Last week’s blunder of the electronics at Plaster Blaster had me miffed. I stewed about it the entire two-hour drive home. Mid-week I decided that I was going to ROCStock in Lucerne Valley prove myself ready, for me. I also wanted to really test if I could do everything without a safety net. Typically fly with G, so if I get confused or flustered I can just ask him.Last weekend I think I broke his patience and he was prolly rethinking his desire to mentor fellow rocketeers his entire drive home.
So I borrowed equipment and headed out. Two goals 1) to meet with my TAPS Kurt and Jack to review my rocket and talk about preparation for level 3 certification, and 2) fly Serendipity and recover my dignity.
ROCStock was packed with lots of exciting projects launching. Was able to wrangle the TAPS and get much-needed feedback on rocket and electronics board design (which I will cover in another post). By then it was pretty late on Sunday 11:30am, as usually flying wraps up around 1pm ish. Luckily it was a nice day, clear sky and only minor bursts of wind, and range would not shut down until 2pm. So I hurried to get my prep done, which is funny cause it takes me a long time. If I get rushed then stupid mistakes happen. It all worked out and fellow rocketeer Ian helped me load the rocket on the pad. He also made sure I was good and nervous by asking me if I was sure ready to fly.
The launch was bootiful, a CTI L995 motor with red flames. Nice and straight, and ejected chute at APOGEE. I was holding my breath, cause if I mucked it up again I would just wish for the lake bed to open up and swallow me. I had the CSI Receiver ready to track my rocket. I had loaded a transmitter in the rocket as it was a bit windy and knew it would drift a bit before landing. This was my first time using the CSI unit. Was also super motivation to find rocket as I had about $700 worth of borrowed equipment in it.
This is the CSI Receiver (below):
This is the CSI Transmitter (below):
The wind carried the rocket about a mile away. We saw the general landing area, thanks to a large tree as a marker. As I wandered out with the Receiver listening to the beeps, things started to get wacky about 1/2 mile in. I lost signal and then it started to only emit a beep back towards the launch area. I knew this was not right and kept on despite the contradictory signal. Luckily the rocket was easy to spot.
The rocket looked great with no damage. Quick assessment I noticed that the CSI Transmitter and one of the nomex cloths had fallen off. As I gathered up the rocket, I saw some sort of dead animal remains. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Did not take long to examine it. Grabbed the rocket and began the trek back.
The rocket weighs about 25 lbs, however as I trudged across the dry lake bed and jumped over ruts it seemed much heavier. The biggest rub was the brush was itchy and got stuck in my socks. Luckily about 1/4 mile to get back, one of the fellow rocketeers (John in the red Jeep) drove out to haul my tired and very grateful person back. As we drove, I spied a bright green, and asked to stop. Much to my delight it was my tracker. Some days I am lucky. Great flight, solid recovery, all equipment (except nomex cloth) intact, and my confidence soaring.