Monday, March 28, 2016

TARC Saturday...

It's a good thing that the weather was wonderful this past Saturday, because Duane and I spent 7 hours - from 9 AM to 4 PM - at Pegasus Field working with the local TARC teams. Eight made an appearance; 3 from Liberty Middle (2 8th grade teams and 1 group of 7th graders), 2 from Buckhorn (Team Gold and Team Blue), the Falcon Rocketeers and Jurassic TARC from Pope John Paul II,  and the Hope Rising team from Hope Christian Academy. As I said, the weather was perfect - bright and sunny, with a light to moderate wind out of the east. Great weather means many TARC flights, and since Duane and I were the only two TARC mentors on the field, we were kept quite busy, especially as the day wore on. Fortunately, the teams pretty much knew what they had to do, so our role was that of scorekeeper; any advice would have been too little, too late.

Getting ready to fly some TARC rockets (Click to enlarge)!
There were quite a few practice flights, but what counts are the qualification attempts. Nineteen of these were made - 9 by the Liberty teams, 6 by Buckhorn, 3 by the Falcon Rocketeers, and the final qual flight of the Hope Rising team. Jurassic TARC didn't make a qualification attempt, as mishaps in early practice took out both their rockets; hopefully, they can rebuild and get them in before the April 4 deadline. Buckhorn Team Blue had the best score of the day, an 11.56; in an ironic twist, they also had the only disqualification (cracked egg) of the 19 certification flights. By the time we left at 4 PM, seven TARC teams had finished all three allowed qualification attempts, which is a very good tally for a single day. I felt a great deal of pride in these teams - they worked hard, and pushed through to the end. I expect the Huntsville area to have its best year ever in terms of number of qualifications turned into TARC HQ.
Buckhorn Team Blue adjusts the angle of their rail
(Click to enlarge).
Buckhorn Team Gold connects the igniter (Click to
Liberty Team 1's Jupiter VIII (Click to enlarge).Liberty Team 2's "Atomic Bomb", now a Frankenstein
with a "BS1" designation on one side (Click to enlarge).
A very active field (Click to enlarge)!
There were also the usual modroc flights that are a part of every foray to Pegasus. Despite being busy, I managed to fly two of the four rockets I had stashed in Duane's SUV. My Estes Snitch took to the air on the first flight of the day, powered by a C6-0. Around 12:30, I managed to launch my Estes R.T.F. (Ready To Fly) Nova, augmented by a Estes BT-55 booster stage. The D12-0/B6-4 motor combination almost took the rocket out of sight, and I was very thankful that the winds were light enough to permit a landing near the western edge of the field. Duane launched his black and white Estes Leviathan on an F motor; it got some good air, and the parachute was deployed right at 300 feet by a Jolly Logic Chute Release. Those little gizmos are a must have, especially if you are going to fly mid power in small fields.

My Nova awaits launch (Click to enlarge).Duane's Leviathan clears the rail (Click to enlarge).
Marc and family also paid us a visit, showing up just a little after nine. The newly-repaired Red Grasshopper made a couple of flights; his Orbital Transport also performed well, if you ignore the fact that the glider kinda fluttered in. The triming of that little beastie is notoriously difficult; I have only seen three proper Orbital Transport glider flights in all my years as a rocketeer. Before the Orbital Transport flight, Marc flew another, more conventional boost glider, which actually glided; the day would also see the launch of a small, bright orange scratch build ("The Razor") on a 13 mm motor.

Marc's boost glider takes to the air (Click to enlarge). The Red Grasshopper returns after a successful mission
(Click to enlarge).
The last team finished around 3:45 PM, and an exhausted me was back in my apartment by 4. After stowing my stuff, I treated myself to Moe's BBQ before taking a short nap. This is a proper way for an old rocketeer to cap off a long launch day.

Congrats to all the TARC teams who finished on Saturday!

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