Great Lakes Regional Meet Revisited Launch (GLRMR XII) - Day One, 5/5/12

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Jan 20, 2009
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Rough day with the Sky Busters, but a good one overall. Tony Fragge and I went to Amherst yesterday to fly in the Great Lakes Regional Meet Revisited Launch (GLRMR XII). Tony is my brother in law, often spoken of, but rarely of late due to his lack of flight time the past few years. Well, the bug bit him again when he stumbled across a stash of old motors he'd forgotten he'd bought. (A bag of North Coast motors from his days in DARS.) We made plans to attend both days of this launch, but a First Communion later today scotched the idea of a two-day launch. We settled for one.
When I arrived on Friday night at Tony's house, we cracked a beer and headed downstairs to check out his flying circus. He had mentioned that he had one rocket that he wanted to fly, but couldn't remember what it was called. It had been a thrift shop find a few years back and was done up in a neon camo paint job. I looked at it for a second, noting the large modroc body tube, the simple, but heavy-duty fins and nose cone, and the mid-body break point. It all looked familiar, as well it should. It was an original FSI Hercules! :cool: It had been flown, but never by Tony. It went with us on Saturday, but we punked out before we had the chance to fly it. Maybe next time.
Tony's first flight was his traditional Estes Solar Warrior on an A3-4T. This was something like the 50th flight for this bird and it did its normally perfect flight. My first flight was the Viking IV upscale on an E9-4. After all, what can go wrong with a previously flown bird, right?
I attached the keychain camera to the bottom of the rocket, looking back toward the exhaust as I had with the camera on the Nova SS a few weeks back. Got it situated on the pad and went to get an on pad pic. No card in my camera. :mad: Some jackass had left the card on top of the computer stack before he left home. I wanted to use my big camera instead of the new little Sony because the burst mode is less limited and the telephoto lens is better. DOH! Anyway, no pics of this flight until the aftermath.
Things started off well. A great launch on the E9-4 with the nominal long burn. At ejection something looked to separate, and the body tube came in ballistic. You couldn't hear the crunch, but you coud feel it when it hit. Seconds later something landed in front of the flight line. It was the motor mount! Something else was drifting by on the way to the cornfield behind us. It was the baffle and nose cone on the parachute! As you may have expected, WTF? was the thought running through my mind at this point.
When the range had cleared, Tony and I went out to see what the damage was like. I lost about 6" of tube from the top of the rocket and the keychain camera had broken loose at impact and slammed into the ground.




I didn't get a picture of the remains of the keychain camera, but the video survived.

This wasn't the first flight for this bird on an E9, and definitely not my first incident with these motors. I'm really beginning to lose faith in them at this point.
With my confidence shaken by the previous flight, I chose something fairly vanilla for the next flight. The Mega Missile Toe upscale of the Goony Missile Toe. Flying on a D12-3, everything went as perfectly as I'd hoped. Windcocked fairly heavily, but recovered without incident.


Just what the doctor ordered. ;)

Next up was the repaired Centuri USS America, also on a D12-3.





This was the flight I had hoped for the first time. I like it better without the fireball. Again, it windcocked fairly heavily, but attained a decent altitude and ejected just as it began to tip over. Bounced on recovery, but that was to be expected. That dirt was hard! :D
The Viking VI was next on an E9-4 and also had a rough time of it. The nose cone separated and was lost, and the rocket hit the road on recovery, gashing a tube fin and finlet as well as bending the body tube. Three feet away from the soft grass. It's probably finished. I forgot to get a pic, but I've posted it before
When I returned, I found Tony unwrapping his Der Bigger Red Max, an LOC Lil Nuke conversion that he did in 2001. I felt it only proper to fly it alongside my 2011 LOC Lil Ninja, especially since the Lil Nuke donor kit had been a Christmas gift from Tony.





I can't remember the specifics, but I'm pretty sure Tony's rocket flew on another of his stash of NCR motors. :cool:


As for my Lil Ninja, I had an igniter problem, replaced it, and finally got off the pad about an hour after I started. All I got was a pic of it farting on the pad. :( (If only that moron hadn't forgotten that card.:wink:)


This post-flight pic gives a better idea of the scale of this rocket.

Tony's next flight was his "Kiss Army" LOC Stovi. (I love this rocket and I love the pics I got of it. :cool: ) Again, I think this was on an old NCR motor.





Like I said, :cool:
My last flight would be the Mace on a D12-5. Still in primer, but I have the paint and decal scheme all planned out. Flight was impressive, plenty high and deep into the wind, then recovered WAY deep in the veggies up near the road. (Not the access road. The REAL road.) By the time I got back I was done. Too much sun and too much walking, despite several of the kids in attendance doing my recovery work for me. (I tipped handsomely. :D )



Tony's last flight was his LOC Cyclotron on a G-something. This is going to be his eventual Level 1 bird.






This was Tony's first day launching since 2003. As we were packing up to leave, he mentioned that he might come back on Sunday, so the hook seems to have set again. :D Hopefully we'll find time for another launch sometime soon.
Also worth mentioning; I was taking pics of some of our rockets and I saw a guy walk up to Tony and introduce himself after they mistakenly called my name for his rocket. Tony pointed my way and after ten years I finally met Wolfram von Kiparski. :cool: Wolf was running the competition portion of the Great Lakes Regional and we were able to talk a couple of times over the course of the day. Another celebrity sighting was our LCO for the day, Barry Lynch. I was glad that I had brought one of his products to fly for a change. ;) I've got some other pics of other flights that I'll post later, including an impressive CATO sequence, (that isn't mine for a change,) and a heartbreaker of the death of one of Art Upton's 20 year old big birds.:(