The time came to launch my Blackhawk for a level one certification.
I was originally going to launch at ARG, but with a waiver issue they had to cancel the launch and I went to SARA. This is the same place I launched my Spitfire, so I was familiar with the layout and the crowd.
The day or two before I did have some issues prepping the rocket, this stemmed from the small AV bay used. I had no terminal blocks since they would not fit upon the bulkheads. So I had to wire everything up and hot glue the connections, which resulted in one ejection charge firing due to a loose wire. Everything turned out alright I was far enough from the charge that it really only blew some black powder residue all over my shirt.
Eventually everything was wired up and ready to go. We packed up the car and set out for a 2 hour drive into the desert.
This was the first launch for my fiance to attend, which made it even more of a stress for me.
I showed up and spoke with the TRA Prefect, he overviewed the rocket asked me some simple questions about its construction and let me know that I could fly anytime I felt comfortable.
So I stepped into line and waited for a pad to open up, that is one downside of the SARA site. They have a lot of rods, but only a few rails so it seems every launch I am waiting atleast a round before I can load my birds up. We ended up going to a site about mid distance, I loaded up the rocket and prepped the ignitor. Then the trouble started I tried to arm the Raven 3 with the magnetic switch. But with all the other rockets around me I could not hear the distanct beeps from the Raven. So I decided to take her down and attempt the launch at a further pad to get a little silence.
Then after a wave of rockets or two, we went out the the away pad to give myself some breathing distance. This time it worked or so we thought, I heard the start up of the Raven then patiently waited for the following beeps. We heard one then decided to leave the rocket as is.
We ran back to the firing line, then the announcer decided to launch mine first due to the electronics and did not want to waste the battery. (Thanks for being thoughtfull!) Oh my goodness it had a beatiful flight straight up under a thick black cloud of smoke. I began to watch the rocket turn over, with no event. This is when the rocket decided to lawndart. It was flying so fast down that I was the only one to watch its final resting location.
We then set out to locate it, after searching for 30 minutes my brother stumbled upon it, the rocket was buried from the nosecone all the way up to the lowersection. About 40 inches, we started to dig it out.
After 30-40 minutes we got every piece out of that hole, this is when my mind began to be boggled. The bulkplates were shattered, bent all threads. This thing had some serious force upon hitting the ground. The 1/4″ pin that was friction fitted into the nosecone was bent.
Gotta love science!