Tripoli Austin - 1996 Launch News
Outlaw 12
Tripoli Austin was well represented at the Outlaw 12 launch, held at Brookshire, Texas, March 16th and 17th, 1996. All members had multiple launches. Highlights included Tom Montemayor certifying to level 2 with a J415 in the Million Millimeter. Larry Whitworth flew his Mean Monster with a core K185 and two outboard I211s, ignited simultaneously. He also flew it the next day on a single K550. Billy Clark flew his huge USA #1 on a K1100 (twice). Dave Mandot was present with the sunseeker but high altitude clouds prevented a flight.
Skye Dance III
Wow, what a launch. On May 12, 1996 members of Tripoli Austin, Hill Country Tripoli and Tripoli San Antonio gathered at Tripoli Austin's Kimbro Flight Center. Over 17,000 newton/seconds were expended during the 4 hour waiver. Winds were calm and skies were clear.

Three members certified to level 2: Larry Whitworth with his "Mean Monster" flying on a K550, Rick Taylor flying his giant scale "Mosquito" on a K550, and Jeff Cook flying his scratch built "J.K. Scarecrow" on a J275. Other highlights (and there were many) included Billy Clark flying his giant "USA #1" on a K1100, Jeff Cook flying the "J.K. Scarecrow" again on a long burn J135, and Tom Montemayor flying his first 98 mm motor, a K458 in the "Million Millimeter", which hit 5860 feet. Tom also flew his LOC "Bruiser" on a K550.

A few of the other flights were Ken Kryszak with "Slam Dancer" on an H242, Larry Lyssy with "The Black Rocket" on an H73, Rick Tayor with a PML "Ariel" on an I211, Larry Whitworth with a PML "Quasar" on an I211 and Billy Clark with a LOC "Heavy Duty Beauty" on an H97.
Double Wow.....what a launch! Fliers from all over Texas and neighboring states gathered at Valley Mills, Texas the weekend of June 8th and 9th for the Heart Of Texas/NERO Nationals. Skies were clear both days with 10 knot winds on Saturday and calm winds on Sunday. A number of Central Texas fliers from Tripoli Austin and Hill Country Tripoli were present. These are just a few of the flights that I saw or heard about:

Stu Barrett flew his 3 motor 38 mm cluster on 3 Vulcan I160 Hell Fires to 7200 feet. He also flew his Magnum on a K550 and again on a K185. Rick Taylor flew his giant scale Mosquito on a K550 to an altitude of 2173 feet. His PML Ariel on an I211 made 2783 feet. Anthony Taylor flew his Starburst on 2 F32s (fast flight) and his PML Phobos on a G54. He also flew his Onyx (for the last time) on a G104 with a delay that was a little too long. Ouch! Anthony was on the front page of the Waco Tribune on Sunday morning holding his Starburst.

Jeff Cook flew his "J.K. Scarecrow" on a K185 to 7071 feet and again on a J275 to a peak altitude of 4113 feet. He also launched his EZI on an I211 to 2893 feet which resulted in over 3 hours of searching. The rocket was finally located. Larry Whitworth flew his PML Quasar on an I211 to 4556 feet and his "Mean Monster" on a K550. The chute tangled on the Monster resulting in a hard landing and a broken fin. Lou Catozzi launched his "Falcon/Peacock" two stage on a J415 staging to an H100. Unfortunately, 3 seconds into the burn of the J415, at an altitude of 1650 feet and a velocity of 570 feet/second, the first stage shed a fin which resulted in the dismemberment of the rocket. The second stage obviously did not fire (since the motor and the stage parted company) but the altimeter deployment brought the pieces home safely. It will fly again.

Chuck Sparks lost his Vulcanite in the great Vulcanite drag race, which resulted in so many Vulcanites in the air he didn't know which one to track. It was later recovered in a "lawn dart" position. He also flew his EZI on an H242 and a scratch built, soon to be upper stage, on an H123, both successfully. Dave Mandot flew his Sunseeker on an I140. The rocket successfully turned into the sun, but a broken control actuator resulted in some corkscrewing.

