Monday, February 20, 2017

Sunday flying...

The 'Cherokee nation' loaded on the pads (Click to enlarge).
Our streak of nice Saturdays was broken by the rain that started this past Friday night, continuing through Saturday morning. It put a damper on TARC practice, but left hope for some personal flying on Sunday, which was absolutely beautiful - blue sky, temperatures in the low 70's, and a light wind out of the North. Not being able to pass up a day like that, Duane and I showed up at Pegasus around 1 PM, with our range gear and a SUV full of rockets. For me, it was 'scale day' - I had packed 6 of my semi-scale birds and the indomitable Beulah, equipped with a Perfectflite PNUT altimeter and an HD keychain camera. Duane brought his 2 member 'Cherokee nation', an Estes Leviathan, the yellow and black Beast, a Death Star from the old Estes Star Wars series, a red Semroc Scout, and a purple and yellow mid power rocket. Set up took just over 10 minutes, and there was mucho flying in the 2 hours that followed; here's the short flight log:

My Little John gets started by an A3 motor
(Click to enlarge).
The Little John under chute (Click to enlarge).
Estes Little John clone - flying on an A3-4T motor, my olive drab Little John was first up, serving as the 'wind test vehicle.' Flying straight as an arrow, it grabbed some very decent altitude before descending under a 9" ripstop nylon chute to a soft landing near the pads. A good way to start the day!

BMS Mini Bomarc posing on the pad
(Click to enlarge).
And leaving it (Click to enlarge).
BMS Mini-Bomarc - Unlike its past flight, this model deviated sharply from vertical after leaving the rod; I am still puzzling over the cause. The A10-3T managed to put it at a decent ejection altitude, but the shock cord snapped near the nose cone, causing the rocket body to slowly fall horizontally to the ground. The nose landed only a few feet away from the rest of the rocket, which was undamaged.  Fortune had smiled upon me - I have enough rockets in the repair queue.

Duane's yellow and purple rocket rides red fire up the
rail (Click to enlarge).
And sticks the landing (Click to enlarge).
Yellow and purple rocket - this mid power bird of Duane's was loaded with an old Aerotech Redline motor, which took 2 tries to start. Even then, it huffed and chuffed quite a bit before leaving the pad (kinda like me at the field). The bird achieved a modest altitude before ejection, which snapped the shock cord - I was worried a trend might be developing. Both parts were recovered with little damage, though the body did "stick the landing" on one fin in the soft ground.

My Patriot on the pad (Click to enlarge).And leaving the rod on a B6-4 (Click to enlarge).
Estes Patriot - Always a good flyer, my semi-scale Patriot headed into the blue on a B6-4. Ejection was near apogee, and landing was soft and gentle. I was very relieved that the shock cord did not break.

The Thrustline D-Region Tomahawk starts to
move on a D12-5 (Click to enlarge).
Duane tries to get it out of the tree (Click to enlarge).
Thrustline D-Region Tomahawk - I figured that this model was due some time in the air, so it was next up on an Estes D12-5. It soared to maybe 800 feet or so and popped the ripstop parachute just past apogee. Everything was looking good until I noticed it was headed for the line of small trees at the edge of the field on the east side. Sure enough, it plopped itself into the branches of one, just out of reach, requiring the use of a nearby pole and some jumping on the part of Duane for recovery. It's a bit scratched from the extraction, but a little touchup should have it ready for more flying.

The Beast on the pad (Click to enlarge).And emitting a cloud of smoke on its way up
(Click to enlarge).
The "Beast" - Duane's old TARC rocket nearly gassed us both as we strove to get away from the dark sooty smoke cloud left behind by the Smoky Sam Aerotech motor. The Beast performed well on F impulse, landing safely under parachute.

Liftoff of the Falcon 9 (Click to enlarge).And descending by parachute (Click to enlarge).
Falcon 9 with fairing - I picked this model because Space X had just completed a successful Falcon 9 launch from the Cape earlier that morning. The small version flew straight into the blue for some decent altitude on a D12-5, recovering undamaged on a black ripstop nylon parachute (no, it did not have retro rockets like the real one - way beyond my skills). It would fly again before we left, with the same results.

