Friday, December 30, 2011

Lucerne - December 2011 launch report

Despite the cold morning it was sunny and clear most of the day with essentially zero wind.  Every once in awhile Madre Nature gives back. For awhile now I've been wanting to fly the AT 486I59 Warp9 8-second end-burner with a cored White Lightning kicker on the nozzle end:

Per the instructions I used some Gorilla Glue to bond the end-burning grain place and then liberally coated the liner with grease to [hopefully] minimize casing damage.  This was also the first time I'd tried the new Featherweight Altimeters magnetic switch armed externally using only a rare earth magnet:

Yeah the wires are long but I wanted to be able to swap the switch around to other electronics bays as necessary.  I didn't capture any video or pictures of the liftoff but it kinda sucked.  The initial kick wasn't as great as I'd calculated and my .38 Spatial immediately headed north after leaving the end of the rail.  It arc'd out toward the mountain range and the only way I knew the main ejection had kicked was that my Comm-Spec transmitter signal shot up about when I'd expected based on the visual trajectory.  From the following flight graph you can see that I still managed to attain ~2,200' of altitude and, based on the post-main slope of the altitude curve, the descent on the 12" 'chute was probably too fast at about 55fps/32MPH:

I say probably because this rocket is a tank and I found it completely intact well over 1.5 miles north.  You can just see a thin, horizontal line of cars to the right of the hanging smoke trail if you click the image below:

This was, by far, the longest I've walked north at Lucerne and, for reference, I shot another photo of the power lines near the base of the huge mountain from that position:

My cellphone has a pretty wide angle lens but you still get the idea.  I was about 80% of the way up the illuvial fan and I'm glad I didn't get caught in the power lines!  Unfortunately the greased liner didn't protect my awesome 38/480 Dr. Rocket Millennium edition casing and the anodizing's partially burned now:

I'm sad but I've flown probably 10 reloads in there and it appears structurally sound (no bubbling).
     I'll reiterate that I'm a very slow on rocket prep and recovery so I only had time for one more flight as the awesome ROC volunteers were talking of tearing the range down.  Rob Greenlaw was parked next to me and he agreed to a drag race with our fiberglass 4" Nike Smokes on CTI 1408K2045 Vmax motors.  I'll forego my typical drag race suspense and simply tell you that Rob won:

Good for Rob and I've already requested a rematch!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Belated thanks to Mike "Sparky" Jerauld!

Near the end of this year's Plaster Blaster event Sparky, president of DART rocketry in SD,  asked me to check out a rocket he'd found years ago and was trying to identify.  My jaw dropped when I realized he'd found my long-lost minimum diameter 38mm design!
I'd flown/lost it at Plaster City on a CTI 512I285 classic motor.  This flight predated my obsession with radio tracking as an invaluable insurance policy but I was out there with "Eagle Eyes" LL so what could go wrong?  Well both of us lost site of it after burnout and, despite scouring the area for over an hour, were unable to find it and gave up.  I'm not sure exactly who found it but Mike returned it completely intact including my long-lost Pro38 4G casing.  So thanks again and props to Mr. Jerauld!

Lesson learned: I should travel back in time and include a radio tracker before the flight.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wow it's actually 16,547 page views!

Google just redesigned the profile page for and it now clarifies that the 'page' views I've been tracking are actually profile views.  So that counter in the lower right of this page is correct. Thanks for reading, peeps!