January 2014 Launch Report
January 18-19, 2014 at
weather was cloudy and snow was in the air as I made my solo
trek to Maryland’s Eastern Shore for MDRA’s Eastern Shore Launch
188 and more importantly, the 7th Annual Christmas Tree Drag
Race. Toni and Ben were smart and elected to stay home. I
arrived at the field with strong blustery winds that took the 28
degree temperature down to “real feel” 12 degrees where it
stayed through the remainder of the day. There is a fine line
between dedication and stupidity and I found myself on the wrong
side of this line this day.
I assisted in some launch equipment repairs while trying to
protect myself in the frigid winds but the winds penetrated my
layers of clothing until I became cold. I filmed an experimental
GPS guided ram parachute deployment recovery and the two heats
of the Christmas Tree drag race but that was it. I was cold and
I was not able to warm up until my journey home after the
launch. I had the seat heater on high and finally started to
feel again around Edgewater, Maryland.
Sunday morning I conned Toni into joining me for day 2. We
arrived at the field to sunny skies and less blustery winds. The
temperatures were to reach a balmy 36 degrees but the sunshine
provided the illusion of warmth. As the day went on, the
slightly above freezing temperatures melted the permafrost
making for muddy conditions throughout the field.
I prepared Shaken, Not Stirred
with a CTI
H120-Red propellant and adjusted the launch angle on the pad to
account for the winds. Shaken, Not Stirred
scurried off the pad on its red plume and arced into the winds
directly over the spectators before deploying its drogue chute
at 1,317 feet. Shaken, Not Stirred
descended and was pushed back over the field by the winds until
the main parachute was successfully deployed on queue at 300
feet. Shaken, Not Stirred
came to rest just feet
from where she was launched. See
Shaken, Not Stirred redeem herself from last
month’s flight here.
The third heat of the Christmas Tree launch was in the
afternoon. What is it about Christmas Trees with rocket motors
strapped to them that brings all those smiles to everyone’s
faces? Much top-secret research goes into flying Christmas Trees
and the accumulation of this research can be seen with some of
these flights. See the
MDRA 7th Annual Christmas Tree Drag Race here.
Toni and I assisted with the launch and other flyers for the
remainder of the launch. We closed the field in the setting sun
and dropping temperatures before heading to Ichiban on Kent
Island for some sushi and drinks. The sunny skies and above
freezing temperatures made for a much better day. Until the next
launch . . .
By Peter E. Abresch Jr.
Punishment for those that curse the wind gods
Peter E. Abresch Jr.
Toni staying warm in the sunshine
Despicable Tree stuck the landing
Despicable Tree had Despicable Me as passengers
Shaken, Not Stirred at ignition
Shaken, Not Stirred just prior to touch