LDRS 33 Launch Report

July 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

I attended LDRS 33, one of the annual Tripoli Rocketry Association launches, hosted by Tripoli Wisconsin and Quad Cities Rocketry Society at the Bong State Recreation Area near Kenosha, Wisconsin. I had two main goals for this launch. The first was to complete my level 2 certification with a flight of my new rocket “Home Alone” on a J motor, and the second was to make my first flight of more than a mile in altitude. Everything went very smoothly for me and I achieved both of these goals.

Day 1 – Friday, July 18
The event began on Thursday, but to save a vacation day and a hotel night, I drove up to Kenosha on Thursday afternoon and didn’t go to the range until Friday. The predicted weather was very similar throughout the event: mid- to upper 70s, clear and calm. A breeze might have made it a little more comfortable, but all things considered, we couldn’t have asked for better conditions to fly rockets.

I prepped Home Alone according the detailed checklist I had been obsessing over for the past several weeks and loaded up my certification motor, a Cesaroni J430. This was the smallest motor I was comfortable flying; being a fast-burning 2-grain motor, it would only lift the 9-pound rocket to around 3000 feet. At that altitude I expected that my certification observer and I would both be able to see the rocket’s entire trajectory and make sure everything worked properly.

I admit my hands were shaking as I hooked the rocket up on the launch pad. My jitters soon subsided, though, as the fast-moving launch crew started my countdown almost before I could get back to the spectator area and start my camera. Home Alone flew perfectly straight up to its predicted altitude of 3000 feet, remaining just under the scattered clouds, and arced over towards the spectator area as its apogee event fired and it deployed its streamer. Descending under streamer, the rocket continued to drift over the spectators and towards the parking area, causing the LCO (launch control officer) to call for a “heads up.” When I could no longer see the rocket, I packed up my camera and radio tracker and headed back towards the parking area as the LCO (also my certification observer) congratulated me on a successful certification flight.

I went back to my car and dropped off my camera and tripod, and debated whether I should take the tracker with me. I had just decided that I probably wouldn’t need it, and stowed it in the back of my car, when I turned around and saw my rocket lying on the ground next to another rocketeer’s EZ-up tent across the aisle. My first thought was that he must have found my rocket and brought it back to his tent already, but when I approached it became apparent that it had landed right where it was, with the shock cords and parachute strewn around three sides of the tent. My neighbor didn’t seem to be too put out by the near miss, and I had a very short walk back to my car.

Flight #1 launchFlight #1 apogeeFlight #1 landing

Weather conditions: Scattered clouds around 3000 ft, winds calm, 73 F, 59% RH

Wildman Dual Deploy “Home Alone” flight #1:
Motor: Cesaroni Pro54 821J430-18A White Thunder
Altitude: 3034 feet AGL
Max velocity: 318 MPH (Mach 0.42)
Motor burn time: 1.84 sec
Peak acceleration: 10.3 G
Descent rate: 59.47 ft/s (40 mph) under drogue streamer, 18.39 ft/s (13 mph) under main chute
Flight duration: 91.5 sec
Result: Landed in parking area; apogee and main recovery deployment nominal; successful recovery, no damage; certification attempt successful

Flight data file (viewable with the Featherweight Interface Program)

Day 2 – Saturday, July 19
My goal for my second flight was to exceed a mile in altitude. From my first flight I found that my actual altitude differed from my simulation by about 5%, which was about what I expected due to the extra drag of the camera shroud (which my simulator can’t simulate easily). I had originally planned to fly either a 4 grain sparky or a 4 grain smoky motor, either of which should have put me at around 6000 feet and met my goal with a little bit of a cushion. However, since the first flight had gone so well, I decided to push my luck a little more and reach for another (completely arbitrary) milestone – exceeding 500 mph. This would require a slightly higher-impulse motor, and after running some more simulations I settled on a 4 grain motor with Cesaroni’s red propellant, “Red Lightning.”

