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April 2015 Red Glare 17 Launch Report
April 9-12, 2015 at Higgs Farm

There was not a fall Red Glare in 2014 due to field unavailability and bad weather. This would be Red Glare 17 which had become the most anticipated launch of the Higgs Farm season. Toni and I packed our rockets and set forth to Marylandís Eastern Shore Thursday to help set up the field for the anticipated Red Glare crowds. Of course it was cold and rainy and by the time we were done, we were cold and wet. We arrived at the Comfort Inn in Easton, Maryland and enjoyed hot showers before enjoying a nice dinner with friends.

Ben joined us Friday for the first launch day which continued true to form with wet and windy weather. The weather ceiling was low and the best waiver we could get from the FAA was only 1000 feet. There were many low power flights despite the low waiver. Of course the weather started to clear as Fridayís launch came to an end. The Abresch fleet stayed grounded. Another welcomed hot shower and nice dinner with friends were prelude to a good night sleep with dreams and fantasies of good flying weather ahead.

Saturday found the weather sunny but with blustery winds. At least the skies were clear which allowed the full waiver of 17,000 feet. Many flyers took advantage of this and took to the skies. I was no exception. I prepped Shaken, Not Stirred with a CTI H152 Blue and took her to the pad. Shaken, Not Stirred leapt on its aggressive blue plume to 1,154 feet and arced over into the wind where it ejected its small drogue chute. Shaken, Not Stirred pranced in the wind until successfully deploying her mains at 300 feet. The winds took control and took Shaken, Not Stirred on a journey across the field where she snagged some corn stubble and came to a rest just feet from the creek. My face started to smile as I realized that I had a least one flight during Red Glare with no repairs. See Shaken, Not Stirredís 74th flight.

Benís girlfriend arrived so he dusted Legend of Zelda which has not seen blue sky for almost a year and stuff a Loki J528 into the aft end. Legend of Zelda bolted to the blue yonder under the power of the large J motor unaffected by the stiff breeze that was blowing. Legend of Zelda almost disappeared before arcing over at 3,461 feet and deploying her small drogue. Legend of Zelda danced during the descent until off in the distance, at 700 feet, Legend of Zelda deployed her mains. Legend of Zelda safely landed on the other side of the creek. Ben and his girlfriend started their long recovery walk. See Legend of Zelda fly again.

Saturday evening found us at the MDRA Red Glare banquet where we enjoyed the company of fellow members, good food, and fine spirits. We knew better but we wallowed in rocketry stories late into the night anyway, knowing that Sunday would provide the best weather for those that arrived at the field early.

Sunday saw sunny skies with barely a whisper of a breeze. Toni and I skipped breakfast, checked out of the hotel, and hurriedly made our way back to the field to prep our last two flights of Red Glare 17. I prepped the Damn Abresch Boys and Toni prepped her Sally Ride.

Once Ben arrived, we took Damn Abresch Boys to the pad with a very aggressive K2045 VMAX for propulsion. This would send the Damn Abresch Boys to Mach just as it cleared the pad. The motor only had about .5 second burn time. The LCO announced the ďdonít blink or you will miss itĒ flight. At the end of the countdown, Damn Abresch Boys disappeared off the pad pulling 68.2 gees and hitting Mach only 15 feet above the pad. The Damn Abresch Boys  topped out at 1,104 FPS or Mach 1.3 before arcing over at 9,558 feet, a mere 22 seconds later. It took Damn Abresch Boys 2:16 minutes for it to descent to 300 feet where she deployed her mains. Of course the Damn Abresch Boys really disappeared one second after liftoff. The data was downloaded from a Raven altimeter. Damn Abresch Boys was located using radio tracking and was found one mile away from the launch point. Damn Abresch Boys was recovered with no damage. Click play to see Damn Abresch Boys 3rd flight.

Toni had her Sally Ride prepped with a J425 and ready to fly. Ben helped Toni take Sally Ride to the pad. Sally Ride took to the sky on her blue plume to an altitude of 1,662 feet where she separated and deployed her drogue at apogee. Sally Ride descended to 700 feet and successfully deployed her mains. Sally Ride slowly descended while being carried by the gentle zephyr until she disappeared in the dreaded creek. Of course, only her electronics bay was submerged in the water. The electronics were dried out and seem to be no worst for the wear. See Sally Ride fly.

Sally Ride was our last flight for Red Glare. We helped other flyers until the setting sun signaled the end of Red Glare and the end of flying season at the winter fields of Higgs Farm. We packed up the field for the season and made preparations with the equipment for the start of the summer flying season at the Central Sod Farm. At least we had two good days of flying at Red Glare. We stopped for dinner on the journey home and easily fell into bed exhausted from the weekendís flights. See all of Red Glare 17 flights here. Until the next launch . . .
By Peter E. Abresch Jr.
The field was crowded with rocketeers between launch racks

By Peter E. Abresch Jr.

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Toni and Alicia at the Abresch camp along the flight line

Toni rtrieving Sally Ride
Click above to see Shaken, Not Stirred's flight video
The field was crowded with
        rocketeers between launch racks
Red Glare 17 was very well attended
Red Glare 17 was very
        well attended
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Toni and Alicia at
        the Abresch camp along the flight line