The December 2010 launch was pushed back a week to accommodate a huge snowstorm that blew through on the planned weekend. And, like magic, the rescheduled weekend dawned crystal clear and calm — a perfect day to fly some rockets! Fliers came from as far as southern Illinois and Michigan to put birds in the air.
The Estes pads saw some brief action in the morning — Tom McFee put up his Baby Bertha on a C6 and his Estes “Fenox” on an E9, and new regular Michael put up his Big Bertha on Estes power as well. Richard Cash surprised us all with a G64 flight in his Mustang off the front row; it was last seen heading for orbit in a southward direction.
Prefect Vic Barlow broke in the high power pads with his red and silver “East Tipp Special” Wildman Dual Deploy on a K551 Barlow Blue, which soared over 8300 feet on a beautifully smooth burn.
Dennis Watkins made the trip down from Huntington, IN to put his Big Nuke in the air on a 70/10 L1300 motor. The rocket ripped off the pad atop an angry orange flame, but suffered a major overpressurization just under a second into the burn, causing pieces of the rocket to scatter across the flying field. After an exhaustive search, Dennis was able to recover all of the parts, including the mostly undamaged avionics.
David Kittell appeared next at the away pad with his modified LOC Bruiser “Freedom 8”. Last month’s flight made a long, slow gravity turn on a moonburning K470; this time, David upped the power with a 54/2550 Gorilla K1185 motor. The powerful Green Tornado propellant picked the rocket up with ease, and sent it on a beautifully smooth flight to just over 3000′, with a perfect dual deploy recovery just yards from the road.
Ray Hansen put up a Wildman Jr. for a crazy-fast Level 2 certification attempt on a J350W; though the Raven altimeter performed its duties well, firing both deployment charges, the main chute got stuck in the upper section, causing a cracked fin. Nerds!
Clouds were starting to move in at this point, causing some of the higher altitude flights to be scrubbed for the day. However, before things got too messy, Wayne Dennis from Pullman, MI stepped up to the pads with his scratch-built “Bad Altitude” with a CTI L1030 Red Lightning motor. This minimum diameter screamer was loaded for bear with tracking equipment and painted day-glo orange to aid in location. At the end of the five count, the rocket ripped off the away pad at breathtaking speed, but the spiral-wound fiberglass tubing succumbed awesomely to the gods of Mach as it passed through a wind shear layer, causing the flight to end in pieces. Wayne was in good spirits, though, and he’ll be back soon!
A quick call to Purdue’s tower confirmed that our cloud ceiling had dropped to less than a mile, and so flights for the rest of the day remained low. Brian Perry put up his scratch-built Talon on a CTI H163 white motor. The perfect boost was fouled when the chute got hung up in the end of the tube; luckily, the rocket found a four foot deep snow drift in which to land, and Brian returned with an undamaged bird.
Lon Westfall from Champaign, Illinois put up the last two flights of the day. The first was a dramatic test flight of his Hawk Mountain Beast on a CTI K570CL — the slow boost was visible to apogee, with a clean drogue deployment. The main chute popped right on cue at 900′, and the rocket landed softly about fifty yards to the north of the gathered cars. Lon also put up his Hawk Mountain Transonic II on an Aerotech I1299 Warp Nine; though it was pointed straight, the hard-hitting motor whipped the rail, causing Lon to go on a long walk through the snowy fields for recovery.
All in all, it was a great day of December flying. See you next year!
|Impulse Class||Motors Burned|