It was a bit breezy at times, and the field was a bit weird as there was a ~1' wide 'river' between the access road and the field, so you could only park on the road and 'hop' over the muddy patch if you wanted a larger or shaded setup area (like to put up my ez-up). I keep most of my gear in my truck so there was a lot of stepping over the wet area, and a few times where the ground at the edge was softer than expected and I really sunk in. I did get to use my new 'dog stakes' (16" spiral anchors from OSH) for the first time, and the length was important as they really didn't find sturdy ground until about the last 4-6".
But otherwise a great day. I had 3 motors built ahead of time (rare for me) but only got to fly two of them as it turns out I broke a wire in the drogue harness for my 38mm MD rocket, so I got out to the pad and the SLCF was only giving 2 beeps instead of 3 (I had 3 beeps at my table, but that was before loading the BP and screwing the AVBay together, that bay has always been a bit tight and one of the wires got pinched), and I couldn't field-repair that issue, so that rocket got grounded. But I did fly my Nike Smoke on a J401FJ and a J1520VM (2 of the 3 biggest motors I had in my personal inventory), both went to ~4850' and I have pad and onboard video for both flights that I need to review today.
As Kevin said, there were tons of cert flights, I guess it was the backlog from months of launches getting scrubbed. At least half if not 2/3 or 3/4 of the HPR flights yesterday I'd say. Sometimes the entire rack was cert flights. Most seemed to be successful. Though yesterday was also the largest number of flights I've seen (at least 3) with rockets that didn't separate at all, but instead of coming down ballistic they wound up spinning their way down. Seemed to be 'gentile' enough landings to not harm the airframes (helps that the ground was fairly soft also), though it's obviously harder on the fins since they were rotating pretty fast when they hit. I came across two of these while recovering my rocket, one larger rocket (almost 8' tall, probably 6" diameter or maybe 8") survived fully intact, another long-and-skinny lost a fin (neither of these were cert flights).
Stupidly, I forgot to bring my suntan lotion, and it didn't dawn on me until late in the afternoon that I hadn't even put on the safari hat that I usually wear at launches, so it looks like I got a decent sunburn yesterday. Guess I was having too much fun to think about it at the time. [ow, that hurts]
Just had to put up this still from my 720p@240fps pad camera, this was the J1520VM.
That particular flight didn't even arc, the rocket started dropping tail-first (descending into its own smoke trail) when the TRS fired the apogee charge. Strangely the onboard AltimeterThree claimed deployment was a few seconds before apogee, not sure why it came to that conclusion but the on-board video clearly disagrees (will send the data to Jolly Logic for review). I had left the VMax's 17s delay undrilled and found that it had fired when I recovered the rocket, so it wasn't a VMax delay failure (apogee was right around 17s after burn-out, so I can't say for certain which charge went first, and can't hear two pops on the video but both charges had clearly fired during the flight).
And a bonus shot of the flight line a bit before lunch, from my J401FJ flight.
Great shots Will. I hope you find time to post the onboard video, particularly from the Vmax flight. =]
I have some interested on-board camera video from my J500G flight... my booster and payload mixed it up shortly after apogee.. impacting hard enough to take a nice chunk of paint. One of the video frames shows paint chips flying... then a few frames later, the remaining backup apogee charge fires right into the booster/camera... then 2 seconds later the triple backup motor charge flashes within the booster tube turning it orange. I'll have to try and make a video with some slow motion for that flight.