The day before Skye Dance XX, The Weather Channel forecast for the next day was "Clear, light and variable winds". My kind of forecast for a rocket launch! Unfortunately, I've seen this forecast before and then the next day had my car blown off the road due to gale force winds (an Eden launch). This time, however, the forecast was perfect. Skye Dance XX took to the skies on Sunday, November 14th under perfectly clear skies, calm winds, and temperatures around 80 degrees. A perfect day for flying! Five fliers attended the combination launch, picnic, club meeting, social gathering and star party, and managed to launch 11 flights.
Tom Montemayor put up 4 flights, a couple of which were very interesting. Tom started the launch with his Mountainside Hobbies 4 inch V2 flying on an Aerotech H238. The rocket boosted fast and straight, but the "S" (short) delay turned out to be a "VVVVS" (very, very, very, very short) delay and the motor ejected soon after burnout. Since the V2 is a heavy rocket and wasn't going very fast at burnout, the chute deployed normally and the rocket landed very close with no damage, not even a zipper. Next, Tom pulled out his trusty Spectra and loaded a Kosdon J450. This was flight number 54 for Spectra, and the 12th flight of a Kosdon J450 in this rocket. After a normal looking liftoff, the rocket yawed significantly and started making some very unusual sounds. Spitting and sputtering, Spectra arced over at an altitude much lower than normal for this motor, and deployed it's drogue right at apogee. The motor continued to spit and sput and blow smoke rings on the way down, and finally the main deployed at 200 feet and the rocket landed safely. Examination revealed a warp core breech.....a one square inch hole in the side of the case just above the nozzle, that allowed high pressure (and temperature) gasses to escape horizontally. This quickly burned a hole in the side of the rocket, causing it to yaw, and the loss of pressure in the case caused the remaining propellant to burn slowly and inefficiently, sputtering all the way. The damage to Spectra was minor, the hole will be patched with fiberglass, and the rocket will fly again soon.
Tom then showed off his newest purchase, a Kosdon 38mm 900 ns motor. This awesome 38mm motor is almost 24 inches long, and uses the Kosdon J850 (formerly the J1000) Fast reload. Putting out all 900 newtons in 1.1 seconds, the eardrum shattering motor was loaded into Tom's 9 pound Hawk Mountain Bad Attitude. The short burn time results in a fairly low altitude flight for a heavy rocket, but it sure gets there quick. The onboard altitmeter indicated an altitude of 99 feet as it's first data point, only .1 second after liftoff. The Bad Attitude reached a peak altitude of 2232 feet
, and the barometric recovery brought the rocket back safe and nearby. Finally, Tom launched his original Spectra on an Aerotech H112 for a perfect flight and recovery.
Ed "Obi Wan" Jacoby put up 2 flights, and as usual they were totally boring. This means they were totally successful. We LIKE boring flights. First, Ed flew his LOC Vulcanite on an Aerotech H73 Black Jack. This was the same rocket and motor that Ed used to certify Level One long ago, and it again produced a perfect flight. Next, Ed pulled out his scratch built "Big Red", and chose a 38mm J350 for power. Since nothing on the rocket is red, we decided that Ed was drinking a Big Red when he built the rocket. The J350 provided a very fast boost
, and right at apogee the motor charge deployed the main chute for a great flight.
Jeff Cook attempted to pioneer a new recovery technique, which unfortunately, still needs a little work. Jeff used a rectangular parafoil kite as the primary recovery device is his Slacker II rocket. Jeff flew Slacker twice, both on G40s, and though the parafoil ejected both times, it did not deploy. It did act as a very good streamer and the rocket recovered both times undamaged. This will be neat when it works, as the shroud lines can be rigged to bring the rocket down in a graceful spiral. Jeff also flew his Aerobee Hi on an Aerotech J180, a 4 second burn 54mm Blue Thunder reload. The rocket reached a max altitude of 3173 feet where the Adept altimeter deployed a streamer. The main deployed at 250 feet and the beautiful rocket recovered safely.Mike Strang brought out his brand new, just finished, beautifully built Hawk Mountain Bad Attitude
. Just about everybody in Tripoli Austin has a Bad Attitude (huh?); Tom Montemayor, Ed Jacoby, Terry Parks, and Steve Baughman is using Hawk Mountain airframe tubing and nose cone. It's just a great kit. Mike built his using two step barometric recovery, and for his first flight chose an Aerotech J415 to boost the 13 pound rocket. The flight was perfect
...the drogue deployed right at apogee and the main at around 500 feet. Max altitude was reported to be 2560 feet. Next flight will be a K550!
Tom Kindel waited until he had inhaled a little perchlorate exhaust, then felt ready to take the Tripoli level 2 written exam. Tom clearly studied too hard as he got a perfect score of 100% on the test. To celebrate, Tom then flew his Public Enemy 3" Performer on an Aerotech G80. The flight was perfect and the rocket landed very close to the pad. Tom had his level 2 rocket with him but it was not ready to fly.