AP Checkride 2012 Launch Report

After last month’s disappointing weather, it was nice to finally get back out to Mansfield to fly some high-power.

On Saturday I got my high-power season off to a great start with the first successful flight of the recently-modified Same Old Blues on an AeroTech I245 Mojave Green. The altimeter data for this flight indicates a maximum altitude of 1882′ and a maximum velocity of 313ft/sec (214mph).

Next, I re-prepped Same Old Blues and flew an AeroTech I211 White Lightning, the highest impulse motor I have flown to date.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

It seems fitting, then, that this flight also set a new personal best altitude, with the altimeter reading of 2514′ (my old record was 2178′). However, this flight brought to my attention a bit of a spin problem with Same Old Blues which I hadn’t noticed on other flights. It isn’t a really bad spin, but it is wasted energy and a bit of an annoyance to the perfectionist writing this post.

My next flight was the venerable Solar Express on a Cesaroni F120 Vmax. The F120 is a fun motor for this rocket. It’s off the pad in the blink of an eye but doesn’t go high enough to cause recovery headaches. This flight did happen to land in the swamp north of the racetrack, but no water damage occurred.

My final flight of the launch was on Sunday, with the Solar Express on a Cesaroni F36 Smoky Sam.

To see the rest of my photos from the launch, CLICK HERE to head over to my SmugMug album.

T-minus 23 days and counting until FITS 2012!

Spring Festivus Cancelled

Unfortunately, due to both the weather reports for Mansfield and the conditions in the mountain passes, WAC’s March launch has been cancelled. This means that I’ll have to wait until next month’s launch to get any new photos up.

In the meantime, I’ll work on adding to the Element Collection page, as I have acquired some new samples since the last time the page was updated.

WAC Jack Frost AP Fest 2011

This year’s October launch at Mansfield was a great event. Unlike previous years, the event was held at the Snell Ranch launch site, and it was unusually warm for an October launch (not a complaint, just an observation). It was also my first launch using the new Canon 30-700mm telephoto lens I had purchased.  The new lens works great, and the incredible sharpness of some of the photos I got made it worth every penny (to me, at least). I can’t wait to give it a try on more flights next year.

As for my flights, I made yet another attempt to use the Chute Tamer in Same Old Blues, this time flying it on an AeroTech I245  Mojave Green. Unfortunately, I missed getting a photo of liftoff. The boost was perfect, but when the time delay I had programmed into the Chute Tamer passed, the ‘chute wasn’t released, causing the rocket to tumble drogueless to a landing right in the middle of the gravel road on the east side of the launch site. Fortunately, because I built Same Old Blues like a tank, the only damage was aesthetic. The corner of one of the fins is pretty beat up and the payload bay has a case of road rash on the side it impacted on. With this flight, I decided to abandon the Chute Tamer all together.

My other two flights at the launch went great, both of them with the always-reliable Solar Express. The first flight was on a Cesaroni F59, and the second was on a Cesaroni F36 Blue Streak.

My photo album from the launch can be found at the link below.



Now that the flying season is over (well, for high-power at least) it’s time to start digging into the to-build pile I’ve made over the summer. I have to paint the replacement fin I put on my DynaStar Rising Star (which has been on the work table since the launch in April… of 2010), build the PML Mystic I won in the NARCON photo contest, consider building the FlisKits Proxima Centauri also won at NARCON, and then decide what my next high-power build will be.

Expect more news on new builds later on.

WAC Autumn Glare 2011

While this year’s September launch wasn’t heavily attended, it was still a great event. The weather on Saturday was great, and I managed to launch two high-power flights in one day, both of which were with the newly-repaired Same Old Blues. The first flight was another try at the flight I attempted at FITS on an H242. This time the delay element behaved itself and the flight went off without a hitch. My next flight was on an I200, and was RockSIM-predicted to be my highest flight to date at 2600′ or so (500′ higher than my current best altitude). It was also another attempt at using the Chute Tamer to achieve something resembling dual deployment. The Chute Tamer worked as planned, despite the shock cord becoming hopelessly tangled due to a drogue ‘chute without a swivel, but the flight only reached 2038′, 600′ lower than the simulations, and 150′ lower than my current personal best altitude. I’ll try again next month with a bigger motor sure to fly well past my current record of 2178’.

Today’s weather was rainy and too windy to even consider flying, which is why I’m at home writing this now instead of still driving back from Mansfield.

My 18 web-worthy photos from the launch can be found HERE. I have also linked to the album on the 2011 Photos page.

Next launch: WAC Jack Frost AP Fest – T minus 27 days