Ross Ohmen's Rocketry Obsession
My Launches - 2010
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2010 - Still more launches with friends

September 2010, with AeroPac, at XPRS, Black Rock

Thursday 9/16/10 - I got up at 5, and started packing.  My poor prep left me much to do.  Finally got out around 8am, and headed for Sac, Marysville, and Brownsville, to look at lots.  Finished that around 2pm, and headed past Lake Oroville, through Las Plumas, to Quincy.  Turned Southeast, and headed for Sparks for a PortaPotty.  Got there at 4:30, and headed for Black Rock, arriving at the launch site at 7pm.  I parked near Paul P and Steve S, and set up.  This time, I had lanterns.  Racked out around 10pm, after driving for about 11 hours.

Friday 9/17/10 - Got up early, and flew:

  1. Squatch on an I300T for a high, ripping flight.  Ejected right at apogee, and drifted down with no damage (thanks to copious use of CF and fiberglass at the BT lip...
  2. Flew the Mod-U-Lyptical on an A10-0 (oops) and 2xA3-4's.  The -0 blew out the laundry, and wrapped it around the glider.  Nuff said.
  3. Flew the Stretch Blobbo on an F20-7 (loadable), for a high, cool, flight.  And the motor, repaired with Kevlar thread, didn't blow up!
  4. Flew the Double H-Bomb on an H238 staging to an H128.  As before, the sustainer didn't light, and the booster came in (very) hot.  Missed Peter's RV "Matilda" by about 3 inches (no kidding), and buried itself 6 inches into the ground.  Later, I found the booster 'chute and pistons - with a torn-off Kevlar shock cord - weird.  It didn't light because the e-match wasn't embeded in the Blue Thunder, and didn't start it burning.
  5. Flew the WAC Corporal on the other F20-7 (loadable) for another high, cool, flight.  When I approached it, I see that half the nosecone is gone!  When it ejected, it slammed back into the BT (which has been freshly fiberglassed to a razor-sharpness), impaled itself, and broke in half!  Fixable, but weird...

   The wind started to come up, so I collected Paul P, Steve S, and Larry K, and headed for Trego.  We came back around 4pm, and the wind was passable.  We then flew 4 rockets via "rocket rodeo" (one launching, one retrieving).  I flew:

  1. Flew the (small) green Crayon on an F24-7 to a high flight, and perfect recovery.
  2. I flew Big Bertha on a D9-7 for a high, cool flight.

That evening, we had some night flights, and I flew:

  1. The PML IO on a G75-10SU, and the strobe bay, in a 3-way drag race.  Two of us had Metalstorm motors.  As usual, I lost the drag race, but had a good flight, even if the delay was a bit too long.  I saw where it landed, but didn't see it after we recovered the other two rockets.  The strobe's gone out.  We eventually found it, but the strobe had conked out, and torn the internal rails up.  Phooey.

Saturday 9/18/10 -

  1. I flew the Payloader II on a B4-4 for a nice flight.  (Gotta figure out how to keep the nosecone on...)
  2. I was getting desperate to fly something in the Altitude contest, and my choices were getting slim.  At 4:20pm (contest closed at 5pm), I decided to fly the Ranger on an H250G, with a long delay - I just happened to have one built.  The rocket tore off the pad, and disappeared to the South.  I had a good Walston tone on it, and set off to find it.  Got it back to the contest zone with 50 seconds to spare!  (Sorry, Dave R, I WAS going a little fast...)  5220 feet was enough to win first place, and a nice Fat Man kit.
  3. I flew Enterprise 98 on Saturday evening, on an Aerotech demo motor - an L1365 Metalstorm, in the 75/5120 case.  
       I didn't have this case, so I had to borrow it from Jack (thanks!!). 
       Next, I didn't have an adapter, and the clamp-on type didn't fit with my Slimline retainer, so I had to buy a 98-to-75 adapter, build it, and spend 2 hours sanding it to fit. 
       When it finally fit, I assembled the rest of the rocket (Walston, safety strap, igniters, and waited for dusk.  Karl asked me to fly at 6:10pm - a little early, but no problem. 
       Loaded on the rack, and inserted a standard igniter - e-match and Blue Thunder slug.  5-4-3-2-1-no light.  Burned the e-match, but didn't light the Blue Thunder (it wasn't IN the slug - just next to it.)  Nuts.
       Jim G came out with another igniter.  5-4-3-2-1-no light.  His cannon fuse igniter didn't do the trick.
       I put a Super Fat Boy in and tried again.  5-4-3-2-1-no light.  The system didn't light the Quickburst igniter.  This is getting irritating!
       I drove back to camp.  James M gave me a thermite igniter.  I made another (correct) e-match-in-the-slug igniter.  Jim G gave me a (FAT)  thermite igniter and jumped in the truck to go out.  It's almost dark.   We put in the new igniter and drove off a safe distance (the 7th time I've approached or left the pad with my car.)
       Darryl P asked Jim: "How fast does this light?" 
       Jim G (in a self-deprecating understatement): "Pretty well instantaneously..."
       No sooner had we stopped than the LCO did the countdown and hit the button.  THIS time, the big orange rocket LEAPED off the pad, and soared into the sky on a trail of black smoke and sparks.  Straight up, until I couldn't see it anymore.
       The Walston says the drogue is out, and it's falling.  Observers say the same.  It lands, and goes silent.  We drive in the vector, and Darryl says he sees something.  I get a faint on the Walston, and drive closer.  Darryl spots the 'chute to the west and we drive to it.  No damage, and 12,097 feet on the altimeter.  An awesome flight.
On Saturday night:
  1. I was planning on flying the Ariel on a J90, but was offered a J340 Metal, and couldn't say no.  (Thanks Peter!).  Quickly built the motor and took it to the pad.  It lit with a roar, and tore off the pad, arc'ing South.  As I had used all the (adjustable) delay, the delay was a long time coming.  It finally came, and the rocket took off to the north on the parachute (very windy) - it must have been at 5000 feet, and it was really moving.  No problem, as there was a strobe, and I'd put on the Walston. 

