Monday, August 31, 2009

New Motors and Spacers from Cesaroni!

Cesaroni announced today the sucessful certification of 14 new motors, including reloads for their 29, 54, 75, and 98mm casings, plus a 98mm reload certified for Animal hardware and a 98mm reload cross-certifed on both Pro98 and AT RMS hardware.

First was the F29 Imax™ load for the Pro29-1G case. It's a 37.5% F at 55 Ns, and has a 12-second delay, adjustable. I'm considering buying a Pro29-1G case, and having a fourth relaod available really tips the balance a bit more in its favor.

The other Pro29 load certified was the 381-Ns I224-15A Classic load for the Pro29-6GXL motor. At 381Ns, it's the second most powerful 29mm motor available; the Kosdon TRM I560 at 436 NS is bigger; the closest competitors are the 348Ns I204 Pro29-6G load, the 370Ns Kosdon I550, and the 330Ns I200W for the AT 29/360 case and Kosdon I385.

One Pro54-6GXL motor, the 3147Ns L935 Imax™, was certified. Only the 3300Ns Kosdon L3000 is a bigger 54mm reload.

Pro75 reloads certified were the 4-grain 5506Ns M1230 Imax™, the 6-grain 7388Ns M2045 Blue Streak, the 6-grain, 7455Ns M2150 Red Lightning, and the 6774Ns M2050 Skidmark for the Animal 75-7600 hardware.

Pro98 reloads certified were the 3-grain, 7579Ns M1520 Blue Streak, the 4-grain, 8088Ns M1970 Skidmark (cross-certified with AT 98/10240 hardware), the 4-grain, 9870Ns M1800 Blue Streak, the 6-grain, 11077Ns N2600 Skidmark, the 6-grain, 13767Ns N2850 Blue Streak, the 6-grain XL 14263Ns N3400 Skidmark, and the 6-grain XL 17613Ns N2900 Classic.

All 54mm to 98mm reloads were plugged. There were 4 Blue Streaks, 2 Classics, 3 Imax, 1 Red Lightning, and 4 Skidmarks. One F, one I, one L, seven M, and four N. Total impulse burned was 246,458.92 Ns - a 50.4% R.

Also tested were spacers. MOre on those later after I sleep.

Link to Rocketry Planet

Now that's an interesting use for a chute...

Aerocon Systems offers a number of interesting parachutes, including a 73" X-form chute rated to Mach 1.1. They also carry a 72" orange chute, which apparently can be used underwater:
72 orange chute underwater
According to the site, it can be used as a drag anchor for small boats, as well as for drift fishing:

The nylon lines don't rot in water, so apparently it works quite well.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Pretty much all my work today was on gliders.

First, I finished the wood glue coating on the Orbital Transport glider. It's ready for a coat of paint.

Second, I modified my generic glider system with better glider hooks. Instead of angled slot hooks, which tend to slip and are hard to match, I devised a tricky little system with a dowel inserted into a launch lug, much like on the Orbital Transport. My generic 18mm booster pod now has 1/8" and 3/16" launch lugs and can loft 2 gliders at once.

'Glider 2' has now been updated and rebalanced with the dowel. It'll fly soon and hopefully with this new system will not separate at burnout.

'Glider 3', a near-clone of the late Glider 1, is currently being built and will have the dowel system as well. It'll use a 1/8" dowel so it can boost together with Glider 2.

The Orbital Transport glider can also use the generic boost pod.

New email!

I have aquired a yahoo/rocketmail address so you can send me emails now and I won't have to worry about my main email getting spam.

Unfortunately, I can't set it to feed automatically to my normal email, so I'll only end up checking it once a week or so.

Okay, ready for it? it's all convulted and stuff so spambots can't get to it.

the username is [theege], outside the brackets and stuff, and it's at the domain [].

You can still use my old address. The link is at the bottom of the page.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hardware Store Run!

Stopped by the hardware store on the way home from my haircut. Picked up:

12 oz can of automotive spray primer
12 oz can of green spray paint
12 oz can of blue spray paint
roll of blue masking tape
10g tube of CA gel
5-minute epoxy in little mixer-tube
bottle of wood glue

Friday, August 28, 2009

Nike-Apache Review finished!

2425 words, and about 4 hours total of work. Now I just gotta choose what pictures to send...

I also got a bit of building done.

I've coated the tops on the wings and the nose cone of the Orbital Transport glider with wood glue in preparation for painting. It'll take a while, but I think it'll look best once painted.

I removed most of the old beat-up motor mount from the Transwing and replaced it with a better mount with new tubing and no pesky motor hook. It'll fly on a C6-3 at the next CATO I attend, probably either October or November.

Finally, the new 18mm booster for the Comanche-3 is almost complete. I put 3 coats of red paint, which almost matches the original, and the green stripe is drying.

I found the ejection charge canister, with some extra BP remaining that I didn't load into the motor, from one of my cert reloads. Why I put it into my 29/240 case I don't know, but added to the leftovers from two 24mm charges, I now have about a gram - over a full 24mm charge - to use to replace a lost charge or augment a charge, or to place in small nozzles to facilitate staging.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


My review of the Nike-Apache for EMRR is half done - parts, building, and finishing are done; flight and recovery not yet. I've already got on the order of 1000 words. Depending on how much I write, this might be the longest single thing I've written if it surpasses my massive English paper at 2924 words.


If I can find a cheap flight to Columbus on the morning of September 12th, then I will get to attend the OSU-USC game without having to skip playing in marching band at the opening to the local fair or missing out on attending the fair with my self-described 'kick-ass girlfriend'. Yay!

In other news, GO BUCKS!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Nantucket Sound Repairs

Or, why Jim Flis rocks.

At the launch last saturday, I flew the Nantucket Sound on an E18-4W reload. It was a beautiful boost - loud and smoky and firey. The motor casing stayed in this time, but the force of the ejection charge, even half-strength, caused the clay nose weight to blow off the nose shroud. The clay fell straight down, nearly hitting Al Gloer, which is good for fidning it but not so good for winning brownie points. The shroud, forming an aerobrake, drifted away on the wind. The chute opened just feet above the ground, saving the lighthouse from any other damage.

Since I got the clay back, all I have to do is use some epoxy clay to hold it in firmly this time. However, I realized this evening that I did not keep a duplicate pattern for the shroud (idiot!) and I had no idea how to make a duplicate from approximate dimensions. Fortunately, Fliskits had their email on their site with a promise of a quick reply, so I sent off the quick email:

I bought a Nantucket Sound at NARCON, and I love the kit. It's flown beautifully twice, both on E18-4W reloads. The E18-4 is a great motor - loud and smoky, and it ejects just past. On the last flight, however, the nose weight broke loose and popped the nose shroud off. The rest of the rocket recovered safely, and I got the clay back (it nearly hit Al Gloer on the head, actually), but the nose shroud floated off and I did not recover it. Would it be possible to either email me a copy of the shroud design to print out?

