Finally flew some C and D models today...

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FastCargo

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Unlike my friend Paul in the PNW who has 60 acres and LHS with SR-71s in them, we don't get so lucky down here in the heart of Texas sometimes... :).

So I joined with the Alamo Rocketeers today to get some big field flying in at their monthly launch at a field large enough (normally) for up to G motors and not subject to the burn ban (dry weather) due to it being the Alamo Fireworks test field.

Anyway, it was friggin HOT today (temps over 100), and to make it more aggravating, the wind was gusting higher than normal (up to 20 knots). Couldn't be adverse weather like rain (which we NEED)...noooo...has to be wind which doesn't help at all. At least it was blowing down the long axis of the field.

Because this was the first time for me flying with the Alamo Rocketeers at their field, I packed everything, and the whole family tagged along...the wife and 2 boys. Also packed was a new fold out canopy (for shade - more on that later), and brand new keychain cams. Old and new rockets were also packed, all of the prep work being the night before. I also had both launch systems (hi - 12 volt lawnmower battery and low - standard Estes 'E' controller)...but decided to forgo prepping any low power rockets with 2 minor exceptions. Reasoning being of course I have tons of rockets, and a place to fly close by for low power...so I was going relatively big today...C's and D's for all my friends!

Anyway, we arrive about 10:15 and several folks are already setup. 2 multi-place launch pads and 2 of Art Applewhite's Forte' controllers. One side is contest, the other is Sport flying. Of course, I'm doing the sport thing, but it's on the far side of the line of cars from where we are parked. At one point, I just pick up a bunch of rockets and carry them all at once to the sport area.

The family gets setup...hatch on the minivan is up, coolers of drink are out, and the canopy is up, everyone has a seat, etc.

Note about the keychain cams...yes they work, but not at that moment. The user (ie me) didn't have sufficient time or knowledge to get smart on the cams, and the badly written and printed directions didn't help. It was much easier to understand when at home, in the cool house, where the yellow indicator light is easy to see...not so much in the heat, full sun with shades on. So, no, no keycam video...but I have a plan for next time that will be more interesting than the 'duct tape to a body tube method'.

Onto the launches, with appropriate comments:

Estes Screamer - 1/2A3-4T - Flew quite nicely, easy streamer recovery if a bit of drift. Engine popped out again...though I wrapped it a few times with tape.

AGM-69A SRAM (first launch) - C6-3 - I finished this one with the brown fins and stripes of actual rounds. In addition, some helpful info former weapons techs provided allowed me to make some decals for the text areas of the missile. I was concerned being this was a scratch design that required a lot of nose weight to pass the swing test. The rocket flew nicely, but 'coned' a bit due to one of the fins being slighly canted. It actually corkscrewed up, but didn't seem to really start until in coast phase. The boost picture shows a nice liftoff, but the second picture is revealing. However, it didn't look that extreme in person and the perspective might be off. Popped at apogee, and chuted down with no damage. Overall great test flight!

Alpha III 2 stage (first launch) - C6-0/C6-7 - Had a spare Alpha III tail section I decided to convert to a stage. Passed the spin test great. I knew this rocket was going high, so I pulled the chute to convert it to a 'pop nose' recovery. The rocket flight was good, though it weathercocked quite a bit on the staging. But the pop nose recovery worked great...rocket ended up about 50 feet upwind with no damage. Also had a keychain cam on it...which didn't work due to user error.

Estes Dragonfly - Not flown due to winds.

Estes Swing Wing Transport - Not flown due to winds.

Estes Swing Wing Corsair - Not flown due to winds.

Estes Cosmic Cobra - Not flown due to winds.

Estes SR-71 - Not flown due to winds.

Estes standard Patriot - C6-5 - After an initial problem trying to get ignition on pad 1 of the Sport area, launched on a nice, standard flight. This one is becoming my new 'ol reliable'.

Bomarc - D12-3 - Originally an Estes Bomarc kit, but the only parts from that original kit are the ramjet noses. Everything else was not from the kit, built into a 24mm version. Of course, it had been built 20+ years ago, was used as an Astrocam lofter, and has seen better days. This is it's last flight before it's total teardown and reconstruction as a boost glider. Good flight, scorched the tail section, and somewhere the engine departed. Recovery was uneventful. Again, tried with the keychain cam...again with failure.

