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May 2012 Launch Report
May 19-20, 2012 at Central Sod Farm

Ben and Monica both arrived home from college for summer break on Friday so it was not a hard decision for Toni and me to leave first thing Saturday morning with rockets in tow to celebrate our 27th year wedding anniversary flying rockets over the entire weekend. We snuck across the Bay Bridge before the beach traffic and enjoyed a nice leisurely breakfast at Hollys. This was the first launch of the summer flying season at the Central Sod Farm. The launches do not start until noon on Saturdays so we dawdled about before it was time to set up the field.

The soft sod was lush and green as far as the eye could see. The skies were blue with a slight breeze. The temperatures were moderate and the humidity was non-existent. There was an industrial field sprinkler system to the right that would eventually reach us but otherwise, a perfect rocket flying day. We made quick work setting up the field.

I tended some responsibilities and it was not until after 03:00 PM before I could prepare Shaken, Not Stirred with its customary Loki H144 motor. In the meantime, the normal LCO had to leave so we enlisted Momoko to take over the LCO duties. I decided to play a joke and loaded up my flight card with “R”s and “L”s knowing that Momoko had a hard time pronouncing these sounds. I should have known better than to mess with Karma.

On the first attempt, Shaken, Not Stirred chuffed out and my joke backfired. Momoko immediately turned the joke back on me as I made the walk of shame back to my vehicle to get a new igniter. The second attempt fared no better with another chuff and another walk of shame with head hung low. I apologized to Karma and installed two igniters for the third attempt. With a chuff and a huff, Shaken, Not Stirred took to the skies and soared to an altitude of 1,228 feet before arching over and deploying its drogue. The mains dutifully deployed at the preprogrammed 400 feet and Shaken, Not Stirred came to rest in the soft green sod. I did receive many “very nices” or was that “berry nices”. Post flight inspection revealed upper shoulder wear around the nose cone that will have to be re-enforced. See Shaken, Not Stirred finally take flight here. I will no longer tempt fate with Karma.

Shaken, Not Stirred was our last flight for Saturday. We checked into the Sleep Inn and hurriedly washed the day’s activities from us as we had reservations at Annies for our anniversary dinner. Some close rocket friends joined us in celebration. The drinks flowed freely, the food was excellent, and the company awesome. It was a very good anniversary with good memories that will last a lifetime.

We paid the price Sunday morning as we were reluctant to stumble out of bed and head to the field. We returned to Hollys for breakfast and some black coffee to bring us back to reality. We arrived at the field a little late but no worse for the wear. The weather at the field was breezy and cloudy.

We decided to take it easy. Toni prepared my Mini Sweet Vengeance with a D12 black powder motor. Mini Sweet Vengeance slowly lifted off in the stiff breeze before arching overhead where the small multicolored main parachute deployed. Mini Sweet Vengeance came to rest in the lush sod close by. See Mini Sweet Vengeance fly here.

That was our last launch for the weekend. We laid back enjoying the cool weather and other flights until it was time to pack up the field. We enjoyed dinner at the Cracker Barrel on the way home knowing that this was our last chance for peace and quiet for the summer. As feared, the kids were still home when we returned. Until the next launch . . .


By Peter E. Abresch Jr.

Return to April 2012

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Summer flight line at the sod farm
Toni rtrieving Sally Ride
The RSO and Registration Table
Toni with Mini Sweet Vengeance
Peter connecting the igniter to Shaken, Not Stirred. . . again
Shaken, Not Stirred landed in the freshly watered sod
Summer flight line at the sod
Return to the Launch Pad
Peter connecting the igniters to Shaken, Not Stirred. . .
        againToni with Mini Sweet VengeanceShaken, Not Stirred landed in the
        freshly watered sod
The RSO and Registration Table