Wednesday, 28 May 2003 18:00

Pioneer 2003 Regional Meet

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contestsUROC/'s Pioneer Regional Meet has been held at Pony Express Test Range for over ten years. This year, it was held on Memorial Day weekend, apart from the monthly UROC Sport Launch (now scheduled for the third weekend of the month). Because of the separation, UROC participation was down from previous years. However, the CRASH section from Colorado showed up in sufficient numbers to allow us to have a regional. Their appearance was welcome as we would need a lot of their expertise running the contest.

Open Spot Landing
Steve Anderson chose the spot for OSL, and he placed it a lot closer than what CD Fred Williams would usually do. Considering the fickle wind at pony Express, it was not expected that many would get close. The director was proven wrong: All got within the 50-meter circle. In the singles division (A and C) Bruce Markielewski and Nathan Coit landed their rockets less than five meters from the pin. (Paging Tiger Woods?) Steve Anderson, UROC?s lone C divisioner, got third at 12.6 meters, and Ariana Williams? hit at 15 meters. In the team division, UROC ruled this event. Paranoid Androids attempt drifted away from the mark and landed 23.4 meters away. Dave&Dave?s luck was even worse with a no deploy and the only DQ of the event. Frank Hunt?s artillery experience helped the Bofus vehicle get within 9.9 meters. Randall Redd?s Horse landed a short 0.7 meters closer to the pin for Dizzy Dog. And the Deadeye Missiles lived up to their name by getting 7.7 meters and first place.


1/2A Parachute Duration
Bruce Markielewski quickly mastered the Pony Express thermals with his first round at 1/2A PD. The timers finally lost sight of the mylar chute heading straight up at 842 seconds. (Regrettably, no record!) Bruce then put up an assured-return 19 second flight to clinch the C-division event. Nathan Coit?s only PD attempt was a respectable 245 second returned flight. He would have had to have a 10-minute-plus duration the second flight to beat Bruce, but settled for second place with only the one flight. Mike Jarvis was the only B divisioner of the meet, and only had time to get in one flight. His model?s parachute failed to open, and the 14 second time was only good for third place against the C divisioners. Unfortunately for Steve Anderson, the Sep Monster showed up and DQ?d him out of the event. The teams didn?t do so well and were rattled by motor ejections, separations and non-deployments. The Dave&Dave team managed a reasonable two minute float on their second try (after a motor ejection on the first). That was more than good enough for a first-place in team. Deadeye Missiles and Paranoid Androids were only able to get minimal flights in, and Bofus fouled out with a motor ejection and a ballistic splat.

D Streamer Duration
With D12?s being the only certified motors, D Streamer was going to be less than the excitement that it would be with the Aerotech/Apogee D motors. Separations kept Steve Anderson and Nathan Coit from adding to their half-minute times. A-divisioner Ariana Williams had to show the two how it is done with a single 101-second flight. But it was Bruce Markielewski that had the most impressive streamer run at 278 seconds. Fred Williams called out ?I want all you UROCers to take note how it is done. You don?t get that kind of hang time with wimpy three-inch width streamers!? Bruce?s model was made of fiberglass, and the streamer was about a foot wide. The team competition was a lot closer. Only 7 seconds separated the top three results. Paranoid Androids topped out the three with a single 157 second duration. Team Bofus? Tyvek streamer put in two flights totaling 152 seconds, beating Dizzy Dog?s single flight with a window tint material streamer by two seconds. A separation of a streamer on Dave&Dave?s first launch kept the new team from CRASH out of the race, but were still able to score fourth place at 86 seconds. Deadeye Missiles still have a lot to learn considering that their small streamer only stayed up for 50 seconds.

C Boost Glider Duration
There was an interesting selection of gliders for C BG. Delties and Flat Cats proved popular. The two A divisioners had Edmunds Delties. Ariana took first with 58 seconds and Brian took second with 21 seconds. In C division, Nathan Coit got the best single glider duration of the contest at 93 seconds, and netted first place in the process. Bruce Markielewski?s model was a converted rocket glider. His first try was a tight spiral that only lasted 11 seconds. The second flight was better at 51 seconds but was good enough for second place. Steve Anderson?s Flat Cat stripped its pod on the first try, but did get in a 12 second duration for third place. For the teams, Dave&Dave had a close call when they lost the pod to their Deltie after a 49 second time. As often happens at rocket contests, another competitor returned the pod to the range table, so a second flight could be readied and flown. The two Daves racked up another 54 seconds and a first place for the event. Dizzy Dog took second place with a single flight. The timers lost sight of the Pinback glider after 69 seconds. The glider was returned with a bit of damage, and Fred was unable to get in a second flight with a prepped Manta. Deadeye Missiles? Flat Cat refused to glide the first try, but was reprepped and flown again for a 52 second time and third place. They beat Paranoid Androids? Deltie by only one second! Finally, Bofus had bad luck with their elliptical wing glider that wouldn?t. Their second attempt was with an Edmonds CiCi. The boost was fine and very quick, but unfortunately, the timers immediately lost sight of the small glider. Frank and Dot were able to get flight points, however.