    I drove out towards it, and went right into a dust cloud - couldn't see more than 100 yards.  Used the Walston - got a faint - drove towards it - getting stronger.   Still can't see it.  It's pegging the Walston.  Used the attenuator.  Still in front of me.  Drove right to it - no strobe!  Good thing I used the Walston.  The ejection blew it apart at an old repair!  Crud!  Can't fly the J90 tonight...

Sunday 9/19/10, opened clear and calm, with lots of high clouds.  As I was pretty fried, I opted for some low-altitude stuff.  I flew:

  1. The Skydart on a C6-3.  Soared straight up, and ejected at apogee, but the 'chute on the pod didn't open (no damage), and the plane came down in a vertical spin (lots of damage).  Crud.
  2. The Mod-U-Lyptical on a C6-3.  Climbed straight up, and ejected high.  But it's coming in diving, fast, in a shallow turn.  Whistling fast.  Slammed into the ground, and broke into three pieces.  Nuts!!

That was it for me.  I packed, helped strike some pads, and left.  Enjoyed a long, fast, ride home.  And there were cops everywhere to catch speeders - take note.

Other cool stuff I saw:

  • I saw an ARLISS flight take off as I drove in Thursday, and the smoke hung in the air for minutes.  Too bad the rear parachute didn't come out...
  • Dave K flew an N2000-to-N1000 6" bird to 30,000+ feet.  Awesome!
  • Curt G flew a two-stage something to 44K!!!!
  • Paul P flew everything he brought larger than an 18mm Estes bird.  I wish I had done this...
  • Larry K flew Columbia on a J500 staging to another J500, for an awesome flight.
  • He also folded "Yellow B******" in half on a big 29mm motor.
  • Mercury Joe flew on an L6xx to an awesome, perfect, flight.
  • Josiah M bought, built, and successfully flew a PML Excaliber for his level 1.  I had the honor of signing his shirt.

Thanks to:

  • Erik K, Darryl P, Jamie C, and everyone else who diagnosed and fixed the generator and launch system problems. 
  • Jack G for making the big drive to be our vendor.
  • Sun River for doing the same.
  • Paul P, Steve S, and Darryl P and family for being great neighbors and friends.
  • James M for loaning me a Yagi - I used it a ton.
  • Everyone else who helped make this launch a success.

I can't wait until next year.

08/21/10 - With LUNAR at Moffett Field.

Our family went to Moffett, getting there around 9:30.  The crowd was already huge, but we jumped the line a bit, with our bigger rockets...

We started off drag racing 5 Crayons - our 4, and Karl B had one as well.  When the button was pushed, three crayons launched, Karl's Pink one, and ours:

  1. Melissa's (Blue) arc'ed north on it's G80-4T SU motor.  Ejected close to apogee, and came down fine.
  2. Mom's (Yellow) went a little west on it's G78-7G SU, and ejected over Hanger One.   We held our breath, hoping it wouldn't hit and get hung up, but it landed in the yard, behind a fence.  Dave R got it the next day.
  3. My (Red), and Chelsea's (Pink) still sat on the pad.  I put new igniters in.  Mine lit the G76-7G, and arc'ed south.  Ejected at apogee, and landed a ways down the runway. 
  4. Chelsea's still sat on the pad.  Could not get the G77-7R SU lit.  Substituted an F50-4, which quickly hoisted it off the pad, to a gentle flight overhead.  By now, the wind was blowing pretty well, and it landed pretty far south.

