Fire In The Sky 2005 Launch Reports
From: "Alex McLaughlin"
Date: Mon, 30 May 2005 18:21:18 -0700
Subject: [RocketsNW] FITS 2005 great fun!
Just got a chance to sit down at the computer for the first time. I got home
We had a blast! The camaraderie, seeing all of our old friends, meeting new
ones... Just gotta love rocket people!
Sunday @ the separate EX launch, I flew 3 motors.
1st, Tim (?LastName?) flew one of my 2 grain 75mm (K900ish) AlumaFlame in
his scratch built 5" rocket. Flew to 4500' or so.
2nd, I flew my Air-X Black Rock on a NUMB N4500. The motor chuffed badly on
the pad and I didn't get near the altitude I had hoped for. The ARTS was
beeping out 14,535' when we recovered her. Strangely enough neither of the
ALTACC charges had popped... I'm going to download the data tonight and see
if it recorded anything. I'm done with BlackSky crap. Period.
3rd, Rob Lamb flew his 4" bird (Does this damn thing even have a name?) on
one of my 75mm 5 grain M2100s. I think he said he got 15,800 or so?
Both Rob's flight and my own landed pretty close. The Black Rock was only
about 1/2 mile from the launched, stretched out in all her glory, 15' white
mil surplus chute visible from the road. Rob said his landed about 2 miles
I saw stuff Saturday and part of Sunday on the commercial field. One of the
flights I caught were the SPARC crew with their Nike-Hercules. Was a great
flight, despite some damage.
I also remember someone had an upscale Estes Der Red Max... One of my fav
rockets as a kid.
Saw Wiz Hat fly on a J135. Bad idea. Pointing at the ground under thrust
isn't cool. Stick with the BATES grains or maybe a J180.
Wilkerson had his ubiquitous Hellbent for Leather on a ubiquitous M1939 for
a downright boring White Lightning flight (: note :) the :) smileys :) here
I caught Andrew MacMillen's RATT K240 (hybrid) flight... That Thing HOWLED
on the way up.
Saw Steve's C.'s 2 stage 38mm Aerotech to Cheesaroni flight... That was
Ok, enough rocket talk... Who else can't get over the town of Mansfield
itself? Pasha and I pulled through town around 11:00pm on Friday night, and
the signboard at the high school was lit up and read, "Welcome Rocketeers!"
The Mayor of Mansfield, Tom Snell, gave us use of his private land (some 20
miles from the main launch area) to conduct the EX activities on Sunday.
Sunday night, I got to wash the grit and grime off in an honest to god hot
shower at the high school. After the shower, I sat down with Steve Bloom and
family at the Lasagna dinner provided by the Mansfield Garden club! Down
home cooking enjoyed while cleanly showered the 2nd night at a rocket
launch? This field is like the Ritz-Carleton of rocket fields!
Monday morning Pasha and I drove into town for some provisions. Now in case
you guys don't know us, Pasha has a chest length guru beard and long hair. I
have long hair, earrings, etc. We're used to getting rather odd looks from
locals whilst on road trips. However, walking down Main Street Mansfield at
8:30AM on a Monday, and all we got from the locals were smiles and polite
conversation. i.e. "You guys must be rocket folk, huhn?" "Yep." "Well, we
sure are glad y'all are here! Having a good time?"
I still can't get over it... Makes me smile even now thinking about it :)
Sunday night, Scott Bowers and I decided to static test some left over
motors. I had a 3 grain L1800(ish) and Scott had a 5 grain M1500ish (both of
these are 75mm). Quick side note if I may -- On Friday morning, while on a
conference call to Bangalore, India, I was building motors. 5 of them to be
exact.... 2 98mm motors, and 3 75mm motors. All is running real smoothly
until it's my turn to actually speak in my tele-meeting. So I get up and
paced around like I usually do while speaking to an assembled conference
call. Anyway, I got distracted. Mistakes happen when you get distracted.
Back to Sunday night -- Scott digs holes for the motors and Steve C and I
head out to wire them up. Scott's up first with a beautiful long burn M
motor. Big white flame, some small sparks. The crowd loved it. OK, my
turn... 1st the ignitor misfires. OK, luckily Andrew MacMillen comes to the
rescue with a Quickburst fatboy... Guaranteed to get your motor runnin'!
5..4..3..2..1.. Motor comes to life with a big blue flame. I've been running
this one at a higher KN recently because my exponent is slightly low (My
predictions are running higher chamber pressure than we are measuring,
whilst the burn time remains about the same). We get this cool "Afterburn"
effect where you can see the blue flame start 1-2 feet past the end of the
motor. WHUMP! Fwd bulkhead failure. (Flashback to Friday morning... Oh
shoot...) I forgot the o-rings on the fwd Bulkhead.
What a bone-headed mistake. Luckily it was the only motor out of 5 that
I wonder if AMW will warrantee that case... :P
Anyway, thanks to the whole WAC crew for hosting this launch. You guys made
it a great experience for me! Scott Bowers, Jim Pommert, Jim Wilkerson,
Andrew MacMillen, Robert Nech, John Hawkins and anyone I didn't name, Thank
you! The NUMB crew had a fantastic time, and we will definitely be back next
PS: "Hope always works until you hit the launch button." -- new Zen phrase
by Rob Lamb.
Date: Mon, 30 May 2005 18:30:07 -0700
From: Dave Randall
Subject: [RocketsNW] My FITS 2005 Report
Thanks to Washington Aerospace for putting on a wonderful weekend of
I brought a few Estes models and a BSD Sprint to put up on G. Turns
out, the thrill of being amongst so many big models, all those AP
reloads and the hot sun seemed to warped my sense of "what's
expensive" and a few dollars later, I had a nice new Excel Plus 54 kit
under my arm, and was searching for some motors for the Sprint.
I had flown the Sprint on a G33W at Monroe successfully, so I went for
a G80 Single Use. Unfortunately, the motor CATO'd. I picked up a new
body tube and some epoxy and 1/2 day later, the Sprint was ready to go
again. I decided to fly it on a reloadable motor, and go for my Level
1 cert. A few dollars later, I was ready to put the BSD Sprint up on
a H165R-M. Everything went beautifully, and the ejection even added a
little excitement as it waited for about 4 seconds before fully
deploying. Level 1. Done!
While I was off flying rockets, my family was learning about weather
balloons and experiments. The boys helped prep an experiment to
launch up with the weather balloon the next day. Their experiment
went up to 87,000 feet and came back down within a few miles of our
launch site in Mansfied. They recovered the experiment, and reviewed
the data collected by their experiment. Evidently, it's 20 below zero
up there! Hopefully Robert Nech can fill us all in on more pre- and
post- flight details. It was a great learning experience for all of
I give out my thanks to some very wonderful astronomers who brought
their spectacular scopes. Seeing M13, M51, Jupiter, Saturn, and all
the other great celestial objects was a treat!
I could probably write a small novel on all the great fun we had, but
I'll throw out a few highlights.
Ivan and his incredible rocket enthusiasm and knowledge!
Thanks to Dave for helping me with my cert flight!
Marco... Polo... Marco... Polo.... at 12:30 a.m.
Rocket retrieval in the Lunar Dust
The Nike Hercules - awesome job!
Nighttime static tests of L power
Overall, what a great weekend. I came back with renewed enthusiasm
for rocketry, some wonderful memories, and made a bunch of new
friends. Thanks again to everyone who helped put on such a great
From: "Bob and Ann Yanecek"
Date: Mon, 30 May 2005 19:16:50 -0700
Subject: [RocketsNW] Touched by the sun
Only 3 bad things
It was HOT in the sun.
Long walks ended up DIRTY.
The TICKS were active.
I can't think of anything else bad to say about FITS-05!
I was not only touched by the sun but I got to see it up close via
By noon on Saturday I completed my second (ever) fully successful 38mm
mindiameter altitude flight with a push via J280 to 8648'.
Breadboard RF X-mitter worked flawlessly but was unnecessary due to the
Late Saturday afternoon I tried my 24mm 3 stage D12-D12-E9-8.
Boost was very good. Upper stage had a little wiggle, then motor spit
at apogee and all was lost. Thanks to Robert McMillan, the upper stage
was located and failure mode was confirmed.
