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Last updated: May 23, 2002
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May 2002 launch report (5/18/2002)

Summer Kick-Off!

On Saturday, May 18 (one week earlier than normal), a huge group of people gathered at the sod farm in Blaine to kick-off the summer flying season.  Launching started around 9:30 am and continued until 3pm.  The weather wasn't terribly warm, but the sun was out (mostly) with a pesky breeze from the north.  There were a lot of great flights, and, all told, 181 rockets took to the air.

A big thanks to: 

  • Ted Cochran and Steve Robb for hauling out the gear
  • RSO volunteers:  Steve Hum, Alan Estenson, Steve Robb, Dave Leininger, Walter Kjellander
  • LCO volunteers:  Mark Thell, Walter Kjellander, Stuart & Ellison Lenz, Ted Cochran, Glen Overby, Lee Grimm
  • Everyone who helped set up and pack away the equipment

The theme for the day was "Fly the Red, White, and Blue."  Many rockets sported patriotic paint schemes as a result.  Ellison and Stuart Lenz had a whole flock of rockets with red, white, and blue paint.

Many NARTREK Bronze flights were made during the day.  Some D-engine and 2-stage flights were seen.  Many people tried for the 30 second streamer duration goal.  A few were successful, but many discovered that it was harder than they expected.  A few ambitious rocketeers made successful 60+ second parachute duration flights.  Mike Erpelding had the longest flight of the day; his B-engine parachute duration flight had a time of 148 seconds.

A few of the flights:

Quite a few interesting cluster flights took to the skies.  Mike Erpelding flew the "Rocket's Red Glare" on 3 D12-5's.  One of the D12's decided to airstart during the flight and made things interesting.  Dave Fergus flew his "Heavy Lifter" on a D12 and 3 C6's.  Neal Higgins flew his Ranger on 3 C6-7's.  Neal also tried to fly his new Big Daddy on a cluster of 3 E9-8's.  The rocket proved to be unstable, and only two of the motors ignited.  [I think. - Alan]  Stuart Lenz flew a scratchbuilt rocket on 3 A8-3's.  Ellison Lenz flew his scratchbuilt tube-fin rocket, "With Liberty", on a cluster of 3 E9-4's.  It proved to be a very nice flight.  Ted Cochran had his first ever "full up" launch of "Ted's Testbed" on 5 D12's.

A couple H motor flights were seen (and heard) courtesy of Steve Robb and Walter Kjellander.  Unfortunately, Steve's rocket was eaten by the southern forest.

Ted Cochran writes:

I, too, was impressed by all of the NARTREK attempts--I think there were over 35, with over 20 of them successful--and it was neat to see how high "just a B motor" can go if you fly it in a small rocket. And there seemed to be a tremendous variety of flights--clusters, two stage, three stage.

Dave Leininger flew some fancy electronics, including a MAD. Jeff's Ram air parachute was cool. Walter made an Astrosat disappear on a D21. I was saddened to see Steve come back from the southern forest empty-handed.  I launched a 3FNC, minimum diameter scratch built rocket with a metallic party streamer in it for NARTREK. (I was thinking of tower launching it, but I thought that would be overkill -). On a B6-6, it went straight up, and took 44 seconds to come down.

The NARTREK parachute duration rocket was a Custom Redliner (brownliner, I guess, since it wasn't painted). I used a Custom (the rocket company) 18" mylar parachute from an old rocket instead of the 12" Custom parachute, and it flew nicely for 99 seconds to almost the northern ditch.

The Quest Navaho that I brought to the last meeting got a bit horizontal after staging, but was recovered OK. I was originally thinking of using that rocket on all four Bronze legs, but, besides the fact that getting 30 seconds on a streamer would be really tough, I realized that if I used different rockets then I would have a chance to build more rockets!

