Flight Log for 2 July 2000, Monroe, WA

Overcast appr. 3500' AGL, wind light and variable, changing to WSW 2-10 later in the day.
Model Flt 
Recovery Type Motor Comments
Astron Cobra
12" plastic parasheet
3x Estes C6-7 This was the first time I'd flown the Cobra on a full load -- the maximum set of motors from the old kit recommendations.  Nothing strange about prep -- wadding, parachute, button it up, prep the three motors, slide them into the mounts and screw down the retention nut, then carefully pull off the igniter tapes and twist the three igniters into two sturdy pigtails.  On the rod, and on the count, all three motors lit together.  The boost, to something over 1000 feet, was straight and free from roll as always with this rocket -- but there was a little rod whip that sent the rocket somewhat north, and the drift, while not large, was from south to north.  Yep, swamp bait.  I lost sight of the rocket as it dropped into the swamp, but had a good line on it; I spent about an hour tramping around the back side of the swamp, looking for a solid-ground route to the Cobra's resting place (and not finding it).  Finally, I gave the rocket up for lost.

And now, as Paul Harvey used to say, for the rest of the story.  After all launch operations were finished for the day, as range breakdown was starting, I heard some chatter on the Family Band radios used for launch crew communications -- someone was trying to direct someone else to a rocket.  I didn't think anything about it; mine wasn't visible when I looked for it, and there'd been several other rockets lost (some of which stayed lost, as usual).  By the time I finished helping break down the range, I learned that the Cobra had been spotted hanging in a willow or vine maple, well clear of the water.  By the time I had my stuff packed up, a couple of the local Tripoli fliers, amid considerable ribbing (because of my recent postings on rec.models.rockets concerning the Tripoli posters to that group) were putting together a swamp walking expedition, complete with hip waders, to retrieve my rocket.  That expedition was ultimately successful, and I owe my continued possession of this classic repro to Bruce Johnson and especially Steve Bayer, the man in the high boots.

Thanks for the help, guys!

12" plastic parasheet
Estes D12-5
With some grumbling about the Estes discontinuation of the long delay in the D12 motor (mainly because even the -7 is a tiny bit short for this rocket), I put the BBBertha! on the pad and off she went -- with, as usual, everything about the flight nominal.  If you want to make rocket science look easy, fly a Big Bertha.  In this case, the rocket returned a bit downwind, but still within the main field for an easy recovery.
Cherokee-D (2)
12" plastic parasheet w/ spill and vents
Estes D12-5
Once again, I had to grumble a bit as I prepped the Cherokee-D -- unlike the Bertha, which was original designed around a cluster mount as the Ranger, the Cherokee-D was designed from the get-go for the then-new Estes D13 -- which, after a little detuning to reduce the CATO rate, became the D12.  This rocket always wanted the long delay, as well -- the D12-7, even though the D12-5 was on the motor list (presumably for the folks who used too much glue and sanding sealer).  Well, two seconds usually isn't that big a deal.

In this case, however, it was -- the rocket boosted off the pad "hot, straight, and normal" (to borrow a submariner's term normally applicable to a torpedo), and seemed to coast perfectly -- and there was no indication of a shorter than labeled delay, but the rocket was still climbing fast at ejection, and this time my carefully vented parachute split right through one of the radial vent slits, then tangled around the snap swivel where it attached to the nose cone.  The rocket tumbled in without damage, but this was the last of my old style 12" parachutes before Estes started to sell them pre-assembled with soft, fuzzy string for suspension lines and (IMO) undersized snap swivels.

Cherokee-D (2)
12" plastic parasheet w/ spill and vents
Quest C6-5
Well, I had another vented parachute, one that came out of my Alpha when I put the unvented one in for my NARTrek tasks last week, and it was swiftly attached to the Cherokee-D nose cone after cutting one suspension line to untangle the stripped parachute.  In with the adapter, in with the Quest motor, and off to the pads again, getting one last flight for the day.  The wind had started to pick up a bit by this time, and some folk (those dressed in tank tops or tee shirts) were starting to complain that it was chilly out.  I got on the next to last rack of the day, angled my rod away from the swamp, and away we went.  This time, the changing wind direction put the rocket into tall grass -- and I mean tall grass; as I walked my line directly to the rocket, I found the parachute hanging in grass, above my head.  Recovery, however, wasn't a problem, and after completing the adventure of the swamp-bound Cobra, I packed up and headed for home.

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