Back Yard Launch
May 20, 2007

Taylor, Justin, and I got in a really good launch this evening, starting at around 6:40pm. The air temperature was in the mid-70's, with very light winds. Click the pictures for a larger view.

Here you see Justin and I preparing our rockets. My daughter (in red) and a friend (in black) are visible in the background, waiting to recover the rockets.

Here's a rundown of the flights:

Justin's Quest Flash, on a B6-4. Excellent flight, but it lost a fin somewhere along the way; I have a spare Flash fin from my Cardinal build, so I'm going to dig it up and he's going to fix it up again.

Taylor's Estes No. 2 Skywriter, on a B6-4. Very pretty flight, a real crowd pleaser (the neighbors were sitting out on their deck watching), and excellent recovery. An "Estes dent" was noticed in the end of the body tube; I'll infuse the tube with superglue on the inside to repair it.

My Estes Baby Bertha, on a B6-4. A fairly decent flight and a good but not remarkable recovery. It's really hard to get a good in-flight picture.

Justin's Estes Metalizer, on a B6-4. Another crowd-pleasing flight and perfect recovery.

Taylor's Estes Viking, on an A8-3. Taylor painted this one brown and gold, her school colors, and it's pretty... but it's sure hard to see in the air. Fortunately, the orange crepe paper streamer was highly visible, and it was recovered undamaged.

My Double Barrel Baby Bertha, on two A8-3's. I used my hand-built launch controller with 8xAA batteries for ignition, and the ignition wasn't perfect (one engine ignited about a tenth of a second before the other) and the flight arched a little, but I got it back undamaged. A cluster of A8-3 engines is just not potent enough for a good flight for this fat, heavy rocket. The parachute was damaged somewhat on this flight; I really needed to use more wadding.

Justin's Estes Patriot, on a B6-4. This rocket was flying in its underwear (one coat of primer, not sanded yet). It flew quite well on a B6-4, but I don't think I'd recommend flying one on an A8-3. Recovery was perfect.

Justin's Estes Hi-Flyer, on an A8-3, flying naked. Good flight. Falls a bit fast on a streamer... we may either use a longer streamer or fit a parachute in the future.

My Cardinal, on an A8-3. I didn't use enough wadding, evidently, and I scorched the parachute, leading to a faster than expected drop; however, it was recovered with no damage evident (other than that scorched chute).

Justin's Estes Metalizer, on a C6-5. This was a real crowd-pleasing flight, with the rocket going higher than I expected. Good recovery.

My Black Vulcan, on a C6-3. The tailwag on this flight was just nasty, with the rocket's butt swirling around and around; but it flew more or less straight up, and recovered fine. Not sure how to fix that behavior.

My Double Barrel Baby Bertha, on two C6-7's. This time the cluster ignition was close enough to simultaneous to pass for perfect, and the flight was high and straight. Justin's mother Tammy said this was her favorite flight of the evening, and I have to say I really liked it as well. I didn't change the parachute, and it didn't suffer any further damage, but I'll be replacing it before I fly it again.

Justin's Estes Patriot, on a C6-5. Another crowd-pleasing flight. It drifted a lot further than we expected, about a block further actually, and almost got into a tree. So I tilted all three pads a few degrees the other way...

My Cardinal, on an B6-4, with a replaced parachute. This time I evidently used enough wadding, and the recovery was perfect.

My Estes Baby Bertha, on a C6-5. Remember that tilt I applied to the launch stands? Well, this time my Baby Bertha weathercocked badly, and I thought it would go into the neighbor's pond. Then it drifted into a power line... and winged the power line, and came down fine. Whew. So I went back and straightened all the pads back up.

My Estes Sizzler, on an A8-3. Good flight. It came back in a bit faster than I care for on streamer, but it landed without damage. Either I need a longer streamer, or I need to put a parachute on it.

My Estes Star Dart, on an A8-3. Good flight, good recovery, nothing special.

By this point, we had been launching rockets for almost two hours, and it was time to pack it in. Other than Justin's Flash losing a fin, nothing went seriously wrong. A good time, as they say, was had by all.

Here's my range box, upon my return home. From left to right, my Black Vulcan, Rawhide, and Sizzler, Taylor's Viking, Justin's Flash (with missing fin), my Cardinal, Justin's Patriot, and my Star Dart.

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