|My V2 Rocket lifting off at Plaster Blaster XI|
|USG - Gypsum processing plant|
Only on this particular weekend, Plaster City was over-run by Rocketeers. Young and old, experienced and rookies, all had one thing in mind: blast stuff into the air!
I had spent a couple of weeks building an Estes V2 rocket in the garage, inspired by my friend Robert Slavey who brought his wife's V2 to a recent Boy Scout Troop meeting. I had to have one. The next day I went to Hobby Town in Kearny Mesa and bought the kit and all the fixin's (paint, glue, big engines, etc.). I really wanted to paint the rocket silver and red...
The final night or two before Plaster Blaster I finished adding the fins to the fuselage - not easy to get them arranged at 90-degree angles to one another. The parachute was affixed and the shock cord tied off. Then, painting and sanding and re-painting. It was starting to look like a real (and bad-ass) rocket!
In the meantime, Ethan had a pre-built "Alpha III" Estes starter kit that required about an hour to build. He was feeling a bit under the weather so I built it while in-between stages on the V2. Soon, we had TWO rockets to fly!
Saturday morning came. We were to meet up with the rest of the Troop at our normal place, Hilltop Community Park in Rancho Penasquitos at 6:30am. Wicked early, but realistic for getting out and set up with a 10am rocket blast starting time. I awoke Ethan in plenty of time, but he was sick - not deathly so, but enough that a weekend in the cold, dusty desert was not going to do him any good. Sadly I left him and met the others.
|The Flight Line - Twilight|
I was nervous about launching my rocket into the air - the balsa wood fins and cardboard fuselage just didn't seem up to the task of an explosive launch and descent from hundreds or thousands of feet. I took my time doing the final preparations. At the same time, the guy next to me was prepping his 12' fiberglass rocket, taping telemetry, transponder, and cameras to the machine before his epic launch. I later found out he was gunning for his Level 3 Certification and his rocket blasted to over 13,900 feet—whoa!
|Launch control, but you supply the countdown!|
|The V2 streaks.|
My first launch, I'll admit, was epic! Very straight going up (see 90-degree fin note above!) and a sweet landing in the middle of the dirt road snaking through the camp. I asked the RPO ("Range Patrol Officer") to actually push the launch button because I wanted to take the pictures you see in this post.
|Alpha III on the pad.|
I also shot Ethan's "Monster Energy Drink" rocket up a few times to make sure it worked - LOL!
|Ethan's rocket, landed.|
|Slavey walking to the launch pad with mid-range rocket.|
|Preparing his mid-range rocket for take-off.|
|Mr. Slavey's Recovery Team!|
|Picture of USG plant.|
|Slavey's V2, redux.|
|The "Walk of Shame" after Slavey's V2 rocket broke up in mid-air.|
|Can you tell I'm having fun!|