What a beautiful day. There was no wind at all, and the low cloud layer kept
the hot January sun off us poor San Diego rocketeers. This was our first
experience flying with the DART club, and we had a great time. Andy Woerner
made us feel very much at home. The local city regulations prohibit the use
of standard wadding (it doesn't degrade quickly enough). I didn't know about
this, so Andy generously donated a bag of cellulose wadding and off we went.
Our flightsWe brought only two models to the club launch, and only got to fly one of them, but we had a terrific time. My daughter spent the first half of the morning watching launches from inside my trunk (where I had set up shop), but eventually got over her fear and came out to the launch controller with me. By the end of the morning she was playing happily in the sand, only covering her ears when an E or F motor went skyward. She had a lot of fun, and made me stay later than I'd planned just to watch the rockets fly.
Estes X-Ray, flight one
Estes X-Ray, flight two
Speaking of estimating, I have no practice at estimating altitudes yet, so I'll leave that kind of data out for now. I can say that the X-Ray got good and small on that little 1/2A engine. That's good enough for me for now.
Astron Invader toss test
Other flightsThere were a lot of terrific flights today because of the calm skies. Most rockets came down only a short stroll from the launch pad. There were a couple of exceptions, however. One cluster rocket failed to fire all of its engines, sending it in a very wide ballistic arc out toward the bay. A two-stager suffered a short pause between the booster burnout and the secondary's firing...just long enough for the rocket to point out on a path almost identical to the cluster rocket's. Good thing both ejected their parachutes soon enough to avoid a dip in the salt water.
Thankfully, I only saw one crash today. A scale Sprint ABM model flew a perfect circular arc away from the flight line and directly into the ground. The model spiked in like an arrow, the motor still burning happily away. I didn't get a chance to talk to the owner after the crash, but from the looks of the exterior the model suffered only some paint loss on the nose cone.
The most memorable launches of the day were a pair of perfect flights for a scale Saturn V. The exterior detail work was very, very nice, and I remember keeping my fingers tightly crossed each time it reached apogee. The sight of the three big red parachutes was very welcome.
Thanks to the DART folks for making us feel welcome. See you next month.
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