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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 June 7, 2010 5:15 AM

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