« March 2015 | Main | May 2015 »

David Powers launch report

April 21, 2015

First, thank you to Marty for a great launch. Second, thank you to Bob for bring his tower and helping me set it up properly so I could launch my Pike. It was an interesting launch for me, only three launches. Two good ones and a long walk. I loaded my Pike with an I357T-M for the first launch. It was a picture perfect straight up launch with the fins whistling all the way up, and the discharge at apogee…and recovery in the field and not in the cow pond. I now have a good stripes on the Pike if I want to add launch buttons. The wind picked up some so I reduced the thrust to an I245G-M to reduce the altitude some. I should have reduced the size of the chute too. The launch was not as straight up as the first launch, but OK. However, after the discharge the wind kept the Pike floating and floating and floating…2 hours and a 2 1/2 mile walk later I got the Pike back. I had loaded an 29mm-180 with an I165R-M for my DX3 before launching the Pike the Second time. It took so long to get my Pike back from the second launch that the launch was ending when I got back. I didn’t want to leave the motor loaded since I wasn’t sure when I’d get to a launch again. So, thank you everyone for leaving a launch stand for me to launch the DX3. It was a perfect launch. Thank you Bob for helping me spot it on the way down, and Joe for getting the wind to stop…I didn’t even have a long walk to get it back. Here is hoping I can make it to the May 9th launch. David

Posted by bobble at 8:14 AM | Comments (0)

Marty Weiser launch report

April 5, 2015

After taking care of my official duties I got on with my flights and helping some of the students that came out from EWU. My first two flights were on my EEGG Lofter – my experiment to see if it was possible to do TARC (Team America Rocket Challenge) on a 24 mm motor. The rocket had a long boattail from the BT-70 main body down to the 24 mm motor tube. I used fiberglass to make the hollow nose cone, but everything else was cardboard and thin plywood. The first flight on a D12-5 had significant weather cocking and reached 357 ft. and a total flight time of 28.1s. The second flight was on an E9-4 with minimal weather cocking to 892 ft. and 76s. Since the typical TARC target is 800 – 850 ft. and 40 – 50 seconds I decided the mission was accomplished so I ate the hardboiled egg for my late morning snack. If I was competing, I would use a smaller chute and shorter chute tube and a longer egg & altimeter bay so I could better protect the egg (it was easy to peel after the 2 flights). One of the 2 flights earned the closest to the pad award – it landed less than 2 feet from the rod it launched from and wrapped its chute around the next rod over. I then got on to prepping KISS’DD for a 2 stage flight on a J460 to an H73. The sim was about 3500 ft which felt good for the SPARC site on a breezy day. It took a couple of hours of on-site prep to go with the 2-3 hours at home. With help from Alan Roberts and Jesse Hutson we got it on the pad around 2 pm. Boost was good, but a bit faster off the rail would be nice. Staging was just as planned – a small separation charge at burnout + 0.1s and 2nd stage ignition at burnout + 1s. The booster arced over and the drogue charge separated the airframe as designed followed by main deployment out of the break at 700 ft. Peak altitude for the booster was just under 1000 ft. The sustainer arced over and deployed the main at apogee – not as designed, but exactly the way I had wired it – main at apogee and drogue at 700 ft. Peak altitude was 1800 ft. Jesse recovered the booster about ¼ mile NE of the pads and I recovered the sustainer at a little over ½ mile in the far corner of the field. Thanks to Britny Krabbenhoft for the ride back to the launch site. It looks like I built KISS’DD a fair bit heavier than the sim so I need to get the correct weights in to get better sims. I am looking forward to the WAC Research Launch at Mansfield in 3 weeks and a SPARC launch in early May before going out to FITS over Memorial Day weekend in Mansfield. Marty

Posted by bobble at 1:23 PM | Comments (0)

