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May 2011 Launch Report
May 14, 2011 at Central Sod Farm

The weather forecast called for clouds and rain for this May launch. This was Monica’s prom night and she had dedicated the whole day to getting ready for the prom. It was not a hard decision to throw some rockets into the Highlander and sneak over to Maryland’s Eastern Shore before anyone was the wiser. I beat the Dover Race traffic across the Bay Bridge and killed some time visiting some hardware stores and Eastern Shore fishing and hunting shops before it was time to set up the field.

This was our first launch of the year at the summer fields of the Centreville Sod Farm. It was raining but in between the rain drops we managed to get the field set up and then waited for clearer skies or higher clouds. There was a fine layer of mud where the sod was harvested. This was the kind of mud that stuck to the boots and would not come off no matter what, unless you walked across the living room floor of course. Finally at around 03:30 PM, the ceiling lifted to about 1500 feet.

I broke my cardinal rule of letting others fly before me and quickly scurried Shaken, Not Stirred to the pad before the rains might make any return. I screwed with the Q-Cam but could not make the small video camera start recording. I felt a drop of rain, uttered some colorful exclamations to the Q-Cam and told the LCO to push the button without the onboard video.

Shaken, Not Stirred leapt to 1,232 feet and ejected its drogue after a long graceful arc. Shaken, Not Stirred danced under the drogue until deploying the main parachute at 400 feet before coming to a hard rest close by. Inspection of Shaken, Not Stirred after retrieval showed that the video camera was gone. I searched with the help of others but only found pieces of it. It must have been dislodged by the shock cord during the apogee ejection. I wasted a lot of time in my fruitless search and finally called it quits. This time the Q-Cam did not survive to Die Another Day. I did manage to find a couple of arrow heads so all was not a total loss. See Shaken, Not Stirred depart with the Q-Cam here.

The clouds were spiting rain here and there so I decided to get my Mini Sweet Vengeance up on a mighty Estes D12 before the spit turned into a steady drool. At the end of the countdown, Mini Sweet Vengeance popped off the pad leaving blue mach diamonds in its wake and with such speed that it was hard for anyone to witness such a rocketry splendor, NOT! Mini Sweet Vengeance slowly lifted off and successfully deployed its main parachute at about 500 feet. It did score 7 “nices” from the LCO. Count the scores here.

Mini Sweet Vengeance was my last flight of the day. We closed the launched and I started my solitude trek home as the rains started to fall. The highways were clear and I made good time. I arrived home and walked through the house, leaving that sod farm mud in my wake, like I did not know that would happen. Until the next launch . . .

By Peter E. Abresch Jr.
Sod Farm Mud
Shaken, Not Stirred Landing in the hard mud
By Peter E. Abresch Jr.
MinI_Sweet_Vengeance on the pad
Remainder of Q-Cam with Clovis period arrow head
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Return to April 2011 Launch Report

  Sod Farm Mud
Shaken, Not Stirred Landing 
Mini Sweet Vengeance on the pad
Remainder of Q-Cam with Woodland period arrow head