Skye Dance XXXVIII
Happy New Year!
Continuing a tradition started in 1995, the ninth annual New Years Eve launch and fireworks festival blasted into cloudy Kimbro skies December 31st, 2003 (when else?). The forecast was not too good; overcast skies and winds 10 - 20 mph. But, launch day dawned with a cloud ceiling of 4,000 feet and winds around 10 mph so the launch was a GO! The wind continued to lessen as the afternoon wore on, and by sunset winds were virtually calm. The 4,000 foot ceiling limited our high flights, but we had plenty of rockets and motors that allowed us to stay below the clouds. Temperatures were in the high 60s when the waiver opened at 3:00 and remained above 60 throughout the fireworks display. We had a large turnout of participants and spectators.
Since there were a lot of flights, this report will only cover a couple of the more interesting flights from each flier. Things REALLY got interesting at night when the Silver Streaks started flying!
Mark Carlson flew his PML quarter scale Patriot using another one of his homemade, single use EX motors. As usual, the 29mm baby I (around I220) motor performed perfectly, leaving a trail of sparks as it roared skyward. A perfect flight. Mark also flew his ancient Arcas for it's retirement flight using a long burn Aerotech J90. The 6 pound rocket was a little heavy for the J90 and it weathercocked badly into the 5 mph breeze. The altimeter functioned perfectly, deploying a streamer at apogee and a main at 250 feet. The rocket landed safely and softly well uprange. Finally, Mark flew his MiniMag using an Aerotech I211 and motor deployment. Another perfect flight and recovery.
Mark's single use, EX I motor. Look at the sparks!
Grant and Mark with the Arcas.
J90 boost.
Mark and Grant with the MiniMag.
I211 boost.
Tom Montemayor put up 3 flights, all successful. Tom started with his first Aerotech red motor, an H165R powering his V2. The red motor only burned for just over one second, but it had no trouble lofting the heavy rocket high in the air. Apogee deployment brought it back safely. Next, Tom flew another Aerotech red motor in his trusty Spectra. For this flight, Tom chose the 38/600 I366R motor. Performance was excellent as the vivid red motor lofted Spectra to 1,955 feet. Max velocity was 369 feet/second and liftoff acceleration was 8.2 Gs. Finally, Tom flew his Hawk Mountain Bad Attitude using a Kosdon K700. This was the highest, and loudest flight of the day with the rocket reaching 3,826 feet at a max velocity of 506 feet/second and a 7.4 G liftoff. Dual barometric recovery brought the rocket back safely a few hundred yards downrange.
Tom's V2 under H165R boost.
Tom with Spectra.
Spectra boosting on an I366R.
Tom with his Bad Attitude.
The Bad Attitude boosts on a K700.
Steve Rogers had a great day, putting up at least 5 flights, with 4 successful and 1 hilarious. First, Steve had a simultaneous launch of two old North Coast Patriot missiles. It was a great launch; the two F62s fired about half second apart and the first Patriot was just arcing over the second when it fired. Neat! Steve also had two great flights from his E9 powered glider. The glider was well trimmed and flew forever. Finally, there was another attempt at launching GI Joe. The last attempt resulted in 3rd degree burns over most of GI Joe with his clothes being burned off and most of his body blackened. This time, after a year of intense training, we felt that GI Joe was qualified to deploy the parachute. All he had to do was hit the big red button at apogee and the chute would deploy. know how bright marines are. The rocket makes about 500 feet powered by an H128, arcs over and begins the plunge earthward. We're all yelling at GI Joe to push the button, but he was apparently rolling a cigarette or something and failed to do his duty. The rocket impacted vertically about 20 feet from the pad, and after about 1/2 second the ejection charge fired, blowing the back half of the rocket off. The nose remained firmly embedded in the soft earth. Medical personel raced to the scene but poor GI Joe was dismembered. We'll try again next time. It was so dark there are no photos of this historic flight, but we do have a 3.8 Mb video of the flight.
Steve with one of the Patriots.
Dual liftoff!
Steve with his glider.
Glider boosting on an E9
Stu Barrett had a couple of spectacular flights using vintage rockets and motors. Stu brought his ancient THOY Phoenix powered by an antique Vulcan Systems Hellfire H142 motor. One of the aft fins had broken off so Stu TAPED on a piece of CARDBOARD to take the place of the missing fin. Gawd! Cringing in fear, we pushed the button. The flight was surprising straight for a Phoenix...only a couple of corkscrews on the way up. The rocket deployed at apogee and landed in the middle of the neighbors sheep farm, about a half mile downrange. We told Stu that the neighbor (Greg) was friendly and Stu dashed off to retrieve his rocket. Next time, we'll have to give Stu a better briefing. Though Greg is friendly, the sheep dog, Ralph, is decidely UNfriendly. Also, the field is surrounded by an electric fence. Greg called Mandot the next morning and asked who the idiot was who crawled through the electric fence (which just happened to be off at the time) and walked right past the maneating sheep dog who had just eaten and wasn't in the mood for raw Stu at the time. Anyway, great flight and recovery. Next, once night had fallen, Stu loaded an H220 Silver Streak into the cardboard finned Phoenix. The flight was fantastic! It looked like a huge meteor sailing across the night sky. A most impressive flight and again, a safe recovery.
Stu with his Phoenix
Those Hellfires weren't all that red
Ignitor placement is very important with a Silver Streak!
Ken Kryszak drove up from San Antonio with a couple of cool rockets and some great fireworks. Ken flew his "Newfangled Idjit" using an Aerotech F22 for a perfect flight, and also flew his "Dizzy Clone", a monokopter on a D12 for a great flight. Ken also had one of those famous Silver Streaks, this one a G160SS to power his Ace "Sonic". Once again, the Silver Streak was launched after dark and provided a spectacular show against the night sky. The strobe was hard to see since we were all blinded by the Silver Streak flash, but Ken eventually recovered the rocket after a long walk in the dark. Great flight! Ken also had a second Silver Streak that I caught on the photo just as the rocket is rising out of the cloud of sparks. Cool!
Ken with his Idgit.
F22 boost
Ken with his Sonic
G160 SS Boost
Jeff Cook brought his old, reliable Aerobee Hi powered by an Kosdon J450. The last time this rocket flew, the 250 foot main charge did not fire and the rocket hit under drogue only. This time, Jeff rigged the main to deploy at apogee and we all listened for the 250 foot charge as the rocket descended. As predicted, the 250 foot charge did fire during descent (though it appeared low), and the apogee deployment resulted in a long walk. However, the rocket was recovered safely and undamaged.
Jeff with his Aerobee
Kosdon J450 boost
High tech recovery: Stu and Jeff on the Mobile Recovery Vehicle (MRV)