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TPS Team Launch, 9/3/2003, Fiesta Island


The Fleet

Launch Log



After several attempts to reschedule, today we held the second TPS Team Launch. Mike Jerauld, of the local DART rocketry club, sponsored the event and provided the launch equipment. Many thanks, Mike!

Unlike the last time, no rockets flew into the waters surrounding Fiesta Island. We did have a couple of casualties, the most notable of which was the destruction of the tail end of Mike Jerauld's upscale Centuri Space Shuttle. Mike had finally gotten it trimmed right at last weekend's DART club launch, and was all set up to document the flight today with video and still camera, but unfortunately something broke in the engine mount during boost. The larger "mother ship" glider came down safely, as the the engine mount tube, but the smaller upper glider crashed. Sorry Mike.

A good time was had by all, including our new manager, Susan. She's already talking about scheduling the next launch.

Photo Gallery

I didn't get photos of everyone with their rockets, but I hope I got shots of all of the rockets at least.

A beautiful morning on Fiesta Island.
A view out to the launching area beyond the OTL bleachers.
First launch of the morning - Mike Jerauld's Honest John comes down under chute.
Craig demonstrates his patented "end over end" recovery method with his Quest Intruder - OK, OK, I took the picture before he got his rocket upright...sorry, Craig.
A bit hard to see, but this is the moment of ignition. Look carefully for the tiny jet of flame and the thin haze of engine exhaust.
Eduard prepping his very nice Echostar. Also visible are his boost glider, and the morning refreshments. Krisy Kreme donuts...yummm...thanks to Ron for picking them up.
A better shot of Eduard and his Echostar. The sparkling silver and blue paint really look nice on this rocket.
Sid and his rocket. Unfortunately this one never flew due to a misunderstanding about what kind of glue to use. Also visible is Jeff's Quest Totally Tubular.
My and my Wyvern. You can tell the wind was coming up...just look at my hair. Hey, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Also on the pad are (left to right), Ron's V2, Susan's Skydive, Craig's Intruder, and Eduard's Echostar.
Jeff brought a fleet with him, including this very nice rocket that breaks apart into two pieces. Each piece uses helicopter recovery, inspired by a falling maple seed pod. What a nice rocket to watch come down!
Jay had two very nice launches of his Alpha, finished the morning of the launch. Here's the first flight.
The second flight was also arrow-straight. Unfortunately the shock chord snapped. Jay got the body of his rocket back, but the nose cone was last seen drifting under chute toward Point Loma. Also visible in the background are Dave's Sidewinder and Mike's upscale Space Shuttle.
Mike Jerauld brought his upscaled, D-powered, Centuri Space Shuttle with him. Unfortunately the rocket suffered some significant damage on boost. Still not really sure what happened. The good news is the damage looks repairable and it'll fly again. Also on the rails are Dave's Sidewinder and Jay's Alpha.
One of the more exciting launches of the day was a three-way drag race of two-stage rockets. On the pad are Ojas' Navaho AGM, Craig's Intruder, Jay's Alpha, and Ron's Quest Zenith II Payloader. Mike loads his scratchbuilt two-stager while Ojas looks on.
The Navaho, Ron's Zenith II and Mike's scratchbuilt take to the sky. Nice shot of all three motors thrusting. What I wish I'd caught was the scene a few seconds later as pieces of these rockets went every which way. It wasn't pretty, I'm afraid...
Group Shot 1: Ojas' Navaho AGM, Craig's Intruder, Jay's Alpha, Ron's Zenith II, Mike's scratchbuilt two-stager (L to R).
Group Shot 2: Eduard's hand-painted boost glider, Susan's Skydive, my Mini-Shuttle clone, and Mike's two-stager trying for a better second flight (L to R).
Group Shot 3: My Gnome, Ron's Vaughn Brothers Buzzard (NICE GLIDE!!!), unknown rocket lent to Sid by Mike, Eduard's Echostar, Craig's Intruder(L to R).
Group Shot 4: My Wyvern, Ron's V2, Susan's Skydive, Craig's Intruder, and Eduard's Echostar (L to R).

TPS Team flights

I don't remember them all, but there are a few that stick out in my memory.

