So I would like to describe the weekend rocket launch that my family and I attended this weekend. It was named Desert Heat 2011 and was put on by the SARA Rocketry club in Tuscon AZ. To start 430 am saturday morning came early, but the excitement was enough to get these old bones up and moving. The car was slamed packed with everything we needed for the weekend. The kids didn't put up too much of a fight during the wake up process, even my 14 yr old showed signs of eagerness. We were on the road at 5:15 am, at this early time of morning there is no traffic ( everyone with any sense is still sleeping) so the drive was easy and quick. Only one bathroom stop was required from all.
We stopped for a bite to eat and was off to the launch. The launch site is only 10 miles off the I-10 from exit 242. When we arrived the friends that we planned to see with Arizona Rocketry Team, were already well on their way in the assembly of their 20 ft SCUD rocket. I jumped right in and watched the group work together. You could tell that they have worked together before.
Saturday morning they began to put the parts together, as many of you know this may take most of the day. These guys work well together and they had it ready by 100 pm. There were 4 pieces to the rocket and they were all under chute. I asked if they needed any help, and the answer was Yes. So, I along with the other members of the team walked the 20 ft rockket out to the 1600 ft launch pad that had been constructed the day earlier. The SCUD flew on a center motor of M1315 and 4 K700 outboard motors. It had a grate liftoff and flight, but ended up a dumpster recovery. That project is now being retired and new endeavors are on it's way.
This event had the proper promotion. As with all rocket events Jack form Whats up Hobbies was in the mix. His trailor was full of both new and old fylers, all looking for something to purchase. There were food vendors also, so all the bases were covered.
I'm not sure of the numbers, but if I had to guess I would guess around 350 rockets were flown on saturday. One disadvantage to this launch is the way you need to go through the RSO then wait in line, then set your rocket on a pad, then wait till they get to your rocket. I personally like the, "set up the rocket on your own launch pad and push your own button" concept. This is mainly because I feel this lends itself to a more personal feeling. This also gets people to design their own launch systems. This may be either a good or bad thing. As with all sports, there is always more to learn in this sport.
After a full day of looking up to the blue sky the crew closed the range down and we all ate dinner. After dinner the range reopened for the much anticipated night launch, always a blast. Here again over 50 night rockets were flown into the night sky. After that we had much fun and rocket convesation around the campfire, and then to bed in our tent to start all over on Sunday morning.
Next we will be off to the Maricopa County Fair the second week in April.
Stay safe and fly high!