HERC 1/17 Tampa Meet

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Well-Known Member
Apr 22, 2009
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Greetings everyone!

Great news! This weekend the local Tampa TRFers unofficially known as "HERC" met for a windy, but otherwise GREAT day of flying rockets. Over the course of the holidays we had been conversing back and forth via Email with some spectators that had previously attended and had shown an interest in meeting for regular local rocketry gatherings. Typically, a group of about 4-6 of us meet and enjoy each other's company. Of the 4 founding members of HERC - Chris, Russell, Jason, and I (all TRFers), only 2 of us were able to attend. So how good of a meet was this? We were joined by approximately 18+ people from the community and two other TRFers "jawa" and "Zippy" (formerly ZippyOgiveHead)!!! For the original 4 of us that are trying to get this thing started, this is like the scene from "Field of Dreams." What a wonderful thing when people show up in support of a great thing such as rocketry. I must say that Chris and I were absolutely shocked at the turnout of people.

Of the approximate 18+ that attended, 5 of us were responsible for putting on a great show. The flight report to follow...

1. Estes "classic" Big Bertha (original): (2) B6-4s, (2) C6-3s - This rocket crossed over from my childhood. It performed great even in windy conditions. Given the winds, I kept it low on B6-4s in the afternoon. Under a 12" chute, recovery distance was kept to a minimum.

2. Citation Patriot (clone): (2)C6-3s - This is instantly one of my favorite rockets. It flew twice very nicely. The 18" chute made for long walks. I can understand why kids from this rocket's debut was a hit.

3. DER V-3 (original): C11-3 - ...another rocket to cross over from my childhood. Too bad Estes didn't have this motor when the rocket came out. Flies great and is perfect for windy days and small parks.

4. LOC/Precision Graduator: F20-7W, RMS F22-5J - The F20 flight took place just as the winds kicked up. The boost was great and the rocket arched into the wind. The 24" Thrustline nylon chute deployed while the rocket was on its way down. The wind carried it off the field and caused it to land in the street. No real damage. Flight #2 proved to be devastating. The F22 came to pressure but lagged the thrust to keep it vertical off the 4' rod. It subsequently did a landshark and crashed nearly 250 yards away. Surprisingly, the only damage was a popped fin and dented tube.

5. Rockets grounded due to wind - Nomad (prepped for 3-stage flight), 2.6x upscale Bullpup (prepped with G64)


1. VanRam (scratchbuild): G35-4W
2. AT Initiator: E30-4T
3. Chris, did you fly anything else that day? (Chris was busy assisting kids with launching rockets.)

Joe M. (newcomer, non-TRFer...yet)

1. AT Mirage - G35-4W
2. LOC/Precision 4-29SS - DUAL G40-7Ws!!! THIS FLIGHT ROCKED!!! Very high and nearly out of sight!
3. Estes CC Express: C11-0 to D12-7 - This one was lost :(
4. Estes Comanche 3: C11-0 to B6-0 to B6-6 - Burned 1st stage. Perhaps an inverted motor?
5. Screamin' Mimi: C11 or D12? - Very neat to hear the whistles at motor burnout
6. Estes Executioner: E9-4
7. Estes BullPup: C6-5

Ray C. (newcomer, non TRFer...yet)

1. Estes Viking: C6-5 - Out of sight, lost
2. 2nd Estes Viking: A8-3
3. Estes Honest John: (2) E9-4 - 2nd flight snapped shockcord resulting in prang of airframe. :(

Michael H. (ZippyOgiveHead):

1. Estes Mercury Redstone: C6-3
2. Estes US Army Patriot: C6-?
3. Tomahawk (scratch?): motor unknown
4. Yank Astrobee D: RMS F40-4W
5. PML Amraam: RMS F40-4W
6. PML mini-BBX: G75J w/ dual deployment. Successful flight.

I believe I got everyone in this report.

Special thanks to Ray C. for inviting friends and family. The young kids in attendance had a memorable day I'm sure.

Thanks to Chris for handling the FAA notice and assisting with motivating the approx. 6+ kids that were in attendance.

