Launch Report: 14-15 Feb 04 (Long)

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Jan 18, 2009
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For my first post to TRF, I figured I'd do one of a launch report from this past weekend. Warning: "Conan style" launch reports are pretty long -- if you want to see some of my old ones, you can do a google search on RMR using my name as the poster and see them. If they're too long for this forum, let me know and I'll adjust...

Date: 14-15 Feb 04
Time: ~1000 on (for me)
Location: Veteran's Park facility, Alamogordo NM
Conditions: (14) high thirties, mostly clear, and windy
(15) fifties, clear, calmer (some breeze)
Ground Support Equipment: club equipment from Spaceport Model Rocketry Association (NAR #488), Tripoli New Mexico-White Sands (TRA #61), and visiting clubs/individuals

Only my second time able to fly since moving here to NM a year and a half ago. Weather was chilly (especially Sat) but I had a great time and only one minor mishap.

14 Feb 04:
#1. Estes Long Shot, D12-0/B6-6, 16th flight (15th staged)

For whatever lame reason, I found myself with no C6-7s so I used the B motor upper stage. Flight was really nice, good staging, decent altitude. Had to walk some to get the upper stage but all recovered in good condition.

#2. Estes Der Red Max (clone), C6-3, 17th flight

For the same lame reason, I didn't have any -5s so I used the -3. Nice flight, but as expected a little early on ejection. Good recovery with no damage. BTW, I did a review on EMRR for this clone a couple years ago. Rocket has flown a bunch and is still in pretty good condition.

#3. Estes Satellite Interceptor (clone), C6-3, 13th flight

As usual, generated a little conversation with this one since you don't see them that often. Nice flight with a tad of corkscrew action, ejection a little early, good recovery. This one is also reviewed on EMRR.

#4. Estes Teros, B6-6, 30th flight

This is one of my "originals," built back in ~1978 during my first rocketry iteration, and is my energizer bunny (I fly it pretty much every time I go out). A very nice flight! Good altitude on a B, perfect ejection timing, good recovery.

#5. Estes Snitch, C6-0, 2nd flight

Just felt like being different today. Flew really nicely, bounced a couple times on landing then stayed upright on the landing "antennae."

#6. Centuri Two Bitz, 1/2A3-2T, 5th flight

A nice, typical flight for this one. Came in a little fast due to motor not ejecting from rocket -- but no damage.

#7. LOC Viper III, (3x) E9-6, 7th flight

Cool flight, nice altitude and straight. A little walk to recover due to drift. Find out that only two motors lit (all three igniters appear to have fired; the dud may have been pulled out before firing). Glad there was no scary flight with only two motors. No damage.

#8. Estes Big Daddy, E9-6, 2nd flight

Don't know why I haven't flown this more over the years -- only other flight was in GA on an F reload. Used the non-fired motor from the Viper III to "see if it would fire" -- beautiful flight. Drifted a ways, with a little dent on one fin tip, but everything pretty much fine.

#9. Estes Astron Birdie (clone), A10-3T, 17th flight

Nice typical Birdie flight. I rigged a mini-motor mount to fit into the "shortie" tube and recover separately rather than just spitting the motor. Birdie landed on one of the tin roofs, recovered by one of the kids at the launch. Motor mount recovered fine on streamer.

#10. Estes Trident (clone), C6-3, 2nd flight

Really nice flight. Chute stayed wadded up for about half the recovery, then finally opened. Recovered in good condition. Another conversation starter any time it's brought out.

#11. Estes Ram Jet (clone), B4-6, 5th flight

Good flight, nice timing on ejection (although I'm definitly going to have to lengthen the shock cord as I'm getting dents often). Drifted. Broke a fin on landing (mid-span -- go figure). Has already been repaired...

15 Feb 04:
#1. Estes Long Shot, D12-0/C6-7, 17th flight (16th staged)

Well I restocked my launch box with motors overnight so I have longer Cs to use today. Thought about using an E-C combination, but no E9-0 on hand... Great flight! Good staging, sweet altitude, nice recovery fairly close to the pads.

#2. PML Small Endeavour, I218R-Long, 7th flight

First HPR launch in over two years, so I took my time building the motor and prepping the rocket. Kevin Smalls (Here and Beyond Industries) was a life saver ensuring I had all the delay components handy. Just a flat-out awesome launch with major altitude. Everyone pretty much lost it over apogee. About the time I'm wondering about losing my casing (Millenium Edition) it's sighted about halfway down on a good chute. A seriously long walk to recover, but everything in great condition. The redline was sweet! And my first ever I motor. Woo hoo!

#3. LOC Viper III, (3x) E9-8, 8th flight

Another awesome flight. Nice altitude, a lot less drift than previous day. Everything recovered in good condition.

#4. Estes Teros, B6-4, 31st flight

Great flight as always. Really gets a better flight profile on upper stage long delays, but didn't have on in a B. Good recovery.

#5. Rogue Aerospace Interdictor, C6-5, 6th flight

Cool flight, but with a lot of corkscrew. Generated a lot of nice comments. Good recovery (actually caught it about 50 feet from the pads).

#6. Estes Heliocopter, C6-5, 10th flight

Very nice flight, straight up. Booster recovery normal. Helicopter nose cone just kind of fluttered down -- rubber bands pretty much worn out and will need replacement...

All in all, I had a great weekend and enjoyed flying with the NM clubs and the visitors from CO. Felt wonderful to finally get out and do some major flying again ... especially getting the HPR going again after so long without incident. Lots of others had great flights, including several new NAR records over on the contest pads. Maybe someone will chime in with details there. Thanks again to Kevin Smalls for helping with the I-motor reload components!

