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December 2011 Launch Report
December 17-18, 2011 at Higgs Farm

Tis the Christmas season and what is Christmas without a Christmas rocket launch in December. Toni and I woke early to scrape the frost off the Highlander and head over to the Maryland’s Eastern Shore with some rockets. We met fellow rocketeers at Holly’s and enjoyed a hearty breakfast before continuing to Higgs Farm. The weather was cold and breezy with variable skies. We made short work of setting up the field and were soon ready to fly.

As usual, I let others fly before me until I was satisfied with the upper winds. Soon I had Shaken, Not Stirred on the pad with an Loki H144 for propulsion. Shaken, Not Stirred jumped off the pad at the end of the countdown and ascended to 1,228 feet before deploying its drogue chute. Shaken, Not Stirred danced during its descent until the main parachute inflated at 400 feet. Shaken, Not Stirred came to a rest just past the ditch. The rocket was retrieved without any damage. See Shaken, Not Stirred Christmas flight here.

I had also brought the Mars Lander but the winds were too strong to attempt to fly it. Instead Toni and I enjoyed burgers and hot dogs from the Road Kill Café. The day was cold and we did our best to stay warm by helping where we could. I also filmed some other flights. We looked forward to our journey home with the nice heated seats and warmth of the Highlander.

Sunday morning I woke late and headed back to Maryland’s Eastern Shore for a second day of rocket flying, leaving Toni behind to make her traditional Gingerbread House. I stopped at 7/11 for something that passed as a breakfast sandwich and a large cup of coffee. The field was already set up when I arrived. The weather was cloudy and the winds were very low. I was excited as I hoped to get the Mars Lander up.

I prepped my Big Der Red Max with a C11 because I knew it would go about as high as the Mars Lander. The Big Der Red Max quickly ascended to about 800 feet as part of a drag race and successfully deployed its parachute. As feared, Big Der Red Max descended into the spectator area and landed on the club’s trailer. The winds had to change direction before I endangered the Mars Lander and worse, someone’s vehicle. See Der Big Red Max flight here.

The winds never changed direction and I was disappointed that I could not fly the Mars Lander. For those that are not familiar with the Mars Lander Project, click here. I continued to film other flights and tried to stay warm the best I could. There were periods of snow and very brief periods of sunshine. The sunshine provided an illusion of warmth that made all the difference in the world. Eventually the cold drove most of the rocketeers back to the warmth of their homes. We ended the launch early and packed up the equipment. The brave few that remained enjoyed a Champaign Toast and farewell to the 2011 flying season. See all the launch fun here. January’s launch will have the traditional Christmas Tree drag races. I enjoyed the remainder of the Redskins game on the radio during my journey home and savored in their rare victorious sweep of the Giants. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years. Until the next launch . . .

By Peter E. Abresch Jr.
Rocketeers who brave the cold to fly in December

By Peter E. Abresch Jr.

Return to November 2011

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Shaken, Not Stirred just past the muddy ditch
Toni bundled for warmth
Toni rtrieving Sally Ride
Der Big Red Max on the pad
The geese are smart enough to head for warmer grounds
Der Big Red Max under parachute
2011 rocket flying season comes to an end
Toni bundled for
Rocketeers who brave the cold to fly in December
Shaken, Not Stirred
        just past the muddy ditch 
Return to the Launch Pad
Der Big Red Max under
        geese are smart enough to head for warmer grounds2011 rocket flying season comes to an end
Der Big Red Max on the padMerry Christmas