Launch report: So much for the plummet duration contest

The Syracuse Rocket Club did well with our weather modifications again this month. Skies ranged from partly to mostly cloudy, but the clouds were high. Temperature in the mid 70s to 80. Winds mostly light, though a little challenging for gliders at times. This being the month where the theme was gliders and the contest was 1/2A glider duration, that was relevant.

Last month I had a tentative flight plan, and I prepped all my rockets the night before. This month I was too busy the night before to do anything but make sure I had nearly all my rockets along with me, and I made the day up as I went.

Kenny slept in until 10:30 or so, but jumped into the car and had breakfast on the way… then sat and played with his DS and his Nook most of the day, except at one point in mid afternoon when he got up, prepped his Ascender, launched it, and recovered it. I launched a few more than that.

I started with the Estes Metalizer on a B6-4.

IMG_2804It recovered behind the flight line. That’s the way the wind was blowing — really the setup should have been 90 degrees from what it was. A fair few rockets came down behind the line all day, including a Loc IV (I think) that nearly crashed into Kenny and came to rest with its shock cord over a corner of our canopy. (Kenny needs to pay more attention to “heads up” calls.)

For my first contest entry I launched my new Semroc Swift BG on a 1/2A6-2.IMG_28052014-07-19 12.16.46And the glider didn’t. Glide. Deployment was after apogee, with the rocket nose down, and the glider just dove straight to the ground. No damage, except to my contest rating.

Last month I found the scratch Bohica’s Dead Ringer was stable but underpowered on an A, stable and good flight on a B. This month I thought I’d try a C6-5.IMG_2806 2014-07-19 12.33.28-1No skywriting, but a very wiggly flight. B is the Goldilocks motor for this rocket.

Next I made another attempt at NARTREK Bronze streamer duration, with the repaired Estes Yankee on an A8-3 and my Mylar accordion streamer.IMG_2807 Time was 36 seconds and the nose cone stayed attached! That was requirement #3 done.

Back to the glider contest, and I launched last year’s winner, the Edmunds Deltie, on a 1/2A3-2T. Time: about 25 seconds. IMG_2808Okay, but not great and not first place.

Back to NARTREK again. I stuffed a homemade 14″ Mylar parachute into the Yankee, put in a B6-4 motor, and sent it up. 122 seconds — twice as long as needed! Maybe I could have saved myself a long walk with an A motor. But at least I saw exactly where it came down and was able to walk straight to it. That’s requirement #4, and I should be good for Bronze. Just got to send the paperwork in. And I guess I need to paint the Yankee.

And then I discovered something: You know that 1/2A3-2T I launched the Deltie on? It was actually a 1/4A3-3T. Doh! So I flew the Deltie again on the motor I thought I’d used. And that might have been a contest winning flight… except that the glider got tangled with the streamer/shock cord for a few seconds. It came free and glided down, but it was only about 25 seconds again. And that was the last of my three contest flights.

Time to go big. I brought my Aerotech Mustang with me but didn’t fly it. I had only one motor suitable for it and I decided I’d rather use it in the Estes Ventris. So the Ventris went up on a CTI 41F36 Smoky Sam drilled to 5 seconds delay.IMG_2809 2014-07-19 15.18.20Nice flight.

I thought I’d give the Swift a chance to redeem itself, so I flew it again with a 1/2A6-2. IMG_2810Exactly the same thing happened. Late ejection, glider straight into the ground. Did I build it too heavy or what?

I liked last month’s Bob Harrington Mini Satellite Interceptor launch so I did a rerun. 1/2A3-2T again. IMG_2811Good flight again.

The Sky Condor which won the 2012 glider contest didn’t qualify for this year’s, because it doesn’t fly on a 1/2A. So I flew it as a non contest flight on a B6-4. IMG_2812In 2012 it glided well but straight, and I had a long walk to recover it. In the 2013 contest it didn’t fly well; not sure why, but I’d been hand tossing it in wet grass, so maybe it soaked up some water which changed its balance. Today it glided well in circles. Nice flight. But I found a ding out of one side of the horizontal stabilizer on recovery. Maybe that’s why it circled? There was also an issue with the booster: the motor hook was shoved forward into the body tube. If I were building it today, I’d put a thrust ring in.

Time was running out, but I was curious about the Swift. Evidently the 1/2A didn’t get it going fast enough to take 2 seconds post burnout to get to apogee. What about another motor? Oddly enough the only other recommended motor for the Swift is the B6-2 — no A motors are recommended. So, okay, I tried a B6-2. It tore off the pad and it looked to me as though the glider separated about a half second before ejection. Not sure quite what happened, other than exactly the same thing as before: the glider dove nose first into the ground.

Very odd. It’s not like the glider doesn’t glide: it does, quite well, when I hand toss it. But 0 for 3 off the pop pod.

So I ended up using eight rockets to make twelve flights. Contest and theme entered but not won. I got all of them back, only one damaged. Others weren’t so lucky. Tim had another motor cato. Paul launched two high power rockets; one disappeared and one landed on the barn roof. Mark’s Leviathan had the audacity to get caught 30 feet up in a tree in full view of the flight line. On the other hand Mark’s Cluster Duck was a success with seven black powder motors, and so was his LOC 429-SS launched on a two G106 Skidmark cluster with two F15-0 air started a second after burnout. There were other good flights, and better yet there were a number of people making their first launch including some kids — one family apparently left with the intention of going straight to Hobby Lobby to buy a launch set. So a good day over all.





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