Saturday, February 4, 2017

2 busy hours at Pegasus...

Noon today once again saw the start of more TARC practice and flying at Pegasus Field. The weather was a bit more favorable than last Saturday, with the temps in the upper 40's and a moderate wind out of the south-southeast. Jurassic TARC and the Falcon Rocketeers prepped their birds fairly quickly, with Jurassic TARC getting in 4 flights in just under 2 hours - a pretty good pace! 2 of these flights were decent, with altitudes around 830 feet and durations a few seconds off the mark; however, the rocket (Stars) flew squirrely on the last two, perhaps due to weights shifting within the rocket as it cleared the rod. A mystery for the Jurassic team members to contemplate - and fix - before the next practice.

Stars lifts off on its first flight of the day
(Click to enlarge).
Falcon's rocket explodes in an E motor CATO
(Click to enlarge).
Unfortunately, the Falcon team once again experienced the hard consequences of Murphy's Law. The Aerotech E reload powering their rocket exploded seconds after leaving the rod, spectacularly scattering pieces of the rocket bottom across the sky. This ended their practice for the day, and I felt sympathy for them as they packed up to leave. The rocket gods of TARC are indeed cruel, inflicting even the best of teams with occasional  misfortune.

We had quite a crowd at the field today - in addition to the two TARC teams, Duane, and myself, Allen, Marc, and Vince all came out to fly. There were also spectators - two interns from the propulsion group at MSFC (who got mucho information on the ins and outs of low powered rocketry), a friend of Allen's, and married friends of mine from undergraduate school, who brought three of their grandkids (dang, I'm getting old!). A friend of Duane's, Dave, also showed up with a bag o' rockets. Initially somewhat reluctant to fly, he was soon caught up in the action and put three rockets in the air - a Patriot, an Estes NSA Starship, and another one I cannot remember. The rockets were being prepped and fired quickly, and I couldn't pay attention to every flight as I worked on my birds. That's a good thing - busy pads are an indicator of a good launch!

Dave's NSA Starship clears the rod on a C motor
(Click to enlarge).
Dave's Patriot looking all pretty on the pad
(Click to enlarge).
It was nice to see Vince at the field, especially given that he FINALLY brought out his Geezer TARC rocket for its flight. Only 6 months late, but hey, better late than never. In true Vince fashion, it was a Frankenstein, bashed together from various kit pieces. The single D12 powering it was not quite enough, as the model topped out a bit over 500 feet; however, both sections landed safely, putting Vince's score on par with the performance of the former Geezer TARC champion, Duane. Vince also launched his Estes Sprint XL and Wac Corporal on flawless flights into the blue sky.

Vince proudly shows off his Geezer TARC rocket
(Click to enlarge).
Vince's Sprint XL gets started on an Estes D12 motor
(Click to enlarge).
Allen also had a few birds to fly; first up was his Estes Amazon on a B motor, followed by a Magician on a D12. He dropped the impulse down a bit to fly his Sonoma (an Estes Sequoyah with a butchered decal) on an A10, then made good use of his Jolly Logic Chute Release on his Redstone and Patriot rockets. Unlike last Saturday, the Redstone flight went well, even if the escape tower was missing - hooray for Estes C6-3's! He ended the day with a launch of his golden Estes Crossfire.

Allen launches his Amazon (Click to enlarge).Allen's Sonoma rides the A10's flame into the sky
(Click to enlarge).
It's always fun to see what Marc brings to the field. Of today's four, only one (an Estes Flip Flyer) was a kit; the other three were scratch builds. His first launch involved a blue and silver futuristic fighter type rocket, which did a little dance in the sky. The second flight was that of the Flip Flyer, which has the nose recover by parachute while the sustainer helicopters in on its rotors. Next was a 3 fin orange and gray rocket, featuring pods next to the fins - I should have asked his son for the rocket names, as I am sure they have all been christened. The final flight was that of a fairly conventional 4 fin rocket in a purple and pink paint scheme (probably inspired by his daughter). It flew well, except that it dragged the clothespin that was being used as a standoff up with it! Apparently the clothespin was caught on the engine hook, and I was lucky enough to capture a few frames of the action.

Marc's fighter scratch build awaits launch
(Click to enlarge).
Another Marc design takes to the air (Click to enlarge).
Marc's purple and punk rocket drags the standoff clothespin up the rod (Click to enlarge).

Duane was not to be left out of today's action - he flew his Estes Mega Mosquito on a D12, and his orange and green Geezer TARC rocket on an Aerotech F32, the noise and flame of which greatly impressed my friend's grandchildren.

Duane's Mega Mosquito on the pad (Click to enlarge).And clearing the rod (Click to enlarge).
As for me, I flew 4 - my Shrox Bolero, the Zooch S.D.L.V., my new Estes Challenger-1 clone, and an Estes Big Bertha with a keychain camera strapped to the side. The first three birds were powered by B motors, whereas the Bertha had a C6 stuffed into her to compensate for the weight of the camera. I was not as lucky as on past launches, for 3 of the rockets sustained minor damage. The shock cord of the Bolero snapped, leaving the nose attached to the parachute and the sustainer tumbling to the ground. Fortunately the nose cone landed within the field, and the sustainer fell on soft grass with no damage - the only repair required is to replace the shock cord. The Challenger-1 flew great, but had the top of the body tube smashed in a bit by the kid recovery crew - a typical result with enthusiastic young ones, one that is easily repairable. The Bertha landed on the asphalt of the road, chipping the bottom of one of the fins. This too can be fixed.

The Shrox Bolero is ready to go (Click to enlarge).Ignition of the B6 motor in the Challenger-1.
Duane's Geezer TARC rocket is in the background
(Click to enlarge).
Big Bertha lumbers off the pad on a C6
(Click to enlarge).
Captain Jack of the Falcon Team hooks up his Estes
Farside (Click to enlarge).
It was quite the busy day at Pegasus Field - I'm looking forward to more like it!