Skye Dance XLIII
Our first launch of 2005 roared into clear skies Saturday afternoon, January 15th. Conditions were good; the field was dry (much to our surprise), temperatures were in the mid 50s and the winds were northerly at around 10 mph. The wind finally dropped off to around 5 mph just before sunset. We only had 2 fliers, but it was a most interesting day...
Mark Carlson put up the first flight of the day with his modified PML quarter scale Patriot. This rocket is a veteran of many, many flights and a few patches.  For this flight, Mark used a homemade 29mm EX propellant, rated as an H200. The flight was perfect and the onboard timer deployed the parachute right at apogee for a safe recovery.
Next came Tom Montemayor with his scratch built "Psychedelic Persuasion". Tom used an ancient G104 Blue Thunder reload to power the 2.5 inch rocket to approximately 1000 feet. Motor deployment occurred just after apogee and the light weight rocket recovered safe and undamaged.
Mark Carlson's Quarter Scale Patriot
Tom Montemayor's "Psychedelic Persuasion"
After the laughter died down, Tom brought out his Hawk Mountain "Bad Attitude". For this flight, the all fiberglass rocket would be powered by a Kosdon K700. The flight was fantastic; a loud, powerful boost, streamer deployment at apogee (provided by a new altimeter), and main deployment at 750 feet. A great flight! Max altitude was 4036 feet with a 7G liftoff.
Tom Montemayor's "Bad Attitude". Recovery services provided by Caroline!
After putting up a glassed Estes Sidewinder on an F24, Mark brought out his all aluminum rocket, "Hang 4". Power would be provided by another homemade EX motor, a 38mm 9 grain motor rated as a J330. Both the rocket and motor had flown before, though not together. Dual barometric deployment would be provided by an AltAcc altimeter. The beautiful rocket was loaded on the rail, the usual countdown, the button was pushed, and the motor ignited for a few milliseconds. Unfortunately, it then overpressurized and split open, venting the excess pressure and destroying the bottom part of the rocket and the fin can. There was a significant boom associated with the failure. There was no shrapnel; the aluminum case and airframe split open and the rocket jumped about 20 feet in the air. The plastic fin can did shatter, and fin pieces were found scattered around the pad. No propellant grains were found. The photo shows many small pieces of debris in the air around the rocket. These were probably the remains of the propellant grains. We were all at a safe distance from the rocket so no debris reached the launch team.
Mark Carlson's all aluminum "Hang 4"
Cato!! The photo shows pieces of debris everywhere, probably the remains of the grains and the fins.
The remains. The purple motor casing was peeled open on one side, which also split open the airframe tube.
These frames were taken off the video. They show the ignitor firing, the motor firing for one frame, then the failure.
The final flight of the day was Tom Montemayor's two stage "Shadowfax". First stage power was an Aerotech I154 and second stage power was an Aerotech H128. The first stage boost was perfect, the stage charge fired blowing the stages apart, and the second stage did not fire. The altimeter deployed the mains as the second stage arced over at apogee and both stages were recovered safely and undamaged. The failure was determined to be Tom's fault. Normally, high current output rechargeable batteries are used to fire the ignitors. However, Tom forgot to charge the batteries the night before so he tried using Radio Shack 9 volt batteries. Unfortunately, the El Cheapo batteries could not put out enough current to fire the ignitors. Next time, the batteries will be charged!!!!
Shadowfax lifts off into twilight skies