Sunday was EX day and I was hopeful for my 38mm mindiameter flight on a
Scott Bowers's 28" long K motor.
Steve Cutonilli offered a back-up Walston X-miter which easily fit
behind the N/C (means I could have packed tighter). The breadboard
really a comfort.
Boost was perfect.
Coast lasted forever.
Thanks to tracking smoke the apogee event was observed.
Then nothing though the Walston gave some awareness of the rocket.
I believe Marty Weiser snagged first visual contact just seconds before
With a great bearing and the walston, recovery was just a .4 mile one
Things changed after that short walk as only the aft eye ring was
attached to the airframe with no fin can/motor to be seen:-(
Apparently the fin can un-screwed during early descent and made the
return walk much longer that the outbound leg.
This was a known weak link due to short stud from motor but obviously
under attended to as the 'righty tighty' cord that I attached failed.
There are already several 20-20 hindsight things I should have done
instead regarding this so I've just chalked it up to rocket experience
and one more of various 18,000 things that might go wrong that I have
It looks like the upper airframe became stable and was returning
ballistic when the main fired as a 2"+ zipper was on the front end.
I did make a second recovery pass to look for the fin can/motor but with
no bearing it was pretty much just to say I tried and add another couple
miles to my boots.
Altimeter beeped out 11,431 but without the bottom of the rocket I had
to concede the 38mm EX altitude record to a fricking upscale Quark!!
Sunday evening was as perfect as Friday evening which just happened to
be as perfect as Saturday evening, so I decided to try the G12 in a dual
deploy airframe. Nice try but just not enough poop to scoot. It stayed
straight for a bit then began to 'fall over'. With the motor still
burning (I think) the charges fired just before impact and I recovered
an intact avionics bay beeping 202'. Due to my really stupid back-up
plan (H180 or I200) I had left in 4 sec of mach delay so things might
have turned out much better with that set at 0. Again, a page or two of
20-20 hindsight observations but I really wanted to try that push.
Future attempts will be timer only eject (do or die) in a much lighter
airframe, drop off booster/clusters, and 2-stage applications.
This was a superbly run event and great fun.
Fun is good.
From: "Greg Deputy"
Date: Mon, 30 May 2005 19:30:06 -0700
Subject: [RocketsNW] Fits 2005
Fits was great fun this year! I was only able to be there on Saturday
for part of the day, but had a great time nonetheless.
We first flew our AT Mustang on a G38. It probably went about 3000 feet
up. It was windy that morning, but only close to the ground. It hung
pretty much straight up until it got close, then took quite a ride south
over the power lines and freeway. We walked out there to a pond and
didn't have any luck finding it. Since it was as hot as it was I
decided to go back and get the truck and drive around the dirt roads out
there in air conditioned comfort. After doing that for about 30 minutes
we gave up. On the way back we took one last side road, walked up a
hill, and then spotted the rocket in some sage. Luck smiled on us and
we were glad to have it back.
Once back in camp and after some Lions Club eats, I prepped
Stratosphreak, my 3" minimum diameter bird. I loaded it up with a Pro54
5 grain K660, set up the ALTS and carried it out to the pads. Launch
was a little squirrelly, may have been a little gambler effect going on,
not sure. It coasted up, deployed the drogue and started down. I lost
it after a few moments, later I figured out the drogue chute spins
itself shut, making it next to impossible to see. Once it hit 800 feet
it blew the main and it was clearly visible just beyond the pads. It
landed just down the hill the pads are on and it was a short walk to
pick it up. It was great to have a successful, uneventful flight that
went as planned.
I wish I could have been there more, but all in all it was a great
launch. We're lucky to have a great place like that to launch.
From: "Carl Degner"
Subject: RE: [RocketsNW] My FITS 2005 Report
Date: Mon, 30 May 2005 21:50:51 -0700
It's hard to expound on what has already been said by most. It was hot
dusty and FUN! I opened up the whole flying day on Saturday with my
Aerotech Airspike on an F20-7. Nice motor puts on a nice flight. This was
followed by Ivan's Alpha III on the same rack. I think we flew this Alpha
III 4 or 5 times this weekend ... all at Ivan's request! Next went the
wife's "mothers day" present, a PML Cirrus Dart on one of the new Aerotech
G67R loads I picked up from Puget Sound Propulsion. Very nice flight and an
easy recovery ... all except the motor casing.
BTW, if anyone finds the motor casing, I would greatly appreciate it's
I had planned a test flight of my dual deployment setup on my California Kid
prior to a level 2 attempt. After losing the 38/120 casing, I didn't have
an aft closure. After a quick check of vendors, no one had one. Dave
Woodard came over shortly with one in hand as a loaner! Thanks Dave!! Sent
the CA Kid up on an I211W. Drogue came out at apogee and the main exactly
as planned! Numerous other model flights filled the rest of the day.
Thanks to Jim Wilkerson for setting up the Motor Mentor program. That
enabled me to do my cert attempt (notice I say attempt) with a J415. That
motor rocks in the CA Kid! Great flight up and the drogue deployed as
planned. From there it went downhill. That sinking feeling when you know
your rocket is below 800' and the main still has not come out. :-(
Fortunately, it landed in the "lunar dust." The only thing damaged was my
ego. I'm going to be asking questions about that one! Still not sure what
happened but I hope Scott Bowers is right. Oh well, next time it will work!
It was great meeting everyone and putting faces to the names and I can't
wait for the next launch!
Dave, Your family was great with Ivan and it was a pleasure meeting you and
your wife. We could not have asked for nicer people to camp next to! Your
wallet just got a lot lighter with that L1 cert!
NAR 33262 L1
From: "Jeff Moore"
Date: Mon, 30 May 2005 22:08:01 -0700
Subject: [RocketsNW] Fw: Balloon & fire in the sky
Here's a fwd'd msg regarding the balloon launch at FITS.
-- Jeff Moore --
NAR #82727 TRA # 9861 L2
"In terms of sheer coolness, few things beat rocketry." - Paul Allen
----- Original Message -----
From: David Dobbins
Subject: fire in the sky
I just posted a short write-up, picture, and UI-View screen capture from
the balloon launch we did Sunday near Mansfield, WA. Fun time had by all.
Medical Lake, WA
From: "Robert Nech"
Subject: RE: [RocketsNW] Fw: Balloon & fire in the sky
Date: Mon, 30 May 2005 23:15:33 -0700
If you want to see some pictures of the BalloonSat mission to near space
(75k ft to 300k ft) take a look at them in the image gallery at
From: William Clugston
Date: Mon, 30 May 2005 23:27:17 -0700
Subject: [RocketsNW] FITS 2005 - a great time ...
FITS 2005 was great! Rockets during the day and astronomy at night,
what a tough life! I lost count of how many times I flew, but by the
time I left I was a happy camper.
Kudos go to Jim Wilkerson, Tom Snell, the Town of Mansfield, and anyone
else who helped out.
Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 00:04:19 -0700
From: "John Hawkins"
Subject: [RocketsNW] My FITS 2005 Report
Here is my FITS report
I left Friday morning at 10:00 AM and by the time I got to Gold Bar is
was already 90 so I knew it was going to be hot.
My son Paul and I arrived about 2 or so and after a short break we
unloaded the club trailer and took another break it was HOT we set up
most of the range but later took a break it was about 90 or so.
And Thank you to Dave Bradley for bringing up OROC=92s equipment and Thank
you to OROC for the loan of there equipment. That is what makes this
As for what Paul and I flew.
1. We flew our PML little Lunar on a H180 for a nice flight. This landed
on the hill next to the launch site.
2. We flew our Aerotech Mustang on a G64 for the night launch. We had to
do a little walking.
3. Paul flew his Scooby Doo rocket on a J180 for a very nice flight.
Thanks to Larry Colvin for my motor mentor so this flight was possible.
And he went out and recovered his own rocket today so now he is happy as
heck he got to launch his rocket and he went and recovered it.
4. My giant leap Talon 4 on a K700 and a drag race with Eric Albrecht.
Eric flew an AMW K motor. My Talon left the pad first and not to far
after it left the rail it did a really weird turn and went it in a some
what horizontal flight. I=92m not to sure what happened but it headed over
the road in a big hurry.
