TSM August 2000 Launch Notes

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The Tripoli Southern Minnesota membership was greeted on August 26th to the annual wonder of Minnesota agriculture. We learned that six-inch sweet corn sprouts can grow to an altitude of over six feet in just thirty short days. The sweet corn on both sides of our launch field had developed into forbidding oceans of tall green, which struck fear in all but the hardiest fliers. Nonetheless, a handful of brave souls lobbed a total of 18 flights from C-impulse through J hybrid power, and I am proud to report that not a neither single craft, nor hapless rocketeer was consumed by the corn. All the details appear in the attached spreadsheet. With so few rockets going up, the RSO team of Gestapo Brashear and Field Marshall Freiheit, scrutinized the offerings as never before witnessed. "Hey Limper, you better throw a triple layer of epoxy down on that Bertha fin fillet, she might come loose under that tail kickin’ C-6 power – Oh heck, a little masking tape might do just as well."

Here are a few of the brief launch highlights. Tom Tweit put up four nice flights ranging in size from his IQSY Tomahawk on a D-12, through his PML X-Calibur on an H-73. All were nicely recovered. Andy Limper flew a mix of lowered powered rockets including that mighty Big Bertha kit sporting field taped fins using a C-6-5 (Hey, real men can still fly black powder, and I couldn’t afford to lose my reload cases before AIRFEST) to a Big Daddy on an F-23 Blackmax. Now, that is one nice Econojet engine, which lights easily and billows out a nice rich dark smoke trail. Gary Brown flew his majestic PML Miranda to over 1200 feet on an H-180 29-mm reload. Gordon Shoenfeld made another shot at the level one certification. The MaD Missiles Shredder kit boosted nice, high, and really fast on the H242, only to be thwarted with separation at time of ejection. Both sections were recovered with minimal damage to try again soon.

Rick DeWeese and Michael Tran put up a couple of nice G-powered flights. Rick’s Patriot strategically drifted into the one open patch of dirt in the entire recovery range, making easy recovery look like a breeze. Why weren’t the rest of us so lucky? The Trans were not quite as blessed, as their Aerotech Initiator drifted deep into the corn. However, with excellent spotting by Gary and Andrew Gold, successful recovery was accomplished late in the day. Lindsay Roberts successfully completed a couple of fun black powder flights including her Sputnik on an A-8-3, which flew smartly and ejected landing just into the near North Field. Her Fire Flash was also quite interesting. As the C-6-5 ignited, the rocket appeared welded to the pad, sitting there until ejection. Now that was definitely the closest to pad flight of the day.

On the higher-powered end, Craig Knippel had a quite remarkable I-357 powered flight of his sharply finished Rocketman Praying Mantis, with new and improved anti-zipper body modifications. The rocket drifted deeply into the field of dreams, but Gary Gold got a good bead on it and directed Craig in and out of the sweet corn for complete and rapid recovery. The high altitude honors for the day went to Richard Hagensick who boosted his PML Stretch Aurora to 3393 feet on the J260 HW hybrid. He turned around and used the same J260 reload to definitively loft his Hawk Mountain Transonic II to a recorded altitude of 5369 feet. The flawless dual deployment recovery brought the high bird down into the corn relatively close. Rick recovered the craft in short order using his radio tracking system, originally designed for falcons.

So what did the rest of the club do while the few and the brave (read - foolhardy) were flying model missiles? What else – they ate lunch and gossiped. Dan Bram had those great Fat Boy Hot Dogs sizzling, with Brats and Chips to boot. In total, we consumed a total of 42 bunned items. That is 2.3 sausages for each rocket flown, with all profits going towards the club treasury for purchase of the storage trailer.

Well, August was a success, and we learned several things about deep corn rocket salvage and recovery. First, having a couple of good spotter to triangulate your point of landing is essential (Thanks Gary and Andrew Gold). Cellular phones aid in recovery communication with the spotters. Cheap K-Mart personal body alarms, make great sonic locators to assist in locating rockets. Better yet, are radio locators such as Walston units, or those designed to track large birds of prey, which provide rapid and accurate rocket recovery information. Finally, our former Minnesota Prefect used to advocate attaching long streamers in addition to the chute to span a number of rows of corn and help with the rocket location.

But, hopefully, all of this precious information will not be needed much more this season. The sweet corn should all be harvested by our next scheduled launch on September 23. This should be another adventure in high-powered rocketry, as we are currently planning a night launch. Scott Young our Prefect will fill us in on details and requirements as the time approaches. I hope to see you all there. Come on out and get a piece of the action.

Respectfully Submitted;

Andy Limper; TRA 6517

For additions or corrections:  Andy Limper