Challenger 498 3/21/09 Launch

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luke strawwalker

Well-Known Member
Jan 18, 2009
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Man what an exciting day! We didn't have a HUGE turnout, but pretty darn good,
and we put up a LOT of rockets! I got to bed late and took my time getting up
this morning, but I arrived shortly after the festivities began and certainly
saw my share of the excitement. Here's the breakdown on what went up today...

Mikus sent up a Birdie on an A10-3T. Gyll put his Phobia up on a G64-7W.
Devlin launched an NSA Guardian on a C6-5. Jesse lofted his Patriot with an
E9-6. Mikus followed with his Der Red Max on a C6-5. These flights went up
shortly before I arrived, so I can't comment directly, but most if not all
seemed to be good flights, as I didn't witness much damaged rockets around when
I got to the field.

Mikus sent up his Gauchito on an A10-3T for a nice flight but busted a fin on
recovery. Mikus also sent up a Corkscrew on a B6-4 for a good show.

Scott returned the Guardian to the skies under C6-5 power for a nice flight, and
Matthew soon followed suit with his Big Bertha on a C6-3. Cici brought out here
LOC Weasel on an E18-7W, which suffered some sort of cato immediately after
liftoff. Upon collecting all the parts of the reload which had scattered
themselves in a 20 foot arc around the pad, the nozzle was discovered plugged
with paper of some kind and the remains of the ignitor, sealing it off
completely, The rear closure was found nearby, as was the casing, and both
threaded back together, apparently unharmed. The grain was found 15 feet north
of the pads, almost completely unburned, save for the cardboard liner. The
delay grain was found 10 feet sound of the pads unburnt. The rocket's steel
shock cord leader was burned through and the recovery system a bit scorched, but
no serious damage was apparent. I got a photo of the rocket on liftoff,
apparently a few microseconds before the cato, which I'll post with the reat of
the pics shortly.

Mikus returned to the flightline with his Metalizer on a B6-4 which turned in a
nice flight. Matthew's Rascal was next on an A8-3. Mikus sent up a neat Shark!
on a B6-4, which looked great with it's half-white, half gray paint job, three
forward fins and four rear fins, and shark teeth and gills decals. It made a
nice flight but cracked a fin on recovery. Devlin sent up his Defender on an
E30 for a nice flight. Mikus brought out his Patriot missile for a D12-7 flight
that seemed a tad underpowered, but was good anyway. John Thro brought out his
neat little Semroc V-2 which flew beautifully on a B6-4. Scott was next up with
his Scissor Wing Transport under C6-3 power, which weathercocked but flew
nicely, but suffered from a tad too much noseweight on the glide and turned some
tight steep fast spirals back down to the ground. Devlin sent up his NSA again
on a C6-5 for a good flight.

Next up was a Big Daddy by Mikus I believe (since nobody put their name on the
flight sheet for the next three :)) on an E9-4. Nice flight but a busted fin on
recovery. Next up was a Renegade on a D12-0/C6-? combination. The flight
started well until staging, at which time the rocket staged and it quickly
became apparent something was amiss, as the motor seperated from the sustainer
and left parts all over the sky. The first stage landed hard with it's
incinerated streamer gone, and popped one wingtip pod, but was otherwise
undamaged. The sustainer returned hard but more or less ok. Photos of the
flight will be in the photo album, along with some sky pics of staging, showing
parts scattered about.

Mikus's NASA Pegasus flew next on a C6-3 for a nice flight, but again busted a
fin on touchdown. Hope you got plenty of glue handy Mikus!

John Thro sent up his Big Dad-E on a D12-5 for a very nice flight. Got some
great liftoff shots of the red and blue bird slowly taking to the skies and
returning to terra firma. Next up was Mikus's Renegade with a 24mm mount in the
sustainer, flying on an E9-6. It turned in a nice flight and I believe returned
with all it's fins intact... LOL:) John Thro next sent up his Goemmer
Prometheus on an A8-3. Devlin sent up his Legacy on an E18-7W.

Jesse lofted his Big Bertha under D24-7 power, and John Thro broke out a cluster
with his 7-UP Flyer on a pair of B6-4's. Mikus sent up his Russkie Goonie on a
C6-5. Galen sent up a LOC Aura on an E18-7W, and Mikus returned to the pads
with his D-Region Tomahawk on an E9-6. He soon followed up with his Eliminator
on an E9-6 for a really nice flight, and his beautiful Maxi-Apha III on a D12-5
for a terrific flight.