I purchased the motor at the Wildman Rocketry trailer and returned to my workspace to get things ready to go. While I was working, another SLRA member, Craig, stopped by. He and his wife had decided to come up for the weekend to spectate and take photos, and he helped me get the rocket hooked up at the pad.

Again, I barely had time to get back and start my camera before the LCO called for my countdown. Home Alone shot off the pad on the red motor and quickly disappeared from view completely. I was starting to worry about finding it, and was still scanning the sky overhead, when people to my left started shouting for a heads-up and I saw my rocket drifting down under parachute only about 150 feet up. It came down in the grass just across the road from the spectator area, about fifty feet from where I was standing with my camera and tripod. I wish I had caught sight of it earlier and been able to watch the deployment, because from the altimeter data and the on-board video, it appeared that the main parachute didn’t fully inflate until the rocket was at around 300 feet altitude (after the ejection which should have occurred at 800 feet), which meant it must have come out somewhat tangled.

Without actually seeing it, I think the way in which I folded the main chute may have led to the tangling. For future reference, I’ll note here that it was folded according to the Top Flight instructions (in half to form an L, then in half again to form a long rectangle with a point at the end, then in half lengthwise, then the point folded inwards, then rolled). The gores were then wound around the bundle per the instructions, but then, to make a more compact bundle, I folded the roll in half again before packing it in the tube. I think that folding it again after the gores were already rolled on the outside was a Bad Idea and caused the two halves to get tangled with each other. The next time I pack, I should try either folding the bundle in half before winding the gores around it (so they’re only going one direction) or coming up with another way to fold it so the gores are on the inside.

At any rate, it was a beautiful second flight and another very short recovery walk. Once I downloaded my altimeter data, I found that my altitude and speed had both exceeded my simulations, even without taking into account the 5% I expected to lose due to the camera. I have to assume that there is just that much variation in impulse between one motor and the next, and I happened to end up with an “overachiever.”

Flight #2 launchFlight #2 apogeeFlight #2 apogeeFlight #2 landing


Weather conditions: Scattered clouds around 5000 ft, winds calm, 73 F, 55% RH

Wildman Dual Deploy “Home Alone” flight #2:
Motor: Cesaroni Pro54 1596K500-18A Red Lightning
Altitude: 7394 feet AGL
Max velocity: 573 MPH (Mach 0.76)
Motor burn time: 2.44 sec
Peak acceleration: 13.8 G
Descent rate: 74.90 ft/s (51 mph) under drogue streamer, 21.81 ft/s (15 mph) under main chute
Flight duration: 133 sec
Result: Landed in field very close to spectator area; apogee and main recovery deployment nominal except main seemed to be tangled until ~300 feet AGL; successful recovery, no damage

Flight data file (viewable with the Featherweight Interface Program)

Buder Park Launch for July 19, 2014 Has Been Canceled

July 18, 2014 in Mail_All_Users

Even though the weather is going to be great, we did not have enough club members to support the launch tomorrow morning and must cancel. Since these launches must follow the NAR safety code and we must supervise non NAR fliers, we have a minimum number of iinsured club members that must attend and we didn’t reach the threshold.

Please do not try to fly at Buder Park individually tomorrow. You will not be insured since there will be no NAR insurance, and the GSLMA leadership and parks department require insurance to fly at Buder. Park rangers do monitor the park and most likely will ask you to leave if you fly in any portion of Buder Park by yourself. The NAR insurance we use will not cover canceled events. Thanks for helping us out and maintaining the clubs relationship (and permission to fly) with GSLMA and St. Louis County Parks and we’re very sorry we need to cancel.

Our next scheduled launch will be August 16th and please watch the web site to make sure we have enough club participation and the weather is good.

