XI finally came. It was delayed a month due to wet weather that
prevented the crops from being harvested in October. Toni and I were
ready and we left a day early to help MDRA set up the field. After a
leisurely breakfast at Holly’s, we arrived at the field with the cold
winds and rains. There was no choice so we donned our rain gear and
headed into the mud to set up the launch equipment and configure the
parking. The rains stopped just as we were finishing. We departed the
field as the sun set below the horizon and headed for the hotel. After
a hot shower we ended the evening with a nice dinner at Annies and a
couple of Martinis, shaken, not stirred, as usual.
Friday brought cool temperatures, blue skies, and slight winds. Red
Glare veterans know that Friday is the day to fly as most rocketeers
are still at work. Shaken,
had been prepared since October and had not seen
flight since August. I waited for a few flights so that I could tell
what the upper winds were doing. Once satisfied, I took Shaken, Not Stirred
to the pads, armed the electronics, installed the igniter, and waited
for the countdown. Shaken,
ascended on its Loki H144 propellant reload leaving
a smoke contrail in the clear blue sky. Shaken, Not Stirred
arced over at 1,361 feet and successfully deployed its drogue. The
rocket danced during its descent until the main parachute deployed at
400 feet. Shaken,
came to rest in the soft cover crop beyond the
ditch. It was
a great flight and can be seen here.
Toni assisted at the registration desk most of the day. I visited
venders to stock up on much needed rocket supplies and stepped in to
help whenever I could. I filmed many flights and ran the various Red
Glare contests. The field was dark by 05:00 PM so we headed back to the
hotel. After another quick shower, we headed to the Narrows restaurant
and enjoyed a nice dinner while overlooking the Kent Narrows. We went
to bed after dinner as Saturday was going to be a busy day.
Toni and I woke early Saturday morning and ate a quick breakfast at
7/11 before heading to the field. Toni wanted to get her Sally Ride
into the air before the crowds arrived. We had a new motor system for Sally Ride
had the AMW 38mm Pro-X system with a J425 Blue propellant. This is a
fool proof system but yet we had trouble. After an hour and with much
embarrassment, I headed over to the Animal Motor Works (AMW) vendor to
ask for assistance. As it turned out, the propellant grains were too
long and had nothing to do with what we were doing. AMW replaced the
J425 reload and the motor system easily came together.
was soon sitting on the pad. At the end of the countdown, Sally Ride
jumped off the pad on its blue plume and arced into the wind before
achieving apogee at 1,444 feet and deploying her drogue. Sally Ride
the winds until 700 feet where she deployed her crowd favorite
patriotic main parachute. Sally Ride
landed softly in the field as the crowds began to arrive. See Sally Ride here.
Having two kids in college put a damper on the number of flights for us
but not the fun. Toni was part of an all-girl recovery team for
Momoko’s Level 3 certification journey. I continued to film many
flights and assisted wherever I could. There were times where we just
sat back in the warm sun and relaxed as we watched the other flights.
We left the field in the setting sun to clean up and head to the MDRA
banquet where we enjoyed roast beef, crab cakes, and inexpensive beers.
Saturday night soon came to an end.
With our measly two flights behind us, Toni and I checked out of the
hotel and had a nice breakfast at Hollys. We then headed to the field
to help where we could, film some additional flights, and visit with
fellow rocketeers. Red Glare XI soon came to an end, and as fast as it
started, it was over. We closed the field and then gathered to enjoy
some sake in celebration of Momoko’s successful level 3 certification.
We headed home content with our flights and looking forward to
December’s launch. See all the Red
Glare XI action here
. Until next launch . . .