When I began planning my trip to NSL 2018 I watched the New York host town of Geneseo on the weather channel map get so much record snow that I wondered if it would all be melted by Memorial Day weekend. It was. The quaint village looked a lot like Manchester, TN, a comfortable verdant community with a field large enough to have a warbird landing strip.
It was nice to get a large launch fix particularly since there is none to be had with HARA this summer. It’s also great to go to a launch and not have set up and run the range. The MARS club had done all that and was well organized.
I was only there on Saturday but for all of the 10 am -5 pm day and made six flights with four rockets, all on Aerotech E15’s provided by Chris’s Rockets. Chris and I were the only Alabama representatives. In my traveling arrangements I could not accommodate any HPR, but I did take some fun birds. Marvin the Martian in the Michael’s birdhouse did not fly so straight this time but had the chute out before the RSO could blow the horn. The Phoenix had a bit of tip off for a scale ‘acquire and seek’ flight profile but flew much truer on the second flight. My Quest Minotaur looked impressive on the pad (#5 in the photo) and going up. I flew my Estes Silver Comet twice with a Jolly Logic chute release and was saved many steps in walking to recover it.
The NSL boasted it boosted over a thousand flights that weekend and the deserves credit for the success. I saw several big rockets go up and my favorite was the N3300R in the upscale Big Bertha shown in the photo while the owner is interviewed for ‘the rocket show’.
There was a situation presented at this launch that merits comment. The NSL did not have quarter inch launch rods; they only offered rails for mid power and above. If you showed up with rockets with a quarter inch lug, you were told to put on rail buttons. The claim is that rails are safer and don’t whip like rods do. Fair enough; they are a preferred practice. But it is not fair to dismiss models built over the last thirty years with lugs as suddenly unsafe and not accommodate them. There’s a lot of Aerotech, LOC and PML kits and rockets built with those parts that need not be retrofitted with rail buttons. I hope that ranges will continue to have a pad that can take a ¼” rod because there are still a lot of rockets that will need them.