TSM October 2000 Launch Notes
After grudgingly tolerating yet another rainout during our September launch window, the members of Tripoli Southern Minnesota were eager to burn some of their ammonium perchlorate composite propellant stocks, and burn it we did. The year-ender, was arguably one of the finest launch of the season, if not ever in my opinion. Ignited under cool gray skies, accelerated during a beautiful afternoon, and finishing with an absolutely speculator evening launch that will be remembered by the faithful of TSM, and their rocket-flyin' buddies, for years to come. When the AP combustate dissipated from the cool night sky, we had sent a total of 52 flights skyward, driven by practically every load from an A-10 to an M-1419. There is no better way to end the season.
Here is the update for you folks unfortunate enough to have missed this event, or for those, who like me, enjoy reliving it one more time. The day was full of a multitude of memorable flights. We had a nice mix of mid and high power rocketry and a large number of outstanding certification efforts. Gary Jacobs, boosted his sharp PML Endeavor on an I-211 reload with perfect deployment at apogee for successful level one certification. To follow that up, he slammed in a J-350 package into the same bird, kicking her to a spectacular 4232 feet for a back to back level 1/level 2 certification combo. Vince Lupo also qualified for level 2, with a slick Rocketman Wahoo on that reliable J350 reload, placing the craft to an altitude of over 3900 feet. After a bit of a hike, he brought back the undamaged bird from 1.1 miles away for Scott Young to do the sign-off. Craig Knippel also enjoyed a successful level 2 day, placing his hunter green Rocketman Praying Mantis up high and fast again using the Aerotech J-350 powerplant - got grunt indeed! On to even higher power, 'eh Craig? Unfortunately Gordon Schoenfeld's assault on level I continues. On Attempt Number Three his MaD Missiles Shredder had a perfect looking boost on an I-211-white lightening reload. Then, the dreaded ejection failure occurred, and the lawn dart was recovered only for the purposes of organ donation, um 'er, I mean parts recovery. Not to be dismayed, Gordon loaded up his Sonic Challenger with an H-123 reload. Again a nice boost, but the nose cone separated again nixing the cert attempt. The only thing certain is that Gordon's tenacious spirit will bring him back to our range to try again.
A number of additional notable flights filled the afternoon skies. Ron Freiheit and Richard Hagensick both flew PML Aurora constructs on the hot white J390 hybrid engine, peaking at 4915 and 4680 feet respectively. Do these guys just think alike, or do they actually plan this sort of behavior? Ron again hauled out his Altitude Junkie, this time loading her for bear with a K1100 power package. Wow, what a neck snapper!!! Unfortunately, at several thousand feet, the toughly built bird shredded, perhaps due to altimeter failure at Mach transition. Most all pieces were recovered. I am certain, Ron will resurrect one of the highest, fastest flying missiles that TSM has witnessed this season. Speaking of rebuilds, Andy Limper flew his Golden Dream; a scratch-built large rocket using the resurrected fin can of his long-departed Loc Magnum. Golden Dream flew to 3118 feet on the J415 white reload, with the main deploying (inadvertently) at apogee. Recovery was uneventful thanks to harvest of the corn crops surrounding our field. Our Prefect, Scotty Young also charted a magnificent flight of his rebuilt Cally's Star II on the long burning J90 54-mm engine. It was a beautiful star in the evening sky! Scott also used his Red Thunder on H-180 power to successfully deliver Southern Minnesota first load of rocket mail. It was a cool idea delivering postcards stamped with Maple Island, MN and flown at our last launch of this season.
Then out came the real mammoth rockets, the big bad boys. The team project christened the Minnesota Big Honkin' Rocket which is a three staged1/3 scale Argo Javelin was ready for launch. The team of Brashear, Vande Kamp, Blood, Menning, and Gates have spent over a year putting together a three stage creation towering over 17 feet in length. The first stage was powered by a central M1315 and four-clustered J350's, with the two sustainers loaded with J275 reloads. The bird lifted slowly and boosted majestically powered only by the central M1315, with misfires on the outboards. Unfortunately, the second stage experienced delayed ignition, allowing time for the send and third sustainers to drag separate. The launch was aborted by remote radio ejections of the recovery gear and the components were recovered in reparable condition. The members of TSM cannot wait until this group stacks that beast up again to take to the Minnesota skies.
The other marvelous monster project for the day was provided by John Kmeich and his crew from the Duluth, MN area, who flew their red and silver Big Smoothie on an L1120 motor. You have got to see the paint job on this babe just to believe it. It was simply among the very best automotive finishes I have ever observed, absolutely spectacular. Weighing in at 60 pounds and standing in excess of ten feet, the boost was smooth, clean, and straight and the dual deployment worked as planned. I must admit, I was holding my breath waiting for that main to pop, but it deployed as expected and the rocket was recovered in good condition, with only a bit of a zipper just below the nose cone. Thanks for making that long drive from up north to fly this project with us guys.
Other great flights included Mark Adkins' Minnie Mag on an I-161, Dan Braam's the Mad Brammer on a G80, Jerry Kintz EZI-65 on an H-145, and Glen Overby's IQSY Tomahawk flying with an I-211-W-Medium motor. After considerable goading and peer pressure from a certain verbose LCO, who shall remain nameless, Dave Baker popped up his Thunder-n-Lightening Sustainer on an I-161 for a very nice flight. The evening was topped off with several cool night flights including Bob Brashear's EZI-65 lofting on an I-154-Blackjack, Tom Twiet's Patriot boosting on a G-35 Econojet, and Ron Freiheit flying his Aurora on an I-435 engine. It was a tremendous way to cap off a great year of flying.
I would like to take this opportunity to provide a few words of thanks to all of our members who have made this a stellar flying season for TSM. Special thanks, of course, goes to Scott Young our Prefect, who takes care of dealing with the FAA, waivers, the landowners, and the million other details needed to keep us in the air. Also hats off to Ron Freiheit for managing the electronics and pad repairs and wiring and Viv Lynn for keeping our budget and finances straight. Dan Braam and crew deserve special recognition for keeping us full of FatBoy HotDogs, Chips and Pop. Special appreciation for all of whom have volunteered and served as RSO and LCO this season. We have already achieved the financial goal of our club trailer fund thanks to the generosity of many, not to mention the various individuals and groups that kept us comfortable with donations to the field facility funds (porta-john). The bridge crew - Mike Vande Kamp and his truck, Gary and Andrew Gold and equipment hauling, set up and tear down crews, and the rest. Also, we truly appreciate the landowners for use of one of the best flying fields in our region. I know I have forgotten to mention somebody, but I thank each and everyone of you. It takes all of us to bring the club along and to fly with the great success we have enjoyed this year. Kudos go to everyone for making this a great year in HPR. We have a super club and I cannot wait for the snow to melt and for next flying season to be upon us. I have truly enjoyed writing this column, almost as much as serving as the occasional LCO and RSO (never put a microphone in front of me), and of course, tossing up a few missiles along with my friends each month. Start building, the winter is much shorter than you think. Watch for the monthly winter meetings posted on the website and of course the Real Millennium Launch in January. Have a great Thanksgiving and Happy Holiday Season.
Andy Limper; TRA 6517
For additions or corrections: Andy Limper