Jeff B. flew a very nice little rocket that breaks into two pieces, each of which turns into a helicopter and spins down to earth.

After initial problems keeping the payload section together, Eduard S. flew his Echostar in single stage mode twice more for beautiful flights with nice, soft, landings. If I remember right, the payloads included a chocolate Easter Egg, and some pocket change.

Displaying a slightly more, um, experimental mentality, Ron A. loaded a live cricket into the payload compartment of his two-stage rocket. Unfortunately, the booster engine pushed the second stage motor mount four inches into the tube. The little astronaut failed to survive the massive G ballistic re-entry.

Mike Jerauld put up his upscale Centuri Mach 10 for a nice, gliding flight. I want one of those!

I'll write up a bunch more descriptions over the weekend, after I've had a chance to look at the pictures. They'll jog my memory.

My flights

I took lots of notes about my own flights. Here are some of the details.

Infinite Loop Starfighter, second flight.
The little 1/4A3-3T engine sent this little rocket up nicely. Not HIGH, but high enough. It'll be a good engine for really windy days. The rear ejection worked fine, even without wadding (see previous flight). But, this rocket is designed to come down nose first. The little 1.5" x 15" streamer is NOT enough to slow it down dramatically. No damage was suffered, but it could have hurt someone if it hit them. A larger streamer is in order for this particular model, and I have one more reason to go to nose ejection to bring this down with something less than a ballistic reentry.

Wyvern, third flight
Last night I cut five inches off of the front of the body tube, removing the damage from last flight's core sample landing. After reattaching the shock chord, I was very surprised to find that a spin test with C6-5 on board was still stable. I suppose the .6oz of nose weight I added was more than I needed with the full length body tube. I'll have to revisit the nose weight when I build the next one of these.

The B6-2 worked wonderfully. The ejection was perhaps a LITTLE short of apogee, but it was much softer than the very late ejection on B6-4. This is the B engine for this bird, I think. The engine ejected again, but not before popping the chute. No damage. Must...add...engine...hook.

Estes Gyroc clone, fourth flight
The C6-3 sent the Gyroc VERY high. I have no idea where ejection happened relative to apogee, as it was out of sight. The breeze was very light, but it still drifted hundred of yards. This is NOT a good engine for this rocket if the wind is up. Today was no problem, though, and the Gyroc came home with no damage. Very pretty flight.

Estes Mini-Shuttle clone, second flight
C6-5 engine. She weathercocked strongly into the wind, resulting in a long walk, since the streamer brought it down quickly. The good news is that she suffered no damage at all.

Estes Gnome, maiden flight
I bought the Gnome to use as a throw-away bird to test the winds with. So much for that idea. On its first flight the shock chord pulled out of the mounting point in the tube. The shock chord is just WAY too short for this rocket, especially when ejection charges seem to be getting stronger. I'll probably repair it, and put a 12" sewing elastic shock chord in.

Wyvern, fourth flight
I decided to try a C6-3 this time. The winds were picking up, but other parachute birds were being recovered and this rocket is heavy enough to guarantee (relatively) low altitude. I wanted to nail down the recommended C engine for the Wyvern. Well, folks, it's the C6-5, not the C6-3. Ejection was early, resulting (I think) in the heavy nose cone being dragged back into the leading edge of the fin unit. Two of the leading edges are dented. Nothing I can't repair with some thin CA to add some strength back to the cardboard, but I'll fly it on C6-5 from now on.

Infinite Loop Starfighter, third flight
1/2A3-4T. I didn't have a larger streamer with me. But I did have another 1.5" x 15" streamer, so I taped that one onto the shock chord beside the original. Again, the recovery was too fast. It made a loud bang sound when it hit my car. I'm glad nobody was standing under it. Mike Jerauld suggested a small (maybe six inch?) parachute made from dry cleaner's bag material. Pretty good idea for this model, and maybe for the nose ejected second edition.

Estes Gyroc clone, fifth flight
I wanted to try an A engine with the Gyroc, so I loaded up an A8-3. Boy, it's nice to have a rocket that flies well on just about any motor! Even the A8-3 sent this model nice and high. Sweet!

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Page last updated: September 4, 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.