Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Halloween launch!

Rockets awaiting their turn to fly (Click to enlarge).

This past Sunday (October 18) several of us gathered in Research Park to fly a few rockets. In addition to myself, there was Duane (who flew nothing, but helped out with his customary cheer), Allen, Vince, Brian, Martijn and family, Art, James and grandson, Chris, and Greg - pretty good crowd for a Sunday afternoon launch. Vince had led me to think that he was going to be flying some Halloween-themed rockets (turns out he brought only one such critter), so I dug out several of my creepy birds to add to the spirit of the occasion. Even though it was less of a Halloween launch than I expected, a lot of model rockets took to the air, and a great time was had by all on the field. In this post, I'm going to focus on what I flew, and maybe hit some highlights of the afternoon towards the end - there's always some excitement, ya know.

My Generic clears the rod (Click to enlarge).
Me hooking up Ecto-1 (Click to enlarge).

The first rocket I launched was the only non-creepy one - an Estes Generic on an A8-3. Flight was straight up with a good parachute deployment, but for some reason the FlightSketch altimeter tucked inside the bird recorded screwy (i.e., unbelievable) readings. Maybe it was because the altimeter was loose inside the model or maybe it got stunned when Brian caught the rocket just before hitting the ground - I don't know. It'll be interesting to see how the altimeter behaves when I fly it again.

Ecto-1 gets going (Click to enlarge).
Witch Hazel makes her annual flight
(Click to enlarge).

The next rocket of mine to fly was Ecto-1 - a Der Red Max with Stickershock Ghostbusters decals. It got some pretty decent altitude on a B6-4, and made a nice slow descent under an Apogee 15" nylon chute. Ecto-1 was followed by my venerable clone of the Estes Zoom Broom. Old Witch Hazel would curse me if I didn't fly her in October, which she did this year on an Estes A3-4T. Not the recommended motor, but I seem to be out of A10-3Ts - don't know how that happened. At any rate, Hazel had a good ride.
Brian launches my Spooktacular
(Click to enlarge).
The Spooktacular under chute
(Click to enlarge).

Flight #4 was that of the Excelsior Goony Ghost, powered by an A8-3. The kiddos always like the Ghost, and its flight was picture perfect, landing a short distance from the pad. The OOP Quasar One Spooktacular was next, doing well on a B6-4. It is also one of those once-a-year-in-October birds - Quasar One went belly up about ten years ago, and the Spooktacular is beginning to show heat damage in the main body tube at the end of the motor mount. I very much like its look, so I am trying to lengthen its life as much as possible.

The Goony Ghost starts moving
(Click to enlarge).
The A8-3 in my Zombie ignites
(Click to enlarge).

The sixth rocket to leave the pad was the Estes Zombie - this ARTF (Almost Ready To Fly) model made its maiden voyage propelled by an A8-3. Good chute deployment and a gentle touch down on the grass. Then it was my Goblin's turn to fly. I may be old, but I ain't stupid, and there was absolutely no way I was going to put a D12 in that lightweight rocket given the wind and our small field. So I adapted down to a B6-4, which worked out just fine. The Goblin achieved a decent altitude, and best of all, stayed within the confines of the field. It will fly again - but probably not on a D12. I don't like to walk great distances to recover my models anymore - that was for my younger and slimmer days.

The Bat spreads its wings (Click to enlarge).
And returns gracefully to Earth
(Click to enlarge).

My last flight was reserved for the clone of the Estes Bat, which took to the air on an A8-3. I really like this rocket, even if the bat wing shaped fins are kinda fragile. Fortunately nothing broke when it touched down, and the Bat now sits proudly on the shelf, having survived yet another taste of freedom.

I mentioned there were some highlights to the day - besides my flights, which naturally are always notable. Allen's Estes Sky Dart II put on a great show with its slow, spiraling glide, Vince's beautiful Skonk Wulf pleased everyone with a textbook flight on a D12, whereas his Halloween Battle Axe rocket went up ok, but came down in two pieces after the shock cord separated. It was also a not-so-good day for gliders - Allen's eRockets Sabre parasite glider was last seen heading to the North Pole, Brian's competition glider was a bit underpowered on an 1/2 A, and Vince's Edmonds model shredded when it caught on the igniter clips on liftoff.

Vince's Skonk Wulf starts its journey (Click to enlarge).

Allen's Sky Dart II doing its thing
(Click to enlarge).
Vince's Halloween Battle Axe rocket
(Click to enlarge).

Estes Riptide under chute (Click to enlarge).
Vince's glider shreds (Click to enlarge).

It was a glorious way to spend a couple of hours on a lazy Sunday. It is great to be flying again!