My friends and I, BAR's to the core, had a launch in Northern New Jersey
on Sunday (10-6-96). Here are the particulars:
LAUNCH TIME: 5PM (~1.5 hr before sundown)
TEMP: ~65 deg F and not a cloud in the sky.
FIELD: A corporate complex that never was fully developed. A bit small
and too close to main roads for our liking for birds our size, but it's
the only place reasonably devoid of trees that isn't private property in
ROCKETS: 1 LOC Aura kit, 1 LOC Legacy kit (first launch for these), and
1 highly modified AT Mustang.
We just purchased the LOC kits and assembled them the night before (hope
the glue holds!). The LOC kits are hardly as industrial-stringth as the
Aerotech kits, but they appear to be solid enough. I did fashion a motor
clip from a wire clothes hanger, which worked very well.
The first launch was the LOC Aura on a G40 (we don't mess arround). The
package claims it can reach 4500', though my computer sim claims 3400'.
It launched really fast (the sim thinks about 19 gees), and was out of
sight in less than a second. We followed the smoke trail, saw the
ejection charge, and followed the streamer down. Beautiful flight.
On recovery, the streamer was attached near the nosecone, but that's all
we got back. The cord had burned through. We searched for the body for an
hour with no success. $25 for 3 seconds of whoosh. Bummer.
Next up was my new LOC Legacy on an F14j. After the initial smoke and
sputter, the blackjack motor caught and lifted the Legacy off nice and
slow, a little wobble was evident in the video replay. Another beautiful
flight, peaking at about 1000'. The rocket landed in the middle of the
road (not much traffic, so no real danger of that) with no damage
(surprise). As I was trotting over to get it, a police car slowed to take
a look at my rocket, then at me. I gave him my best "Hey I'm okay and I
don't hunt airliners" smile and wave. He drove away without stopping.
Next up was my modified Mustang on a G80. It's about 52" long now, having
added a second chute and a payload section. I'm still waiting for my
friend (who lost the Aura) to finish building the altimeter/deployment
electronics (we're building it ourselves for fun), so I still launch it
using a single chute. This makes it weigh about a pound, but on the G80
it might as well weigh an ounce. It jumped off the pad so fast that the
camera-man couldn't follow it. It apogeed at about 2200' and recovered
beautifully, though we had to hop a barbed-wire fence to get it.
Last, we launched the Legacy again, but this time on a G40. By this time
the sun had gone down and the rocket flew up through the horizon line,
exhaust being turned orange by the dying sunlight. Again a beautiful
flight. But we all lost sight of it as the ejection charge went off. It
was like aliens snatched it out of the air. After a good 30 seconds of
"where the hell is it?!" we spotted it. It was about 30 yards away and in
the last seconds of descent. It fell fast and inconspicuous because the
chute tangled in the shock cord and never fully deployed. The rocket
landed in high weeds and was undamaged. The sim predicted about 3000'.
Overall impressions, WOW! With the exception of the lost Aura, all
flights were perfectly straight and impressive as hell. The composite
motors really draw a crowd. It even got a jogger to stop in her tracks
and gape skyward. I love when that happens. ;-)