Here is where you can find a brief summary of my past and current projects, as well as my current goals. The most recent activity is listed at the top of the page.
November 2020: Rebuilding L3 Fusion rocket and attempting L3 cert flight again. I’m in the process of building another L3 Fusion, with a modification or two just to make sure the fins are stronger and more secure than last time. If all goes well, I can try again later this month!
October 2020: L3 cert flight attempt. I was finally ready to fly the L3 Fusion on an M-1297 motor and try for my L3 certification – but it was a bust! After a successful launch and boost period of several seconds, the fins were torn off and the rocket broke up in the air. Luckily the parts all stayed together and were recovered, and some parts were salvageable, but the rocket would need to be rebuilt from scratch for another attempt.
September 2020: L3 Fusion rocket and filming a tutorial. After talking extensively with Scott Binder at SBR to test out his L3 Fusion rocket, specifically designed for L3 certification, I made several trips out to his workshop and built the entire rocket in a couple of marathon sessions. We also had a small studio setup and filmed the entire construction process for upload to YouTube. The L3 cert flight was originally supposed to take place in September, but the wildfire smoke in the PNW required us to postpone.
August 2020: Additional flight experience. I was able to make it to another high power launch and got in three more flights on the Darkstar Extreme. I flew it on another K-535, a K-850, and an L-1000. Each flight used dual deploy successfully, although I made a variety of mistakes from which I learned a ton!
July 2020: Rebuilt e-bay and retooled. The June certifications and additional flights in Brothers occurred at the end of the month, and I learned a lot from both experiences. I spent some time cleaning up my rockets and rebuilding the e-bay in the Darkstar Extreme to have much more robust redundancy. I added a second (backup) flight computer and installed additional black powder charge holders, wiring, etc. as well as a sonic buzzer to help locate the rocket after landing.
June 2020: L1 and L2 certifications. I completed the Darkstar Extreme in June, and also finally had a chance to attend my first high power launch. I flew my HyperLOC 835 twice – once on an I-140 motor for my L1 cert, and after passing the L2 written exam, a second flight on a J-270 motor using dual deploy for my L2 cert. Couldn’t ask for a better experience! I also had a chance to attend a second launch (with OROC in Brothers, OR) where I flew the HyperLOC 835 again on an I-500 motor, and the Darkstar Extreme made its first appearance on a K-535 motor, again using dual deploy.
May 2020: Darkstar Extreme. I began construction of my second high power rocket – and first fiberglass rocket – the Darkstar Extreme. The newly completed workshop was invaluable for this project. It took a while to even determine the full list of necessary materials and buy/ order everything, but I eventually was able to begin work, and the rocket is just about finished.
April 2020: Workshop complete. There were a lot of smaller, discrete steps in building the workshop, but it finally all came together in April, and I had a chance to finish up the interior space. This included general cleanup, additional light fixtures, organizing tools and equipment, putting together a new workbench, etc.
March 2020: Workshop. Work continued in building the backyard workshop. The most significant part of the project was running electricity out to the shed from the main electrical panel in the house. I finished this in March and am just putting a few final pieces in place to make this into a rocketry workshop with tons of potential for future projects. I also just started looking into welding metal.
February 2020: E-bay and workshop. Constructed electronics bay after quite a bit of planning and design, and simply figuring out all the components. I did some initial ground testing with the rocket and e-bay, using black powder charges. I also continued work to transform the garden shed into rocket workshop – a major project.
January 2020: Amateur radio license and e-bay. I continued to learn about electronics and planned the build of my first e-bay. I also recently spent some time studying for the “Technician Class” Amateur Radio Licensing Exam – and successfully passed! I am now officially licensed as a ham radio station operator (KJ7LRF), which is important primarily for using a flight computer in my rockets. I also began efforts to transform my back yard shed into a rocket workshop.
December 2019: Electronics. While I was waiting for the next available window for a high power launch, I took the opportunity to explore some of the cool electronics that can go into a rocket and planned some major upgrades to the HyperLOC 835.
November 2019: Built a high power rocket. I purchased the HyperLOC 835, my first high power rocket, and I’ve been working on putting it together. It’s a much bigger project than any of my previous rockets.
October 2019: Low and mid power rockets. I’ve purchased another set of model rockets from Estes. One is the Athena, which is relatively small but should go pretty high. The other is a much larger rocket than any I’ve tried so far – the “Mean Machine,” a projectile that measures 79″ (more than 6 feet) in length. This is slightly taller than I am, and it requires either D or E class motors to launch, with a maximum height of around 700 feet. I assembled and launched both.
September 2019: First model rockets. I’m just getting started with my first model rockets. I bought an Estes kit and finished building my first two rockets: a Crossfire ISX, which is about 15 inches tall and can fly approximately 1,200 feet into the air. The kit also includes a second, larger rocket – the E2X Amazon, which is just under 36 inches tall and can fly up to 600 feet. I successfully launched both several times and posted some video highlights.