Saturday, March 21, 2009

NARCON

was amazing. I've never been to any sort of major geek conference before, so this was a really cool experience. It was in Wethersfield, only an hour away, in their nice but mazelike high school. (It takes 3 turns just to get into the vafeteria and the vendors, and 4 more to get to the lectures.) There were about a dozen vendors there, including Aerotech - with a 1/2 scale Patriot and ~10x upscale Der Red Max, Balsa Machining Services, Semroc, Fliskits, and several smaller vendors.

I bought the Nantucket Sound - a 24mm flying lighthouse - from Fliskits, won a Skyripper t-shirt as a door prize, and bought a yard (36" x 45") of thin nylon for chutes at a nearby discount fabric store. I bought tons of stuff from BMS - 2 of the new F32-4Ts (I was the first consumer in the world to buy an F32-4 and the third to get an F32 at all), a 29mm balsa nose cone, 6 3/16" launch lugs, a 24/40 reload case, a 3-pack of D15-4 reloads, and an Edmonds Deltie Thunder. The Deltie Thunder is a huge 24mm boost glider with an open delta wing. And I mean HUGE. The glider is about 30" long and 32" wide; the pod is nearly 2 feet long. It'll rock on D12-3s and D15-4s; E11-3J and F12-3J reloads will be possible.

I attended two lectures. The firt was on Beginning High Power Rocketry by David Applegate of METRA. He's a L3 flier with a ton of knowledge about fiberglassing, dual deployment, avionics bays, and other cool geeky stuff. I'm even more encouraged to do my L1 cert at METRA in August, especially since I saw a few 29/180 casings there and one'll definitely fit the Mozzie.

The second was on competition boost gliders by Trip Barber, NAR President. He had some absolutely amazing boost glider that're half the weight of my best with 10 times the glider ratio. He also showed us some amazing Czech Delta A2 motors used in FAI (International) Competition. They're 10mm in diameter, about 30 long, and have a full 2.5Ns of impulse because they use a composite propellant with twice the energy density of blackpowder. Unfortunately, it costs ten thousand bucks for a permit to bring a live one here (his were spent casings), so the only ones in the US at all are a small stock owned by the NAR.

Overall, NARCON was great. I learned a lot, bought a lot, and met people like Trip Barber, Nick Esselman (aka EMRR), Jim Flis, and Gary Rosenfield, owner and motor genius of Aerotech / RCS. Gary, notably, said that the impetus for the F32 was the phase-outs of the old F21W due to bad-quality phenolic casings from China that made CATOS too likely.

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