At long last launch

For the first time this year, the Syracuse Rocket Club held a launch.

To recap the story so far: Over the winter and spring between our last launch of 2013 and our first scheduled launch of 2014 I built and finished (except the Yankee) seven new rockets:

I also decided I was going to participate in (nearly) every club launch contest and theme this year. I also decided I was going to do NARTREK Bronze.

But weather forced the cancellation of the May SRC launch. The May contest (dual D eggloft duration) would be run — along with the June contest (target duration) — at the June launch. I did go to NYPower but felt constrained by conditions there to limit my flying; only one of the new rockets, the Mega Mosquito, flew, and only one NARTREK goal, D or higher motor launch, was (successfully) attempted.

Since NYPower I’ve finished two more rockets:

and flown the Dead Ringer. (I’d decided I was worried enough about stability that I didn’t want the first flight to be at a club launch, so I did a quick private flight last Sunday on an A8-3 motor. Flight was stable, but very low; really not enough motor for this 80 gram rocket.)

So, what with the rockets that needed their first flight, or first SRC flight, and the two contests, and the three remaining NARTREK flights, the tentative list I made up on Thursday showed ten rockets to be flown, one probably three times and one maybe twice, in one seven or so hour event.

Yikes. Now, that’s still not approaching the flights per day of a few of our more ambitious members, but it’s about 50% more than my personal previous record. That led me to spend some time Friday night prepping. Normally I do my prepping at the field; this time I did it ahead. Before that, though, I took a group photo.IMG_2723

Then this morning we loaded up, Kenny and I, and headed for the field.

I got Kenny to take my picture with the Ventris.IMG_2725

After finding his new Eliminator needed some better glue joints Kenny launched his Ascender, then hung out until lunchtime when I ran him home. I stayed for the day.

My first up was the Caution for its first flight on a B6-4. Out of curiosity I timed the flight and it was pretty close to 30 seconds, the target duration contest goal. I’d been thinking of using the Yankee for target duration but changed my mind at that point.

IMG_2726Next was the Yankee, with its custom streamer on another first flight, for the NARTREK bronze duration attempt. I needed 30 seconds on a B motor; I got 70.72 seconds on an A8-3. Seemed great. But when I retrieved the rocket I found the nose cone was missing. I suspect that disqualifies the flight.IMG_2727Next I turned my attention back to the contests, specifically the egglofter. The Bad Cholesterol went to the pad with an Aerotech single use D10-5W. It spat the igniter. I took it off the pad again for the time being, and loaded up the Loadstar II for the NARTREK multi stage requirement.


B6-0 to B6-4, and everything went well.

Meanwhile I’d opened up a tight nozzle on the D10-5 and put the Bad Cholesterol back on the pad.IMG_2728MVI_2732

With its BT-60 airframe and 24″ Mylar chute it was soon eliminated as a contender by a BT-50 (or maybe 55) packing a 36″ chute. But it was a contest entry, and its inaugural flight went well, with the rocket and eggs all returning undamaged, and that was all I was really trying for.

Then my target duration entries, two consecutive flights of the Caution. The first was on a B6-4 and was 30.7 seconds. Great! The second flight, not so great.IMG_2733

I have no idea why the nose cone failed to eject. Rocket lawn darted and, well, I think it might be tough to repair.

Next the Bohica’s Dead Ringer. I decided I wanted the club to see it was stable before trying something that might be unstable, so I did an A8-3 flight with similar results to Sunday’s. IMG_2734MVI_2735Next the Mini Satellite Interceptor, another first flight.IMG_2737

I have no pictures of the flight but it was just fine, aside from its losing the friction fit 1/2A3-2T motor which I found in the grass later on.

OK, time for the big guns. I took the Ventris out to the rail. It was loaded with an Aerotech single use F50-6T, my first F motor, and it was my first rail launch.IMG_27402014-06-21 13.49.34-2And everything looked good. Nice boost, deploy near apogee, slow descent under chute… into the high weeds. I put my boots on and spent a while looking before I found it, and found a surprise:IMG_2741All right, that’s just weird. Descent under full chute, and you’d think the high weeds would provide about the softest possible landing at our site. Though there are some hard roots on the ground in there. I don’t know. One fin off and a little superficial airframe damage. The fin was intact, it was the glue joint that failed, which suggests the glue joint wasn’t so good in the first place. Well, I think I can probably patch this up in time for URRF next weekend. Won’t be as pretty though.

The first flight of the Lunar Eclipse Jr. was on an E9-6.MVI_2742And it was a lovely flight, aside from the fact that it too came down in the high weeds. I found it more easily, though, because the red Mylar chute stayed on top of the vegetation.

Meanwhile I prepped the Bohica’s Dead Ringer with a B6-2. That turned out to be a much nicer motor. Still stable, faster, higher flight, good recovery. That’s what it wants to fly on, I think.2014-06-21 14.45.01-2I was running out of rockets at last! But I still had the Mosquito. I’d prepped it with a 1/4A3-3T: Tape thrust ring around the back end, Kevlar lariat looped around that, half a square of wadding in the front of the motor, friction fit. Mighty Mo was ready to go, for its first time.IMG_2746Countdown to zero and it disappeared. Some people tracked it, I didn’t see a thing until the last half second of the flight. It all went nominally. I guess!

Big brother Mega Mosquito, veteran of two flights at NYPower, made its SRC debut next on an E9-6. 18″ Top Flight chute for an all-orange experience. IMG_27472014-06-21 15.05.42It went as well as the little one did, but slower. I saw the whole thing.

One more flight. I’d been hoping to do the NARTREK chute duration flight with the Yankee, but not without a nose cone. Just to see what would happen I tried the sustainer from the Loadstar II with the 24″ Mylar chute I’d used with the Bad Cholesterol, and a B4-4 motor. IMG_2748No joy, only about 24 seconds.

So, 10 rockets, 14 flights on 15 motors. 2 rockets damaged. 1 destroyed. Those all are records or, in the case of 1 destroyed, tied for a record for me. First F motor flight. First rail launch. First dual eggloft. Entries in two contests. The eggloft also fit last month’s theme, payloads; none fit this month’s, dual deploy — then again, I’m not sure there was more than one dual deploy rocket launched by anyone. One NARTREK requirement met, and another would have been more than met if not for the lost nose cone. On the whole a good day.


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