Skye Dance XLI (41)
Okay, I'm still not sure about my Roman numerals. I think XLI is 41. If not, I'm sure someone will correct me. Regardless, Sunday November 7th, 2004 was a spectacular day for flying rockets! Winds were less than 5 mph all day and the temperature was in the low 80s. We gathered at the Kimbro Flight Center around 3:00 and blasted away till sunset, putting up 11 flights with motors ranging from G to L power.
Most of the flights used homemade EX propellant; Tom was the only flier who used exclusively commercial (Aerotech and Kosdon) motors. And, typical for the Skye Dance crowd, every rocket that left the ground recovered safely. We had one rocket that didn't leave the ground (well, at least not under thrust), but more on that later...
Tom Montemayor put up 3 flights, burning 4 motors, an H, I, J, and K. Tom's first flight was with his trusty Spectra, this time powered by a Kosdon J280. The motor powered the 4 inch rocket to 2060 feet where Adept powered dual deployment brought it back safe and undamaged.
Tom's second flight was flight number 28 for his Hawk Mountain "Bad Attitude", this flight powered by a Kosdon K700. The loud and powerful Kosdon motor boosted the fiberglass rocket to a max altitude of 3959 feet where a small streamer was deployed. Main parachute deployment occurred at 750 feet and the rocket landed safely about 100 yards from the pad.
Tom's final flight was with his first high powered two stager, Shadowfax. This was flight number 18 for the ancient rocket, with first stage boost provided by an I154 and second stage boost provided by an H128. The flight was fantastic; the rocket lifted off slowly on top of a thick column of blackjack smoke, the pop of the stage separation charge after first stage burnout, and then the roar of second stage ignition. Shadowfax does not use dual deployment and instead deploys 2 main chutes at apogee. This resulted in the longest walk of the day, probably about 1/2 mile. The ejection charge for the first stage chute was too short which resulted in some of the shroud lines breaking. The first stage landed very near the pad, harder than desired but undamaged. A Great flight!
Tom with Spectra
Kosdon J280 boost
Tom with a Bad Attitude
Kosdon K700 boost
Photo by Ed Jacoby with his EXPENSIVE new Cannon digital camera
Tom arms Shadowfax
I154 first stage boost
Mark Carlson celebrated the first launch of the season by putting up the first flight, his trusty Forte on a G64. As usual, the flight and recovery was perfect. Poor Mark was in a pretty serious auto accident a couple of months ago and is still wearing a neck and back brace, but this didn't slow him down (much) and he put on a great show.
Mark's second flight was with his EX propellant in a 29mm motor rated as an I220. The motor catoed at ignition, throwing the rocket about 10 feet in the air. After several minutes of looking for the motor around the pad, we found the motor way up in the upper section of the rocket. The cato had blasted the motor through a couple of internal bulkheads into the upper section. The nozzle was never found.
Undaunted by his first ever EX failure, Mark brought out his brand new, scratch built, all metal, unnamed ("Heavy Metal"?) rocket. The 6 pound rocket was powered by a 38mm, 700 ns EX motor rated a J360. The flight was spectacular; the 7 1/2 foot tall rocket roared into the air riding a flame 6 feet long and accelerating at 9.4 Gs. Right at apogee the altimeter deployed a streamer, and the main chute deployed on schedule at 500 feet. Max altitude was 2134 feet. Another spectacular flight!
Mark with his Forte
Aerotech G64 boost
Denise and Mark get the EX motor and rocket ready for launch. "You're going to need the body armor Mark!".
Ka-Boom! The I220 catos and throws the rocket into the air.
Ed assists Mark in prepping the all metal, J360 EX powered rocket.
A spectacular flight against twilight skies. Mark's J360 EX performs perfectly.
Charlie Barnett drove down from Waco to demo one of his AN powered EX motors. Charlie designs his motors to use Aerotech casings, and for his flight today he used an Aerotech 38mm 640 ns case. The motor was approximately an I284 and, as usual for a "Charlietech" motor, it performed perfectly. The rocket deployed it's main at apogee and landed safely and undamaged.
Charlie poses with his rocket before launch
Liftoff! The I284 AN motor performs perfectly
Ed Jacoby was the most prolific flier of the launch, putting up 4 rockets, including the first (and second) Cesaroni motors ever flown at Skye Dance. Ed wanted to get rid of some of his smaller motors, so he launched his Mini Mag 3 times in the course of 30 minutes. That's pretty amazing for reloads, but those Cesaronis prep pretty quick. First, Ed launched an Aerotech G80, followed by a single grain Cesaroni G79 Smokey Sam, followed by a 2 grain Cesaroni H143 Smokey Sam. All the flights were perfect with motor deployment throwing the chute out close to apogee.
After about an hour of hearing "Didn't you bring anything bigger than a Mini Mag and G motors", Ed pulled out his surprise of the day, a homemade EX sparky motor. Loaded into a 3 inch, 3000 ns case, the motor promised full K if not baby L performance. Ed loaded the motor into his (still unpainted) Bad Attitude, and promised a loud and spectacular flight. We were certainly not disappointed. The rocket ROARED into the air, trailing a column of fire, black smoke, and thousands of titanium sparks a hundred feet behind it. Near the end of the burn the black smoke stopped but the brilliant sparks continued, and the rocket looked like a comet or a meteor entering the atmosphere. A MOST SPECTACULAR flight. The rocket used dual barometric deployment and deployed a streamer right at apogee. At around 500 feet the main chute deployed and the rocket landed safe and undamaged about 100 yards away. Max altitude was 3964 feet, the highest flight of the day.
Cesaroni G79
Cesaroni H143
Charlie and Ed load the 'tude on the rail
Ed arms the electronics just before launch
Ignition! The sparky EX motor roars to life.
Like I said...a hundred feet of fire and sparks
I'll bet you could hear this motor in Elgin
Hi rez (660 Kb)
Hi rez (630 Kb)
The day ended with a spectacular sunset
(Less boring)