Sunday, November 6, 2011

Launch report pt. 1

The launch today was good, with very clear conditions and moderate to low winds. I was able to fly the Wildman Drago on an F240 and then on a G125. These two first flights each included a digital camera, and videos were recovered both times. They must be processed (minimally) and uploaded to Youtube tomorrow. The F240 flight was exceptionally short due to a rapid boost, and late recovery event. The G125 video is much longer, and the highest altitude I have yet recorded in video (probably around 1800 feet.)

After these two flights I flew the Loc Viper IV on four D12-3 motors. This was a graceful flight with all four motors burning perfectly. (That is two in a row for this rocket!)

Towards the end, the wind was low enough to allow for a HPR flight. I loaded the Giant Leap Thunderbolt38 with an H400. Needless to say, the .5 second burn time with about 90 lbs of thrust was enough to give this rocket a real kick to nearly 2000 feet. It was a great flight, and perfect way to end the flying season.

Here are a few images from today:

Recovery at METRA is generally very good. Not only do you have a large recovery area (despite a few natural hazards such as trees and streams) but you will also find the softest possible ground surface. The sod, wet soil, or newly tilled onion field seen above are all very gentle on rockets. Rockets routinely survive major recovery failures here. The Drago has twice taken a major core sample with nothing more than a small chip on the nosecone.


Firing on all four cylinders: these D12-3 motors ignited instantly and burned in unison.


This monster of a rocket was on display at a vendor table. It looks very much like one of the Robert DeHate upper-stage rockets seen here previously.

This guy really knows how to burn a rocket! The paint and nosecone were badly melted from the several seconds above mach 3 just before and for a while after 2nd stage burnout. Just seeing something like this gets me, a small time level 1 guy, dreaming about what could be some day. It turns out that given a long coasting delay and N4000 ignition at 40,000 feet (not so easy really) such a rocket could achieve far more than just 80,000 feet. It is predicted that under optimal conditions, there is no reason why this rocket could not hit space. But that means staging late, when the upper stage is just subsonic. Better mass fractions are also helpful.

This is the smoke left from some kind of large motor failure (possibly forward closure failure) that resulted in a short "roman candle" effect followed by a big smoke cloud. My reaction time, and camera, were too slow to catch the best part.

And there you have it! Expect a post tomorrow with youtube videos from my F240 and G125 flights.

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