Flight Log for 14 February, 1998, Boeing Space Center, Kent, WA

Overcast about 2500', wind variable, 2-5.
Model Flt 
Recovery Type Motor Comments
18" nylon parashteet Aerotech F40-7 RMS My first flight on my new RMS 29/40-120 consumer casing -- which was loaded up for use at Monroe on Feb 1, but I wasn't able to fly at that time due to time constraints.  This time, all looked good; the motor chuffed once (lit with the stock Copperhead on the first try), then took off with the characteristic bright white flame and white smoke column of White Lightning propellant.  Everything was nominal, with the rocket arcing over toward the north very late in coast and ejecting just past apogee.  Then the drift set in -- there was, as is common, more wind aloft than on the ground, and in this case the rocket was heading rapidly for the far edge of the recovery area.  I handed one of my walkie-talkies (and experiment in recovery communication) to Mike Pearson and took off after the rocket just as it reached the ground.  When I arrived at the landing zone, I found the rocket hanging from a roof cornice on the Toys R' Us NW regional warehouse, about 20 feet above ground, with the body hanging down the wall, but nose cone and parachute on the roof side of the cornice.  Not being willing to climb the stack of pallets next to the wall, and feeling it unlikely I could reach the rocket if I did, I left it and went back to the range, resolving to contact the warehouse and ask if they could retrieve my rocket.
Unfortunately, by the time Monday, 16 Feb rolled around, there'd been a minor storm, and the rocket apparently blew off the roof in the wind; the warehouse manager reported looking for it himself, I looked through the neighborhood on Tuesday, and flying companions checked the area another three times in the following week -- no Spike.  It hasn't turned up at any Lost and Found facility at Boeing, either, and a more recent message left with Toys R' Us hasn't even yielded a call-back.  Rocket lost, with RMS casing -- a $50 F motor.  B(
Bertha 24
12" plastic parasheet w/ spill and vents Estes D12-7 This flight was as nominal as always with this rocket -- the arc during coast was to the south, but the wind had shifted, and the net drift between wind aloft and wind near ground was near-zero, with the result that the rocket hung on a fence between two storage areas inside teh Boeing plant perimeter.  A few inches further south, and it would have been in a government area that plant workers observing the launches on breaks couldn't access, but as it was, someone drove over in a forklift, picked the rocket out of the barbed wire, and brought to the fence and handed it over.  There was some damage to the trailing edge of one fin from the wire, but otherwise, all was well.  Due to the time lost attempting to recover the Spike, and the increasing wind plus threat of rain (it had already rained on us once), I called it a day after this flight.

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