Thanks to Joe for putting up the 4-29SS on 2 G40s. I think the kids will be coming back! (Even the big ones!) Joe also recruited a family that was shopping at the hobby shop. They were absolutely thrilled. Nice work!

Also thanks to Jason W. (jawa) for supporting HERC as a spectator. Dude, you gotta bring out some stuff and participate next time!

A HUGE thanks to Michael H. for joining the NAR. We're ONE member away from becoming a chartered NAR section.

To anyone else I missed, thanks for coming and we'll see you next month.

(Jason/Russ, I *really* wish you guys could have made it. This was a big day for HERC.)
Thats a great report as usuall Eugene. You got all of my flights right too, except for some of the ejection times wich is nitpicking. :)

Funny thing about the Mini BBX flight, as I found out later niether altimeter charge actually went off. Since the rocket went a bit sideways it never got to 300' where the altimeter arms itself at. Both chutes deployed though becouse of motor ejection backup. It should have only popped the drogue but I think when the shock cord ran out between the two tubes and stopped the cargo section from moving the nose cone decided it wanted to keep going and it dragged out the laundry behind it. I suppose that is technically a succesfull flight since it landed safely under both chutes but I'll be alot happier when I see it go straight up next time...

I'm still waiting on a reply from NAR. I guess they don't have an autoresponder.
Eugene, nice flight report once again.

Sounds like it was a GREAT! day despite the winds.

Amazing, to hear the number of people that showed up for the launch.

I am schedueld and ready to go for the next time HERC meets.

Look forward to seeing some of the flight pics.

Especially those 2 G-40s :D

I just wanted to quickly post that I am working on some pics and videos I took on Saturday. I got a good launch video of Eugene's Graduator, Micahel's Tomahawl (I think, white and black rocket), and Joe's Mirage and 4-29.

I finally got a copy of Quicktime Pro, so it should be a matter of an hour or so...

- Jason
Originally posted by Zippy
Thats a great report as usuall Eugene. You got all of my flights right too, except for some of the ejection times wich is nitpicking. :)


I'm still waiting on a reply from NAR. I guess they don't have an autoresponder.

It's kinda fun trying to recollect all of the flights of the day. Rocket flights are memorable though and aren't too hard to forget. (Unless I'm not paying attention or there to see it.) I'm hoping that once the club gains membership we can implement flight cards. I'd like to log flights and keep a website updated with all of the activities.
Ok, here are 4 Quicktime movies taken with my Kodak Digital camera (so don't me crap about quality, lol). They are currently on my companies ftp site for now, so I will update the links if I have to move them.

Link to the main directory:
ftp://cdcust:[email protected]/Outgoing/TRF/

Link to Eugene's Graduator launch that didn't go haywire:
ftp://cdcust:[email protected]/Outgoing/TRF/eugene_graduator.zip

Link to Michael's Tomahawk launch and recovery:
ftp://cdcust:[email protected]/Outgoing/TRF/michael_tomahawk.zip

Link to Joe's Mirage launch and recovery:
ftp://cdcust:[email protected]/Outgoing/TRF/joe_mirage.zip

Link to Joe's 4-29 launch:
ftp://cdcust:[email protected]/Outgoing/TRF/joe_4-29ss.zip

Hope you enjoy them!

- Jason

p.s. After jetra tried to view them, found that our ftp may be blocking this type of file...for obvious reasons, lol. Anway, I changed them all to zip files instead...

I've seen far worse videos, on my own site actually. :( The 4-29's one is pretty good really. I could only get to them through the directory link though and even then I couldn't get Eugene's .mov to open. I did fly a Tomahawk that day but the video is actually of my Astrobee D wich is a more interesting flight anyway.
I can't access he movie files, so I am guessing others won't be able to either. I will put them on my home web server when I have access to that comp... Sorry!!!
Thanks for letting me know about the videos...

Glad you got the BBX back in one piece, I tried to get video on it but when I went to record it reset instead...oh well.

- Jason
Jason, those are some awesome videos of our rockets flying. I'm ever so grateful that someone was taking pictures. I rarely get to fly so much whenever I'm holding the camera.

Chris took some awesome photos of some of our rockets launching as well. Here are some from this weekend's events.