Launch Director launch report

We had a very good turn out on a good flying day, particularly for early in the year. We started set up about 8:30 am, a bit after 9 am the Spokane tower called us to activate the waiver, and we started putting rockets in the air. It was a bit cool and breezy all day, particularly when the sun went behind the occasional cloud, but that did cause any real issues. We have about 20 cars and 60 people at the launch for a significant part of the day. We flew 90 motors in 86 rockets with a total impulse of about 3800 N-s (mid-sized L). The motor breakdown was fairly typical for SPARC. A 14 B 13 C 31 D 15 E 6 F 5 G 3 H 4 I 3 J 1 The Cooney clan has the most flights at 19, but 11 of those were on one push of the button as Joe flew the Easter Rocket hunt composed of quark like rockets on C6-3 motors for the kids to find. Six were brought back to claim the rocket and an A8-3 motor for an additional flight. Duchou and Howe both had 8 flights while Kelly and Glass both claimed 7. I had the biggest flight of the day staging a J460 to an H73 in KISS’DD while Dave Powers had 3 nice H & I flights. We are planning to hold a launch in May, but are currently selecting both the launch director and the date. Marty – April SPARC Launch Director

Posted by bobble at 1:23 PM | Comments (0)

Tim McCall launch report

So, never done one of these before and I feel compelled to do my first one because at the end of the launch yesterday I had very mixed feelings. I'm hoping to compile the results here to be ready to test my skills one more time before FITS at a (hoping for) late April/Early May Launch. First thing to note, I think we had quite a few people at the launch on Saturday from families there with their children to hunt a rocket, to people curious about rocketry who wanted to see a launch, and a bunch of regulars in between. Alright, the good stuff, flights: First flight was the Crossfire ISX on a B6-4. Nominal flight, everything looked good, got it back to my table and noticed one of the finlets had been knocked off. Also, noticed a big red smudge from the nose cone paint on the body tube, I'll have to make sure to complete my finishing with that clear gloss coat. Rocket is ready to fly again. After that I prepped the Rip-Roar as the winds were still pretty low. Once again, even on a D12, this rocket lifts off really lazy, but stable. Booster separates, no sustainer ignition. Rocket comes in ballistic and on impact separates, as if to express its sense of ironic comedy. Hoping that the rocket would still be okay to fly again I go to recover it and found out why it separated on impact. My best guess is that, with a zig zag zipper all the way down to the fins, the body tube ended up going all the way over the nose cone and then between all the stuff inside and the tension from the body tube it all sprang back up. Unfortunately, it seems my luck staging BP motors without a pressure vent finally ran out. The silver lining(s)? Joe Cooney was swift to offer replacement body tube stock, advice on salvaging all the parts except the body tube, and I still have a D12-7 to fly another day. Okay, need a morale booster. How about the newly built Der Red Max? Great boost, separation at apogee, chute's out, why won't it open? I guess I should have put down streamer recovery because that 'chute was unfurled and almost completely unfolded, but just wouldn't inflate. Thankfully I received confirmation of my opinion that the included parachute on the Der Red Max is waaayyy too big. The rocket landed within the pad area and was completely unscathed. After this I go to my table and pull out all the chutes I packed in the morning at the launch, maybe it was a bit too cold to have anything packed just before its launch. Rather than tell myself, let's keep dabbling in low power until I get things figured out, I finish loading up my Callisto with a G64-7. Basically, the only thing I could have asked to be better on this flight was distance from the pads as evidence that the wind was picking up. Everything else went great, solid boost, well timed deployment, good chute, and it landed about 20 feet off the dirt road on the unplanted side. Okay, let's try mid power some more. I repack the Super Mark's parachute and take it out to fly. Not really picking up on the tone of curiosity from the LCO reading off "E28-7(T)" this rocket disappeared off the pad, but thankfully it didn't last long and was easy to pick up in the sky. (from a safety stand point I'm really glad it didn't shred). Super fast boost, well timed deployment, good chute... crud, how high did that thing go? While it's still coming down I start hiking, before I get eyes the rocket I see Marty and his crew packing up the sustainer of his two stage HPR. I do manage to get eyes on that wonderfully orange parachute and think, "alright, I kinda want to do that again. Despite the long walk I'd like to actually watch the ignition this time." I get to the rocket in the unplowed area storing some old farm equipment in the northeast field, untangle the lines from a bush, and check the motor mount. What do I find? A void. Big frowny face. I'm not happy. First flight on a new case and it's gone with no sign of mechanical failure on the part of the retainer. Thankfully, as I start contemplating all the things I could do next time to keep the motor there, I get offered a ride back from the person helping Marty recover his rocket. Also, the rocket is in good shape and will fly again. Mostly I realize I'm upset because that was a really fun motor and to be able to fly it again I'm going to have to wait for a new case (probably two, it was that fun). I get back, last rack is called. Wait wait, I've got my Black Brandt II ready and rearing to go! Paying no heed to the significant gusts I don't think twice about leaving the D12-7 in there. And I get to take a hike for it, once again landing out in the unplanted northeast field. Thankfully, the BBII continues to prove itself as my most reliable flier from when I was flying back in 2007. To summarize, half a dozen flights in total, 2 very good ones, 2 mediocre, 1 bad (rocket fine, 24/40 casing lost), 1 destroyed sustainer body tube, and a lot of walking time to mull over flying in fairly high winds. What to do? Remind Joe Cooney just a bit before the next launch to pack some BT-70 (##?), consider a second line up of parachutes with spill holes for windy conditions, check my budget (thankfully April is one of two months of the year with an extra paycheck) and plan out replacement case(s), NAR membership, materials for a Level 1 certification, and funds for going to FITS. Thanks for reading, I'm looking forward to warmer days, calmer winds, and many more rocket flights to come. I welcome comments and critique and hope that maybe you've learned something from this report.

