Monday, March 3, 2014

More TARC practice

Even though it was windy, Sunday was a nice day - a fair amount of Sun got the temperature up near 70 in the afternoon. Very comfortable for the TARC teams who converged on the Harvest horse farm to put their birds in the air. I was there too, the ever-present stop watch dangling from my neck in case any of the teams decided to go for a certification flight. I also had brought along a couple of rockets to fly - my Semroc Centurion, which would carry one of the cheap video cameras I bought off Ebay, and the Shrox Bolero, with its missile styling. Sunday would also see the first use of the Mighty D relay launch controller I had purchased last year from Balsa Machining Service.

Bill's pile of stuff for Sunday flying
Liberty Middle's 2 TARC teams and a couple of the kids from Pope John Paul II High were already at the farm when Duane and I arrived around noon. Setup in the southwest corner of the field (next to a water filled ditch that resembled the Nile river) was accomplished quickly, with more JPII TARC team members arriving to help out. The flights soon began… And they proceeded at a fast pace for TARC, with 9 launches occurring between noon and 2 PM. The wind was a problem - most flights were too low, and the one rocket that managed to launch during a lull went 35 feet too high, as the team had reduced the weight to gain altitude. Wisely, no team attempted a certification flight; it was just too darn windy.

Besides the wind, there were problems with shock cords burning through or coming loose, resulting in the sustainers (the part of the rocket containing the motor) tumbling to the ground. This is what ended Liberty's practice after 5 flights, as their two rockets were in need of shock cords with better attachment to the sustainers. JP II's rocket suffered a dinged nose cone and was plagued by some underperforming F motors. The one flight they did using a F motor from another batch flew too high. After 4 flights, they too called it a day, not wishing to waste any more motors in the blustery conditions.
Duane and Nate pow-wow as the Liberty TARC teams prep their rockets.
JP II's team is in the background, their launch pad off to the left of the pic.
I decided not to fly my Bolero - it already needed a fair amount of nose weight for stability, and I shuddered to think what the wind could do to its flight path. I did decide to fly the Centurion on a C6-3. The Mighty D controller did its job well, sending the rocket on its maiden voyage. There was a bit of consternation when the parachute failed to open fully at ejection, but soon the canopy filled with air and the rocket touched down gently on the grass. I turned off the video camera, and we loaded up the stuff into Duane's SUV for the return home. Once there, I plugged the keychain camera into my computer, and discovered there was no video! 

Would you believe that I had forgotten to load an SD card into the camera? Duh...

I will get another chance this weekend, weather permitting.


  1. I flew a camera on a Semroc Centurion once. Once.


  3. Hopefully I will not repeat your experience Bill! :)

  4. Ditto, but such are the hazards of the suburban life of a committed rocketeer.