4-H Launch, July 9, 2009
4-H Launch
July 9, 2009

My first launch of the year happened to be our 4-H club launch. I had three project members present: Sam, Jaclyn, and Justin. It's Justin's third year doing 4-H Aerospace, but the first for Jaclyn and Sam. We had a good evening to launch, with about 10 MPH breezes and good visibility. Click the pictures for a larger view.

The crew, getting ready to launch.

The first flight of the day was Sam's Baby Bertha on a B6-4. It flew well, but drifted a LOT farther back to the west than we expected. Fortunately, Sam got it back in good shape. Considering that it was his first rocket launch ever, I thought that was pretty good.

First rack, with Sam's Baby Bertha getting fire.

The next flight was Jaclyn's Hi Flier on a B6-4. I angled the pads a bit to the east after Sam's flight, and that helped Jaclyn's rocket not drift quite so far away. It flew well and recovered perfectly.

Next up was my Patriot X on a B6-4. This was its first flight, and it was a good one. I was very happy when it deployed its chute and came in picture-perfect.

Justin's Renegade flew next, on 3x A8-3 engines. I never rigged a 3-cluster before, but evidently I did it right, as we had a good ignition. The flight was lower than I expected, but the rocket recovered fine.

We flew Justin's Renegade again, on 3x B6-4's this time. It drifted a long way, and broke a fin and pod loose. It is repairable, and will probably make it to the fair just fine.

Sam flew his Baby Bertha on a C6-5. It drifted a long way, but recovered just fine.

Next, I launched my Ultimatum for the first time, on 3x B6-4 engines. Again, I had a good ignition. The rocket flew well, and deployed both chutes perfectly; however, recovery was a bit hard, leading to a slight buckle in the body tube just above the fins as well as one fin breaking slightly from the tube. I'll probably cut the tube just above the fins and install a coupler for strength.

Mo' Skeeter taking off.

My Mo' Skeeter flew next, on a B6-4. It flew well and deployed perfectly, but drifted onto a nearby machine shed. We recovered it later after borrowing a ladder from the landowner, and it was unharmed.

Jaclyn's Hi Flier went up next, on a B6-4. It flew straight and high, deployed well, and landed relatively near the pad.

Jaclyn's Baby Bertha taking off.

Next was Jaclyn's Baby Bertha on a B6-4. It flew nicely, deployed just past apogee, and returned intact. This was not its first flight (that was back on the 27th of September 2008) but was its first flight wearing its final paint job; she won't fly it again until after it's judged at the fair (at her own insistence, and right sensible of her).

Justin's Flash and Sam's Baby Bertha lift off.

We had a "drag race" between Sam's Baby Bertha (on a C6-5) and Justin's Flash (on a C6-7). Justin's Flash recovered on an 8" eight-gore mylar chute I made for him, rather than the stock streamer, as that rocket has suffered many unhappy returns. It landed not all that far from the pad, but unfortunately Sam's Baby Bertha went in the pond. Taylor (my daughter) retrieved it and I pulled the swelled-up engine casing before it could cause too much damage.

Almost the last rack...

Next was my Patriot X again, on a C6-5. Nice flight, but the chute tangled around the body. Amazingly, it recovered fine in spite of this, drifting horizontally with the chute reefed against the body tube.

Sam's Baby Bertha again, on another C6-5, didn't fire; we skipped it and went on, as is our standard procedure.

We had another "drag race," this one between Justin's Hi Flier (on a C6-7) and Jaclyn's Hi Flier (also on a C6-7). Justin's came off the rod before Jaclyn's even lit, and we all lost both rockets in the sky. Justin's was located near the pond (but thankfully not in it); Jaclyn's has not been seen again, though Justin plans to look for it a bit more.

I got Sam's Baby Bertha off the rod and checked it while the kids looked in vain for Jaclyn's rocket. The igniter wires were touching; I pulled it and installed another one. Sam launched it himself, and it flew well and recovered just fine. This was the last flight of the day.

We took a group picture at the end of the evening for the kids to use in their 4-H displays. It took a couple of tries to get everyone smiling.


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