chilly September morning found Toni and I packing up the
Highlander and returning to Maryland’s Eastern Shore to fly some
rockets at the sod farm. We made the traditional stop at Holly’s
for a good breakfast before meandering the morning away at a
local hardware store. We made our way to the sod farm around
11:00 AM to start setting up the field.
The soft, lush, green sod was thriving in the recent rains and
cool weather. There was much help setting up the field in the
cool temperatures. The skies were blue with puffy white clouds
lollie gagging overhead. The winds were breezy but unfortunately
blowing towards the very hungry soy bean field. Only the young,
well-prepared, or the stupid, were to fly on this day as not to
satisfy the never ending and rocket craving appetite of the sod
farm soy bean field.
As usual, I waited for some flyers to test the winds and the soy
beans. As suspected, everything was landing in the soy bean
fields and immediately being swallowed up, never to be seen
again. However, I was well-prepared and had my screamer dusted
off and repaired from last month. I stuffed a CTI H143 Smokey
Sam motor into the aft end of Shaken, Not Stirred
packed the parachutes, and rigged the screamer to activate
during main parachute deployment. I doubled checked to verify
all was secured before installing Shaken, Not Stirred
on the pad. If all went to plan, I would follow the screaming
noise and easily retrieve my rocket. But just to be safe, I
angled the launch rail slightly into the wind.
Shaken, Not Stirred’s
launch was delayed as the
bean field needed to be cleared of rocketeers desperately
attempting to locate the rockets from previous racks. Once
cleared, the countdown was given and Shaken, Not Stirred
ascended on its 47th flight to 1,288 feet over the spectator
line where it deployed its drogue on queue at apogee. Shaken,
was carried straight for the bean field
with its small drogue. The main parachute was deployed at 400
feet and once inflated, it pulled the pin from the screamer and
activated the noise. However, the noise deafen once Shaken,
disappeared into the soy bean field.
I entered the soy bean field once the pads were declared safe. I
had a general idea where Shaken, Not Stirred
landed. I picked up the noise from the screamer as I got close.
Even standing on top of it, with the noise deafening my ear
drums, I had trouble finding it. I dug in the soy until I
finally grasped the shock cord and followed it to the rocket. Shaken,
was successfully retrieved and lives to
fly another day. See
Shaken, Not Stirred’s flight here and witness
the recovery in the thick beans.
That was Toni and mine only flight of the day. We filmed some
other flights and helped other people search for their rockets
but for the most part we kicked back and relaxed in the cool sod
under the blue waning summer skies and enjoyed the many rocket
contrails overhead. We closed the field in the setting sun and
met everyone for dinner at Adam Ribs. We arrived home after
midnight and had no trouble drifting off to sleep. To Justin,
may you continue to soar above the clouds until it is time for
us to join you in the next level. Until the next launch . . .