Satellite Interceptor BT-60 upscale (first launch) - D12-5 - Big and red/black. Wanted to see if my first serious BAR build out of spare parts would fly or die. She flew...spectacularly. Perfect deployment and looked good off the pad. Only thing was she snapped a fin off on landing. Will be flown again after a repair, sanding and some repainting.

Satellite Interceptor - C6-5 - Didn't fly due to technical malfunction, possibility related to pad 1 (had several problems at that slot all day).

Interceptor (first launch) - C6-5 - Perfect flight, parachute didn't fully open. But model came down with just a slight ding on one of the wing 'pods'. Repaired and good to go.

SpaceShipOne (standard) (first launch) - C6-3 - Before I launched this one, I had rigged up a trapeze setup for the recovery harness. I basically used a string the size of the shock cord with a snap swivel on one end attached to the nose and on the other end attached to the engine hook. The idea is that on ejection, the parachute and nose would be attached to the front of the body tube by the shock cord and the back of the body tube at the engine hook, with the body hanging below the nose and chute, parallel to the ground. The idea was to avoid a problem with this model...the long booms have tendancy to snap off on landing. Anyway, the recovery was just the end of the rather interesting flight. As you can see by the pics, initial liftoff and the first couple of hundred feet were fine, but then SS1 weathercocked badly into the wind, even looking like an actual SS1 flight at one point. She then did the standard ejection charge thing, whereupon the chute did not deploy and the shock cord/string got semi tangled. The nose and body found themselves through a odd combination of aerodynamics to be rotating horizontally around each other like a helo blade (one person even remarked - 'Hey, you didn't enter the helo recovery contest did ya?') with the nose at one end and the body (still parallel to the ground) on the other end. The funny thing is that this resulted in a fairly slow descent at the end game, with only a minor crack at one wing joint...fixed easily in 30 seconds. If I thought I could duplicate that method reliably... As it is, I'm going to have to find another way.

Patriot Pro - 4xD12-5 cluster - Brought it out of retirement...wanted to see it go! Not flown though...due to using some good judgment, talking it over with fellow rocketeers and the 3 year old deciding he had enough of the 100+ heat, high dusty winds and glaring sun. There will be a next time...

Remember that canopy I mentioned? Well, though I had staked it down with the provided stakes, they were not enough, and it came up about 3/4s of the way through the session. However, one stake did not come up, and so the canopy frame failed in an ugly fashion. Though no one was hurt (my 6 year old thought it was hysterical to watch), the frame is now seriously damaged. So much for wussy stakes and a brand new canopy...sigh. I MIGHT be able to get replacement parts...otherwise, thems some more change needed...

We had a good time, heat, wind, and various failures not withstanding. We didn't lose or destroy any rockets, and only broke one. We met a lot of great people and look forward to the next time we can launch with the Alamo Rocketeers.

Pictures - this post includes the SRAM and Satellite Interceptor Upscale launch:

SIULaunch1.jpg

SIULaunch2.jpg

SIULaunch3.jpg

SRAMLaunch1.jpg

SRAMLaunch2..jpg
 

FastCargo

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And this has the Interceptor and SpaceShipOne launches. All the rest of the photos either didn't come out or weren't taken.

FC

InterceptorLaunch.jpg

SS1Launch1.jpg

SS1Launch2.jpg

SS1Launch3.jpg
 

paul.nortness

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Unlike my friend Paul in the PNW who has 60 acres and LHS with SR-71s in them, we don't get so lucky down here in the heart of Texas sometimes... :)


Well....truth be told, 60 Acres is run by the local youth soccer association, so come fall when all the kids are playing soccer I will be screwed


Those are some great looking launches there FC....congrats on some successful flights!


Hoping to get out for some launches tomorrow for Father's Day
 
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BEC

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And the WAC launch at Sixty Acres was canceled due to rain yesterday. *sigh* We really wish we could send some of it your way, as well as to our families in New Mexico.... I did get a few flights off anyway. Probably better today.....
 
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bradycros

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Unlike my friend Paul in the PNW who has 60 acres...

Patriot Pro - 4xD12-5 cluster - Brought it out of retirement...wanted to see it go! Not flown though...due to using some good judgment, talking it over with fellow rocketeers and the 3 year old deciding he had enough of the 100+ heat, high dusty winds and glaring sun. There will be a next time...


We had a good time, heat, wind, and various failures not withstanding. We didn't lose or destroy any rockets, and only broke one. We met a lot of great people and look forward to the next time we can launch with the Alamo Rocketeers.


[I"]Patriot Pro - 4xD12-5 cluster - Brought it out of retirement..."[/I]

I can recall you mentioning something about that rocket sometime ago...
 