Quick reply indeed! Exactly one hour and 15 minute later, in the evening no less, I got a reply from Jim Flis:

No problem (see attached). Make sure you print this on heavy card stock and also be sure to disable your printers "Scale to fit" feature so that it prints out in the correct size.

Good luck and keep me posted!
warm regards,

Which had a pdf file with the fin/nose shroud/railing patterns attached. I'll print it out tomorrow on heavy cardstock, and have the foresight to use gold spray paint instead of the stupid little bottles from the craft store which are all watered down and leaky and gunky and stuff.

If you need a copy of the file, leave a comment or send me an email using the link on the bottom.

Random stuff

1) Sorry to mandachan for the wrong birthday link. I'm so used to automatically typing in mine that my subconscious took over. Here is the proper link. You really should go wish her a belated happy birthday.

2) Working on my EMRR review for the Nike-Apache. It may or may not be done in time for the next update.

3) Repairs are going well. I put two coats of black on the fins of the Odyssey and it's fully repaired. It's rather underpowered, though - I may have to make a cool-looking 18mm booster for it.

The Deltie Thunder is near completion. The shock cord mount is almost finished drying, and then it'll be finished and ready for its next flight, at CATO 155 in November perhaps.

The new 18mm booster for the Comanche-3 is also almost completed. All the joints have a fillet, but I'm adding a second round for more strength. It'll then get painted red, have greebles hand-painted on, and fly in a drag race (finally) in November.

Nantucket Sound: see next post.

4) Rolling down a small hill inside a 5-foot-tall tire at band camp rocks. It's ever better when your band teacher not only approves, but suggested it. Awesome.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Repairs started

Paveway: Put fillets on a rear fin that was loosened. It's all repaired now.

Odyssey: Glued a toothpick to a fin tip to replace the one that got lost at CATO. Next is another coat of black to cover that up and clean up a few spots.

Deltie Thunder: trashed the burnt plastic chute. Reglued the eye hook in the nose cone, plus coated it with wood glue for protection. I also but fillets ont he sides on the glider hook to strengthen it for possible use on Es or even an F32 (!)

Comanche-3: I am building a new 18mm booster stage, absolutely identical to the original, to replace the one that was lost in the high grass in Salem. I've got the internal MMT and coupler cut and glued in, and the fins cut. The glue joint for the first fin is currently gluing.

Nantucket Sound: untangled chute. Will probably start on the repairs tonight.

Monday, August 24, 2009

HPR at a local field?

According to a few threads on the CATO forums, pending the results of a waiver filed, small and low HPR flights (i.e, high-thurst Gs and baby Hs) may be allowed at times at the new Salem launch site. This means that stuff like the 29/60 G104T and 38/120 G339N, plus hybrids, would be usuable at the site, plus low-altitude flights on smaller H motors like the 29/180 cases.

This would be a lot of fun for me. I could fly 29mm saucers on H loads, plus do flight testing for a L2 rocket, which I plan to build over the next 18 months then launch as soon as I turn 18.

Happy Birthday mandachan!

It's mandachan's birthday! Go wish her a very happy sweet 16!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Mandachan and I got to go to a AAA baseball game today - Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs at the Pawtucket Red Sox (Go PawSox!). It was an awesome game, even though the PawSox lost, and we had a lot of fun. We got to go out to dinner afterwards, where I had a delicious chicken sandwhich with bacon and mushrooms on it. Yum.

I don't like to appologize for my lack of posts, but I think I have to here. I've got a lot to blog about, but I'm just lacking the time. I'm tired from my unorthodox sleep schedule and lacking in time from band camp.

The good side: Band camp plus school will hopefully get me back into a normal sleep schedule. I've got lots of cool stuff to do and post on and I think I'll get some interesting stuff.

Topics that'll hopefully be coming soon:
  • teaching myself HTML
  • designing and building a 4" pumpkin lofter
  • solar balloons
  • mathematical oddities, including Reuleaux triangles and starting calculus
  • EMRR reviews coming for the Jinx, Nike-Apache, Deltie Thunder, GBU-24 Paveway III, and more
  • Chemistry
  • building several cluster rockets as test beds

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Launch Report #32: CATO 152

Absolutely awesome day. I had good luck with chutes and such. My only regret is that I forgot to put sunblock on. No pictures, sorry.

First came my downscale Odyssey on an A10-3T and Nuclear Mosquito on a C6-5 on the first rack. The Odyssey went up fast to about 300 feet and ejected near apogee. It came down fast and safely on the streamer.

The Nuclear Mosquito was a different story. It boosted fast and straight to around 700 feet and the 12" chute ejected just past. It started drifting, and drifting, and drifting... over the road. I ran out to find it, and there it was only about 50 feet from the road. Ross Tracey was there looking for his Talon II which had drifted way away on an F and 36" chute, and I helped look for a while. After 30 minutes of no luck, I finally spotted it two fields over about a third of a mile from the launch pads. It had landed with the chute visible in the tree and the rocket on the ground. Perfect recovery.

Next came Rama on a D21-4. I stiffened the fin joints with CA before flight and stuffed in a homemade 24" nylon chute. The Q2G2 igniter was easy to use - better than an Estes igniter. Unlike the C6-3s I've tried before, the D21 made a fast, clean boost and ejected just past. The 24" chute was a good match and it landed just at the edge of the bushes on the other side of the neat treeline.

Fourth was the GBU-24 Paveway III on a C6-5. Nice flight to around 600 feet. It drifted back and landed right by the pad.

Fifth was the Comanche-3 on a D12-0 / B6-0 / A8-5 combo. It staged nicely three times, arced over a bit, and ejected just past. The streamer tangled and it came it fast and stable but undamaged. I found the sustainer, and someone else kindly brought in the 24mm booster. Ah well; I have the fin patterns, and BT-50, and tube connectors. I can make another one!

Sixth was the Deltie Thunder on a D12-3. Once I'd secured it against the wind, it boosted fairly straight and ejected about 1 second past. The glider straightened out almost immediately thanks to the curve put on the back wing. It glided perhaps 300 feet in 10 seconds before hitting a tree. The shock cord mount pulled out of the booster, but nothing was damaged besides that except the craptastic Estes chute which melted. I had to climb a tree about 15 feet to rescue it from a small branch that caused no damage to it. I was able to hand it to a Cub Scout dad (several dozen cub scouts came to fly Wizards on A8-3s) so as to not have to climb down the tree while holding it.

Seventh was the Nantucket Sound on an E18-4W reload. I borrowed an Interlock igniter clip and it made it a lot easier. It boosted fast and loud and smoky to about 500 feet and ejected about 1.5 seconds past. The chute failed to open, and the nose shroud popped off. The clay weight fell fast and nearly clonked Al Gloer in the head. The chute opened just before landing and the remainder of the rocket landed undamaged. All I need to do is make a new shroud and use epoxy clay to keep the weight in. On the plus side, the motor case stayed in and soaking it in vinegar cleaned it right out.

