[NRVR-Members] IMPORTANT Update on Kentland Farm launches

Weeks, Thomas t.weeks at vt.edu
Thu Mar 10 12:27:51 CST 2022

Thanks for following up on this Bob.

In short.. we would love to have a bunch of members come out and fly with us at our March 26th launch to get  as many flights (and data logged) as possible.  If you have a GPS logger..  please use it so we can plot as flights as possible via GPS data (more objective).

The calendar on the website is current, but don't have the new limits listed (I'll add that later today).

If someone wants to run a group motor order, please announce it here.

From: Bob Schoner <bschoner56 at vt.edu>
Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2022 12:44 PM
To: nrvr-members at nrvr.org <nrvr-members at nrvr.org>
Cc: NRVR Officers <officers at nrvr.org>
Subject: IMPORTANT Update on Kentland Farm launches

On February 26 a team from Virginia Tech launched a single high power rocket.  The flight was great ...until it landed in a power line and knocked out power to the farm.  Explaining that this was again, something that doesn't happen often seemed a hollow explanation. I am not hiding the details but for now I have reached an agreement with the farm that we need to reduce the altitude and mass of rockets until we get some hard data on wind and landing patterns.

What follows is an email I sent to Virginia Tech farm leadership and the AOE faculty advisors. If this is not clear please contact me and I will do my best to explain my agreement with the management of Kentland Farm.

I went to Kentland last week and talked with farm manager Brooks Saville for almost 2 hours. Here is a quick summary of what we talked about and agreed to:
Brooks wants to allow students to fly rockets at Kentland, BUT he MUST protect farm property and infrastructure, and if there is a risk to either we will need to find other options.
We discussed setting a lower weight and altitude limit for now and some other criteria for rocket launches

        *   We will set up and launch closer to the river, just across the road from the airstrip
           *   We will allow rockets up to 10 pounds to altitudes under 2,000 feet above ground (basically L1 and below)
           *   We will check winds above ground with small helium balloons before flights over 1000 feet altitude (not every rocket)
           *   We will collect data on rocket weight, altitude, wind speed, direction and landing location
           *   This data will be used to evaluate higher mass and altitude limits over time, POSSIBLY one L2 type rocket per launch

We may have other options closer to the back of the farm, but I am not going to rush expanding our current limits.  My goal is to keep all rockets on the other side of the road and have recovery happen in the lower fields and have nothing cross the road to the side with the dairy complex.

My expectation is that we will launch L1 type rockets, under 10 pounds and under 2,000 feet altitude. After we get some amount of flight and landing data, about 15-20 flights worth, then I may allow one or two higher altitude flights to get additional data points if previous flights do not pose a risk of landing across the road. For March and April, I would not expect any flights over J impulse or 3500 feet altitude.  My hope is that we may be able to fly a few L2 rockets before the end of April.

The bottom line is this: I will make choices to lose rockets rather than lose the field.  In other words if there is a chance your rocket will land on the dairy side of the road, I will angle it towards the river. If you are not comfortable with that then the choice is up to you whether to fly it and risk possibly going in the river, or not to fly it.  I will not risk another incident caused by a rocket at Kentland to shut us down for good.

Your understanding and cooperation is critical for the future of rocketry on Virginia Tech property.


Bob Schoner  Assistant Manager - Advanced Engineering Design Lab (AEDL)
Virginia Tech | College of Engineering
501 Industrial Park Road
Blacksburg, VA 24060
540.231.1457, bschoner56 at vt.edu<mailto:bschoner56 at vt.edu>
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