Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Dungeon's Top 10 of 2008

All and all, 2008 was a momentous year here in the Dungeon. On a personal basis, it started poorly but ended on a high note. But, since this is a rocketry blog, my top 10 is limited to on-topic stuff. Even though I build lots of neat stuff this year, I'll start with the two simple rockets that really made my year.

#1 - The XFY-1 Pogo. I had a model of this tail-sitting VTOL plane as a little kid and have been fond of it ever since. This year, I finally got a kit and converted it for flight. I have an extra too :)

#2 The Semroc V2. When Semroc came out with a clone of the old Estes K-22 V2, I couldn't resist. As a young rocketeer, that was my favorite Estes kit. Mine finally was eaten by an arroyo. Years later, I found its remains while out plinking with my .22. Now, I have two!

#3 - NARAM 50 - Day 1. This year, I was fortunate to have NARAM in my back yard. I enjoyed this more than any other launch that I have attended. I attended one LDRS (LDRS 2000 in Orangeburg, SC where I got my L2) and, other than that, the MDRA Red Glare launches have been the biggest I've attended. I always thought that HPR launches would overall provide me with the most enjoyment. Evidently, I was wrong.

#4 - NARAM 50 - Day 4. You can see I liked NARAM enough that all three of the days that I attended made the list. I even got to meet and talk with Vern Estes after the crowds around him thinned.

#5 - NARAM 50 - Day 7. Day 7's highlight was meeting and flying with EMRR, after 8 - 9 years of helping with his site. In his typically generous style, he sent me a Heavenly Hobbies Backdraft to build and fly at NARAM. We got two flights on it before it was banned by incoming NAR President Trip Barber :eek:

#6 - Art Applewhite's spinning things. This year, Art Applewhite got into monocopters big time and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to Beta-test a bunch of them.

#7 - Don Brown's Build Sessions - Early in 2008, Don hosted a series of build sessions. Late in 2008 also, but have have missed all of the latter :( These are good fun with friends, food and rocket building.

(No drinking was involved, honest!)

# 8 - Lucky 13 launch days. I blogged about this too much already, but I can't believe I got in 13 beautimous launch days. Read the reports here.

2008 Total Flights = 140 - 11.7 Flights/Month

# 9 - 40 EMRR Reviews. These are not so much the end to the means but they are a good metric on the activity in the Dungeon. Some are non-build reviews and I didn't go through my documentation to find how many rockets I actually built. On the other hand, a lot of my builds were Beta test rockets that were not subject for review. It was a busy year!

#10 - The Hat of Death appears in Sport Rocketry. The Hat is my most flown rocket and has become something of a signature for my non-conventional rocketry escapades. Yeah, I know this #10 sounds weak. Hey! This is my list!