ROC July 1997

July 12th, 1997

/ Lucerne Dry Lake

3 flights, 1254 N-sec burned

After months of anticipation, today was the day we would finally fly our first high power rocket. My friend Scott came to the lakebed with us, to fly some rockets of his own, and help out with the cert attempt. Though it was windy in the Cajon pass on the way to the playa, things calmed down once we got over the hill, and we were treated to a hot, windless day, perfect for flying.

Flight 1: Lil Nuke, AT F40

This was to be another flight of the Nuke on my favorite motor for it - the Aerotech F40. However, things went south after apogee when the delay ran about 5 seconds long, causing the rocket to separate. Amazingly, the shock cord mount held up, and the only damage was a torn shock cord; a quick knot and she was back in business.

Flight 2: Bruiser, AT I435

After prep at our camp, adding what seemed like an ungodly amount of dog barf wadding, we headed up to motor dealer Ken Finwall's California High Power Model Rockets tent to pick up the reload case and have him help us with final checks on the rocket. Though we had neglected to drill pressure vent holes, the general consensus was that, since it would only be reaching 1000 feet or so, it wouldn't be a problem. We got it loaded on the rod with little trouble (+1 for light paper construction techniques) and the LCO called out the count. The I435 punted the big airframe into the sky, burning out in just over a second. The rocket coasted silently to apogee, and as I held my breath, the big black chute unfurled and the Bruiser descended for a perfect landing just behind the flight line.

Flight 3: Bruiser, AT I284

Well, now that we knew it flew well on the punchier blue motor, we wanted to try again, this time on the white load for more drama. Reloading was quick (again with the wadding) and after RSOing from Buck Gomez, it was back out to pad 23 for another flight. I kinked the head of the HiRel e-match to make sure it contacted the grain of the harder-to-light white propellant, which did the trick. The Bruiser made a nice, gentle, arcing flight to the east, deploying its chute again at apogee. Scott and I chased the rocket down on the range for an easy recovery.
Bruiser
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