My son and I went to go looking for it. Eric and Katy dropped us off
down the road and after getting permission to look for my rocket on this
old mans farm we set out to try to find it.
We walked about a mile in 95 degree heat and drank the only water we had
with us pretty quick. I told Paul we would probley find it close to a
road when we did find it.
Well after about a mile in really soft dirt I spotted it a long ways
away only because the pink 60 inch chute kept filling and raising up and
dropping so we were off after it.(about another mile away)
So after walking about 2 miles we were standing next to and yep you
guessed it about a =BD from the road. So we started to pack up the Talon
and I look over and low and behold there is Jim Pommert parked there
waiting for us. Thank god I was not looking forward to packing my rocket
and kid out that far. Thanks for the ride back :-)
I am tried as heck it took my 6 hours to get home because of a bad wreck
on I-5 in Marysville.
If I remember any more I will post it.
Thanks every one who made this launch possible and every one who helped
set and tear down the launch equipment. And for an excellent launch!!!
From: "W. Raymond Stoner"
Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 07:11:05 -0700
Subject: [RocketsNW] Fits 2005
All the events are a bit blurry in a sun soaked brain.
Arrived late Friday evening. Got set up and went to bed...
Awoke Saturday morning to cool weather, but rapidly warming day. The
wind picked up, but nothing like last year. Started prepping the SPARC
club Project, a 1/4 scale Nike Hercules, at about 9, I anticipated a
couple hours of getting things ready...WRONG! Lots of people jumped in
to help, almost constant offers of help. Jerry Buckles was a HUGE help
in getting the bird ready, Marty provided lots of assistance with
various hardware that I had forgotten to bring along, he also built a
motor, Dave Luders built two motors, there were others that helped in
many different ways, but in the rush to prep, I know I have left some
out. Dave Stubbs provided two J570's for the booster, Marty Weiser
provided one J570, and Keith Stormo (sadly, absent) the other, all for
the booster, I kicked in the J370 (AMW) for the sustainer. Prep got
interrupted for a bit while I helped Jeff Halstead get his AstroBee 350
on the pad for his (successful!) level three flight. Back to prepping
and sometime later, we were ready to take the walk to the pad.
Had to fill out the flight card. We elected Jeff to be the flier for
the project, with his fresh level three cert he is one of two members of
SPARC that is level three.
Getting the bird on the pad was a challenge, about 55 lbs, 11.5 ft of
rail, two stages...we final got the bird on one of SPARC's pads, and the
thing was moving all over the place. Stabilization cables, ropes and
stakes got things stable enough to launch, but SPARC really needs a
better pad if we plan to fly this thing again. Igniters installed,
electronics armed, clips attached. Butterflies dancing in stomach. The
walk back to the flight line was a nervous one for me. Lots of hours
were put in by a bunch of people to get this thing flight ready.
It was time. Eric did the description and a ten count. The motors came
up to pressure, the bird lifted off on a column of flame and smoke and
immediately took a turn north. Two seconds (about) later the 570's
burned out, and shortly there after, the sustainer lit, the crowd
cheered! The booster chute deployed and filled nicely, now on to the
sustainer. By the time I tracked it the chute was deployed. Sadly it
was the main and it was drifting steadily north. Touchdown...heavy
sigh...its over, the butterflies left.
Bob Yanecek, Jerry Buckles, Charla Davidson (my daughter), and my self
drove out to pick it up. The booster was first, and one fin was floppy
and another cracked. They'll repair easily. Additional fiberglass will
be added. On to the sustainer...all is good, no damage except the dust
that was everywhere.
When I got home and studied the pictures I bought of the flight, it
looks like one of the J570's didn't come up to pressure right away.
That would explain the northern trajectory. The video I shot was very
poor, if anyone out there has video of the flight, contact me off list,
I am interesting in getting the full resolution version of it, I'll
cover the cost of the disk, shipping and some extra for your time.
Next day out to the EX day. I was the first flight of the day, I flew
my upscale quark, called charm on a 6 grain 38mm motor to around 2500
ft. I figured I would hold the record for about 15 minutes till Bob and
Scott flew Bob's 38mm min diameter on a 38mm "K" motor...you already
heard from Bob, so you know that surprisingly I have the record. I'll
be short lived, Bob and Scott will be back and my record will be
shattered. At least it better be, its a pitiful record, but I'll take
Later in the day after a rush to prep and grains that had to be peeled
to fit Marty flew a 6 grain 54mm motor. Great push, nice burn.
Recovery wasn't as nice...I think it was shear pins that didn't shear
that caused the problem. There's really an extra level of excitement
when the up part is done by a motor you have made from scratch!
Monday morning, and I had only flown one of my own rockets. I decided
it was time to put Charm and my small endeavor. Charla wanted to fly
the endeavor so we sat down together and got it ready. Charm was
prepped shortly after that. The small endeavor did its normal thing on
an H128, a small wiggle off the pad then a nice straight boost.
Deployment was a bit early, but no damage. Charm had a beautiful flight
on a J350. The endeavor was recovered 0.40 miles from the flight line
in the plowed field, and Charm was 0.45 miles in the brush to the east
of the flight line.
Came back from recovery, lined up and paid for the photos I wanted of
the Herc flight, along with one of Charm. These photos are VERY
nice...sharp, clear and exactly what you want to see. Make sure you
patronize this vendor (I think its Rocketshots? help me out).
In spite of the heat and the frenzy I had a great time. Good friends,
new friends and lots of rockets. I don't remember all the flights but
there were some great ones there. I got to spend some good time with my
Special thanks to the two launch directors, Jim Wilkerson (Commercial)
and Scott Bowers (experimental) and WAC for running a great launch.
And finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the town of
Mansfield! What a great place to launch rockets...it has to be one of
the best places in the northwest from the aspect of town support and
Can't wait till next year!
Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 07:16:19 -0700
Subject: [RocketsNW] FITS report
As with everyone else, we had a great time attending our first FITS event.
Another family of 3 joined my son and I. With 5 of us I was busy preparing
rockets and loading engines. All in all, we had 20 launches. It was a
great time; I'm not sure which was more exhausting, looking for a Big Baddy
nose cone or prepping rockets! I know which was more fun :-)
Thanks to the Puget Sound Propulsion guys who kept me supplied with motors
so I could over size just about everything I had. Also, thanks for the help
with the Level 1 attempt, sorry about the casing. We'll be back!
I enjoyed visiting all the vendors and spending my money. I'm going to
enjoy this week so I dare not tally my expenditures. The telescopes were
great. I was able to get my 8in set up and finally get the Auto Star
working. I had a wonderful Saturday night with the scope taking me and a
few on lookers with a guided tour of 27 different objects, most of which I
never heard of. The clouds (and my physical state) sent me to bed early
Sunday night but a call to nature had me back out at 2:00am joining two
young boys still looking through their scope. They were looking at the
moonrise and much to our surprise there was an excellent Aurora Borealis to
the north!! We spent about 30 minutes looking and taking pictures. The
balloon event was great, but I did not get much time to really see much, too
much great stuff going on to do everything!
1) Estes, Screamin Mimi D12-5 Great flight
2) Estes, 24mm Bull Pup C11-3 Great flight
C11-5 Great flight
C11-5 Great flight
C11-5 Great flight
3) ASP, V2 - 24mm C11-5 Great flight
C11-5 Great flight
D12-5 Long walk
4) Estes, Merc Redstone C11-5 Great flight, no main, repair to fin
C11-5 Great flight, another broken fin, repaired
5) Estes, Big Daddy E9-5 Went horizontal, shock cord ripped fin
Glued fin, putty, sandpaper, & paint, fixed!
E28-4 Wow! Cone/body separation, body nose dart.
Cone drifted very far. Very, very, long walk!
6) Return of Big Daddy D12-5 Great flight, little drift, tired of chasing
7) Estes, Super Big Bertha E28-4 Great Flight
8) Estes, V2 (heavy) F21W-4 Great low flight
F24-7 Great flight, delay too long, scale landing!
Destroyed! Time to finally replace this one.
9) Estes, Executioner F24-7 Great Flight! Cone/body separation.
