Best time / Launch to attend at Black Rock?

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Nick@JET

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As the title says - what are thoughts from the desert rats on the best time / launch to attend Black Rock. This year is Airfest, but future planning for maybe 2018 or 19 - I would like to attend BR 2~3 day launch and always thought that would be BALLS, however in reading Tripoli BALLS information says Balls is not a place for just spectators due to the experimental and danger of the projects, interesting. 've heard of some opinions of if you want to see Mach 2 flights from 3 miles away, not much fun. Want to see regular launches as well as I will not be going over 20K but want to experience all BR has to offer while i'm there.

As for my planned flights - Im not going for any records, probably 2 special builds for the trip and 2~4 flights expected - all commercial - 54mm MD, 98mm rockets, maybe a N2501 or along those lines.

In reading the thread in watering hole posted by Columbia - alot of good information there so pretty comfortable on what I need to stay there, but when and what are the best launch - conditions, weather, experience, etc. to attend? ARLISS, MUDROC, BALLS, Aeronaut, XPRS? Possibly family coming as well.

thanks
Nick
 

noffie79

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I listened to the ARLISS episode of the Rocketry Show podcast. Very interesting stuff. I've given serious thought to one day building an ARLISS specific rocket. Amazing stuff they are doing out there.
 

ECayemberg

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Hi Nick,

Black Rock is a cool place. Different from what we're used to in the Midwest....very different! It took me 20 years to finally get there and when I finally arrived, it kicked my butt; we learned a lot of lessons. 3 years later went better, but still not quite as planned. I can only speak from my own experience, but I've found it a bit more difficult to encounter total success than other venues....mostly due to logistics of getting everything you'd ever need and more out to a desert from the Midwest and back. The first trip was a mega road trip which was awesome, but a 5000 mile road trip is nothing to sneeze at. The second trip I flew out (was in the region for work), and had to carefully plan shipping everything out and back (and Southwest "check baggage" too!).

First time out was for Balls. Great experience, a lot of serious rocket people, and some pretty neat projects. Weather, wind, and electronics issues kept me from flying a darn thing at Black Rock....that sucked!

Second trip was for XPRS. A very relaxed atmosphere, felt like a regular monthly launch in the Midwest (except in the middle of the desert). Lots of smaller rockets, a few bigger ones, nothing intimidating by any means. The weather cooperated for most of the event...that was cool!

Others know better than I, Black Rock is a land of extremes. It might be perfect, it might be hell. You may experience both in a given weekend or even day. I found the weather to be predictable...that is, you could see the dust storm coming, you could see rain moving in. There was time to prepare for what was about to hit you; weather is everywhere, but it wasn't ever a huge surprise. I'll get back there someday, but in general I find myself more in my comfort zone in a farm field than in the desert.

So, pick a desired experience. More relaxed and low key: probably an AeroPac launch (Ryan's suggestion of ARLISS is intriguing; it's the week leading up to XPRS). If you want the ultimate in extreme projects and some big stuff, go to Balls. Note that I didn't find Balls to be an impersonal or intimidating environment, just a little more of a serious tone to it due to the intensity of the projects.

Good luck my friend!

-Eric-
 
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woferry

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I've been to XPRS the last 4 years, and will keep going for the foreseeable future. It has everything from model rocket pads/flights to some high-altitude projects, definitely family-friendly. ARLISS is immediately before it, and I've never been there for that as I had the impression it was just for the groups involved, I'm sure spectators are welcome (or at least tolerated) but I didn't get the impression you'd have a chance to fly there unless you were one of the ARLISS team flyers. If you can swing the extra time BALLS is (always? usually?) the very next weekend, I haven't stuck around for that and since it's only a week later I haven't made the ~7 hour each way trip back to see it (just too much driving in a little over a week for me). So personally I'd recommend XPRS, and if you want to come out a few days earlier to also watch ARLISS that might be an option, but I can't offer any advice there.
 

Nick@JET

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Thanks everyone, looks like an XPRS .

Eric, I based this question on the discussion you and I had a month or so ago. I have to try the desert at least once even though one of the best around is 4 hrs from me in QCRS. Haven't been on rocketry long enough to "see it all" but every few years = big rocket trip which somehow involves or in conjunction with a family vacation. Not sure how the desert will fit into a family vaca, that could be interesting. Well it looks like a beach honey...
 

djs

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Was thinking about going to XPRS as well.. I don't mind long drives, but need to find the time when I'd be able to go. Maybe next year.
 

woferry

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Thanks everyone, looks like an XPRS .

Eric, I based this question on the discussion you and I had a month or so ago. I have to try the desert at least once even though one of the best around is 4 hrs from me in QCRS. Haven't been on rocketry long enough to "see it all" but every few years = big rocket trip which somehow involves or in conjunction with a family vacation. Not sure how the desert will fit into a family vaca, that could be interesting. Well it looks like a beach honey...
Nah, the playa really doesn't look like any beach, though this year maybe there will still be kayaking. :) Reno's not that far away (2-2.5 hours), so there's other stuff to do that isn't a very long drive away. It is about the closest civilization to Black Rock though (sorry, but I don't count Gerlach as civilization). Lake Tahoe's a bit farther down the road from Reno, though it's obviously not the snow season, it's still a nice lake in the off season. As far as the beach goes, if you're willing to go quite a bit farther (more like 8 hours or a bit more) you can be at the Pacific (San Francisco or Santa Cruz).
 

cherokeej

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Sport fliers are welcome at ARLISS, although the waiver might not be as high as the weekend at XPRS. (Check with Tony or Jim on the specifics of that.)

While ARLISS flights will get priority if there's a traffic jam at the pads, I've never seen that happen, and I've been flying ARLISS since '04.

A few details... We get out there on Sunday afternoon, and set up the M cell. Half a dozen pads, both 1010 and 1515 rails. And we set up one pad on the 21-30 line for any ARLISS K flights that may or may not occur. Anyone seeking to do any sport flying is more than welcome to continue with set-up of the rest of the range when there's no M's being lit at the cell.

Around Thursday afternoon, a lot of XPRS folks are arriving, and the rest of the range gets set up for the weekend.

Balls... Balls is a whole 'nother animal.
 
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