Tripoli Indiana November 2010

November 13th-14th, 2010

/ Ash Grove Site

1 flight, 6000 N-sec burned

Again with the weather! November had been unseasonably warm prior to the launch; daytime temps in the 70s, clear skies, and no wind made it look like we'd have a great weekend. Unfortunately, a cold front blew through on Friday night, leading to a rainy Saturday (during which I spent WAY too much money in Tim's trailer) and a gusty Sunday. I only put up one flight, but had a good weekend nonetheless; it was great to see the TI crew back in action at the big field.

Flight 1: Dark Energy, PPL M2400

Things always crop up at the end of builds which make the first flight a challenge, and this one was no exception. I worked frantically through the night on Saturday readying the vehicle (thanks again Tom, Ben, and Ean for letting me use the garage) and still had lots to do on Sunday morning at the launch site. I had cast a 5 grain 76mm Blue v3 load earlier in the summer which would make for a nice first flight. Justin Farrand was kind enough to loan me his AMW 6000 hardware, and also donated a smoke grain (thanks again man!). While I worked on the avionics bay, David Hailey and Tom Feldman assembled the motor, and Tom's girlfriend Pam and Jacob Dennis worked on getting the Beeline GPS secured into the nose cone. After buttoning up the bay, disaster struck when my ARTS (severely beat up from the Competitor flight a few weeks ago) only detected continuity on the main channel; some quick thinking and I added a PerfectFlite for deployment control, with the ARTS along for data. Everything was finally ready to go at about 3:30 PM. Roger Jezler was kind enough to donate an igniter, and Gus Piepenburg loaned the use of his rail. After loading on the rail, arming avionics, installing the igniter, and a few quick photos, Brian Perry called out the count. The igniter fired and the motor lit up with authority, cranking DE off the pad. It quickly became invisible against the high cirrus cloud layer, but a pop wafted down from above, indicating we had a drogue. Pam passed the GPS receiver over to me and I called out the altitude and location on the way down; when signal was lost, we knew where it was. Tom and Pam ran out for a quick check, but noted that the rocket was over a small rise; since they needed to leave, Tom left his iPhone with me (loaded with the coordinates), and I was able to walk straight to the rocket on the first try. (That GPS is SLICK!) The ARTS beeped out 12,275 and the HiAlt reported 12,336 -- not a bad first flight.

Altitude: 12,306 ft

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