TSM September Launch - 09/27/2008

There is proof that 'Rocket Scientists' are really outstanding - here is a perfect example....

The September launch started off without the usual suspects for helping set up. I was somewhat skeptical that we would be able to get all of the electronics up and running correctly. To add to the issues, Craig blew a brake line while hooking up the trailer and the corn near the flight line was over ones head with a steady wind blowing.

Given that backdrop to the launch, I thought for a second and said ‘Heck we have covey of Rocket Scientists here, what am I to worry about!' Craig nursed his truck home to fix the brake line, but phoned in that it looked bad. Mike Praska was able to hook it up to his truck. Then with the help of the launch crew, we set up the launch site north of the tall corn and successfully got all the electronics working and in addition, powered up a new TSM microwave for special lunch treats. Thanks goes out to everyone that helped get things set up it was very much appreciated.

The September launch featured two level 1 certification attempts. Mike Praska, looked to certify with his Mini Magg on an H125 and Matt Logering looked to certify on his scratch built Pegasus on an H125 as well. Mikes flight was great, a near picture perfect text book example. Matts looked great too, and very impressive to certify with a scratch built bird. At apogee Matt was able to get a chute out, but an anticipated main chute at 7 seconds past apogee failed due to batteries becoming disconnected in flight. The flight still looked like it would be a success, but Matts scratch built fins snapped when it hit the ground. Hopefully Matt will be back at the range in short order with another attempt! Mike on the other hand gets to look at level 2 now with a success in his flight.

Dennis had quite an array of interest rockets at the launch all powered by D12 motors, and some of his rockets had more than one. His Deuce Crayon was powered by twin D12s giving it a great stereo smoke trail. His TLP Perseus II also had a pair of D motors, but only one burner lit on the ‘Slyder’ blue rocket. Elsewhere, he put up a Hawks Super Sprite will a sassy color coordinated chute to match, and a LOC Princess Aura with a recovery very close to the launch pad.

Mark H. had a stable of rockets out at the September launch. His P-Chuter Extreme competed with Dennis for a very close to range head recovery with a very nice flight. He also had his Whirlwind monocopter and his Hornet monocopters out for a little whirly bird action in the September skies.

Two of Marks rockets however did meet with some issues. His awesome looking Triatomic Cluster flew on 3 B motors, but the chute appeared to catch on fire and the recovery was met with peril. His Edmonds Arcie II glider also had deployment issues when the chute tangled with the glider causing some serious needs for repair. Let’s hope the salvage crew can resurrect this bird to fly again.

Mike Merwin, who has been on a launch-less sabbatical for awhile, came down to Maple Island to fly his Lil’ Nuke on a G79 white lightning, the flight was very cool and seemed very high for the G motor. It’s good to see Mike again at the launches. I think a certification flight is in the ‘to-do’ list for an upcoming launch.

Scott Young had the smallest rocket at the launch, his ‘Mini A’ was sporting an A2-5 motor which proved to be very difficult to light, I think after a couple of attempts, a little black power might have been added to the mixture to ‘nudge’ the little rocket into the air! Scott also had his Norad out for a flight with some fine checkering on the paint scheme. The flight was nice with an expected altitude of 1200 feet.

Elsewhere in the Praska family, Deb and Tucker flew an Estes Snapshot on a C-6 motor with the camera set up to get a bird’s-eye view of their home town. Let’s hope we see the photo at the October launch or a winter meeting.

Craig had a very cool ‘Slyder’ rocket out at the range with White Castle graphics and a cool blue paint job. Once I saw the listing in on the web, I thought it only fitting to feature White Castle burgers on the Rocket Grill Menu. Surprisingly the burgers were not bad and the Slyder flight was equally tasty, slydin’ into the skies over Maple Island.

Warren had his awesome looking Saturn V out for a flight in the September skies, however deployment was a little early – but all was fine as the Saturn V looks to fly again. Folks should take a peek at some of Warren’s scale birds for some good tips on building NASA born launch vehicles.

Greg had an ‘Acme Beater’ out for a flight with pre-flight comments of ‘Cross your fingers’, unfortunately at apogee the rocket body separated but no chute made it out of the airframe. Perhaps the ‘Beater’ will take a beating and fly again

Ethan and Greg also flew a Mini-Magg on an H-123 skidmark with an expected altitude of 2000 feet. The skidmark motor looked great and was graced by a fine trail of smoke in a cool flight.

Raising the altitude bar, Paul flew his Laika on a K-584 motor with a dual burn rate, the expected altitude was 9,000 feet and I questioned the height based on the weight of the rocket which seemed very heavy. However, the rocket raced off the pad and armed with a GPS transmitter sent data back with what seemed to be every bit of 9,000 feet. Recovery for Laika was to the west and I believe Paul had to employee some creative recovery techniques to bring the Red Rover home.

The September launch was a great afternoon of fun at Maple Island, thanks again to everyone that helped make the day an enjoyable outing of launching some cool birds into the skies!

Mike Praska's Cert flight - video (large file)
Mark's P-Chuter Extreme - video (large file)
Paul's Laika - video (large file)