January 5th, 2003 Sport Launch
Conditions were just perfect January 5th, 2003. The morning forecast called for calm winds, clear skies and temperatures in the mid 70s. Perfect flying weather! So, the waiver was activated, the notam was filed and the emails went out announcing a launch in 4 hours. Unfortunately, many of our fliers were caught off guard by the short notice and had no motors, no rockets ready to fly, other plans....whatever. So, only Tom Montemayor and Ed Jacoby enjoyed the beautiful day.
Tom started off the day with a couple of classic Estes Pro-Series kits, the 3 motor Maxi-Force and the 4 motor Patriot. Using trusty solar ignitors and "mighty Ds", both flights were picture perfect. All 3 motors fired in the Maxi-Force (above) and all 4 motors fired in the Patriot (right). Recovery was perfect and both rockets were recovered undamaged.
Next, Tom brought out his scratch built Gemini-Titan (left). Powered by two G35 econojets, the 6 foot tall rocket rose fast and straight into the blue. Altimeter controlled deployment occurred right at apogee, and the rocket landed nearby safe and undamaged. The altimeter indicated a peak altitude of 1,596 feet.
Since the winds were calm, Tom brought out his ancient two-stage rocket, "Shadowfax". This rocket was built in 1993 and flew several times at the old "Outlaw" launches held in Brookshire, Texas and at the old DARS site in Plano (next to the water tower). This would be flight number 16 for the complex rocket. Shadowfax uses custom electronics (half a Radio Shack store) since there was no Adept when it was built, and uses apogee deploy since it is not altimeter controlled. A backup timer deploys the chute if the second stage does not fire.
The rocket is very light, made of LOC paper tubes and thin plywood fins. First stage boost was an Aerotech I154 Black Jack and second stage boost was an Aerotech H128.
The flight was fantastic! First stage boost was fast and straight, the rocket riding a column of thick, black smoke. The stage separation charge fired at around 1200 feet, and both stages coasted in graceful formation for about a second. Then, second stage ignition occurred and the first stage disappeared in the exhaust smoke as the H128 boosted the 2nd stage to a peak altitude of 2,660 feet. Both stages deployed parachutes at apogee and landed safely and undamaged about 50 yards apart.
A small altimeter went along for the ride to determine peak altitude.
As the sun was setting, Tom frantically prepped "Spectra", his 4 inch scratch built, dual deployment rocket. Powered by a Kosdon K350, simulations indicated a peak altitude of around one mile. The boost was awesome as the long-burn Kosdon K motor rapidly accelerated the rocket skyward. The rocket disappeared during the coast, but caught the sun near apogee and was visible as a brilliant white dot, high in the sky. The Adept altimeter fired the apogee charge to deploy a streamer, and the main parachute deployed at 750 feet. Recovery was safe and nearby with the altimeter indicating a max altitude of 5,261 feet. Pretty close to a mile!
Poor Ed Jacoby didn't have any motors ready to fly! That's because he fired them all the weekend before at Asa (just kidding, Ed). So, Ed brought out a small scratch built powered by a G35 Econojet. As usual for Ed, it was a perfect flight and recovery.