The Honest John flew straight up on an E15, higher than you'd expect for something that big (it only weighs about 12 ounces, though).  Ted's Testbed had flown 16 times previously, mostly on 3xD12 but a couple of times on 3 x E15. In the 14 flights with 42 BP motors, 41 had lit. So with that kind of track record, and before the rocket got too old or too broken, I decided to put D12's in the outboard pods. I knew it could handle the impulse (3 E15s is 120 Nsec, compared to 5 D12s with 85Nsec). The peak thrust on 5 D motors is pretty high--bigger than a G80; more like a little H motor. The real danger, of course, is that a misfire of one of the outboards might create more asymmetric thrust than the big fins on that axis could handle. But I had Thumper, and all the motors lit, and with a lot of smoke and fire, up it went. I forgot to tape in the nosecones on the outboard pods extra tightly, so they blew off when the D12-0s in the pods burned out (they had streamers, sort of). That goes to show how much ejection force two stage rockets have to handle--and why the booster pops off sometimes before the sustainer lights. The rocket was recovered with just a fin cracked off (again).

Seth and his MRL team got there a bit late, and had to futz around with setting up the theodolites. Then their primary rocket got stepped on, so they had to fly the backup. They got two flights--shorter than they wanted, but they appear to have gotten closed tracks on them, which was a decent accomplishment.

All in all it was a nice day with a lot of nice flights. - Ted Cochran

Lee Frisvold writes:

Saturday was great!  Mollie and I just wished we didn't have to leave early; Mollie had a baby sitting gig.  Both Mollie and I had some great lauches of our mid-power rockets.  Mollies Onyx flew great on a F20-4 econojet.  I had two new rockets that were Christmas presents.  The first was a Public Enemy 3" Patriot on a F20-4 econo I was holding my breath at first as it came off the rod dipped slightly then took off straight for a great flight.  My second kit was a ASP WAC Corporal on a G35-7 econo, I was in a drag race with Mark Thell but his didn't light. The flight was straight/high and the cute opened at apogee, the only damage was one of the launch lugs was torn off.

Both Mollie and I flew our old streamer duration kits, Mollies kicked the engine out and we never found the rocket mine on the other hand had a duration of 56?(Ted) seconds.

I tried to fly my two stage Fat Boy but it stuck on the rod then went squirrelly, lit the sustainer went horizontial full speed into the ground. It will be back!

Mollie tried to launch her Zeinth II but it didn't launch. THIS is the first time ever that the Frisvold's didn't launch a successful Multi-Stage rocket at a Blaine Launch!

My V-2 Estes E motored rocket flew great it just kept going, love the long burn!!

I had a clone of Estes Scout that on injection blew the motor retainer so it didn't tumble.  The motor I used was a 1/2A6-2 that had a very strong ejection charge the way it sounded.

Mollie flew her Tornado for the 20+ time for a good helicopter recovery.

One thing I tried was for the first time was dipping the copperhead in Pyrogen ALL of the igniters ignited the motors (5). I even gave one to Mark Thell to use in his WAC when his First-fire failed and it worked for him. It just may have been all the amps that Ted's system had available. - Lee Frisvold

Steve Hum writes:

After a long winter of beating myself up for assembling my RMS engine in such a manner that gave me the 2001 prang award on my Optima clone, I tried another attempt with a new casing and repaired Optima clone. The G64-7W lit immediately on a 2 year old ignitorman ignitor and gave it a near perfect boost. The 7 second delay was just about perfect as well. But the rocket was a little too heavy for the 24" chute I packed and the rocket came down quickly. The landing speed was fast enought that the NC and one fin stuck in the turf, but no damage occurred. Next time it flies with a 36" chute.

Both my PML Callisto and AMRAAM 2 flew on G33s for nice flights. Bet Glenn didn't know I could stuff that much tubular nylon (15 feet) into a 2.1" airframe ;) The AMRAAM 2 landed within 30 feet of the launch pad, the closest I've ever had a rocket land to its launch pad.  And to finish the day the Callisto flew one more time on an F52 for a typically normal flight. - Steve Hum

More to come...

The Details:

Full launch tally (in Adobe Acrobat PDF form, requires version 4 or newer of the Acrobat reader)

The totals were:  181 flights, 209 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 5161 Ns with an average total impulse of 24.7 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 0





















(Alan Estenson)

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