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September 2012 Launch Report
September 15, 2012 at Central Sod Farm

A chilly September morning found Toni and I packing up the Highlander and returning to Maryland’s Eastern Shore to fly some rockets at the sod farm. We made the traditional stop at Holly’s for a good breakfast before meandering the morning away at a local hardware store. We made our way to the sod farm around 11:00 AM to start setting up the field.

The soft, lush, green sod was thriving in the recent rains and cool weather. There was much help setting up the field in the cool temperatures. The skies were blue with puffy white clouds lollie gagging overhead. The winds were breezy but unfortunately blowing towards the very hungry soy bean field. Only the young, well-prepared, or the stupid, were to fly on this day as not to satisfy the never ending and rocket craving appetite of the sod farm soy bean field.

As usual, I waited for some flyers to test the winds and the soy beans. As suspected, everything was landing in the soy bean fields and immediately being swallowed up, never to be seen again. However, I was well-prepared and had my screamer dusted off and repaired from last month. I stuffed a CTI H143 Smokey Sam motor into the aft end of Shaken, Not Stirred, packed the parachutes, and rigged the screamer to activate during main parachute deployment. I doubled checked to verify all was secured before installing Shaken, Not Stirred on the pad. If all went to plan, I would follow the screaming noise and easily retrieve my rocket. But just to be safe, I angled the launch rail slightly into the wind.

Shaken, Not Stirred’s launch was delayed as the bean field needed to be cleared of rocketeers desperately attempting to locate the rockets from previous racks. Once cleared, the countdown was given and Shaken, Not Stirred ascended on its 47th flight to 1,288 feet over the spectator line where it deployed its drogue on queue at apogee. Shaken, Not Stirred was carried straight for the bean field with its small drogue. The main parachute was deployed at 400 feet and once inflated, it pulled the pin from the screamer and activated the noise. However, the noise deafen once Shaken, Not Stirred disappeared into the soy bean field.

I entered the soy bean field once the pads were declared safe. I had a general idea where Shaken, Not Stirred landed. I picked up the noise from the screamer as I got close. Even standing on top of it, with the noise deafening my ear drums, I had trouble finding it. I dug in the soy until I finally grasped the shock cord and followed it to the rocket. Shaken, Not Stirred was successfully retrieved and lives to fly another day. See Shaken, Not Stirred’s flight here and witness the recovery in the thick beans.

That was Toni and mine only flight of the day. We filmed some other flights and helped other people search for their rockets but for the most part we kicked back and relaxed in the cool sod under the blue waning summer skies and enjoyed the many rocket contrails overhead. We closed the field in the setting sun and met everyone for dinner at Adam Ribs. We arrived home after midnight and had no trouble drifting off to sleep. To Justin, may you continue to soar above the clouds until it is time for us to join you in the next level. Until the next launch . . .

By Peter E. Abresch Jr.

Return to August 2012

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Flag was half staff due to the deaths in Libya at the US Embassy
Toni rtrieving Sally Ride
Shaken, Not Stirred was the sole rocket on the C-Rack
Sunset on the sod farm
Shaken, Not Stirred descending under drogue
Peacock tail feather pattern for fins
Flag was half-staff due to
        the deaths in Libya at the US Embassy
Return to the Launch Pad
        Not Stirred descending under drogueSunset on the sod farmPeacock tail feather
        pattern for fins
Shaken, Not Stirred was the
        sole rocket on the C-Rack