twas the weekend before Christmas and all through the house,
there were rockets stirring to fly and I was willing to oblige.
Toni was feeling down due to the weather so I reluctantly left
her in bed as I drove out of the driveway with only one rocket
this frosty morning. I stopped at Hollys for a nice warm country
breakfast before heading to Higgs Farm. I was early and watched
the foxes scurry about along the fields with the various snow
geese mulling about amongst the corn stubble in the rising sun.
Soon other flyers arrived and we made quick work setting up the
The sun slowly warmed the fields leaving a slight mist while the
snow geese anticipating the disturbance in their solitude, had
taken flight to more tranquil locations. As usual, I observed
the early flyers to gauge upper wind speeds and directions.
Since Shaken, Not Stirred’s
50th flight during
Red Glare XIII, the upper section of the rocket was rebuilt from
a unidirectional fiberglass 54mm tubing. The entire rocket was
refinished with a new paint job and topped with professional
custom vinyl decals from Sticker Shock
addition, the PerfectFlite HA45K altimeter was replaced with a
PerfectFlite Stratologger altimeter that is accurate up to
The fiberglass upgrades added some additional weight so a CTI
H225 White motor was chosen for propulsion. Shaken, Not
was soon on the pad waiting for the button
to be pushed. The butterflies in my stomach was as if Shaken,
was a brand new rocket. At the end of
the countdown, Shaken, Not Stirred
to the skies on its 51st flight and gently arced over at 1,547
feet. It took a few seconds for the drogue parachute to deploy
which caused a mad spin to the upper section of Shaken,
. Eventually this mad spin threw the nose
cone off and pull the main parachute out before its time. Shaken,
descended under its main in a
semi-tangled state until at 300 feet the new Stratologger
altimeter fired the main ejection charge which somehow broke the
tangle mess free. Shaken, Not Stirred
descended as designed and landed close by without any damage.
There is some tweaking in the drogue parachute rode and the nose
cone friction fit left to do. See
the new Shaken, Not Stirred fly here.
Shaken, Not Stirred
was my only rocket flight of
the weekend. I filmed some other flights until the setting sun
and dropping temperatures signal the end of the day. We packed
up the field in anticipation of the pending rains for Sunday and
were treated to the International Space Station flying overhead
as the sun slipped over the horizon. Sunday brought the
anticipated rains and low clouds that forced us to cancel the
launch. This was our last launch of 2012. January will bring a
New Year and the annual Christmas Tree Launch.
I did see the new James Bond movie, Skyfall
give it my thumbs up. After Quantum of Solace and MGM’s
financial troubles, the Bond franchise have finally redeem
themselves. My favorite scene was when James Bond opened the
garage door to retrieve a non-company car. I will not say more
as not to spoil for those that are not double “O” worthy and
have not seen the movie yet. I look forward to a new 007 movie
every two years.
I wish everyone a happy and safe holidays and a Merry Christmas
to all. Until the next launch . . .