NLD31 launch campaign: A bit wet, some setbacks and some good launches

NLD31 "Le Professeur" Hein Olthof poses with his Aeolus.
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ASK 't Harde, 7 May, 2010 - Thursday 6 May started setting up the launch towers and preparing the launch site. During this preparing and certifying the rockets and motors was also started. It soon became clear that the rocket motor Robin Trap was going to use didn't fit, as the screws which held the nozzle and aft closure protuted. He usually flies with HPR motors, thus the motor tube was designed as a slim fit around the motor casing. All in all, all other preparations went well. Also a liquid propellant motor test was held by the Belgium Jan Volckaert and his team. After dinner in the hotel we helped a party of Belgian students of the Vrij Technisch Instituut Torhout (technical orientated high school), who were to launch two rockets at the NERO part of the launch event. The day before the launch the HPR motors which were ordered and payed for were not delivered due to legal reasons. Very late in the evening we helped to locate an alternative motor for only one of their two rockets and recalculations were done. Meanwhile other NAVRO-members enjoyed the company of Jan Volckaert.

The next day the weather it rained on and off. In the morning the last preparations were done and the rockets were transported to the prep-tent near the launch towers. There the public was able to see the rockets before the launch. Next the first two SRP rockets were launched, and especially the first one had a very good flight.

After a preparation session Jurriaan van Beeks DECA II was launched from the NERO launch tower. It reached a height of 2036m (6680 feet) on a DECA potassium nitrate-dextrose motor. This was followed by launches of the third SPR rocket and the Aeolus of DARE's Hein Olthof. This rocket flew well this time, after a sudden severe case of fear of heights last october (the launch lugs broke while in the launch tower). Jan Volckaert and his team again did some liquid propellant motor test.

The next launch window consisted of NERO's H13 and two SPR rockets. The H13 flew very well and reached a height of 1250m (4100 feet) on a Thrust potassium nitrate-dextrose motor. Both SPR rockets on the other hand crashed and were reduced to small pieces. The last launch on the NAVRO side was NAVRO's Harry Advokaat large model rocket "The Grid". Instead of normal fins it has a grid like shape of small height. It was launched with success on an AeroTech F21 motor. The final launch was that of the Belgium students of the Vrij Technisch Instituut Torhout. The AeroTech J350W was somewhat less powerful than the intended original motor, but none the less it flew great. Finally success for the guys, who despite of all the setback did not give up hope.