Inaugural Launch at Alkay Airport, Saturday 12/05/15


What a spectacular first outing the inaugural Michigan Team-1 launch event was at Alkay Airport!  The Saturday morning dawned cold and foggy, but as the sun came out and the temperature rose, the fog dissipated and was replaced with clear blue skies, a high in the upper 40’s, and a mild breeze out of the southwest.  Perfect rocket flying weather, albeit a bit chilly.  Flyers were greeted  by the snazzy new Alkay sign at the entrance, see photo.
Under the guidance of airport owner Doug Smith, we parked the Team-1 trailer inside the hangar on the east side of the property near the parking lot and office building.  This has to be the first time our trailer has enjoyed the sweet luxury of inside parking out of the elements!
We then proceeded to set up ground support equipment near the center of the airport, near the “X” intersection of the NE-SE and NW-SW runways.  Mr. Smith provided for our use not one but two vehicles that made this much easier.  The first was a large riding lawnmower pulling a flatbed trailer.  The second was a bright yellow gasoline-powered golf cart named “Canary 1”.  We set up two high power pads and the D-cell, along with several tables, launch controllers, and the PA system.  In celebration of this important milestone event, the BoD decided to make it free to fly this day; no fees were collected.
Stuart Davis opened the FAA waiver, and the honor of making the first Team-1 flight at Alkay goes to Kathy Kippen (nee Miller).  She flew an Estes Snitch on a C6-0, a perfect low noisy flight as only a Snitch can. 
Forty nine more flights followed, for a total of 50 flights.  Here’s the breakdown of motor usage: 
A           1
B           5
C         16
D           3
E           3
F           7
G           8
H           4
J            3
            50 motors total
Highest altitude reached was probably Bill Kippen’s beautiful PML 4” AMRAAM flown on J410 with red propellant, estimated altitude 3400 feet. 
The RSO wondered out loud if Dan Harrison’s Estes Leviathan on an H410 would hold together under initial thrust of 110 pounds, but it’s obvious Dan built it to high power standards.  The liftoff was a take-your-breath-away neck-snapper; if you blinked, you missed it!
The last flight of the day was launched at about 3:00 PM, Co-Vice-Prefect Norm Nazaroff’s LOC Syonic Black Fire on a J-350W, with all the fire, roar, and white smoke we expect from that popular motor. 
A merry band of at least eight people made light work of transporting all the GSE back to the Team-1 trailer and storing it away.  A tip o’ the hat to these fine people for pitching in and helping.
Just before departing, I asked Doug Smith for his perception of how this first-ever event went.  He said that several flyers shook his hand and sincerely thanked him for providing his airport for Team-1 to fly at.  And he commented that everyone was on their best behavior, was respectful of the facility, and seemed to be having a lot of fun.  This is exactly the landowner reaction the BoD was hoping for, and we need to continue to groom this relationship with Mr. Smith whenever we can.  This hobby is very dependent on maintaining good relations with sympathetic landowners that let us fly on their land.
Respectfully submitted,
Robert W. Schultz        
Michigan Team-1 / Tripoli Prefecture 9
“#1 in High Power Rocketry”