Tripoli San Diego October 2 2021 Launch: My flights

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smstachwick

LPR/MPR sport flier with an eye to HPR and scale
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My fleet after a weekend trip to Holtville. A little worse for wear, but new opportunities abound!

Flight 1: Estes Gnome on my last A3-4T. Having flown at least 7 times prior, the body tube buckled in flight, right at the slit for the motor hook. This isn’t a total loss though, as I suspect that cutting the tail section off and making a few minor modifications could yield a fine booster stage for my next one.

This launch was also the debut of the new 12-pad launch equipment put together by Vocational Steam Works, on which I flew all of my flights over the course of the weekend. John and Jack were really nice in allowing me free access to their camp, lending out tools, supplies, and other equipment, and swapping all kinds of stories. The launch would have been nowhere near as fun without their support. So, John and Jack, if you happen to run across this, thanks again.

Flight 2: Estes Phantom on a 1/2A6-2. A short but successful flight, with full parachute deployment. I did note, however, that the originally transparent plastic body tube got noticeably soft and partially melted by the ejection charge, making the body tube curve and rendering the forward opening for the nose a little lopsided. I had noticed this phenomenon, albeit more subtly, after flying it at Fiesta Island with with the Diego Area Rocketry Team (DART) in September, but I had dismissed it at the time as my eyes or mind playing tricks on me. Here, it was on full display. This deformation continued in later flights on this airframe throughout the day.

Flight 3: Estes Goblin on a C11-3. Not one but TWO cracked fins this time. The glue joint didn’t fail, rather it appears that the outer layer of paper on the body tube peeled away. After previously suffering identical damage (albeit on only one fin) at last month’s DART launch, I’ve decided that the next flight with this will be on parachute recovery instead of the stock dual streamers. I’d rather not lose it, however, so it will probably be on a small one identical to the one in the Phantom.

Flight 4: Estes Hi-Flier XL on an E12-4. Delay was too short, shock cord separated at mount. Body and nose sections recovered relatively easily. Next flight will be with an epoxied mount and an E12-6, although I still have to use up my last E12-4 eventually. The motor from this flight completed my 24x95mm spike.

Flights 5-6: Estes Star Orbiter, both on E16-4s. Video of Flight 6 here. This rocket flies completely straight every time, I'm amazed. The motor casings from these two flights became my 29mm spike.
View attachment trim.C9C82AFC-8717-4722-9B09-B62A628A1C61.MOV
















Flights 7-14: Estes Phantom. Flights 7-11 on A8-3s, Flights 12-14 on B4-2s. Having gotten everything into the air at least once and completing my spike row, I decided that it was time to start trimming my motor supply. I originally intended to fly it again on a 1/2A6-2 and retire that type from service, but I had misplaced my last one. All of my A8-3s were left over from a Blast-Off Flight Pack that my dad had bought years ago, and now they're finally gone. The B4-2s are gone as well, but the short delay put repetitive stresses on the shock cord until finally it failed at the mount. The nose, still dangling from the parachute, went over the ridge, past the boundaries of the launch site, and I never saw it again. It's probably in Arizona by now, with the ground winds being considerable throughout the late afternoon and into the early evening. The body tube came back more bent and lopsided than ever, and now there's a crack where the body tube meets the fin can. I'll probably try at least one more flight on it when I get a new nose, at Fiesta Island if I can but otherwise at Holtville or on my own.

As a side note, I did track down that missing 1/2A6-2 in John's camp, that will probably be its next flight.

Flights 15-20: With all but one rocket requiring repairs, further flying waited until this morning. The Star Orbiter, the sole airframe left in flyable condition, roared off the pad with my remaining stock of 29mm black powder motors. John, forever my hero, suggested putting his Jolly Logic Altimeter Three in several of these flights, returning useful data on its performance on E16-6s, F15-4s, and F15-6s. The E16-6 took it up to around 800 ft, while the F15s were pushing 1300. I'm really glad I have that E16 data, since I can now fly it confidently with Fiesta Island's 1000 ft ceiling and remain legal.

Perfect recovery every time. Easily the most reliable airframe at this event, and a true MVP.

Overall I'd call that a pretty good launch. Not everything was 100% successful but I learned a few things to put to use in future projects. I'm really glad that the Star Orbiter earned its paint, I'm sure that'll look pretty nice when I'm done with it.
 
Last edited:
View attachment 484229

My fleet after a weekend trip to Holtville. A little worse for wear, but new opportunities abound!

Flight 1: Estes Gnome on my last A3-4T. Having flown at least 7 times prior, the body tube buckled in flight, right at the slit for the motor hook. This isn’t a total loss though, as I suspect that cutting the tail section off and making a few minor modifications could yield a fine booster stage for my next one.

This launch was also the debut of the new 12-pad launch equipment put together by Vocational Steam Works, on which I flew all of my flights over the course of the weekend. John and Jack were really nice in allowing me free access to their camp, lending out tools, supplies, and other equipment, and swapping all kinds of stories. The launch would have been nowhere near as fun without their support. So, John and Jack, if you happen to run across this, thanks again.