    We were starting to get a lot of wind, and the launch was called off.  Still, my rocket was on the pad, and launched.
  5. I flew the Blobbo for the first time on an E23-8.  Nice, high, spinning :( flight that ejected a little late.  Then it hit the parking apron and bounced about 4 feet into the air!  No damage except some roughed up fins...

We called it a day and went home.  Thanks LUNAR.

August 5-8, 2010 - Aeronaut, with AeroPac at the Black Rock Desert

I drove alone to Aeronaut, coming through Marysville, Las Plumas, Susanville, and the Smoke Creek Playa.  An adventurous, but long drive.

I got to the Playa about 6pm Thursday, and quickly made camp next to Darryl P and his family.  Such nice folks.

I was surprised to see few(er) fellow rocketeers, than usual.  Only 55 or so fliers signed in.

Friday 8/6/10 started off a little windy.  Not cold, just blowing steadily at 10-15 mph, making it hard to fly.  In between gusts, I flew:

  1. New WAC Corporal, with the lathed conical nosecone - on an F40-7.  Great boost and coast, but the arc'ing was too much, and the ejection zippered 1" of the body tube.  The landing broke one of the surface-mounted fins, as well.  Phooey.
  2. Flew the Super Crayon on an I211, for a high, fast flight.  If only the parachute had opened...  At least it's still flyable, though bent up...
  3. I flew the Squatch on an I218R to a high, soaring flight...that zippered the body tube again - about 1" of damage.  Nuts!!!
  4. I flew the Double H-Bomb on an H238 staging to an H128.  Ripped out of the tower, but didn't air-start.  And the booster ejection blew out the motor, not the parachute, so it came in mighty hot.  Lovely core-sample, that one, and the motor slammed into a fin, to boot.  At least the sustainer ejected as it was supposed to, and was recovered without problem.

    The only thing I can figure out - the G-loading separated the connector, because a) there was continuity on the pad, and b) a 9-volt battery fired the air-start in the camp (as a test).

    Well, no one ever said complex rockets would be easy...

    I'm starting to see a pattern here.  Stuff just isn't working.  Time to fly some things I know will work:
  5. I flew the little Twister on an A8-3 - worked fine.
  6. I flew the Fat Boy Tuna on a D13-4 for a fine flight.
  7. Flew "I'm Not Dead Yet!" (plastic Estes generic) on a D10-7 for a very high flight.  No one saw it come down.  Eventually the rear body turned up, with a broken fin.

I was hot, and ready to stop for the day - the wind was wearing me out.  I went to Trego for a dip, and visited Frog Pond.  As Frog has been sold, I doubt I'll ever be able to go there again...

That evening, the winds calmed way down, and I got a chance to fly:

  1. Ariel on a 5-grain Cesaroni 38mm Sparky motor.  A monstrously high flight, showering sparks, and coasting way up into the sky.  Very, very cool.  So far out, I drove instead of walking.  Found a slight zipper in the body tube.  Sigh.

There were a few other night flights, but by 10pm, we were pretty well done.

The next morning, Saturday 8/7/10, broke calm and quiet.  I wasted no time in flying, and was running to and from the flight line all day, even while I LCO'ed for two hours in the late morning.  Here's what I flew:

  1. I started off with the Lightnin' on a D12-0 staging to a D12-7.  High, straight, and cool flight, with no damage.
  2. Flew the Canadian Arrow on a G54 to a great high flight.
  3. Flew the Magnum on a K805G air-starting two H97s.  The up part was fine, but the main 'chute got stuck in the nosecone, and didn't come out.  Heavy thud means severely bent tubes.  I think this time it's done... 5314 ft.
  4. Flew the Wahoo on a J825 in the 38/1080 case.  Awesome, ripping flight, without breakage!!   First time I've flown this motor case without calamity.  9408 feet!!!
  5. Flew the Tang on an I59 long burn, to a high, awesome flight.  Landed far to the west, without damage.  6980 feet!
  6. Flew the plastic "Mini Crayon" on an E18-7 to a high, cool flight.
  7. I flew Mod-U-Lyptical with a C6-3 - tangled the pop-pod with the glider, and everything fluttered to the ground.
  8. Flew the Mod-U-Lyptical again with a C6-3.  Separated okay, but stalled - tail-heavy.
  9. Flew the Mod-U-Lyptical AGAIN with a C6-3, and more clay in the nose.  Man, that was the answer!!  Long, gentle glide that ended up past he East end!  The attendees loved it.  Success!!
  10. Darryl and Suzie's kids were headed to the flight line, and I had to get in on that.  We had a drag race with 5 rockets - me in my Gyroc (which flew fine). We all won the race - all flew as one.
  11. Flew Tooboh for the first time on a B6-0 to A8-5 combo - flew great, but the parachute didn't inflate...
  12. Flew my "CiCi" with the Van Halen Guitar paint on an A8-3, and it wasn't going to come down!  Soared all the way past the west end of the flight line, with Zoe P in pursuit!
  13. I had one more high-power rocket to fly this day.  I loaded the Pulsar with a J800, and let 'er rip.  It raced off the pad, and arc'ed south-east.  I lost it.  Others found it in the sky, coming down fast on a tangled 'chute.  The landing didn't damage it badly, but it did cause all the paint on the nosecone to flake off!!