The final flight was Lord Gavin on a D12-3. It didn't weathercock at all and drifted away on the 12" nylon chute. Sad day. The loss of the rocket is no biggie, but I *liked* that nice nylon chute. Oh well..

Stats and de-typoing coming later.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Not much to report. Launch report coming tomorrow.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Odyssey finished!

All painted and everything. Looks pretty nice. Pictures tomorrow, maybe.

Also, the Rokit is nearly fully refurbished except for some additional masking tape-ing.

And yet more boring updates...

Because I feel the need to have some outlet for my geeky randomness, and the internets seems to be a good place.

The Odyssey is now finished except for painting. All 6 fins glued and fillet, plus dowels (toothpucks) glued to the 3 large fin tips. The motor mount is glued to the main body and the launch lug glued on so as to not run the rod into the fins. Painting will be later today after I sleep. Primer, then white, then red, then black. Will launch saturday on an A10-3T.

The Rokit has all three fins reshaped and reglued with proper grain orientation for better strength. Launch lug and masking tape will follow shortly. May fly saturday.

Other flights definitely for saturday:
Deltie Thunder on a D12-3, then maybe an F32-4T later.
Nantucket Sound on an E18-4T reload
Comanche-3 on D12-0 / B6-0 / A8-5; drag race with Al Gloer.
Nuclear Mosquito on a C6-5
GBU-24 Paveway III; C6-5
SpaceShipTwo; A10-3T
Something on a D21-4, maybe.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Odyssey Revealed!

This is what my desk looks like:
My clutered desk 
On the left is my box of rings and things, with the WAC Corporal sitting on top waiting for repairs. In the upper left corner is the cardboard box that holds all my stuff. My exacto set is the wooden box in the middle; the epoxy clay is the two small tubs next to the tape dispenser in the bottom right. My power supply is on the red cart to the right.

Other visible things include my plier / snipper set, an exacto knife and saw, at least 2 sanding blocks, most of my plastic clamp set, masking tape, 2 metal rulers, a little blue LED falser module, various bits of the Odyssey and Rokit, several random pieces of wood, my crazy glue, wood glue, plastic cement, sandpaper, an LCD screen, several pencils, bits of a pen, a black set of screwdrivers, my bin of utensils and screwdrivers and dental tools, an expended 13mm motor casing, 2 types of tape, 2 fin jigs, blue clay, soldering stuff, bits of a VCR, a plastic bag holding a MMX pen rocket under construction, test tubes, a plastic bin for motors and such, bits of straws, and a little orange thing with a blade that I use to score balsa.

The Odyssey fin can under construction:
Odyssey fin section 

And the finished nose cone:
Odyssey nose cone 

Unpainted, not fully glued together, and needed fillets and dowels, but the general look of the Odyssey:
Odyssey assembled 

Note how the pictures are fuzzy; The photo shoot of several rockets I took earlier will be redone with my dad's camera.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Repairs and repainting and building

During a rocket photo shoot (pictures coming later), I managed to step on the WAC Corporal. 4 fins broke off and the bottom tube was crushed. I reglued the fins and fixed the bottom tube, but I wasn't satisfied. I clipped the engine hook to avoid the off-center thrust that plagues the mini motor hooks.

I then repainted almost the entire rocket. The nose cone got a new coat of black, making it better looking and covering up a bad spot where the solder weight I put in made a small hole. The lower part of the WAC Corporal got the fin colors reversed to the correct configuration (2 silver and one black instead of one silver and two black) and blemishes covered up, while the Tiny Tim section got the stage connector repainted to look more scale-like and got painted black to cover up scratches. It actually looks better than before now.

While I was at it, I decided to repaint bits of the Bullpup. I added white to a few bare patches on the forward fins, then painted bits of the main fins black to replace peeling decals, then used white-out to cover up paint that leaked through the masking tape. Looks nice now.

Finally, I'm making progress on the Odyssey. The three larger fins are glued and filleted, and the first smaller fin is drying now. With any luck, I'll be able to fly it on Saturday.

Odyssey Update

I've got all the fins cut and coated with wood glue. The sizing was TLAR - That Looks About Right.

Screw eye glued into the nose cone.

One of two MMT centering rings slit and the shock cord knotted and passed through.

Edit, 212pm:

I've got the third of three large fins gluing right now; After that will be fillets, then the small fins, then dowels, which go on the tips of the large fins. The original dowels were 1/8", so I'll use toothpicks which are approximately scale. The nose cone screw eye mounting is dried.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hey Cool!

My dad's coworker's son, now in college, aparently did rocketry for a while, and I'm now the beneficiary of that. He apparently had a few packs of motor left unused, which the coworker, knowing of my hobby, gave them to my dad for me.

So now I have an extra pack of B6-4 and C6-3, 3 each. they're about 8 years old, so a small CATO risk, but not too much. They were also in the old-style 'Three packs' rather than the newer packaging, so they came with an extra igniter per pack and ejection wadding - a nice touch.

My current motor stock:
  • MMX: 2 (1 installed in Pen Rocket)
  • 1/4A3-3T: 3
  • 1/2A3-4T: 2
  • A10-3T: 4
  • A8-3: 4
  • A8-5: 1 (installed in Comanche-3)
  • B6-0: 1 (installed in Comanche-3)
  • B6-2: 1
  • B6-4: 5
  • C6-0: 4
  • C6-3: 5
  • C6-5: 3
  • D12-0: 4 (1 in Comanche-3)
  • D12-3: 3 (1 in Deltie Thunder)
  • D15-4T reload kit: 1
  • D21-4: 1
  • E15-4W reload kit: 2 (1 built for Nantucket Sound)
  • F23-4FJ: 1
  • F32-4T: 2
  • Total: 49
  • Total assembled / loaded: 6
  • Total free: 43

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Odyssey and the Build Pile

First, I've found 2 new projects already. The first is a modification of the brick. Instead of having a real brick, requiring a 48" chute and 3 G motors (~$60 per flight), I'll make the brick of cardboard and fly it on 3 A motors (~$6 per flight). It's still in the planning stage, but it'll involve 3 motor mounts inside the 2.25x4x8 box, with just fins and launch lug outside.

The second will be a 1" downscale of the old Estes Odyssey. It'll be based on BT-50, but keeping the BT-20 tail section so I can send it pretty high. The nose cone is huge - half the length of the rocket. I've pieced together 6 pieces of 1/4" balsa and the glue is currently drying. I'll turn the complex cone tomorrow. I'll probably insert a 1/2" dowel up the center to keep it in one piece.

Edit, 1026pm: It's actually going to have to be a 18mm diameter rocket, with a 13mm mount, due to the size of the balsa. The cone is now almost finished - I'm done with the major turning, and the first layer of wood glue is drying. I'll do one more coat tonight, then make the final turning for silky smooth perfectness. Then one more coat of wood glue, then I take it off the 1/4" turning rod and use a bit of epoxy clay to mount the screw eye.