Here's my DER V-3 taking off on a C11-3.
Here is yours truly and Joe M. showing off our birds. My 2.6x upscale Bullpup is currently the pride of my fleet. Joe does some fantastic work on his rockets. Get this - the guy paints them all with professional auto paints! Sweet! Check out the Mirage!
We had a great turnout Saturday. Here's a glimpse of the lot of cars.
Joe broke out the big guns and flew his LOC 4-29SS on dual G40-7s. This rocket was an absolute show stopper both on the ground and in flight. Great capture Chris!
Chris flew his "VanRam", a custom 3" dia. scratchbuild, on a G35-4W. You can see the childhood excitement in this picture. :D
Here's a great closing shot for the day. After everyone had left, Chris decided on one more flight. He put his Initiator up on an E30.
Thanks to Eugene for the AWESOME launch report, as usual. And actually, I stayed out there for another hour! I was the only one left launching rockets and running after them like a school kid. The wind actually died down, so I didn't have to run far.

I have a lot of launchpad camera shots that I made into a video. That video, along with all of Jason's awesome stuff will be posted on the new HERC multimedia site for all to see within 24 hours. I work for a company that sells a Web-based streaming media platform. They let me set up my own site with unlimited bandwidth and unrestricted storage, which will come in VERY handy!!!

More to come! :)
Originally posted by ChrisVG
Thanks to Eugene for the AWESOME launch report, as usual. And actually, I stayed out there for another hour! I was the only one left launching rockets and running after them like a school kid. The wind actually died down, so I didn't have to run far.
More to come! :)

So what else did you end up flying? Hmm....I wish I could have stayed. I had fun at the bachelor party though. :D
Originally posted by eugenefl
So what else did you end up flying? Hmm....I wish I could have stayed. I had fun at the bachelor party though. :D

Glad to hear it!!!!

I also flew:

Estes Big Daddy on an E9-4
Blue Ninja (Now Silver) on a D12-3
Deuce's Wild on Dual C6-5s

I was going to fly the VanRam again, but after reviewing the video, I actually did get a nice pad cam shot!
Finally! I have posted some videos to the new HERC Multimedia Web Site at HERC Multimedia Site. (New URL and Official HERC Web Site Coming Soon!) Just go to the site and either register (your information is safe) or click Guest Login near the bottom of the page. You will see a list of Categories. Just Browse the categories and you will see videos will be listed on the right. Click play and enjoy!

The site will detect whether or not you have either RealPlayer or Windows Media Player installed. If not, you must install them before you can play the video. I plan on providing Real versions of all of the videos for you MAC users. The site also supports QuickTime, so I will be posting Jason's videos tomorrow.

Let me know how things go!!


Those videos are great. I have one of Eugene's composite takeoff and of my Honest John in early flight. I'll email them over.

Technically the Honest John parachute didn't eject. I got blowby on the chute cause the rocket diameter was so large. I must not have packed the wadding tightly enough. Now I'm addicted, I guess as a BAR.

Sean and all of the kids had a great time. Can't wait until we can get the NAR blessing (and insurance) I think we could certainly have many more rocketry families on their way. Especially if Joe keeps popping off that SS. What a sight, who wouldn't come back!

I'm so grateful to find the group. I've been out in the fields with Sean and myself for years now (builds great bonding, that and bass fishing) and I hope he can find some friends to share this with.

You guys are great quality atmosphere. What a good day, sorry I had to bolt. Sean loved it, but nonethless he is still a little boy with the attention span of the same. He made it through 3.5 hours though so I know he'll be back.
Thanks Ray! I am glad you enjoyed the videos. I get a kick out of editing video, and though I have no idea what I am doing, I always like what I come up with. I look forward to getting your MPEGs. I will send you a link to my FTP site so that you can upload them. I will post them on the HERC Multimedia site as well.

Sean is adorable! I am so glad you and your son had a good time. One thing we want HERC to be is a family-oriented organization. I just love the look on the face of a child when they see their first rocket launch. It is very cool. Once we are an NAR section, we will be planning a lot of youth-oriented activities for the club. I can't wait!

I really like that Honest John. It is too bad that the second launch went awry.

Take care!