Finally, a launch on the first attempt! Skye Dance XIV roared into the sky Sunday, January 10th, 1999. Sandwiched between 2 windy days, the Sunday weather was perfect; skies were clear with winds of 10 mph at launch time dropping off to near calm by sunset. Over 13,200 newtons were burned in 20 flights during the 4 hour waiver, with most of the flights happening in the last hour when the wind became calm. As usual, several rockets were not flown due to darkness. The average motor flown was 660 newtons, a small J.Jeff Cook
rejoined the high power community at Skye Dance XIV, finally completing the replacement for his trusty and long lost Scarecrow. Jeff showed off his brand new Aerobee Hi, a semi-scale model of the famous sounding rocket by Rocket R & D. Jeff's modifications of the kit include zipper-proof construction, dual barometric recovery, and fiberglassing of the entire rocket. The rocket has a 54mm mount and Jeff uses an Adept RAS2 recording altimeter for data collection. For his first flight, Jeff chose an Aerotech J350. The rocket roared into the sky
(on the second Copperhead) and deployed right at apogee. The main charge fired on schedule at 250 feet and the rocket was recovered undamaged. Max altitude was 3,024 feet. For his second flight, Jeff chose a J275, which sent the rocket up to 3,749 feet. Again, everything performed flawlessly and the rocket was recovered undamaged.
Benton Reed flew his Public Enemy Honest John
, this time on a J415. The rocket reached a max altitude of 3,718 feet, and landed close to the pads thanks to dual barometric deployment. Rumor has it that Benton has a K550 ready to go for the next flight (uh-oh). Benton also flew his THOY Phoenix on an I211
. The rocket deployed right at apogee, but the chute tangled on the way down and did not deploy. The rocket hit hard, but was completely undamaged. Benton builds them strong (and beautiful).
Tom Montemayor put up 4 flights, including his LOC Bruiser on an Aerotech J800. The rocket reached a max altitude of 2,454 feet and deployed right at apogee. Even though the surface wind was almost calm, the rocket landed over half a mile away. Tom also flew Spectra on a Kosdon J450 to 3,211 feet, and his Hawk Mountain Bad Attitude on an Aerotech I435
. The 9 pound rocket reached a max altitude of 1,315 feet on the 38/600 blue thunder reload, and landed less than 50 yards away using dual deployment.
Mark Carlson put up 5 flights, including his mighty Skyraider on a K550. The huge 25 pound rocket thundered into the air, and used an altimeter backed up by the motor to deploy it's chute right at apogee. There were a few heart-stopping moments as the big chute streamered, but after several seconds it inflated normally and the rocket landed safely. The altimeter was beeping out 1,390 feet as peak altitude. Mark also flew his PML Eclipse on an Ellis Mountain J330
motor to an altitude of 3,110 feet, and his Arcas on a long burn J135 to 2,895 feet. Mark also suffered a case of the wrong propellant in the reload kit, using an H242 blue thunder reload in his 38/240 motor. Upon ignition, the motor identified itself as a black jack by it's thick black smoke and began staggering up the launch rod. It took over 1.5 seconds to clear the rod and immediately arced over into the wind. Fortunately, the chute deployed right at burn-out (it was a blue thunder delay) and the rocket was recovered undamaged. A puckering flight! Peak altitude was about 30 feet.Ed Jacoby
flew his modified PML Eclipse on a J275
to 3,608 feet. The rocket used an altitmeter for dual deployment, but both chutes deployed at apogee. This produced a longer walk than anticipated, but the rocket was recovered undamaged. Peak altitude was 3,608 feet. Early deployment of the main chute is a common problem with dual deployment systems. Either shear pins, or a tight nose fit is necessary to prevent the nose from falling off while the rocket is descending under the drogue. Fortunately, this type of malfunction does not damage the rocket, it just means a long walk.
Rick Taylor put up his scratch built Dufus on a core I357 airstarting 3 outboard G80s. The I357 gave the rocket considerable speed off the pad, which was fortunate because the G80s were not in any hurry to fire. They sputtered and chuffed all the way up, and eventually 2 of them fired. The flight remained vertical, reaching a peak altitude of 2,380 feet. Dual barometric recovery brought the rocket back close to the pads.
Other successful flights were put up by Anthony Taylor, Tom Kindel, and James Reimund. All flights recovered successfully and undamaged.