 

 

Airfest XX in Argonia Kansas – SLRA and Friends of SLRA are Attending Aug 29- Sept 1 2014

July 9, 2014 in Mail_All_Users

As we discussed last night at our monthly club meeting, Airfest XX, a regional launch held in Argonia, KS will be Labor Day weekend.  Argonia has the best high power launch site in the midwest in my opinion.  I think we are to 4 for sure going from this area – Lou, Craig, Jack and I.  Others who have gone before include Larry Terneus, Rob Chapie and Rob Benton.  I do not know for sure if any of them will be making it this year.  Argonia is about an 8 hour drive from St. Louis and is located about 60 miles southwest of Wichita, KS.  Typically those of us from this area, including Larry from Coffeen, set up our base of operations – Camp Missouri as it is often referred to by the LCO – with those from Columbia (Mark Grant, Tom Ciolino, Derek Kewley, Justin) as well as some folks from SW MO (Corky and his crowd along with former St. Louisan, Marty Beck.  Marty is now in Oklahoma and he and his group set upo right next to us.  Having 20ft x 100ft of continuous sunshelter for our camp is not uncommon.  I’ll bring both of my cheap 10 x 20 ft shelters and we lash them all together as we build the camp.  (For those of you considering buying a pop up sun shelter, the ones with vertical legs are better than those with outswept legs.  The steel pop ups also hold up much better than the light aluminum ones.  Winds can get pretty brisk at times.  Anyway, as far as details, I know that I will be riding with Lou who will be pulling the club trailer.  There will be plenty of room for rockets and range boxes in the trailer.

While not as big as LDRS, this is one of the larger regional launches (and is typically an international launch – bring people from as far as Australia and the UK.

KLOUDBusters definitely hold the most organized and well run launches I have ever seen.  They have a 25K ft waiver with windows up to 50Kft available.  (Notify them as soon as possible if you plan to fly above 25K.)

There is camping in Argonia, the closest town to the launch site.  There are hotels (and restaurants) in nearby Anthony, Wellington and Harper.  Some people stay in Wichita (but it is an hour away, so not ideal).  There is no onsite camping except for RVs (no hook ups).  Their launches usually have plenty of vendors and rockets galore.  Hopefully there will be some big projects to watch.  The first P motor flight I saw was there – ini a museum quality 1/3 scale mercury redstone on a Pat Gordzelik dual propellant motor – Amarillo Blue and Polish Rojo.)

For those interested KLOUDBusters usually organizes a bus trip one evening to the Cosmosphere and Space center.  It has many unique exhibits.

To find out more about this launch go here:
http://www.kloudbusters.org/airfest/Default.aspx

Anyone interested in going please let me know and we’ll see if we can do any car pooling or at least transport of rockets and equipment.

Notes From Last Nights Membership Meeting (July 8 2014)

July 9, 2014 in Mail_All_Users

1. There will be a launch on July 19th at Buder Park. Set up time is 8:00 am with launch starting at 9:00 am. The launch is planned until 12:00 noon and can be extended if the weather is good and people would like to continue flying. Anyone is welcome to come fly with us. The details are at this link.

2. We have scheduled our first fall launch at Elsberry. It is scheduled for Saturday October 11th. We will be hosting both an NAR regional contest (October Fly) and a Tripoli research launch. We plan to have a total of 3 launches this fall and will announce the dates for the remaining two launches later this summer. The launch has rollover dates if weather forces a cancellation.

3. A number of SLRA members are planning to attend the Argonia launch in Kansas on labor day weekend. Look for a separate post on the web site giving more details of this large regional launch.

4. Based on a motion from the current board of directors (Heino Pull, Dan Welling, and Rob Chapie), we have added the following directors: Don Hanson, Rodney Riederer, David Kovar, John Buckley.

 

Tuesday July 8, 2014 General Membership Meeting Announcement

July 7, 2014 in Mail_All_Users

Next Meeting: SLRA is having our regular monthly meeting on Tuesday
evening, July 8th, at our  meeting location: Google Map Link

Bandana’s Bbq Sunset Hills
11750 Gravois Road
Sunset Hills, Missouri, 63127

We are continuing to meet at  Bandana’s BBQ Sunset Hills. Even though Bandana’s Sunset Hills doesn’t have a minimum food purchase, we are encouraging members to purchase something to support the use of the room. We have the room from 6:30 to 9:00 and we’ll need to leave promptly since 9 pm is the closing time.

