First Launch of 2008... finally.
First Launch of 2008
April 29, 2008

Finally, after a long string of weather-related setbacks, conditions became right for a launch. The evening temperature was about 57°F with breezes of about 5 MPH and occasional 10 MPH gusts. Taylor, Jaclyn, Justin, and I launched eight rockets. Taylor took some pictures (as Tracy, my wife and regular photographer, was unavailable). Click the pictures for a larger view.

Since we had a limited amount of daylight left, I didn't drag out my four-way launch system, instead opting for two standard Estes pads and my two handmade controllers. Unfortunately, I forgot the key to one controller, and they aren't interchangeable, one being a bit bigger than the other, so we ended up using just one controller and stand.

First up was Justin's Patriot on a B6-4. He asked me, "Do I have to repack the chute?" and I said "well, you should." He didn't, and it didn't deploy. The rocket came in sideways, tumbling; there was some damage to one fin.

Next up was my Black Vulcan on a C6-3, the only sensible engine for a Vulcanoid. I was bad. I didn't repack my chute either. No, it didn't deploy, either. However, there was no damage visible when it came back. Guess I was lucky...

Taylor caught this image of the fire and smoke from the Black Vulcan's takeoff. The fire wasn't actually that spectacular; it's just an illusion caused by the digital camera. But it's still pretty cool.

Next we launched my Dawn Star on a B6-4. This rocket deploys its chute by popping the engine mount. The entire flight was perfect. I was a bit nervous about the rear ejection, and carefully repacked the chute, just in case.

The next rocket on the stand was my Outlander, on a C6-3. This flight was exactly as anemic as I was led to expect. However, the recovery was good, and no damage was evident (though it didn't "stick" the landing). I likely won't launch it again. Sorry, no pictures of this one.

We then launched Taylor's Shuttle Express on a B6-4. I glued the elevators in the "up" position, as suggested online, and the gliders worked much better than last time. However, the chute didn't deploy (I think this was a cold issue). No damage was visible on recovery.

We launched Jaclyn's Hi-Flier on an A8-3. The shock cord got burned in two places, leading to the nose cone, streamer, and sustainer landing in three different places. Damage was minor, however, and this bird will fly again (with a new streamer and shock cord).

Taylor got tired of taking pictures at this point.

Next was the first flight of my Centuri Bandito clone on an A8-5. This was a beautiful flight with a perfect recovery.

Last was my Rocket Propelled Goony on a B6-4. This fat-nosed rocket flew well, but went out of sight. Taylor, running to recover it, confused an airplane contrail with the rocket and took off running east as the rocket drifted back to the west. We had a bit of trouble getting her to turn around and come back.

I love the smell of black powder in the evening.


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Last Updated 07/16/2017