Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Barking Pumpkin


Ace was a kit [plus occasional motors] manufacturer from
sometime in the '70's through the '80's. Ace was owned by
Korey Kline who is better known these days for pioneering
the Hypertek hobby hybrid motors and the Hyperion hybrid
sounding rocket flights at Wallops Island.

The ACE 4" 4:1 nose cone was the first plastic hipower nose
cone available, and has been used by many kit makers and
custom builders, and is doubtless still being produced.

The Ace Sonic, of course, uses 2 of these cones to make a
very streamlined 4" rocket under 3 feet long. The stock kit
had a 29mm motor mount, I built mine with a 38mm motor
mount so it's a bit shorter, and a lot faster. It also means that
it has a tendency to whip a 1/4" launch rod hard, then
thunder off on a random vector. What Fun!! 

Over the years I've' flown it on exotics and extremes like;
G210, G300, H242, I250, I357 and G160 & H220 black
powder Silver Streaks as shown above, plus many others.
In order to accomodate the longer motors, the motor mount
tube extends up to the back of the nose cone. The recovery
system packs around it.

Due to it's compact yet visible design it has traveled to [and
returned from] more flying sites than any other single hi-pwr
rocket I own. This includes 2 trips in private aircraft and twice
on my motorcycle. I'm pleased to say that it's rod whipping
days are over. It took a wee bit of enginuity, but it's now
equiped with rail buttons instead of a lug. The front button is
attached to the nosecone just above the shoulder, the rear is
at the bottom of the parachute well, half way down the
airframe, with a standoff.  It would've been nice to keep the
launch lug for versatility, but low-drag philosophy will out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

2 Steampunk Novellas

The above pic is from The Brass Griffin.

I just finished reading; The Flight of the Calliope! by W.D.Nagel.
I'm also in the middle of the 2nd story from; Tales of the Brass
Griffin by C.B.Ash. These are online Steampunk novellas.
They're both full of airships, steam power, odd uses for electricity,
strange weapons, monsters, air pirates, and the occasional robot
by any other name. In The Flight of the Calliope! they're collectively
called Brassbugs.
I don't much like the idea of reading books online. I spend way too
much time in front of the computer as it is, and I still prefer paper
reading materials that I can carry around and fold the page to save
my place.
It was nice being able to edit the occasional annoying typo though.

BTW; I haven't been suffering from writers block lately, it's actually
posters block. I have plenty of material typed, I'm just having trouble
declaring stuff finished, and deciding what order to post it in.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Talkin' 'bout the Midnight Special

It was a week after I posted High Flight, about 1 or 2am
as usual, and an info-mercial comes on. Yawn. It starts off
with something like ;"Do you remember when your TV did
this after midnight?" and the TV shows the American flag
and starts up the National Anthem. I'm weirding out by then.
It goes on to say; "Then on bla/bla/1972 it did this!"
Scenes start scrolling from Midnight Special. Wow Man,
I was there. Serious, I saw the 1st show, and a bunch
more after. It was a turning point for broadcast TV and
the night-owls amongst us.

That's right, they're selling DVDs of Midnight Special.
It's a subscription service not a library, and the types
of music are mixed together like the original shows.
There's extra unbroadcast footage too. The live shows
had some of the great comedians of the day in between the
music acts. These were'nt part of the TV shows but are
included on the DVDs. Some good news, some not as good
some great!  I wish it was an archive where I could order my
choices and they'd burn me a DVD and send it.  
You hear that MTV?
Where's my credit card?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Low Flight

This is Low Flight. A poem written by pilots
or flight crews unknown, of the F4 Phantom II.
during the Vietnam War. I love pilot humor, I
grew up with it. Dry wit, best served with a
tall cold one, or three.
This is not parody, it was not written to mock
High Flight. I don't believe any pilot would.
Of course, they would mock their own aircraft,
other aircraft, or the pilots of other aircraft.
Most Air Force songs [or poems] are written to
existing music. The original words often provide
inspiration for the new.
Why does the Phantom have a flat belly?

Low Flight

Oh, I have slipped through swirling clouds of dust,
a few feet from the dirt.
I've flown the F4 low enough,
to make my bottom hurt.
I've flown in the desert, hills and valleys,
mountains too.
Frolicked in the trees,
where only flying squirrels flew.

Chased the frightened cows along,
disturbed the ram and ewe,
and done a hundred other things,
that you'd not care to do.
I've smacked the tiny sparrow,
bluebird, robin, all the rest.
I've ingested baby eagles,
simply sucked them from their nest.

I've streaked through total darkness,
just the other guys and me,
and spent the night in terror of
things I could not see.
I turned my eyes to heaven,
as I sweated through the flight,
put out my hand and touched,
the Fire Warning Light.