Copyright © 1964-2023 Tripoli Pittsburgh, Tripoli Rocketry Association, Inc.
TRIPOLI Pittsburgh
Launch Report
November 5, 2023
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Flyers: 29
Flights: 68

Biggest Everything!
Overhead the clouds moved in and out but the action on the ground remained busy. Big crowds kept the rockets heading up.
Temperatures were comfortable for November in the 50's and 60's.
Breezes were light to moderate, blowing in the typical west to east direction.
TRIPOLI Pittsburgh president and head mentor Joe Pscolka holds a flyers meeting before the action begins.
Biggest crowd. Biggest rockets. Biggest number of flights. Biggest!
TRIPOLI Pittsburgh had its first ever November launch event with great success. In addition to the TRIPOLI Pittsburgh regulars, the event was joined by the WVU Experimental Rocketry Club and the Shadyside Academy American Rocketry Challenge team.
"Safety is of the utmost importance....", TRIPOLI Pittsburgh president Joe Pscolka stressed at the opening of the flyers meeting held at the RSO station before the rocket action started. "We all want to have fun but we must do so safely." Joe rightly reiterated.
Flights started off the Low Power Pads early.
Level 3 certification flights are a rare occurance at TRIPOLI Pittsburgh launches. There were none during the 2022 season and only one the year before. The November launch had 2 level 3 certification flights and the first N-motor flight in years. See more about the L3 and N-motor flights in the following pages.
The big L3 certs and the N-motor rocket required the big launch tower to be assembled as an away cell far away from the flight line.
In order to accomodate the away cell the necessary distance from the crowd, the field was turned around 180 degrees from the typical launch orientation.
In the photo below, the rocket loaded on the away cell tower looks like a model rocket on an Estes launch pad despite being 10' tall.
Away Cell
High Power Pads
Low Power Pads
Action off the Low Power Pads started early and continued throughout the day. Between the TRIPOLI Pittsburgh members and the students from Shadyside Academy, low power flights whooshed skyward at a upbeat pace.
Photo: Ernie Marsh
Shadyside Academy students ready their bird for an ARC qualifying flight.
America's Rocketry Challenge (ARC) is the largest contest for middle and high school students and is sponsered by the Aerospace Industries Association and by that other rocket gang (NAR).
Each year students design, build and fly rockets for specific criteria. This years challenge is to design, build and fly a rocket to 820 feet in altitude within a time period of between 43 and 46 seconds. Also, a payload of one hen's egg must be flown and returned unbroken.
The Shadysdie Academy Middle School team has participated in the ARC challenge since 2011.
Matt Brunner, the Shadyside Academy faculty mentor commented, "This was the first year that we didn't break any eggs!"
Shadyside Academy Middle School has two teams. The 7th grade team consists of 8 students and the 8th grade team has 10 student members.
The teams design and build their own rockets with components from Apogee Rockets. The teams build two identical rockets (as best as possible) and fly a number of test flights before flying qualifying flights.
Three qualifying flights are submitted to ARC and the best 100 teams each year are invited to go to the National events in Washington DC in May.
Faculty mentor Matt Grunner meets with the Shadyside students weekly during September and October and they work on their rockets and fly test flights.
Once the students feel confident about their testing they can fly qualifying flights.
Test flights can be flown repetedly and anywhere. Qualifying flights must be declared and flown with a NAR observer to verify the flight. Each team is allowed 3 qualifying flights to submit to ARC.
Shadyside Academy students flew a number of qualifying flights at the November launch.
ARC criteria for the qualifying flight is 820 feet altitude and between 43 and 46 seconds flight duration.
(in addition to an unbroken egg payload).
The 8th grade team posted a flight of 839 feet and 44 seconds. And no omelettes.
Let's hope the great qualifying flight gets the team to the national finals!
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