I'll also cut the tube tonight: 4.25" of BT-50, and 3.5" of BT-5. 2.25" of the BT-5 is the motor mount outside the rocket, which also holds the fins; the remainder is inside the BT-20 and serves to anchor it. My version is about a 0.56x downscale.

Second, I'm implementing another gadget on the sidebar. It'll be my build pile, featuring those that are being built or prepped for an EMRR review. It'll be up sometime tonight.

Sidebar stuff

I did a lot of maintenance on my sidebar today. It's a really useful thing with lots of info, but I've been lax about updating it lately.

1) Added a poll to the top right to see where my visitors are coming from. Help me out and vote, everyone!

2) Added my most recent flights to my motor usage chart.

3) Added more links - I'm up to 11 wobsites of awesomeness now. Sites added were my collabrative webcomic, Drowning in Turtles; Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, Least I Could Do, CATP, and Apogee Components.

4) Changed my 'Currently reading' chart to reflect what I've been reading recently.

5) Added a link to my EMRR reviews to my 'My External Stuff' box. A Nike-Apache review, and possibly a few others, will be written soon.

6) Added and deleted stuff on my 'Truly Informative Posts' page. More additions coming - I'm trying to find all the stuff I've written that's actually useful, quality information.

7) Added a few more links to my blogroll. I have 12 links now; 4 update most days, 5 average once a week, and 3 are no longer updating and are pretty much latent info.

Weirdness from Picasa

Most of the time, the 'I'm Feeling Lucky' button in Picasa works wonders. It corrects glare, bad colors, and bad exposures and can make even mediocre images look amazing. All but one of the pictures I've posted before this post used it to make them look more lifelike.

However, it has a not-so-good side. On pictures with a single bright spot, like the pictures in this post, and especially the last pair, seen both modded and original, in this post. It'll also fade out the edges, which can be annoying.

It seems to work best with landscapes, especially those glared out.

The worst senario, though, seems to be large bright pictures, like a blank sky, or a single rocket / chute and no smoke against the sky. Interesting things can result, like false exaggerations of mild gradients:
Here we have what was initally a poor picture of the Mozzie under chute. The sky in the original was very washed out and the Mozzie was barely visible. The IFL tool darkened the sky and clarified the Mozzie, but it washed out all color and surface detail and turned it into a silhouette. Worse, it took an invisible and subtle gradient across the sky and saturated it, creating an artifical bulls-eye pattern. Very cool artsy look, but no longer a realistic-looking or data-valuable photo.

IFL can also simply saturate the photo:
The original was a fairly good shot of the Nike-Apache against the sky on the way down from a sucessful cert flight. It had reasonable surface detail visible on the Apache, chute, and chute protector even though the rocket was 1000 feet away and the sky was bright. The IFL simply saturated the colors. The tiny gradient in the sky was exaggerated though not bullseyed, and the rocket becomes solid blobs of color without surface details. In addition, a grainy quality was introduced in the sky, and fine detail like the shroud lines is obscured. Again, cool-looking but not improved.

The next one was the smoke trail from the L3 cert of last post:
Picasa saurated the colors a bit, as well as emphasizing the shadows of the clouds. Pretty cool, actually, and a big change from the washed-out original.

I'm really not sure what this last one was...

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Other Stuff at NERRF

Just a NERRF directional sign. No idea why my dad took this one.

A nice gathering of rockets:
On the left is a pretty big AMRAAM, probably a 4" rocket. The saucer in the middle was very impressive and loud; it flew several times including on one of the new Aerotech long burn motors, which actually resulted in it hitting one of the trailers in the lot on the way down. The guy on the right setting up a rocket is Al Gloer, CATO Prez and Lord High Executioner, who helped me repair the Nike-Apache and do my cert flight.

Mark Hanna's EssoScout:
According to the info on the NERRF projects page, which is the only info I can find, It was a complex L, with a central Aerotech L850W (75/3840 case) ground-started and two AT I195J motors (38/600 case) airstarted 3 seconds into the flight. There was a bit of worry of danger if only one of the twin motors lit, but aparently the LCO was not concerned, as he stated that it was 'only a pair of 'I's." (I'm not sure if the pun was intentional or not). It had a beautful flight to around 4500 feet. I was just beginning my pad manager stint at the time, so I got to take his flight card and look over the rocket briefly but not actually set it up.

A L3 cert flight on the pad:
I'm not sure who this was, but it was the second L3 cert attempt on the day and was sucessful. It was a beautiful flight on a large White Lightning motor then went high and recovered sucessfully on the other side of the river, with the nose cone separating as designed. I assume they got their cert.

There were only a few other notable flights that I remember. Al Gloer flew his Warloc to about 2000 feet on a Loki J800; I went with him to recover it. It actually landed no more than 150 yards from the launch site, but it took half a mile of driving as it landed just across the river.

There was another L3 cert earlier that was a beautiful flight, but unsucessful as the motor casing came out and fell separately. Better luck next time.

There were at least 2 other sucessful Jr. L1 certs as well; I talked a bit with Matt Vetere who certified on a LOC Fantom. An adult L1 cert thatI helped put on the pad was unsucessful due to motor ejection; I'm glad the Nike-Apache came with a threaded rod retention system. I plan to add it on any future MPR / HPR rockets I build.

There was a 38mm minimum-diameter carbon-fiber rocket that I helped place on the pad. It flew beautifully to something like 8000 feet and Mach 1.8.

There were about 20% LPR flights; C6s, D12s, and E9s were very popular. Two rice-paper rockets flew; one had a sucessful rear ejection and the other did not and conveniently flattened itself for disposal.

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My Other Flights

My first flight of the day, as well as my first F flight, my first 29mm flight, and my first outside Connecticut, was the Mozzie on an Aerotech F23-4FJ Econojet. The Econojet was a pain, though, because for some reason the slots in the grains of the Econojets shrunk, making it next to impossible to insert a Copperhead. (Yet another reason why leaded igniters like the First Fire & FF Jr. and Q2G2 are in my opinion the superior igniters and the future) Fortunately, Bob of Hangar 11 (Does the guy ever sleep? He must have helped me out a hlaf dozen times today). Here it is on the pad, ready for launch:
And just after liftoff, slightly out of focus:
The Mozzie flew straight and well. It ejected just before and deployed its chute almost immediately. It came down pretty slow and right in the center of the range. I agree with the simulation of 950 feet altitude.

Unfortunately, the ejection charge burned a bit of the nose cone's shoulder away. It won't affect the flight or recovery, but it could if it continued, so I'm layering it with wood glue for protection, and I might put epoxy clay in the burnt spot.

