Forgottonia Rocketry Group Launch, February 25, 2024
Forgottonia Rocketry Group Launch
February 25, 2024

The Forgottonia Rocketry Group in Macomb, Illinois had a rocket launch today... the 25th of February. This is not a normal time to have a launch; indeed, it's usually not fit to be outside in this part of the world in late February. But at noon when the launch started the forecast for Macomb was 60°F and 8 MPH winds. In fact, the wind was almost nonexistent when we started, and while there were a few gusts they never got above about 10 MPH. No rockets were lost, but one glider did a bit too well and flew away into the trees.

I took eight rockets, selected kind of at the last minute. Seven got a chance to fly, though one wasn't exactly a "flight" (more on this below). Amazingly, I not only didn't lose any of mine, I also didn't damage any rockets nor burn up any parachutes. This was an absolute win, as far as I'm concerned.

As usual, all photos by Tracy Gonnerman.

First, as always, was my Mo' Skeeter on a B4-4 engine.


Mo' Skeeter Ready and Launch

What can I say? It flew beautifully as usual, and landed 8 paces from the launch stand it left from.


Mo' Skeeter Returning Almost to the Stand

This was its 17th flight, still in the original paint; it's coming close to 15 years since I first flew it.

Next I flew my Groovy, Man on a B4-4.


Groovy, Man Ready and Launch

The kids seem to really love this one for some reason. It flew well, spinning slightly on the ascent, and recovered nicely inside the field.


Groovy, Man Returning

I decided to fly my adopted Screamin' Demon on a B6-4 next.


Screamin' Demon Ready and Launch

It ascended swift and straight, deployed cleanly and recovered a little hard but with no visible damage.


Screamin' Demon Returning

I decided it was time to load up my Ultimatum with three B6-4 engines. I rigged it carefully, loaded it up on the launch stand, and sweated bullets waiting for its turn to come around. And then...


Getting Another Rack Ready

... nothing. We were having trouble getting ignition on the fourth pad position (the one with the 3/16" rod). I re-rigged it to fly in the next rack, where it again failed to ignite... only to ignite one engine at the last moment. It just made it off the rod, fell to the ground, and after the 4 second delay it tried to eject (but one engine isn't enough to properly eject the Ultimatum's chute, as if it mattered anyway at that moment).


Seriously Why Won't Ultimatum Ignite?

So... I gave up on Ulimatum for the day, and moved on.

After the ugly deployment failure of my Ion Pulsar at Fairfax on October 22, 2023, I spent a little time fixing the design flaw (see that flight log for details). Basically, I pushed a 4" section of coupler down that upper tube until it hit the upper ring of the motor mount, blocking any wadding from being trapped in the cavity below the upper tube.

Now it was time to test it. I put in wadding, packed a chute (the same one I'd already used on the Mo' Skeeter and Groovy, Man), and loaded up a B4-4 engine.


Ion Pulsar Ready and Launch

Ignition was clean, ascent perfect, and deployment good, with the chute opening just late enough to worry me.


Ion Pulsar Returning

The rocket was recovered without damage... vindicated, finally. The first really good flight for the Ion Pulsar.

There had been a wait to put the Ion Pulsar on the launch stand, so I had gone ahead and prepared my FSI Sprint clone with an orange and white Estes chute (since the lucky blue Semroc chute I'd used for my other flights of the day was waiting in the Ion Pulsar) and put in a B4-4 engine.


FSI Sprint Ready and Launch

Launch was good, with a low but crowd-pleasing flight, a good deployment and a nice landing within the field. No damage was found on the rocket... a perfect flight.


FSI Sprint Returning

I hadn't launched my Red River Rocketry Starliner DST in fourteen years; it seemed like it might be time. So I fitted it with the blue Semroc chute and a B6-4 engine, and it flew well, deployed properly, and returned with only minor paint cracking around the tail cone skirt. It's a weak spot in the design, so I'm not surprised.


Starliner DST Launch and Return

I once again want to thank Greg, Doug, and all the FRG rocketeers who made me feel welcome at their launch. Here's hoping we have more opportunities to get together and fly rockets this year!

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Last Updated 02/25/2024