No damage to structure!
10) Cosmodrome, Nike Smoke F40-4 Great Flight
G33-7J Great Flight
H97J-M Level 1 Cert attempt.
Great take off and flight. Aft engine blow by.
Aft end burned, rocket and motor casing destroyed
Failed Level 1 Certification.
Subject: RE: [RocketsNW] Fw: Balloon & fire in the sky
Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 09:13:08 -0700
From: "Kimberly Wright"
I wish I could have seen this too! The image from 87K is amazing!
Good work all :)
And Good job to everyone this weekend! I had an amazing time though I
am paying for it today with the sunburn. :) We had so much fun and it
was a good rocket karma weekend for us which helped greatly.
As soon as I get my pics and videos cleaned up over the next day or so,
I will get them posted.
Have fun cleaning gear and we'll see you all soon to punch some more
holes in the sky!
From: Scott T. Bowers
Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2005 8:19 AM
Subject: Re: [RocketsNW] Fw: Balloon & fire in the sky
I found the whole balloon experience amazing. I wish I could have got my
butt out of the tent early enough to help with the launch. I think this
would be a great addition to future launches.
Scott T. Bowers
Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 14:05:27 -0700 (PDT)
From: dave woodard
Subject: RE: [RocketsNW] My FITS 2005 Report
to start with it was hot, We got there about 12:30 Friday and set up
then help Jim W set up away pad and about 700pm set up the range the
night was cooler and a welcome relief. Saturday came and it was hot
again Bill finely show and we set up shop I had the 1st shift as LCO and
it was hot still but launching other people rockets can be fun. After a
break prep a 38mm scratch built launch it on a g33 landed in the track.
watch more rockets cook dinner and talked with everybody about the day
and that it was hot about midnight was tired walked back to camp and
bill working on his rocket gee guess I should prep my 2 stager in cool
evening air because the day was hot next bill john and i knew it was 3am
launched my 2 stage Sunday morning about 10:00 am perfect staging and
nice flight some minor damage will buff out with epoxy,fiberglass, and
dremel by the way it was hot Monday launch Beth's loc gradurator on a
G33 nice flight packed up said goodbyes. still hot just not as hot a 3
previous days. And if I forgot to mention the weather it was hot
From: "Chris Stone"
Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 15:25:05 -0700
Subject: [RocketsNW] FITS and my Level 1
I just want to thank everyone who helped me get my Minie-Magg ready for
certification, particularly Andrew. He spent probably 45 minutes
helping me get the CG dialed in. Usually I am more prepared but since
school and work had been taking up all my time I didn't quite have
everything worked out the way I hoped.
The flight went great and I got to take a long walk in the lunar dust
for my recovery!
I also launched the other 3 rockets I brought one time each previous to
my level 1 attempt. Next year I hope to have a night launch rocket and
be ready for Level 2 cert with either my Polecat V2 or my PML Patriot!
The launch was great fun, thanks to all who made it possible!
Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 15:28:17 -0700
From: "Brad Wright"
Subject: [RocketsNW] FITS 2005 - B&K-Wright Report
What a blast!! This was our first big launch and we were able to bring
along 5 observers as well. A marvelous time was had by all!!
Unfortunately given the mix of rockteers and observers we didn't get to
enjoy all the activities but did have a great time. Photos and videos
of launches will be posted soon.
Our launch summary:
1) PML Small Endeavor on a CTI G79SS - perfect easy start with close
recovery. Got the confidence starting to come back after the disaster
in Monroe with my Bid Diablo last month - may it rest in
2) The Swamp Monster (of Monroe fame
http://photo.wrightholdings.com/images/rockets/IMG_2866.JPG) on a CTI
H143SS - landed next to one of the mid-power pads. I don't know how
many more of those hard landings it can take. Perhaps I should up the
chute size. Still it was confidence building so the next flight.....
3) My Level 2 Certification - The Swamp Monster (keep it simple - 3FNC -
no bays no moving parts, etc. J) on a CTI J285. Up and away and landed
in the freshly plowed field NW of the pads all healthy!! Yeah!
According to calculations it should have hit 3300 ft. Thanks to John
Hawkins for advising and witnessing and signing off.
4) Binder Design Stealth on a CTI I205. This was the first flight for
this bird. (Kim was worried about the paint.) Nice flight and came in
on the same plowed field.
After 3hrs of Launch Control we got a chance to fly a bit.
5) LOC Viper III on 3 D12s. This ended up being a drag race with Robert
(can't remember the last name now Mac.... sorry) and his LOC on three
E9's. Lots of fun and a win at the race. This was my first one, and I
think I want to try some more next year.
6) Wildman Dual Deploy on a CTI I540 White Thunder. This was my first
experience with electronics. It ended up more complicated than I
planned for my first time but many, many, many thanks to Jim Wilkerson
for the upfront advice, Dave Woodard, Bill Munds and John Hawkins for on
site review on Sat and Dave Woodard again for sitting with me while I
assembled the bay with both the G-Wiz MC and Perfect Flite MAWD and four
charges. The flight ended up lovely hitting 1825 feet and landing right
in the middle of the launch field. The only glitch was the main and
drogue both deploying at apogee. Checking later that night everything
was wired correctly and I did have sheer pins in the nose cone so it's
still a mystery. I'm going to run some tests on the computers to make
sure their terminals are labeled correctly. Very happy with the
results! I wish I had had time to put it up again with something
7) PML Bull Puppy. I was just getting this ready to go with a single
use motor when up walks John Hornsby with a G104 Aerotech built but
nothing to fly it in. So we put his motor in the BullPup and sent it
aloft. (Thanks John!) Note to self - always think and ask about the
delay. The medium delay was a bit long and we ended up with a safe
recovery but a minor zipper. Looks fixable. This was the only mishap
of the weekend. I feel lucky.
8) PML Small Endeavor on a single use G80-4 from Dave and Bill. Ripped
up very nicely and landed out in the NW field for a nice beginning and
ending to a great rocket weekend.
From: "Darrell Smith"
Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 17:28:11 -0700
Subject: [RocketsNW] My FITS Report
Well, another one in the books. This was the 4th FITS that I have
attended, and have to say one of the best! Kudos to the WAC crew for
putting on a well organized, fun, and exciting launch. I thought
inviting the astronomy people and the ballonsat demonstration was an
outstanding idea. My kids participated in the balloonsat project and
thoroughly enjoyed it. My wife's parents attended as spectators, and
her father particularly enjoyed the telescope viewing. So this launch
had something for everyone in my family's case. Again, well done!!
As for flights, I only flew 6 times, which is a particularly low number
The first flight was one that I had been anxiously awaiting since
finishing it 3 months ago. A LOC Tri-Star on 3 G64-10's. This was my
first AP cluster, so I was obviously quite nervous. After the 5 count,
it leaped off the pad and tilted slightly, so it wasn't a perfectly
straight flight, but pretty cool nonetheless. Upon recovering it near
the hybrid away pad, I was pleased to confirm that all 3 motors lit!!
My second flight was a North Coast Interceptor G on a G40-7. This was
the fourth flight for this bird and a very nice one.
The third flight was my LOC Norad Pro Maxx on an I161W-10. This flight
was another first for me, as I had a Perfectflite MiniAlt W/D in it to
try and get an altitude reading. It also leaped off the pad straight up
for a very nice boost, but the deployment looked to be a tad early. As
it descended, it looked as if the parachute did not fully inflate, so it
came in a little fast, but not too fast. Upon recovery, I found that
the airframe suffered some crumpling from the shock cord, the ebay had a
small wrinkle in it, and the chute had 3 stripped shroud lines.
Apparently the delay was more than a little early. The good news was
that the altimeter was beeping out 3066 feet. Robert McMillan and I
downloaded the data to his laptop and noticed that the data point just
previous to the 3066 foot reading was 2852 feet. We assumed that the
3066 foot reading was caused by the deployment and that the actual
altitude was about 2850 feet. As for repairs, all I have to do is
replace a couple of tubes and the parachute and she'll be good as new.
The fourth flight was the maiden flight of my scratch built 2.34X
upscale of an Estes Photon Disruptor II on a CTI I205-11. I was
particularly excited about this one, since it's an unusual fin
configuration. After the 5 count, it took off, perfectly straight and
deployed right at the top.