Finally, I flew my scratch built Dynacom, "Unshreadable", on an L952. Projections were to 8300 feet, but I lost the altimeter memory chip so I cannot confirm how high it went. It was recovered over 2 miles downrange. I also flew the "Million Millimeter" on a K458 to 5490 feet and a max velocity of 593 feet/second. My 2 stager, "The Integral", flew on a J415 staging to an I211 which resulted in a peak altitude of 5652 feet and a max velocity of 662 feet/second during the second stage burn.
Skye Dance IV
Skye Dance IV was held on our rain date of Sept. 8th, 1996. There were 48 logged flights during the 4 hour and 15 minute waiver. Weather was excellent....partly cloudy skies became clear near sunset and winds of 5 to 8 became calm near sunset. A few memorable high power flights are mentioned below.

Bill Wagner, from San Antonio, launched his scratch built "Starseeker", a 9 pound two stager on an I211 staging to an I154. The stability was marginal with the rocket coming off the pad and immediately angling downwind. After a few wobbles the vehicle staged and.....we waited and waited. Finally the I154 fired but by then the rocket was horizontal. It headed off toward the horizon at high speed and was spotted by ultralight the next day and recovered undamaged.

Stu Barrett from HCT had 2 spectacular flights, the first a K185 long burner in a LOC Magnum. The rocket boosted straight and true in clear skies and seemed to burn forever. We were a little worried about a collision with the Hubble Space Telescope, but the rocket remained sub-orbital and was recovered undamaged. Stu also flew his Night Hawk, a highly modified THOY kit. It had a total of 7 motors on board - 3 G80s, 2 H100s and 2 G40s. The rocket boosted on the 3 G80s, then airstarted the 2 H100s, then airstarted the 2 G40s. The flight was spectacular with the exhaust changing color from white (G80s) to black (H100s) back to white (G40s). A spectacular flight.

I launched my scratch built two stager, Shadowfax, on an I195 staging to an H128. The I195 is the new 600ns Black Jack motor. The motor performed flawlessly boosting straight and vertical. It then staged, paused 1 second and then fired the H128. A picture perfect two stage flight.

Bill Wagner returned to the scene of the crime with his scratch built "5 Shot" using 4 G64s and 1 H243, all ignited simultaneously. All the motors fired for a spectacular lift off and flight. Recovery was flawless.

Chuck Sparks certified to level 2 with a J180 powering his scratch built "SB-2" (Sod Buster?). Fantastic flight and vivid purple flame from the 4 second Blue Thunder burn. Recovery was successful and the certification was complete.

Larry Whitworth flew the second K motor of the day, a K550 in his "Mean Monster". The rocket boosted straight and vertical and ejected right at apogee, but unfortunately the nosecone separated from the rest of the rocket and fell to earth, landing in the cotton. The rocket landed safely and the nosecone was recovered relatively undamaged. A little sanding and a new coat of paint and it will fly again. Larry also flew his PML Quasar on an I284 which resulted in a lost rocket. Even from the ultralight, the rocket could not be found.

A few of the other flights included Billy Clark with his Heavy Duty Beauty flying on an H180 and again on a G64. He also flew his Star on an I154 and his Texas # 1 on an I211. All recovered safely. Chuck Sparks flew his "Divine Inspiration" on an I161 for a perfect flight. Not to be outdone by the old man, Jonathan Sparks flew his NCR Army Hawk on an H128.

Jeff Cook, who certified level 2 at Skye Dance III, returned with the Slacker flying on a G80 and again on a G40. Both flights were perfect. Rick Taylor flew his PML Ariel on an I211 which ejected at about 50 feet. A few seconds of rocket thrashing ensued, with the rocket landing softly under a fully deployed chute a few feet from the pad. I guess he planned it that way. I also flew my Spectra on a J90 to just over 2700 feet.
Skye Dance V
Skye Dance V was held on Sunday, November 10th, 1996. Skies were clear with southeast winds at 10 mph at the start of the waiver dropping off to calm by 4:30. Ten fliers logged 27 flights during the 4 1/2 hour waiver. A few highlights:

Billy Clark certified to level 2 with a J350 powering his scratch built "Texas #1". The rocket was built from LOC parts and weighed in at 6 pounds. The boost was absolutely straight, vertical, and fast with deployment occurring right at apogee. A great flight! Billy also flew his scratch built "Lone Star" on an I211, a Minnie Mag on a new I195, and his now famous "USA #1" on a traditional K1100. All flights flew and were recovered perfectly.

