DarkStar Lite

Length:43.5"Status:Active / 5 flights
Motor Mount:38mmBuild Dates:2010-03-06 to 2010-03-13

I purchased this rocket as a combo deal for Tripoli Indiana's ThunderStruck drag race. Though it came with a 29mm motor mount, I just couldn't leave it at that, so I Dremeled out the centering rings and trimmed off the fin roots to allow installation of a 38mm. Vic Barlow donated a piece of phenolic tubing, and we were off. There's also a bay in the nose cone for my BigRedBee tracker, 'cause on a 4-grain, this thing will go really high.


Event: Tripoli Indiana July 2010

Date: July 17th, 2010

Motor: AT G71

Well, I didn't want to leave the DSL with one underperforming G flight for the weekend, so I decided to roll the dice and use my last G71 for another flight. The previous time I used this reload (June 2010), the delay was incredibly short. This time, all went well, and the DarkStar went on a nice quick ride to about 2000 feet on the red load, with ejection at apogee. Vic Barlow was nice enough to chase it down in the beans for me, guided by the beeper I had installed. Thanks man!

Event: Tripoli Indiana July 2010

Date: July 17th, 2010

Motor: AT G64

My first flight for the weekend was my DarkStar Lite on a G64. Prep was fast and the DSL was on the pad for the first mid power flight of the day. Liftoff was quick and straight on the White Lightning G motor, however about 2/3 of the way through the burn, a loud CRACK was heard and the motor quickly dropped to almost no thrust. I figured it had blown the nozzle or something. As a result, the 7 second delay was a little long, but the chute eventually deployed for a safe recovery. Post-flight inspection showed a significantly enlarged nozzle throat after the burn when compared to other post-firing G64 nozzles; I'm guessing there was a molding defect or something in this particular one. A successful flight, if a bit more exciting than usual!

Event: Tripoli Indiana June 2010

Date: June 13th, 2010

Motor: AT F40

Since there was a high cloud deck and beans were close by, I elected to keep it low for the first flight, with the DarkStar Lite on a white F motor. Prep went fast and I loaded up on the second rack of the day, next to Vic Barlow and his BBX. The Copperhead chuffed out, but luckily Brian Perry came to my rescue with a FirstFire, which got things going right away. I hadn't brought my camera out yet, but Ed Beheler got a great launch photo (and recovery photo, too) - thanks man! The delay was a little long (-7 was all I had), but recovery deployment was nominal and I landed on the sod just uprange of the pads.

DarkStar Lite on an AT F40

others: recovery

Event: Tripoli Indiana May 2010

Date: May 2nd, 2010

Motor: AT H180

For the DarkStar's second flight, I decided to step up to an H180W and see how high it'd really go. I only had a medium delay, so ejection would be a bit early, but RockSim still put apogee around 3400 feet -- plenty high, especially with single deploy and no tracker. The flight was great -- loud, fast, and straight up, but the slightly early ejection popped the reefing tape I had put on the chute and resulted in an long walk for recovery. Eh, it happens!

Event: Thunderstruck 2010

Date: April 11th, 2010

Motor: CTI H123

My one and only flight for the weekend was the first voyage of this new airframe. The flight was planned to happen as part of a nine-way drag race, with none other than the mayor of Lafayette pushing the button. Darryl from Wildman Kentucky handed me the reload on Sunday morning, and I quickly prepped the rocket before the range opened, so I would be ready for the drag race when the time came. I added a healthy dose of orange tracking chalk to make my rocket distinct among the cornucopia of parachutes that would be appearing. At 1 PM sharp, Eric Barlow was kind enough to bring the rocket out to me on the range, where I loaded it on the rail with the help of (new L3!) Brian Perry, next to Darryl and Crazy Jim. Vic made the announcement over the PA and counted down, and instantaneously all nine rockets roared into the air. I was positioned between the rows taking photos, and it was REALLY COOL to hear nine Skidmarks take off in living stereo! My rocket performed well, deploying its chute at apogee, and landing in the freshly tilled field next door for an easy recovery. Good first flight!

DarkStar Lite on a CTI H123

others: recovery

I like to design, build, and fly rockets. PostFlight started as a project to help me keep track of them. Now I've opened it up so you can follow along, too.
I fly with:
Indiana Rocketry, Inc. MDRA
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