Saturday, September 18, 2010

Launch Report #42: CATO 165

Today was an absolutely perfect day for flying. No wind, high clouds, no rain, no bothersome farmers, and a small turnout that meant no waiting for a pad to launch.

First flight was the Orbital Transport on a C6-3. Despite the lack of wind, it did a spontaneous left turn at about 30 feet of altitude and crashed about 200 feet away. As I turned to collect the wreckage, the ejection charge fired, leaving an eerie mini-mushroom cloud of smoke marking its position in the crash. Although the impact was at speed, the only damage is a crimp in the forward body tube and a single missing fin. The glider is undamaged, and repairs should not be terribly difficult.

Second flight was the SR-71 on an E18-4W reload. The Copperhead igniter burned but failed to start the motor, so I replaced it with a more reliable FirstFire Jr, and it lit perfectly the second time. Reasonably straight boost, and it twisted and glided after burnout as the giant aerodynamic surfaces took effect. The ejection charge failed to deploy the chute, but the big flapping plastic body prevented any damage. The 24mm body tube, however, came unglued during the flight and I will have to reattach it. Still, a far superior life for that old plastic model than not being rocket powered..

Third flight was the Transwing on a C6-3. Perfect boost to around 400 feet, separation at apogee, and a beautiful, slow, turning glide. 38 seconds. Probably the best flight anyone has ever gotten out of a Transwing. Its wingtips need realignment, though. Goes on the to-do list.

Fourth was the Heli-roc on an A10-3 mini motor. Nice boost to around 300 feet, and it spun down perfectly... upside down. No damage, and I had to run out (with permission) to retrieve it because it had fallen directly under the future flame path of a G106 Skidmark on the away pads. That would not have been pretty.

Fifth was the Buckeye IV, as part of Viperfest. Only three on this rack. I was the first off the pad.... and Al Gloer's remained firmly stationary. The ejection charges burned a hole in my kevlar chute protector, and the chute failed to deploy, but it was undamaged.

Sixth and final flight was the Multi-Goon on a cluster of 5 A10-3 motors. It was my first 5-motor cluster. Al Gloer was (jokingly) talking trash beforehand. Instead, it lifted off hot straight, and normal, and I knew instantly that I had 100% ignition. Chute deployed at apogee, for an absolutely perfect flight.

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