The room will be available at 6:30 PM and  the business meeting will start at about 7:00PM. We’ll need to be out of the room by 9:00 PM (closing).

If you’re a member of SLRA, the meeting minutes from the June meeting will be available here: Meeting Minutes Page, The meeting minutes will be the basis of our “old business” discussion.

We’ll be discussing the July park launch.

 

The standard agenda for all meetings is as follows:

1. Treasury Status.

2. Recognition of Achievements

3. Recognition of Contributions

4. Members expenses.

5. Old Business – please review minutes for last month’s meeting for topics

6. New Business

On line and paper membership forms with payments received by mail  to be processed by treasurer and president.

Please comment on this post or email me at heyno@heino.com if you have new business for the meeting.

Heino Pull
SLRA Secretary

Buder Park Launch Reminder – This Saturday June 21, 2014

June 19, 2014 in Mail_All_Users

The weather currently looks good although it might be a bit warm. The launch is scheduled for 9:00 am with setup starting at 8:00 am. We always need help with setup and tear down so please  consider helping if you can. The detailed information for the launch is available at this link: The launch setup will be most likely at the north part of the park near the soccer fields depending on the wind. All are welcome to fly whether you’re a member or not so please come out for a morning of model rocketry. Attached is an image of the park with an approximate location of the launch setup. buderpark

High Power Help Needed for Science Center Rocket Camps on July 18th and 31st

June 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

Aaron Walker from the St. Louis Science Center is seeking the assistance from an SLRA High Power rocketeer to give a presentation on High Power model rocketry to a Summer Camp group of 5th/6th graders and high schoolers. The dates Aaron would love to have our help are July 18th at around 1pm (for our high school group) and July 31st around 9am (for the 5th/6th grade group). The students will be building an flying low power rockets as part of the camp activity. Aaron want us to give a high power presentation to show just how advanced and challenging model rockets are when you start getting into high power launching. Let me know if you can help Aaron out and I will pass your contact information on to him.

Happy Rocketeering!

Dave Kovar

Notes from Tuesday 6/10/2014 SLRA Meeting – Buder Park Launch Details

June 11, 2014 in Mail_All_Users

1. We are planning to have summer launches – the first on Saturday 21 June 2014 at Buder Park. Additional launches are planned for the third Saturday of July, August, and September. With our recent work with the Science Center, we may have access to a much better field than Buder Park so stay tuned to the web site for additional details.

The launch on 21 June will have setup starting at 8:00 am with the launch starting at 9:00 am. We plan to fly to around 1:00 PM. Everyone is welcome to attend and fly rockets at Buder park. You do not have to be a club member or a member of the NAR or Tripoli and kids are always welcome with adult supervision.  This is a perfect place to get acquainted with the club, the national organizations (NAR or Tripoli) and learn the safe way to fly rockets. The park is not large which limits the size and power of models flown with the ultimate limit being a 3.3 lb rocket. We encourage much smaller models though because of the proximity to the Meramac river and the need to avoid landing on the R/C field which we share access. Flights over 1000 feet are allowed, but unlikely to be recoved safely if any wind is present at all so please ask if you have concerns about loosing your rocket.

Everyone who flies with us must also realize that the St. Louis County Parks requires organizations that fly there to have some form of insurance and we will be covered by NAR insurance which will protect our club and members and the property at Buder park as an NAR sanctioned launch. However, anyone flying without being members of NAR or Tripoli will not be insured directly and must fly under supervision of an SLRA member who is a member of either NAR or Tripoli. We will need to make sure all launches occur under the NAR safety code and must supervise the prep of the rockets for anyone not a member of NAR or Tripoli.  We are glad to do that – so feel welcome. It is to your benefit to eventually join either of the national organizations which will then cover your rocketry activity under their insurance – even at other locations. We  want you to try out the hobby first and to have fun flying with your family in a safe environment – as long as all the safety rules are followed. Members of the Boy Scouts or Cub Scouts and their leaders are covered by Tripoli insurance as long as the NAR safety rules are followed. If you have any questions please ask – you can comment on this post or email the club at admin@stlouisrocketry.com.

