Confessions of a Rocket Scientist
Thursday, July 15, 2004
  First Post - BFD
By way of introduction, my name is Bill Sullivan. I have been building and flying model rockets since age 13. I am currently 52. So just why does an otherwise sane middle-aged engineer spend so many afternoons burning holes in the sky? Why don't I do something more normal, like plopping myself in front of the tube with a beer in hand to watch a bunch of millionaires lose a ball game? Or why don't I invest about five grand in a set of golf clubs and pay about three hundred bucks a pop to chase a little white ball around the country club and curse at my obvious ineptitude? Beats me. All I can say is, I love the smell of burning propellent in the morning. It smells like...well, like rocket exhaust!

I am currently a member of the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) and the Philadelphia Area Rocketry Association (PARA) I try to get out for most of the summertime club launches.

I was recently sidelined for about two years when I found out I had colon cancer. I got treated successfully with chemo, radiation, and surgery. Just last week I managed to get out for my first launch since my surgery. What follows ia my flight report.

First flight was an Aerospace Specialties WAC Corporal flying on an Estes C11-3. As I discovered, this delay time was too short. The chute deployed while the rocket was still coasting upward. The shock cord separated at the mount. I managed to recover both the nose cone and the airframe.

Second flight was my homebrew design, a cluster of four mini-motors I call Cheap Thrills. I flew it on four A4-6T's. I had successful ignition of all four motors. Chute deployed at apogee and the bird drifted down close to the pad. Good flight.

My third flight was another cluster, this time a Custom Rockets Landviper flying on 3 Estes C6-7's. Again, I had successful ignition of all three motors and a successful recovery. THis time it drifted past the crest of a hill and landed in the low corn. Next month this corn will be a lot taller. I had best invest in a beeper or two.

Fourth and final flight was the maiden launch of my LOC Viper III which I have finished in a patriotic motif (red and blue with white stars). This one has been cristened Betsy Ross by my Dear Wife (who tolerates my rocketry hobby). I flew it on a cluster of three Estes E9-8's. I got more than a few worried looks from the RSO about the long delay time, but he relented and let me load her up. All three motors ignited and Betsy Ross leaped off the pad. Hey, a cluster of three E's is a sight to behold, full of fire and smoke. It flew high and deployed the chutes just as it was arcing over. I got a lot of applause from that flight.

That was my last flight. I had two more birds prepped including another cluster, but I must save these for next month. I will probably prep Betsy Ross for another flight, but I really want to fly her sister, A LOC IV that I call Liberty Belle. This one is prepped with two E9-8's and two D12-0's. This flight should be awesome!

Ad Astra!
Hi Bill! *knocks bottle on side of new weblog*

Congrats and all the best on the new weblog!

Love, your baby sister, Mags :-)
Intresting personality. Why don't you write more about your model rockets and post pictures about it. I would like to read more about it ;)
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The continuing story of a man, his hobby, and the search for a really good cup of coffee.

"The first cup of coffee in the morning recapitulates Phylogeny." -J. Pournelle

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Location: Quakertown, Pennsylvania, United States

Two time cancer survivor, happily married, LaSalle Alumnus

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