Sunday, April 12, 2015

Just not my day.

Heck, not my weekend.  I had a chance to fly on the big field yesterday, a perfect launch day with light breezes and shirtsleeve temps.  The dream started to sour when we got a 2:00 am call from our daughter, the kind no parent wants.  She'd been getting out of her car in front of her house and one of the local d-bags came flying around the curve and took her door off.  Hit and run, which is what you expect anymore.  In the last month we've gone from a five car family to a two car family, and with four drivers that is going to leave someone out in the cold.  In all honesty, I could have gone and picked up my car that my son had taken to work, but with all the drama my chances of not feeling guilt-ridden were at zero.  To add to the frustration, all of my small field launch stuff was in the trunk of my car, something I didn't think about until 1:00 pm.  With 4:00 pm dinner reservations I decided to throw in the towel.
Today looked almost as good from a weather standpoint.  Blue skies, warm temps, a bit more of a breeze, but still well below the cut-off for flight ops at B6-4 Field, so I headed up to the field, not thinking to check the motor stash in the trunk.  When will I learn?  When will I learn?

So, I get to the field with two A8-3s, one 1/4A, and no 1/2As.  I have three Hobby Lobby clearance flight packs of 1/2A motors in the basement.  B6-4s out the ying-yang, and even a couple of C6-3s that I tossed in just in case I got the nerve to try the Estes Star Wars Darth Vader Tie Fighter.  Clearly I need to make a motor run this week.

Making do with what I had in the box, I went with an A8-3 for the first flight of the Quest Apollo.

When will I learn?  In my defense it felt pretty light, but apparently all that plastic makes it pudgy.  After two failed ignitions due to the new Estes "starters", I finally got the rocket off the pad.  Straight up flight, straight down recovery, with the parachute not inflating until it was almost at eye level.

Woo-hoo!  Closest to the pad, though.

As you can tell by the lack of any lift-off shots, I'm still having issues with my arsenal of cameras, specifically the Sony.  The lack of recovery shots is because the whole flight was finished before I could even think about getting the big unit powered up.  

Second flight was the Goonybird Star Snoop on a B6-4.  Yep.  I said B6-4.  I'd flown one of my 18mm Goonys last year and thought the A8-3 delivered kind of a wuss flight, and I wanted some drama.  

Oh, yeah.  That was my Semroc Saki that needed a B6-4, not one of the Baby Bertha Goons.  The Star Snoop left the pad like the mythical scalded dog.  

(Note the perfect Star Snoop shadow below the launch pad.)

Light windcocking to the south, but at ejection it immediately caught a breeze, headed across US 27 and started drifting north.  It initially looked like it might land in the driveway of the apartment building, but it crossed back over the road and landed just at the edge of the parking area for the HHS softball complex.

Like I said, JUST at the edge.  Another five feet and we start talking about a tree rescue.  

Next came the first flight of the Centuri Akela-1, a rocket generously sent to me by Earl Cagle following a post at YORF.  I've had it done for quite a while, but today was the first time I thought to take it to the field with me.

While the bulk of the rocket is original, I printed off the decals using my inkjet printer.  They're not quite up to the standard of Gordon's work at Excelsior, but not bad.  I went with the traditional colors of the Cub Scouts as this was a rocket produced specifically for the Boy Scouts of America.  They occasionally turn up on Ebay and Earl apparently picked up one of the bulk packs.  I felt very fortunate to be one of those chosen to receive one.  The A8-3 flight was a prototypical B6-4 Field flight.  High for an A and fairly straight, with an ejection at apogee and a right field recovery, which also allowed me to recover an errant foul ball for the Knothole team.  Recovery was handled by twin Mylar streamers, which I have been saving as they come off of UPS packages at work.  They're too short for most birds, but perfect for smaller ones like this one.  The Mylar is nicely reflective and shows up nicely on sunny days like today.  No launch shots.  The camera decided it was too tired.

Although it wasn't planned as such, the FRW Rogue Mini became the last flight of the day.  

First flight had been on my previous trip to the field and a fin had hooked under the standoff, resulting in a 0' flight.  I made sure nothing was hung up for this flight, my last 1/2A.

Apparently the camera felt like this flight was worth photographing.  It immediately headed across the infield at liftoff, topping out around 200'.  At ejection I initially tracked the expended motor casing, but quickly realized my error and found the Rogue drifting lazily toward 2nd base on the Mylar streamer.  Recovered with no damage. 
I was out of As, out of any suitable mini engines, and the breeze was picking up.  I thought about going home to get the box of 1/2As, but that would have meant taking everything apart and setting it all back up again.  I opted to go home and reorganize my small field flight boxes so that I wouldn't find myself in this position again.  Hopefully.

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