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March 2012 Launch Report
March 10, 2012 at Higgs Farm

We were itching to fly as the February 2012 Rocket Launch was a bust due to very cold and windy weather. Toni was out of town but Ben was home from college for the weekend. I bribed Ben with a hot breakfast at Holly’s which got him out of bed at 06:15 AM. We left the house to pick up Ben’s girlfriend before heading to Maryland’s Eastern Shore for some good eats. After a nice breakfast, we made the short hop to Higgs Farm. As usual, the Eastern Shore Brigadoon bubble that surrounds Higgs Farm had its own weather that contradicted the forecasted weather of mild temperatures and low breezes. Rocket veterans of Higgs Farm came prepared as the weather within the bubble was cold with strong winds smacking the rocketeers in the face along the flight line. We made quick time in setting up the field.

Momoko offered her rocket to Kristin to fly. Ben proudly explained all the intricacies of rocket flight to Kristin and soon they had the rocket on the pad. Cherry Child scooted off the pad on its F29 motor and arced over before ejecting its chute. However, the chute must have been packed too tight as it never inflated. Cherry Child landed in the soft field without any damage.

I waited for others fly to gauge the winds. Once satisfied, I had my newly repaired Shaken, Not Stirred prepped and on the pad. There were fears of Shaken, Not Stirred landing in the spectator area and doing damage to someone’s vehicle or worse, damage to the rocket. The launch rail was slightly adjusted using my patented Optimal Trajectory Alignment Process and once happy, I armed the electronics and posted my flight card.

The apogee charge never fired during January’s launch causing some damage to Shaken, Not Stirred. The altimeter was cleaned and tested in a vacuum chamber of my design (bucket and shopvac) and seemed to function normally in my test configuration. Shaken, Not Stirred bolted from the pad on its Loki H144 and arced over at 1,290 feet where the much anticipated drogue was successfully deployed. The mains deployed on queue at 400 feet and Shaken, Not Stirred safely came to rest along the flight line. See Shaken, Not Stirred 41th flight here.

Ben and Kristin were next with the dusty Legend of Zelda. Legend of Zelda was already prepped from Red Glare XI but never got the chance to fly. Ben explained to Kristen how the motor worked as he assembled the Loki I405. Soon Legend of Zelda was on the pad for the first time in over a year. Kristen gave the rocket a good luck kiss and wagers were made on prediction of the actual altitude before Legend of Zelda took to the skies. Legend of Zelda had a straight trajectory to 1972 feet before it arced over and deployed it drogue. The mains were ejected at 700 feet however they did not deploy. Again it seemed that the chute was packed too tight. You would think these Aerospace Engineers would know how to pack a chute ;). At the last possible moment, Kristen’s good luck kiss kicked in and the main parachute inflated just as Legend of Zelda came to rest without any damage. See Legend of Zelda’s flight here. I won the bet with my prediction of 1,975 feet, if anyone was wondering.

The rest of the day we stayed warm by helping clean out and reorganizing the club’s sea container and filming other flights. As typical for a March launch at Higgs Farm, the winds stop and the temperatures rose just in time to close the launch for the night. Ben treated us to dinner on the journey home. It was good day and we had zero repairs. See all the fun here. We are looking forward to Red Glare XII which is April 13-15, 2012. Until the next launch . . .


By Peter E. Abresch Jr.

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Kristin with Momoko's Cherry Child
Toni rtrieving Sally Ride
Shaken, Not Stirred landed along the flight line
Legend of Zelda Recovery
Kristin and Ben with Legend of Zelda
Legend of Zelda landing
Kristin with Momoko's Cherry Child
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Kristin and Ben with
        Legend of ZeldaLegend of Zelda RecoveryLegend of Zelda
Shaken, Not Stirred landed along the flight line