Copyright © 1964-2023 Tripoli Pittsburgh, Tripoli Rocketry Association, Inc.

Saturday 22 - Sunday 23
Launch Report July 2023
The weather was about as perfect as can be for flying rockets. Light winds made recovery easier than usual and sunny skies made for beautiful days in July.
Flyers: 15
Flights: 54
Scott Kissinger shows off the booster of his kit called "The Joker", a cluster rocket with a central 38mm motor tube surrounded by 3 29mm tubes.
Casey Andre's Big Nuke takes to the skies on an Aerotech K540.
A 3D printed rocket on an H motor. Unfortunately, never found.
"Rocket Rob" Camele

TRIPOLI Pittsburgh Treasurer and veteran "Rocket Rob" Camele can usually be counted upon for exciting flight action at nearly every launch.
"Rocket Rob" fills out the flight card for his Santa Maria.
"Rocket Rob" and Ernie Walters watch as the Santa Maria lifts off on a CTI J600 Redline.
The Santa Maria had a soft landing in this tree after clearing 1900' in altitude (minus 100' for the tree).
Note the launch field/pits over here.

Ken Allen of Performance Rocketry smiles it up behind a stack of the hundreds of bins while Ernie Walters checks out some of Ken's goodies.
Mark Czerner and TR Garman test out a big parachute for TR's upcoming L3 flight scheduled for September.
According to "Rocket Rob", the "apogee charge failed to deploy drogue chute. Main deployed as the rocket was coming in ballistic."
Kevin Wuchevich poses with one of his many "Doghouse" type rockets.
Notice the stylish masking tape bracelet.
The high power pads were a busy place to be.

Jerry Andre
Jerry "The Rocket Whisperer" Andre readies the newest addition to his fleet, the Gold Runner.
With a 4" airframe and standing 8 feet tall, the Gold Runner flew to 1400'.
The Gold Runner lifts off on a J350 for its maiden flight.

Jerry and his son Casey watch the launch of the Gold Runner.
The Gold Runner returns to Terra Firma just behind the high power launch pads.
A big reason that Jerry Andre won the 2022 "George Pike Frequent Flyer Award" is that he is out there flying rockets. Lots of rockets.
Jerry was onsite in July with a couple of his standards and a new addition to his fleet: an 8 footer known as the Gold Runner.
Jerry Andre is not just a prolific flyer of rockets, he is also a top notch builder. Here Jerry poses with one of his beauties that comes out on a regular basis: the Space Blaster.
The Space Blaster under parachute.
The Space Blaster  heads skyward on a J540 with a great looking red flame.
Landing point
Jerry and Casey Andre had a short walk to gather up the Space Blaster, landing within the infield.
John Haught

In addition to being the Prefect of TRIPOLI Pittsburgh, John Haught is also an elite Level 3 Certified flier.
Not only does John fly large motor rockets regularly (M motors) but he also makes all of his own motors himself.
It is not uncommon to see John pull up with a truckload of rockets to fly and July was no exception.
John Haught hauls his 6" fiberglass Black Diamond to registration and the launch pad.
The Black Diamond M-1489 (98mm, 3 grain) Black Fire, Red Sparky motor, moments after ignition.
John watches the Black Diamond clear the launch rail.
Unfortunately, after clearing the rail, the Black Diamond tilted horizontal and headed towards the river.
According to John, "I've had Sparkies slag up at the nozzle throat and really jack up the pressures, so I decided to run a larger throat nozzle on this one to avoid an over pressurization CATO risk. The problem was the starting Kn was too low and she went horizontal before the pressure came up and then sent her cruise missle towards the river.
Thankfully Billy Fisher (one of the land owners) and his 2 boys went down and found it and cut it out of the tree."
"The Black Diamond suffered a 12 inch long zipper in the booster from the high speed deployment but that will be cut out and a new section of airframe with a coupler will be epoxied in. She will get a strip job, quick sanding and a fresh paint job and will fly again on another M motor at the September Launch.", John added.
For many fliers, the Black Diamond flight could have been discouraging enough to send them home in dissapointment. But not John Haught.
After collecting up the Black Diamond from the trees near the river, John headed back to the launch pads with a 5" Honest John flying on a 4 grain K-657.
John Haught and his son Austin load the Honest John onto the pad while Kevin Wuchevich supervises.
The Honest John heads for the clouds on a K-657.
After clearing 3750' in altitude,the Honest John returns home for a soft touchdown.
John Haught hikes a grand total of about 50 feet to collect up his Honest John.
The booster even landed standing up!

While the turnout for the July launch was far less than anticipated, the flight action was terrific. Big rockets and big action. If you missed it, you missed some of the best weather in quite a while. Not to mention the rockets!
Don't miss the August launch if you can help it!
Clear skies and light winds on Sunday provided perfect conditions for sunburn and rocket flying!
Special thanks to Joe Pscolka for cutting all of the grass of the field by himself.
The Saga of the L1
The L1 was designed for two purposes: as a Level 1 re-certification rocket and as an easy to fly camera ship.
The L1 has flown without issue at all of the TRIPOLI Pittsburgh launches for the last couple of years and this year is no exception.
Well.... sort of.
The L1 lifts off at 1 pm exactly.
Lifting off at 1pm exacly, the L1 flight at the July launch was perfectly nominal. The motor ejected at apogee and the chute release did its job at 400'. Nobody paid much attention due to its typical and simple flight profile. The landing seemed simple enough behind the pits.
Where was the L1? Some thought it had come down this side of the road and some felt it had crossed the road.
The search was on....
Note the number of vehicles still present during flight.
The parachute of the L1 tucked into the bushes.
L1 landing point.
The drone lifts off at 4:33pm and after about 20 minutes is about to run out of battery and return for landing, when the L1 chute is spotted.
The search continued for hours without success locating the L1. Numerous drone flights were unsuccessful. Many people drove around in various off road vehicles. Where could it be?
After nearly 4 hours and with almost no battery charge left, a drone located the L1 by chance and it was recovered.
TR would like to extend special thanks to land owner Billy Fisher and his boys, Jerry and Casey Andre, Rob Camile, Joe Pscolka and all of the others who helped locate the L1.