Larry Whitworth contributed 2 perfect flights to the day, the first being a LOC Viper IV on 2 F12s airstarting 2 D11s. The flight was perfect with the D11s firing just as the F12s burned out. Larry also flew his scratch built "Nebula", built from PML parts, on an Aerotech J415 to an altitude of 4614 feet. The two level deployment functioned perfectly with the main chute deploying at 250 feet.

Chuck Sparks was plagued with electronics problems with his two stager, "Divine Inspiration", so he elected to fly the two stages separately, "Divine" and "Inspiration". Pretty clever to design an upper section for a first stage so that it can be flown solo as a single stage rocket. "Divine", the upper stage, flew perfectly on an H123 and "Inspiration", which will be a first stage booster, flew perfectly on an I300. Perhaps next launch we'll get to see the two fly together as a two stage. The Adept ALTS2 recorded a maximum altitude of 1587 feet for "Divine" on the H123, and a max altitude of 1487 feet for "Inspiration" on the I300. Since the I300 was initally planned as a booster, it had a short delay in it, resulting in deployment while the rocket was still coasting upward.

The "Flying Taylors" were once again present, with 7 flights between Rick and Anthony. Rick started the launch off with his Vaughn Brothers "Blobbo" on a D24, then later flew his PML Ariel on an I211 for a perfect, out of sight flight. The Adept RAS2 indicated a max altitude of 2907 feet at a peak velocity of 460 feet/sec. Later, demonstrating his level 2 skills, he pulled out his scratch built "Rufus", an 8 pound rocket built out of PML parts. Rufus boosted on a J415 straight and true into the blue, then ultilized 2 stage barometric recovery to land reasonably close. Peak altitude was 4920 feet at a max velocity of 618 feet/sec. Anthony flew his LOC Starburst on 2 F32s for a high speed out of sight flight, then flew his scratch built "3 plus 1" on 3 D12s. Only 2 of the D12s fired, but the flight still recovered perfectly.

Jeff Cook showed up with a new scratch built 29mm rocket, "Roswell". It flew twice on Aerotech G104 reloads. Jeff then won the "best fillets" first prize, an 8 year old Vulcan F80 Smokey Sam. Jeff suspiciously loaded the venerable old motor into "Slacker" for a perfect flight.

San Antonio Tripoli was present in force with Ken Kryszak and Bill Wagner driving up for the afternoon. Ken flew his "Zinger 5", a roko-chopter with a B6-0 and his "Thunderdog", a ductile rocket on a G33. Both were successful. Ken also had a great flight with his Fire Star Clone on a F22. Bill Wagner also flew 2 rockets, his Estes Venus Probe on a C6 and his Estes Pro Series Patriot on a F40. Also both successful.

Stu Barrett brought his "Buck Rogers" rocket loaded for bear....a core I435 airstarting 3 H124s. The "Buck Rogers" is a highly modified rocket which started life as a THOY kit. Liftoff weight was 7 pounds. Unfortunately, the I435 catoed on the pad, blowing the rocket apart. Not to be outdone, one of the H124s managed to airstart ( wasn't in the air at this point!) and put on a little low altitude sky-writing routine.

Finally there's me, Tom Montemayor. I had a good day. I flew my NCR Archer on an H128 airstarting 2 E30s for a perfect flight and recovery. I also launched my scratch built Gemini-Titan on 2 G40s to 1708 feet. Since the winds were calm by 4:30, I pulled out my trusty "Million Millimeter" and loaded it with a 98mm K458. This was flight number 5 for the MM, with a liftoff weight of 17 pounds. The rocket thundered skyward and achieved a maximum altitude of 5949 feet. The two stage barometric recovered functioned perfectly, but the little angle I had put into the pad resulted in the rocket landing about a mile away. An AWESOME flight.
Skye Dance VI
Skye Dance VI was held on December 31st, 1996. Skies were clear when the waiver started at noon but became mostly overcast by 3:00. The clouds were above our waiver altitude so they did not interfere with any flights. Winds were 5 mph out of the east throughout the day. Ten fliers logged 37 flights during the 5 hour waiver (mostly concentrated in the last 2 hours). A few highlights are listed below.

