Personal Launch Report - Antelope Valley 2023-02-20

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gdjsky01

Kim's Rocketeer
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There are so many magical places here in Southern California. So much science and aerospace history lives on here. Certainly the Antelope Valley is a hub of aerospace history both then and now. I made my way out from Los Angeles County's South Bay area at 7am. It was about a 90 minute drive to the appointed site. The MDARS' launch site is about 45 minutes further on. I stopped on the way in Palmdale, and as I turned out of the fast food joint, the GPS took me a different route than straight out the freeway. Much to my delight, it took my past Palmdale airport. The prominent Lockheed Martin hangers were enormous. Where the Skunkworks lives. Then further on past the Northrop-Grumman hanger where the next gen Stealth Bomber debuted (maybe the B2 before) that. Aerospace indeed! I drove on... miles further away... huge empty lots. Bad paved roads. Avenues with just letters for names.
And then I was there. My friend joined just a few minutes later. And his brother was not far behind. Temp was maybe 16C and very light winds. It warmed to perhaps 21C. I setup my 'just customized' Rockwell Jawstand 2.0 and my homebrewed launch controller sporting its new 30A relay and 2S3P 2200mah 35C LiPos.

First up. A Nova Rocketry 44 Mark 13 with a 9 inch (19cm) mylar chute. Its first flight. Used an A10-3T. Great fight! We got to see the wind drift for later flights. I bought the entire set of 13mm, 18mm, and 24mm Nova Rocketry rockets. But only the mk13 is built so far.

Lancaster-Launch-20230220 (2 of 334).jpg by Jeffrey Gortatowsky, on Flickr


Lancaster-Launch-20230220 (4 of 334).jpg by Jeffrey Gortatowsky, on Flickr
 
Next up my beaten and battered Saturn Deuce. A Flis Deuces Wild with my own Saturn V inspired decals. It sported twin C6-5s.
The flight was great. The Altimeter One claims 540' (160m). You can see one lit late, but lit it did! Used Estes Igniters.

Lancaster-Launch-20230220 (45 of 334).jpg by Jeffrey Gortatowsky, on Flickr

Lancaster-Launch-20230220 (49 of 334).jpg by Jeffrey Gortatowsky, on Flickr

Lancaster-Launch-20230220 (50 of 334).jpg by Jeffrey Gortatowsky, on Flickr

It did nice 'slow' roll on up.
 
Then came my first fail of the day. A USR Hitech 2225. Just the 3x24 sustainer. No booster. The payload had an Eggtimer Apogee for deployment. There were 3xD12-7s. Starters were MGJ BP starters. Seven second delay would mean the motors were backup.

At first all was good!
Lancaster-Launch-20230220 (81 of 334).jpg by Jeffrey Gortatowsky, on Flickr


Lancaster-Launch-20230220 (85 of 334)-2.jpg by Jeffrey Gortatowsky, on Flickr

MAYBE that plume under the right motor tube seems wider...
Lancaster-Launch-20230220 (85 of 334).jpg by Jeffrey Gortatowsky, on Flickr


Then it all went to heck. That motor had a blow by. And the rocket was fried inside.
The ET Apogee never even armed (never got high enough).

Lancaster-Launch-20230220 (86 of 334).jpg by Jeffrey Gortatowsky, on Flickr

Lancaster-Launch-20230220 (87 of 334).jpg by Jeffrey Gortatowsky, on Flickr

Lancaster-Launch-20230220 (112 of 334).jpg by Jeffrey Gortatowsky, on Flickr
 
In 1997, when I move to Southern California from Rochester New York, my first rocket I built as a BAR was a Custom Rockets Dynamic Carrier. And this is still the original! Talk about a brain fart. For some reason I had prepared the rocket with a QJET A3-4. I was sure, as I told my friend, it was a C12-4.

Lancaster-Launch-20230220 (151 of 334).jpg by Jeffrey Gortatowsky, on Flickr

Not that it was not a photogenic liftoff... However I was SHOCKED when the motor quit! What!!!!???????

