Midwest Power 9

October 28th-31st, 2011

/ Princeton, IL

2 flights, 7600 N-sec burned

Midwest Power is the traditional season opener for the midwestern flying months, and this year's launch exceeded expectations with two great days of flying. Thanks to Stephen and Bill and Tim and Brad and everybody else from TQC who always makes this such a great time.

Flight 1: Competitor 4, PPL K400

After spending most of the day catching up with everyone, I decided to try and get in a flight before the range closed for the evening. I spent a few unsuccessful minutes debugging my PicPac TNC; Chuck Haskin and Dennis Watkins both volunteered to watch the flight and let me know the landing coordinates. I intended to fly a 2550 white, but forgot the recovery eye attachment for it, so I swapped it out for a 1750 blue load. I was the LAST one on the pad; David Kittell and Richard Cash ran it out for me while I filled out the flight card, all while being accosted by Tim. The Thermalite wire wrap igniter lit things right up after a five count, and the rocket lifted gracefully off the pad and into the air on a long tongue of blue fire. The motor shut down smoothly and the rocket coasted silently to apogee; drogueless deployment occurred, and the main a short while later. The R7 was tangled into a neat looking mushroom-esque bundle, but provided a soft enough landing in the corn next to the Boy Scout food tent. Chuck and Dennis had no troubles telling me where it landed :)

Altitude: 3,496 ft

Competitor 4 on a PPL K400

others: ignition

Flight 2: Dark Energy, PPL M1600

I had spent the Super Bowl alternately watching football and mixing a big batch of White Knight, but had yet to fly any of it. I prepped the motor the week before the launch (getting out some area exam stress sanding grains!), so prep was fairly quick on Saturday morning. I replaced the avionics batteries, got GPS lock, and hooked up the recovery rigging with a nice shiny new 60" SkyAngle chute. Dennis Watkins again volunteered to watch the GPS data, and David Kittell not only carried my rocket to the pad, but gave me an igniter to use -- thanks man! Tim called out the count and the motor lit up with a satisfying roar, carrying the rocket into the air on a long burn. At apogee, a small gas leak into the avionics bay tricked the altimeters into thinking it was at main deployment altitude, leading to main deployment and a long walk. Dennis tracked it faithfully with his yagi, and the BRB GPS led me and Richard Cash right to the airframe laying quietly in a corn field 2 miles away. Cool motor, and not a bad flight!

Altitude: 12,440 ft

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