Posted by bobble at 1:15 PM | Comments (0)

Dave Glass launch report

Well, I'm sure OSHA wouldn't approve my ladder--two rungs missing, one broken...... I started out with "Cozmo" on an A8-3----a barely-there flight, but it was OK. Same vehicle with a B6-4 and a C6-5; much better results. On to "Chopper" (so named because I chopped it off the top of my "GAPA") with a D12-5. I had a kit-bash bird for the E, but the glued-on plastic lug broke off as I was putting it on the rod. I had to jerry-rig "Finley" (the bottom half of the "GAPA") to take the E15-4; the huge fins (hence its name) made it weathercock, but a great flight nonetheless and I only had to walk 30 feet to recover. Turned out the jerry-rig wasn't so hot; it spit the motor but thankfully the chute spit out also. F duty was accomplished by "Ancient Chinese Secret", a bamboo-constructed bottle-rocket on an F30-4 FastJack. Launched from a 4' length of PVC (thanks, Bob!), it performed way better than I'd hoped. Recovery was nominal despite ripping a couple suspension lines on the chute. G was also problematic as I seemed to be missing the only parachute that would work with the designated rocket. I switched to an F alternate, put it on the pad with the G75-M, and had second thoughts about the delay. I pulled it off, yanked the motor apart, and shaved off a couple seconds. Good boost, good timing, but a wimpy shock cord resulted in a separation. I managed to have a simultaneous lawn dart AND core sample. Next up was "Rio Vista Water Tower" with an H128, but the wind was pretty steady and I felt that optimal conditions were necessary. Plus it was getting late, so the Nike Zeus on an I161 was tabled also. Altho several new rockets didn't get their day in the sky, I had a fairly good session in the field. Thanks again Marty for making it happen!

Posted by bobble at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

April Launch concluded

April 4, 2015

Weather was awesome. Great turnout. Lots of flights. Stay tuned for launch reports. president bob

Posted by bobble at 4:05 PM | Comments (0)

Launch today is GO

We are GO for launch today, April 4'th from 9 am – 4 pm at our launch site north of Spokane. We support models through K impulse up to 7000 ft. under NAR rules. The weather forecast is looking really good. Since this is Easter weekend we have a special for the kids – a mass flight of tumble recovery 18 mm rockets in bright colors. The kid who recovers the rocket is the new owner and gets an A8 motor for a second flight (one per customer). Battery Charging Sequence is complete. Joe drove by the launch site and reports that it looks like we will be on the west side of the field like last November. Area still looks good, South East field has 2-4" growth of new wheat. President Bob

Posted by bobble at 6:26 AM | Comments (0)