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November 2012 Red Glare XIII Launch Report
November 16-18, 2012 at Higgs Farm

Red Glare unlucky 13 was upon us so Toni and I packed the Highlander with rockets and supplies to last us four days. We headed to Maryland’s Eastern Shore for the first rocket launch of the winter season at Higgs Farm. We arrived Thursday and set up the equipment for Red Glare which would start on Friday. It took most of the day to unload and configure the equipment under the mostly cloudy skies and chilly breezes. We headed to the Sleep Inn for hot showers before meeting everyone for dinner at The Narrows Restaurant. Dinner was excellent as usual. We headed to the hotel for good night sleep knowing that the first day of Red Glare 13 will soon be upon us.

Friday morning brought continuing cloudy skies and chilly breezes. Veterans of Red Glares know that Friday is the best day to fly as the crowds arrive on Saturday and there is usually a waiting line to get your rocket on the pad. My temporary repairs were completed for Shaken, Not Stirred and she was whole again. Shaken, Not Stirred was prepped with a CTI 143 Smoky Sam and taken to the pad for its 49th flight. Shaken, Not Stirred still looked very good from the flight line despite the many repairs over the years. Shaken, Not Stirred soared to 1,266 feet on its dark smoky contrail before arching over and deploying the drogue. The mains were ejected at 400 feet as expected and Shaken, Not Stirred gently landed in the soft cover crop with no damage. See Shaken, Not Stirred fly here.

Toni had a coworker in the crowd and wanted to get Sally Ride up in the air. Toni prepared Sally Ride and chose a CTI J425 Blue for propulsion. At the end of the countdown, Sally Ride leapt off the pad under its blue plum and slightly arched into the wind before topping out at 1,560 feet and deploying her drogue. Sally Ride deployed her mains shortly afterward at 700 feet and gently came to rest just beyond the C-Rack. See another nice flight of Sally Ride here.

Sally Ride was the last flight for us during the day. Toni helped with registration and I filmed other flights in between lending a hand to keep the launches running smoothly. Friday night we enjoyed a nice dinner at Fishermen’s Inn before retiring for the night.

Toni and I arrived early Saturday and there was already a crowd. The pits were busy with flyers getting reacquainted, prepping their projects, and talking about projects yet to come. We quickly configured the field for the day. The skies were blue providing some warmth as full racks after full racks of rocket flights continued throughout the day. There were CATOs, shreds, and recovery failures that rained pieces over the field most of the day. This carnage is typical for Red Glare Saturday as flyers push the envelopes, test new propellant formulas, or forget the necessary preparation steps in the excitement of Red Glare. The setting sun soon brought an end to Saturday as flyers left the field to prepare for the Red Glare banquet. The banquet brought the flyers together as we enjoyed good food and cheap drinks while enjoying various videos of flights past. Toni and I hit the hay after the banquet.

We woke early Sunday morning and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at Holly’s before heading to the field. I swapped out Shaken, Not Stirred temporarily repaired sustainer for a new refurbished sustainer made from more durable fiberglass. The refurbished sustainer paint was not yet even fully dried. It was missing its decals. I prepped Shaken, Not Stirred for its 50th flight. I wanted the 50th flight during Red Glare XIII to coincide with the 50 year anniversary of James Bond. With another H143SS for propulsion, Shaken, Not Stirred ascended on its 50th flight into the yonder to 1,152 feet where she separated on queue at apogee. The small drogue did not deployed but no big deal as the main deployed at 400 feet and landed Shaken, Not Stirred in the soft cover crop without any damage. The refurbished sustainer will receive its final coat of paint and its decals by next month. The upper section will also be refurbished soon. See Shaken, Not Stirred 50th flight celebrating 50 years of James Bond here.

That was the last flight for us for Red Glare XIII. I assisted with the launch and filmed other flights. Toni helped at the registration desk until the setting sun and dropping temperatures signaled the end of Red Glare XIII. We made quick work closing the field and enjoyed a nice beer while reflecting over the weekend’s events. I committed to seeing Skyfall before Thanksgiving. Until the next launch . . .

By Peter E. Abresch Jr.
Shaken, Not Stirred descending under drogue

By Peter E. Abresch Jr.

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Sally Ride spread over the field after landing
Toni with Sally Ride after recovery

Peter listening to the continuity beeps
Red Glare XIII attendance
Shaken, Not Stirred successful recovery after 50 flights
Toni with
        Sally Ride after recovery
Shaken, Not Stirred descending under drogue
        Ride spread over the field after landing 
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Shaken, Not Stirred successful recovery after 50 flights
Peter listening to the continuity beepsRed
        Glare XIII attendance