Summer Skies 2015 - July 24-26, 2016 (Brothers, OR)

This was a fun weekend in the sage, though the launch was lightly attended due to people still feeling pretty burned out from NXRS, we thought.

I left Portland on Friday evening, stopped for dinner/fuel along the way, and pulled into Brothers around 10:30 PM. Easy drive after hitting a bit of traffic going out of Portland. Within 10 minutes of my arrival, Tim Ryerse, Stan Speegle, and Jacob Braibish all pulled into Brothers as well. The flightline was pretty quiet, although there was still activity over at the Robert/Joe/Tim camp, so we all chatted there for a bit until 11:30 or so.

Headed back to my truck and made a “makeshift” camp for the night and turned the lights out right around midnight. Next morning I awoke, set up camp, had breakfast, and walked the flightline. I think Jim Doherty from Sisters flew more rockets than any of us combined on Saturday morning. Called in a high window for Rob Lamb’s M840 flight, which flight rocked! We think we did a good job with getting his nephew Charlie hooked on high power. ;)

Later that morning I built the motor and prepped my 75mm MD rocket, aka “Power Line Seeker” after its last recovery, for the 5th flight of the airframe, 3rd flight in this configuration. Motor was a 5-grain CTI M1810 Red Lightning, expected altitude 22K-23K. I set up my tower on the hill, called in another high window, and David Birch gave me my wireless GSE “kit.”

Getting this thing in the air was a PITA thanks to some igniter problems, though the club’s wireless controller worked as planned. On the 3rd attempt I finally heard the igniter fire and the motor took a few seconds to come up to pressure, but when it did, it got moving in a hurry! The red flame looked about as long as the rocket.

I got 1 or 2 GPS packets from the BRB900 at apogee, but then nothing else after that, which wasn’t reassuring. About 30 seconds of silence later, I get one more update on the receiver before we hear a “thud” in the distance, N – NE of the flightline. Crap...I then headed out to the last coordinate from the BRB and hiked around there for a while, finding nothing. I also wasn’t getting new coordinates at that time, which seemed pretty definitive that I came in ballistic as I had thought.

I drove back to camp for a water and lunch break before going on another search. I spent about 4 hours that afternoon/evening looking around that last waypoint (in the direction we heard the impact) with no luck. I even brought a shovel and dug around in a few holes that were about the size of my rocket...still nothing. Called off the search around 8:30 PM, as the sun was setting and the temperature was dropping quickly.

Had dinner and cleaned up camp a bit before joining the small contingent around the campfire that night. I once again headed to bed around midnight as things were shutting down for the evening.

Sunday morning came and I had planned to fly my new 54mm Madcow Tomach on a K motor, but the rocket was in a fairly low state of “readiness” PLUS I was still on-edge from my previous flight, so I bagged that effort until next month. Packed up camp and was ready to go around 1:00 PM-ish. Last up Sunday were some nice flights by Gary Harris and Paul Bogdanich, who both made a brief appearance for the day. Gary flew his 2-stage for a near-perfect flight, and Paul flew his AIM-54 Phoenix on a K motor.

On my way out, I did 1 final search of the area with no luck. Pulled out onto the highway around 2:30 PM and again stopped for fuel and dinner on the way back.

Still looking for a red Max Q aluminum fin can sticking out of the ground somewhere...