Lou Catozzi had a successful first flight of his composite two stager, the Falcon/Peacock. First stage boost was provided by an Aerotech J415 and a Vulcan H100 powered the upper stage. The flight was flawless with both stages firing and recovering safely. Max altitude was 6399 feet for the upper stage. Even though winds were light and the upper stage utilized 2 step barometric recovery, the 2nd stage was recovered a considerable distance to the west.

Stu Barrett flew his LOC Magnum on an Aerotech J800 airstarting a G40 for smoke. The rocket thundered into the air on the J800, and after about a 1 second coast, the G40 fired. A perfect flight to 4400 feet followed by a safe recovery. He then flew his resurrected "Buck Rogers" rocket (see Skye Dance V report for why it needed resurrecting) on a core I300 airstarting 2 H124s and 1 H100. Again, the flight was flawless with a staggered ignition of the outboard black smokers providing a neat effect. The rocket topped 4900 feet and recovered safely.

Rick Taylor flew his PML Ariel on an I211 to 2782 feet. He then flew his scratch built "Rufus", using PML parts, on a J415 to just over 5000 feet. Both rockets used barometric 2 step recovery (Adept) and landed close to the pads. Rick also flew his VB Blobo on a D24. Anthony Taylor had 3 successful flights; a LOC Aura on a G40, an Estes Mean Machine on a D12 and an Estes Bull Pup on a B6.

Larry Whitworth flew his PML "Sudden Rush" on an I284 to over 3000 feet. The rocket used an Adept altimeter to deploy a drogue at apogee and a main chute at 250 feet. The flight was perfect. He also flew his scratch built Viper on a G64. Larry's "Nebula" met an untimely demise when the apogee charge did not fire after a perfect K550 boost. It was later found that the apogee charge wires had shorted. The rocket streamlined in with the 250 foot charge firing on schedule but doing little to slow the rocket. Larry reports that the rocket will fly again (at least some of the pieces will).

Tom Montemayor (me) flew his Mountainside 4 inch V2 on a G104. The heavy rocket made about 400 feet but the chute deployed right at apogee for a perfect flight. He then flew his Brighthawk on a core H220 blue thunder airstarting 2 outboard G40s. The flight went perfectly with the rocket reaching 3006 feet. He then flew his scratch built Spectra on a J180 to 3832 feet, and finally flew his LOC Bruiser on a K550 to 3416 feet. The altimeter data from the Bruiser indicated a 10.2 G boost. Pretty impressive for a 7.5 inch rocket. All flights recovered successfully.

Jeff Cook brought 2 rockets, both scratch built, "Slacker" and "Roswell". "Slacker" screamed off the pad under the blue thunder boost of an H238 and disappeared into the blue. It was successfully recovered. "Roswell" flew on a G54, also having a successful flight and recovery.

Steve Rogers certified to level 1 using an Aerotech Initiator and a G75 (remember, the G75 certified as an H so it can be used for level 1 certifications). He also flew an Estes Patriot on 4 D12s and an Estes Broadsword on a D12. All flights recovered safely.

Mark Carlson was the frequent flier of the day with 5 flights. He certified to level 1 using a PML quarter scale Patriot on an H123. He also flew an Initiator on a G75, an Arcas on a G80, a LOC Forte on a G80, and a LOC Onyx on a G64. All recovered safely. He also flew a LOC Mini Mag on an I161 for a less than vertical flight.

Mike Reiner demonstrated that he can build rockets as well as he can sell motors. He flew his heavily modified "Big Bertha" on an I161 (don't try this with an ordinary Big Bertha) for a super high speed out of sight flight. He then pulled out his EZI (in his case, an EZJ) and flew it on a J275, again for a super high speed, out of sight flight. Both rockets were proclaimed lost by the LCO (me), but both were recovered by rocketeers out in the fields recovering their own rockets.

Several other rockets were flown but I was out recovering my own rockets so I don't have the details.