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KCAR Launch Report: Clardy Elementary Science Club Launch

Launch date and time: May 10th, 4:00PM
Launch location: Clardy Elementary, North Kansas City
Launch wind and weather: Warm and Windy!

Much to KCAR club members’ delight, the Science Club at Clardy Elementary invited us to help with their rocket launch again this year. The weather didn’t look too promising — a repeat of last year which was postponed a week — but the wind wasn’t too high and it wasn’t raining so we went ahead with the launch.

Randall arrived first and communicated with Mrs. Dailey and then started checking the wind and field. The wind speed and direction dictated our location this year to be down in the corner almost directly against the trees. We normally launch from the area just past the parking lot. Randall and I began carrying equipment down to the selected location, and set up in an area that had been mown recently.

Getting ready at the pads
Getting ready at the pads
We broke in a brand new controller today, one that can handle six launches at once. I was a little apprehensive about a brand new controller, but hooking it up was a breeze and it performed almost flawlessly (one of the continuity test circuits went open). The pads have also been updated to include leads wired directly to each station so that there is no confusion about which pair of leads belong to which rod, and each rod is now on a swivel and the angle can be adjusted without bending the rod. The pads are low enough that an 11-year old can reach the top of the rod (just!) but high enough that one doesn’t need to stand on his head to hook up! This set up worked pretty well with numbered pads, leads, and wires so that hooking up is simply a fly-by-number arrangement. The one thing that I didn’t think of was placing the pad number on both sides of the assembly since the kids, hooking up on the back side, kept asking which pad they were on. I’d like to paint the wood part anyway, so numbered and color coded pads are planned.

Setting up went quickly and we had some time to rip the “pages” of the recovery wadding apart, and to separate the motor plugs, and so forth. Randall also launched a spool rocket to check our pad location against the wind and ensure we had everything hooked up properly. Nice flight, and we judged the trees and wind pretty well. The new controller uses a 5-Ah gell cell and its small size earns it no respect until it actually does something. Small though it is, it packs plenty of punch. Randall even commented on its power.

Soon enough, a group of kids came running down the hill. Some of the kid’s parents also came to see the launch. We talked a little, and found out that most of the kids had flown a rocket before, but a few hadn’t so we went over the reason for the wadding and what it is despite what it looks like. We had some problems with this for some reason today, it’s hard to get wadding into a skinny body tube without jamming it in. We next discussed motors, what they do, and how to get an ignitor into one along with the plug. This step went a lot better and faster than the wadding. We have learned from our experiences in the past about the motor hook shorting out the ignitor leads and were able to prevent that little problem; we had just a couple of misfires.

Randall assists students at the pads
Randall assists students at the pads
We commenced launching and it went pretty quickly. Six fliers went out to the pads, slid their rockets on the rods and hooked up the leads under minimal supervision. We would then select pads one and four, count down and launch the two rockets drag-race fashion, then select pads two and five and repeat. Once more for pads three and six. Then six more fliers were sent out to the pads and so on. We cycled about 20 rockets in thirty minutes or so. Most of the rockets were flown a second time — the first group of fliers having installed a fresh engine and wadding and waiting before the last of the first timers were finished. A few rockets had a problem or two with separations or other minor problems and so weren't able to go it again. Randall also flew a second spool rocket. One of the observers commented that we appear to have done this once or twice before!

As in previous years, I enlisted a volunteer with pretty handwriting, D’Angela, to assist with logging the flier’s names. As a reward, she was the switch-switching-launch-controller-extraordinaire much to the envy of many of her classmates. She was very good at it, selecting the pads in the correct order and holding the launch button down until the rockets were in motion. The log that follows is the result of her work — Thanks D’Angela! And she managed to get in a flight or two as well!

The location does look close in the photos, doesn’t it? There is a largish gap directly over the pads, and the angle was set to fly the rockets Northward somewhat anticipating the wind carrying them back to the hillside behind the controller. This worked pretty well; most of the rockets did land on the hillside but a couple fell a little short when the wind slackened a bit. We also had what we thought was a motor CATO but it turned out to be the motor hook either caught or trapped by the stand-off clothes pin. As far as I know no rockets were lost.

New this year for this group was a big pile of Estes trackers. While we were prepping models, Mrs. Dailey and her crew were measuring off the distance for the trackings stations. The trackers are the Estes single-station altitude type, but she had them tracking from different angles to improve accuracy. We were calling off our countdown as loud as possible so that the trackers could hear and be ready for the launch. I also noticed the stations getting a crew switch-out and Mrs. Dailey reports altitudes tracked in the 90-meter range.

All-in-all, it was a good day on the range! Hope the kids had as much fun as Randall and I, and they ask us to come help again next year!

Flight Log
Flier Rocket Motor(s) Comments
1 Daniel Gnome 1/2A3-4T
2 Zack Gnome 1/2A3-4T
3 Emily Gnome 1/2A3-4T
4 Tyler Gnome 1/2A3-4T
5 Kelsy Gnome 1/2A3-4T
6 Meagan Gnome 1/2A3-4T
7 Chandler Gnome 1/2A3-4T
8 Kenan Gnome 1/2A3-4T
9 Bianca Gnome 1/2A3-4T
10 Joe Gnome 1/2A3-4T
11 Maressa Gnome 1/2A3-4T
12 Matthew Gnome 1/2A3-4T
13 Shebe Gnome 1/2A3-4T
14 Daulton Gnome 1/2A3-4T
15 Beca Gnome 1/2A3-4T
16 Amber Gnome 1/2A3-4T
17 Leavn Gnome 1/2A3-4T
18 Britany Gnome 1/2A3-4T
19 Jordan Gnome 1/2A3-4T
20 Alyson Gnome 1/2A3-4T
21 D’Angela Gnome 1/2A3-4T
22 Zack Gnome 1/2A3-4T
23 Tyler Gnome 1/2A3-4T
24 Kelsy Gnome 1/2A3-4T
25 Chandler Gnome 1/2A3-4T
26 Kenan Gnome 1/2A3-4T
27 Bianca Gnome 1/2A3-4T
28 Maressa Gnome 1/2A3-4T
29 Shebe Gnome 1/2A3-4T
30 Daulton Gnome 1/2A3-4T
31 Learvn Gnome 1/2A3-4T
32 Alyson Gnome 1/2A3-4T
33 D’Angela Gnome 1/2A3-4T
34 Kelsy Gnome 1/2A3-4T

Rocketeers Making Multiple Flights
Flights Rocketeer(s)
Totals by motor:
Motor Number
1/2A3 34 37.06
Total 1/2A’s: 34 37.06
Total: 34 37.06 (E)

Submitted by Tim Burger NAR 78486 L1 (photos too).

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Page created on May 31, 2006.