Saturday, March 14, 2015

More TARC practice...

Last weekend was very busy, with TARC practice going on at the field on both Saturday and Sunday. 11 flights were made on each day, with 1 qualification attempt by Liberty Team Centron (the 8th graders) on Saturday and 3 attempts (2 by Team Centron and 1 by the Falcon Rocketeers) on Sunday. Team Centron and their rocket, Orange Crush, have completed all three of their qualification flights, posting scores of 106, 60, and 20. The Falcon Rocketeers' only attempt on Sunday ended in a disqualification (DQ) when the booster of their "Roll Tide" rocket came in ballistic. Here's a summary of Sunday's TARC practice:

March 8's TARC flights. Green indicates a qualification attempt (Click to enlarge).
The Falcon Rocketeers' War Eagle lifts off
(Click to enlarge).
Nate attends to a finicky igniter (Click to enlarge).
Roll Tide's exhaust hits the blast deflector
(Click to enlarge).
Liberty's Orange Crush leaves the pad on a qual flight
(Click to enlarge).
Of course, TARC rockets were not the only birds taking to the air; Duane launched his Estes Death Star and Cherokee D on C motors, and there was a TARC parent who put up an Estes Vector Force (C6-5), an Estes Crossfire (also on a C6 motor), and a mini-engine powered Estes Sky Dart. He showed more guts than me in putting a C motor into the Crossfire; I thought it would be a goner, but, to my surprise, the rocket landed within the field.

Liftoff of an Estes Vector Force on a C6-5
(Click to enlarge).
Duane's Cherokee-D heads skyward (Click to enlarge).
I launched my Estes Chuter 2 on a B6-4, my Estes Cobra clone on a cluster of 3 B6-4's, a Quest saucer on a C6-0, and the Estes SCRV (Space Camp Research Vehicle) on a B6-4 - it was a day for B motors! The SCRV carried my Altus Metrum Micropeak altimeter, which recorded a peak altitude of 279 feet; however, the data was very noisy due to the altimeter moving around within the payload section. I have to insure that I have proper centering rings to produce a snug fit for the BT-20 holder, which was kinda hard to do for the obsolete HBT-1090 tubes used in the SCRV.

Estes Chuter-2 on a B6-4 (Click to enlarge).Quest saucer doing its UFO thing (Click to enlarge).
I wish I could say the Cobra flight went well, but it didn't. Liftoff was perfect, with the Quest Q2G2 igniters firing all three motors, but the payload section separated at ejection. The sustainer came in ballistic, and the weight of those 3 empty motor casings drove it about 5 inches into the soft ground, resulting in a nice core sample of the Alabama earth. The damage is repairable, and the Cobra will fly once more when I have replaced the upper part of the sustainer.

My Estes Cobra clone clears the rod on 3 B motors
Click to enlarge).
The aftermath, showing damage to the sustainer
(Click to enlarge).
I had strapped one of my keychain cameras to the rocket, and fortunately it managed to survive the impact with just a little dirt on the case. Here's the vid from that camera - notice the "high speed effect" as the rocket does its dive into the ground.

Moment of ejection (Click to enlarge).
Insult to injury - the camera spots the payload section and parachute high
above the sustainer, which is plunging to the ground (Click to enlarge).
Grassy debris kicked up at impact (Click to enlarge).
There is supposed to be another TARC session at the field tomorrow... I wonder what I am going to fly?

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