Skye Dance XXIX
The last launch of the Spring 2001 season roared in the Central Texas skies Sunday evening, June 24th. Conditions were pretty typical of summertime in Texas; temperatures in the 90s and afternoon winds of 10 -15 mph, dropping off to near calm by sunset. Turnout was light (two fliers cancelled at the last minute due to "work"), with 4 fliers putting up 6 flights, including 2 experimental motors. Altimeter failures resulted in the destruction of 2 rockets, a rare event at Skye Dance launches. Click on the fliers name for pictures.
Tom Montemayor put up 2 flights, starting off with flight number 68 for his trusty, scratch built Spectra. Actually, there's not a single part on the current Spectra that has 68 flights on it; as parts wear out or break they are replaced. Spectra flew on a Kosdon J280 motor, a 38mm 680ns motor using Kosdon's Slow propellant. The flight was perfect, reaching a peak altitude of 2043 feet at a max acceleration of 6 Gs. The Adept altimeter functioned perfectly, deploying a streamer at apogee and the main chute at 250 feet. The rocket landed undamaged nearby. For his second flight, Tom put up his LOC Bruiser using a Kosdon J850. The 38mm 900ns motor uses Kosdon's Fast propellant and gets a big rocket like a Bruiser moving out in a real hurry. The 1.1 second burn provided an 11.4 G liftoff with the rocket coasting up to a max altitude of 1411 feet. The Adept altimeter deployed the main chute at apogee and the big rocket landed safely about a half mile downrange.
Ed Jacoby also put up 2 flights, including another spectacular demonstration of his experimental propellant formulation skills. The color for this launch was blue, and Ed's experimental motor put out a vivid blue, bordering on violet flame. Ed has flown red and green motors at previous launches, but this blue motor was certainly the most powerful. With a burn time of less than 1 second, the motor performed much like an Aerotech J800. The flame also resembled a Blue Thunder, flaring out over a foot behind the rocket. The powerful motor boosted Ed's PML Eclipse to 2398 feet. For this flight, the onboard Olsen altimeter functioned perfectly, deploying a drogue at apogee and the main chute at around 400 feet. For his next flight, Ed used the same rocket and altimeter, this time powered by an Aerotech J275. The rocket boosted fast and straight, arced over at apogee, and did absolutely nothing but succumb to the relentless pull of gravity. The rocket made for the center of the earth, screaming all the way down. Impact occurred in a cotton field, and the rocket was finally located completely underground.
Charles Barnett attended his first Skye Dance launch, driving down from Waco to fly his experimental ammonium nitrate motor. The homemade motor used a 29mm 240ns case and was estimated to be approximately an H100. For his test vehicle, Charles chose a 4 inch diameter Archer, equipped with an AltAcc altimeter for apogee deployment. The AN motor performed perfectly, boosting the Archer to around 1000 feet on a bright orange flame. Unfortunately, the altimeter failed to deploy and the rocket came in ballistic, impacting safely downrange in a cotton field. The altimeter was pulverized in the crash so the failure could not be analyzed, but the altimeter did show continuity before the flight. Sometimes, you just need to carry a backup.
Jeff Cook flew his old, reliable Aerobee Hi, powered by an Aerotech I211. The rocket is a Rocket R&D kit, modified by Jeff to include dual altimeter deployment and G10 fins. Using I211 power, the rocket reached a peak altitude of just over 1400 feet where the Adept altimeter deployed the drogue chute. At 250 feet the main deployed and the rocket landed safely less than 50 feet from the pad.