Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Southern Thunder 2010 Launch Report

With Southern Thunder 2010 now in the history books. The ringing is still in my ears. Every time I close my eyes. I can still see the launches burned into the back of my eyelids. There is something special about the field in Manchester, TN. It's a sod farm that's about 1 square mile. It's like flying rockets on your front lawn with the Smoky Mountains as a back drop. It was good to see old friends and meet new ones. The newly elected Tripoli President Prof. Terry McCreary was one hand as he made the trip from LDRS in California the weekend before. He even took the time to LCO for a while Saturday.

As usual the folks with MC2 and HARA put on an excellent launch. Thank you all for your sacrifices. The field was in excellent shape. The weather got off to slow start with a drizzle on Saturday morning. But by Saturday afternoon the clouds had cleared and we had great weather from then on. Sunday was perfect with a light and variable wind that was a welcome relieve from the relentless heat and humidity.

My first flight of the event was with Steve Naquin's Stinger 4 rocket. I flew it on a new Aerotech Medal Storm Motor. It was an H170M for the 38mm 360ns case. The flight was nominal with a shower of sparks off the pad the rocket headed for 1,500'. The chute deployed right on time for a close in recovery.

That was all I flew on Saturday. I didn't feel there was enough time to get the Max Attack prepped and on the pad before the range closed. I had spent a lot of time helping out with Scott Taylor's XST III flight for his successful L3 flight. Congratulations Scott. It was a memorable flight. As the rocket left the pad I could here the entire flight line erupt into cheers and applause.

Sunday brought with it perfect weather for the Max Attack to fly. So I started prepping as soon as I got up. I had simmed my flight to 12,000' so I knew I would need the extended 14,000' waiver that was available from 10:00AM to 12:00PM. I had the Max attack prepped and on the pad by 10:30AM. The flight went perfect. With the rocket landing in the field for an easy recovery. I had a micro keychain camera taped to the side of the rocket. So I was anxious to see how it came out. I immediately broke out the laptop and played the video for everyone once I got back to our compound.

After taking a break I prepped my 4x upscale Astron Alpha for my final flight of the event. I flew it on a Aerotech I285 Mojave Green motor. It was another beautiful flight to 2,000 ft. With a perfect deployment of the custom 54" Spherachute. The rocket landed in the field for another easy recovery. I was able to start packing up around 2:30PM and was on the road by 3:00PM for the drive back to Luling,LA

This was a great trip and I would recommend this launch for all to attend. Hope to see you there next year.

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