morning I awoke to a chilly September morning. I wanted to
arrive at the field early to make flight preparations. I made my
solo trek to the Central Sod Farm as Ben elected to stay behind
to watch the Redskins play and Toni had previous commitments.
The beach traffic was nonexistent and the ride in solitude was
not as bad as one would guess.
Most of the field preparation work was already completed and all
I had to do was make the field ready to launch. The temperatures
were typical early fall and the highs were expected to the low
seventies with a clear blue sky. The breezes were brisk but the
direction was variable. The rocket hungry soy beans lurked to
the north and the dark woods of Mordor with the rocket eating
trees laid in wait just behind the launch pads to the east.
As usual, I waited for others to fly in order to judge the
winds. The winds were just as fickle at altitude as they were on
the ground. Shaken, Not Stirred was already
prepared and was ready to be installed on the pad at a moment’s
notice. When the winds appeared right, I hurried Shaken,
Not Stirred to the pad with an H120 Red for
propulsion. After accepting accolades from Shaken, Not
Stirred’s fans that were in attendance, the
countdown commenced and Shaken, Not Stirred took
to the skies on its deep red plume to an altitude 1,343 feet
where she separated and deployed her drogue. Shaken, Not
Stirred danced during the descent and deployed the
mains at 300 feet. Shaken, Not Stirred landed in
a soft muddy ditch without any damaged. See Shaken, Not
Stirred’s 70th flight here.
I filmed other flights and helped some midshipmen from the Naval
Academy with their level 1 certification attempts. The weather
remained gorgeous as I relaxed in the late afternoon sun with
the occasional roar of a rocket taking to the skies or the ting
of my cell phone indicating the latest score of the Redskins
game. The final Redskins victory of 41-10 over the Jaguars was
icing on an already great day.
We made quick work of closing the field and packing up the
equipment. Some remain behind to enjoy refreshing beer and bask
in the autumn like weather. Reluctantly we all started our
homeward journey west. 2014 was a great year for rockets at the
sod farm. The weather was great and there were no scorching days
this summer. Hopefully the great weather will continue for the
rest of 2014. Until the next launch . . .