Friday, October 30, 2015

I fly a few during TARC practice...

The skies were overcast last Saturday, but that did not stop me and Duane from joining Nate and his two Liberty Middle TARC teams at Pegasus field. We showed up around noon to find the young folks already hard at work prepping their rockets to fly. As with any TARC practice, there were some things that went right, and some that went wrong. A couple of the rockets had fins that were too small, making them marginally stable - they were noticeably squirrelly when they flew. Good altitudes though; one flight turned in an altitude of just over 870 feet, and another achieved a phenomenally good mark of 848 feet, just 2 feet shy of the goal! Recoveries, though, were another matter - there were several separations, resulting in damaged rockets and broken eggs. The Jupiter VII rocket was sufficiently damaged that the team was talking about building Jupiter VIII (one wonders what the Jupiter model number will be by the end of the season). This was a shame, because it was the only Liberty TARC model with the proper size fins. One team also learned - the hard way -that you do not use snap swivels to attach the parachute to a heavy TARC rocket; they just cannot take the stress.
The "Atomic Bomb" TARC rocket. The name would prove to be prophetic when it fell from the sky after a
 parachute separation (Click to enlarge).

Liberty TARC team members prep their rockets for flight (Click to enlarge).
Why you do not use a snap swivel to attach a parachute to a TARC rocket (Click to enlarge).
A TARC bird takes to the air on an Aerotech F32-8 (Click to enlarge).
I was not going to pass up the opportunity to launch a few, so while Liberty was launching TARC birds, I put up 5 of the 6 rockets I had prepped the night before. First up was the Quest Astra, making its maiden voyage on a Quest A6-4. It reached a nice altitude under the cloudy skies, but the streamer did not deploy. Fortunately the model was light enough that it still made a soft landing in the grass, and inspection showed that I had a melted streamer - too little chute wadding. The Squirrel Works pirate-themed Vulture was next on a B6-4; its flight was very nice, with no spin, and a nice recovery on the 12" ripstop nylon parachute. Encouraged by the fact that both rockets had landed relatively close to the pad - and by the presence of an eager young recovery crew - I launched the Semroc Centurion on a C6-3. Another good flight, and a soft landing under a 15" parachute. I really appreciated the kids helping me recover the rockets, though I must confess to a wee bit of anxiety seeing them approach the models at a fast run. I do not deny visions of crumpled body tubes and flying painted balsa occasionally danced through my head.

The Quest Astra's A6-4 motor ignites (Click to enlarge).The Vulture starts its first flight (Click to enlarge).
The Centurion is a blur leaving the pad on a C6-5 (Click
to enlarge).
The recovery crew in action (Click to enlarge).
The Aerospace Specialty Products NEO Standard rocket was the next bird to leave the pad; it flew surprisingly high on the Quest A6-4, landing to the south under a 12" parachute. I then ended my part of the day's launch by launching my Estes Avenger clone. Powered by a B6-0/B6-4 motor combination, this two stager achieved my best altitude of the day, and landed undamaged under a full parachute. I was very glad of the recovery crew, as the upper stage drifted about a hundred yards downwind; it was beginning to drizzle and I was eager to get my rockets into the SUV before they got wet. Everyone began to pack up, but we did launch one of the Liberty kid's Laser Lance as the final flight of the day. It too turned in a good flight, despite the launch lug being held on by tape.

First launch of the NEO Standard; the bright orange of
motor plume provides a contrast to the dull day (Click to
The Avenger clears the rod (Click to enlarge).
We managed to get everything loaded before the rain worsened, and then Duane and I then caught a bit of lunch at the closest Rotten Ronnies (McDonald's). I was pleased - 5 rockets up, 5 back with no damage. One of my better tallies.

1 comment:

  1. That Centurion is a beaut. I need to get one of those. I have a couple Estes Cosmic Explorers, which I hear is based on the Centurion, and I love them. I need to get the larger version.