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June 2013 Launch Report
June 15-16, 2013 at Central Sod Farm

There is no better way to spend Fatherís Day weekend then to fly rockets. Ben and I packed some rockets into the Highlander and snuck across the Bay Bridge ahead of the Ocean City traffic. We enjoyed breakfast at Hollys before piddling some time away at the various antique shops. We headed to the sod farm at 11:00 AM and enlisted those willing to help us set up the field.

The weather was gorgeous with low humidity, low temperatures, low winds, and clear blue skies. The team made quick work setting up the field and soon flyers were taking their rockets to the pads. We watched these early flights to judge the upper breezes and once satisfied, we started our preparations.

Shaken, Not Stirred was prepped and a new CTI H225 inserted for propulsion. Shaken, Not Stirred was taken to the pad where she waited for her final countdown towards her 56th flight. Shaken, Not Stirred leapt off the pad when the button was pushed and soon proceeded to perform some sky writing. This is never a good sign. She split apart due to the excessive G-Forces. The drogue came out and then the main ejection fired releasing the main. Shaken, Not Stirred descended from her max altitude of 324 feet with her smoking sustainer dangling under full mains. This was not her best flight. See Shaken, Not Stirred shaken and not flown here.

Post flight analysis revealed that the nozzle O-Ring failed that lead to blow by once the motor came up to pressure. The blow by separated Shaken, Not Stirred soon after takeoff causing the fiberglass sustainer to zipper. The heat of the blow by fused the motor casing and the 54-38mm motor adapter together. The main fiberglass sustainer began to burn and melted the fiberglass at the aft end of the sustainer. Worse of all, Shaken, Not Stirred failed in full view of the spectators thus causing irrevocable damage to my reputation. Luckily the motor failure appeared to be caused by a defect in manufacturing and not by user error.

I took the damaged motor to Animal Motor Works (AMW) where they will send the failed motor to CTI for further post analysis. AMW readily replaced the motor, the engine casing, and the 54-38mm adapter. However, I still had a damaged rocket and now must contemplate another repair or even possibly retiring Shaken, Not Stirred.

Ben was next with his Legend of Zelda. Ben chose a Loki I405 for propulsion. Legend of Zelda had a flawless takeoff and deployed her drogue at 1,820 feet. Legend of Zelda danced while it descended and ejected her mains at 700 feet. However, her mains never inflated and Legend of Zelda took a hard landing in the soft green sod. Final inspection revealed electronic bay damaged. See Legend of Zelda less than stellar flight here.

I filmed some other flights and helped where I could while Ben did some LCOing. Ben and I headed home late in the evening contemplating how we would make our repairs.

Sunday morning brought a new day and Toni and I headed back to the sod farm. We did not fly but assisted where we could and spectated at the other flights when time permitted. The returning Ocean City traffic had caused its normal backup on the Bay Bridge so we joined others at Ledoís to enjoy dinner while the traffic dissipated. Hopefully Shaken, Not Stirred and Legend of Zelda can live to fly another day. Until the next launch . . .

Counter
By Peter E. Abresch Jr.
Fiberglass zipper damage caused by sudden separation

By Peter E. Abresch Jr.

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Melted sustainer caused by nozzle O-Ring failure
Motor failure can be seen here with motor casing and adapter
Toni rtrieving Sally Ride
The sod farm B rack ready for launch
Ben just graduated with his Aerospace Engineering Degree
Motor failure can be seen here with motor casing and adapter
Fiberglass zipper damage caused by sudden separation
Melted sustainer caused by nozzle O-Ring failure 
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The sod farm B rack ready for launch

Ben just graduated with his Aerospace Engineering Degree