Monday, July 21, 2014

A very successful Southern Thunder

This year's Southern Thunder was successful by many standards - good turnout, good food (Thanks Boy Scouts!), and a decent amount of revenue for both HARA and Music City Missile Club. We rely on this launch to generate funds for the coming year's expenditures - launch pad repairs, new rails and batteries, fire extinguisher replacements (used fairly often lately), and miscellaneous odds and ends. I am happy to report that the take for Southern Thunder 2014 was better than last year, ending the downward trend we had experienced over the past few years. We need it - the high power pads can use a bit of work, and fixing them ain't cheap.

ST2014 also saw a near record number of launches - our president, Dan Cavender, shared the numbers with us at the July meeting. There were a total of 483 commercial rocket flights, using 488 motors. In addition, Sunday saw 11 research flights, in which home made motors are flown under the Tripoli Research Association safety rules. That's one of the neat things about Southern Thunder - this year, both national organizations "had their day". The launch was conducted under National Association of Rocketry (NAR) affiliation and safety rules on Saturday, and operated under Tripoli auspices on Sunday. All rocketeers, regardless of affiliation, are welcome at our launches; there's room and sky enough for all.

Anyway, back to the numbers. Dan gave a breakdown by motor type, which could be listed in a table, but I am a visual sort of person. Therefore, I made plots:
Motor count for Southern Thunder 2014 (Click to enlarge).
In the above, the green curve represents Saturday, the orange (which looks beige or purple depending on whether it is above green or blue) Sunday, and the blue bars are the 2 day total. The count is broken down by impulse class (1st letter in the motor type, like the A in A8-3), with the number at the top of the bar giving the total for motors of that class. A few things of note:

  • There were 268 motors burned on Saturday, and 220 on Sunday. There was a surge in mid power (E-G) flights on Saturday, whereas Sunday showed a gradual decline with impulse class.
  • C motors were the most popular on both days (I guess a lot of low power guys wanted to "turn it loose" in that big field).
  • Looking at the pie chart in the top right corner, low power flights (A-D classes) account for 47% of the total. Not surprising, given their relatively low cost and ease of prepping the rockets.
  • G motors were slightly more popular than A motors (which surprises me). A fair number of mid power motors were burned - 158, or 32% of the total.
  • With 45 launched, H's were the most common high power motor. The numbers of I, J, and K motors were about the same, in the mid-teens. At 2, L's were the least popular motor, and there were 6 M motor flights (4 on Saturday, 2 on Sunday). High power, including the research flights, made up 21% of the total - very respectable, given the cost of high power.

The above motor count shows just how great Southern Thunder was, and the numbers really don't do the launch justice. I'm hoping that next year's launch will be even better, and that ya'll will come out, fly with us, and grab a bit of the Manchester sky for yourself.

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