After two rain outs, Skye Dance VII was finally held on Sunday, April 20th, 1997. Skies were clear, with winds around 10 most of the day. Near sundown, the winds dropped to around 5, at which point the HIGH flights began. Over the 5 hour waiver, just over 22,400 newtons were burned.Mark Carlson
had the first flight of Skye Dance VII with his LOC Forte on an H128. The flight and recovery were perfect. Mark had a total of 4 flights - a THOY Phoenix on an H180 for a fast, perfect flight; a modified LOC Mini-Mag on an I357 Blue Thunder, and a PML quarter scale Patriot on an I161. The Patriot suffered a separation, but both halves were recovered safely with little damage.
The Launch Director, Tom Montemayor (me), had a good day with 3 successful flights. Tom flew his NCR Archer on an H128 and 2 D12s for a perfect flight, then flew his scratch built Spectra on a long burn J90 to 2984 feet
. Two stage barometric recovery dropped the rocket relatively close to the pad. This was flight number 34 for Spectra, the workhorse of the Montemayor fleet
. Finally, Tom pulled out his 98mm K458 in the Million Millimeter
for a perfect flight to 5708 feet. Two stage barometric recovery resulted in the rocket landing about 2000 feet from the pad.Tim James
, a newcomer to Tripoli Austin from Belton, had 4 successful flights. Tim started off with his Aerotech Arrow on a G80 (looked a lot like a G40), followed by a LOC Caliber on an H97. Both flights were perfect. Tim then flew his LOC EZI on an I161 for a great flight with a close to the pad perfect recovery. Finally, Tim had one of the most spectacular flights of the day with a modified LOC Magnum flying on a J800 and 2 F50 Silver Streaks. The rocket boosted straight and fast on the J800
, with the Silver Streaks cutting in at staggered intervals. Since the flight was launched close to sunset against a darkening sky, the Silver Streak effect was fantastic!
Stu Barrett also contributed two spectacular flights. His first flight was with the "Buck Rogers" rocket, a modified THOY kit flying on one I435 and 3 G40s
. THIS time (see Skye Dance V for what happened LAST time), the I435 functioned perfectly for a high speed boost on 3 feet of blue flame. About a second after the I435 burned out, the 3 G40s airstarted and added some White Lightning smoke and flame to the rapidly disappearing rocket. The rocket was recovered successfully using 2 stage recovery and indicated an altitude of just over 4400 feet. Stu also flew his THOY "Mighthawk" on a 7 motor cluster
- 2 I140 Blue Thunders, 2 F50 Silver Streaks, 2 G40 While Lightnings and 1 H100 Smokey Sam. Stu really cleaned out his motor collection with this one! Anyway, the rocket boosted perfectly on 2 columns of blue flame
, then filled the sky with sparks when the Silver Streaks cut in. Next, the exhaust turned white with the White Lightnings, and finally turned black with the Smokey Sam. WOW! Four colors on one flight and totally successful.
Jeff Cook had 2 flights on his "J.K. Scarecrow"
, both using 54mm long burns. His first flight was with a J135 to 4400 feet. The rocket uses 2 stage barometric recovery and landed about 1500 feet away from the pad. Next, Jeff loaded a K185 into the Scarecrow and the rocket disappeared into the blue
. Pam Cook spotted the rocket during descent, and again the rocket recovered successfully. The altimeter was beeping out just over 5700 feet.
The "Flying Taylors", Rick and Anthony, had 5 flights between them. Unfortunately, Rick had the only rocket which was lost. Rick's scratch built "Dufus", with custom round Mickey Mouse ear fins (like the old Estes Sprint) boosted perfectly on an I211. The chute deployed right at apogee, and the rocket just drifted, and drifted, and drifted.....never to be seen again. Rick also had a great flight with his VB Blobbo on a D13. Anthony flew his Estes Phoenix
on a G40, his LOC Onyx on a G54, and his scratch built 3D on......guess what....3 D12s. All flights were perfect.
Chuck and Jonathan Sparks put up one rocket between them, an NCR Army Hawk flying on an H128. The flight and recovery were perfect. Chuck had his two stager, "Divine Inspiration" ready to go, but the winds were just a little brisk for two stage flights.
Billy Clark's first flight was with his scratch built "Texas #1" flying on an I154. The rocket separated when the delay proved to be a little too long and the chute deployed with considerable downward velocity. Next, Billy launched his scratch built "NASA" on a K550. The rocket ejected just a little before apogee for a perfect flight and recovery. Finally, Billy launched his "USA" rocket
on a K1100
. The crowd held it's breath as the huge rocket arced right over the parking area, but the chute deployed right at apogee and the rocket recovered safely.Larry Whitworth
had 4 flights, the first being his "Banana" on an I211. Larry also flew a modified LOC Mini-Mag on an I211, and a LOC Ultimate on an H180. All 3 of these flights flew and recovered perfectly. Finally, Larry pulled out his "Mean Monster" on a core K185 and 2 outboard I211s. One of the I211s ignited before the other (predictable) and the rocket came off the rod and pitched over near horizontal. At this point, the K185 finally fired and the rocket roared off on a near horizontal, high speed flight. The rocket strained itself through trees downrange and was totally destroyed. Rest In Peace.
There was a single Level One certification on Sunday. Brett Williams drove in from Fredricksburg to certify with his PML Endeavor. Brett didn't choose a wimpy H motor for his certification flight - he chose an I211. The beautifully built rocket boosted straight and true and deployed right at apogee for a successful certification. Then, just to prove it wasn't luck, Brett launched his Rocket R&D Falcon on an I161 for another successful flight. The Falcon spent the night in the field and was recovered the next day.
Finally, James Reimund launched a NCR "Corporal" on a G40. The rocket carried a 144 MHz transmitter, and James used his directional receiver to track the rocket. The electronics functioned perfectly, though the rocket didn't land far enough away to require electronic locating.