« May 2011 | Main | October 2011 »


Alan Roberts June Launch report

June 15, 2011

The following is my launch report for the Midway Elementary School Launch on Friday 6/10 and the SPARC launch on Saturday 6/11. Friday 6/10 It was such fun to see the kids and their rockets for the Midway Elementary School launch. Boundless energy and excitement is the best way to describe things. For those of you that have not attended this event before, you really should put it on your “to do list” and tap into some of that youthful energy. I managed to get in 3 flights all off the rails. My first flight was a LOC –ISIS flying on a F40-9T. I was rushing to get the white and black checkered paint job done after work this past week to poor effect. The white base coat was fine but the masking job was less than perfect and then the black came out of the rattle can like syrup so the result was rocket that I named “Bad Paint Job”. Of course any paint job looks good from a distance so it looked just fine to me on the pad. The flight was uneventful with a good straight boost on a green flame and deployment at apogee. Recovery was easy but the paint job looked just as bad as it did before the flight. My second flight of the day was my red and white Binder Design Excel flying on an H180W with a medium delay. This is the same bird and motor that I did my level 1 on last year and is named “Just a Level 1”. The flight was a clone of my level 1 flight with about 2,300’, apogee deployment, and recovery close to the pads (did I say how much I like no wind when flying high power). My third flight was my LOC Hi-Tech flying on a G78-7G. I have flown this one previously on G and H motors. Its yellow paint job (with primer grey fin can) lends it the name “Screaming Yellow Zonkers”. The flight was straight and true again however the deployment was a bit shorter of apogee than I would like to see. I brought my BBQ out in my utility trailer so folks could cook dogs and burgers with a few lessons learned: • Burgers and dogs are popular so perhaps we need a BBQ at future launches • Too many people in the back of my utility trailer overbalances it with things (including the BBQ) moving quite quickly • Joe Cooney is faster on his feet than he looks (see above) • Tomatoes prepped for hamburgers that hit the ground clean-up just fine (also see above) Saturday 6/11 As previous reports have mentioned the skies were not cooperative at the start of the day but we had good intel being relayed from Ann Yanecek who was watching the radar loop at home and keeping us focused on the nice weather behind the storm cell that had us questioning our sanity at the start of the day. It turned out that the radar loop was correct and the day turned beautiful with very light winds and all around favorable rocket conditions. My first flight of the day was the second flight of the aforementioned LOC ISIS named “Bad Paint Job”. This time I bumped the motor up to a G40-10. Once again the poor paint job did not hurt the performance as the flight was straight and high. The delay was probably about a second too long and while the rocket was recovered fine, there was slight damage to the fin can coupler where the recovery harness quick link hit it with some enthusiasm. It’s an easy fix (certainly easier to fix than the bad paint job) and given the rocket’s willingness to flight straight and true I may just put a small H in it for the October launch. My second flight was my LOC Hi-Tech, “Screaming Yellow Zonkers” on an H128W with a medium 10 second delay. This rocket really likes an H and so this flight was straight, high and true and, thanks to light winds, a “breeze” to recover. For my third flight I brought out my Comanche 3 with a D12-0, C6-0, C6-7. This is the third time that I have flown it with the full stack and I was hoping to keep my string of recovering all parts alive. The rocket roared off the pad and out of site. Fortunately for me I had good eyes on the ground with Ann Yanecek. recovering the main booster from the wheat, Bob Yanecek. recovering the second booster from close to the pad and Mark Vanderlip keeping his binos glued to the main rocket. For the longest time he was the only one with an eye on the main rocket until finally it got low enough for us to hear and see the gold mylar streamer with rocket firmly attached. Thanks to all for keeping the recovery streak alive on my Comanche 3! Saturday was great fun with a wide range of rockets from everyone. It seemed like we had quite a few more high power boosts than in recent past launches. Perhaps it’s my imagination and if so don’t tell me because either way I sure enjoyed the roar and power of those big motors. It was great to see some new folks at the launch and of course all of the old classics . . . . . I'm referring to the rockets of course. Great job to Bob and Dave for co-launch director duties. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Alan

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


Dave Glass June launch report

June 14, 2011

Looks like Bob beat me to the punch and hit most of the highlights, so I'll just add a few personal notes. I managed to put up six flights (thanks in part to leftovers from last launch's windy shut-down). One of my favorite rockets, Dude, Where's My Nose Cone? went up on an I161 (thanks for finding me some, Bob). As I said after the flight, "I love seeing wierd stuff in the air". Yet Another Goddard launched for the second time on a D12-3; great up part (see previous comment) but an energetic eject charge tore off a strut that the recovery system was anchored to, and the Goddard is now (ahem) history. Something Fishy flew with a video camera on on I 218R; nice video, if perhaps a bit "spinny" (not bad if you slow it down). The motor breakdown is as follows: A 6, B 5, C 22, D 16, E 7, F 2, G 4, H 3, I 9, J 2. Both J's were flown by Rob Emanuele, including the last flight of the day, a picture-perfect dual-deploy with his Yellow Boy on a J330. David Powers got in teh most flights with 10. Beautiful day, great launch (69 flights), thanks to all!

