Flight Log for 3 June 2001, Monroe, WA

Heavy clouds appr. 4000' AGL and light rain showers, with occasional sun breaks; wind 0-3 variable.
Model Flt 
Recovery Type Motor Comments
Viper X
18" nylon parasheet
4x Estes D12-3 It took me a month longer to make the Viper X ready for its return engagement, in part because after I reglued the original shock cord anchor, it was obvious that it still wouldn't stand up to the stress of a piston weighing around six ounces coming to a stop in the fraction of an inch that the nylon strap would stretch.  Another anchoring method was needed.
What I came up with required a minor modification to the motor mount; instead of fitting snugly where it's keyed to get repeatable orientation, I sanded off enough material (and relieved the thrust ring) to accommodate an anchor strap made from the steel strap stock used to secure goods on a pallet for truck shipping.  This strap is an inch wide, about a half millimeter thick, and cold rolled (hence work hardened).  I cut a length of this, drilled holes for the motor mount securing screws to pass through it on both ends, and mounted a D ring in the bend loop between, then fastened the original retaning strap by its quick link to the D ring.
This worked -- as did the new clip whip I made up.  All four motors ignited immediately, launch was positive and boost was straight (initially guided by the launch sponsor's Black Sky rail and Matt Stum's buttons), and though the rocket was still climbing slightly at ejection, the zipperless piston was completely successful.  Look for more information, possibly in the form of an article in Sport Rocketry in the near furture.
Spike (2)
18" nylon parasheet
Estes E9-4
When I came home from work on Friday, I found a surprise package from Estes on my front step -- Mary Roberts had sent ten of the new E9-4 motors (24x95 mm, 29.8 Ns, just a tad less thrust than a D12 with a 2.8 second burn) for our Section to try out, and I was able to confirm from Jack Kane of NAR S&T that the motors are in fact certified, though the announcement is being held pending avaialbility of the longer delays.  So, I just had to try one in my Spike, which flies well, if slowly, on D12-3.
As expected, the flight of this model, weighing approximately a pound, was much like that on a D12: reasonably positive off the rod, a little seeming hesitation at around twenty feet, then a smooth boost and just enough coast to eject just after apogee.  Like the D12, this is an absolute minimum motor for the Spike, and I'd be more comfortable with it if the Spike were a couple ounces lighter.  I'll work on that for my next one.
12" plastic parasheet
Estes A8-5
With the A8-5 expiring from safety certification at the end of June, I still had one in inventory.  That's easily corrected, says I, and I loaded it up in the Alpha.  I'm really going to miss these motors; as always, boost was straight and coast was long, with ejection just as the rocket turned over for apogee.
Hey, Estes!  You listened when we said we'd like to have the E motors back.  You listened when we said we wanted kits with balsa parts and that required gluing, sanding, perhaps even cutting.  Are you listening when we say we'd like more choices in the lower impulse motors, like a B or even A booster again, like longer delays for low flights with high performance models, like a load lifter that doesn't bring D impulse with it?
Well, if you're listening, we'll know after a while -- and if you're not, we'll keep shouting.
12" plastic parasheet
Estes 1/2A3-4T
There was an informal Parachute Duration contest at this launch, with adults being allowed 1/2A impulse.  I entered on the spur of the moment, bringing out my experienced PD model, the Ninja-B.  As always, with the boattail it coasted out all of the longest delay Estes offers in 1/2A motors, and ejected (in this case) just before apogee.  Unfortunately, the parachute only partially opened; although the flight was qualified, I only collected 14 seconds, and the other remaining flier, once he got his Apogee A2-6 to deploy, easily bested my time even with only a partial deployment himself.
Cherokee-D (2)
12" plastic parasheet w/ spill and vents
Estes D12-7
With the D12-7 back on store shelves, I recently bought four packs of them, and this was my first chance to fly one.  They're just as good as they always were; this one boosted straight and fast, and ejection was right on turnover.  Unfortunately, the parachute tangled, but the rocket tumbled down in an unstable mode, and landed in the longish grass without damage.
Spike (2)
18" nylon parasheet
Aerotech G40-7W
Conditions had been so good all day, in terms of minimal wind and very high flights landing close to the pads, that I had to bring out the big guns.  I don't get to fly many large motors, and the Aerotech G (G40, G64, and G80) are the largest I've ever flown in the Spike.  All three push this small rocket to well over 2000 feet.  Today, I had the rod carefully plumbed to vertical, and everything was just right -- ignition was immediate, boost was vertical, and the rocket just arched over when the ejection fired, with perfect deployment.  As it happened, the arch was downwind, but with the very slight breeze, I was still able to recover on the field, less than a quarter mile from the launch pad after a flight that was close to a half mile high.
All in all, this was the best rocketry day I've had in many months; no broken rockets, every new thing I tried worked perfectly.  I flew rockets with a total history of over 100 flights between them, a couple freshly repaired and at least one (the Alpha) very close to retirement.  It's days like this that keep me in this hobby, despite the regulatory issues, the disappointments of lost or destroyed rockets, and the frustration as motors or models are discontinued.

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