Millican, Oregon - October 1999


Millican is usually a good place to fly, and the weather forecasts were looking good, so I was excited. As my brother, my 2 year old son, and I pulled up to the launch site, the first thing we noticed was the wind. There was quite a bit. As we unloaded the truck and set up the insta-shade, we hoped the wind was only temporary, and would die down. There were a few high clowds, and besides the wind, the flying conditions were great.

I had several rockets ready to fly including the Triad (with 3 I-284's), my USR Sonic, and my Hawk Mountain Raptor. I decided to fly the Sonic first, and just needed a motor. I chose a Kosdon K350, built it out, and installed it in the rocket. After paying my range fee's, I brought the rocket out to the pad, set it up, and armed the altimiter. I waited the usual 5 seconds for the Olsen M2 to power up and beep, but heard nothing. With a sigh, I pulled the rocket off the pad and took it back to my table to investigate. After opening it up, I found it had a dead battery. I had actually prepped the altimiter a few weeks earlier for a launch at Monroe, but didnt fly it. Letting it sit that long wasnt a good idea.

Checking out the silent altimeter in the Sonic.
After replacing the battery, I hooked everything back up, and brought it out to the range again. Back on the pad, beeps from the altimiter, and a beep from the pad continuity check, I was ready to let 'er rip! On the 1400NS motor, the Sonic sim'd to approx. 9000 feet. It would be a great flight.

My turn came up, the LCO called out the flight and hit the button. Nothing. Grr. Several other rockets on the same rack had also misfired, so I suspected a possible problem with the range equipment. However, once I got to the pad and extracted the magnalite igniter, I saw that the bridge wire had heated up and burnt through, but the pyrogen had not lit. Strange.

(Side Note: I tried another magnalite on the launch system later, and had the same problem. However, I was able to set off 2 other magnalite's from the same batch without a problem using a 9 volt battery! I suspect there was some sort of low voltage situation with the launch equipment, or something.)

Great liftoff!
After a quick trip back to the table and a new 'John Lyngdal special' igniter, I was ready to try again. My turn came, the LCO hit the button, and WHOOSH, up she went! The K350 was a great choice for the small airframe. It had a moderate liftoff, then just accelerated and accelerated. After burnout it coasted quite a ways, beyond my (poor) eyesite, and I couldnt find it in the binoculars. A few moments later, with the help of several others, I caught site of it, but then lost it again behind a truck. I new the approximate area it had landed, but the wind had carried it quite a ways northeast, over the freeway.

And for the rest of the day...
Unfortunately, the rest of the day was spent looking (unsuccessfully) for the rocket. We spent a couple hours driving around the area on dirt roads in my brother's truck. No luck. Then a few more hours on foot with about 5 others helping (Thanks Stu,Tim,Jessica,Kent,Brad, and everyone else who helped!), but no luck. We did find someone else's rocket, but not the Sonic. Grr.

There were quite a few other noteable flights that day, but I was off in the hills and only saw them from a distance.

If anyone is in the Millican area, and happens to find my rocket, please contact me. I am offering a $50 reward for its return. Its a 3" airframe, anti-zipper design, dual deployment rocket with a Kosdon 54mm motor sticking out the back, and an Olsen M2 Altimiter in the payload bay.

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