Launch Report

Date: 28 May 1995

Time: 1:00 - 3:15 CDT

Location: Three Guys With Rockets launch area

Weather conditions: partly to mostly cloudy

Temperature: upper 80s

Humidity: dripping

Wind: S-SSE 5-15 mph, gustier later

			flights in order
		rocket:			engine(s):
		Estes Skywinder		C6-3
		Estes HelioCopter	C6-5
		Estes Mini-Cobra	A10-0T/A3-4T
		Vaughn Bros. Spudnik	A10-0T/A3-4T
		Estes Phoenix		D12-5
		Quest HL-20		B6-2
		Estes Honest John	D12-5
		Quest DC-Y		C5-3
		Estes Phoenix		E15-8
		Estes Voyager II	A8-3
		Estes CATO		B6-0
		Estes Phoenix		E15-6
		Quest X-30		C6-3
		Estes Honest John	D12-5
		Estes Little Joe II	A3-4T
		Quest HL-20		B6-2
		Estes Maniac		D12-5


Bob's HelioCopter was to be the first launch for the day to test the winds, but he suffered a misfire on ignition. Therefore, the Skywinder was sent aloft from another pad. Nice flight: it landed about 50 feet away from the pad.

Bob inserted another ignitor and fired the HelioCopter off the pad for a nice flight: higher than the Skywinder. After ejection the nose cone copter 'orbited' around the rocket body descending on its own parachute. Then the wind caught them... the parachute avoided the trees and landed close to the edge of the launch area. Unfortunately, the nose cone copter blew right into the top of a thirty foot tree... maybe last night's thunderstorms blew it out...

The Mini-Cobra was my first 2-stage rocket in about twenty-five years... staging occurred right over our heads... and that's the last time we saw the upper stage. It could be on its way to Mars for all I know... Has anyone *ever* flown one of these more than once? And I had painted and detailed it so nicely...

Next up was a CHAD staging attempt on a Spudnik (actually, Bob tried to launch his Phoenix, but he had some controller problems... so the Spudnik was sent up from another pad). Staging was OK, but the ejection charge blew a huge hole out of the top instead of ejecting the engine... so much for the Spudnik... at least I didn't waste any time decorating it...

Bob's Phoenix is becoming 'Old Reliable.' He brings it to every launch and it always flies well. It weather-vanes, of course, so he has to wait until there's a lull in the wind before launching. On its last flight, a couple of shroud lines stripped off of the chute and it landed hard on its tail. No damage to the fins, but the tube crumpled a bit...

The HL-20 is a replacement I built for one that's currently in my parent's trees... I modified it by running a launch lug through the shroud parallel to the engine tube. It flies much better this way. The kit lug placement is not parallel with the thrust vector which causes it to come off the launch rod at a peculiar angle... I still don't have the trimming right, since it was constantly stalling during its last 'glide.'

Bob's Honest John (Estes Collector's Series) flew really well. However, on its second flight the main parachute somehow got hung up in the body tube. The body would have core-sampled if the ground had been softer than the tube. As it was, Bob has some serious repair work to do before it flies again. I was amazed at how stable the rocket body was without the nose cone (which recovered safely on its own parachute): straight down with nary a wobble... TOONK! Cries of "Oh, the humanity! The humanity!" followed by unstoppable laughter...

The Quest DC-Y Space Clipper is just fun to fly on a C5-3. That motor provides the punch to get it off the pad in a hurry. The rocket landed literally at my feet.

The Voyager II got its maiden flight on an A8-3. Nice flight, although instead of arcing over, the rocket appeared to back up until the parachute ejected. I modified the recovery system to return the nose cone on a streamer and the main body on a 12 inch parachute using a 2 point suspension system. I still can't believe Estes packs an 18 inch chute with this model... And the decals! They are the thickest water slide decals I've ever seen. The edges cast shadows... that's how thick they are. I had to use many applications of Super-Sol to get them to lay down...

The CATO is a pain in the butt to assemble, but it's fun to see people's reactions when it falls apart in mid-air.

The Quest X-30 had a nice flight. I only used a single 12 inch chute, instead of the two 12 inch chutes packed with the kit. The first time I flew it with two chutes, they tangled and didn't fully deploy. A single chute seemed to be enough, so that's the way I'll fly it from now on...

The Little Joe II flew straight and high on its maiden flight. Jim made a good catch before it hit the ground.

The final flight of the day was a Maniac for my first D powered flight. Nice and high with recovery about 200 yards from the launch site.

The winds were becoming too gusty, so we packed up for the day. Lots o'phun... I can't wait for the next launch day, whenever that is.

Sven Knudson, NAR#63297