I attended and competed at NARAM for the first time in 21 years. Man, I canít believe itís been that long! I entered in teams division with my old time team mate Al de la Iglesia and new member, Mark Chrumka. We decided kind of on a lark to do this and did not compete at all during the season. Since it was the last time competing using the old rules we wanted to be a part of the end and look forward to the new beginning with the NRC.
We divided the events among ourselves, Mark did Scale and Concept Scale with two models heíd entered in the past and did well with, an Athena H for Scale and the Project Pluto low altitude supersonic missile for concept. We were 2nd and 3rd respectively after static. We also used Markís egg on a stick model since it was already built and flown successfully.
Al tackled G Helo and also brought bits and parts for some of the other events. He had to leave Wednesday, but we managed to get everything put together ahead of time. Often times, when we competed in the past, weíd build stuff at the host event hotel, so this was a change having most of the models built ahead of time.
I took on C flexie and had a B SuperRoc Alt model ready. I also brought a Lil Ivan for open spot landing.
Monday was C Flexie and C Altitude. We flew Flexie first and loaded one in the heavy booster before the winds picked up and got a respectable 3+ minute flight that landed on the field. There are several photos of it on NARAMLive. By the time we got it ready to go again in the smaller boost vehicle, the winds had picked up. Great boost, but the timers were only able to see it for maybe 30 seconds longer than the first flight. Still, it ended up good enough for second so I was pretty pleased.
We got two good tracked flights for C alt, but we learned one thing this NARAM and thatís that ZV pistons are no longer viable. If you want to keep up you need 64Ē of BT-20 and a floating head piston. In all the altitude events we performed about 15-20% below the rockets that placed.
We had the last shift for range duty and the three of us manned the three separate tracking stations. IIRC all the flights we tracked closed with the exception of one that didnít have tracking powder and only one of us saw it.
Tuesday was B Egg alt and G Helo. We started with range duty and tracking again. Al had two designs for G Helo. One was a high performance model that resembled a rose-a-roc. The other had enclosed rotors. The first model was a shred though it ďalmostĒ made through powered boost. It was close. The next flight we suffered a separation as the shock line burned through.
Our first egg flight tipped off and to add insult, the motor kicked without blowing out the chute. Though the model hit hard, nothing was broken except the egg. We reloaded and got a much straighter boost and full recovery. A qualified flight, but not good enough to place.
Wednesday was B SuperRoc Alt and C Payload Alt. We flew C payload first since it was the most difficult to prep. Out first flight coned a bit and when we retrieved it noticed that the nose wasnít aligned correctly. We made some adjustments and got a much straighter boost, but neither Mark, nor I saw it after ejection. The RSO called it a good flight, so we looked for it quite a bit. With no luck finding it, we hoped someone else would come across it and return it. In B Super Roc both flights kicked or ripped out the motor with the recovery harness. Afterwards I kicked myself for not just recovering both pieces separately, but again; itís been a few years. Also, the next time my team mate asks if we should add some more shock line Iím going to say hell yes.
Our C Alt model was recovered and returned by someone else too late to turn in. We did have a better flight as we thought, but not well enough to place, so we were mainly happy to get the altimeter back.
Thursday was just open spot landing and we put in a respectable 17 meter flight early in the day, but by the end of the day we were knocked down to fourth. Thatís OK; weíll take it after all the troubles from the day before.
On Friday it was windy and rainyÖ and the weather only got worse from there. When we first got there several tents and pop ups were down or destroyed. Again, we got our flights in early. First was concept scale. It had a core motor and three strap-ons that pop off. It was a great flight and recovery. All motors lit and all pieces recovered. Next was the Athena H. It was a cluster of five motors. All lit and the model boosted straight even with all the wind and recovered without issue. The rest of the day we spent assisting Chris Flanigan with his Saturn 1b and Doug Frost with his AGM-37 Jayhawk. Both flew well and Chris took first in C division. We moved up one place in concept scale due to the misfortune of the Flying I-Beam Kids team having two DQ flights with their Von Braun Space Plane. They took a strong first place in Team Scale with their Argo D-8, one of the finest scale models Iíve ever seen. You did a fantastic job on that John and the three stage flight was perfect except for losing the upper stage in a soy bean field.
On the sport range I got in several flights including my 54mm Critical Mass on a Loki I405 and my Big Blue Bird Zero on a Loki I320. I also flew my Centuri Quasar and beat up Skydart. I got over 3 minutes on the Skydart with a B.
The best part of the week was hooking up with a lot of great folks I havenít seen in ages and some for the first time though Iíve known them on line like John Brohm. It was great to finally meet you. John and his team mates, Steve Foster and Rod Schafer are some of the finest modelers and gentlemen competitors you will ever meet.
It was also great to see Gary and Fran Miller, Scott Alexander, Dan Wolf, Chad Ring, Dean Fox, Chris Timm (thanks for the kits Chris!), David Miller, Bill Saindon, Chris Flanigan, Doug Frost, and Vern and Gleda Estes. Most of all, thanks to my team mates for a great week. Iím looking forward to sanctioning NRC events and hopefully weíll make it to Colorado for NARAM 60.
I'm working on uploading photos now, and will post a link to them here when they're ready.