Saturday, November 26, 2016

The 2016/2017 build list...

I admit to suffering from rocket ADD - it is far too easy to distract me from existing or planned projects. One look at a Facebook image of a rocket, an old catalog page, or a thread on Ye Olde Rocket Forum is enough to start an impromptu build, pushing the existing construction to the bottom of the queue. Given this, one may wonder why I bother to compose a list for the winter build season. The answer is simple - I generally manage to construct over half the models on the list, which, IMO, is pretty good. Let's consider the 2014/2015 build plan:
  • Big Bertha - No brainer. No fleet is complete without a Bertha, and mine was put out of commission at the Rocket City Blast Off.
  • Beulah - A Big Bertha derivative, featuring a two motor cluster. Inspired by Chris Michielssen's Big Girtha.
  • Centuri Micro-Probe clone - One of the best looking 2 stage rockets ever designed.
  • S.S. Cestris by Sirius Rocketry - Been wanting to build this kit for some time.
  • Estes Gyroc clone - Always wanted to build one of these "Helicopter recovery" rockets. A classic.
  • SpaceX Falcon 9
  • Estes Scrambler clone - The quintessential egg lofter. never had one of these as a youngster, though I really, really wanted one.
  • Estes Orbital Transport - Yes, it will be a pain to build. But it looks and flies so cool... love the glider!
  • Tiny Tim scale model - Have the parts, have the design, time to get this puppy built
Of these, I built the Big Bertha, Beulah, the Centuri Micro-Probe clone, the SpaceX Falcon 9, and the Estes Scrambler clone. That's 5 out of 9, or about 55% - certainly enough to warrant making a list for this year. However, I must account for my rocket ADD, so I'm going to keep it small to allow for the "impromptu projects." Therefore, the 2016/2017 plan is comprised of only 3 rockets:
  • Estes Gyroc clone - A carry-over from the 2014/2015 list. Important to build this one as 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the kit's release.
  • Centuri Mach 10 clone - Had one of these as a kid, but I could never get a decent glide out of it. Time to try again.
These three will do for a start. I would also like to get around to the Orbital Transport and the Semroc reproduction of the Estes Trident sometime in 2017, but you never know - there are lots of distractions in the rocket universe!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Recovering from burn out...

This is a short catch-up post - have been fighting a cold for just over a week and am not my usual verbose self.

October was filled with scouts and rocketry - we had scout launch events on 3 Saturdays, which kept me and other HARA members quite busy. Busy enough that I began to feel like my hobby was becoming work. And when the fun stuff is no longer much fun, burn out happens. Adding in a couple of out of town trips over Halloween and the 1st week of November resulted in a perfect equation for not getting much rocket building done. Progress on the Mars Snooper stopped, there was one awaiting finishing on the bench, and I had another two in primer, screaming at me for coats of paint. I just couldn't summon the enthusiasm to move these projects along.

Fortunately, some motivation returned this past week, probably because Pegasus Field has now been mowed, clearing the way for weekend launches. I managed to get my Mini Max out of primer into paint and made some decent headway in building the Mars Snooper. Still not done with the construction - there are lots of pieces, and I am sealing the balsa as I build (can you believe 7 nose cones, plus a transition and fins?), but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I also added the final coat of primer to my Enerjet 2250 down scale. Too much sanding, but things are now moving along.

We also held an inaugural launch for this seasons flying at Pegasus - Duane, Allen (a new HARA member), and I managed to put a few rockets into the air last weekend, and I can tell you that it felt good to actually fly some of my rockets! The four chosen were my Ghost Max (Estes Red Max with Ghostbusters markings from Stickershock 23), my Orange Max (a dual engine Red Max with Halloween decor), the Squirrel Works Vulture, and my Estes Bandit clone.  All the flights were flawless, and my birds came away unscathed; it was a good day to fly!

My Ghost Max looking pretty on the pad (Click to enlarge).
Dual A8-3's power the Orange Max up into the blue sky (Click to enlarge).
Duane's Squirrel Works "Pumpkin Pie" is ready to go (Click to enlarge).
Allen's Patriot emerges from the smoke (Click to enlarge).