After my cert flight, I was signed up to help as a Pad Manager. Basically I helped folks put their rockets on the pads, performed continuity checks, collected the flight cards, and armed the pads prior to leaving. I got to meet some awesome people and help with several large rockets, including an 8" rocket on a J800. About 5:00, the number of rockets started to die down, and I was able to take a few moments to prep the Machnum Force. Because no one happened to have a launch tower, I grudingly pt a 1/4" lug on. Here's it on the pad:
Instead of spending money on a G80-7T (No -10 or -13 delays were available), I elected to go for the G78-7G for three reasons. One, I figured that it was a good use of a possibly CATO-prone motor (I forgot the forward seal disk while building); two, I didn't figure it was possible to notice Mach (a 38mm cloudbuster earlier made no notice of passing Mach 1); three, the G78 would not require notification of going over 5500 feet.

I loaded it up with about 1" of tracking powder (white flour) in the top as an attempt to see it nearly a mile high.

It took of too quick even for my dad's camera-fu:
In fact, after about 0.5 seconds of the launch, the next time it was visible was as a little white puff in the sky over 4000 feet up. I only got a rough bearing on it, and I never saw it come down.

When my shift was over, dad and I went to the far corner of the field to look for it. We didn't figure we would, and I assumed it was a one-shot rocket from the beginning, but while coming back along the original track I found it in a furrow nearly 900 feet from the pad. It was undamaged except for a small dent in the body tube from the rebound of the nose cone, which is even more impressive considering the streamer tangled and thus it probably hot at 50 to 60 feet per second.

I may fly it on a G80 yet, but for now I'll stick to Cs and Ds for it, so I'm assured of getting it back. I actually am starting to like the little thing.

I did not fly the Comanche-3, Deltie Thunder, or Nantucket Sound due to time constraints.

Random fact: Today's flights were my first 29mm flights; my first F, G, and H flights; my first over 1000 feet; my first Mojave Green, Redline, and Black Jack motors; and featured my only 3 29mm rockets.

Random fact: according to both EMRR and my own stats (which vary slightly in flight selection and data type), I am averaging almost exactly 10 Ns per flight, have launched about 50 rockets on 150 motors, and am at the border line between J and K for total impulse.

Random fact: The F23FJ has almost exactly one-quarter the power of the H165. (41.2 Ns*4=164.8 Ns ~~ 165 Ns).

Random fact: more updates coming after I sleep, including more NERRF analysis and pictures and the start of learning more HTML.

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I brought my Nike-Apache all nice and shiny new to the field. I found a CATO member willing to sponsor me, and I assembled the motor and got it ready for flight. Hangar 11 was out of H128s, so I used an H165-M Redline with a deliciously loud roar. I got it RSO approved, on the pad, and ready to go:

Unfortunately, the first flight was a failure. The following is my best forensic explanation of the observed events. The motor ignited and burned fine, bringing the rocket up to speed and producing a loud roar. Due to the loose fit of the transition section, the lead weight and its high momentum pulled the Apache and transition right up off the high-drag Nike body at burnout - approxiamtely 600 feet and 600 fps. The chute, well built and packed to open quickly, did. The thin elastic shock cord snapped on both sides of the parachute loop, leaving the parachute, Nike body, chute protector, and Apache / transition coming down in 4 separate pieces. Oh snap.

I walked out to inspect the damage. Despite the high-speed deployment, the 28" nylon chute was in perfect condition, as of course was the Kevlar chute protector. I found the Nike body next. As do many rocket bodies (like the Bullpup) with large fins and a motor in back, it had glided down and came back undamaged. This meant at worst, I could buy a new 2.6" nose cone and try again sometime with a non-scale rocket, or perhaps a Nike Smoke.

Finally, I found the Apache, or part of it anyway. The heavy nose weight and fins and transition in back had made it perfectly stable coming in. Absolutely perfectly stable. It was buried so that only half was sticking out, and I could not pull it out with my bare hands. Fortunately, Bob from Hangar 11 was kind enough to lend a shovel. After loostening the sod around it, I first pulled up the body, sans nose cone. After a bit more digging, I found the cone. Except for flattened antennae and the covering of dirt they looked... remarkably undamaged. Thank goodness for the soft dirt of the sod farm.

After conferring with the ridiculously helpful Al Gloer, I set to work. He mixed some 5-minute epoxy and I scraped off the nose cone, then glued it back on and set it out to dry. He gave me a 5-foot piece of 1/4" kevlar, with loops sewed on both ends and for the chute. The kevlar would withstand more forces, he said, and could have survived the premature separation. I straightened the antennae and bought a pair of quick-links (one for attaching the other end of the kevlar to the rocket, and one because they were $2.50 and ridiculously useful), and made a small vent hole to prevent air pressure differences from contributing to another premature separation, located based on the advice of a flier I picked out at random in the RSO line who was more than happy to explain to me what to do.

Finally, I entrusted my 29/180 case to Carson's Motor Cleaning, a NERRF / METRA institution. Carson is a maybe 13-year-old kid who cleans your motor cases for you - 2 bucks for a 29mm case, 3 for a 38mm case, and up to 6 bucks for a whole 98mm case - and does it well. In ten minutes, I had a conveniently clean case.

Under Mr. Gloer's guidance, I assembled another H165R-M load, including Gary Tortora's handy tape trick which keeps all the ejection charge in. He then showed me how to put lots of tape on the transition so it wouldn't drag-separate. Patrick McConnell managed to dredge up another set of Jr. Cert forms and I was ready to go.

This time, it leaped off the pad after a single igniter chuff, and held together all through ascent. It arced over at a simmed 1700 feet, then ejected about 3 seconds past apogee due to the slightly long delay. A moment of smoke, then this glorious sight:

After about a 2-minute descent, which was very slow - about 15 fps due to the large chute - it finally landed. The cone stuck on landing, but amazingly, for the second time that day, did not break. I picked it up very carefully and carried it back for post-flight inspection.

Al Gloer and another flyer checked the rocket for damage - none - and signed off on the forms. I was offically Jr. L1 certified! Now all I need to do is photocopy the documents and send them off to the NAR HQ for offical filing and a new NAR member card with my new cert level.

I'd like to thank a few people:
My dad, for taking a whole day to be bored while I drove, bored while I prepped rockets, taking awesome pictures, bored while I was the pad manager, bored looking for my rocket, and bored driving home again, all for my benefit.
Al Gloer, for being a huge help with repairing the Nike-Apache, for witnessing my cert flight, and for getting me going again after my embarrassing failure.
Gary Tortora, for various help during motor assembly.
Pat McConnell for the form.
Several other CATO members, for various help along the way.
Bob from Hangar 11, who helpfully had all the parts I needed.
And last but not least Carson, for the very helpful service of motor cleaning.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Second attempt of the day was sucessful. NERRF was awesome. Details and many pictures coming soon.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Certification Next!

I leave tomorrow morning by 8 to go off to Pine Island, NY for my certification flight. The car is packed and I am off to bed. With any luck, my next post will be saying that I am certified!

