As usual I sent up a few rockets on a lot of E9's, although my three motor cluster is currently in the needs be fixed pile. Most of my flights came later in the day, but I managed to get one in a rack when someone took over LCO duties for me. I decided to finally call it a night around 7:30 pm tired and exhausted. I awoke the next morning early and arrived at the launch site around 7 am. I prepped several rockets with E9's and set them out on the pad, after fixing a few leads I got them all in the air and started walking out to recover them. By the time I got back Mathew was awake and he helped me with a few more rockets. By 9am I activated the waiver and managed to get the first 10 flights in for the day. Basically it was Mathew, Joel and me flying rockets, since I activated the waiver I felt it necessary to launch my scratch built stubby rocket, "Little Nemo in Nightland" on an H148. I managed to bounce my 1965 Centuri Javelin when the chute stuck in the body tube. Minor damage but it will fly again hopefully successfully during the next launch. A Father and his son Brice who live across Wild Rose drove up to check things out. I lent Brice my Estes Guardian and a few motors to get into the action, and so another Rocketeer is born. Paul and his father returned and five of us (Paul, Brice, Joel, Mathew and me) flew rockets for the next hour or so. We managed 28 flights total, half of them mine. Paul launched a few smaller 13mm Estes rockets, Joel flew the Mean Machine twice but the weather just got worse and worse. It finally became apparent that rain was inevitable and tear down began around 11:30. By twelve the range was tore down and the trailer was being loaded. Bob stopped by to assist with the last rail to be put into the trailer and the launch was over. We hung around for several minutes talking and then departed leaving WheatChex behind and a long summer ahead of us. Next launch is October 30th and I hope to see you all then. Joe

Posted by bobble at 5:15 AM | Comments (0)


Mark Howe WHEATCHEX launch report

June 6, 2010

Joe Cooney, the launch director for the event arrived at the site ~8:30 on Sat with trailer in tow. I arrived next about 8:50 and Joe already had ¼ of the range setup. We got busy and pulled the rest of the gear from the trailer. At 9:15 Alan Roberts pulled in as Joe headed back to his house to pick up the connection for the PA system. Alan and I finished getting things connected and tested as people slooowly stared arriving…I was a little wary of small initial turnout, but the crowd got better as the day progressed. The entire Hollenbeck clan showed up for most of the day. Bryce recently graduated from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott AZ, where my oldest just finished his freshman year. I hadn’t seen Bryce in over 4 years. He managed to put up a couple rockets. He and his family seemed to enjoy watching the numerous flights and talking rockets. Bryce’s dad Mark, a teacher, gave SPARC fliers to his students awhile ago, as his class is going to be launching the models they built at school next week. Some of the students showed up and had a great time seeing some of the larger rockets take to the sky. It’s always nice to see some fresh new faces mixed in with the regular crowd, an there were plenty this time! The Phillips family arrived and spent the night in their camper. Joel and his young side-kick Matt put a number of birds in the air. Joel even took a turn or two at performing LCO duties, which was also done by Joe, Marty, Dave Glass, and myself. Emersons’ (our gracious land-owner) daughter and her son dropped by for a hour and two, and Nate was able to get at least one “ROCK-IT” (an Estes kit) up. Three different people had ROCK-IT kits at the event. Chris, an Air Force buddy of Joe who assisted with the large BSA event at the fairgrounds two weeks ago also came out for the day and helped Joe fly his large collection of rockets. Everything from model thru high-power. They even managed to blow-up one of Joe’s taller models when an E9 motor decided to push it’s thrust out the side instead of through the nozzle.  Dave Powers had some nice stable (and a few unstable) flights on various scratch built and kit models. Dave Glass launched his “Mini-Hooper” and “Nike Bozo” to great fanfare. Lou Bragg played with mid & high power flights all day, and Marty flew his “Mama Raccoon” on an H something or other. Tsolo was on-site for most of the day and put up some flights on some “odd-rock” type models. On the downside the Egans failed in their 2nd attempt for a L1 certification with another motor issue…back to the drawing board! I can’t remember all of the flights as there were too many to keep track of, especially since I came with the majority of my models un-prepped. Bob made an appearance for a few hours but did not fly, and Ray showed up late basically to perform courier services (drop-off and pick-up). He and Bryce did spend a bit of talking about the “research” aspect of rocketry. It was truly great weather for launching…lots of blue skies with some clouds mixed in…temperature not too hot or cold. I managed to fly 9 times, strictly low-power with the exception of one mid-power flight: • First up was an Estes Skywinder on a C6-3 with Helicopter recovery. • 2nd was a Custom Inc. Interpanetary Shuttle on a C6-3, The rocker is very heavy for its’ size and the resulting altitude was surprisingly low for a “C” in this diameter model. • 3rd was a Custom Inc P.O.N.G. on an A10-3T. It uses a ping-pong ball for the nose and tumble/small streamer recovery. • 4th was a Custom Inc S.L.V. on a B6-4 with a 12” chute. • 5th was an Estes ROCK-IT on a D12-5…it was painted with stone textured paint and recovered on a 24” chute • 6th were my Edmonds Gemini dual gliders on an un-rated A10-3T motor. Almost lost them in the wheat to the West of the launch area. Thanks to another Mark and Bob for assisting in their recovery. If you like gliders, Edmonds is the way to go! • 7th was an Estes Broadsword which was CHAD staged with a D12-0/D12-5 combination with chute recovery • 8th was an Estes Helio-Copter on a C6-3. The main body comes down on a small chute while the nose cone sprouts blades and helicopters down. The strange this about this model (I have two of them) is that the nose is pointed up towards the sky with the blades below it as it descends to the ground. • 9th and last was my stretched (to 44”) Estes 36 D-squared. It flew on a cluster of two D12-5’s. For some reason the chute did not deploy after it left the body tube. All of the fins broke off upon landing but it’s an easy fix. I wasn’t able to make today’s (Sunday) portion of the launch, but look forward to seeing the final stats from Joe, who always directs a great event. Regards, Mark W. Howe

Posted by bobble at 2:48 PM | Comments (0)