month of June found us returning to the Central Sod Farm with a
Highlander of rockets. Ben and I left early to beat the non-existent
Ocean City traffic and found ourselves on Maryland’s Eastern Shore two
hours early. We meandered about at a local hardware store until it was
time to assist with the field preparations. The weather revealed blue
skies through intermittent clouds with cool and very light breezes. The
lush soft sod was green and spongy from the recent daily thunderstorms.
This was a perfect June day for flying rockets.
Ben needed my 38mm 240 N-s motor casing which was currently loaded with a Loki H144 and installed into the aft end of Shaken, Not Stirred
. The drogue chute leader was shorten slightly to slow the descent of Shaken, Not Stirred
while under drogue. Shaken, Not Stirred
quickly ascended to 1,375 feet and dutifully deployed its drogue at
apogee. The leader adjustment reintroduced the slight spin while
descending under drogue but the descent was slowed noticeably. At 400
feet the main parachute ejected with such force that the nose cone shot
through one of the main parachute shrouds during deployment. This
caused the main to flutter severely. Shaken, Not Stirred
quickly hit the hard ground, barely missing a fellow rocketeer’s camp
along the flight line. Inspection revealed no damage other then my
pride. Witness the flutterfly effect here.
While the 38mm 240 N-s motor casing was cooling from Shaken, Not Stirred’s
flight, my old level 1 rocket, R2/V2
was prepped with a Loki G80 and installed on the pad. The ejection delay was reduced from 6 to 5 seconds. R2/V2
ascent was straight and true. At apogee, it arced over, and then over
some more. The 1-second reduction in ejection delay did not relieve my
fears of a ballistic recovery. The ejection finally did occur, and when
it did, there was no parachute to be seen. My face turned beat red with
embarrassment as I quickly tried to remember if I reinstalled the
parachute as part of R2/V2’s
preparation. In those short few seconds I could not remember and
resolved myself to make the walk of shame when finally, with a slight
pop, the wonderful yellow 36-inch parachute deployed. R2/V2
softly came to rest in the lush, soft, spongy green sod without damage. Experience the thrill of recovery here.
I cleaned the now cooled 38mm 240 N-s motor casing from Shaken, Not Stirred’s
flight and turned it over to Ben. Ben assembled another Loki H144
engine reload and installed the completed motor into his Blackbeard’s
rocket named Queen Anne’s Revenge
. Now that
Ben is Level 1 certified, Ben was able to perform everything himself.
The rocket bolted from the pad amongst the rapid clicks of cameras and
quickly ascended to about 1,500 feet. The ejection occurred right at
apogee and the red and white parachute deployed on queue, unfurling
Blackbeard’s colors. Queen Anne’s Revenge
majestically descended while flying the flag until sticking the landing in the lush, soft, spongy green sod. Enjoy the pirate’s life here.
Queen Anne’s Revenge
was our last flight of the day. We cleaned motor casings and visited
the various vendors. The field buzz was about the country’s largest
yearly rocket event known as LDRS
in Potter, New York, over the 4th of July. Unfortunately, Ben and I
will not be able to attend. We assisted other flyers, filmed other
flights, and sat back to enjoy the cooling breezes in the setting sun.
We chatted about our current Mach Factor 2 project
until it was time to go home. Our journey home was quick and uneventful. Until next launch . . .