RATTworks Advanced Tether Device

Rattworks has anounced the future release of an Advanced Retention Release Device. It's a tether-and-release system designed for easier dual deployment from a single chute compartment. It uses pyrotechnics to release a pin that holds a recovery system in, and can be released by an accelerometer, timer, or altimeter.

My curiosity is whether or not it could be used to save rockets from trees. If you set the timer for say, an hour or two, and attach it to the parachute. That way, if it came down on ground, then you can disarm it before the charge goes off, or even set it to disarm at landing. If it lands in a tree, though, the parachute is the most likely thing to get tangled. If the tether automatically releases the parachute, then the rest of the rocket will probably be able to fall to the ground. A rocket on the ground is worth two in the bush tree.

EMRR Flight Logs!

They're absolutely awesome.

If you sign in and enter all you logs, then you get to see all sorts of awesome data for your flights, like:
  • Number of recorded flights, and what percentage of total EMRR flights that is
  • Number of different rockets, including Active and RIP
  • Number of flights per rocket and newtons per flight
  • Average cost per motor and per newton
  • Highest recorded altitude, and which flight it was on
  • Your top motor class and specific motor, with how many of them you've flown and what percent of your flights
  • A graph of how many of each class of motor you've flown
  • What percentage of your flights are single-motor, clustered, staged, etc
  • Graphs by motor diameter and manufacturer
  • Your top ten motors and rockets
  • 5-year graphs by motor class and by month

I finally finished putting all my flights in early this morning. I'm glad for the edit and delete features - I had some duplicate old flights, as well as older staged flights that I needed to modify in order to have the motor data automatically computed.

A few of my bits, ccopied and pasted directly from my personal stats:
Recorded Flights: 127 (0.4% of all flights logged on EMRR)
Recorded Rockets: 48 (39 Active - 9 "Rest In Peace" (RIP))
Average Flights: 2.6 Flights/Rocket
Average Power (N): 6.5 Newtons/Flight (This is a C-Class Rocketeer)
Average Spending: $2.38/Flight ($0.36/Newton)
Highest Altitude: 168.5 ft - Estes Industries - Cosmic Cobra (Est SU B6-4)
Top Motor Class: "A" (42 Motors - 28.8% of your motors)
Top Motor Specific ID: Est SU A8-3 (19 Motors - 13.0% of your motors)
Top Motor Manufacturer: Estes (125 Motors - 85.6% of your motors)
Top Motor Diameter: 18mm (85 Motors - 58.2% of your motors)
Top Rocket: OOP - Estes Industries - Jinx (RTF) (9 Flights - 7.1% of your flights)

16 1 8 42 34 29 14 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

I don't feel like messing with major coding-ness, even copy-pasted, so I won't include any more - You'll have to go look. I'll provide lists of my top ten motors and rockets, though:
  1. 9 flights - Jinx
  2. 6 flights - Cosmic Cobra, Astron Invader
  3. 5 flights - 18mm saucer, Screaming Yellow Zonker!
  4. 4 flights - Cohete, IT, Rama, Glider 2, Frankenstein

  1. 19 motors - A8-3
  2. 16 motors - MMX
  3. 15 motors - A3-4T
  4. 13 motors - C6-312 motors - B6-4, C6-0
  5. 9 motors - B6-2
  6. 8 motors - 1/2A3-4T, B6-0, D12-0

I'm too lazy to fiddle with any more html now so if you want any more go look at my page on EMRR, linked at top. Or better yet, if you fly rockets, go log your own flights and get your own page of awesomeness.

Supernova Hunting

The Galaxy Zoo, a project to have amateurs classify galaxies using simple tests, has now gotten into supernova hunting. It's not as simple and obvious as classifying galaxies, but aparently it does produce real results, and they've gotten some actual confirmed supernovae from the search.

As for me, I'm back to galaxy hunting. I've done a hair over 550 so far, and I aim to reach a thousand pretty soon. I do about 100 to 200 an hour, so it won't take long. I've got 24 marked favorites which include nice spirals, weird objects, and even a ring galaxy.

Previous posts on the subject.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


On Tuesday night, mandachan and I got to stay up late and eatch the Perseids. Despite the moon, we saw about 20 meteors in 100 minutes, as well as several small bats which were dive-bombing the mosquitos. I saw a very bright ones that probably exceeded magnitude -1 (Almost as bright as Sirius).

Earlier in the evening, we looked at the Ring Nebula, Albeiro (Beta Cygni, a nice yellow/blue double star), Jupiter (with all 4 moons and several belts visible), and the rising moon (spectacular) with my telescope.

Nike-Apache Stability

Part of the readiness of a cert flight is being able to prove stability. The CG of the Nike-Apache, loaded with an 29/180 motor, is about 37.4" aft of the nose. The CP, calculated on my calculator, including all 3 transitions and 2 fin sets, is at 41.8" aft of the nose. This provides an ample 4.4" stability margin, equal to 1.7 calibers.

My stuff on EMRR

Full writeup of all the awesome stuff Nick just implemented coming soon, but for now here's my (currently being updated by me to include all my flights) database of all my flights, with lots of pretty statistics.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


From the discussion thread on Rocketry Planet, in response to a question about flying Skidmarks and other sparky motors, Al Gloer, CATO Prez and Lord High Executioner, wrote:

It's likely to be a last minute thing. Considering it has only rained twice this summer (once for 22 days, the other for 38 days), I would call it a high possibility. However if it stays dry between now and then, the chances go down. It's basically about the patent pending METRA MoonDust, the only certified flammable dirt in existence. Sparkies can easily inject flames below the surface and start one heck of a difficult fire to put out. There has been discussion about asking th landowner to put out the sprinklers for a while each morning to soak the dirt.

Then someone jokingly suggested using the flammable dirt, mixed with a binder, as an experimental motors. Al's response:

Bring the paraffin and a mold. Remember - this is indy - If you can light it - it can fly!

He's going for his L3 cert at NERRF - wish him luck!

Another comic

Hey folks it's Tuesday so that means there must be another Drowning in Turtles comic up!

My Calculus Book Fails Rocketry

I was flipping through my calculus book this evening trying to avoid actually doing my summer assignments. I noticed that the Handbook of Model Rocketry (6th ed.) was cited as a source. To my disappointment, the authors of the book failed to actually comprehend the chapter on stability.

It shows a picture showing the profile of a rocket, with a triangle (conic) nose, rectangular (cylindrical) body, and a wider triangle for the fin section, as one would for the cardboard cutout method of finding CP. Unfortunately, it then talks about it as though it's a mass profile, and even says that "Rockets are designed with bottom fins large enough that the center of mass is shifted near the bottom of the rocket. This improves the flight stability of the rocket".


The purpose of large fins is to shift the surface area, and center of pressure, to the rear. The center of gravity should be near the front, and specifally in front of the CP, in order to be stable.

It looks like they read about the cardboard cutout method, but substituted mass for pressure.

