May, 2000


This was my first trip out to Oregon Rocketry's new launch site in Brothers, Oregon. Its a huge improvement over the previous Millican site. The terrain is flatter, and the site is farther from the highway. Over the weekend many rockets flew, large and small, right up to the 20,000 MSL waiver, and most were recovered.

The event started with an EX launch on Friday. We had driven up the day before, and arrived pretty early with several others from our hotel in Bend. Once the range was set up, we started flying. There were quite a few EX motors flown.

Christopher Scott's Black Brant(?) on a DPS 6 grain Drop Dead Red motor. Kent Newman checks his aim on his 4" rocket. Kent Newman's 4" bird roars off the pad on a 54mm 1400NS motor burning Binford Zinc propellant.
Tom Gonser puts 'The Brain' (of Pinky and the Brain) on the Pro-Rail, with the assistance of Stu Barrett, Bruce Nolting, and myself. Just about set. Tom's rocket is prepped with a Kosdon 7600NS Skidmark motor. The awesome liftoff. At our vantage point from the launch control area for the away cell, you could feel the motor rumble in your chest. It was truly inspiring!

That night I spent all my time prepping Carbon Black, my level 3 attempt. Carbon Black is a 4" filament wound airframe rocket with a 3" motor mount. My Level 3 attempt was to be on a 6000NS Kosdon M1130. The rocket weighs just 14 pounds before the motor (about 10 pounds) is loaded.

It was a breeze to load the rocket onto the Pro-Rail and elevate it to launch position. TAP inspection is complete, we're ready to go! Carbon Black, on its way to just under the 20,000 feet MSL waiver.

The flight was incredible. The weather was perfect. Blue skies, no wind, great visibility. I lost it (me and my bad eyesight), but others tracked it all the way to apogee. Then the bad news. No main deployment, it was falling in a flat spin. It continued all the way down and impacted a few miles downrange. Later inspection showed that the charges fired, they just weren't large enough. The charges were ground tested, my guess is something got kinked or tightly packed under the G-forces of the flight. I was fortunate it came in on a flat spin rather than ballistic. Damage was relatively minor, considering. The worst part was it chose to crash the motor end on the only rock within a hundred yards and dent the borrowed motor case (see picture). Oh well...

Carbon black will be rebuilt and fly again in Black Rock this september.

The recovery of Carbon Black put us on a nearby hillside, a perfect vantage point to watch Pat Floyd's level 3 rocket launch on a 3" L for a test flight. Flight was great, but the main chute got tangled up in the Nomex heat shield and some damage was done to the airframe. Its all repairable and Pat will be doing his level 3 flight in September in Black Rock, as planned.

Day 3 brought the most noteable flight of the weekend. Kimberly Harms' Community Seven. A 11.4 inch airframe flying on a central 4" Aerotech M2500 Blue Thunder, airstarting 3 K700's and 3 K185's. The flight was awesome. The writeup and pictures are still being composed, and will be posted to Northwest Rocketry. Check there in the projects section for the FAQ on C7.

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