That was it for me, for the day.  And a wind storm killed any chance of flying at night. 

I awoke Sunday 08/08/10 to clear, calm conditions, and decided it was time to fly:

  1. The Titan 4B.  I loaded all four engines (2xE9-6 in the core, and D12-3's in the boosters), and carefully put it on my 1/4" rod, and attached my clip whips.  The launch was perfect, with the boosters falling off right on cue, and the sustainer arcing to the north. The parachute came out right at apogee, and the rocket gently settled to earth. 

    Too bad it busted off a fin, and the boosters smashed the paper tail cones...   Still, easy repairs, and I'm too geeked to care.
  2. Decided it was time to fly the Honest John, and the J460 was the motor for the job.  Also decided to drag race John C in his High-Viz, with an H250G.   He beat me off the pad, but not by much.  Great flights!!

I was ready to go home.  I helped strike for a while, then got to work making my own camp disappear.  By 12:15, I was on the road, and I was home by 8, after a stop in Sac to see Karen and Dave - more nice folks.  Boy was I glad to get in the shower.

Here's other cool things I saw:

  • Lots of cool propellent burned in fire pits on Saturday night.
  • A Chinook helicopter doing a fly-over Sunday AM, with airmen sitting on the back ramp.
  • Jim G flying a big sparky M to 16K.
  • Darryl P flew his Apocalypse Level 2 on a K185 to an awesome flight.
  • Suzie P flew her Mom Rules on a J315 on a screaming flight.
  • Curt von D flying three different altitude-record birds, with three different failures - airframe (M), instability (K), and motor (J).
  • Another fire caused by lightning in the hills, just like last year.

Thanks to all who showed up, especially

  • Larry and Anna of MDHP,
  • The Sun River folks,
  • The rest of Aeropac who showed up and volunteered, and especially
  • Darryl, Suzie, John, Ryan, and Aaron for being good company. 

I'm looking forward to the next launch.

May 31st, 2010, in front of my house

I packed most of my small stuff to fly at Newark Memorial Day.  I came outside, and the car was empty.  50 rockets stolen, along with 100 engines, and other car stuff.  Here's the rockets that got taken:

Mace, Orange Bullet, Wolverine, V2, Mini Meanie, Mini Light, Beta, Tinee, Quark, Ninja, Walrus

Arrow 20, Condor A.R.V., Nike Smoke, Wacky Wiggler, Classic, Alien Space Probe, Double X-Ray, Honest John, Gold Bug, Red Eye, Baka, Cobra, Talon, Alpha, Intruder, Mini Magnum (Melissa), Mini 835 (Chelsea), Centuri Orion, Constellation, Interceptor, Kappa, Long and Skinny, Big Bertha

D-Dart, V2, Saturn 5, Glowworm, Upscale Cobra, Tri-Light, Der V3, Star Hawk, Small-Time Gangster, TCC Special, Viking, Silver Comet

Arrow 29 - F-Bomb, Bottle Rocket, Big Daddy, Really Big Bertha

A curse on the scumbags who did this...

May 15th, 2010 - Dairy Aire - TCC Fresno

I spent just one day at Dairy Aire - Saturday. I arrive plenty early, though I had a late start - I just drove like a nut...

It was sunny, but a little windy - about 5 mph all day, with rockets drifting into the far fields as the afternoon wore on. And blessedly, not as hot as last year (about 90 vs. 108 degrees)

There were small crowds, and the occasional backup on high power. (And there was only one 3/16" rod, which proved a problem...) Very good spirits overall.

Here's what I flew:

  1. The Double H-Bomb was mostly prepped when I showed up - I only had to turn on the Walston, to fly. This I did, and headed out to the tower, which took a bit of doing to locate. I finally got it located, adjusted, armed, and ready to go. The G104 boosted the rocket out with a waggle, but neatly separated. And the sustainer arc'ed over. And over. And lit facing northeast, far from vertical. And disappeared on the G79W. I assembled the Walston pole, and drove to the near vineyard. Nothing. I recorded the position with the GPS, and drove on. I tried four more times before I got a twitch. Faint, but there.
    I drove around the vineyard, but got nothing else. Drove back to the original spot (thank heavens I marked this spot with the GPS), and checked again. Still good. Located the spot perpendicular to the signal and entered with the Walston in hand. Crossed under 65 rows of vines before I found it. Missing the 'chute, jacked loose fin, and tip broken off my pretty nose cone. Nuts! But I found it. 3300 feet up, but much too fast for the deployment.
  2. Decided to fly the Super Big Bertha on an E16-7 (5). I tried three igniters, and it wouldn't light. I finally added some Blue Thunder, and got it to light. And it instantly threw out the 'chute. And zippered the body. Dang!!
  3. In between attempts to get the E16 lit in the Super Big Bertha, I flew Squatch on an ancient I161. I replaced the delay grain and BP - what can go wrong? Just one little thing, as it turns out. The first Firstfire didn't do it, so I used an e-match/Blue Thunder combo, and that did it. Squatch roared off the pad, and ejected 2 seconds after burn-out. And somehow held together. And drifted down. Amazing. Of course it zippered the (fiberglassed, thank god) body tube 3/4", and tore out the center shroud in the silk 'chute, but that was it. Amazing survival.
  4. I wanted to fly something safe, so I loaded my Red Crayon on the rail. The G77R-M came to pressure fine, but the rocket raced off the the west, just as someone yells "Fire!!" The previous sparky launch started a grass fire, and I was closest. So I start stamping out the fire, and trying to watch my rocket, while burning the hair off my legs. I'm stamping, and searching, and hurrying ('cause folks are waiting to fly), and grousing, and scanning, and thank heavens I got a bearing, and got the fire out - my second of the day. Retrieved the rocket after a long walk.
  5. "Here", Kevin M says, "you can have these ancient Estes E15-8s." They had a reputation for blowing up, but they'll work for me. I put one in the upper part to the Lightnin', and it blew up. Split the case, blew out the side of the rocket, blasted the propellent into the air, and folded my rocket in half.

    "I'll fly it", says Paul P. "I flew 20 of those as a young man, and didn't have any problems. And I've got a rocket I don't care about. It'll work for me." So I gave it to him. And it blew up. I felt a little better. (Sorry, Paul.)
  6. After all those failures, I was tempted to just quit. 'Couldn't do it. Grabbed Super Crayon, and flew it on an old Cesaroni I205 3x38. Flew great, opened at apogee, and drifted gently into the field.
  7. Flew Der V3 on an F39-6, for a great, roaring flight that went very high. and drifted WAY out into the field. While preparing to retrieve another rocket, someone brought it to the RSO table. Thanks!
  8. Flew the Honest John on an I225FJ, for a high, smoky flight, but late ejection. Looked great drifting down on the big pink 'chute.
  9. Flew the Wahoo on an ancient I211. Roared off the pad, and climbed straight up, until it disappeared. While I had a Walston in it, I didn't have the receiver on me - I was retrieving something else. Luckily, Steve S saw where it went, and gave me a great steer! I got my receiver, and started walking. All the way across the field, and then I started getting tones. In the TALL grass field. And Steve was there to give me another steer -he drove out. Strong Walston tones. Attenuated, and walked right to it. Completely hidden in the weeds. Steve gave two of us a lift back to the camp. Thanks!!!
  10. It was almost dark when I grabbed my Silver Comet, and put it on Estes pad 8. It tore off the pad on an E18-7, and completely disappeared in the haze. Someone saw it, and gave me a steer while it was in the air. I was able to walk to it - it, too, was a long way out.

I was done flying. I thought I had forgotten my night stuff, but I had brought it. I was just too tired to figure out where it was. I watched fireworks and night launches, and left about 9:45pm.

Here's some cool things I saw:

  • Chubsy, a Fat Man flew on a Cesaroni M4770 V-Max, until it detonated, and blew Chubsy to bits.
  • A big upscale Estes Patriot flew twice - very cool.
  • Steve J's Nuclear Sledgehammer flew on a 75mm M.
  • Cal Poly flew a Karl Baumann M1850 blue in their ARLISS, and had a great flight.
  • A heavily decorated Wocket flew on a big, sparky "J", to an awesome night flight.
  • A "wocket" saucer of Jack's flew on a 6-grain 38 to an awesome, smokey flight.

Here's some stuff I learned:

  • Keep the Walston Transmitter in a secure place!!
  • Stopping for gas and food takes 20 minutes. Period.
  • Relax and keep going when there are failures. It gets better.
  • Don't fly the Estes E15's.
  • Bring gallons of water and ice and O'Doul's
  • Make sure you have the shopping list when going to Jack's trailer.
  • Smile.

Thanks to Steve S for the ride, TCC for the awesome launch, Jack and Gigi for supporting us, and everyone who LCO'ed and RSO'ed, so I could fly.

May 1st, 2010 at Snow Ranch

Late rains kept the grass green enough to let us fly one last time this year.  And what an awesome day it was.  Clear skies, and no wind until the afternoon.  Alan T's Chili, and a chunk of time at LCO.  What fun!