More explanation later, hopefully.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Collages in Picasa

Ellie points out that Picasa can make collages. Way cool!

Aparently, all you have to do is drag the pictures you want to the tray in the bottom left, then hit the collage button on the bottom row. Then you can modify the style, spacing, background, etc.

Presenting, for your enjoyment, the first Fire and Smoke collage:

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Today so far

100 am: put epoxy clay on the broken part of my Estes Porta-Pad, as well as a blob on a stick to be turned to make a nose cone.

430 am: finally got sleepy enough to go to bed.

300 pm: woke up

500 pm: with help from my mom, made 2 6" nylon chutes that seem to perform well, plus a 4" chute and 2 experimental chutes that don't work quite as well.

600 pm: assembled an E18-4T reload except for the ejection charge and igniter.

800 pm: reorganized about 4000 pieces of K'Nex to make empty 2 tackle boxes for use in storing MPR motors.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My coming week

It's gonna be pretty busy, but fun stuff mostly.

  • Driving
    • Take my last 3 state-mandated classes
    • Get back into driving after not driving for over a week in Kauai
    • Work on freeway driving
  • Working. Mostly fun and hey, it's money to support my hobbies and eventually pay for stuff like college, a car, gas, etc. Ya know, the important stuff.
  • Listen to music:
    • Neon Bible by the Arcade Fire
    • The Wall, Pink Floyd
    • Who's Next, The Who
  • Unpack
Preparations for NERRF:
  • Print out directions to Pine Island
  • Decide on my line-up
  • Run sims for the estimated altitude for all the rockets
  • Print out (on cardstock) and fill out flight cards
  • Prep all my rockets
    • chutes, wadding, motor retention, and making sure the motors fit
  • Prep motors
    • Assemble the E18-4T reload for the Nantucket Sound
    • Bring the 29/180 hardware for my cert flight
    • Make sure I have igniters for every motor, plus spares
  • Prepare my range box(es)
    • Buy a new tackle box for my MPR / HPR stuff
    • MASKING TAPE, clothespins, tools, CA for minor field repairs
  • Bring money for:
    • A G80 for the Machnum Force, an H128 load for the Nike-Apache, and maybe another motor or two
    • Lunch and dinner
    • Any motor hardware (29/40-120 maybe) or kits I decide to buy
  • Make sure all the motors fit - the Mozzie in particular has a lot of grimy residue in the mount from the ejection charges form BP motors.
  • Pack the car
    • A bean bag to rest the long and odd-shaped Nike-Apache, with its transition, pointy nose, and antennae on.
    • Sufficient padding for other rockets. The Machnum Force can withstand pretty much anything, but stuff like the Nantucket Sound and Deltie Thunder are a bit fragile.
Other Rocketry Stuff not for NERRF:
  • Repair the Rokit
  • Repair my broken Estes Porta-Pad with a dap of epoxy clay
  • sand my launch rods to remove corrosion, then spray on some thin clear-coat to protect them
  • Make a MMX rocket from my pen from NARCON
  • Work on my plans for a new larger payload rocket
Yup. This week will be busy but fun. Just like my hugoid interlocking bulleted lists.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Back from Kauai

I am now back from Kauai; bloggerifying will now be on a pretty regular schedule.

A few things of note:

I have slept only 2 hours in the past 40: an hour in LAX and another hour on the plane between Kansas and Illinois, and yet I'm not really tired.

Cross-country, our 777 had a live display of position, altitude, airspeed, etc. It reached 666 mph with a 100 mph (!) tailwind; this is theoretically about 0.98 Mach at the temperature of -50° C, but with the tailwind and thinner atmosphere at 37,000 feet it's probably lower.

My package with motors from Hobbylinc came a few days ago, so I have the motors now.

Found while wikisurfing:

It's the mounting post for the Space Shuttle on the special 747 that carries them cross-country.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Semroc introduces new kits

Thanks to Rocketry Planet and Rocketry Blog for the info.

Semroc has introduced 7 new kits for NARAM-51, in their tradition of releasing new kits at national events. They are:

2 Deci-scale™ kits. These are the first in a line of 1/10 scale kits of sounding rockets. They are designed to have the numerous details needed for competition models, as well as to be fun to build. They were inspired by G. Harry Stine, who loved scale models of the IQSY Tomahawk sounding rocket.
  • IQSY Tomahawk: 19.8" long, .908" in diameter, 1.2 oz, and flies on 18mm motors. Estimated altitudes are 250' (A8-3), 600' (B6-4) and 1300' (C6-7). Basswood fins, balsa nose, 12" chute, waterslide decals. Skill level 1; $13.50.
  • Iris: 23.8" long, 1.17" in diameter, 1.3 oz, and flies on 18mm motors. Estimated altitudes are 200' (A8-3), 450' (B6-4), and 950' (C6-5). Balsa fins and nose, 12" chute, waterslide decals. Skill level 1; $16.50

2 Thunder-series kits, all scale versions of the Thunderbee. There's already the .54" ThunderBee that's available, the 2.04" ThunderStorm that is either on backorder or soon to be released, and planned .759", 1.04", and 1.64" versions (ThunderHawk, 'Bird, and 'Roc). Added to this are 2 new kits:
  • ThunderChief: 31.9" long, .908" in diameter, 2.1 oz, and flies on 18mm motors. Estimated altitudes are 150' (A8-3), 450' (B6-4), and 950' (C6-5). Balsa fins and nose, 12" chute, waterslide decals. Skill level 1; $14.50.
  • ThunderStrike: 50.7" long, 1.34" in diameter, 3.4 oz, and flies on 24mm motors. Estimated altitudes are 750' (D12-5), 850' (D15-4T (24/40 RMS)), and 1200' (E9-6). Balsa fins and cone, 16" chute, waterslide decals. Skill level 1; $22.50.
There are also 3 Retro-Repro kits:
  • Centuri Marauder: 18.1" long, .908" diameter, 1.4 oz, payload carrier, 2-staged 18mm to 18mm. Estimated altitudes are 850' (B6-0 / A8-3), 1200' (B6-0 / B6-6), and 2100' (C6-0 / C6-7). Balsa fins and nose, 12" chute, waterslide decals. Skill level 2; $19.50.
  • Swift B/G: 16.5" long, .759" diameter, 1 oz, boost-glider. 18mm motor recommendations: 1/2A6-2, B6-2. Balsa glider and cone, with 12" chute and waterslide decals for the booster. Skill level 1; $14.50.
  • Stellar Spartan: 16.4" long, .908" diameter, 1.1 oz, and flies on 18mm motors. Estimated altitudes are 250' (A8-3), 650' (B6-6), and 1300 (C6-7). Balsa fins and cone, 12" chute, waterslide decals. Skill level 1; $13.00.
And now I must be leaving, as our plane leaves in just under 3 hours. It'll be about 24 hours, or a bit more, till I'm home and able to use my computer again. Once home, I'll add a bit of commentary about these rockets and maybe clean up the formatting a bit.