Lancaster-Launch-20230220 (157 of 334).jpg by Jeffrey Gortatowsky, on Flickr

Well the deploy happen about 30' (9m) AGL. The body hit a little hard but the dirt was forgiving. A few fin cracks. All repaired by wicking in a little thin CA
 
My own design semi-scale Redtop AA missile was next with a F21-4. And like most huffing and chuffing loads, the delay went long, and it deployed maybe 100' (30m) AGL.

Lancaster-Launch-20230220 (171 of 334).jpg by Jeffrey Gortatowsky, on Flickr


It huffed and chuff and huffed some more... but finally went into the air.


Lancaster-Launch-20230220 (226 of 334).jpg by Jeffrey Gortatowsky, on Flickr


Like many TLP kits I have built, I had installed a centering ring in the forward part of the body to keep the recovery junk forward giving a little more margin of stability. Well that ring stopped the kevlar cord zipper in its tracks.

Lancaster-Launch-20230220 (232 of 334).jpg by Jeffrey Gortatowsky, on Flickr

I have already cut away the zipper. That area of the rocket will be replaced with a payload section for an Eggtimer Apogee.
 
I have had the worst luck with the Flis Corona. It has been rebuilt twice now. This time I used a nose cone from my departed Flis nightwhisper. B6-0/B6-4

Lancaster-Launch-20230220 (259 of 334).jpg by Jeffrey Gortatowsky, on Flickr



Lancaster-Launch-20230220 (266 of 334).jpg by Jeffrey Gortatowsky, on Flickr


Nope... Notice the saving grace. The nose popped off! WHY? Well the B6-4 did not light. But the MOTOR MOUNT came unglued (yes tearing the paper from the side walls) and was push forward popping the nose cone off. I have never had THAT happen... sigh...

Lancaster-Launch-20230220 (271 of 334).jpg by Jeffrey Gortatowsky, on Flickr
 
One other rocket I launch was a Zenith Payloader two stage. It had a great flight a B8-0 to A5-4. But I missed the launch shot completely.


So I had a GREAT time.
My friend and his brother were wonderful company. Great weather. Sure a long drive... but damn fun! Kudos to my friend's brother for using his bike to gather up rockets. As you can see, there was no place for a rocket to hide. But they could still drift a bit.

Okay... I guess I am done. Thanks for reading. Comments welcome! Man is this a great hobby or what?
 
Love the clusters, love the custom stuff. Not a huge fan of the confetti. Sorry for the booms vs. pops, but some cool rockets and a nice launch environment for sure.

Sandy.
 
some fabulous photos there! what a great shot of the Jetliner.
 
Estes made good on the D12-7 that fried my 3x24mm cluster rocket. I mean fried. The tube was hot and soft lying on the ground.
They are sending a new pack of D12-7s and a Der Big Red Max... Not exactly a replacement but should be fun enough. (May I'll make it a 3x24?) Not sure what theme I'll paint it. I rarely follow the card. I was thinking a Jerry Bell psychedelic theme? With Jack Nicholson above the skull and crossbones?
 
I'm curious about the location of the launch site in Lancaster - is it open to the public? I mentor a few TARC teams in the area and we're always looking for sites, especially if they are a bit closer than Aerial Acres, FAR, Lucerne, etc.
 
Outstanding photos, you captured the successes and "failures" (aka really cool flights) really well. Great stuff. BTW, what camera / lens combination did you use?
 
great photos - camera or phone?

The Estes Jetliner is a mini-engine, correct? I never could get any airplane-type rocket to go straight so I've stopped building those.
 
@mbeels Canon 7D with a 24-105 mm f/4 L with IS off and center spot focus on. Shutter Priority. Shutter speed somewhere north of 1/2000th (tho 3200 or 4000 is better). Adjust the ISO accordingly if need be. Continuous shooting on JPEG only. The 7D does a healthy 8fps IIRC. Hit the shutter at '1' and don't stop. Post Process in Lightroom.

@OC-Patrick If should be. But I read it was WHIMPY WHIMPY WHIMPY on 13mm As So I added nose weight and replaced the motor mount with an 18mm.
 

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