C Egg Lofting Altitude
Running an altitude event is not easy. UROC was fortunate that the folks from CRASH have a lot of experience and were able to help out when our own set-up proved to be inadequate. The wind was also a bit of a problem, since it caused the rockets to arc towards the baseline. Despite that, there were no unclosed tracks with only a few track losts. The first track lost was due to the UROC trackers unable to have a full 360-degree rotation. Also of invaluable help was Todd Williams? laptop for data reduction. Siblings Ariana and Brian used the same type of Custom egg cap design with a rather large booster. They were both successful with Ariana?s model reaching 105 meters and Brian?s vehicle getting to 87 meters. Bruce Markielewski?s fiber glassing came into play again when his piston-assisted model reached a height of 224 meters. Nathan Coit also used a piston to good effect. His first attempt was lost to the mackerel skies, but the second flight was easily spotted at 191 meters. Steve Anderson brought up the rear for C division using a jumbo egg version of an OPUS that was better suited to duration. The larger diameter and problems with tip-off kept the OPUS down to about 100 meters for both tries. The team division race belonged to UROC. Fred Williams? minimum egg diameter OPUS put Dizzy Dog in second with 200 meters, and Dot/Frank Hunt?s NCR kit edged out first by another 7 meters. Dave&Dave had to fly four times to get a closed track and recovered egg from 168 meters. The fourth attempt to get past the UROC teams ended in failure when a snarled chute brought down their cholesterol canister a little too fast. Said Dave Tjarks,? the lesson learned is to never let your team mate pack the chute!? No comment was available from the other Dave? Paranoid Androids? first attempt had severe tip-off and created a bit of excitement for Track East with a nearby shell-cracking prang. Their second flight was successful, albeit an unimpressive 113 meters.


Future Fiction Sport Scale
Future/Fiction Sport Scale is a new event for the Pink Book. There has been a little confusion as to what would be a legit entry for this activity. Of note: FFSC is Jack Hagerty?s creation, and all but one entry were based on a subject from his Spaceship Handbook. In A division, the static point difference was five points. Ariana?s Transcontinental Transport edged out Brian?s Astroliner. The transport put in a good flight with no damage. But Brian wasn?t about to give up. His Astroliner got additional mission points for a three-motor cluster, giving Brian first place. For C division, Nathan Coit?s PanAm Space Clipper was an interesting attempt. The model put in a short but qualified flight. The big star of the event was Bruce Markielewski?s Herman Oberth Modell B. Not only was Bruce?s craftsmanship superb, but he also had a functioning internal stage (with folding fins), a booster clamshell nose and functioning booster fins that swung forward at staging! In the team division static judging, the Dizzy Dog Challenger 142 was clearly ahead. Randall Redd worked his magic with transitions and lead weight to make an impressive model that would fly on a single G. In a distant but competitive second was Dave&Dave?s nicely crafted LUNA 640. Third place was the somewhat simplified but cool Disney Ferry Rocket by Paranoid Androids. Finally, Frank Hunt just could not get his original model done in time, so Bofus had to settle with an RTF Enterprise. When it came to flying the models for teams, the situation would change. The Dizzy Dog Challenger 142 immediately tipped off the rod and went nearly vertical under boost. The lack of altitude was deadly: the heavy craft smashed into the ground, resulting in a DQ. All other team entries managed good flights, so the places shifted up for the Daves, Androids and Bofus.

When the points were added up, it was clear that CRASH went home big winners. Ariana and Brian Williams got the A/B Division trophies. Bruce Markielewski and Nathan Coit easily took the C Division championship and reserve respectively. and the team of Dave & Dave were the Team champions for Pioneer ?03. Team Bofus snagged the only trophy for UROC as the Reserve Team, but only barely ahead of the Paranoid Androids. (of interest: had Dizzy Dog?s FF Sport Scale not pranged, the results would have been quite different. It?s always fun to play ?what if??) We would like to thank Scott Danner for helping out. Scott brought out the UROC radios for tracking and lent a hand at every opportunity with timing, tracking and set-up. Also, we want to thank the CRASH folks for all they did to help out running this meet. Come back next year, will ya? We will plan on holding Pioneer ?04 in conjunction with the UROC sport launch so that more will be able to participate.

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