Great report, David. It's also great to know you're still active in the hobby. Reading your Satellite Interceptor review on EMRR a few years ago was one of the great push/pull moments of my rocketry life. I was thrilled to see that someone else thought enough of the S.I. to review it, but at the same time I was mad that I wouldn't be the one to write the review. I currently have one original S.I. that I bought as an ebay refugee, one that I cloned using the Wildfire as your review suggested, a BT-55 based clone, and a BT-60 (S.W.A.T.-based) cluster version. As you can tell, it's one of my favorites. You should think about doing a review on the Ram-Jet.
Thanks Bill!

I've been "somewhat" busy the past 2-3 years which has limited my flying/building a bit. The last year and a half in GA I was travelling alot (including Korea and Japan), and since getting out here have stayed busy also ... especially now that I'm a unit commander. Between that and either being out of town or doing boys' soccer game stuff, haven't been able to fly very often. But I have continued to lurk here and there in RMR, EMRR, and now TRF.

I finally have got my garage cleaned out enough to do some work, repaired all the rockets (except one that requires major surgery -- Alien Explorer), and started to make myself re-engage.

Been thinking about getting some of my rockets into the mill at EMRR, to include the Ram Jet clone, the Trident clone, and the Birdie clone as starters. May have to take newer pictures or search for some older ones (the Ram Jet in particular is getting a little beat up with "estes dents").

My original "delusions of grandeur" plan was to upscale the Satellite Interceptor for my Level I cert, but saner thoughts prevailed. I still plan to eventually upscale it to high power. I think a 4" version would be killer!

Take care,
I'm on board with you as far as finding time to fly. I'm of the opinion that soccer is one of the great natural enemies of rocketry. If they're not taking up our open spaces, then we're stuck coaching or carting the kids to and from games. I don't mind watching my kids, but when I get to the field and find it loaded with soccer teams playing make-up games I have to draw the line. Here in Cincinnati we're in the process of seeing our big, wide open field converted to soccer fields. Not being of the high power persuasion, it isn't that big a deal to me, but I like to fly with the guys to whom it is a big deal. I thought that I was going to get to go out for a few hours this coming weekend, but tonight my wife informed me that "we're" working on the kitchen this Saturday. Knowing which side of my bread is buttered, I smiled and nodded. "Honeydew" is another of rocketry's great natural enemies.
Regarding the Birdie, I "made" one last summer after almost running down a bird in the back yard while I was cutting grass. I had the thing ready to fly in ten minutes. That's a great small field flier. The kids really get a charge out of it.
As for your idea of the S.I. as your level 1 cert vehicle, I think that would be incredibly cool. What made you decide against it?
And BTW, welcome to the forum. I think you'll find it quite different than RMR. You might want to check out Old Rockets over on Yahoo also.
Thanks for the launch report. Reading about flights is almost as good as flying! And I agree with you on the pick-up soccer scourge - especially when its adults playing. Get a hobby, y'all! :D
Excellent report David...sounds like you launched a bunch!!! Sounded like a great day and some good fun to be man, more pics!!! Maybe next time...

Thanks Carl and grey (I guess I could suck up and say my rockets launched with a "blinding flash and a deafening report," even though that's really Skylark and not Lensman). Will try and get some launch pics next time ... forgot to take my camera last weekend -- DOH!

For Bill, didn't actually make the upscale SI effort because I knew I was in over my head trying, and actually wanted to make the cert flight this century. I actually had bought tubes and made some upscale patterns, but at the time the NC was a problem. With some of the larger Black Brant models around these days, probably not a big deal now.

I went digging around in my digital pic files to see if I had any decent pics of the Trident and Ram Jet clones. Not really, but to give an idea here's one from my "rocket room" back in Georgia before our move with the Trident -- it also contains the Satellite Interceptor clone, a Lawn Dart Rocketry SLAT/s and the Snitch. The Trident was built with BMS cones, JimZ decals, and my "bin o parts."

While it isn't quite level one capable, this is a picture of my BT-55 based S.I. upscale. (Circa 2001.) It's D-powered and has shown a tendency to drift forever on it's heavily reefed chute. I've twice given it up for lost, only to have another flier bring it back to me later. (Apologies for the unpainted, undecaled look. It's looking much better these days, but for some reason I don't have a current picture of it.)
Very nice report Conan. As Carl said, we need pics! :) Seriously, nice report.

Very nice pics too, guys. Is it just me or does that Snitch look like it is floating in the air?
"Lots of others had great flights, including several new NAR records over on the contest pads. Maybe someone will chime in with details there."

I can add some details on the NAR record flights. We set 7 new records in Alamogordo. Ariana Williams set SR Alt, D PL Alt in A division, The Paranoid Androids set D Alt, D BG and E BG in the Team division, and I set E ELD and just missed setting C PD in C division. All of us record setters were members of CRASH #482 here in Denver, although the launch also had members from Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and others from the Northern Colorado Rocketry club. If you are ever inclined to set duration records, Alamogordo is the place to try.

Ariana Williams won the NAR regional in A division with over 2000 points winning 4 events, while I took the C division, also winning 4 events and about 1900 points. Many kudos to Jim Basler for running a great regional.

There were also tons of high power flights and I saw many smaller old original and clone Estes kits flown. I was lucky enough to have Dave show me his Satellite Interceptor, Terros and Red Maxx up close, but I failed to get pics. I doubt the pics would do them justice anyway. They looked great in person, especially to a nostalgic old bar like me!

His PML Small Endeavour flight was awesome, but I wasn't sure any of us were going to see that rocket again. It's amazing that no-one lost any big rockets over the weekend with the altitude they were getting. What a great launch site. I think I might try for my L2 there in June. It's perfect for those high motor ejection L2 attempts!

Russ Anthony
NAR #81741 L1