Posted by bobble at 5:42 AM | Comments (0)


Presidents June launch report

Forecast called for 50% chance of heavy rain. Web site was down so I could not post a last minute status report. I woke to bright sunshine on the hill behind the house so headed out. The launch site remained partially set-up from yesterday’s Midway event and, based on the dark clouds heading towards us, we weren’t in any rush to complete setting up the range. Before 1000, a cold drizzle started and everyone became best friends with anyone who had a tarp up. The cold drizzle lasted for less than an hour then the nasty looking cloud moved north and our weather improved dramatically resulting in a very warm afternoon of rockets. It was nice to see several fresh faces especially since the ‘old’ core group of SPARC seem to be drifting towards other priorities. Once flying got started, we continued at a steady pace until after 1700 when finally folks seemed to have enough and began packing up to head home. Rob Emanuele returned for a second day of dual deploy practice and he made it look easy with at least two very nice flights. His main deployment charge doubles as an audible locating beacon with a pronounced BOOM. While I contemplated advising a smaller charge, other than being loud, his deployment was very nice with no damage to the rocket or chute and no sign that the recovery harness hit the end of its leash before fully deploying so I kept my mouth shut. Rob also flew a Skidmark shortly after the drizzle stopped. With no worries about fire we pressed forward and it wasn’t until Dave Glass headed out to load up his rocket on the following rack that we heard the call …..”FIRE”. Dave was busy dancing around the pad and by the time help arrived, all was good except for some slight blistering on the leads to the pad. Even Dave was clueless that the low stubble was burning until the slight crackling sound caught his attention. No smoke, no visible flame, just a small blaze that found enough dry stubble to support itself. I managed to finish prepping my 29mm rocket that I had started on Friday with a 23” chute and a G40-7. I knew the 7 second delay would be short so took extra time Z-folding my Kevlar harness with multiple wraps of tape to help ease the shock when the chute deployed. Boost was good, the eject charge sounded like a SALUTE then, even with multiple binoculars searching, nothing. I immediately knew what the rest of my day would be like………….walking a dreaded GPS grid search. Limiting my search to south of Wild Rose, I zigged, zagged, and looped making sure I never retraced any of my steps. My wife Ann, our 3 dogs, and Alan Roberts searched off and on all day with only other folks lost rockets to show for our efforts. Alan got in several flights but my favorite was his perfect Comanche 3 flight. Straight up, all 3 stages recovered. We did manage to locate 5 missing Midway rockets from Friday. Kudos to Mark Vanderlip and his son for recovering 4 of them. Lou Bragg was on hand and got in a couple flights. Lou is always a big help pulling LCO duty, helping clean-up, recovery line locater, and general mentor to those around him. David Wichmann and his girlfriend drove up from Pullman to check out our site. He put up a few nice model flights and left promising to return and aim for L1. Peter Van Doren and family put up multiple flights. As they were departing, Ann was walking in from searching for my rocket with an unidentified lost rocket in her hand. The Van Doren car stopped as multiple arms extended from the windows with voices of glee that their rocket was in Ann’s hands. Ken Brown put up a nice Dual Deploy flight that also flew successfully at FITS a couple weeks ago. He draped his main chute over the fence making for trivial recovery…..cheater ;-) Dave Glass stayed busy both flying and taking on co-launch director duties. Given I was the other half of LD, and distracted searching for my missing rocket, Dave got the brunt of the work load……thanks DAVE!! His “Dude where’s my nosecone” rocket was, as always, a big hit. Very odd looking on the pad, yet boosted straight as an arrow for a blunt tipped rocket. Deborah Schopp was once again clicking pix like she had unlimited memory (I think that’s pretty close to being the truth). I look forward to reviewing what can only be a huge set of pictures. Bryon Schopp flew regularly throughout the day and more than one person was envious of his on-board screamer that announced where the rocket was no matter where it happened to be. While everyone else was diligently searching, Bryon could have walked his rocket down with his eyes closed (not recommended). Mark Vanderlip returned after his successful L1 cert on Friday and put the same rocket up 3 more times. Flights 1 and 2 were textbook with none of the ‘kick’ off the rail that we observed on Friday. Flight #3 boosted well then arced over and the “oh-no” period of dread began and continued through ballistic impact. Two different folks agreed on the line so Mark headed out only to return empty handed a while later saying “I think I need a GPS”. We got a line and began heading out. Before long we crossed the fence into waist deep thick grass. Another couple hundred feet and we were in a thick young stand of trees with multiple leg breaking downed logs buried in the underbrush. We crissed and crossed our way through the tangled thicket knowing that we were searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Other than a fresh Coyote den and a nice deer skull, I once again felt the frustration of a failed search effort. Sometime after 1700 my legs began complaining along with the back of my sun drenched neck so I headed back towards camp. Marks wife, Cindy handed me a perfectly chilled bottle of Gatoraide that did wonders to my parched system. As we packed up the range, Mark headed back out for more searching. As of this morning, he had not succeeded but was planning to once again, head out for more searching. Maybe he’ll find my rocket  That’s it for us until late October when Joe Cooney will be doing Launch Director duties for a Halloween themed launch. President Bob

Posted by bobble at 5:36 AM | Comments (0)


June launch has concluded.

June 11, 2011

From cold drizzle to hot and sunny we got started a little late but once the skies cleared, we launched till after 5 P.M. Next launch is scheduled for Saturday October 29'th. President Bob

Posted by bobble at 6:39 PM | Comments (0)