Flight 2: Estes Phantom on a 1/2A6-2. A short but successful flight, with full parachute deployment. I did note, however, that the originally transparent plastic body tube got noticeably soft and partially melted by the ejection charge, making the body tube curve and rendering the forward opening for the nose a little lopsided. I had noticed this phenomenon, albeit more subtly, after flying it at Fiesta Island with with the Diego Area Rocketry Team (DART) in September, but I had dismissed it at the time as my eyes or mind playing tricks on me. Here, it was on full display. This deformation continued in later flights on this airframe throughout the day.

Flight 3: Estes Goblin on a C11-3. Not one but TWO cracked fins this time. The glue joint didn’t fail, rather it appears that the outer layer of paper on the body tube peeled away. After previously suffering identical damage (albeit on only one fin) at last month’s DART launch, I’ve decided that the next flight with this will be on parachute recovery instead of the stock dual streamers. I’d rather not lose it, however, so it will probably be on a small one identical to the one in the Phantom.

Flight 4: Estes Hi-Flier XL on an E12-4. Delay was too short, shock cord separated at mount. Body and nose sections recovered relatively easily. Next flight will be with an epoxied mount and an E12-6, although I still have to use up my last E12-4 eventually. The motor from this flight completed my 24x95mm spike.

Flights 5-6: Estes Star Orbiter, both on E16-4s. Video of Flight 6 here. This rocket flies completely straight every time, I'm amazed. The motor casings from these two flights became my 29mm spike.
View attachment 484230
















Flights 7-14: Estes Phantom. Flights 7-11 on A8-3s, Flights 12-14 on B4-2s. Having gotten everything into the air at least once and completing my spike row, I decided that it was time to start trimming my motor supply. I originally intended to fly it again on a 1/2A6-2 and retire that type from service, but I had misplaced my last one. All of my A8-3s were left over from a Blast-Off Flight Pack that my dad had bought years ago, and now they're finally gone. The B4-2s are gone as well, but the short delay put repetitive stresses on the shock cord until finally it failed at the mount. The nose, still dangling from the parachute, went over the ridge, past the boundaries of the launch site, and I never saw it again. It's probably in Arizona by now, with the ground winds being considerable throughout the late afternoon and into the early evening. The body tube came back more bent and lopsided than ever, and now there's a crack where the body tube meets the fin can. I'll probably try at least one more flight on it when I get a new nose, at Fiesta Island if I can but otherwise at Holtville or on my own.

As a side note, I did track down that missing 1/2A6-2 in John's camp, that will probably be its next flight.

Flights 15-20: With all but one rocket requiring repairs, further flying waited until this morning. The Star Orbiter, the sole airframe left in flyable condition, roared off the pad with my remaining stock of 29mm black powder motors. John, forever my hero, suggested putting his Jolly Logic Altimeter Three in several of these flights, returning useful data on its performance on E16-6s, F15-4s, and F15-6s. The E16-6 took it up to around 800 ft, while the F15s were pushing 1300. I'm really glad I have that E16 data, since I can now fly it confidently with Fiesta Island's 1000 ft ceiling and remain legal.

Perfect recovery every time. Easily the most reliable airframe at this event, and a true MVP.

Overall I'd call that a pretty good launch. Not everything was 100% successful but I learned a few things to put to use in future projects. I'm really glad that the Star Orbiter earned its paint, I'm sure that'll look pretty nice when I'm done with it.
Where is your flying site? I am in Yuma in the winter months and would like somewhere to fly when I am there.
 
Where is your flying site? I am in Yuma in the winter months and would like somewhere to fly when I am there.
It’s the site of the inactive Holtville airport in Imperial County, California. Directions to the site, along with various do’s and don’t’s, can be found on the Tripoli San Diego website.

I understand there is also a Tripoli prefecture based in Phoenix, that may be worth looking into as well. Tripoli and NAR both have club locator tools on their sites if you’re looking for something in the Yuma metropolitan area, you may get lucky and find something much closer to you.
 
It’s the site of the inactive Holtville airport in Imperial County, California. Directions to the site, along with various do’s and don’t’s, can be found on the Tripoli San Diego website.

I understand there is also a Tripoli prefecture based in Phoenix, that may be worth looking into as well. Tripoli and NAR both have club locator tools on their sites if you’re looking for something in the Yuma metropolitan area, you may get lucky and find something much closer to you.
Thanks, Google maps says Holtville is 50 minutes from Yuma, that's pretty close. I will look up the Phoenix prefecture but Phoenix is like a 4-hour drive from Yuma.
 
Depending on where you live in Yuma, it should be less than a 50 minute drive. Launch site is east of town of Holtville. It's Tripoli San Diego Prefecture #5 site. Here's the link to the club website. Sign up for the email list to get info. Down for the summer due to heat (our off season). Next launch is first Saturday in October, weather permitting.
https://www.tripolisandiego.org/
 
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