Sunday, April 29, 2012

Building again!

On the left Megan's kindly rebuilding my Madcow 4" Nike Smoke. Middle is my DarkStar "Heavy Duty" motor tube assembly. Right is the booster tube for my upcoming 2000MPH president's challenge on a CTI M3100. That is, by far, the best carbon fiber layup I've done yet. Megan helped a great deal but I also laid the shrink tape up without seams, used a heat gun to squeeze out the excess resin, and then allowed it cure at room temperature overnight. I still need to post-cure in my oven but this thing's gonna look good!:
Here's a full-size detail shot. Use the zoom and pan tools for best results.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Belated: January '12 Lucerne Launch Report

Catching up... For once I'd planned realistically and took only one complex flight with me on that day. This would be my first five-motor clustered air start in Der Red Mix II.  I fired a CTI 1874K740 C*Star on the ground, then 2-sec delay, then 2 x 282H399 White Thunder, then 2-sec delay, then 2 x 150G50 Imax.  Let's jump into the Flip MinoHD onboard vid and then I'll provide details.  As always, and for maximum thrill, you should watch on YouTube in 720p, full-screen:

From the ground Rob Greenlaw and I could clearly see the flash/pop of the H399 dipped igniters before the motors actually ignited.
   I spent several hours prepping the Raven and Parrot 2 altimeters, e-matches, and recovery system the night before so that made somewhat quick work of the final prep the next morning:

Here I've laid out my casings and associated reloads:

I'd like to take a moment and thank Cesaroni for inventing grain spacers.  It's that sort of competition that really benefits consumers and we appreciate it! Thanks also to Rob for shooting the following pre-flight sequence:

The liftoff on the K740 C*Star was spectacular as always. These motors burn so brightly that it's nearly impossible to capture mach diamonds but I was able to drastically underexpose and post-process to prove their existence:

I was most pleased when the rocket stuck the landing yet didn't crack a fin. I upgraded from a 10' to 12' 'chute this time but that's still almost not large enough for those dangling fins:

Here's the very interesting Raven flight graph. Note the three thrust traces on the acceleration curve and their relative contributions to the velocity spikes (click the image for a larger version):

Here's the tabular data from the Raven if you're interested. And the obligatory recovery shots. Thanks again, Rob!

Next I plan to fly a fully-loaded, all-Skidmark cluster: K675, 1-sec, 2 x I297, 1-sec, 2 x H180, 1-sec, 2 x H123. I'm not sure when but I already bought the motors so... yay. It might even be painted and have decals by then?  I bought a 3M full-face respirator with isocyanate/pesticide absorbent canisters so hopefully my nervous system will remain intact.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Belated: Plaster City January 2012 launch report

I've really got to post these entries right after the launch.  Otherwise these protracted delays result.  Ugh.  I decided to keep it simple that day and fly motor ejection only.

I captured two onboard video segments: Super Raven on CTI 867J244 White and DarkStar Lite on CTI 298H159 Green3 propellant:

I was surprised at how punchy that little J was and, as you saw, the Super Raven ejection popped 3-4 seconds too early.  It still attained 3,188' according to the awesome and simple Altimeter One.  Here's liftoff and uneventful recovery:

Second up was my well-worn DarkStar Lite one the Pro29 6G green reload. I like the mach diamonds and vapor eddies.  I also tried to include a photo of the altimeter's LCD screen showing 3,912' but it's hard to see at that angle:

Finally I flew my Madcow Squat on the Pro54 1G 465I150 Imax.  The up part was fun but I still managed to crack a fin fillet on landing. Those are some thick fillets too so... hmmm:

Still to come are my Der Red Mix five motor flight at Lucerne in January and a single sport flight at Plaster City in March.