Sunday, October 14, 2018

First HARA launch of 2018...

Warning! Many pics in this post!

Folks gathering around the RSO/LCO tents - Chris Short's trailer of wondrous rocket goodies is in the background
(Click to enlarge).
Yesterday's weather was perfect for flying rockets - mostly sunny skies, a light wind from the north, and afternoon temps in the mid-seventies. It was so nice and comfortable that I didn't even mind getting my aged carcass out of bed early to meet Allen for our 7:45 trip down to the new field. After a breakfast stop at Hardees, we arrived at the Butler Mill field near Woodville around 8:45. Chuck and Art were already in the process of setting up the range, which took till just past 10 AM. The first launch at a new location always starts out with a few issues and confusion - you have to figure out where to place the pads, work out where folks should park, etc. in addition to the normal launch set up. It'll go easier next time...

Looking towards the pads - I love this field! (Click to enlarge).
Art was instrumental in locating and getting permission for us to use the new field, so it was appropriate that his was the first rocket launched. Straight up into the blue, followed by a soft landing under parachute. Art's rocket set the pattern for the day - there would be many excellent flights, with not one drifting out of the field and only one - a model rocket - coming in ballistic.The launch pace was leisurely, with plenty of high power and model rockets taking to the air. I was surprised at the lack of mid power birds - we had some G flights, but I cannot think of a single F powered rocket that flew. Flyers started leaving the field around 3 - football is king in Alabama, and the games were summoning the faithful - so we closed up shop and left the field about 4. The 45 minute drive back to Huntsville went quickly, and I was uploading pictures to my computer by 5. Much better than the 2 hour trip back from the old field in Manchester!

Art's rocket under chute (Pic by Patrick; Click to enlarge).
The owner of the field is constructing an airfield on his property a little way from the corn field where we now fly. Soon after the launch began, we were started by the approach of two low flying airplanes, the second of which flew very, very low over the field just to the east of the range. So low that I was afraid it might crash when it banked away to the north east. Never before had this happened at a HARA launch, and we kept a close eye out throughout the rest of the day. I wonder if the pilots were a little wary of us, because scale models of AMRAAMs and Patriots were laid out on tables along the flight line, being quite popular with the attendees. The planes were so low they had to have seen them.

An airplane flies very low just east of the range (Pic by Patrick; Click to enlarge).
My list of some of the day's flights, in no particular order:

Allen flew his scratch-built scale cruise missile "Long Tom" on a K motor, achieving his NAR Level 2 certification. Congrats Allen!

Allen gets Long Tome ready for flight (Pic by Patrick; Click to enlarge).
Long Tom streaks skyward (Pic by Patrick;
Click to enlarge).
Long Tom under chute (Pic by Patrick;
Click to enlarge).
Elliot's high power Pike, Black Brant, and Darkstar Jr. rockets put in flawless flights. I was mostly interested in his modroc "fighter" collection - the Shrox fighter and the Odd'l Rockets F-104 did well, but the Odd'l Rockets F-16  had a recovery failure. Fortunately there was no significant damage after the dirt was cleaned out of the top of the body tube.

Elliot's Darkstar clears the rail (Click to enlarge).Elliot's fighter rockets at the RSO table
(Click to enlarge).
Patrick's 3D printed rockets - "Sign Here Please" and "Unclaimed Baggage" performed well, except that "Unclaimed Baggage" broke its nose cone when the main failed to deploy properly.

"Sign Here Please" and "Unclaimed Baggage" start their treks (Pics by Patrick; Click to enlarge).

As I said, there were a couple of AMRAAMs and Patriots on the field. The AMRAAMs were PML kits that flew on G and H white motors with apogee deployments - their owners got quite a bit of exercise. Jason flew his Patriot on a white, while Allen opted for an I212 smoky motor to power his model (he likes the dark plumes).

An AMRAAM takes to the sky on a G motor
(Click to enlarge).
Jason's Patriot rides a pillar of white fire
(Pic by Patrick; Click to enlarge).
A lightweight, minimum diameter 24 mm model made of carbon fiber that flew on an Aerotech E. This was a test flight before a mach busting attempt (using a G) to occur at Bama Blastoff in a couple of weeks.

2 flights of high impulse motors - Chris Short's "Gizmo" tore off the pad on an I599, whereas a small scratch built seemed to transport itself to 6000 feet on an H550 Super Thunder. I was surprised the latter held together, but it was obviously "built tough".

Michelle checks in at the RSO table (Click to enlarge).
Michelle's colorful scratch-built gets going
(Pic by Patrick; Click to enlarge).
The Oz rocket's motor ignites (Pic by Patrick;
Click to enlarge).
The Oz rocket deploys its parachute (Pic by Patrick; Click to enlarge).
Michelle and her dad launched a few scratch built modrocs and a mid power "tin man" themed Oz rocket on a G. Josh flew more model rockets than anyone - a Custom Ion Pulsar (which took a while to find among the harvested corn stalks), an Estes Air Show (one glider flew well, whereas the other tumbled to Earth), an OOP Estes 2127 Sizzler that came in ballistic when the rear-ejected pod broke away from the model, and repeated flights of a Comanche-3 in various configurations. The final flight was a D-C-C combo, which put the upper stage way, way up there. Fortunately, all stages were recovered, though the second stage required a bit of looking.

Josh hooks up his Ion Pulsar (Click to enlarge).
Josh's Estes Air Show on a C motor (Click to enlarge).Josh's Comanche-3 in motion (Pic by Patrick;
Click to enlarge).
Josh's Estes Sizzler leaves the rod powered by a Quest D16 motor (Click to enlarge).
I flew 4 rockets... First up was the Zoom Broom clone on an A3-4T. Good old Witch Hazel got her annual ride, ending with a comfy landing on the dirt. Next was the MPC X-2 Invader, featuring Marvin the Martian in its Looney Tunes decor. It was powered by a 1st gen Quest B4-4 Q-Jet, which required stripping off the motor label and a little effort to get it into the motor tube. Continuing the Halloween theme, my purple Target spider web candy bowl saucer made a short flight on an Estes C6-0. Finally,  a new Quest Q-jet C12-4 propelled my Big Bertha derivative, Beulah, containing a Jolly Logic Altimeter 3 to 427 feet. 

Witch Hazel rides her rocket (Click to enlarge).
Target candy bowl saucer on a C6-0 (Click to enlarge).The B4-4 Q-Jet in my MPC X-2 Invader leaves a trail
of black smoke (Click to enlarge).
Beulah descends under an orange parachute (Pic by Patrick; Click to enlarge).
Beulah's flight profile as recorded by the Jolly Logic Altimeter 3 (Click to enlarge).
That's this month's short summary... Can't wait for next month's launch!


  1. That's one nice thing about the Syracuse Rocket Club: Our field is 20 minutes drive from downtown Syracuse. 15 minutes from my house.

    When I (inevitably) forget something it's not unreasonable to go back and get it.

  2. What a beautiful day to fly, and what a great field! Let's keep the field clean and owners happy!


  4. Great launch report and excellent pic!