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Bunnell Blast 2006

The Northeast Florida Association of Rocketry hosted "Bunnell Blast 2006" last weekend, November 11 and 12. The two-day rocket launch featured beautiful weather and several M-motor launches.

Saturday morning began with blue sky, cool temperature, and no wind.

Jolly Roger under Blue Skies

One of the first launches was my "Jolly Roger." Rebuilt after it's fateful first flight, the rocket performed worse this time. Apparently the weight I had originally added was necessary to make it stable. After a few loops, the Jolly Roger crashed into the ground ending up in several pieces.

Jolly Roger After Flight

Don't worry ... it looks bad, but I'll repair him and he'll fly again.

My next launch was much more successful. I launched my "Mustang Sally" (EZI-65) on an I200W motor. It was my first I motor launch. The rocket carried my "Upscale Cineroc" payload with a video camera.

Self-Portrait with Mustang Sally

The flight was perfect and the video is spectacular. Click the thumbnail below to watch the video.

Onboard Video

One of the next flights was Brian Coyle's successful Level 2 Certification. I had my camera set up on a tripod behind his rocket with a remote control and was able to catch a "reverse angle" image of his rocket's launch.

Brian's Level 2 Flight

Several large M-motor rockets were launched including the Blue Max.

Blue Max Lift-Off

Although we had planned to retire it a few months ago and build a new version, Bracha and I launched our Akavish on a G38 motor. The rocket's showing it's age but still performs well.


Here's a nice shot of one of several M motor launches, Bob Backlinie's "Son Of Rocket Monster" on an M1850:

Bob Backlinie's Son Of Rocket Monster

And another big rocket ....

Away Cell Launch

Bracha wanted to see the Akavish fly higher. So I put an H180 motor in it. I expected the rocket to shred with spider parts falling from the sky, but it actually flew well. It went straight up on a bright white flame then arced over. The spider's head popped off, but the parachute didn't deploy. Later we discovered that the ejection charge had melted the parachute's shroud lines. So once again, Akavish experienced a successful "bounce recovery." [Watch a Video of the Flight]

Akavish on an H180 Motor

One of the more unusual rockets launched Saturday was this water bottle-based one:

Water Bottle Rocket

Steve Pollak's upscale Orbital Transport made another impressive flight. The orbiter got hung up in the recovery harness for a little bit, but otherwise the flight went well.

Orbital Transport

Bernie Lalime launched his Estes Scissor-Wing Transport a few times.

Scissor-Wing Transport

We continued to launch as the sun set.

Dusk Launch

Marc Slabbinck closed the day in dramatic fashion with a launch of his "Double Standard" using a Skidmark "sparky" motor.


Sunday morning started out a little windy, but it calmed down and turned out to be another excellent day for launching rockets. I began the day with a launch of my Estes Shadow clone on an F20 motor.

Shadow Launch

Right after that, I loaded an Aerotech G38-7FJ single use motor into the Shadow. At ignition, the ejection charge fired then a large flame shot out of the top of the motor. The inside of the rocket was charred badly and the heat caused the epoxy holding on the fins to soften.

Did anyone bring marshmallows?

Here's what the motor looked like after the "flight":

G38 Failure

Steve Pollak launched a large shuttle on a K550 motor. The first few seconds of the flight looked good then a fin apparently came off and the rocket broke up.

Steve's Shuttle

My wife won an expertly-crafted two-stage model rocket in the club raffle. I discovered that it was designed for a D12 and E9 motor combination. I added a small parachute and launched it on a D12 and E9. The flight was really pretty, but the nose cone and 'chute separated and apparently drifted off. The sustainer nose-dived, making a loud whistle, then performed a core sample. I cut off the damaged section of body tube and replaced the nosecone and parachute and tried launching it again. This time the second stage failed to ignite and fell to the ground unharmed. So I quickly replaced the D12-0 booster motor and launched it again. This time the second stage ignited and the rocket sailed out of sight. But the small silver mylar parachute was easy to spot and I saw it land in the far corner of our launch site.

Two-Stage Lift-Off

Bunnell Blast 2006 lived up to its name. It really was a blast. We had more M motor launches in one day than had been launched at all previous NEFAR launches. Thanks to all the wonderful people who support NEFAR!

I've created a seven-minute video with highlights from Bunnell Blast 2006. Click on the icon below to view the video (or "right-click" and choose "Save Target As..." to save a copy to your computer):

The above video is large download - about 25 MB. Those with slower connections may prefer the lower-quality version at:


Additional photographs and videos are in the Bunnell Blast 2006 Gallery.

[Posted: 2006-11-13 | Updated: 2006-12-14]

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