Fun with 2016

[Edit: Level 2 backpedal]

Rocketry goals for 2016? Well… that’s a little more complicated this year, for various reasons. I may have to revise whatever goals I set now to reflect changing circumstances. But press on.

Starting with repeats, modifications, or upgrades of goals for 2015, which were:

  • Level 1 certification
  • Fly an I motor
  • Put an entry (however pathetic) into at least four club launch contests and four club launch themes
  • NARTREK Silver
  • Complete all rockets in progress or in the build pile as of 1 Jan 2015
  • Adhere to a budget
  • Fly lots of stuff
  • Have fun

Level 2 would be a logical successor to Level 1, but will I do that? Am I sufficiently motivated for Level 2 to justify the expense and work? I’m not convinced I want to fly a lot of J/K/L motors. On the other hand… you need Level 2 (and Tripoli membership) to do research motors, and I might want to do that. As for expense, well…  it wouldn’t cost that much to add an e-bay and airframe extension to the Excel, and I’m reasonably confident there’d be no problem putting it up on a J. Presumably the Ceseroni hardware’s free for a cert attempt.

But after initially posting this with a Level 2 goal in place, I’ve reconsidered. I’m not ruling out Level 2 in 2016, but I’m not putting it on the goals list, because there are steps I want to take first which may take enough time and enough money that I won’t want to push on to Level 2 in the same year.

So of course there won’t be a successor goal to “Fly an I” either — not that there would be even if Level 2 were a goal. Flying a K (or an L!) costs enough money that I don’t want to do it just for the sake of checking off a goal. (I nearly decided to ignore “Fly an I” in 2015 based on similar thinking. I’m glad I didn’t, but a K is more money and I have less interest in it.) And I can’t put a K in the 38 mm Excel anyway.

Launches and themes — that’s been a good goal to have, I think. But how about less patheticness this year? Less emphasis on quantity and more on results. As discussed previously, this year there are two contests each launch month — one varying, one the same every month. Thinking about it, I considered goals like two or three second place (or better) finishes in the contests, but I decided against that. I’d rather set goals of self improvement rather than beating my peers — besides, why aim for something that’ll depend on the performance of others?

I’ve gone around and around on this piece of it, and I reserve the right to change my mind again, but as of now I think the thing I should do is to focus on, say, three contests and just try to improve my knowledge and skills in those three areas. It’s kind of vague but I think it’ll work. As for themes, again as discussed previously, I can enter every theme with a rocket I already have, so I won’t put that in the goals.

NARTREK: Discussed already.

Completing the in progress / build pile rockets should be pretty easy, because there are so few of them. I finished off the year with only four rockets in progress (two Blenders, Mini Max, and Scion, all just needing finishing) and three in the build pile (Nike-G, Norad, and RX). But the contest rockets will probably take more of my time this year, so it balances. I hope it balances.

Budget, yes. I’ve got one for 2016, hopefully as adequate in total as 2015’s but more realistically allocated.

Fly lots of stuff? Have fun? Pretty much go without saying.

Any goals to add? I didn’t say anything about the club newsletter last year, but I’ll say it this year: Five issues. I did that in 2015, I can do it in 2016. But I’m counting the January 2016 issue as one of the five, even though it came out a couple days ago. Tidier that way. Hopefully there’ll be one in late 2016 I’ll count for 2017.

Other skills/techniques? Dual deployment is one that comes to mind.

How about events, besides club meetings and launches? I’ve already discussed NARCON. I may not be able to go to NYPower. There’s a possible non-rocketry event that weekend that would take precedence. The good news is, the non-rocketry event that’s conflicted with the CNY Rocket Team Challenge the past couple years is on the following Saturday this year. (I’ve done and would choose do CNYRTC anyway, but it’s nice not to have to choose.) URRF, well, I’d go to URRF, but is it happening? The URRG calendar shows a 3-day launch in late June but they’re not calling it URRF. Doesn’t matter what they call it, I can go, right? I’ve added to my collection of cancelable hotel reservations, one for NYPower and one for NotURRF. May not use them all, might just use a campsite or drive out for a day or miss the events entirely, but they’re available.

