As the weather came up favorable HARA pulled off two back to back monthly launches in both October and November skies to start the fall flying season. Both launches tested the new wireless control system, which apart from new operator familiarization, worked great. The first launch had 51 total flights of all sorts of motors as is typical of the HARA family and friends. The Geezer TARC contest brought out 4 competitors. Duane won with a new record score of ‘5’, followed by Bill with 166, Doug with 724, and Vince getting the flying pig trophy with 803, a new record bad for Geezer.
The November launch was a true high power day that had 46 flights with only 4 non HPR models lofted. It was a chilly day in Woodville and the cloudless sky favored the big motors. Many flyers came from surrounding states to certify at new levels or practice with their student team rockets, or both. They flew right up to sunset when the waiver expired and the range crew hustled to get the trailer packed before dark. Will the weather in December hold out for a third in a row scheduled launch and the Trash Panda Contest? Watch this page.
The HARA trailer has been cleaned out and all the range equipment inspected and restored for the first launch of the season on October 9. Officers and members spent a day checking clips, derusting blast plates and sorting cabling. The big test will be of the new club built wireless firing system for the distant high power pads.
The best picture of a rocket is the moment of liftoff. The second best is a nice static pose after the decals are on and before it’s worn by flight. That’s what’s here of various finished kits. Can you match the name with the model? Arcon Hi, Astro-1, Avenger, Honest John, Outlander, Photon Disrupter, Protostar, Red Shift and Skonk Wulf.
It was a foggy morning June 12 when the launch began but the ten finalist teams from Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee attended and made all twenty allowable flights. When all the scores were tallied nationally Russellville High School Team One from Russellville, Alabama came in fifth and won $8500. Tharptown High School, also from Russellville, made ninth. Alabama was the only state besides California to have two teams finish in the top ten. Hosted by the Birmingham Rocket Boys NAR section and led by President Ronald Dunn plenty of volunteers were on hand to set up, run the range and score the flights. It was an admirable performance by NAR to complete the TARC program for the pandemic year by spreading the finals out to ten regional fields. HARA was represented by Vince, Bill and Duane, who had fun with various timing and scoring duties. No eggs were broken by the teams, but two flights ejected the motors and unfortunately had to be disqualified.
Here are the finals scores of the schools at the Birmingham launch.
Tharptown High School T1, Russellville
Lincoln High School, Lincoln
Russellville High School T1, Russellville
Russellville High School T2, Russellville
Winfield City High School, Winfield
Hewitt-Trussville High School, Trussville
Hackleburg High School, Hackleburg
Other Alabama teams selected as alternates are:
Tharptown High School T2, Russellville
Civil Air Patrol – Redstone Composite Squadron, Huntsville
St. John Paul II C.H.S., Huntsville
The cutoff score for making the top 100 this year was 37.06, which is respectable considering the contagion circumstances. It was 36 in 2019, the last “normal” year. There were 615 teams in TARC-2021 and although many of them were never able to get together, build, and fly due to COVID, TARC still ended up with 282 teams submitting qual flight scores.
Rather than have the finals with all 100 teams in Virginia as usual, the finals will be broken down to eleven regional sites with fewer teams present on each field. The Birmingham Rocket Boys NAR Section will host TARC June 12. The results from those flights will be sent to TARC headquarters which will compile the scores and announce the winners at the TARC 2021 Awards ceremony (online) on June 28.
Congratulations to these teams for their success and the opportunity to represent the state. Russellville High won first place in TARC in 2015.
The frustration of having to cancel or slip launch dates due to bad weather or muddy field conditions prompted the officers to move the March launch up a week from the 13th to the sixth to match a favorable forecast. The decision allowed the club to be out on the Butler Mill field for a beautiful day of flying; clear sky, mild temps and moderate wind. HARA had a diverse manifest with certs and college team flights, novel mid power rockets, a shuttle glider, a high-power 2 stage, and a high power drag race that was more eventful than planned.
The autumn colors of red, orange and yellow decorated the trees in the mountains of north Alabama but also the flames of the rockets flying at the monthly HARA launch. After being rained out in October and waiting since March for the field to be cleared the club was out in full force to launch into a mild calm November sky. The pads were particularly busy with HP certification flights. The crowd was present when the waiver opened at 10 am and was solid until sunset.
On July 16, 2019, the rocket center attempted to launch 5,000 model rockets in an effort to set the record as part of a week-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. More than a year later, it’s official. Guinness certified that 4,923 rockets fired and reached at least 100 feet in altitude – a requirement for the record. No reason was given why it took a year to announce the record, the paperwork was filed with the numbers a few days after the launch. The previous Guinness World Record of 4,231 model rockets were launched at Teylingen College during a European Space Science Convention in the Netherlands, in the summer of 2018.
An army of volunteers assisted rocket center staff in the rocket launch preparation, with 178 volunteers working 696 hours over 13 sessions to build the rockets. Twenty volunteers worked 75 hours to build the wood frames on which the rockets were placed. see last year’s post http://hararocketry.org/hara/witness-the-spectacle/
It takes a lot of faith to load up rockets on a morning when it’s sprinkling rain. Then more faith after you arrive at the field to sit in the car to wait for the shower to pass at noon. But when you finally squish your way out to the pad and the motor exhaust smoke from your flight just hangs over the rack because there’s no wind you’re glad you made the trip. HARA got out on ‘pi’ day (3.14) and enjoyed a mild winter afternoon after two months of denial due to floods.
The motor count for Saturday taken from the flight cards shows most of the thirty flights were high power.
HARA was invited by the Space and Rocket Center to host a display on MLK day. Six members spent the holiday showing off rockets and talking about launching to the guests, many who were families touring the facility. Kids really like seeing the small models and everyone is impressed with the large ones asking, “do those really fly?” In clear skies, yes.