Flight Log for 24 June 2000, 60 Acres Park, Redmond, WA

Overcast app. 2500' AGL, calm, changing to partly cloudy and variable 2-10 after noon
Model Flt 
#
Recovery Type Motor Comments
Astron Cobra
4
12" plastic parasheet
3x Estes A8-5
Dead calm conditions early in the day beckoned me away from the business of completing my NARTrek Bronze tasks, to the other business -- burning my A8-5s before they lose safety certification.  I built the Cobra, in part, to help me get through the stash of these motors, and it does that job well.  This flight was just what you'd want from a cluster -- three good ignitions, near vertical boost with zero roll, and ejection just as the model laid over at apogee.  Too bad these motors are discontinued -- otherwise, I'd probably try to find another bulk pack or two.
Alpha
21
12" plastic parasheet
Estes B6-6
I'd rather have had B4-6 motors for this and the following flights -- the slight extra altitude (due to the lower average thrust giving up less energy to drag, as well as burning out at higher altitude) would have helped on the next one especially.  For this, however, the parachute duration task for NARTrek Bronze, it was up, down, done, with 1:16 on a 12" plastic parasheet.  Landing was about 100 feet from the pad, and on to streamer duration.
Alpha
22
48" crepe paper streamer
Estes B6-6
This was the first streamer I found in my flight box -- I'm afraid I'm slightly guilty of failing to prepare, since I could have, in an hour or so, made up a competition style chart paper streamer that would surely have made the difference on this flight.  As it was, I set the rod as vertical as I could by eye, loaded up the longest delay I had in a B motor, and let 'er rip -- and got 29 seconds.  The NARTrek task is for 30.  Not this time.
Alpha
23
48" crepe paper streamer
Estes B6-6
Same setup, trying for a little better air -- and didn't get it.  This time, with the streamer partially hung on the nose cone, I got only 28 seconds.  Task is still 30 -- I checked, and it hadn't changed while I was flying.  More persistence, right?
Alpha
24
48" crepe paper streamer
Estes B6-6
Consciously and specifically trying to launch into a thermal this time, I sent it all up again -- and got 22 seconds.  After the flight, an R/C sailplane flier (who was timing for me) pointed out that the upper end of a thermal tends to bend downwind, and waiting for the bubble to break away from the ground (and even heralded by a fairly sudden transition from calm to breeze) meant I was launching into the sink outside the thermal, instead of the lift itself.  Hmmm.
Alpha
25
2" x 40" competition streamer
Estes B6-6
Good thing I bought two packs of B6-6 motors.  This time, I cut the one competition streamer I had in my flight box in half to make it narrow enough that the roll would fit between wadding and nose cone in the Alpha's relatively stubby airframe.  I then redid the shock cord attachment, prepped, and launched -- with no particular attention to the air.  There are problems for which technology is the proper solution; this time I turned in 36 seconds, and the NARTrek Bronze streamer duraction task was a done deal.
Alpha + booster
26
Nose blow tumble
Estes A10-0T/A8-5
The rules for the NARTrek Bronze two-stage event specifically state that you may use the same model as for the duration events if you add a lower stage -- and in preparation for my blown-out attempt a month ago, I'd made a booster for the Alpha with a short piece of BT-50 and one of BT-5 from my scrap box, centering rings and fiber fins made from two layers each of shirt cardboard, and a BT-50 coupler from an Estes coupler pack.  I left enough gap to accommodate the Alpha's motor latch, and vented the interstage with a pair of 1/4" holes cut with a paper punch.  Construction time for the booster was about an hour, including drawing and cutting the fins and centering rings.  After careful sanding to make the coupler fit properly in the rear of the Alpha's airframe, I prepped it up and put it on the pad -- and once more, it was up, down, done.  NARTrek Bronze now awaits only developing the film with the rocket pictures on it, and finding the $20 to send off for the three levels and one specialty.  Now it was time for fun again (as if NARTrek wasn't fun!).
Astron Cobra
5
12" plastic parasheet
3x Estes A8-5
I built this bird to burn A8-5 motors, and burn them it does.  Every launch sucks up three of them, and I'd rather burn them up than wind up with a bunch of pretty common collector's items when they expire.  This launch was no exception -- three loaded, three lit, and another ho hum perfect flight.
Astron Cobra
6
12" plastic parasheet
3x Estes A8-5
Another batch of A8-5s, another three igniters, another perfect flight -- this time, on landing, one fin stuck in the soft ground, suspending the entire rocket body above the ground -- but no damage; the only damage on any of todays' flights were a few Estes dents and a scorched fin on the Alpha.
Astron Cobra
7
12" plastic parasheet
3x Estes A8-5
This was my last flight of the day -- I was hot and tired, and out of liquids -- having drunk 3 cans of soda and a full liter of water.  I think the clips must have been getting a little grungy -- not only had I burned 15 prior motors on the pad, but others had launched at least half a dozen flights from my pad as well.  No, no misfire, but based on the tail wagging off the rod and the sound of the ejections, I suspect that two motors were a fraction later than the first one in coming up to thrust.  No big deal; that's part of why the Cobra has such big fins.


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