Here's what I flew:

  1. While LCO'ing, I flew the Alien Space Probe on a C6-3 (first thing in the morning, before the wind came up).  It flew great, and I STUCK THE LANDING.  What a great way to start the day.
  2. I had someone else retrieve my Cobra on 3 x C6-5's.  I was very concerned that this was not enough of a delay, and this was indeed the case.  I lit all three motors, and it roared straight off the pad.  Ejected a little early, but it survived okay.
  3. A little break in the launching allowed me to fly the Tuna on a D13-4.  Arc'ed a bit, but ejected up high, and drifted back.  Again, someone retrieved this for me so I could keep launching.
  4. At about 11, I left LCO. (There wasn't a replacement, but I left anyway.  What do you know, a replacement showed up.)  I flew the Saturn 5 on an E28-4, the perfect motor for this rocket.  It jumped off the pad, and arc'ed gently away, before ejecting.  The forward section (with the nose weight) opened fine.  The two 'chutes on the booster section didn't - both burned shut.  Nuts!  It hit hard, bounced, but didn't break anything.  Lucky.
  5. Flew the Small-Time Gangsta on a D24-10, shortened to 8.  Went very high, and ejected at apogee.  Re-positioned 'chute came out fine.  Awesome.
  6. I flew my new Astron Constellation on a B6-4, for a high flight, that didn't open the parachute.  No damage.  'chute was just too sticky.  Use Baby Powder so we're sure it catches on fire?:)
  7. Alan T agreed to drag race Pulsars, so I went for it.  I was using a J315R, and he was flying a big "I" something.  Well, he beat me off the pad by a bunch.  Then mine lit, and tore into the air.  And ejected early.  It just seemed early.  And it tore off the parachute.  (I have no idea how that happened.)  I was able to track it by the shiny mylar on the body, but I sure wasn't happy.  It bounced heavily across the river.  The 'chute flew away.  Broke the forward body in half, and jarred the fins - none came loose, however.  Looks like tip-to-tip kept it alive.  Gonna be some clean-up work.
  8. I flew the Tri-Light on an E11-3.  When I finally got it to light (with a new igniter and a chunk of blue thunder), it gently but firmly lifted off the pad, and just kept climbing!  Burned out way up and ejected at apogee.  The parachute was beautiful, but I had a big walk across the river, to get it back.
  9. Flew the Ranger on a G104 to a high, soaring flight.  Ejected right at apogee, and drifted all the way across the river - again.  Good thing John was there, and gave me a ride back.  Thanks!
  10. Towards the end of the day, I grabbed 5 little rockets, and headed for the range head.  The first was the Gold Bug, on an A6-4.  The motor had 9.5 grams of solder glued in the motor - it better be stable!   It was.  Ejected at apogee, and was unstable down, just like it was supposed to be.
  11. I flew the little BT-20 "Kappa" on an A6-4, to a very high flight.  Opened the old Model Rocket Industries parachute just fine, and drifted a long way.
  12. I flew the little Quark on an 1/4A3-3.  Stable up, but stable down, too!  Almost lost it - found by the LCO in the middle of a clump of weeds.
  13. I flew the little Ninja on a 1/2A3-2.  Flew fine.
  14. Lastly, I flew the Big V2 on a D24-8.  I leaned the pad into the wind - mistake.  It weather-cocked a bunch, and was going very fast when the 'chute came out.  Tore it up really good.  Came down on three shrouds, instead of the usual 8.  Survived okay, however.

I was tempted to stick around until the cows came home, but the wind was up, and I was running out of things to fly.  I called it a day.

Thanks to LUNAR, and especially Tony who designed and built the new launch system.  It worked beautifully.  And so simple!

Until next time...

April 17th, 2010 - With TCC in Fresno

I got up early, and drove to Fresno by myself.  Had a nice day, despite the solitude.  Wished Justin or Jason was with me, but I needed to be alone.  I got there just after 9am, and helped setup. 

I was expecting high grass and low wind, but got the opposite.

Clear skies, but a constant 5-10mph breeze made for long walks.  Sunny, without being too hot.

Here's what I flew:

  1. Despite the wind, I decided to fly the Tang on the I245, that had been loaded in it for several months.   Found the nosecone a little loose, and added tape for friction.  Roared off the pad, and headed north, at a ferocious clip.  Saw an event at apogee, and lost sight if it.  Got an increased signal on the Walston, so I knew the streamer was out.  Caught sight of it about 1000ft above the flight line, then the main fired and came out.  Beautiful!  Landed just past the flight line.  5078 ft!!
  2. Flew the little Cobra on 3 x B6-4's, and got all to light.  Roared off the pad, and headed north, into the wind.  Ejection was a little early, because it was going fast.  'Chute came out fine, and it landed out in the field.  And no broken fins!
  3. Put the Walston in the F-Bomb, and loaded it on the Estes pads.  When the F26-9 lit, it tore off the pad, and headed north.  The delay looked long enough, and there was an event at apogee.  I got an increased signal, that faded south, then suddenly cut off at about 3 minutes.  (Sounds like I got the 'chute out.)  No more signal - just like the H-Bomb flight last November.  Was mounting the Yagi on the Walston pole, and just getting ready to drive when someone called me - Gary D had found my rocket and brought it back!  Awesome - saved me a drive and hunt.  Perfectflite 15K says 5040ft!
  4. Flew the Silver Comet on an E18-7, with the igniter that LUNAR couldn't light.  TCC couldn't light it either.  A new igniter quickly lit the motor, for a nice flight.  Landed just past the flight line.

