Selected photos from LDRS XIV

Last August, the Tripoli Rocketry Association held its 14th annual big bash, hosted by AeroPac at Black Rock Desert, Nevada. This was the largest incarnation of LDRS in its history, by a substantial margin. Hundreds of people launching hundreds of rockets during a four-day extravaganza.

(To those who attended LDRS XIV: Any additions or corrections to the information and photos presented below will be much appreciated.)

More photos of LDRS XIV are available at the AeroPac Web site.

Hey folks... does this look like a good place to launch rockets, or what? Anybody see any of them rocket-eating trees around here...?

Note: It isn't only rocketeers who find this landscape enticing. See also the ThrustSSC website, describing the (recently successful) attempt to break the sound barrier at Black Rock in a twin-turbojet-powered car!

Of course, one thing you never find in the dry desert is big old mosquitos -- right?

The full-scale WAC-Corporal by Damien Russo, Bill Davidson and Billy Davidson of "Team WAC" (from Garden State Tripoli) was one of the highpoints of this LDRS. The article in the January 19965 issue of HPR magazine and the preflight interview/walkthrough on Earl Cagle's LDRS XIV video show just how much thought and planning went into this project. Team WAC was rewarded with a picture-perfect flight.

Here's the sustainer, back at the flightline after recovery (with the nosecone slightly ajar). It had a great flight on an M1939 -- in fact, if it weren't for those slight zipper scars, it would have been just about flawless!
The booster section was especially impressive, with 3 M-1939s, those huge scale fins, and its own nosecone/blast-deflector made from a Cessna prop spinner! It suffered only minor damage during recovery.

Another big and beautiful two-stager at LDRS was the Spirit of America. Here are before and after shots (sorry -- no "during").

Before: On the left is the sustainer, with the two parts of the booster on the right.
After: The Spirit did suffer some damage on recovery, but it was a lovely sight nevertheless.

The Vaughn Brothers brought good old Godzilla out for a flight. After several misfires, the beast flew nicely, but....

...experienced a truly wicked zipper on ejection. Just remember though: Godzilla always dies at the end of the movie, but next time, he's back, stronger than ever!

Some of the best-looking rockets at LDRS were those of Jimmy Arakaki, whose craftsmanship has to be seen to be believed. This was one of his many creations, Fat Chance, a highly evolved LOC Minie-Magg, ready for launch.
Despite the hours that go into his models, Jimmy is philosophical about the risks of flight. This picture was taken just moments after the one above. Could you smile like that?
Here are more of Jimmy's rockets. In particular, on the top-right is his Hyper movie camera rocket, as featured in a recent issue of HPR magazine. This rocket flew on A K1100 reload, and employed separate chute recovery for the booster and payload sections. Good thing too, since the booster chute stuck in its deployment bag and the booster was destroyed. But...
...the camera payload recovered without a scratch! (Hey Jimmy -- we'd all sure like to see that movie!)

In addition to the big WAC, there were many other great scale models at LDRS.

Dennis Reason's full-scale Astrobee-D was a real sight to behold. It flew beautifully on a cluster of four K550s!
Dennis also brought a great medium scale Black Brant II, with all 73 aluminum screw heads present and accounted for! In the background, note the MagnumMobile (alias Ross Dunton's truck) -- an endless source of Newton-seconds (and sink for dollars) throughout the long weekend.

Dario Brisighella came from Colorado with this great fiberglass model of the McDonnell-Douglas DCX experimental SSTO vehicle. It looked really slick, but unfortunately, its aerodynamic stability didn't quite match its good looks, and it tumbled to destruction shortly after launch on a K1100.
Here's Lance Tharp's family of Bullpup missiles: mama, papa and baby. No sense doing something just once, if you can do it again bigger and better...

Dave Redell was one of several LUNAR members who flew at LDRS. Here's his LOC EZI-65 on an I161. This was Dave's NAR J-level certification flight.

One of the finest sights at LDRS was this dead-heat three-way drag race between a trio of LOC Minie-Maggs on I284s. It was so close that nobody had a clue as to who won!

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