May 2011 Launch Report

With a wet end to April, the field was still empty to squeeze one last high power launch in. And what a launch it was – Tripoli Indiana Rocketry flyers put up everything from 1/2As to N5800s over the course of two days of spring flying.

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Though Saturday was windy, a few flights still managed to get into the air. The Purdue ASTRO student club got things started with their 3″ Competitor on a J415W, making a nice flight to just over a mile. Ray Hansen boosted his 3″ Wildman on a 1750 Nsec K540 Blue motor by Vic Barlow, which kissed 8000 feet in the strong breeze. Experienced research flyer Dennis Watkins blasted his 4″ rocket to 7300 feet on an L1000 motor, and David Reese wrapped things up for the day by flying his LOC Norad on an I300 blue motor.

Sunday dawned absolutely calm and clear, all the makings of a great rocket day. David Kittell got things rolling with a gorgeous maiden flight of his 4″ Extreme Darkstar L3 rocket on an AMW L1400SK, graciously sponsored by Gus Piepenburg. With beans in the field the previous year, there was no worry of a fire as the rocket thundered to 11,000 feet on a long trail of sparks. Deployments were on time and the rocket made a nice landing under main in the next field over.

Richard Cash brought out his Wildman BlackHawk 29 with an F50 motor in it for what seems like the thirty-fifth time. And, for the thirty-fifth time, only the nose cone made it off the rail. Try it with a CTI motor, Richard!

Claude Paquin was next to the pads with his 4″ Extreme Wildman kit “Peak Oil”, adorned with a gorgeous paint job and Aeropack tailcone retainer. It was loaded for bear with a 76mm 6 grain CTI M2150 Red Lightning motor, which made for an awesome boost, as the rocket raced to clear 17,000 feet. Dual deploy recovery happened as planned, and Claude easily located the rocket in an adjacent field with the help of onboard GPS.

Master modeler Tim Brant brought out his newest creation, “Black Diamond”, with an Aerotech F40W. Unfortunately, a combination of a wind gust at liftoff and an extra long AT “bonus delay” resulted in the model lithobraking before a parachute could be deployed. Bummer!

Tom McFee put up several flights throughout the day. His Swoosh Toothpaste on a C6 met a similar fate to Tim’s rocket, but stuck the landing.

Justin Perry had a busy day, boosting several flights on Estes power. He also nailed his Junior L1 certification flight with a Wildman Darkstar Lite.

Gus Piepenburg brought out his SuperBeast for its third trip into the Ash Grove skies. This time, Gus had selected the CTI N5800 to give his rocket some serious air. The boost was spectacular and arrow-straight to 20,000 feet. Drogue and main happened as planned, but the upper level winds carried the rocket into a small stream, leading to a messy (but successful) recovery. Claude Paquin captured the event for posterity.

Vic Barlow had somehow managed to breed a Mongoose with a Wildman and came up with a 54mm two-stage vehicle. “Double Jeopardy” flew from the launch trailer with a J800T in the bottom and an AMW ProX red K motor in the top. At apogee, the sustainer suffered a separation, but all parts were recovered without damage and the rocket is ready for another mission.

The Purdue USLI team closed out the day with a flight of their Blue Ribbon rocket on a CTI M1230 IMax motor. Delays at the USLI competition in Alabama had caused one of their data recorders to time out, so this flight was an attempt to gather the missing data for final submission to NASA. The boost was smooth and high, with perfect dual deploy recovery bringing the bird back to the field.

All in all, it was a great weekend of flying and a nice way to close out the 2010-2011 Ash Grove season. See you this summer at Purdy!