So let’s say:

  • Dual deployment
  • Enter at least three club contests, putting some effort into improving my knowledge and skills in those three rocketry areas 
  • NARTREK Gold
  • Complete all rockets in progress or in the build pile as of 1 Jan 2016 (see first 6 entries in table below)
  • Adhere to a budget
  • Publish five issues of the club newsletter
  • Attend NARCON, NYPower, CNYRTC, NotURRF, and all SRC launches
  • Fly lots of stuff
  • Have fun

That looks adequately ambitious to me. I worry about achieving all my goals, it makes me feel like I wasn’t challenging myself enough.

2016 build/repair plans:

Not much in the in progress / build pile categories, as I said.

For new rockets, there’s the Au-198 (NARTREK Gold rocket) and the contest rockets implied by the goals. Which contests? I’m choosing the unvarying B streamer spot landing, the ½A glider duration in July, and the plastic model conversion in September. I’ll build one or two rockets for each.

My wish list is still substantial (and some of it’s been there two and a half years now) but most of it I’m content to let wait. I still have most of the C6-3 motors that prompted me to start thinking about a burner for them, and I still have a vague concept for the Flake I’d like to figure out.

A few weeks ago I went for a walk and came back with an odd-roc idea which I’ll do by bashing a Squirrel Works Pie in the Sky kit which will be high priority for August. You’ll see.

That’s a pretty good build list.

“Repairs” mostly really are painting and minor adjustments and just need weather coinciding with opportunity (and motivation). But there’s the Fantom EXL needing an e-bay refit (and that’s goal-related, unless I decide to work on dual deployment with something different) and the Jupiter C needing its satellite/4th stage replaced.

Red and orange text are status of goal-related builds or repairs which are not or are in progress, respectively.

Rocket Status as of 1 Jan 2016 Notes
In progress:
Estes Blenders Assembly (almost) done One for me, one for my son.
Estes Scion Assembly (almost) done
Excelsior Pink Mini Max 1st primer on
In build pile:
Excelsior Nike-G Build pile Have decals and Baby Bertha kit, need fin stock.
LOC Precision Norad Build pile Needs (at least) 1 centering ring.
(scratch) RX Build pile Needs “nose cone”.
Planning to acquire in 2016 (for goals):
Au-198 Wish list NARTREK Gold rocket. Design in progress.
B streamer spot landing rocket(s) Wish list For unvarying May–Oct contest. To be determined. 1 or 2 rockets.
½A glider duration rocket(s) Wish list For Jul contest. To be determined. 1 or 2 rockets.
Plastic model conversion rocket(s) Wish list For Sep contest. To be determined. 1 or 2 rockets.
Considering acquiring in 2016 (other):
ASP or Semroc V-2 (18 mm) Some parts in hand Have decals (for White Sands Round 3).
(scratch) C6-3 burner Wish list Working on design.
(scratch) Flake Wish list Working on design.
(scratch) odd-roc Wish list Bash from Squirrel Works Pie in the Sky.
Planning to repair in 2016 (for goals):
LOC Precision Fantom EXL Repair pile For dual deploy goal. Needs e-bay refit, some repainting.
Considering repairing in 2016 (other):
Binder Design Excel Repair pile Needs (partial) repainting, vinyl decor.
Estes Ventris Repair pile Needs fin fillet paint.
Glencoe Jupiter C Repair pile Needs satellite/4th stage replacement.
Sandman Decals (Excelsior) Honest Goon Repair pile Fix launch rod rubbing on nose cone.
(scratch) Test to Destruction Repair pile Needs fin paint and trim tape stripe.
3D Rocketry Lunar Eclipse Jr. Repair pile Fix or replace tight launch lugs.
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