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Launch Report: January 2001 "Polar Bear" Launch

Launch date and time: January 20th, 2001, 10:00 AM.
Launch location: New Mark Middle School, Kansas City, MO

This was an informal (non-KCAR/non-NAR sponsored) launch held in the dead of winter to find out who the die-hard rocketeers are. Either that, or just to see how many people are crazy enough to go fly rockets in sub-freezing temperatures. Actually, the weather wasn't that bad. At least there was no snow on the ground. The temperature started out in the teens but made its way into the upper 20s as the day progressed. The skies were clear, and the wind was out of the south but light and variable. We set up just northwest of the trees near the middle of the field. For the first 45 minutes or so there were only two people flying rockets, but by the end of the day at least nine people had attended the launch.

Since this was an informal launch no official records of the flights were kept. So far only two individuals have submitted their own launch reports, so let’s take a look at what they were up to.

Dan Kirk, KCAR president, started out the day with a nicely finished Custom Tri-Star on a C6-5. Successful liftoff, straight up, ejection at apogee, polyethylene chute deployed fully, stable descent, kept changing direction due to varying winds aloft, and landed on grass west of school within three feet of building. The Ekonokote was melted on trailing edes of fins — need more engine overhang. Next Dan sent up a Custom Freedom with a C6-7 for a flight similar to that of the Tri-Star, but this one landed closer to launch pads thanks to the longer delay — ejection well after apogee.

Dan “OddRoc” Kirk then lofted a Candy Cane with an A8-3. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough power. Apogee was at about 10 feet, after which it fell to the ground. Ejection occurred ground. The same rocket flown on a C6-3 pinwheeled due to off-center thrust. Back to the drawing board!

Dan’s Wizard suffered a broken fin enroute to the field. After a little CA this rocket achieved a perfect high-altitude flight on a B6-4. The Experimental cloth chute ejected but did not unroll.

The classic “Sputchick” flew twice, once with a C6-5 and once with a C6-7. Both engines appeared to have slightly damaged nozzles. Both flights were good, but there was some spiral effect some due to the assymetric thrust. Both ejected after apogee.

Next up was an Estes Mosquito designed to fly on Quest MicroMaxx motors. Beautiful flight, all in sight. Ejection at apogee. Landed about 10 yards from pad. I think we have another favorite.

Dan finished his day with a Nano Rocketry Interdimensional Transporter Starship using a Quest MicroMaxx motor. This was the kind of textbook MicroMaxx flight we have come to expect, but lower apogee than the Mosquito.

Jerome Tonneson, KCAR vice president, began the day with his 3x upscaled Mosquito on a B6-4. Nice flight, landed close to the pad. Next was an Estes Bull Pup 12D with a B4-4. Another nice flight and a good recovery on the streamer which was new since the last flight. Third up was a Estes Viking using an A8-5. Those old Estes motors have some really nice tracking smoke.

At this point it was time to switch from a 1/8-inch launch rod to a 3/16-inch rod in order to send up an Estes LongShot. After one flight on a C5-3, Jerome “it’s too cold to swap rods again” Tonneson flew the LongShot five more times using five different motors: C6-3, B4-2, C6-5, D12-5, and D12-7. The B4-2 results in a cheap version of “close proximity recovery” -- achieving a low altitude and landing very close to the pads. The D12-5 really gave it a nice boost with ejection right at apogee. It drifted quite a bit and landed about 20 feet from the parking lot on the north side of the field. With the D12-7 ejection happened at a much lower altitude. For a while it looked like it was headed for some power lines and trees, but it cleared both obsticles as it drifted back using a Top Flight parachute.

Other memorable rockets and flights: Randall Jessee’s Fat Roc with a beer can piston for ejection, a Mean Machine with a nicely blended red and hot pink paint job, and a huge Birthday Rocket on (2? 4?) clustered D12- 3’s. Nice flight, but parachute failed to deploy. One of the Jessee boys had a nice Quest Falcon flight. Mike Barzee had an out-of sight flight with an Army rocket on a B6-4. A young rocketeer (didn’t get his name) had a Prowler with the same problem. Bob Wingate flew his Quest Area 51 UFO (an easy one to prep when your hands are freezing because it’s 20 degrees).

If you have pictures taken during this launch please let us know so that they can be posted on the web site. If you can scan them and save them as GIFs or JPGs that would be great. If not, a few of the club members have scanners and can get the pictures into digital format. Send e-mail for details.

Please send e-mail if any corrections need to be made to this launch report.

Submitted by Jerome Tonneson, NAR 76200.

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