SPARC Launch, September 27, 2008
SPARC Launch
September 27, 2008

Some time back (like, last year), Troy (akpilot) issued an open invitation to me to attend one of his club's launches. I finally got the chance yesterday.

I took with me my wife Tracy (the photographer for all the pictures below), as well as my "recovery crew:" Click the pictures for a larger view.

Shown are Justin, who got me back into rocketry; Jaclyn, his sister; and Taylor, my daughter. Also shown are the 27 rockets we took with us (26 on the rack plus my Cyclone which doesn't fit). 21 are mine, with two each for the kids (Jaclyn has just two, so I decided for fairness sake to limit them all to the same number).

What can I say? Troy said to bring all I could...

Here's a conference with myself, Nick (rangerstl), Steve, Troy, and Justin. I didn't manage to recall any last names. I'm surprised I remembered first names.

I launched a number of rockets. I didn't keep as careful track as usual, which means I won't have full flight logs this time. It was quite a lot of fun though.

Here's my Double Barrel Baby Bertha igniting. It turned in an excellent flight on 2xC6-7's.

Here's an Estes rocket, an Executioner I think, going up on an E9-4. It belongs to Don (I think) whose picture does not appear here. Nice launch. He put it up at least twice, I think.

Here's Nick's Quest Harpoon launching. His Custom Serin is on the pad to the left.

My New Centurion, lighting up on a C6-5:

I launched it three times, once on a single C6-5, once with the 2x18 mount and two C6-5's, and last on an E9-4 that I bartered with Nick for. All three flights were excellent. I was afraid it would drift out of the field on the E9-4, so I put a spill hole in the Mylar balloon chute; it landed nicely within the field (though not close). However, the engine mount refused to come out, and I tore it up trying. I'll have to build a new 1x24 mount for it over the winter and reinforce the engine tube so it doesn't collapse when I hook the removal tool into the upper end.

Tracy managed to capture Jaclyn's Hi Flier igniting. Considering how fast it goes up the rod, I was impressed. Beside it is Justin's Guardian, waiting its turn.

Here you see Justin's Hi Flier, Taylor's Yankee (wearing Spider Man colors and markings, the latter hand-drawn by her), and my Celestial Navigator ready for its first flight.

The Navigator flew on a B6-4, which I've decided is too anemic for this rocket. It'll be C6-5's from now on...

... after I fix it. It deployed after apogee, and the chute tangled practically instantly with the fins; the long shock cord I installed to protect against dents resulted in the rocket coming in ballistic.

Damage is confined to the middle of the ST-7 "wasp waist" as well as a slight ding to the upper sustainer. I'll fix the latter by reinforcing with CA and then filling and sanding. The former injury, the bent tube, will be cut out and replaced. Maybe I can get the two launch lugs lined up this time.

The Navigator will fly again.

Tracy got bored with rockets at this point (which was about noon). She went and got us Lion's Choice roast beef sandwiches for lunch (practically the only place we eat in St. Louis) and then went to the mall with Jaclyn (who was also getting bored). Justin, Taylor, and I hung out until around 2:30pm or so, pretty much 'til all was done. Justin helped tear the range equipment down while I tried to pick up all the litter we generated in about 5 hours of flying. By "we" I mostly mean me...

Other rockets which I launched, but which are not pictured here: My classic Baby Bertha, the Cyclone, Dash, Pharos, and the Rocket Propelled Goony.

Thanks to akpilot for the invitation and to Nick for trading me the E9-4. I really enjoyed it. My rocketry activities up until yesterday were entirely done by myself or with kids I indoctrinated personally... Troy, Nick, Steve, Don, Greg, Paul, and whoever else was there whom I have forgotten are the first adult rocketeers I've ever launched with. It was pretty cool to see other rocketeer's work in person for a change, instead of just looking at pictures online.

Again, thanks, Troy, for the invitation. I had a great time!


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