Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Dual Flights of Black Beauty

As hoped, Davie and I were able to meet up in Mojave, California the first weekend of February, two days after my birthday.  I drove over from Nevada and he drove down from Lake Arrowhead.  Jerry and Erika were delayed getting out of the cities and stayed in Palmdale for the night.  The four of us met at the Mojave Denny's restaurant for breakfast and drove out together to FAR - Friend of Amateur Rocketry site.  We are still flying the Sonic 3100 and the goal for the day was to make two back to back flights the same day.  Succeeding with that we would go from the 38 mm diameter motors to the 54 mm ones.
Flight 3 Landing
Perfect Landing Flight 3
Click here for the Flickr album.

It took us a little while to get the rocket prepped but we got it out to the pad.  There was confusion over the ignition system changes but it worked well.  I took the count and the launch button for the first flight (Flight 3) and gave Davie my new iPhone 6S to take the video.  After a near false start on ignition, it lifts off nicely. The rocket drifted east and into the sun and it was hard to tell what was being recorded.  He did catch a glimpse of the rocket arching over at apogee 1 minute and 15 seconds into the video and then glimpses of it on the final decent including the chute deployment.  Here is the link directly to the video.

We recovered the rocket after a search of the desert shrubs.  As expected from watching the deployment the rocket, the parts were laying out in a line from a perfect parachute landing.  With our second successful liftoff and landing we set about to turn around for the fourth flight.  I was starting to repack the parachute when I noticed some charred spots.  We needed more insulating packing between the charges and the chute.  It took an hour but we were up to launch again.  I resumed doing the filming such as it is.

Not completely Unscathed
Parachute took some minor damage.
Lift off was good but the rocket tail kicks to the side momentarily then straightens up.  I do catch apogee in the camera but can't see it at the time.  Here is a link to the second (Flight 4) video.  Then I loose it both in the video and visually and finally, I do see it coming in for a landing without the parachute but it doesn't show well on the video.  It takes a big screen or the ability to zoom the video to see the two sections coming in without the parachute.

When I unpacked the nose cone, I could see where the gun powder did ignite but it was more like it burned than exploded as intended.  I cut the amount of gun powder back a little and then maybe didn't have enough cotton around it so the nose cone didn't get the explosion that it needed to create separation.  The parachute was loose when we put it in, but it had unfolded a bit and it definitely had some friction against the inside of the rocket body when I pulled it out.  Perhaps as a result of the hard landing, we can't really tell.  There are lots of little details to get right.

So next trip (hopefully the first weekend of March) we can have another perfect flight on the 38 mm motors.  Jerry said we couldn't graduate just yet.  And this is after we fix the broken beauty (see the final pictures in the album).

If you want to catch up to the Black Beauty sequence of blogs, click here for the first one.  Then there is a link at the bottom of each one so you can read them in series.  For a review of the FAR site, click here for those blog entries. Enjoy!

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