Sunday, September 20, 2015

An hour with the B sisters...

After the scout launch yesterday, Duane warned me that he might head over to Pegasus field this afternoon for a couple of practice flights with his geezer TARC rocket. When he called about 3 to let me know that the warning would become reality in an hour, I immediately started looking over the fleet to decide which rockets would make my first flights at Pegasus this season (Pegasus field has been overgrown all summer, and they finally cut the weeds a few days ago). My new black-and-yellow Big Bertha caught my eye; next to her stood Beulah, also awaiting her first launch. Inspiration hit... It was time the three B sisters - Big Betty, Big Bertha, and Beulah - had a Sunday outing. Dragging out the range box, I prepared them for flight.

A B6-4 pushes Big Betty off the pad (Click to enlarge). Duane's Goth rocket on an Aerotech F32 (Click to enlarge).

Duane and I quickly set up his launch rail and my LPR camera tripod pad after arriving at the field; Big Betty would be up first, and she left the rod around 4:15, soaring to a couple hundred feet on a B6-4. Duane then launched his black-and-red Goth geezer TARC rocket, which had its flight recorded by a family friend from Texas. She was a complete rocket novice, having only flown water rockets in her youth, and was very interested in the goings on. It was nice seeing the enthusiasm and answering her questions - very different from the usual "rocket smack talk" normally heard at our launches. Anyway, the Goth rocket reached 815 feet and was down in about 40 seconds. Not too shabby, but Duane was determined to do better, so he started prepping for flight #2.

Bertha lifts off to an audience (Click to enlarge).Beulah is a blur as she clears the rod (Click to enlarge).
Big Bertha was loaded with a B6-4 and placed on my pad; she reached about the same altitude as her sister and recovered very nicely on a 15" green rip stop nylon parachute. I then fit a C6-3 into Beulah's motor mount and slid a Jolly Logic Altimeter 3 into her payload bay. The Altimeter 3 uses Bluetooth to talk to a phone or tablet, and I had re-paired this one with my Kindle - Apple does Bluetooth in a funky way, and I occasionally experience problems with the Altimeter 3/iPhone 6 combination. The Kindle communicated flawlessly; recording by the altimeter was started, and I quickly loaded Beulah on the pad. Flight was straight, with a good parachute deploy and a recovery about 25 yards downwind. The altimeter data was downloaded into the tablet, which showed she had reached 321 feet. Kind of low for a C6, but Beulah is a heavy girl - basswood fins, baffle, interchangeable motor mounts, and paint, plus the weight of the altimeter.

Beulah's flight profile as reported by the Jolly Logic Altimeter 3 (Click to enlarge).
Duane ended the launch with another flight of his Goth, which overshot the target altitude, hitting 905 feet. The parachute also failed to deploy, resulting in a very quick descent; luckily, there was no damage to the rocket, or to the eggs in the payload section. I have to hand it to Duane - his molded egg protectors are the cat's meow. The loading of the SUV was accomplished almost in the blink of an eye, and I was back at the apartment by 5. Five flights in one hour, no losses... A nice Sunday outing!


  1. I had hopes for another session today, but they were having the Big Top Festival at Woodfill and there would have been no peace up there today. Just as well. It was windy again, which is exactly what killed my plans to launch on Friday when I woke up.

  2. Interesting to read about my first rocket demo!
    GREAT pictures and I think your graphic representation of "Beulah's" flight trajectory with the altimeter data really helped me to appreciate just how quickly and how high these rockets can go.
    Thanks for the great launches.

  3. First Kindle graph from AltimeterThree I've seen!
    Nicely done.

  4. First Kindle graph from AltimeterThree I've seen!
    Nicely done.