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March 2011 Launch Report
March 19, 2011 at Higgs Farm

March is usually good flying weather on Maryland’s Easter Shore so Toni and I did not hesitate to pack up the Highlander with a few rockets and head out to Higgs Farm. First we stopped at Batters Up and enjoyed a nice breakfast and some coffee before arriving at the field.

The Eastern Shore weather secret for March is really not a very well kept secret anymore as many other flyers from as far as Connecticut were already at the field. The field had the expected blue skies, warm temperatures, and a strong breeze. It was not the strength of the breeze that had everyone concerned, but rather the direction of the breeze. It was blowing directly into the parking area. However, compared to last month’s severe winds, this breeze was nothing and everyone was anxious to put something into the air. The field was quickly set up.

I was still very worried about hammering someone’s expensive windshield with my rocket so Toni and I laid back enjoying the many flights. We were hoping for a westerly wind shift that finally arrived at about 03:00 PM. Shaken, Not Stirred was still completely prepped from February so I was ready to fly. Toni and I had Shaken, Not Stirred on the field with a Loki H144 to push it high overhead once we noticed the American Flag on the field start to flap in a different direction.

At the end of the countdown, Shaken, Not Stirred popped off the pad and road its trail of smoke to 1,344 feet before slowly arching over and deploying its drogue. Shaken, Not Stirred danced wildly in the breeze before deploying its main at 400 feet and coming to a soft landing not too far away. While making my leisurely walk to retrieve Shaken, Not Stirred, the breeze puffed and re-inflated the main parachute and dragged Shaken, Not Stirred another 5 feet through the stubble before it settled back down. I was worried about the Q-Cam that was tapped to the side of Shaken, Not Stirred.

My fears were realized as I got close enough to Shaken, Not Stirred and saw that the Q-Cam was obliterated. A quick search revealed that the Q-Cam internals were not far from the drag zone. Q would have been proud as 007 never returned anything intact from the field; however I was bummed at the lost onboard video and the un-repairable camera. Otherwise, Shaken, Not Stirred did not receive any other damage. I did manage to salvage the ascension on the onboard video but the rest was lost. See Shaken, Not Stirred's flight here.

Toni did not have a rocket prepped to fly. We remained until the launch was over and relaxed and watched the other flights. After the last flight of the day, we joined everyone at Sleep Inn for pizza and beer. Rocket stories flowed with the beer but soon it was time to extend our goodbyes and start our journey home. We were exhausted after arriving home after 10:00 PM. It was a good day. Maybe I will try to assemble the pieces of the Q-Cam. Until the next launch . . .

By Peter E. Abresch Jr.
The March secret is out at Higgs Farm
Shaken, Not Stirred at apogee
By Peter E. Abresch Jr.
What is left of the oboard video camera
Shaken, Not Stirred in the grass after landing
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  Crowded Flight Line
Shaken, Not Stirred at Apogee 
What is left of the oboard video camera, see the internals in the upper left

Shaken, Not Stirred in the grass after landing