    Others are chasing their rockets way out into the fields, but mine are landing close.
  5. Flew the Starhawk on an E9-8, for a high, hissing flight.  Landed nearby for a great flight.
  6. Flew the Canadian Arrow on a RoadRunner F45-8.  Fast, clear burn, and a long coast to perfect deployment at apogee.  Very nice.
  7. Flew the little Beta on an A10-0 staging to a 1/2A3-4.  Flew perfectly, and went very high.  Great flight.
  8. Flew the new (old) Centuri Orion on a C6-3.  Too much tilt made for a very fast deployment, and several shrouds tore loose.  Bounced the landing in the tall grass stubble - no damage! 
  9. Flew the D-Dart on my old Econojet F21-8.  Huffed, puffed, smoked, and chuffed, then ripped off the pad, heading north.  Tore off part of the shiny streamer at apogee, but the rest stayed together, and landed nearby for a great flight.
  10. The Estes pads were mostly struck, when I ran up with my Quark, hoping to get a good flight with a 1/4A3-3.  Stable up, and down.  Almost lost, but no damage.  Rebalance.

I helped strike, and packed my stuff for a 4pm departure.  And the wind finally quit...

Here's some other stuff I saw:

  • Kimball Tucker burned a P7000 (blue-white flame), successfully.  Polecat case!  Third time's the charm.
  • Ben S flew something on an H400, that really tore off the pad, coasted a long way, and ejected at apogee.  Nice flight!
  • A university flew a Rover mission in an ARLISS bird, with an L1500T, for a nice flight.  5 parachutes!  They didn't recover one piece.
  • Jeff the tatoo-artist flew an (armored) Squat on an I115W, for a long flight straight up, apogee deploy, and a very long walk.  This is a nice rocket.

Thanks to Jim N and Jeff for being good company, Jack G for being there and bringing all his stuff, and the rest of TCC for pulling off another great launch.  See you all at Dairy Aire!

March 13th, 2010 at Snow Ranch

Took Elizabeth, Chelsea, Melissa, and Dave and Karen H to Snow Ranch for a launch.  Clear, but windy and miserable!  Temperatures hovered in the high sixties, and by noon, we had had enough.

Here's what we flew:

  1. Flew the Orange Bullet on a 1/2 A3-4, for a great flight, but long walk!
  2. Flew the Gold Bug - not stable going up, but unstable coming down (as it should).
  3. Flew the Small Time Gangster on a C11-3.  Parachute was jammed into the nose cone, and didn't come out.  No damage, though.
  4. Flew the 24mm V2 on a D24-7, and it went very high.  Came down over the hill, and far away...
  5. Flew Chelsea's Hyperloc 835 on a B6-4 to a great flight.   And a long walk.
  6. Flew Melissa's Mini Magnum on a B6-4 to a great flight.  And a long walk.
  7. Flew the Wacky Wiggler on a B6-4, but it was unstable.
  8. Flew the Wolverine on an A10-3 - good flight.

We were tired, and cold, and it was time to go.  We stopped at Hometown Buffet for a nice meal, then called it a day.

February 13th, 2010, with LUNAR at Snow Ranch.

What an awesome, glorious day.  Clear skies the whole day, with a slight breeze, and warm temperatures.  Yes, I love living in California.  (By the way - last week Washington DC had two feet of snow, and three more the week before.)

I picked up Mike C and Ian at Stoneridge at 7:45, and we were at the Ranch by about 9:15.  A little foggy on the way there, but it cleared up at Farmington.

