March 14th Fiesta Island Competition Launch Recap

Filed Under Daris, Engineering

I decided to get more involved in rocket design last year, and thought competitive rocketry would be a good way to test my design and building skills without breaking the bank. The last competition was postponed into our Christmas vacation (I had a nice B altitude airframe ready!) so I was itching for the next competitive launch. This one was delayed once as well, but luckily it all worked out.

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Fun With Termodynamics: Plaster Blaster 8!

Filed Under Daris, Engineering

Last weekend we went to Plaster City for Plaster Blaster 8. We arrived Friday night and the wind was calm enough that several folks were lighting off their nightime birds (a skidmark motor is amazing at night!). Saturday I qualified NAR level 1 (thanks Howard Smart!) with my PML IO on an Aerotech H 128 W. Iris launched her Estes Baby Bertha on a C-6 motor. My second flight of the IO on the same motor the black powder charge failed to go off and it came in sideways and rolling axially the whole way. Kinda physics defying, actually. I am still confused why it did not nose over! The altimeter showed apogee just under 2400 feet and an impact velocity of 14 mph… but the airframe is still cracked all over and two fins broke free.

The worst part was the sand people. Damn ATV parents and their untethered children… almost ran Iris over once and our tent several times.

Here is a picture of me with my two wrist bands (level 0 and 1)… the mark of an up and comer!


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Diversions: Around the world trip (Part 1: NA and Europe)

Filed Under Daris

So, several years ago, I acquired a copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004, a game I have played since (no joke) 1984 (v 2.0, a copy my dad pirated from work lol). I wanted to do something fun, and had started “journeys” on previous versions. Most others have have you take multiple planes, which is so unrealistic. I mean cmon, you are going to hop on a 777 to fly from Brazil to Africa? Riiiiiiiight good luck borrowing a 777. So I made my own.

It took me over a year to circumnavigate the globe (this takes a LOT of time!) but I finished during spring break just a month ago.

Aircraft: Mooney Bravo (you need the range, cruise altitude, and turbo for several hops)

1: KMYF to E63 (San Diego, CA to Gila Bend, AZ). A short hop to get me into the flow.

2: E63 to KGYR (Gila Bend, AZ to Phoenix, AZ).

3: KGYR to 3R9 (Phoenix, AZ to Austin, TX). A moderate hop. I know, this hop is not really on the way to where I ended up crossing. I was still vacillating on which crossing to take.

4: 39R to KDKX (Austin, TX to Knoxville, TN). The first big hop to get me ready for the transatlantic hop.

5: KDKX to KFDK (Knoxville, TN to Frederick, MD). I placed this hop because the next hop is almost precisely the same distance as the longest (most risky) transatlantic hop.

6: KFDK to CYYT (Frederick, MD to St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada). A LONG trip, but if you can internalize this one you can make the next hop! You will run out of fuel if you do not trim correctly, and chose your cruise altitude correctly, and chose to fly on days with the right winds.

7: CYYT to LPFL (St. John’s to Flores, Azores). An unconventional route to cross, especially in a single engine plane. But it is doable, if the winds are with you. Flores is a beautiful island, named for the hydrangeas that grow wild there. The airport was actually built by the French, when they built a radar station here in the sixties.

8: LPFL to LPPD (Flores to Ponta Delgada, Azores). This is the farthest airport on the island chain, on the island of Sao Miguel. The Portuguese national park Sete Cidades is located here, which centers around a twin-laked caldera that puts Crater Lake in Oregon to shame.

9: LPPD to LPPT (Ponta Delgada to Lisbon, Portugal). This flight is kinda like crawling out of the desert straight into Abu Dhabi. Two major airports smack dab next to each other, and you just rolled out of the Atlantic.

10: LPPT to ULM (Lisbon to Lanzahita, Spain). A gentle introduction to cross-country flying finished with a hair-raising approach to a tiny airfield. Might I recommend taking it slow and following the river? Just aim for Madrid and land before you have to cross one final mountain range. There are other airports around with longer runways, but challenge yourself a bit and land the Mooney on grass!

