Thursday, June 30, 2022

Launch Date: June 27th, 2022

 A large, empty, well-manicured soccer field complex. Clear skies.  Little wind. A group of rocket nerds. And a bunch of rockets.

What more could an old BAR ask for?

Yep, once again it was time for another Dove Valley launch.

Dave Bauer and I were the first on the scene around 10:30 a.m., only to discover that about one-third of the normally deserted field was given over to kids' soccer practice.

I walked down on the field and found one of the coaches who told me they would be there until noon. I observed that there was still plenty of rocket flying room a safe distance away from the soccer activity.

While Dave stayed at his car to prep some birds, I hauled my gear to the field and began setting up. 

Wishing to get the two boost gliders I had brought along flown before any significant wind picked up, I started off trimming and prepping them.

Jim Gazur rolled in about the time I sent the newly repaired Wasp B/G aloft on a 1/2A6-2.

The model boosted nicely, separated, and immediately went into a tight, spiraling descent. Even though the model had glided well on several pre-flight hand throws, it did not do well on powered flight. No damage, though, and everything was recovered OK.  

This was followed immediately by the Mini Maggot 3 B/G for its 6th flight. 

Boosting on a 1/2A3-2T, the bird flew straight up, separated, and settled into its signature tight right- hand glide. The cel phone video I took of the flight showed a flight duration of 36 seconds.  Unusual, because this bird usually glides for twice that amount.

About this time, Jim Gazur had his Min-Dart 2 Discus Launch glider RC-rocket-conversion ready to go on the pad. 

Flying on a Quest C6-3, the model boosted in a severe inside looping flight, which didn't allow Jim to gain RC control.

After a few trim adjustments, Jim tried a second attempt with the same results.  He believes the problem may lie with the camber setting of the full wing flaps.  

Unfortunately, I did not obtain a flight picture with this one as I was launching the bird while Jim manned the RC controller, but here is a pre-flight look:

My third flight of the day went to a Quest Nike K.  Being a relative heavier model with plastic parts, I opted to use a C5-3 motor.  This was the ideal choice as the model turned in a picture perfect flight.

At this point, Dave Bauer had made his way to the field with his prepped models.

Since a little wind had started picking up and shifting direction, we decided to gather up our operation and relocate to the northeast corner of the field.  
This would afford us plenty of downwind recovery area.

Dave's first model off the pad was a Photon Disruptor flying on B6-4 power.
The bird turned a great flight, disrupting lots of photons on its way up, no doubt!

By now, Brock Wood had shown up on the field, so we were ready to carry on with four rocketeers.

Jim Gazur's next model to fly was his plastic conversion 1:35 scale V2 from Spacemonkey. This model had been damaged at a previous launch by an Aerotech D21 CATO.
Today, the model turned in a spectacular flight on a new Aerotech/Quest Q-jet E26-4W.


I'm not entirely certain, but I believe this may be Dave Bauer's tube rocket:

Boosting very nicely, the model ejected the parachute, but it was a para-wad return.  Surprisingly, the model exhibited a bit of glide characteristics on its descent to terra firma!

The next model out of my tote was the Steampunk Protostar for its long-awaited maiden flight.

Boosting on D12-3 power, the bird turned in a beautiful flight and recovery. The Protostar did receive its first battle damage, however.  Even though it floated down under a fully deployed parachute, a fin pod popped off on landing.  Easy repair.

Dave brought along a beautiful futuristic model call the Sirus Cestrus:

The bird turned in a spectacular flight on D12-3 power, however.... parachute deployment !  
Here is a shot of the model a split second before it attempted to enter a region of 
extremely high mass to volume:

Dave says that the shock cord is salvageable....

Next up on my flying agenda was the Skeeter Eeter 3 upscale Mosquito.  The bright orange model turned in a perfect high flight on C11-5 power.

About this time, we were approached by a gentleman and his two small sons, all carrying model rockets!  We welcomed them to join us and learned that their names are Michael, Dylan, and Owen Nelson. Michael told us that they frequent Dove Valley to fly their models. Once all introductions had been made, the newcomers settled down to assemble launch pads and ready some rockets:

The next rocket to be launched belonged to Brock Wood, for his first flight of the day. This is the "Monstrosity" cluster model:

The bird made a great flight on three A8-3 motors.  It was recovered by a three-parachute system, two of which deployed.

Next, Dave Bauer brought out the big guns. This was his Sunward Pyramid powered by a G53 motor.  The unusual model roared off the pad and headed into the Colorado blue atop a column of black smoke.

Successful parachute deployment capped off a magnificent flight!

Since the wind had picked up, I decided to go with lower power flights, so out came the Satellite Interceptor clone.

The model turned in a beautiful flight, though one lower fin broke off when the model landed on the Dove Valley turf.  Again, another easy repair.

Soon after, Brock had his second model ready to go aloft. This was his Custom Rocket Co. Sport CHAD 2-stager:

Flying on a B6-0/A8-5 motor combo, the bird turned in a great run.  It was recovered by young Dylan Nelson, shown here:

Shortly after, Dylan and Owen were seen busy prepping a brightly painted ESAM-58 for launch:

And, liftoff...for a perfect flight on C6-5 power!

Next in line, Dave had another interesting model on the pad and ready to go:

This is an SU-47 Fighter flying on a D12-5 motor.  The model turned in a very impressive, successful flight.

The Nelson family was soon back in the action with a fine Estes Mean Machine.  A bit of difficulty was encountered due to the wind... the mode kept blowing over on the pad!

Dave stepped in and offered to hold onto the model until very close to launch time.  

This didn't work:

Yikes !! Don't push that launch button !!!"

Other participants' launchers were tried, but none were bottom-heavy enough to keep the model upright in the wind.  Ultimately, the flight was scrubbed.

My final flight of the day went to the Mark II Rock-A-Chute clone.  This would be the bird's 10th flight.

The veteran bird turned in a great flight on an A10-3T motor, recovering successfully on its red square parachute.

Next, Brock had his final flight prepped and ready.  This is a Quest Q-EZ Payloader kit which Brock had obtained with a missing fin can half.  He calls the model the 'Salvage Payloader'.

Anyway, the model flew great on a B6-4 motor. 

The final flight of today's Dove Valley launch was made by the Nelson family's Estes Vapor.  Flying on an E12-6 motor the model boosted nicely and soared very high before deploying its parachute. 

With the prevailing wind, however, the model drifted well out of the perimeter of the park.

Michael gave chase but, sadly, returned empty handed. The model went un-recovered.

One last pic:

Brock Wood had laid his camera under my launcher pointing up at the Steampunk Protostar prior to its flight.  Strangely, this photo immediately brought to mind the old Pink Floyd tune - 

"Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun"

All in all, it was a very enjoyable day of model rocket flying at Dove Valley.  If my count is correct there were 21 flights put up by the participants. 

And, we've added some new folks to our 'Band of Merrie Rocketry Men'.  Michael has indicated that he and the boys would like to come to the next one.

Stay tuned.....


  1. Great looking flights!!!!! - Paul W

  2. Awesome blog, as always, Ed! The Protostar is so detailed and beautiful!

  3. Nice report. I haven't given flying much thought lately, although my wife keeps trying to talk me into attending club launches. B6-4 Field is in the midst of the baseball/softball seasons, so flying up there hasn't been an option. Guess I'll just spend my weekends in the pool. ;-)