Here's what I flew:

  1. Started off with the Ariel on a Cesaroni I566 (delay at 11 seconds), and two cameras.  Tore off the pad, and coasted all the way to apogee, where the 'chute came out, and it drifted back to us.... and into the creek.  Ian grabbed the mud boots, and retrieved it, before too much damage was done.  Looks like the cameras still work...
  2. Flew the Talon on a D24-7 for a nice flight - Ian retrieved.
  3. Flew the Fat Boy on a D13-7 for another nice flight.
  4. Flew the TCC Special on a D24-7.  The delay was too long, and it ejected on the way down, and somehow wrapped the 'chute.  It hit roughly, and didn't bounce.  But no damage!
  5. Flew the Io on an H73 Smokey for a high, straight flight.  Drifted only a little, and came right back to us.  Awesome!
  6. Flew the Upscale Cobra on 3 x E9-6's for a perfect flight.  Landed on the edge of the creek, and draped the nosecone over the edge - but dry!
  7. Flew the Yellow Crayon on a G76-7G, for a high, arc'ing flight.  (Naturally - I used the launch lugs, instead of the rail buttons.)  Flew great!
  8. Drag-raced the Interceptor "E" with Alan T, both of us using F24-7's (mine shortened to about 6 seconds).  He won, as I used a Copperhead, and he didn't.  Both looked great hanging in the air - at least I got a 'chute this time!  Jarred a pod loose on landing.
  9. Flew the Der V3 on an F12-5 to a great, high flight.  Love this motor!
  10. Flew the Big Daddy on a G64-10 for a high, booming, flight.  Definitely needed all the delay, as it was still going up when it ejected!  Long, long fall.  Very nice!
  11. Ended the day flying the Big Honest John on a J250FJ, to a high, smokey, cool flight.  As with the others, a big 'chute and high altitude made for a long fall.  Note that the ejection was so gentle, the tape on the siren didn't tear, and it didn't activate!  Great flight!

Too soon, it was time to split, and head home.

Here's some of the other stuff we saw:

  • Paul Lane launched a V2-thing with an L600 motor that went a long way up, on a long burn. 
  • Alan T flew his big Phoenix missile on a K700, while Ian, Mike, and I were at the mid-power rack - we were close to it, and that motor was loud.  Mike quipped "I think someone crapped in my drawers!"  Too bad the 'chute was wrapped, and the missile jacked loose fins.  It kept TRYING to open...
  • Saw lots of TARC'ers crashing eggs and losing parachutes.  Keep trying guys!
  • Alan T flew the Gladiator - nice!
  • Saw two 4-stage rack rockets - one that went up, and one that went "that-away".
  • Dave C flew his little "F" rocket on a F10-8, and went 5500 feet!!!

Thanks to Jack G at What's Up for showing up, and LUNAR for an awesome day flying.  Special thanks to Tony for running the mic for hours...

January 2, 2010 - With LUNAR at Snow Ranch

Took Dad and had a wonderful day flying at chilly, overcast, and slightly windy Snow Ranch.
We left Danville at 7:30, and got to SR about 9am, in time to help setting up.  When done, I flew:
  1. Intercepter "E" on an E28-7 (shortened slightly).  Leaped of the pad, and went straight up, and into a cloud.  I heard the ejection, and saw that the parachute had not ejected entirely.  It worked it's way out slightly, but didn't come out entirely.  Landed upside down, but flat.  No fins flew off...  In fact, there was NO damage, at all.  The Nomex shield was locked into the end of the tube - just needed a cleaner path out, and more BP.  I'll take it!
  2. Flew the  Bottle Rocket with an F50-4, that also went into the clouds.  I heard the ejection, and the parachute opened entirely for a nice recovery, and it stuck the landing!!
  3. Flew Tinee on an A3-4.  Didn't see it fly, but observers said it flew great!  (Note:  First flight with about 1 gram of clay on the left wing.  Circled as expectected.)
  4. Flew the Super Crayon on an H242T-M, to a soaring, high flight into another cloud.  Eventually saw it come out, with the parachute inflated, as expected.  Extra BP and pilot 'chute appear to be the trick.
  5. Flew the Alien Space Probe on a C6-3, and as expected, it arc'ed badly.  Ejected a wad, that (thankfully) opened.  Did not stick the landing, but came close, and didn't break a leg!
  6. Flew the TCC Special on a D13-7, and it flew great - even stuck the landing, sticking the nose into the dirt, and putting a fin into a cow pie! 
  7. Getting around quitting time, we flew the Big Daddy on a G54-M, for a high, soaring flight.  Awesome, straight, flight to over a thousand feet, and perfect recovery.  We had to hike over a hill, and down the other side - no damage on the recovery.  Nice!

Other stuff we saw:

  • Double "saucer" - C6-0 to C6-7 - upper stage bounced, and took to the air!
  • Double "saucer" - C6-7 to C6-0 - Even funnier - hit the ground and rested, then finally lit the upper stage which again leaped into the air!!
  • Steve K flew his "Spike" on a J450, which tore off the pad, and tore off part of his ring fin!
  • Cliff flew his big green Thumper Jr.
  • Paul P flew his triple motor cluster on 3 x F20s, then on 3 x G38s!

Too soon, we headed home.  Had a fabulous day, however.

Thanks to LUNAR, and Jim at Discount Rocketry for making the big drive.

Totals for the year

100 flights