Saturday, September 13, 2008
Documentation of launches is never that great, because I am always focused on the flying. Here is one pic of my table while setting up.
The weather was cloudy, with frequent clouds below 5,000 feet. But the wind was VERY low and for me, conditions were just about perfect. METRA launches as a large farm just west of Harriman park (Bear Mt.) which is about 60 miles north of New York City. When I say large, I mean on the order of 1,000 acres, perhaps more. And lots of sod for a mud free field, with soft landings. Lots of high power was launched today, including one really nice M motor. Lots of Skidmarks, and dual deployment flights. Only three (out of about 100) rockets seemed to fail badly. Sadly, one of them was mine. My brand new Big Daddy crashed on its first flight. I heard the ejection charge go off, but for some reason the nose cone did not eject. I wont get into the blame game, but the RSO did make me apply some tape to the nose shoulder, suggesting it was too lose. Could that have cost me $25? The problem isnt that he made the suggestion, the problem is that now I will never know. It is also possible that the motor was a bit loose and it let too much pressure leak out. Or maybe there wasnt enough BP in the motor, or it didnt burn well.
My four flights were: E11J on the SNP, D15T on the Big Daddy (lawn dart), an F52T on the Graduator, and then an F22J on the same Graduator. Other than the crash, the flights were great. The E11J ejection was very late, but the rocket did survive just fine. The two graduator flights were very nice. I previously had some concerns about the low thrust of the F22, but it was more than enough to loft the 1.6 lbs graduator. Both graduator recoveries were within 50 feet of me, due to the low wind and shockingly fast recovery on a 20 inch skyangle chute, that spun quite a bit. Both confused me... Recovery was faster than on a normal 18 incher, and should not spin at all due to the swivel mount on the skyangle.
Anyway, great fun. Some damage and some money down the drain, but well worth it. The M flight was very very nice. Dual recovery that landed in the flight line, bumping a car but not causing severe damage.