Tuesday, June 15, 2010

LDRS 29, very cool

So, this past weekend my son and I went to LDRS 29, which is the event for the national high-powered rocketry club, Tripoli. We were there only one day and one night, but here were some cool highlights from Saturday:
  • Mass squat launch -- Timothy's Squat with an Aerotech G-67 redline motor flew very nicely, if a bit late off the pad. 28 other rocketeers had their rockets launch at roughly the same time.
  • Many wild squats. With the $29 specials from WhatsUpHobbies, lots of people were flying very unstable Squat rockets with I-140 skidmark engines. This configuration needs nose weight, as we found out for ourselves when we flew Timothy's with the same engine.
  • Four half-scale Patriots launched in 3 second intervals from a "box" launch vehicle -- much like a real Patriot. Very, very cool.
  • Drag race of six or seven N-impulse rockets. These are big rockets, lots of power.
  • Drag race between a number of very detailed rockets. There was a CATO about 20 feet off the pad, and unfortunately several other rockets were destroyed on ascent by the CATO. Cool to watch, but glad it wasn't one of my rockets.
  • Full scale O-impulse Patriot launch (and unfortunate catastrophic failure near the end of boost, flaming bits falling down all over the range.)
  • My own J-350W powered LOC-IV (with significant modifications in nose weight and fiberglass reinforced fins.) This was my Level 2 cert flight and it went brilliantly. (So I'm certified to fly level 2 high powered rockets - impulse up to and including L power.)
  • Our Big Daddy Estes rocket (typically D or E power) launch with an F-32 Blue Thunder engine -- believe it or not this was one of the highlights for me of the day. As the launch control officer proclaimed -- "a little too much power for the rocket, but we like that!"
  • Flying a drag race between two D-21 powered 18mm rockets. Both were lost, and later found damaged.
  • A number of very cool night launches -- lots of creativity here on the part of the rocketeers.
  • Discover channel. This was a mixed bag... it was cool that they were there, but they did interfere with launch schedules quite a bit. Still, I think we'll be part of the ultimate show, which is supposed to air July 5. Looking forward to watching that.
There was one significant accident, involving an extremely high powered rocket on the far pads. A couple of people were unfortunately badly burned, and had to be medevaced, and our wishes go with them for their recovery.

As for Timothy and I, we're hooked. We'll be going to the November RocStock event as well, provided we can make the schedule work out.

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