Apollo 11 commemorative flight- Moncton, N.B. (aka launch report)

Apollo 11 commemorative flight- Moncton, N.B. (aka launch report)

Post by Kevin Drays » Sun, 18 Jul 1999 04:00:00

Greetings from the eastern part of Canada, all!

Tonight, we held a small launch to commemorate the launch of Apollo
11, thirty years ago. While the focal point of the get-together was
the flight of my Saturn V, we flew a few other rockets too:

First flight was my Estes Flying Saucer (now re-released as the
Snitch) on a C6-0. Nice straight flight, with the ship landing about 5
feet past the pads. One bounce on landing, and it righted itself!

Next off was Mark's' Estes Yankee. I didn't hear what motor he used,
only that this was to be the rocket's maiden flight. At ignition, the
rocket vanished from the pad, apparently to be our sacrifice to the
rocket gods. Once it cleared the rail, it was never seen again!

Sean's Estes Sidewinder was off next, on a C5-3 or C6-3. Nice boost,
althought the rocket seemed to wobble slightly at first (not a normal
'Winder wobble). Both sections were recovered in good shape.

Up next was Mark's Loc Norad, on an F50. Very load roar as the rocket
streaked skyward. We nearly lost this one, as it used all of our
launch field, and then some to recover. It landed in some low brush,
according to one estimate about half a klick from the pad.

Now it was time for the main flight of the evening. My Saturn V was
prepped with an E15-4. Once everyone was gathered, we had a moment of
silence to remember that historic event 30 years ago. After that, it
was on with the countdown. 5...4...3...2...1...ignition! Like it's
much larger ancestor thirty years previously, the Saturn's motor
roared to life, and the rocket soared skyward in what was probably the
best flight that it has ever had. The lighting had dimmed just enough
to make the plume from the White Lightning motor seem to fill the
entire back end of the rocket. For a moment, it seemed  as thought I
was watching the real thing. At motor burn-out, reality settled back
in, as I watched the rocket tip over, and begin what I feared would be
a death-plummet to the ground. Fortunately, an eyeblink after it was
pointed straight down, the ejection charge fired, and the chutes were
deployed. Both sections descended gently down, and were recovered
intact. Even the Escape Tower was still attached! It doesn't get much
better than that!

We still had enough light left for a few more launches, so my Estes
AMRAAM was next to take to the skies, on a C6-3. Nice boost, but I
should've used a longer delay. Upon recovery I noticed a small
battle-scar, in the form of a very small zipper (maybe 2mm). I might
just change the shock cord in that one...

The next flight was Mark's Longshot, miuns the booster stage. It was
getting dark enough that we were concerned about losing either the
booster, or the whole rocket if it went too high. Nice flight, but we
feared we had a lawn dart on our hands, as the rocket had lost about
half its altitude before the chute deployed. In any event, it was
recovered without damage.

The final flight for the night was a scale version of NASA'a current
mainstay- a full-stack Space Shuttle, courtesy of Sean. Boost was
perfect, but Sean indicated that the glider wasn't trimmed right. Not
that I could tell- by this point it was dark enough that I could
barely see the orbiter, never mind tell how well it was gliding! Both
parts were recovered, and in good shape.

At that point, it was too dark to do any further flying. Furthermore,
the mosquitos (New Brunswick's unofficial Provincial Bird), which had
so far had only a minimal presence, descended on us en masse. Clearly,
it was time to get out while we still had ***!

Kevin Drayson CAR #S369