This was one of the very rare weekends that Toni
and I had no obligations so we quickly packed our bags, loaded some
rockets into the Highlander and zipped over to Maryland’s Eastern Shore
for a weekend of R and R, Rockets and Relaxation. We beat the beach
traffic and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at Holly’s before heading
over to Backyard Billy’s to price some sheds. After discovering what we
cannot afford, we headed over to the field to help set up.
The weather was uncharacteristic for July on the Eastern Shore. The
humidity was low, the temperatures were comfortable, and the cooling
breezes were light. The sky was blue with an occasional puffy white
cloud that would pass overhead. The nice weather brought out many
flyers and the back field of the sod farm looked like a Red Glare
launch event with cars parked the entire length of the drive. It did
not take long for the field to be set up. The weekend’s challenge was
to keep the rockets out of the consuming corn fields that were higher
than an elephant’s ear.
MDRA was also installing much needed shelving in the club’s trailer
where I spent most of the day assisting wherever I could. I filmed only
one flight and had no flights of my own. Toni also assisted and managed
to purchase some endangered Loki J528 engine reloads for her rocket. We
relaxed most of Saturday, enjoying the nice weather and watching the
many rockets. Saturday evening had a welcome back party for a former
MDRA BOD member who had just returned from Afghanistan. We left the
field and grabbed a quick bite to eat before going to the VFW, where
the beer flowed freely.
We woke early Sunday morning and ate a quick continental breakfast at
the hotel before heading to the field. We arrived at the field and had
it set up for the day’s launch. We then hurried to prep our rockets for
some air time.
I had most of Shaken,
prepped at home but I had to fluff
the chutes and make the connections. I install an old faithful Loki
H144 into the aft end and took it to the pad. The LCO was so impressed
by Shaken, Not
prowess on the pad, its paint glinting in the
wind, the majestic rocket in a tuxedo that he could not stop commenting
on its splendor. However, Shaken, Not Stirred
wanted to fly and I had
to remind the LCO to put it in the air.
Shaken, Not Stirred
leapt from the pad and arced over at 1,228 feet. It
seemed longer than normal before the drogue was ejected and deployed.
The LCO, still enamored with Shaken, Not Stirred
even when the generator ran out of gas, cutting power to the sound
system. The main parachute deployed at 400 feet and Shaken, Not Stirred
came to rest on the only large rock at the sod farm. The rock dented
the motor retention system which will require repairs. Close inspection
also revealed a small zipper in the main body tube that will also
require repairing. Count the
“nices” and watch Shaken,
Toni had Sally
prepped with a 7-year old Loki J528 for propulsion.
named after Sally Ride the astronaut, glinted in her
patriotic colors in the sun until the conclusion of the countdown. With
a huff and a chuff, Sally Ride
to the heavens on the designed arc
into the wind before deploying her drogue at 1,250 feet. Sally Ride’s
mains deployed at 700 feet where the rocket hovered for some time,
showing off her custom main parachute, before slowly descending to a
soft landing in the beans. See ride Sally Ride here.
With such a beautiful day it seemed odd that those were the only two
rockets that we flew. We had other rockets but decided to rest, relax,
and watch the many other flights. I assisted with the trailer shelves
again and filmed some other flights. Soon there were no more flyers and
we reluctantly closed the field down. We managed to miss the returning
beach traffic and arrived home without incident. A quick swim in the
pool washed the day’s dust off and rejuvenated us. All in all, it was
not a bad weekend for July. Until the next launch . . .