I'll be back to posting multiple times most days once I'm home. I'm happy, though, that I've kept up one post a day since the middle of July, even during my vacation 5000 miles from home. Starting probably saturday, I'll have a flurry of posts with 4 pictures a day from our vacation.

I'll also be posting on prepping for NERRF, as well as my renewed attempts to learn some more HTML beyond my basic skills. I'll be attempting to learn tables, text formatting, style sheets, and objects. Also coming are some ideas I'm tossing around for a new large MPR / HPR rocket.

Edited 8/8/09 with added content:
The Saturn V kit, which Semroc intended to have out for the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11, was more difficult than expected and will be released soon. It's apparently going to be a rather unique model.

I like the idea of the scale sounding rocket kits; I find the many similar models of manned space boosters and military rockets like the Honest John to get rather boring after a while. I will definitely consider buying the Tomahawk and Iris, especially after more models in the series come out. I can stand to have some more simple, medium-altitude, reliable parachute-recovery rockets - I've got lots of gliders, saucers, and oddrocs, but few small and simple rockets. These are definitely a step above your average Estes models, and they are pretty cheap, too. Plus, I like unique models, and scale models are always better than plain ones.

I think the Thunder series is pretty cool, but I'm not really interested in them at the moment. I like that the Thunderchief, though, has a 24mm mount in a BT-55 rocket; many models of that size are underpowered even on C6s, and I'd rather use cheap, easy D12s than messing with 18mm composite motors.

I also like that Semroc is bringing back classic kits with the Retro-Repro series, but none of the three really interest me. I have enough small 2-stage rockets and boost-gliders already, and as I've stated before I'm not a huge fan of basic small sport rockets that aren't scale and don't do anything interesting.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


We went up to Sea Lodge beach on the North Shore today. After an hour or so of snorkeling in shallow protected waters, seeing nothing new except for a school of unusual skinny fish (not sure of the name), I decided to go around a nearby point.

It was awesome. Even though there were a few waves, the snorkeling was much better. The water was deeper and easier to maneuver in, there were cool rock formations including an arch underwater, and there was a 'green hole' - a protected area of clear water about 70 feet across and 20 deep with lots of fish.

And turtles. I saw at least 4 different Green Sea Turtles, including two that let me follow them for several minutes without minding; they were about 4 feet long and weighed perhaps several hundred pounds. They were silent, graceful, and even poked their ehads above water occasionally to look around. Amazing creatures.

My wounds from yesterday are healing fast and are much improved.

Also, hey would you look at that but Drowing in Turtles has another comic up woo.

Depending on my schedule, I may or may not post tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Didn't do a heck of a lot today - stayed on the south / west shores mostly.

At Salt Pond Beach, there's a roughly 15-foot-round rock formation about 50 feet offshore, coonected on onshore rocks by about 2 feet of water over irregular rocks. 3-foot waves regularly break over the underwater causeway.

I waded across the underwater causeway, staying put through waves and not snapping my ankles on the irreguilar rocks. I made it to the offshore formation. I stood there. I went to sit down, not realizing a wave was coming. It broke on the rock before I could get a handle, spinning me around and scraping my left side on the rocks.

I got small cuts and scrapes on both hands as well as my left ankle. However, the worst damage was my left thigh, which got a series of scrapes about 4 inches long by 2 wide from the sharp volcanic rock.

I was able to pick myself off the rock and walk back over to the main shore. I stayed in a protected area of salt water for about 20 minutes to watch the waves, wash away the blood, and disinfect the wound. I then went to where my family was sitting and dried off and slathered antibiotic cream on the wound. It stopped bleeding (never any nasty bleeding, but just a constant trickle) after a few more minutes, and I never actually put a bandage on it.

The wound is pretty shallow, with very little more than a sixteenth of a inch deep. However, the sharp volcanic rock cut it pretty good, and due to a small amount of residual blood and injured tissue the wound is still very red. It'll probably leave a bit of a scar; ironically it's right next to a scar from poison ivy that's about five years old.

I actually got very lucky. I was able to grab onto handholds at the beginning and ending of the wave passage; this sacrificed a bit of my hands but saved me from more serious injury to my leg. I was sitting (stupidly) at the time; this means that I was merely pushed and didn't fall, so there were no blunt force trauma or puncture wounds. Because it was all surface wounds and not a blunt injury, I didn't lose a lot of blood or go into shock, and thus I was able to get off the rock, steady myself, and get to safety. If I had gone into shock, which is okay when I'm on dry land, then I might have gotten hurt even more by the nexy wave, or gotten pushed over crossing the channel back. Finally, I was lucky enough to take my spill on bare rock and not seaweed-covered rock or worse coral, which apparently tends to leave proteins in wounds that delay healing.

It's a andty wound that'll hurt for a few days, itch a bit, and probably leave a scar, but it's an interesting story and probably saved me from doing something stupider.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Catching up

Sorry, been lax on bloggerifying lately.

So, yesterday I spent not doing much except some snorkeling at Po'ipu beach. Saw lots of fish, including some nice angelfish, a 2-foot-long parrotfish, and a moray eel (that was resting peacefully in the rocks) that was as thick as my arm.

Today we went all the way up to the north side of the island. We hiked a small portion of the Kalalau trail in the Na Pali coast. We then snorkeled for a while at Ke'e Beach, seeing lots of fish, including several humuhumunukunukuapua'a. (Yes, I couldn't resist using the ridiculously long name, but they're actually rather cool-looking fish. I also heard the snapping sounds from shrimp popping tiny air bubbles, but no sea turtles.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Day 3 in Hawaii: Waimea Canyon

We spent most of the day in Waimea Canyon. Spectacular views, and a great waterfall that was only a pretty short hike away. Some of the crumbly volcanic rocks have colorful volcanic glass bits in them - shiny! Had some awesome shaved ice after wards, then went snorkeling and watched an absolutely perfect Hawaiian sunset.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Okay, already

I hate how bad my HTML looked for the last post, so I removed every carriage return (enter) in the code, because each of those moves the table down one row. I might do it for the older one as well.

I also replaced the manually typed fractions with neater, html-based fractions. the code for ½ is [ampersand]frac12; and for ¼ is [ampersand]frac14; where [ampersand] is the & symbol.

Also, changed the more recent table to have a column for Hs so I can easily grab the code sometime later when I want it without having to fumble to add another row.

The big thing, though, is that I added a gadget to the sidebar, a bit down (just below the hit counter and map), that I'll update showing my current motor tallies for the current year. It's got only room for Hs, but by the time I start flying is (next year at the minimum) or Js and above (2011 when i turn 18 and can go for L2 cert) I except to have much better HTML-fu and thus better formatting. This one is pretty simple and uses no coloring, span tags, or even bolding - just a real basic table.

Also, random thing but so far, despite being in Hawaii, I have still done a post every day (local time) since I decided to start going for that goal.