XPRS 2006

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The below photos were taken at Black Rock, Nevada during the AEROPAC XPRS launch event, Sept. 21st through Sept. 25th.

To see a higher resolution image of the picture, click on it.

Getting my rocket ready

Right side Top Bottom Left side Ready to go...

The rocket is a PML Endeavour that I named "DragonFire" for obvious reasons. Much thanks to my lovely wife for her fantastic paint job.

Arriving at Black Rock

<== Our Campsite  
Looking back at the camp from about a mile north. Looking west Looking north

 The Black Rock Desert is one of the largest flat areas on Earth. The flatness is due to it being a dried out lake bed. It's a great place to launch rockets. The open flat terrain makes finding the rockets much easier.

Apologies to our fellow campers. We arrived about 1 AM Friday morning. The bump-out sleeping unit on the side of our camper would not deploy. It took a lot of banging to free it. If that was not enough to wake everybody, the smoke alarm was. The camper was brand new. The furnace never used before. So when we turned it on, the pain on it started smoking, which set off the smoke detector. We finally aired out the camper and went to bead about 2:30.

The Level 1 Certification Launch

Grant is ready to launch I'm ready too So is Allen Jeff is just about ready
<== Let's

Five of us made this trip to obtain out Level 1 and Level 2 High Power Rocketry certifications. The above shows four of us about to launch for our L1 certification. We flew H242 and I300 motors. Ron had some epoxy curing and launched later in the afternoon. Unfortunately, I was too busy chasing rockets to get some good action pictures.

The Level 2 Certification Launch

I'm ready to launch So is Allen Jeff & Ron too Another successful launch & recovery Allen and I visit Peter for inspection and our Level 2 sign-off

Our Level 2 certification launches went perfectly. We flew a mixture of J275 and J460 motors. The average apogee was about 4700 feet, so we set our next goal to put our rockets up over a mile high.

My Mile High Launch & Stress Test

Ready to launch for a mile of altitude Waving goodbye to DragonFire. She is about to attempt a Mach 0.88 stress test. Unmodified Endeavours are not recommended to be flown at that speed.

I used a J415 to obtain a mile of altitude. (RockSim said that it went up 6200 feet.)

I then had the urge to test my workmanship. So, I flew DragonFire with a J540. RockSim simulated this flight reaching Mach .88. I'm not sure it reached that speed though. I had a hairline crack on a fin that I patched with epoxy. The fin patch made DragonFire corkscrew on tale-off. It was an ugly take-off, but DragonFire survived without additional damage.

We modified Ron's Endeavour for super-sonic flight. We laminated an extra layer of G10 on both sides of each fin, used the G10 lamination to bridge the front and back fin set, increased the fin filet size, and inserted a coupler tube inside the payload section to strengthen it. RockSim simulated it at Mach 1.14. As the rocket took-off it emitted a loud whistle due to the notch in the fins. (The G10 laminations we added stopped 3/4" from the fin edge, so the remaining notch between the front and back fin set caused the whistle. It was a great flight and a normal recovery, but I didn't get any pictures. :^(


Allen's rocket was zippered on his mile high flight. Our other rockets survived with just little scratches and dings. This rocket was not so lucky. We found it about a mile north of the launch pad.