My fifth flight was a PML Mini BBX on an H180-10. This was a pretty run
of the mill flight, nice straight boost, but again, the delay was a
little short. One stripped shroud line, but otherwise undamaged.
The final flight was an old Estes rear eject Sizzler that had been
converted to conventional ejection on an E9-6. This also was a nominal
flight, however this was the only one I really had to hike to recover.
Again, thanks to the entire WAC crew, and the town of Mansfield for
hosting such a wonderful event.
Darrell Smith NAR #81776 L2, Section 615 Blue Mountain Rocketeers
(http://bmr615.org) National Association of Rocketry
-- "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin
From: Marty Weiser
Sent: Monday, May 30, 2005 9:20 PM
The SPARC Nike Hercules flew on 4 x J570 in the booster and a J370 in
the sustainer at Fire In The Sky (FITS) at Mansfield, WA this weekend.
A good solid flight with the booster reaching 1500 ft. and sustainer
reaching 3100 ft. One fin broke off and another broke loose on the
booster upon landing, but those are easily repaired. Ray Stoner
deserves two or three rounds of applause for organizing and doing much
of the work to get both this and the sustainer test flight at SPARC in
to the air. However, this was a team effort with many people
contributing money, time, and their own gear to the effort, in
particular Jerry Buckles who spent several hours assisting Ray with the
prep on Sat. We plan to fly it again at LDRS in July - the motor
sizes will depend upon how much money we can raise through the raffle at
the SPARC launch on June 18th and 19th, it would sure be nice to load
it with 5 x 54 mm K motors.
Mansfield is a great place to launch rockets as several people have
stated. The town is very supportive ($2 showers are great in 90+
weather), the 17kft waiver and open space is great, and it is less than
3 hours from home. The WAC crew headed up by Jim Wilkerson did a great
job in organizing and keeping this launch moving. On the other hand I
could do without dropping rockets in the tick infested pond areas.
My weekend was both good and bad. The best was my son Matthew getting
his NAR Jr. HPR L1 certification on his scratch built upscale of the
Estes Wizard named "Mr. Pinstripes Suit" on an I161 to around 3800 ft.
He followed this up with a flight of his 3" Mosquito named "I want to be
like you" on an H123W. His younger brother John flew his upscale Alpha
named "Spike" (after his cat) on an H112J and asked why he has to wait
another 1.5 years until he can cert (we bought 4" tube for the next in
the series to be named "Rufus" - unfortunately "Maddog" was a far
bigger cat than Rufus). We also did well at the raffle with a Aerotech
Warthog to be built by Matt, a 5.5" fiberglass mosquito style nose cone,
and a $20 PML gift certificate I got to keep when my name was drawn a
third time due to the "bad" part of my weekend. Thanks to all of the
vendors who donated.
I showed up with great plans and inadequate preparation which turned
into losses. I finally finished rigging the electronics bay in my 54 mm
min diameter rocket about an hour before the waiver closed on Sat. so I
loaded the J90 motor and took it out for a last second launch. The
boost was great, but something went wrong with the deployment and we
think it came in ballistic around the ponds to the south, which are
badly tick infested, particularly in the early evening. Not sure what
went wrong, but the folks at PerfectFlite are going to sign me for the
altimeter of the month club.
Sunday was EX day for us and I was once again finishing up the
electronics bay for the rocket. Thanks to a double check by Ray Stoner
I am quite confident that I got this one right. After a quick ride back
to the main site to get Alex's drill bits we cored out the slow red
grains and loaded 24" of 54 mm propellant into the case and the rocket.
The boost was perfect on the biggest motor that Ray, Bob, and I have
done, but the deployment part bit me again. This time it was failure
to ground test the drogue chute charges after a change to a hollow nose
cone so it came in ballistic from around 9 kft. until the main deployed
at 400 ft. The motor case will be a bit shorter and I am not sure if
the remains of the fin can from my L2 flight will be rebuilt.
This morning I bought some 4" tube to make K.I.S.S DD for ground testing
and flight at the SPARC launch in three weeks. Construction and motor
ejection are fairly straight forward, but electronics are proving to be
difficult for me.
Overall a great weekend where I learned a lot in a great town with some
Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 21:43:56 -0700
From: Scott Harrison
Subject: [RocketsNW] FITS/2005
First off, let me send out a huge thanks to the WAC for hosting the FITS
launch again this year. The entire West Coast Hybrid crew agrees when I
say these are some of the most memorable and most enjoyable launches we
have ever been to. A major thanks goes out to Jim Wilkerson & Scott
Bowers launch directors, and all the other RSO's, too many to
I would also like to add that the entire group flying at FITS from the
smallest of model motors to the largest of high power is a spectacular
group of guy's & gal's to fly with. Everyone flying has a great attitude
towards rocketry and is more than willing to lend a hand if needed. The
support of younger flyers by the WAC is unmatched, from hosting rocket
building classes to a great array of competitions for younger flyers.
The weather was great, the flights were spectacular, West Coast will
definitely be regularly attending the FITS launches..
The town of Mansfield, what is there to say! The mayor Tom Snell and the
entire town are super hosts and treat everyone like kings. Not to
mention the local grocery store having everything you can use, but the
Hardware store has two of everything!
GREAT LAUNCH EVERYONE!!!
Now to the flight report,
We started off late Saturday prepping for Andrew MacMillens flight on
the newly certified K1988/460, after running into a bit of grief with a
Fill solenoid packing it in on the trailer on the first fill attempt, we
attempted to go with a fill... Shortly into the fill, the fill hose
ruptured dumping the contents of the tank most likely caused by a small
amount of nitrous freezing the fill hose on the first attempt.. We ran
out of waiver so decided to go on Sunday morning with the flight. The
rocket was prepped and ready by 8:00AM. The fill process took
approximately a minute and ignition was slightly delayed but the Thor
climbed off the pad to 4908' in short work.. Everything was recovered
and we started to prep the actual diameter M bird for the flight at the
EX site. The M bird was set-up to use the new throttleback configuration
allowing for a 14+ second burn that should prove to be at least
spectacular.. We packed up the trailer and headed out to the EX site
around 10:30. We were definitely trusting that the motor would fire as
we left all the tools and extra components back at the camp. The trailer
was again set up and we slid the bird onto the rail. The weather was not
in the favour for hybrids as far as venting was concerned due to the
heat I heard an audible change in the vent an decided to go with the
firing. The M bird came to life immediately and climbed off the rail
arching into the wind before screaming into the distance. The motor was
designed to shut the largest central injector off shortly into the
burn.. The rocket was at approximately 10K well in excess of mach when
the motor throttled-back clearly visible by three small short flashes
within the exhaust plume then unfortunately something went wrong. It's
believed that due to the motor throttling back the electronic sensed
either apogee due to a millie second of negative G causing the nose cone
to shear the nylon retainers or be deployed by the electronics. I never
witness the failure as the bird was too high. I was told that the nose
cone was witnessed coming in off to the northeast of the launch trailer
and Mike Roland & Scott (Mike's friend) went to search for the remnants.
The booster was witnessed coming in ballistic off in the distance.. Well
after 3 hours of searching out to the 2.5 mile radius in 95 degree
temperatures nothing was found... Thanks to Fireman Bob and I think
John? for the help.. The only let down is we have nothing to do a post
mortem on :o
Thanks to Mike Roland your friend Scott, Alex McLaughlin, Scott Bowers,
Jim Wilkerson, Andrew MacMillen, and anyone else I have forgotten..
recent photo's here: http://westcoasthybrids.homestead.com/2005man.html
From: Eric Albrecht
Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 23:14:25 -0700
Subject: [RocketsNW] Albrecht FITS Report (Yes there are photos)
Katy and I dumped the kids after work on Friday and loaded up the van
until 11 pm. The plan wasn't to leave until 5 am, but we weren't
tired so we bailed Friday night and stayed in Wenatchee at a dump.
We pulled in Saturday morning at about 8:30.
