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April 2012 Red Glare XII Launch Report
April 13-15, 2012 at Higgs Farm

April showers bring Red Glare. Toni and I are suffering from the “2 kids in college” syndrome which has really challenged our rocket flying expenses. Even still, we were determined to fly so I packed up Shaken, Not Stirred and Toni packed up her Sally Ride. With our rockets and some change of clothes, we headed over the bay bridge to the last launch at Higgs Farm for the season. We enjoyed a nice breakfast along the way.

We arrived at the field which was already mostly set up the day before. The skies were blue, the winds were light, and the temperatures warm. Red Glare veterans know that Red Glare Friday is the day to fly and the field was already full with these veterans. I assisted where I could while keeping an eye on the early fliers and the direction of the winds at the different altitudes. Once satisfied, I slipped away from my BoD duties to prepare Shaken, Not Stirred.

The parachutes were fluffed, packed, and all connections were attached. Shaken, Not Stirred went through the Range Safety Officer (RSO) process and passed inspection. Shaken, Not Stirred was installed on the pad and patiently waited for the button to be pushed. At the end of the countdown, and with a huff and a chuff, Shaken, Not Stirred ascended into the clear blue yonder on its Loki H144. Shaken, Not Stirred took a long arc at 1,164 feet where the small orange drogue was deployed. Shaken, Not Stirred danced in the breeze until the main parachute deployed at 400 feet. Shaken, Not Stirred landed safely nearby. However, unbeknownst to anyone, the huff and chuff of liftoff had sent a spark into the dry rye catching it on fire. I ran over to assist others in eliminating the fire before it spread out of control. See Shaken, Not Stirred’s flight and foot stomping action here.

That was our only flight for Friday. We checked into the hotel and washed the dust and spent rocket fuel aroma off before heading to The Narrows Restaurant for dinner. It was at The Narrows Restaurant where I experienced the best dinner in my life. Words cannot do it justice but here is what I enjoyed. I had the special which was two large fresh softshell crabs flown from Georgia that were flashed sautéed which made them crispy on the outside and cooked on the inside. The softies were liberally drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette reduction and topped with caramelized onions and sweet corned chutney. On the side were steamed broccoli flowers and garlic mashed potatoes. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! If you are along the narrows on Kent Island’s eastern shore and are lucky enough to be at The Narrows Restaurant  when they have the softshell crab special, order them as I highly recommend them.

We awoke Saturday morning and had a nice breakfast at Holly’s before heading to the field. Red Glare Saturday is the busiest day of Red Glare. The clear blue skies and summer like temperatures insured that this was to be no different. Toni and I chose not to fly but instead assisted where we could. We enjoyed all the rockets and the young families who were flying the bucket rockets. We closed the field early to attend the Red Glare banquet at the VFW in Grasonville. The roast beef and crab cakes were delicious, the camaraderie of fellow rocketeers inspiring, and the inexpensive beer the perfect drink to wash the day’s dust from our mouths.

Sunday morning’s breakfast at Holly’s made us late arriving at the field. Luckily, Red Glare Sunday starts leisurely. This gave Toni time to prepare her rocket Sally Ride. Toni packed the recovery gear and assembled and installed her CTI PROx J425 propellant. Sally Ride was taken to the pad to await launch. Sally Ride’s first igniter failed but the second ignited and sent Sally Ride to 1,672 feet on her blue flame. Sally Ride deployed her drogue and descended to 700 feet where her main parachute deployed. Sally Ride majestically descended on her patriotic chute until gently coming to rest in the main field. 1,672 feet was an altitude record for Sally Ride and Toni beamed with pride. See ride Sally Ride here.

All good things must come to an end. Red Glare XII came to an end and with it, the Higgs Farm flying season. We packed up all the gear and prepared for our summer flying at the Central Sod Farm. Enjoy all the Red Glare activities here. When everything was over, we sat down and enjoyed a beer while identifying the stars and planets that slowing appeared in the night sky. Soon Toni and I were the only ones left and we reluctantly started our journey home. It was a great weekend. Until the next launch . . .

By Peter E. Abresch Jr.
Red Glare XII is here

By Peter E. Abresch Jr.

Return to March 2012

Our spot along the flight line
Busy rocketeers everywhere

Shaken, Not Stirred landed in the dry rye
Toni recovering Sally Ride
Sally Ride under full mains
Busy rocketeers
Red Glare XII is here
Our spot along the
        flight line 
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Sally Ride under full mains
Shaken, Not Stirred landed in the dry ryeToni recovering Sally Ride