Hunt the squirrel

I’ll say this about today’s weather: It wasn’t as windy as the September 2014 launch. Wind there was, though, hovering around the 15 MPH mark most of the day. Some rain came in, too: a few minutes of fairly hard rain, and then lingering sprinkles. Nothing bad enough to close the range down, though people did pack up and go home on the early side.

Kenny and I showed up early enough to help set up. Kenny brought some rockets, but didn’t fly any.

The theme this month was scale rockets, so I started off with my Downscale Patriot on a ¼A3-3T.

2015-09-19 10.34.50 It flew pretty well. That made it basically unique for my flights today.

Next up, the D-Region Tomahawk. This was not just in keeping with the theme, it was a contest rocket — the contest being sport scale. But my first attempt to put it on the pad resulted in one of the launch lugs popping off — and when I put a little pressure on the other one, it popped off too. I put them back with some CA and treated them more gingerly on my next try.IMG_7109 IMG_7135On a D12-5, it seemed to struggle a bit, probably in part due to the wind. Bit of a squirrelly flight. Recovery seemed to go well, but a fin popped off when it hit the ground. Well, that’s consistent with everything I’ve read about this kit — the plastic resists almost every kind of adhesive. (Tenax 7R is what I used.) Fortunately that was not a DQ under our contest rules, so I reattached the fin with CA and put the rocket aside for judging later.

Next up was this one.
IMG_7146 It lost its 4th stage / satellite on its first flight last year, and three of the four precariously tacked-on little “pipe” pieces that miraculously survived that flight didn’t survive storage and transport since then; as a result I flew it under the moniker of Jupiter C-Minus on a C6-3. IMG_7178 It too had a rodent-like boost, and it came down fast, the chute having…

IMG_7186 … not quite deployed.

So much for scale. Next was the new Starlight Saber on a B6-4.IMG_7256 IMG_7272 Flight was… (wait for it) squirrelly. It coned a lot on the way up.

The motor hook on this one is unusual, made of bent round wire instead of flat spring steel, and I was a little worried about it, but it seemed to hold the motor OK. Seemed.IMG_7275 But the motor spat out in flight.

Back to scale models? Well… semi-scale? The Honest Goon on a C6-5.IMG_7276 IMG_7305 The launch lugs seemed fine when I put a ⅛” rod through them at home, but evidently the rods our club uses are slightly fatter than the Estes ones: this one was a little tight and rubbed a bit on the nose cone. Nevertheless I thought it’d probably launch okay. Well, it did get off the rod, and it flew pretty well, except that it curved way over. Not sure how to fix this… sanding the nose cone just above the upper lug might help. Or bringing my own ⅛” rod.

There were three entrants in the contest, and in an obvious violation of separation of powers we were also the judges. Dennis and Scott were in a close race for first place, with Dennis leading on craftsmanship and Scott potentially on mission points — except that his second stage failed to light on the first flight attempt and it core sampled (but with no damage). He’d need a successful flight to score a tie for first place.IMG_7310

But he also didn’t get the sustainer to light on his second try, and that time the core sample did crumple the airframe. So Scott was out of the running, and I took a not very close second place out of two. The intention was for the D-Region flight also to serve for my NARTREK Siilver, though the popped fin might disqualify it for that; I’ll have to check.

That was it for the day; the rain was mostly stopped and the wind was no worse, but the launch was winding down. I did have The Dude with me in the car (semi-deflated and folded in half for transport) but I never seriously considered flying it in that wind. I’d also brought along the Ranger as a last minute addition to the rocket box, but that’s where it stayed. Enough of the squirrels. Home we went.


One thought on “Hunt the squirrel

  1. Pingback: September is dead and I am not | Doctroidal dissertations

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