I was immediately surprised by how many people there were and by how
little wind there was. There were many rocketeers about, and many
Mansfield residents milling around. This year I didn't bring so many
rockets because I wanted to spend more time looking around at the
fleets of others and talking to people. What I found was pretty
odd. As I wandered, nearly everyone said, "Hi Eric", and struck up a
conversation with me, most with an impressive knowledge of my
rockets. Yet, I am ashamed to admit, in at least half of the cases I
had absolutely no idea who I was talking to. So next time you see
me, pretend I'm a complete imbecile and introduce yourself just in
case. Katy must be some kind of rocketry celebrity because I think
every single person knew who she was.
We started with Katy's Matrix on an I211W, which is a lot larger than
anything she has put in it thus far. It was a great flight but,
sadly, I forgot to put the camer on continuous mode and didn't get
Next was my Black Brant X flying on an AMW J400 Red Rhino. This was
my first AMW, and was a really cool dual deployment flight. The main
popped out at apogee with the drogue, despite my addition of tape to
the nose cone to add friction. No damage and not too far a walk.
Peter Anderson, a new rocketeer I met at work, then showed up and I
helped him launch his first rocket, a Binder Jaguar, a couple of
times on a G67R and a G75J. Both were great.
By now it was time for me to LCO and I got to put up some great
flights. We hung around for the night launch and then drove to
Waterville to stay at the hotel.
Sunday morning we started right away getting the Talon 4 drag race
prepped. While we were awaiting some details I launched my Hawk
Mountain raptor on a G40W single use, which was great. Once the K670
Green Gorilla was loaded and the altimeter was prepped, John and I
headed out to the pad. He had a K700W. After I armed my rocket, we
didn't hear a tone from his altimeter. We spent the next hour
tearing his ebay down and diagnosing the problem, which turned out to
be the phono plug switch. We solved it by twisting the wires
together instead for arming. This did the trick. I was worried
about my battery after sitting out there armed for so long, but the
drag race was awesome. A local newspaper reporter even questioned us
before the launch. John's lit first, and everyone seemed to follow
his so I haven't seen any photos of my liftoff other than my own. If
anyone has more photos of any of launches they'd be willing to share,
I'd appreciate it. Video would be even better.
Next up was Katy with her Yank Concept One on a J135W. This was a
really cool flight, but again the main came out a apogee, and this
time caused a zipper, but it was a great flight.
I had another shift at LCO and got to launch the Nike Hercules
project, which was great. I stayed at LCO until the range closed,
then we all went for lasagna at the clubhouse.
Monday I kept it small and flew my Mustang on a F24W and my Scimitar
on a pair of E16W's. As I feared, only one lit, but the fight wasn't
bad anyway. What's the prevailing wisdom for getting clusters to
light? I used Quickburst twiggys. Jim Wilkerson's Screaming for
Vengeance was the last flight we saw before heading out on Monday to
pick up the kids.
The whole weekend was awesome, and I can't thank Jim, Scott, WAC, and
the town of Mansfield enough. Great job everyone.
Now for the moment you have all been waiting for: the photos. Follow
the link to FITS 2005. Here is the deal. I had over 500 photos. I
managed to pare that down to 190 for posting. My criteria was that
no rocket got more than 3 photos of its launch unless it was
inconceivably cool. If your rocket didn't make the cut for
inconceivably cool, don't feel bad, just try harder next year. Some
of you might be saying, "Wait a minute, a couple of rockets have more
than 3 but aren't that cool!" OK, I admit there is a second
criteria. If you have ever given me anything for free in the past, I
may also have posted more than 3 pictures of your rocket. I expect
this trend to continue, for reference. The new camera worked great,
except the first few photos Katy took where she forgot to turn on the
auto focus. I've added a lot more commentary about the launch with
the photos, so feel free to read. There were way too many pictures
to comment every one, though. Jim's Screaming for Vengeance flight
alone had 52 pictures because it burned so long. There's only a few
I know a lot of you have been dying for a 300dpi, high res photo of
yours truly with a rocket to post in your living room or possibly
over your bed, so I've finally made your dream a reality. Here is a
link to a big photo montage I made of the Talon 4 drag race which
will fit an 8.5x11" sheet.
Eric and Katy Albrecht
Subject: RE: [RocketsNW] FITS and June Brother's
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2005 10:57:15 -0700
From: "Bloom, Steven E"
Not a glitch from
porta potties to launch lines. Burgers and icies on site, town only two
minutes away, no lines, volunteers a-plenty, and even a telescope
filtered to view the sun! In broad daylight!!!!! I also got a glimpse
of Saturn and Jupiter in the evening sky, totally cool.
Way to go, Jim, Jim, Alex, Scott the the rest.
Steve and crew
From: Jim Pommert
Subject: RE: [RocketsNW] FITS and June Brother's
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2005 11:52:49 -0700
Not to downgrade the work done by all the WAC volunteers, especially LD Jim
W., but I'm amazed at all the work put in by folks from Mansfield,
especially Tom Snell.
The grass wasn't cut by a WAC member; Tom reportedly spent 10 hours out
there getting the site ready for us and ended up bending the blade on his
mower in the process when he hit a large rock out in the launch area. The
tables, the large green garage cans, and lots of other things were brought
out to the site and then returned to town by Tom. Tom's wife Mary spent
much of Saturday working on FITS support including reorganizing the dinner
for Sunday evening when the previous Mansfield volunteers for the Saturday
dinner had a death in the family. Together Tom and Mary allowed the use of
their land for the EX launch on Sunday. And I'm sure that I don't have even
close to a full list of all the ways that they organized and coordinated
with the people in town to make this launch possible.
If ANYONE deserves a huge thank you from everyone who enjoyed FITS 2005,
it's the folks of Mansfield, especially Mayor Tom and Mary Snell.
From: "Scott T. Bowers"
Subject: Re: [RocketsNW] FITS and June Brother's
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2005 12:00:09 -0700
He also brought a fire truck to the EX site and watered everything down for us.
Tom and his town are what make the launch so great. Truly a great effort by
everyone to accommodate us.
I try to make a point to spend money in Mansfield every time I travel there,
they have earned my money many times over.
Scott T. Bowers
From: "Scott T. Bowers"
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2005 12:11:19 -0700
Subject: [RocketsNW] Mr. launch director
I would also like to take a moment to congradualate Jim Wilkerson on a job well
done. FITS 2005 was without a doubt the best event ever held in Washington. For
those of you who do not know Jim very well, let me point out a few things. Jim
was called to active duty with the Air Force and has been spending much time
away from his family. Prior to FITS he did two rotations back to back so he
would be free to organize the launch. Many of the emails you saw from Jim on the
list were sent from Germany in between flights into Iraq, Afganistan, or other
places most of us would not really like to visit at the moment.
Jim is not one to blow his own horn, but I think it is significant that on
Momorial day when we should have been acknowledging his service, he spent his
weekend serving us.
Thank you Jim!!!
Scott T. Bowers
From: "Scott T. Bowers"
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2005 13:20:37 -0700
Subject: [RocketsNW] FITS 2005 EX report
Just a short not on the EX activities.
Scott Harrison start us out with a flight of the mostly aluminum hybrid
M bird with a throttle back motor. Flight was nominal until the motor
throttled back at about 10k at which point the rocket disintegrated, not
a speck of it was recovered
Ray Stoner flew an upscale Estes model on a 38 mm 1% aluminum motor and
took the 38 mm record category at about 3k.
Bob flew a 30% zinc 38 mm K motor I made in his minimum diameter bird to
over 11k, but the fin can unscrewed from the harness and has not been
recovered. A tracking grain was visible all the way through drogue
Tim Goldsmith, a 17 year old high school student, showed up with a
rocket for his senior project. After examining him and his rocket Alex
McLaughlin and myself appropriated him and his rocket and flew it on a
75 mm L and a 75 mm M for two flawless flights. We can expect great
things from this young man.
Alex flew a huge beast of a rocket on his aluma flame N motor. After a
couple of chuffs melted the stand off off the hybrid pad the rocket flew
flawlessly to over 14k with a textbook recovery.
Marty Wieser flew a 1% aluminum 54 mm K. Boost was perfect but there was
no drogue. The next sign of the rocket was the sound of the ballistic
recovery and a puff of dust about 700 yards NW of the site. Bummer.
