Turkey Shoot 2004

November 26th-27th, 2004

/ Jean Dry Lake

2 flights, 5720 N-sec burned

We arrived Thursday night and I began prep on my two big planned flights for the weekend. The weather was excellent - calm and clear, and the nights were beautiful. (One of them we spent disposing of Kendall's fireworks and watching The Wizard of Oz while listening to Pink Floyd. Epic.) My two flights went exceedingly well, and it was great to hang with the Vegas guys again. Turkey Shoot 2004 was a success!

Flight 1: AIR, Kosdon K410

Well, it was bright and early on the first morning of Turkey Shoot. I had installed the motor into AIR already back at the hotel, and I was nearly ready to fly. All that was left was to install ejection charges, hook up the altimeters, pack the chutes, and push the button. Problem was, there was no range set up yet! I had the vehicle all prepped, and then helped Tripoli Vegas to get everything ready for the launch. After BSing with Andy Woerner for a while (hoping to Providence that I wouldn't be the first person to fly that morning), I finally trekked out to the pads around 11:00. After arming the altimeters and installing a Thermalite igniter, I gave Kendall Reed the go-ahead to let her rip. The motor took a little time to come up to pressure, but eventually a yellow laser of flame emerged from the base of the motor and we were on our way. There was light cloud cover so the small rocket became difficult to see for the second half of the burn, and disappeared totally after burnout at 6.5 seconds. A pop filtered down from above, indicating that something had fired and the rocket was hopefully descending drogueless. Eventually I caught sight of it again with the help of Gordon McDaniel, and saw it deploy its main parachute at 800 feet. We recovered it quickly from the bushes and deprepped it. 10,700 feet on a full K motor... I wonder what it will do on an M?

Altitude: 10,674 ft

Flight 2: Arcas, AMW L650

Red motors are way cool. So when I was offered one to fly in a 76mm 3500 Ns case, I couldn't opt not to. This formula was the original "Red Rhino" from Kosdon East, I think. I prepped the rocket in record time as the day was winding down - it was about 3:00 and I had only flown one rocket (AIR on a K410). The weather was still perfect, so might as well put this one up too. I ran out to the pad and put the rocket on the rail, stood it upright, and installed an electric match with about a foot of Thermalite to get the stubborn motor to light. I returned to the rangehead and summoned Les Derkovitz to push the button. In the laid-back but safe style of Tripoli Vegas, we were ready to go almost instantly. 3, 2, 1, go. POP! The e-match fired and lit the Thermalite. The rocket began to smoke. Fffft. Ffffffffffft. Chuff. Chuff. Fffft. Roarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Finally, the rocket lifted off the rail ever so slowly and began its climb skywards - 4.19 gees according to the ARTS. I was afraid that the rocket on a six-foot rail would be hit by a wind gust at a vulnerable low speed, but the day was beautiful, and the rocket kept going straight. The motor burned for just about six seconds with a few chuffs and pops on the way up, and a LASER RED flame. Rick Magee said he was just entering the launch site when I flew, and the flame was as bright and vibrant as a Urinsco Redeye. Not bad. Eventually, the drogue appeared at apogee, and the main a short while later at 1000 feet. I recovered the rocket on foot in the bushes at the edge of Jean Dry Lake just as the sun was setting. I listened to the altimeter chirp out 10,177 feet as I hoofed it back to the rangehead. A great end to a great day of flying! Two L motors in the Arcas in one month. I never thought that would happen...

Altitude: 10,177 ft

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