SPARC Launch, August 22, 2009
SPARC Launch
August 22, 2009

Once again, I joined the SPARC guys in St. Peters, Missouri for their regular monthly launch. They were launching at the soccer field this time, so we drew some spectators, which was pretty cool. Just as we arrived, Nick launched his SR-71. Click the pictures for a larger view.

Just then, a man and a small boy came up; the boy was very interested in what we were doing. There were only three club members present this time: Troy, Nick, and a fellow whose name escapes me. None of them had rockets ready to launch, and I didn't want to disappoint the kid, so I quickly stuffed three C6-5's into my Ultimatum and launched it. Ultimatum has a baffle, so it doesn't need wadding. The flight was very pretty and higher than I expected, and the deployment of the chute was perfect. This time around I flew it with a 24" mylar parachute, in hopes that it would recover with less damage. It still took a bit of a hit... I suspect I need an even bigger parachute, so I'll probably make a 36" chute next. Dang that seems big.

Taylor prepped her Screamin' Demon, which was recently repaired and repainted, and we launched it on a C6-5. It went up high and fast, and came down a bit hard (due to the slippery streamer), sticking one fin in the soft ground. No damage, just dirty.

Still nobody else ready to fly, so I got my Lil' Marvin (on an A8-3) and Mo' Skeeter (on a B6-4) ready. This was Lil' Marvin's first flight, and it wasn't what I'd call satisfactory; the rocket is supposed to break down into five pieces, strung together on a piece of kevlar, which is then supposed to tumble. Well, the core unit came out, but the nose didn't separate from the tube segments, and it came down nose first. Some damage to one of the side segment nose-end flanges was evident; I'm not sure I'll be able to fly it again.

The Mo' Skeeter flight was much better. This was the second flight for this rocket, and while there were some dings to the paint on the fins, it was a perfect flight and a perfect deployment. It came off the rod too fast to photograph, which is surprising for a rocket with as much base drag as this one.

Nick launched his Harpoon next. I don't know what he was flying it on, but it flew real good and I believe recovered without damage.

This naked bird also belongs to Nick, and I'm sad to say I can't recall what he calls it, but it came off the pad fast and recovered without damage.

Troy launched his Goony Bird Zero next, which sadly we have no good pictures of. Too bad, as it's a very nice looking rocket.

I launched my New Centurion next, on a B6-4. Let me say right now, I knew better than to use that engine... I just forgot. It was a low flight, and the rocket was heading downward fast when it deployed. The kevlar broke, and while the upper section returned under parachute, the lower section smashed into the pavement. The upper end of the lower section is the baffle, and it was ruined; also, one fin was torn off. I could fix the fin, but I can't figure out any way to fix the baffle. So I suspect I'll be building a new lower section. Added to my winter project schedule. (No pictures of this launch either.)

Nick's tube-fin rocket went up next; I don't remember which one it was, but it's one of the regular kit models. The Quest version, I think. Perfect flight and excellent recovery.

I launched my Patriot X next, on a C6-5. Darned nice flight, good recovery, though it drifted quite a bit due to the fairly brisk wind.

I wanted to launch a few more rockets I had not previously launched; my Custom Ion Pulsar was next to go, on an A8-3. I had mislaid the stock chute, but I always have plenty of spares in my range box; a mylar chute was fitted, and the rocket carefully packed with wadding. Note that this rocket has a space near the engine mount where, if you aren't careful, you can jam the wadding in so it won't come out... a bad thing overall. The flight was good, but the rocket drifted sideways on the chute and broke off one of the "legs." I think I'll just cut the others off flush and repaint the lower section... the engine hook sticks out too far for the rocket to stand on those legs anyway.

Nick loaded up one of his "corn" rockets next. This rocket is made from a decorative "corn cob" picked up at Hobby Lobby, and I understand he's planning to sell them as kits. It arced a bit but recovered within the field.

I launched my Quest Evader twice, on an A8-3 and a B6-4, using an Estes chute (since I seem to have mislaid the Quest chute also). Both flights were very nice, though I had a bit of trouble getting the nose cone to stay straight. It has a rather short base.

Next up was the first flight of my SCRAM 140, a 140% upscale of the Estes SCRAM rocket. I flew it on an A8-3, and it flew quite well and was recovered undamaged. It drifted quite a ways, though, as the wind continued to be a problem.

The SCRAM 140 was my last flight of the day; we packed it all up and moved out. Many thanks to Troy and the others in SPARC for the generous invitation to join them.


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