Rob Lamb flew one of Alex's aluma flame M motors in a beautiful 4 inch
bird. The flight was perfect and had a great recovery.
Did I miss anything guys?
Scott T. Bowers
From: "Robert Nech"
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2005 15:23:23 -0700
Subject: [RocketsNW] FITS2005 BalloonSat Mission Data
I received an email from Paul Verhage of the Treasure Valley Near Space
Program ( www.tvnsp.org ) with an attached Excel spreadsheet he created from
the data taken from the Hobo datalogger placed in the BalloonSat. Other
data was, also, taken from Paul's equipment that was in the Near Space
stack. I have placed it in the image gallery on RocketsNW but below is a
link to go directly to it.
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2005 21:11:00 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: [RocketsNW] FITS - the wrapup
Hi all - wanted to pass on some final thoughts, thanks, and a flight recap
from FITS 2005. First off, my deepest thanks to everyone who helped make
FITS 2005 a success beyond my wildest hopes. The most gratifying thing
for me was that I could always find help when I needed it - I asked a lot
of people out on the range to help out with various things, and I always
got an "OK, what do you need me to do?". It's always hard to remember
everyone and everything for mention, so please forgive me if I forgot
Thanks to the core crew from WAC, OROC and its members for lending
equipment and driving it up to us, the SPARC folks always there to lend
a hand, Tom and Mary Snell and the town of Mansfield, our groups from
Treasure Valley Near Space and the Olympic and Tacoma Astronomy
Societies, our vendors who attended, supplied and/or donated raffle
items, all who participated in the motor mentor program, everyone who
attended, and especially those who stepped outside their comfort zone a
little bit to help out and make the launch what it was. I very much
appreciate the accolades and thanks on the list. As anyone who's
organized anything knows, you never do something like this by yourself.
The Northwest rocketry community as a whole shoud be very proud of
itself that we came together and put on this great weekend. It bodes
extremely well for the future of the hobby. Thanks also to Scott and
Rose Binder for all their gracious help in allowing WAC to continue the
I don't think that I got all the flight cards, especially those from
Monday, but what I currently have breaks down as follows:
Total flights 223, not including the EX flights.
1/2A - 1 flight H - 14 flights
A - 4 flights I - 26 flights
B - 9 flights J - 20 flights
C - 33 flights K - 7 flights
D - 24 flights L - 2 flights
E - 26 flights M - 2 flights
F - 23 flights
G - 32 flights
Once we get the club trailer unpacked, we'll check for more flight cards.
These totals included 12 cluster flights and 9 staged flights.
Category-wise, I totaled the impulse on stage and cluster flights, and put
it in the appropriate category for the total impulse.
We had two Level 1 certs, Chris Stone and David Randall, one Level 1 Jr
cert in Matthew Weiser, one Level 2 cert by Brad Wright, and one Level 3
cert by Jeff Halstead. We had two Level 2 failures, one due to no main
chute ejection on a dual-deploy, and one early chute ejection due to
hooking the wires to the altimeter staging timer instead of the drogue
outputs. Please let me know if there were other cert flights that I
On the less-than-nominal side, in the lower power the majority failure
modes were instability or failure to deploy the recovery device fully. In
the higher-power area, we had several ground impacts, mostly caused by
failure to deploy the recovery system at apogee. One F-powered model
(scariest flight of the launch, that I can remember) impacted under thrust
back behind the RV line. Forunately, due to RSO vigilance with launch pad
angles, almost all of the failures impacted well away from the spectator
Due to all the excellent help I had, I was able to get in some personal
flights as well. Thanks to Bob Yanecek for the use of his tower - I flew
a 54mm bird to 7400 feet on a J135. Hell Bent for Leather II launched on
an M1939 to 9300 feet, and Screaming for Vengeance flew on Monday morning
to about 7400 feet on a Cesaroni L730 plus airstarted pairs of J330s and
J400s. Recovery was hard to beat - it landed inside the racetrack, about
200 feet from where it took off. Eric Albrecht has some great pictures of
that on his website - thanks Eric. The acceleration plot shows it
decelerating just a little before the first pair lit, then a solid
acceleration through the 2nd pair. My son Nicholas flew his Dynastar
Snarky several times on D12-5s - really a neat-looking kit. It flies well
on the Ds too. Finally Scott Bowers helped his kids fly my LOC IV on an
Aerotech H268 Redline.
One big final round of thanks to everyone - I had a great time this last
weekend, and I hope to see all of you again soon.
Very best regards
FITS 2005 Launch Director
From: "Andrew MacMillen"
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 2005 10:17:04 -0700
Subject: [RocketsNW] FITS 05 launch report
I had 2 specific goals regarding hybrids for this launch: 1) prove that
hybrids are reliable to launch; 2) test several manufacturers motors
head-to-head in the same airframes. The tests were the Ratt K240 vs. the
new West Coast K460 in 'Mjollnir', my faithful modified BSD Thor, and my
new Sky Ripper Systems I119 vs. my unflown West Coast Hybrids I110 in
'Laughing Matter', a scratch 3" x 6.5' 3FNC.
On Saturday morning, I flew my BSD Thor on a Ratt K240. Normal ignition
delay; typically awesome howling liftoff & long burn; flight arced
upwind & slightly crosswind to the SE; recovered < 1/4 mile SE of the
pad. I beleive this was my 20th flight of the Ratt K240!
Missleworks RRC2X 40K = 4249'
GWiz MC = 4388'
Supply tank = 780 psi
Fill time ~= 45 secs
Courtesy of West Coast Hybrids, I flew the same airframe for the first
demo flight of their new K460. We attempted to launch late Saturday
afternoon, but had problems with a fill solenoid, then suffered a fill
line blow out due to excessive supply tank pressure. Sunday morning
after the tank cooled overnight, we launched from the awesome West Coast
launch trailer hooked to my pad & rail. Slower than normal pad ignition
using the WCH low voltage high current GOX & steel wool ignition; sat on
the pad for several seconds; slower than normal liftoff for WCH motors;
moderate 'buzz' and a few 'huffs'; flight arced upwind to the NW;
recovered 1/2 mile NW by the main road; suffered booster coupler damage
from finding the median rocks instead of the wheat field :( Post mortem
on the motor showed that instead of burning off the central injector,
the fill line pulled out of the compression nut, which led to higher
than normal NOX injection (greater injector cross-section), causing the
combustion instability. Assumptions are that there'd be a slight
increase in performance and definite combustion stabilization with
correct injector burn off.
Missleworks RRC2X 40K = 4809'
GWiz MC = 4724'
Supply tank ~= 740psi
Fill time ~= 60 secs
I will have the downloaded GWiz MC data later.
The winner on the K flights is the new West Coast K460! But I still love
the Ratt howl :)
Range duties and high temps/tank pressure kept me from flying more on
Monday morning the temperature was more reasonable, so I prepped
Laughing Matter with a SRS I119. Very nice motors, and simple to
assemble. Nominal ignition; moderate liftoff speed; absolutely stable
combustion (somebody said 'hey, that sounds just like a solid'); flight
arced NW; recovered 100 yds NW.
Missleworks RRC2 = 2336'
Supply tank = 680 psi
Fill time ~= 30 secs
Since that flight was so simple, flight lines were short & temps were
still moderate, I turned around Laughing Matter with a WCH I110 in under
2 hours. The motor went together easily, and I cheated by using a SRS
24mm preheater & Quickburst, which fit perfectly into the WCH bulkhead.
Very fast ignition; much faster liftoff speed than the SRS; definite
hybrid scream; flight arced NW; recovered 150 yds NW.
Missleworks RRC2 = 2336'
Supply tank = 740 psi
Fill time ~= 30 secs
Yes, that's right, the "I" flights are a dead heat! Both hit exactly
2336'. And yes, I didn't believe it at first, so I've since ground
tested the altimeter with a yogurt container barometric chamber, and I
get different readings.
All my flights off my pad were literally setup, fill, fire, recover. I
received several comments on how simple it all looked...
On a separate note, my thanks to Doug Pratt. He got a brand new launch
box into my hands the day before I left, and it performed flawlessly,
not only for my hybrid flights, but the box, my QaudPod & 10' rail were
used thru the whole weekend for a mid-away pad with no problems,
including a cluster of QuikBurst ignitors. Awesome stuff!