2. We had a lessons learned session with Dave Kovar after the very successful Apollo 11 45th Anniversary event with the Science Center and Missouri STEM organization. Dave Kovar (who organized the event) handed out Gene Kranz signed “Foundations of Mission Control” certificates to the club volunteers who helped out. Dave provided the following info on the history of the “Foundation of Mission Control”:

“After the Apollo 1 fire, he (Gene Kranz) and others developed a charter, “Foundations of Mission Control.” It was a contract or code of conduct, which in the NASA human spaceflight world was the closest thing to the Ten Commandments. Foundations very clearly spelled out the values, expectations and responsibilities that each and every employee in Mission Control was expected to understand, believe and live as a member of the NASA team.

As is the case with many others at NASA, I have a copy of Foundations on my bulletin board at United Space Alliance, where I am almost 10 years into my leadership role with the company. Foundations serves as a constant reminder of the traits of a competent and respected leader … one ultimately responsible for the outcome of their decisions. This is the kind of leader I aspire to be.”

The event was very successful and hope to have similar events in the future to support science education and STEM. Thanks Dave Kovar for organizing the event.

3. We have not yet set up a fall launch schedule for Elsberry and high power rockets. We anticipate flying at Elsberry in October and John Buckley will hold another “October Fly” contest. Look for more details on the web site in the coming months. We also plan to continue having flier surveys to gauge interest for scheduling purposes.

4. If you need to pay for t-shirts, hats or club membership – you can always send money through PayPal at the email address: admin@stlouisrocketry.com.

As always, feel free to comment on this post or email admin@stlouisrocketry.com if you have any questions.

Heino Pull
SLRA Secretary

 

Tuesday June 10, 2014 General Membership Meeting Announcement

June 8, 2014 in Mail_All_Users

Next Meeting: SLRA is having our regular monthly meeting on Tuesday
evening, June 10th, at our new meeting location: Google Map Link

Bandana’s Bbq Sunset Hills
11750 Gravois Road
Sunset Hills, Missouri, 63127

We are continuing to meet at  Bandana’s BBQ Sunset Hills. Lets us know what you think about meeting at this location. Even though Bandana’s Sunset Hills doesn’t have a minimum food purchase, we are encouraging members to purchase something to support the use of the room. We have the room from 6:30 to 9:00 and we’ll need to leave promptly since 9 pm is the closing time.

 

The room will be available at 6:30 PM and  the business meeting will start at about 7:00PM. We’ll need to be out of the room by 9:00 PM (closing).

If you’re a member of SLRA, the meeting minutes from the May meeting will be available here: Meeting Minutes Page,

We’ll be discussing any potential park launches this summer.

 

The standard agenda for all meetings is as follows:

1. Treasury Status.

2. Recognition of Achievements

3. Recognition of Contributions

4. Members expenses.

5. Old Business – please review minutes for last month’s meeting for topics

6. New Business

On line and paper membership forms with payments received by mail  to be processed by treasurer and president.

Please comment on this post or email me at heyno@heino.com if you have new business for the meeting.

Heino Pull
SLRA Secretary

Dave Kovar’s Saturn 5 – Boy Scout/Cub Scout Launch Video With Gene Kranz – May 17, 2014

June 7, 2014 in Mail_All_Users

Some video from our Forest Park Central Field launch demo of Dave Kovar’s Saturn 5 model with scale launch tower. Some interesting remarks from Gene Kranz about launch Saturn V’s and landing on the moon during Apollo 11.  Gene also had some remarks about engine out on the Saturn 5 2nd stage that is quite interesting.

The video is at this link.