Tripoli Indiana February 2011

February 19th, 2011

/ Ash Grove Site

3 flights, 1887 N-sec burned

The February launch had awesomely clear weather and unseasonably warm temperatures. Though the field was incredibly muddy, I dug deep into my Kosdon stash to put up three flights on the commercial day. Other highlights were Paul Wolak's incredible two-stage WAC Corporal, Justin Farrand's Mini Magg hauling the mail on a big CTI J, and seeing Pam's parents fly their rockets successfully. A great winter launch!

Flight 1: Little Dragon, Kosdon J230

Keeping with my latest methodology, I had prepped Little Dragon the night before (while watching reruns on E!, bad decision) and so I was second to the high power pad on this beautiful February morning. Tom and Pam had just arrived (with Pam's parents in tow) so I hoped all would go well with this flight! As with its previous launch, Little Dragon boosted quickly and absolutely disappeared at burnout, but continued presence of a tracking signal from the BeeLine indicated that things were working. Eventually, we heard the pop of the main charge firing, and after a few moments of free-fall while the chute unstuck itself (baby powder next time?), things sorted themselves out for a soft landing in the mud. The orange chute was visible from the road, so recovery was quick. The PerfectFlite beeped out 6233 feet; significantly higher than the last 1050 load I flew, so I guess that camera adds some drag!

Altitude: 6,233 ft

Little Dragon on a Kosdon J230

others: recovery

Flight 2: Norad, Kosdon H255

Little Dragon flew nicely, and the weather was still great, so I decided to brave the mud and put another flight in the air. I had fixed up the Norad back in November after it spent the summer in a tree; after Gus and Brian's heroic recovery efforts, I wanted to get her back in the air to prove they were worth something. And what better way to stress test than with my favorite load for the 29/250 case -- the H255F, well known to be a sledgehammer. The Norad looked badass in its spiffy new black paint job, and after a five count, a golden flame emerged from the base and spanked the rocket into the air. Motor ejection was on time at apogee, and though landing was a little far away, I didn't mind the walk at all; any flight with this rocket after it was given up for dead is a good time!
Norad on a Kosdon H255

others: preflight

Flight 3: Little Dragon, Kosdon J280

Things were dragging on in the afternoon, but the weather was sooooo nice I couldn't not fly again. With less than an hour left in the waiver, it would be a race to the finish line to re-prep Little Dragon from its previous flight. I checked the battery voltage and left it in place, added two new deployment charges, re-packed the chute, and built up a J280 for the 38/640 case (my favorite 38mm). I was the last one flying; Brian called out the countdown, and after a quick chuff, the motor lit up and Little Dragon roared into the sunset on a big orange tongue of fire. Apogee was easily visible, and main deployment happened on time at 700 feet; LD landed nearly on the road! In my haste to prep the airframe, I neglected to clean off the mud from the previous flight; it apparently caused some serious extra drag and weight, hampering the vehicle's performance by 1500 feet or so as compared to its previous flights on this motor. No matter, it was a great flight to end the day!

Altitude: 3,431 ft

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