From: "Robert Nech"
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 2005 14:34:27 -0700
Subject: [RocketsNW] Those to thank
As I was rolling home and listening to the song, Fire In The Sky, I thought
about how to improve the launch for next year. Considering some of the
minor problems that occurred during the launch it went much better than I
There were at least twice as many people that attended this year than last.
The weather was a little a warm but the wind was much, much better compared
to FITS2004. I received 100 percent positive feedback from those I spoke
with before I left on Sunday evening. It was great to read all of the
feedback here on the list that backed up what I heard from those at the
I would like to thank the following for making this launch a resounding
Scott and Rose Binder for allowing us to carry on the Fire In The Sky name.
Jim Wilkerson for his leadership, energy, and time putting this launch
The town of Mansfield
Tom and Mary Snell for allowing us to be there and all of their hard work in
getting the launch site ready
Adam Foged of Mansfield who helped me get the word out about the launch
Andrew MacMillen for the Washington Aerospace website and issuing the press
Paul Verhage of the Treasure Valley Near Space Program for the BalloonSat
Dave Dobbins of APRSNW for tracking the Balloon Near Space Stack
Joe Witherspoon and members of the Tacoma Astronomical Society for bringing
their telescopes and teaching classes on astronomy and stomp rockets
Mansfield Fire Fighters for the Sunday evening dinner
Companies that supplied the contest and raffle prizes
Vendors at the launch
All of the launch volunteers
And all of those that attended the launch to fly high, fast, and loud
I hope we can make it as successful at FITS2006.
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 2005 17:21:54 -0700 (PDT)
From: Larry Colvin
Subject: [RocketsNW] FITS report
Time for another FITS report. We just arrived home yesterday after
spending a couple of nights on the road visiting friends and family. It
was a mini vacation for us.
We arrived at the Mansfield site a little before 1 pm on Saturday. I
was there with my wife and son (who is just a few months shy of his 2nd
birthday). We were accompanied by our friends from Moses Lake and their
two year old daughter.
The first thing that struck me when I got out of the car was the heat,
and the next was the lack of wind. Perfect flying weather! We set up
camp, put on sunscreen, and then I headed out to get registered. I met
up with Jim Wilkerson to deliver a package of items from ACME Rocketry,
then wandered around watching flights and checking in with the crew at
the Sunriver Nature Center tent. I managed to fly one rocket Saturday
afternoon, a Rising Star model from Dynastar with a clear payload bay.
The plan was to fly it again at the night launch later. We didn't end
up having a bright enough light to put into it, so didn't fly it again
Sunday dawned clear and calm again, so after breakfast I began prep on
my PML D-Region Tomahawk. It is 3" in diameter, and has been modified
for electronic dual deployment. I put together a AT I211W and flew it
to 2227 feet, according to the Adept altimeter reading on recovery. It
landed a little behind the last tent on the West end of the flight line.
The next flight was my rebuilt 1/4 scale Patriot, by PML. I modified
it for dual deployment after a bad experience in April when my delay
grain didn't burn all the way through. It flew on a J350W to 3279 feet.
It landed just beyond the East end on the flight line. Another close
recovery. I love dual deployment!
I spent the rest of Sunday afternoon mentoring Carl Degner and John
Hawkins in their handling of restricted access motors and watched some
great flights again.
Monday morning brought more of the same great weather. My friend Tobin
and I prepped a LOC Onyx that has a video camera. It transmits to a
receiver on the ground where we record the flight. This was the first
flight and the video worked perfectly. Sadly the recovery was with a
shovel as we think the ejection design was flawed. We have some good
ideas for next time that include electronic deployment. I trust that
more than motor ejection now that I've become familiar with high power
I'd like to thank Jim Wilkerson and our hosts at WAC, and Mansfield for
a great event. The volunteers that organized the activities and manned
the flight stations were great. Launch lines were nonexistant and rack
after rack of flights were launched without delays. I hope to do it
Date: Fri, 03 Jun 2005 03:00:35 -0700
From: "Michael Dennis"
Subject: [RocketsNW] FITS '05 report and link to pics...
Well everyone I've finally got around to sorting through all the pics I took
at FITS and got them posted here:
Enjoy them! The way FotoTime works is albums with groups - Looking at the
Album will show ALL the pics in the various groups. I find it easier to
view them in the more bite sized sets of pics in the groups and when doing
it that way you have some context to what you're looking at.
These are all reduced and compressed, so they look ok online, but if you
want to print, you'll want the original full sized pic, which can be up to
about 4.5 Mb each (depends on which camera, etc). Just shoot me a private
email and let me know. If what you want will fit in email, I'll shoot 'em
back to you. Otherwise, I can write to a CD and you can arrange to get that
from me somehow.
I took both of my sons with me and although only one was flying just one
rocket, they both had a great time. Justin likes his role as video guy and
when I get a chance I'll take selected clips and post them on FotoTime too.
I've not even looked to see if he got anything good yet! Cameron's Deuces
Wild finally on the 3rd attempt lit both engines and worked great! I expect
more rockets from him soon.
As many have said already, this was a great launch. Well organized, plenty
of support from the on-site hamburgers/hotdogs to the many vendors. I spent
plenty with 'em all :-) I didn't take advantage of the dinners, but I'd
love to plan on that next time.
The shirts and hats were GREAT! Nice high quality stuff.
The sky watching with the telescopes was great after someone got a very
bright light in a camp turned off :-) I've never seen Jupiter and it's
moons, Saturn, M13, Binary stars and some others I can't remember. It was
great seeing them "live" and that close. And then add the Sun scope and
being able to see sun spots! That was simply awesome!!!
We took a side trip on Sunday afternoon to the Grand Coulee Dam, and stayed
for the laser light show. The tour of the Dam sure helps put the size of
that thing in perspective.
1. The fate of the Wizocket - Just a crushed nose cone, once replaced
it will fly again. Now many were hoping to see it again, but I know one
person that was secretly hoping that it wouldn't :-) to that person I
promised to use higher thrusting motors so that it's flight profile isn't
headed down under thrust! It fly on a J135. Now - why no chute? Well,
stupid operator error - the electronics were in upside down :-(
2. Nike Smoke - no cold smoke at apogee, my rigging for pulling the pin
came undone. On a K660, reached 6694' and went down range on a main at
apogee chute about 3 miles. So by the time I got it I had 2 lbs of soft
dirt in my shoes, and so did my boys! :-)
3. The Super Big Bertha did great on it's 3 Estes E9-6's all lit and
the streamer caused a bit of a hard landing, snapped one fin. Guess I'm
used to planning on the soft Monroe landing area.
4. The Flying Saucer flew nice and straight on an I154J, tumble
recovery made it very simple. I'm surprised more don't use those as a Level
5. Old Estes Honest John - On an F100-8 the delay was about 4-5 seconds
to long. Thankfully it landed in an open area since it was in the camping
6. VCx5 - 5 Motor cluster - Let me know if you got non-fuzzy pics! It's
scratch built and is the platform to house my BoosterVision
(http://www.boostervision.com/boostervision/default.htm) Video camera and
next time it will fly with it. For this flight the 5 motor cluster was with
one central I161W-14 (as a backup), (2) H180 & (2) G64 - Total impulse
1011.4 N/sec or about a 79% J --- All five motors ignited on the pad
using Quickburst igniters - http://www.quickburst.net/igniters.htm For some
reason the Olsen was telling me it only reached 1429 feet and I'm fairly
certain that it was more like what the RockSim prediction was of 3200 feet.
Also the weather was near perfect for flying rockets - I'm sure that was an
order that Jim placed that made that happen. I did hear that a serious
thunder storm was within 80 miles of us on Sunday afternoon/evening that
included golf ball sized hail and blowing winds, etc. Sure glad that missed
And last but not least it was great seeing everyone again, and also making
new friends too. You Rocket people are some of the friendliest around!!! I
just wish I had a better memory for names. Yeah, for some reason bits and
bytes stick, names just pass on through :-( To everyone - see ya next time!
I plan on taking a trip down to Brothers this summer and to XPRS.
TRA - 0216
NRA - 36580