Jesse and John Thro had a drag race-- Jesse's Big Bertha under D24-7 power, and
John's 7-UP Flyer on twin C6-5's. I didn't see that one but I'm sure it was a
good one. I'd put money on the D24 in the Bertha taking the twin C6's, though!

Mikus broke out his CBU-87 Cluster Bomb and sent it uphill on a C6-3, which
weathercocked in the breezy afternoon wind and scattered streamered bomblets all
over my south pasture, and returned unscathed. That kept the kids busy
collecting the rocket and bomblets for awhile.

It had to happen sooner or later, and it happened today... the ubiquitous Blue
Ninja drag race! On one end of the launcher we had Blue Ninja on a D12-3, and
at the other end Mikus's Blue Ninja on a D12-5. The countdown was given and the
button pushed, and both Blue Ninja's leapt skyward in the gusty breeze, rapidly
crossing paths just above the launcher and providing some spectacular photos
which should soon be in the album. Both had nice flights, with Mikus's of
course deploying pretty close to apogee, while Scott's was a bit early, and both
drifted north about 100-150 yards from the pad. Upon their return, BOTH Blue
Ninja's suffered one fin snapped off, which made an interesting group pic...
Never a dull moment!

John Thro brought out his upscaled Totally Tubular and sent it up on a C6-5. A
gust hit it as it left the rod and weathercocked it sharply WITH the wind, and
it flew off at high speed on a rather flat ballistic arc toward the west
northwest carrying a good deal of speed and not very much altitude. It crossed
the fence and deployed right about on impact. It suffered some tube crushing on
the front but shouldn't be TOO hard to fix... sorry John!

Next, Gyll sent up his Legacy on a G64. Mikus broke out some of his recently
arrived Quest long-burn C's for a test flight, since none of us as far as I know
have seen the long burn C's fly here yet. He loaded up his Chrome Dome with the
Quest C6-5 and sent her up. Those motors do burn L-O-N-G! and turn in a VERY
nice flight, but upon return, we opened the twist-lock Estes plastic motor
retainer to find that the motor had basically melted the motor retainer! We
gave it a short cooling period since the casing was almost too hot to touch to
let the plastic resolidify, and then with a slight rocking to stretch the
plastic a bit and break the casing loose, I extracted the still-hot spent motor
casing from the retainer, which came out ok despite significant melting on the
inside. Surprisingly, the outer paper label of the motor was scorched, so I
pulled my pocketknife and did a quickie post-mortem on the case right there.
The Quest Chinese motor cases cut surprisingly easy; far easier than splitting
an Estes case, as the Quest cases seem a bit thinner and less well-laminated
together, like they're assembled with less adhesive between paper layers when
the casings are wound. Upon splitting the motor, there was a lot of scorching
and delamination on the inside as well, with multiple layers of burned paper
inside visible, and some spots burned well past the half-thickness of the paper
case, which led to the marked scorching of the white motor label. I got some
interesting photos of the casing, retainer, and post-mortem of the motor. One
question raised was what the nozzles are made of, which appears to be a fine
powdery clay almost like flowerpot clay, forged into a solid nozzle. It can be
scraped with a knife and liberates VERY fine clay dust almost like chalk dust.
Good motors but if this heat level is typical, you might want to be careful what
you use them in!

Next on the flightline was John Thro's Big Orange under the power of three
C6-5's. It turned in a beautiful flight and recovery! Mike sent up his
Aerotech Initiator on a G76-7G green motor for a nice flight, and finished off
the day for us with his D-Region Tomahawk on an E30-4T motor, but suffered a
seperation, dropping the rocket back from the D-Region of the atmosphere (well
almost) ballistically for a shovel recovery, and sending the chute and nosecone
200 yards northwest. The D-Region suffered a tightly accordioned tube that
shortened her up by about four inches or so, but she'll fly again.

With that we called it a day. The windmeter showed that the field conditions
for the day, with temps in the low 70's, had an average windspeed of 6.7 mph,
with a maximum gust of 21 mph. At times the wind would be around 10 or so
sustained, sometimes gusting a bit, and then a little while later would be
practically still with almost no wind at all. SO, basically a terrific day of

Looking forward to next month, and the upcoming Challenger Memorial Regional

Yall have a good one! OL JR :)

Here are the pics... First one is Gyll's Weasel just a microsecond before the cato, second and third are damage from a scorched Quest C6 on a Chrome Dome retainer, fourth pic is Gyll's rocket under white lightning power, and the fifth is from my burst mode shots of the Blue Ninja drag race.

Check out all the pics at the Challenger 498 yahoo photo album site at





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