Flight Log for 1 Sep 1996, Monroe, Washington

Scattered culumi indicating thermal activity, with altostratus above; both burned off late in the day to clear and sunny; wind near zero until about 4 pm, when rose to about 3-5 mph from north.
Model Flt
Recovery Type Motor Comments
Spinnaker 8 Nose-blow tumble Estes A10-3T This rocket was modified with the addition of a BT-5, two centering "rings" and a latch to accept 13mm motors -- no thrust ring was installed, so overlength motors could be used if desired (such as the Apogee 13mm composite B7). This required building up a thrust ring on the aft end of the motor, and I had no 1/4" tape; I improvised with 1/2" cellophane tape, hung over the nozzle end and trimmed flush with a sharp knife to provide a thrust shoulder. Motor ejected (music wire latch wasn't stiff enough), and latch was burned enough to break at apex where nearest nozzle. Rocket spinning from fin cant; returned horizontally until about 10 feet above ground before assuming lawn-dart attitude. No damage beyond motor hook burn.
Spinnaker 9 Nose-blow tumble Estes A10-3T A wrap of tape around the motor hook, it was hoped, would prevent the latch from releasing the motor and promote proper nose cone ejection -- and that worked well enough as far as it went. The rocket, however, was nearly lost in the grass. This rocket may be retired soon; it just doesn't fly all that well, it's now a pain to prep, and it's still too prone to breakage as the basswood parts split along the grain lines -- and it's too small in the body tube to accomodate a decent recovery system. An interesting concept that would be massively improved by substitution of 1/16" or 3/64" plywood for the 3/32" basswood now in use.
Alpha III 16 24" Plastic Streamer Estes C6-5 Conditions were near perfect, so I had to send up the Alpha III at least once -- this after two hours of LCO duty, it was now just after 3 pm, and only about 2 hours of flying time remaining for the day. The flight was straight, high, and recovery was about 50 feet from the pads -- just what I've come to expect from this reliable and durable model.
Mongoose 3 (upper w/ Delta Dart parasite) 6 18" parasheet Estes A8-3 The rocket was repaired from last month's crumpled tube by cutting the tube and inserting a coupler -- a move that nearly totalled the bird, when the white glue I was using tried to grab before I had the mating surfaces mated on both insertion operations (coupler in base, forward end on coupler). This model is now much sturdier than originally; it will likely last many more launches (though I may have to remove and reinstall the upper launch lug; the alignment is no longer perfect there's some drag on the rod). Extensive hand-toss adjustment had gotten me a glider that glided flat and slow, with a gentle left turn (too gentle, but I couldn't get any more without it spiral diving; the Delta Dart isn't an ideal design for this). The boost went to about 120 feet, with the rocket spinning due to the lift of the glider (it was canted on its mount); ejection occurred with the rocket horizontal at apogee, and the glider transitioned perfectly -- and promptly started doing S-curves downwind. The wind was about 3 mph, and the glider flew at about 5 mph; by the time it had glided for about 30 seconds, it was a couple hundred yards downwind and landed in tall grass; I had no trouble recovering the carrier, but the glider was declared lost after a 20-minute search.
Mongoose 3 (upper w/ Delta Dart parasite) 7 18" parasheet Estes A8-3 A couple quick hand tosses to adjust the backup glider (I have two more, but they don't have mounts installed yet to mate to the Mongoose), and I threw up one last flight -- it was now after 5 pm, and the waiver had expired; we were getting a last couple racks of modroc-only flights up before breaking down for the day. This time, though ejection was once again perfectly at apogee, the glider dove in at about a 45 degree angle in a tight left spiral. No damage was done, even though the parachute on the Mongoose tangled around the glider mount, but I'll obviously need more work to get another glider to work correctly.

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