After a record 4 cancellations due to weather or mud, Skye Dance XIII finally took to the skies on Monday, December 14th. The launch was arranged on only 4 hours notice (just enough time to get out the required NOTAM) so the turnout was small, only 5 fliers. Skies were clear with north winds around 5 mph. There were a total of 11 high power flights, which included 3 different motor manufacturers, 1 certification flight, and 1 MONSTER rocket.
Mark Carlson had the first flight of Skye Dance XIII, and also burned the most perchlorate, almost 2800 newtons. Mark's first flight was with his trusty LOC IV on an H128 to check the winds aloft. The flight indicated light northerly winds up to at least 2500 feet, so we all pulled out our higher flying (and more expensive) rockets. Next, Mark flew his PML Eclipse on the new Ellis Mountain J330.
This was the first Ellis Mountain motor flown at Skye Dance. The economical motor, using a 38mm 900 newton second case, is similar to a Kosdon in construction, using snap rings to hold the nozzle and forward closure in place. Unlike Aerotech or Kosdon, the motor has no tracking smoke or ejection charge. The motor functioned perfectly, boosting the 8 pound Eclipse to a max altitude of 3100 feet. Two step barometric deployment brought the rocket down safely, landing close to the pads.
Tom Montemayor also put up 3 high power flights, starting with his NCR Archer. The Archer was Tom's first high power rocket and has logged over 60 flights (and almost as many rebuilds). The Archer flew on a core H128 and airstarted 2 D12s after the H burned out. Though the flight was less than vertical, the rocket deployed and landed safely. Next, Tom loaded a Kosdon J450 into Spectra
for flight number 43. The J450 uses a 38mm 640 newton second case for a burn time of 1.5 seconds. The motor was the LOUDEST flight of the launch, and boosted Spectra to a max altitude of 3057 feet. Onboard data acquisition indicated a max velocity of 551 feet/second at 1.5 seconds into the flight. That's 0 to 375 mph in 1.5 seconds! I don't think a Porsche can do that, especially straight up! Finally, Tom flew his brand new Hawk Mountain "Bad Attitude"
on a J460. The Hawk Mountain kit is a 4 inch diameter all fiberglass model, and can be purchased with a 54mm or 75mm motor mount. It's an expensive rocket (over $300), but with the strength of fiberglass should last for years. The rocket boosted straight and true on a J460
, but the alleged 10 second motor delay turned out to be a 5 second delay. The rocket was still traveling at 156 feet/second when the ejection charge fired, but the strong rocket suffered no damage. Max altitude was a somewhat low 2220 feet.
New member Steve Baughman
attended his first Skye Dance launch, flying his highly modified LOC EZI. Steve designed and built his custom onboard electronics which capture altitude and acceleration at a rate of 20 samples per second during boost. Steve's first flight was on an Aerotech J180, which boosted the rocket to a max altitude of 3492 feet and a peak velocity of 380 feet/second. Steve then loaded a J460 into the rocket
, hoping to achieve a higher altitude and velocity. Like Tom's J460 flight in Spectra, the medium delay turned out to be short, and the ejection charge fired while the rocket was still traveling upward at over 200 feet/second. A robust recovery system resulted in no damage to the rocket, and it was recovered safely indicating a max altitude of 3081 feet.Benton Reed
successfully certified to Level 2 with his beautifully built Honest John. The rocket was originally a Public Enemies kit, but Benton did extensive modifications to the rocket, including two step barometric deployment. Benton flew the rocket on a J275
for a great flight and recovery. Congratulations Benton....now you can start spending some REAL money.
Jeff Cook's new high power rocket, an Aerobee, wasn't ready yet, so Jeff flew two smaller rockets. Jeff flew his scratch built "Roswell" on a G104 and his scratch built "Slacker" on a G80. Both rockets used streamer recovery and were recovered safely.
Finally, there was the BIG rocket. Mark Carlson
pulled out his Rocket R&D Skyraider. The rocket uses a 7.5 inch airframe and stands over 7 feet tall. Mark modified the rocket considerably to include a payload/electronics compartment, zipper-proof construction, and replaced the standard parachute with a 15 foot chute. Including 2.5 pounds of nose ballast, the empty rocket weighs 25 pounds. Mark chose a K550 for the big rocket's first flight, using the onboard altimeter for apogee deployment backed up by the motor charge. The huge rocket thundered into the air under K550 thrust and deployed it's huge chute right at apogee for a gentle, safe, landing. A fabulous flight! The altimeter indicated a peak altitude of 1426 feet.