Forgottonia Rocketry Group Launch, June 3, 2023
Forgottonia Rocketry Group Launch
June 3, 2023

When I found out there is a NAR section, the Forgottonia Rocketry Group, in Macomb, Illinois, I was seriously overjoyed. I had thought a 2:30 drive to the Cedar Rapids area for the Fairfax Rocketry Society launch in October 2022 was a good deal; a 1:45 drive to Macomb was thus even better. I contacted Greg Montalvo and was told that "We welcome anyone who loves to watch a rocket go up," and well, that's me.

The launch was scheduled to start at noon at Vince Grady Field at WIU, and I was there right as things got underway. Winds were light, 5 to 10 MPH per the forecast for the day, and it was hot but not the worst I've ever endured to launch rockets. And they had a pop-up canopy for shade, making things so much better. I've got to get me one of those.

FRG initially had three launch positions set up, and as there were several rocketeers present I was obliged to wait until the second rack to launch my Mo' Skeeter on a B6-4.

Mo' Skeeter Ready and Go

It's always my first launch, if I can fly it at all, and it turned in yet another beautiful flight, though the shroud lines got entangled somehow and the chute had to be cut off. Still a success... parachutes are cheap and I have a bunch of them.

Mo' Skeeter Returns Triumphant

In the next rack I loaded my Groovy, Man up with another B6-4.

Groovy, Man Ready and Go

It was a good flight, higher than I remembered, with a long drift west but still recovered within the field.

Groovy, Man Cruises Home

At this point I decided it was time to fly my recently-finished Der Gutentag, a rocket built using a Semroc Ruskie fin set, parts from a Baby Bertha kit and my parts stash, and decals from two different kits (Ruskie and Der Red Max). I put in the last B6-4 engine from the pack and launched it.

Der Gutentag Ready and Go

It's a core ejection rocket like Mo' Skeeter, and it flew just as straight and true and recovered just as nicely.

Der Gutentag Nose-Dives The Field

At Fairfax in October I was not able to fly my Super Alpha 18tc, an 18mm conversion of the standard Super Alpha with a tailcone, because I forgot to install a shock cord. I decided to install a Semroc baffle as a mounting point for the shock cord, so I wouldn't need wadding. Thus, this was the first flight of this rocket. I loaded it up with a C6-5, and it was a high, fast, beautiful flight.

Super Alpha 18tc Ready

The Super Alpha 18tc did drift quite a ways, though, landing on pavement with an unpleasant sound (according to my wife, who took all the photos here) but it came back with no visible damage and will surely fly again.

Super Alpha 18tc Ready

The kids present wanted to see me fly my Der Redship Max, and I did intend to do just that... but I discovered that I had never installed a launch lug. Gah. So as with the Super Alpha 18tc above, the Redship will have to wait until next time to fly.

OpenRocket says the absolute best recovery (lowest velocity at deployment) for my Semroc Starfire is with the Quest A6-4, so I loaded up an older German A6-4 with something like five layers of masking tape to friction fit it in place. The flight was higher and faster than I expected, and the parachute deployed perfectly. However, the German A6-4 engines burn with a black smoke and apparently the ejection charge is really sooty; I've tried but am as yet unable to remove all of it without damaging the paint job. But it can and will fly again (with some other engine, I promise).

Owing to my failure to communicate, my wife didn't photograph the Starfire. Maybe next time.

My sixth and final flight of the day was my Estes Photon Disruptor, a favorite with the kids, on an Estes C6-5.

Photon Disruptor Ready and Go

Dang that was a high fast flight. The wind had picked up a bit, so I chose to use one of my 8" nylon chutes to reduce drift; this worked, but the rocket hit hard. There seems to be no damage, however, and the rocket will fly again.

Photon Disruptor Landing Hard

I want to thank Greg and all the FRG rocketeers who made me feel welcome at their launch. I hope to join them again a few more times this year.


Contents Copyright © 2006 Chris Gonnerman. All Rights Reserved.
Last Updated 10/20/2023