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DART Club Launch, 2/22/2003, Fiesta Island


The Fleet

Launch Log



With a low layer of clouds and occasional gusts, it didn't look like much of a day to go flying when we arrived at the site. But, people with a lot more experience than myself were happily putting their birds in the air. Most were weathercocking, but this compensated nicely for the drift caused by the breeze and many rockets were making nice landings an easy stroll down range.

Our flights

Since our last flying session we'd finished Sarah's Falcon and I'd finished the paint on my Gyroc and Bullpup. I was looking forward to seeing how they flew.

Falcon, maiden flight
Newly dubbed the "Kitty Kat" and festooned with my daughter's favorite stickers, we sent the Falcon on her maiden flight on the factory-recommended B6-4. It was a low flight, but we got ejection right at apogee and only a little drift in the breeze. If the wind stayed calm, we planned to try a C engine next.

Bullpup 12D, maiden flight
Again, following Estes' recommendations, I started this one with a small motor, an A8-3. It went up fast, and weathercocked into the building breeze. That breeze brought the model straight back to the launch pad for a perfect landing right at my feet! In that same short window of time, two other models landed on or near the rails, prompting someone to ask whether there was a Spot Landing contest underway.

X-Ray, flight three
After the success of our last flying session with the 1/2A3-4T, and since the wind was cooperating, I decided to try an A10-3T in the X-Ray. Sarah placed one of her plastic lizards in the payload section and we sent it up. She was very excited to notice that the lizard had been pushed down into the bottom of the payload section by the force of acceleration. The A10-3T is a lot more fun that the smaller engines in this bird.

Gyroc, maiden flight
This is the one I'd been waiting for. I love the concept of the Gyroc, and it seemed as if the construction had gone well. She didn't disappoint. On a B6-4 she boosted straight up, popped the engine at apogee, then turned over and started spinning. The half-red, half-blue paint job quickly blurred to nearly a purple and she slowly spun down to earth for a perfect landing. The only damage was some fin scorching that might have been caused when the adjacent rocket on the launch pad went up before the Gyroc. Woo hoo!

Falcon, second flight
Another nearly perfect flight on a B6-4. Wind was gusting too much to chance a C engine. Maybe next time.

Bullpup, second flight
After a few minutes of watching the other flights, the wind stopped nearly dead. I decided to try a C6-5 in my Bullpup, and despite an eject significantly after apogee, the chute deployed perfectly and it came down for a nice landing a short walk from the pad. A very nice, high flight on this larger motor.

X-Ray, fourth (and final) flight
We loaded the plastic lizard back into the payload section, prepped with another A10-3T and sent her up. The flight was perfectly straight, but the ejection charge seperated the payload section from the rest of the rocket. After I got it back, I noticed that the engine hook had ALSO been jammed back, tearing a half-inch "vent" in the body tube as well. Both parts of the damage may have been caused by jammed the cellulose wadding too tightly into the tube. On the other hand, several people mentioned that the ejection charges on the mini-motors have been getting stronger lately.

Regardless, it's going to take rebuilding the rocket to make her flight-worthy again. At only a few dollars for the kit, I may just buy another and salvage the parts from the old bird for a future scratchbuilding effort.

Gyroc, second flight
Our last flight of the day was another perfect flight for the Gyroc on a B6-4. I expected the Gyroc to fall faster than a streamer rocket, but this time it drifted a lot farther than two streamer birds that went up just before and after the Gyroc to similar altitudes. Not scientific, but clearly the helicopter recovery of this rocket is enough to slow it down significantly.

Boy, we had a great time today. Can't wait to fly again!

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Page last updated: September 3, 2003
Copyright ©2003, William Scarvie

Any advertisements below are placed there by Angelfire, not by me. Companies or links advertised below do not imply my endorsement of these places. For the places I like to visit, please see my Links or Rocketry Links pages.