Monday, June 28, 2010


I had such an awesome time yesterday at NERRF. It was one of the best days I've yet had of flying. The winds were low, the skies clear, and all 4 of my flights were sucessful.

First thing after registering, I bought some reloads from Bob of Hangar 11. I bought a G75J reload for my 29/180 case, and two packs of 18mm reloads - D13-4W and D24-7T - that he gave me a really good price on.

I first loaded up the Svetlana with the G75J. The stock delay was 10 seconds, but they tend to run long, so I drilled a small hole about 1/8" in to reduce that by a few seconds. She looked very small out on the high-power pads - a 17" tall rocket among 5-foot rockets - but she flew beautifully.

Boost was fast and arrow-straight to a simulated altitude of 2430 feet. Deployment was past apogee, due to the long delay, and the chute tangled. It landed three fields over, about 1200 feet from the pad. The baffle tube was destroyed by the ejection charge (even though I'd only used half the stock charge), but it had done its duty and the chute was protected enough to carry it down safely despite the tangle.. There's a few dings in the paint and it needs a few baffle, but Svetlana has shown her worth, and earned the right to get a drawing from mandachan on it.

Second flight was the Deltie Thunder on an F12-3. Simulated altitude was 650 feet. It took off pretty straight but started to angle away from the flight line, so it probably didn't get above 550 feet. Ejection was second or two late, but the glider leveled off immediately and started some fast circling turns some 500 feet in diameter. Because it's a big dumb glider - 3 feet across, and no RC electronics like most gliders of this size - it glides fast, probably better than 30 feet per second.

It circled twice in two minutes covering perhaps two-thirds of a mile. It landed softly with no damage. The pod, though, had fallen hard. The nose cone has a dent, the glider hook is damaged, and the pod is bent. It'll take some work, but it'll fly again. Hopefully, on a Cesaroni F30 longburn.

Third flight of the day was the highlight: a drag race with Crazy Jim Henderson from Wildman. His carbon-fiber Blackhawk against my conventional-materials Sudden Mach on single-use G78-10 Mojave Green motors. Simulated to 3400 feet, 816 fps (0.73 Mach). Jim had some crazy-tiny electronics from Robert DeHate of Animal Motor Works. An altimeter about a centimeter square, and a radio-directionality tracker that was barely larger. All he had to do was to tape both to the shock cord.

They launched almost simultaneously; his was perhaps 10 or 20 feet ahead of mine. They were the exact same weight and they stayed within a feet feet all the way up to the 2000-foot cloud bank. We never saw ejection, but he got a decent bead with his radio tracker and we headed off to find our rockets.

The tracker led us over half a mile away, through the treeline, across a stream, and into a second field. He got a decent bead on the tracker, but it was in a third field that he'd have to go in from a different place, and he doubted he'd be able to get to it. As we came out, another group of searchers had found the body of his Blackhawk. The tracker, then, was attached to just the nose cone which might have drifted far away.

At this time, I went back to the flight line and prepped my next flight, the Mozzie on a G64-7 White Lightning. Simmed altitude 1850 feet. That was the fastest I have ever assembled a motor; it probably took me under two minutes. It took off fast and that G64 burns for what seems like forever - two seconds, a very long time indeed for a motor of that size. It was literally a dot at deployment. It took some two minutes to drift down; I though it was going to fall right into the treeline, but it came down about 300 feet short - a very short distance considering it was about 2200 feet from the pad.

On the way back, I rescued someone's Estes rocket from an irrigation canal. I brought it back to the lost-an-found pile and sitting there was the Sudden Mach! Crazy Jim had found it undamaged, sitting just a few feet from his nose cone and tracker. Oddly, the timer had never detected launch, so the main didn't deploy. Oh well; I'll figure that out another time, and I'll get an altimeter with deployment to use in the future. Hopefully he'll contact me soon with his altimeter data. The only bad part about the flight: it took twenty minutes to untangle the shock cords. Falling for two minutes gave lots of time for the different parts to tangle; the shock cord was literally braided to itself.

All in all, it was an absolutely great day. Almost perfect flying weather, and four successful flights, all of which I wouldn't have been able to fly here at CATO because of our limited field. I'll have pictures and information about other flights later.

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