Skye Dance XXXIII
Skye Dance 33 took to the skies on Superbowl Sunday, February 3rd, 2002. Conditions were superb; calm winds at launch time remaining calm throughout the 2 hour waiver, temperatures in the mid 50s, and overcast skies at 7,000 feet. Since we had also flown the previous Sunday, we ended up splitting the crowd in half between the two weekends and only 5 fliers attended.
Mark Carlson flew the most, putting up 3 flights powered by J, H, and F motors. Mark's first flight was his THOY Phoenix powered by a 38mm Aerotech H123. The rocket flew pretty straight for a Phoenix (it sure is hard lining up all those fins) and had the characteristic Phoenix whistle at burnout. Motor deployment popped the chute at apogee for a perfect flight. Next, Mark brought out his newest rocket, "Turn One". The rocket is constructed of glass wrapped flexible phenolic and uses an altimeter for dual deployment. For this flight, Mark used as Ellis Mountain J330. The boost was fast and straight, and the altimeter deployed the drogue at apogee. At 400 feet the main was ejected but it remained tangled and did not deploy. The rocket hit the soft ground under drogue and a wadded up main and suffered NO damage. Lucky! Finally, Mark flew a heavily reinforced Estes Sidewinder on an F24. The flight was perfect and the rocket was recovered undamaged.
Tom Montemayor flew two rockets, both named Spectra. First, Tom flew his current Spectra (actually Spectra 3) using a Kosdon J280. The flight was perfect with dual barometric recovery bringing the rocket back about 100 yards downrange. Max altitude was 1987 feet. Next, Tom brought out his old, original Spectra, now Spectra 1. Powered by a Kosdon I300, the flight was fast and perfect. Using a timer for apogee deployment, the main deployed at apogee and the rocket landed about 50 feet from Spectra 3. Two perfect flights!
Jim Long flew a scratch built rocket, "Frankenstein", using a homemade, experimental motor. The motor, rated as a J260, used an eroding nozzle to alter the thrust curve. At liftoff, through the smallest orifice, the motor would produce the greatest thrust. As the flight progessed and the nozzle opened up, the thrust would drop off and produce a longer burn. The motor had performed well during a static test fire and functioned perfectly for the flight. Unfortunately, the rocket turned out to be unstable. The rocket had been damaged on a previous flight and repaired, but apparently the repair altered the cg/cp relationship enough to cause it to be unstable. The rocket left the pad beautifully, but at less than 100 feet it decided to do a vertical 360. This certainly got everyone's attention! The rocket did another vertical, tight 360 then fell horizontal to the ground. The rocket suffered moderate damage. Moral of the story: after you repair a rocket, do another cp/cg check to insure it is still stable. Click here for a 3Mb video of the doomed flight.
Two other Level 3 fliers were present, Ed Jacoby and Rita Long. Neither flew, Ed was sick and Rita assisted Jim, but we sure appreciated their company and laughter. Bring rockets next time!