Up, Up and Away!

L to R: VK-7, Ceres-B, Crossfire, Hebe

The Edmonton Rocketry Club was back in Calmar on July 30. So was I, with four rockets ready to go! The Crossfire from Estes had already flown three times previously, and was included as a spare. The scratchbuilt Hebe had previously flown twice, suffering water-damage on that second landing. I transplanted part of another rocket into the mid-section to attempt one more flight. The VK-7 from Rocketarium and the scratchbuilt Ceres-B were ready for their first flights.

Hebe Flies Again !

Hebe was the first rocket launched that day. It was powered by a “C” motor this time, and launched with a vengeance. The projected altitude was 1231 feet, but it went so fast and was so small, that I never saw it again!

A great success, but also my first offering to the rocket gods…

Next up was the VK-7, my first rocket to use a cluster of two “C” motors. The trick is to get them both to ignite at the same time, or else things can go awry very quickly.

The crowd was warned that this was a “heads up” launch, meaning be ready to dive for cover! To my great relief, the motors ignited perfectly and the VK-7 rose majestically into the sky, easily reaching the projected altitude of 633 feet (over 1000 feet, IMHO) and making a perfect landing.

All of my previous model rockets flew on motors that were 18-mm in diameter. The Ceres-B was my first experience with a 24-mm motor, in this case a “D”. It easily reached its projected altitude of 1017 feet, had a perfect parachute deployment, but caught the wind and was last seen drifting south. I searched for about an hour but never found it. My fault — I should have used a smaller parachute, but instead … my second offering to the rocket gods!

Before you start feeling sorry for me, let me just say this was my best rocket launching ever! In 1964, I was a student member of the Rocket Research Institute and launched an amateur rocket to an altitude of about 1000 feet. We didn’t use parachutes back then, so we didn’t recover our rockets either. My immediate goal as a “born-again rocketeer” was to break the 1000 foot altitude, and this time around at least two (maybe three) of my rockets did that. Yes, it was a perfect day!

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