The snow had recently melted and the last five days actually elapsed without any rain. This was quite unusual so I assumed the rocket gods were trying to make amends for such a wet season. Monica was also having some cackling girl friends over for her 17th birthday which was just the added excuse I needed to head to Maryland’s Eastern Shore to fly some rockets. I loaded the Highlander and did not turn back, leaving Ben and Toni to fend for themselves.
This first day of spring was warm with sunny skies and low winds. It was actually the first beautiful day of 2010 and all the Rocketeers knew this. Between the heavy snow and extensive rains, most launches up and down the Mid-Atlantic seaboard were cancelled for the preceding months leading up to this one. Cars were arriving with tags ranging from North Carolina to New York and the field quickly filled with the attendance a Red Glare event would normally bring.
Since I was itching to fly as well, I quickly started my preparations to Shaken, Not Stirred
. I loaded my trusty Loki H144 and taped a Q-Cam to the side. I scampered out to the pad early and had Shaken, Not Stirred
ready to go. The LCO launched the rocket and Shaken, Not Stirred
took to the skies for the first time in two months. It arced over at 1,324 feet where the apogee ejection occurred as expected. It descended over the spectators until the main parachute deployed at 400 feet. Shaken, Not Stirred
took a descent trajectory towards the parking area. I was reaching for my wallet to pay for a new windshield when someone yelled, it just missed the car!
Well a miss by one inch is the same as a miss by one mile, so I told the spectators that I intentionally wanted them to enjoy an up-close personal recovery and then slinked out of the parking area before anyone could become the wiser. See Shaken, Not Stirred cheat a catastrophic demise while using the “Q” Cam.
I started preparations on my 5.5-inch V2
rocket and soon had it on the pad with a Loki I405 stuffed in the aft end for propulsion. A previous rocket got stuck on the pad before mine was to launch, and set the field ablaze. The fire quickly spread, burning through pad cables, a launch control box, and a storage box. The entire club rushed out and soon had the fire under control. After about an hour of repairs, we were ready to launch again. The V2
exploded off the pad to slightly over 2,300 feet where the main successfully deployed after its characteristic long arc. In the light winds, the V2
gracefully danced under its orange canopy until gently touching down without any damage. See the camouflaged V2 fly and recover here.
The V2 was to be my last rocket for the day. I cleaned my motors and pretended to enjoy a sandwich from 7/11 that was obviously made in 1959. I basked in the warm sunshine until I realized I was getting sunburn. I mingled with the other flyers and discussed all things rocketry. Red Glare VIII is scheduled for April 16-18, 2010 and everyone is hoping for great weather. I had to go to work this Saturday evening so I reluctantly vacated the field at 03:30 PM and started my homeward trek. I had escaped a houseful of screaming teenage girls and flown rockets on a warm sunny day in March, not a bad day by any means. Experience all the fun here
. Until the next launch . .