2023 Launch Reports
As of this writing (April), it doesn't look as if we're going to get a high-power launch in Elsberry this spring -- too much rain. However, I am planning to make it to at least some of the park launches throughout the year, and am planning to attend Midwest Power for the first time since I got my level 3 there in 2016. It would be nice if we got to fly at Elsberry in the fall, too.
SLRA Park Launch, April 8 2023, Valley Park MO
Weather conditions: mostly cloudy, clearing throughout the morning; wind E @ 8-14 mph, 54 F, 72% RH
Estes Tazz, B6-4
I initially had a Q-Jet B6-4 in the Tazz, but could not get it to light after three attempts. I'm not sure whether it was a bad motor, corroded clips not getting enough juice to the Q-Jet igniters, or what. I replaced it with an Estes B6-4 and it flew on the second try. (Update: it was because I managed to forget that Q-Jets are core burning motors, and didn't have the igniter all the way in.)
Estes Mega Mosquito, D12-3
Another old reliable rocket - it's flown here many times.
I also brought my new Boosted Bertha along with a Semroc Hawk and my Semroc Orbital Transport, but with the wind picking up I decided not to fly any of those.
SLRA Park Launch, April 29 2023, Valley Park MO
Weather conditions: fair and breezy; wind NNW shifting to W @ 10-15 mph, 69 F, 30% RH
We had an afternoon launch this time, so Dave K. could do a twilight 50th anniversary re-enactment of the Saturn V Skylab launch from his scale launch tower. Earlier in the day, some SLRA folks had been over at nearby Beaumont Scout Camp to launch 3D-printed rockets with scouts. The weather was excellent. We flew from the west end of Buder due to the wind being out of the west.
Estes Boosted Bertha, B6-0 to B6-4
First flight of the Boosted Bertha went pretty much perfectly. I didn't have an altimeter on the rocket, but I would guess it only went about 500 feet on two B's. A C6-0 to B6-6 would probably be a better flight for this field.
Boyce Aerospace Hobbies Gemini-Titan II 1:46, cluster of two D20-4s
The second flight of my Gemini-Titan scale model did not go well, however. One motor lit and carried the rocket off the pad, then the second motor lit just as the rocket was starting to arc over. From the video, the second motor started thrust about 1.5 seconds after the first one. The rocket went more-or-less horizontally a few hundred feet south, then lawn darted. I think the first motor's ejection charge may have fired while the rocket was under thrust from the second motor, causing the rocket not to separate, and the second motor's ejection fired after the rocket was already down.
When I recovered the rocket, the two halves had separated; the shoulder had broken off of the capsule section and remained stuck in the forward tube, which was crumpled. Two of the 3D-printed parts from the interstage had come apart, but didn't appear to actually be broken. The rear tube was OK, but the 3D-printed structure around the motor tubes was broken. Two of the fins were broken off, and I only found one of them. I doubt this rocket will be worth rebuilding, although it is a good kit and I would recommend it.
If the second motor had not fired at all, I think the flight probably would have been okay. The late-firing motor must have just barely started smoldering when the rocket left the pad. This seems like a fairly unlikely failure.
Estes Mega Mosquito, C11-3
Yet another flight of the old Mega Mosquito. I had put a C11 in it to fly as a demo at the scout camp, but didn't fly it there. This rocket had only flown on Ds and Es before, but it did well on the C11.
SLRA Summer Solstice Night Launch, June 24 2023, Valley Park MO
1.6" Torellian Invader flight #1, E30-4
First flight of my mid-power Torellian Invader. Shock cord broke after ejection but I found all the pieces and there was no other damage.
Semroc Hawk, A8-3
GREAT glider flight, now that I have it trimmed properly.
Estes Boosted Bertha, C6-0 to B6-6
Decent flight - this is a good motor combo for this rocket.
Swamp Gas flight #3, G78G
Another good dusk flight for Swamp Gas. High G's are really the only option for this one.
SLRA Fall High-power Launch, October 21 2023, Elsberry MO (scrubbed)
This launch was cancelled due to a "red flag" fire hazard warning from the NWS (low humidity and high wind).
Midwest Power 21, October 27-29 2023, Princeton IL
I decided not to go to Midwest Power; cloud ceilings were low and it had rained through much of the preceding week and was extremely muddy.
NAR National Sport Launch (NSL) East, November 10-12 2023, Pence IN
Since I skipped MWP, I made a late decision to head out to NSL.
Black Widow flight #6, L1000
Reached 10,800 feet AGL at a maximum velocity of 1141 ft/sec (Mach 1.05).
Berthimus Prime flight #3, J420
No data on this flight as my AltimeterTwo appears to be deaded, but it looked good!
SLRA Winter High-power Launch, December 16 2023, Elsberry MO (planned)
Gravity's Just a Habit flight #2, I470 to I175 (maybe)
Planned second try, after the rocket went outside tilt limits on its first flight and didn't ignite its sustainer. Second flight will have added nose weight, a higher-thrust booster motor, and the same sustainer motor. Expected altitude around 7200' AGL.
Kerbal 5 flight #1, J760 (maybe)
Expected altitude around 3500' AGL.
Black Widow flight #7, L1000 (maybe)
I still have two L1000s in the box - I might fly this again.