Tripoli Indiana November 2009

November 21st-22nd, 2009

/ Ash Grove Site

3 flights, 1584 N-sec burned

This was my first launch at the Ash Grove field with Tripoli Indiana, and what a launch it was. With a 16k waiver, clear skies, and no wind whatsoever, flyers were sending rockets to ridiculous heights and landing them in the parking area. I flew three rockets over the course of two days, all on newly-recertified Kosdon motors.

Flight 1: Little Dragon, Kosdon J280

The first flight of Little Dragon went off without a hitch at Tripoli Indiana's first high power launch of the season. The first prep (which included fabrication of the avionics bay in the field) always takes longer than expected, and so I didn't have the rocket on the pad until about 2 in the afternoon, but no worries, since the winds were dead calm and the skies were beautiful. LCO Brian Perry announced the flight - this would be the first Kosdon motor many in attendance had seen - and after a five count, the J280 didn't disappoint, throwing Little Dragon just under a mile into the air on a beautiful orange plume. I had lost the delay element to this reload many years ago, replacing it with an aluminum plug, so there was no tracking smoke. However, the apogee event was clearly visible. We watched the descent to 700', where the main appeared on cue, dropping the rocket about 50 yards away at the end of the parking area. Poor David Hailey didn't even get to use the tracking equipment I made him hold for the entire flight! Little Dragon was easily recovered and cleaned up for its next flight this weekend.

Altitude: 5,030 ft

Flight 2: LOC IV, Kosdon H135

The sun was setting and the wind was still, so with 10 minutes left in the waiver I wanted to get another rocket in the air. I pulled out a freshly-purchased H135S and quickly loaded it up. With so little wind, I put a large orange LOC parachute in the LOC IV, along with some wadding, and whipped up a thermalite wire-wrap igniter -- we're flying this one old school. A quick trip to the pad to load up, the countdown, a pregnant pause, and the H135 came to life, carrying the LOC IV into the darkening sky on a trail of golden flame. As the motor burned out, I commented to everyone that I'd always had trouble with Frank delays, but to no avail, as the chute popped at apogee and the rocket began its slow descent to the ground. It landed next to the road, easily picked up and cleaned off for another flight.
LOC IV on a Kosdon H135

others: liftoff | recovery

Flight 3: Little Dragon, Kosdon J450

The weather was still beautiful as we arrived on Sunday. I still had several reloads for the 640 case to burn, and so, wanting to show off a little bit more of the "power" side of Kosdon motors, I loaded up a J450F for Little Dragon. The rocket had been graceful on the J280S, but the J450 would be more along the envisioned flight profile for this bird - punchy, fast, and loud. I kept the avionics settings the same, figuring I'd see about the same altitude. Tom Feldman and his girlfriend Pam Slaughter helped me out to the pad with it. David was on Beeline duty again, my friend Ben was tracking visually, and Brian LCOed the countdown again. We heard the igniter fire and suddenly, WHAM, the motor hit, catapulting Little Dragon into the air. Tom tells me he heard a little girl on the flight line crying, it was so loud. I was amazed I got a launch photo. This time I had included the delay grain, and tracking was easy up to the apogee altitude of 5175 feet, where the streamer appeared. This time, the bird fell across the road before the main deployed, and it landed softly in the disked field next door. Another excellent flight!

Altitude: 5,175 ft

Little Dragon on a Kosdon J450
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