By Kevin Timmins
The BK (Black Knights) Flamer weekend 05 at Milson Airfield in the UK was IMHO a
After a major mishap on the packing front! I'd just sorted out the airframes I'd
planned to take for the weekend. The trusty BSD 4" Horizon with which I did my level 1 cert. A newly finished Red
Arrows Black Brant II (2.56"), several small model kits, and the LOC/ Precision Hyperloc 835 I've been hoping to
fly for a while to do my level 2 cert flight.
(The previous occasion was at UKRA 2005 where the weather turned against us on
the Sunday, and prior to that the May Black Knight event at Milson, when a problem where the tie wraps broke half way
through a Hypetrek fill, and the bird shot off the pad before ignition approx 15ft and crashed cracking a fin. I'd
repaired then fin by dremeling the damage, and repining it with Carbon fiber rod pins.)
Just as I was about to load the Hyperloc into the car, a cat who shall remain
nameless decided it wanted back into the house, shot through my legs. Whoa!! Oh No! Hyperloc crashed to the pavement,
breaking a fin. To say I was not a happy bunny is understating the point. I took it along anyway, planning to repair
the fin on the Friday night after arriving at Milson.
We set off early Friday afternoon in the blistering heat of a UK July, and
finally arrived around 5pm. After the usual chat / catching up with the regulars, setting up camp, getting food etc
there was just time to get the Hyperloc fin repaired on a temporary basis. No time to glass it, so re-epoxied in place,
reinforced with milled fiber, by which time it was 1am. There was lot of activity going on, people testing out ejection
charges late on (you know who you are!). A night flight by Paul from Congreve which in the dark came in ballistic and
was not so much scary as a real clenching moment. So off to bed ready for the main weekend to begin. Very little sleep,
up at 7am ready for breakfast.
The organization was excellent thanks to the hard work of the BK committee (Mark
& Liz Perman et al). The vendors were on the whole very friendly. Damian from Uncle Bob's Rocket Shop, Malcolm
& Mike from Rockets & Things, Alan & Sean from Apo11o. Congreve were there with the Congreve reloads on
show and for some display flights (as the motors are not yet CE marked they can't be sold yet). Deepsky was also in
attendance although I don't recall them being pro-active in the weekends flying.
This must have been one of the best weekends for flights and for weather. Shares
went up in SPF factor 20 over the weekend. There were quite a lot of HPR flights. The numerous Hybrid flights (I lost
count!) compared favorably with the HPR solid flights I would guess there was one hybrid flight for every couple of HPR
solid flights. I'm looking forward to see the flight statistics. I think the total impulse flown of NOX will be close
to that of solids? We'll have to wait until the flight stats come out on the BK site. I suppose a lot of credit for the
hybrid enthusiasm has to go down to Damian (Uncle Bob) Hall's enthusiasm, and the first outing for 'Uncle Bob's Rocket
Shop', which attracted much support & interest from seasoned flyers & hybrid 'virgins' alike.
Saturday saw the first real flying day, with plenty of model & HPR
flying. The highlight had to be the Hybrid away cell, overseen by Damian Hall a.k.a. Uncle Bob. Uncle Bob first gave a
repeat of his Hypertek hybrid master class, first seen at UKRA2005. There was an audience consisting of Students from
Cranfield University, members of the WRS and many others. It was quite a crowd! The talk was informative and allowed
experts and novices alike, to get lots of in-depth information, and then the opportunity to assemble some hybrid motors
/ tank combinations. Of which Damian seems to have a full collection for everyone to touch and see! Then it was off to
the Hybrid Pad.
There were some initial problems getting GSE set up. It just seems that everyone
who has the Hypertek stock GSE has problems getting it going! Weird! I spoke to Damian afterwards about this and he's
working on it behind the scenes.
Along with several other things that seem very interesting indeed! Then the flying started.
It's difficult to recall a lot of the hybrid flights, I recall; Cranfield
University (CURS) launching Jenny Wren on a Hypertek K240, Damian launched Baby Bob on a Hypertek J115, then there was
Colin Rowe launching on a Hypertek K240 and several more, although I don't remember much of the detail as all the
Hyperteks seemed to pop off one after another and merge into a regular staccato of rasping trails high into the
beautiful blue sky! I LOVE THAT SOUND!
In the mean time I got to fly my Black Brant II on a 2 grain Pro 38 (H153 Smokey
Sam) for its maiden flight. It went like a dream.
It went higher than Rocksim predicted. The Chute (it was flying single deploy, using motor
ejection) popped just at apogee. It must have caught a thermal as it began to come down very slowly before ascending
again. After catching some cross-breezes at a few different levels it finally came down to rest in the farm next to the
airfield. I timed the whole flight and the descent was 4 minutes, yet it was still close by with a minor zip in the
phenolic tube that will easily repair.
Sunday prior to setting the range up Colin Rowe gave us all a treat with his new
creation: It consists of one Hypertek 3.5L tank a manifold assembly feeding into 4 injector bell grain assemblies.
Colin wanted to test out the ignition sequence of his creation, "4K n LL", it uses a thermocouple actuated
'pyro' drop down mechanism to initiate launch. Colin, Damian and Pete got everything set up (minus the flight tank) to
test out the ignition sequence: It worked a treat! You can see the fill stem assembly on Uncle Bobs Web site - IIRC
it's on of the photos in the headers: www.unclebobsrocketshop.com
One of the first flights of the day was Chris Brown from the UMIST
Rocket-team with his 4" BSD Thor on a Hypertek K240 for another flawless flight, then there was George Rodzinsky
with his Enterprise05 on a Hypertek 835cc system. Another flight of Colin Rowe's 'Emma Lady' went next for a really
superb flight with the 300cc system. Then a break for lunch.
There were so many people wanting more info on the Hybrid launches, that another
mini master class was held for Will Harley & son who were really tempted to fly their BSD 4" Thor. So after
some assistance in getting it Hybrid ready (vent holes etc) it was back to the pad.
First off was George Rodzinsky who had been persuaded to fly his 'Enterprise05'
again, with a young lad (called Richard) who was fascinated by the whole hybrid experience. We were running low on NOX
at that point, but Sean O'Neill came to the rescue with extra NOX in his sexy 20L tank. Thanks, Sean. Cranfield
University came next with another Cert flight, but due to a problem which is being investigated it CATO'd on the rail.
This was unexpected, and I'm sure CTI will get to the bottom of the problem. The next two flights would have been Will
Harley's BSD 'Thor' on a J250 & my LOC 'Hyperloc 835' for a Hypertek L2 cert attempt. Unfortunately Sean's tank was
empty. I'm not actually sure it had much NOX inside in the first place to be honest, but these things happen I suppose.
Later, the Cranfield University team decided to fly their 'Black Sparrow' on a
K660 Pro 54 (2437K660-17A six grain Pro 54 reload).The flight was made late into the evening with the help of Dave
Warman, Damian Hall and Pete Davey with the hardware kindly supplied on loan by Malcolm & Mike from Rockets &
Things. This was a picture perfect flight with perfect recovery. I've only seen a few of these motors flown and they
really do 'rock'. That was the last flight of the weekend. The only thing left was to pack up and go.
We set off from Milson at gone midnight to arrive back "oop north" in
the very early hours of Monday morning. A great event with great people and very well organized.
Once more: Thank-you Black Knights.