11: ULM to LEZG (Lanzahita to Zaragoza, Spain). Pop over the mountains, cut to the north of Madrid, and head east following the river. Zaragoza airport is amazing. If you miss an approach, you have maybe three more tries without turning around. No joke, there are two runways and one is 5 kilometers long! This airport is an alternate landing location for the Space Shuttle. No kidding!

12: LEZG to LFMU (Zaragoza to Beziers, France). A fun trip over the Pyrenees. You can take it sea-level and go around the Mediterranean side or follow the peaks.

13: LFMU to LIPZ (Beziers to Venice, Italy). Our last real stop in “Europe”.

14: LIPZ to LDZD (Venice to Zadar, Croatia). Cross the Adriatic towards Croatia and follow the coast to Zadar. The airport is an interesting “L” shape, which takes up a huge amount of space and makes taxiing a pain. The layout also necessitates you crossing a roadway!

15: LDZD to LDDU (Zadar to Dubrovnik, Croatia). A beautiful jaunt down the coast, with a straight-in landing at LDDU.

16: LDDU to LWSK (Dubrovnik to Skopje, Macedonia). A tricky mountain crossing. Continue down the coast to the bay of Tivat, then cut inland and take one of the several canyons uphill, staying inside Montenegro, then cross into Kosovo and make a straght path to Skopje.

17: LWSK to LGKV (Skopje to Kavala, Greece). Continue east across the plains of Macedonia, then when you just cross into Bulgaria, gain altitude and cross south into Greece, dropping down across lake Kerkini.

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Senior project turned in!

Filed Under Daris

I apologize to my family and friends, I have been completely absorbed. Our adviser gave us the option of completing the AIChE design contest as a formal contest submission and having the class basically being done in 30 days (instead of nine weeks) and I jumped at the chance.

It is over now! I can’t share details of our project yet (we may or may not be permitted to enter in the contest) but I can say it is way over 50 pages long and a difficult read!

Whatever it is over. We are planning a summer trip again this year, this time a month long trip hopefully up to Banff then down to my friend’s wedding in Eugene. I have a job offer here in SD, so life is looking good for once!

Fall 07 Weeks seven through 9

Filed Under School Week Journal

Again, I am being bad with this. Can you appreciate that it is hard to have kids and keep up with engineering school now?

Week seven was absolute hell. Monday was a holiday, but I spent it cramming for my fluids midterm. Fluids midterm was hell. There was a question where you had to remember (or derive from the definition of acceleration) the range equation from standard mechanics. Of course a lab was due the day after… all the time Liz was keeping me awake at home. I was averaging about four hours sleep through this period. AVERAGING.

The rest of seven and into week eight was recovery. Yes, a lab was due, and I was uber diligent about getting it off my plate as Liz was rapidly approaching her due date. Wednesday I also got my grade for my fluids midterm, which was abysmal again (just sub-one-standard-deviation). I talked to him to see if I could get a regrade, which precipitated a stern lecture about what should be memorized and what he expects us to just “know”. I brought up the range equation, the problem for which he gave me five points out of twenty five, and showed him that I was attempting to derive the equation from the definition of acceleration… and that I wrote out the steps required to solve the problem from there, and he agreed to give me ten more points. And then lectured me for another ten minutes. At one point he asked me what I learned in high school calculus… I had to point out that I did not take calculus one until I was 30. I reminded him again that I was an “alternative student”… he took some sympathy…

I got loaded when I got home, three TnT’s. Of course, we all know what happened round about midnight. Timing on Cedar’s birth could not have been any better! And he could not have been any more perfect!

Week nine was recovery from the birth. Our final lab in MAE 170 was a doooozy. We spent over thirty hours on the data analysis alone. Our report was total crap, but talking to others it seems that was the average.

Nothing but finals left from here!