Duane with his upscale Cherokee-D
(Click to enlarge).
It lifts off on the thrust of 3 E motors
(Click to enlarge).
Upscale Cherokee-D - The largest member of Duane's 'Cherokee nation', it was propelled off the pad by a cluster of 3 Estes E9 motors. The arrow-straight flight was recorded by an onboard camera, and I am dying to see the footage, because - yep, you guessed it - the shock cord snapped. It's a good thing that the Cherokee-D has those big fins, as they caused the rocket body to spin horizontally, slowing its fall to the ground. No damage to the big chief, so I'm sure it will make an appearance at Pegasus soon - hopefully with a stronger shock cord. Watching the video is going to be nausea-inducing with all that spin.

Duane's Cherokee-D on his Tilt-a-pad replica
(Click to enlarge).
On its way to being a sacrificial lamb
(Click to enlarge).
Semroc Cherokee-D - Duane got brave with this model; he actually loaded a D12-7 into the motor tube and broke out the binoculars (the "manual tracking device") in anticipation of the altitude. Sure enough, the Cherokee-D shot off the pad on its way to achieving the highest peak height of the day. I was pleasantly surprised that my old eyes could follow it all through the flight - through apogee and ejection, all the way down to landing - which was 40 feet up in a tree on the south edge of the field. Duane made the required trip down range to wave bye to his sacrifice to the rocket gods, who mocked him by dangling it from a branch. However, I have been informed that there is an almost finished replacement, so the Cherokee nation will not be depleted of members. 

Beulah flight video

Beulah - Powered by a D12-5, Beulah reached a bit over 700 feet before deploying her chute for a soft landing. Last night I merged the data from the PNUT altimeter with the keychain video to create the following vid, which marks the first time I have modified an existing gauge in DashWare.

Beulah on a D12-5 (Click to enlarge).My Viking 7 scale model rises from the smoke of 2
B6-4 motors (Click to enlarge).
Rocketarium Viking 7 - My first scale kit from Rocketarium, it was also the only cluster flown on Sunday. 2 B6-4's helped it along to a nice altitude, where it deployed its 18" ripstop nylon parachute. Landed undamaged in the field.

Duane's Estes Death Star (Click to enlarge).Bound for destruction on a C6-3 (Click to enlarge).
Estes Death Star - Next up was Duane's Death Star, which lumbered off the pad on C6 power. Apogee was around the usual 200 feet, and the Death Star broke into 4 pieces at ejection, each recovered by streamer. The fragments were recovered by a young guest, who was quite delighted by the flight. Duane gave her one of the Estes Make-It-Take-It rockets, which her dad built in a very short time with gel super glue.

The blast deflector glows blue at the ignition of
the Leviathan's F motor (Click to enlarge).
The Leviathan clears the rail (Click to enlarge).
Estes Leviathan - This classic of Duane's rode a pillar of blue fire into the sky, with the F52 motor carrying it to over 900 feet. The Jolly Logic Chute release deployed the parachute at 300 feet, landing the model undamaged on the field. Our club president and his wife had joined us on the field about the time Beulah made her flight, and we quickly impressed Laura into LCO duty. Naturally, she did a fabulous job sending the Leviathan and other models on their upward journeys.

Estes Scout - Duane's Scout got a little exercise at the launch, doing its thing on an A motor. Unfortunately, tumble recovery doesn't work so well when you land on asphalt; one of the fins was broken on landing, to the point where Duane has decided to build another. The Scout was his first rocket way back when, and he likes to have one around as a memorial to those ancient times.

Duane's Scout blasts off (Click to enlarge).The maiden voyage of our guest's Make-It-Take-It
(Click to enlarge).
Estes Make-It-Take-It - The last flight of the day was that of our young visitor's Make-It-Take-It; the red, white, and blue model put in a text book performance on an A8-3, landing softly under the orange and white Estes parachute.

And that was it for the day - 16 flights in 2 hours. A nice bit of fun for a Sunday afternoon.


  1. Hi Bill,
    Those Mini Bomarcs are famous for non-vertical flights.

    1. I don't doubt it. Was the Estes Bomarc also notorious for non-vertical trajectories?