L1

Even a bad launch is usually pretty good, I guess, but not as good as a really good launch. Today I had a really good launch with the Syracuse Rocket Club.

The statistics tell the tale in concealed form:

  • 5 flights
  • 5 successful
  • 9 motors used
  • Impulse classes: 1/2A (3), A (4), C (1), H (1)

Rain yesterday and rain forecast for tomorrow, but the weather at mid morning today was about as good as you could ask for. Temperature low 70s, mostly sunny skies, very light breeze out of the southeast. By mid afternoon it was about 80; the clouds were coming in and the wind was blowing a little harder, but still good flying weather. After we were done the clouds continued to build and by the time I got back home it was full on overcast and starting to rain.

I started off with a wind check flight, the Estes Yankee flying for the first time since getting its paint last fall on an A8-3. Almost straight up and down. I got a number of good launch pictures of other people’s flights today but almost completely struck out on my own rockets. The only one I sort of caught was the Yankee.IMG_3891 IMG_3893

Next up was the Photon Disruptor, which flew pretty anemically at NYPower on a B motor. Today it got a C6-5 and was a lot happier.IMG_3898That photo was taken about 100 milliseconds before the motor ignited, I think.

I’d thought about doing my contest and theme flights next, and saving my Excel for after lunch, but the launch conditions were so damn good I decided not to tempt fate. The Excel went to the top of the stack.

When I ordered the motor last month before NYPower, I’d somehow overlooked Binder Design’s recommended motor list on the front page of the instructions, which consists pretty much of high thrust Hs and low thrust Js. Instead I went by thrustcurve.com and OpenRocket and chose a somewhat lower thrust H, the CTI H120 Red Lightning. I don’t know why Binder didn’t include low thrust Hs in its list — my Excel weighs in at about 2 lb 6 oz dry, or about 3 lb 3 oz with the H120. Average thrust in the first 250 ms looks like around 110 newtons, so thrust to weight is about 7:1. OpenRocket says about 58 ft/s off a 6 foot rail. So it looked fine. And I like Redlines.

Well, it was fine. Up, down, a little into the wind and a little back, came down under chute in the recently mown hay field pretty close to the pads. No damage, motor retained. I’m now high power certified!

I put my camera aside to pay attention to the flight, though, so all I have is a pad shot and a post-flight photo.IMG_3929IMG_3930The nose cone wanted to give me a standing ovation, I guess. Then I ate lunch, and then moved on to the theme/contest/NARTREK flights.

The launch theme was clusters, and one of the NARTREK Silver requirements is a cluster flight, and that’s why I built a Ranger. I prepped it last night with A8-3 motors and Q2G2 igniters.IMG_3890Once again I got a couple photos on the pad but none in flight.IMG_3937IMG_3939On three As, it flew, not very high at all though. I think Bs and Cs are going to be more typical of its diet. But the flight went fine. My first cluster flight was a success.

As was my second. The informal contest this month was a 1/2A 3-motor cluster duration, which is what I built the Callisto for. I had enough Q2G2s to fly it once, but I thought I might want to fly it twice, so I decided to prep it last night with Estes black tip igniters in a manner attempting to emulate the method used by another club member who’s famous for his cluster flights: The leads were soldered to wire rings for a near foolproof connection. If you can avoid shorting it out. Which was a bit of a problem, but I managed. Motors were 1/2A3-4T.IMG_3889 I figured if I wanted to do a second flight, it’d be easier to prep with Q2G2s on the field than to rig this up, and that’s why I went with the Estes igniters first. Onto the pad it went.IMG_3943

I took what might have been a really nice photo of the launch if the camera had focused. Instead it’s a blur. So all you get is the recovery under a homemade 24″ Mylar chute. IMG_3952Big, but it didn’t catch any thermals and the flight time was only around 25 seconds. I didn’t mind a bit. All the motors lit, it flew well and I got it back, that was the main thing. I figured I’d save the Q2G2s for another day.

I had a couple other rockets with me I could have flown, but I figured I’d had enough good flights and I should just relax and watch from there on. So I did. Celebrated after with a Syracuse Pale Ale and a Cowboy Burger at GoodBuddy’s, then came home. Considered working on the D Region Tomahawk, but you know, I think it can wait a day. I’d rather bask in triumph.

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