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November Red Glare XI Launch Report
November 18-20, 2011 at Higgs Farm

Red Glare XI finally came. It was delayed a month due to wet weather that prevented the crops from being harvested in October. Toni and I were ready and we left a day early to help MDRA set up the field. After a leisurely breakfast at Holly’s, we arrived at the field with the cold winds and rains. There was no choice so we donned our rain gear and headed into the mud to set up the launch equipment and configure the parking. The rains stopped just as we were finishing. We departed the field as the sun set below the horizon and headed for the hotel. After a hot shower we ended the evening with a nice dinner at Annies and a couple of Martinis, shaken, not stirred, as usual.

Friday brought cool temperatures, blue skies, and slight winds. Red Glare veterans know that Friday is the day to fly as most rocketeers are still at work. Shaken, Not Stirred had been prepared since October and had not seen flight since August. I waited for a few flights so that I could tell what the upper winds were doing. Once satisfied, I took Shaken, Not Stirred to the pads, armed the electronics, installed the igniter, and waited for the countdown. Shaken, Not Stirred ascended on its Loki H144 propellant reload leaving a smoke contrail in the clear blue sky. Shaken, Not Stirred arced over at 1,361 feet and successfully deployed its drogue. The rocket danced during its descent until the main parachute deployed at 400 feet. Shaken, Not Stirred came to rest in the soft cover crop beyond the ditch. It was a great flight and can be seen here.

Toni assisted at the registration desk most of the day. I visited venders to stock up on much needed rocket supplies and stepped in to help whenever I could. I filmed many flights and ran the various Red Glare contests. The field was dark by 05:00 PM so we headed back to the hotel. After another quick shower, we headed to the Narrows restaurant and enjoyed a nice dinner while overlooking the Kent Narrows. We went to bed after dinner as Saturday was going to be a busy day.

Toni and I woke early Saturday morning and ate a quick breakfast at 7/11 before heading to the field. Toni wanted to get her Sally Ride up into the air before the crowds arrived. We had a new motor system for Sally Ride. We had the AMW 38mm Pro-X system with a J425 Blue propellant. This is a fool proof system but yet we had trouble. After an hour and with much embarrassment, I headed over to the Animal Motor Works (AMW) vendor to ask for assistance. As it turned out, the propellant grains were too long and had nothing to do with what we were doing. AMW replaced the J425 reload and the motor system easily came together.

Sally Ride was soon sitting on the pad. At the end of the countdown, Sally Ride jumped off the pad on its blue plume and arced into the wind before achieving apogee at 1,444 feet and deploying her drogue. Sally Ride rode the winds until 700 feet where she deployed her crowd favorite patriotic main parachute. Sally Ride landed softly in the field as the crowds began to arrive. See Sally Ride here.

Having two kids in college put a damper on the number of flights for us but not the fun. Toni was part of an all-girl recovery team for Momoko’s Level 3 certification journey. I continued to film many flights and assisted wherever I could. There were times where we just sat back in the warm sun and relaxed as we watched the other flights. We left the field in the setting sun to clean up and head to the MDRA banquet where we enjoyed roast beef, crab cakes, and inexpensive beers. Saturday night soon came to an end.

With our measly two flights behind us, Toni and I checked out of the hotel and had a nice breakfast at Hollys. We then headed to the field to help where we could, film some additional flights, and visit with fellow rocketeers. Red Glare XI soon came to an end, and as fast as it started, it was over. We closed the field and then gathered to enjoy some sake in celebration of Momoko’s successful level 3 certification. We headed home content with our flights and looking forward to December’s launch. See all the Red Glare XI action here. Until next launch . . .

By Peter E. Abresch Jr.
Friday's flight line

By Peter E. Abresch Jr.

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Shaken, Not Stirred on the pad
Shaken, Not Stirred's soft landing in the cover crop
Toni retrieving Sally Ride
Toni with Sally Ride on the pad
Other rocketeers preparing their rockets for flight
Sally Ride's soft landing
Sally Ride under main parachute
Momoko's all girl recovery team
Shaken, Not
        Stirred's soft landing in the cover crop
Friday's flight line
Shaken, Not
        Stirred on the pad 
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Other rocketeers preparing their rockets for flightSally Ride under main parachuteSally Ride's soft landingMomoko's all girl recovery team
Toni with Sally Ride on the padToni retrieving Sally Ride