JPVegh

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FC, I appologize for not making your acquaintance while you were at the launch. I was firmly in competition mode and only briefly lifted my head from the tasks at hand. I did manage to see several of your rockets go up though and what I saw was impressive.

There were several of us at the launch who have launched keyfob cams and would have been happy to give you a quick how to on their operation. I know how the instructions writen in chinglish can be tough to understand. I just started playing with it until I figured it out.

Are you sure you came home with all of your rockets? As I was shagging a streamer duration rocket later in the day I came across a very nicely painted Estes Patriot laying at the far end of the field. After asking around a few people said they thought it was yours. I left it with Art so if it was yours you may want to contact him to arrange getting it back.

I hope you will come back sometime to launch with us, preferably on a cooler and less windy day.
 

Buzzard

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Very pleased to see the SRAM flight! It would probably help to add some nose weight. Thrust is very insistant while it is active. After that, aerodynamics and environment tend to take over and perhaps dominate the flight profile.
Still, what I wanted to do decades ago, you accomplished. Hey, blame the little decal letterings...

Chas
 

FastCargo

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[I"]Patriot Pro - 4xD12-5 cluster - Brought it out of retirement..."[/I]

I can recall you mentioning something about that rocket sometime ago...

Heh, yeah...I've got the plans sitting out in front of me. I haven't forgotten...really! Just need to scan the silly things in!

JPVegh said:
FC, I appologize for not making your acquaintance while you were at the launch. I was firmly in competition mode and only briefly lifted my head from the tasks at hand. I did manage to see several of your rockets go up though and what I saw was impressive.

There were several of us at the launch who have launched keyfob cams and would have been happy to give you a quick how to on their operation. I know how the instructions writen in chinglish can be tough to understand. I just started playing with it until I figured it out.

Are you sure you came home with all of your rockets? As I was shagging a streamer duration rocket later in the day I came across a very nicely painted Estes Patriot laying at the far end of the field. After asking around a few people said they thought it was yours. I left it with Art so if it was yours you may want to contact him to arrange getting it back.

I hope you will come back sometime to launch with us, preferably on a cooler and less windy day.

Jeff, no worries, I could tell you were busy. The competition looked like fun. With the keychain cams, it was one of those things where I kind of rushed myself and so never really had a chance to get familiar...and then once we were on location, I was pressing a bit before the 3 year old decided he'd had enough...

...which explains TOTALLY forgetting about my Patriot sitting all forlorn in the field! It was not until I got Art's email this morning that I went out to do a rocket inventory and realized it wasn't there! This of course is after yesterday evening, removing engines from rockets, and doing minor repair work on those rockets that got dinged. In all of that, I never noticed I was missing a rocket...even after I had written about launching it!

Sheesh, first my sight, now my memory...

Anyway, I sent Art an email back asking him to just hold onto it until the next time there's an event I can get to. I'd like to get to another launch. Definitely launching with folks is a lot more fun. I can handle the temps, just the wind makes it a bit more unpredictable...

Speaking of launching, with the SRAM, I'm convinced the canted fin is what caused the main issue....because even in the wind, the rocket's upward vector never waived, it just spiraled up to get there. And I can't get any more weight in that nose...

I think I'll either do a duplicate build...though I'd prefer to do a BT-80 upscale with lessons learned on this build. Hopefully it'll be lighter and more accurate (I'm not happy with how the avionics tunnel transitions into the nose).

I did have a great time though...launching with a group is really a lot of fun.

FC
 

Fred22

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I am glad you had fun. The rocket pictures were excellant. I look forward to your flight report type thread:)
Cheers
Fred
 

JPVegh

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FC, I'm glad the heat and winds didn't totally put you off on our little field. I can deal with the winds but you won't catch my happy butt out there in that kind of heat again. There were several points later in the afternoon when this fat boy was feeling bad.

Yeah, the competition was a lot of fun and I hope we are able to do it again. It's a real kick to test your skills against your fellow rocketeers. We have some very talented folks in our group and the way everyone pulls together to make things happen is very inspiring. I think you would fit in very well with our little group.

The sport launches tend to be a lot less structured and everyone has a good time. It's about an hour and a half drive for me but it's worth it to launch with other people. Sometimes I'll make the trip and only launch 4 or 5 times but I still have a good time just chatting and hanging out.

Sorry, I didn't mean to highjack your thread. Hope to see you again soon.
 
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