Last big launch of the year for the Syracuse Rocket Club today. Kenny was otherwise occupied so I went on my own.
For mid October the weather was beautiful: Clear skies, temperatures got into the 70s, light breeze most of the day which got a little stiffer toward the end.
I brought six rockets. First up was the Estes Metalizer on a C6-5 motor. It’s a cheap ETX but it looks pretty good and flies well, good to start things off. It cocked left into the wind, as did almost everything all day. Deployment was a little late but no problem. All my chute rockets were hovering around similar recovery weights so I made sure to pay attention to how it came down on a 12″ chute, and it was fine, slow but not too slow.
Next I launched the Tornado. The Estes instructions list four B and C motors as recommended, but over at RocketryReviews.com I find most listed flights were on A or even 1/2A. So I decided on an A8-3, and that worked well. B would have gone probably too high to be sure of keeping it in sight, and C would have made it disappear. This month’s contest was a B motor helicopter duration, with separate categories for rockets that return in one or two parts, so this flight was timed: 38 seconds. Then came the hard part… recovery. The grass at Weigand’s is a bit over ankle high, and I didn’t have a very good line on the tail section. I couldn’t locate it. I decided to write it off as lost, but someone later on found it accidentally, which meant my entry qualified. Turned out to be the winner by 7 seconds (second place was another Tornado) by the end of the day.
Third up was the Test to Destruction on a B4-4, a good flight that ended up about six feet from the one car parked on the field. Nothing damaged, and the baffle protected the parachute just fine without wadding.
The one flight with any problems was the FlisKits Caution! Rocket Launch In Progress! cardstock model, flying on an A8-3. The flight looked fine, but on recovery I found a small hole had been burned in the side, close to the front of the motor. Should be no problem to repair. On a whim I prepared this one using only pieces of crepe paper for recovery wadding, and the recovery streamer (another piece of the same crepe paper) came through unscathed.
Next, the Loadstar II — both stages — on B6-0 to B6-4. The payload section contained a cardboard sled I’d rigged up to hold a cheap, outward-facing video camera. I didn’t expect much from the video and didn’t get much, but at least it worked. Another good flight, with the top stage maybe 100 feet away and the booster right back at the pads.
I’d prepared a flight card ahead of time for the Tornado on a B motor, but decided the A had sent it quite high enough and the grass wasn’t getting any shorter; besides, it was still winning. So instead I loaded a C6-5 into the Test to Destruction. Moments after it left the pad there was a tremendous roar — I only very briefly thought my rocket had exploded before deciding there was no way it could make such a loud and prolonged noise. Turned out that due to launch director error, a high power rocket had ignited accidentally. No harm done, though; both rockets had good flights. The Test lost the drag race, though.
So 6 rockets, 8 flights, 7.7 successes I’d say, and one winner. A good day!