I had a fantastic time at LDRS, and I want to thank everyone who helped put it all together. It was great to see such a huge crowd in lovely upstate NY. Weather was a little hot and sticky on Sunday, but Friday and Saturday were perfect...especially Saturday when there was just a breath of wind all day and temps were in the high 70s. (I meant to be there Thursday, but a blown starter in the van took care of that good intention.)
For me, the best part was hanging out with fellow hybrid dreamers like Scott of SFSM Industries, Todd of Skyripper, Marty of X-Rockets, Oscar of Star Rocketry, and Marcus Leech, the guru of Propulsion Polymers. I am in awe of all of these guys. Todd's motors were for sale, newly certified; what a thrill, and they flew great. Marty has done the incredible (as usual) by redesigning his fabulous drop-down launch system so that it not only works better, but will be dramatically lower in price. We proudly showed Marcus' six-inch diameter O hybrid motor (on a stand draped with purple velvet) as well as his new PentaMAX J and K set, a 22mm G, and the upcoming "Heavy Lift Hybrid" M motor. A reporter and photographer from Popular Science spent quite a bit of time with us, so we're hoping for some nice publicity.
It was great to see Gary Rosenfield and chat for a while. Those wimps on "Survivor" ought to listen to him sometime, to understand what a REAL survivor has been through. But he's always positive and upbeat, talking about new projects and plans; that's one of the things I admire most about him.
Thanks to the patience and labor of my co-conspirator Ivan Galysh and his lovely wife Marta, we assisted in at least six hybrid M flights. Our ground support gear got some nice comments, especially the new BFV fill valve that can tank up a 2600cc M in a couple of minutes. It was great to have Scott there with his NOX pump charging up the field tanks. My impression is that the concept of having a separate "Hybrid Alley" where people can set up their gassers without interfering with the flow of the rest of the launch worked well. Hybrid fliers got the services they needed promptly, and others didn't have to wait around for them. I'm sure we'll take home "lessons learned" from this.
All in all, it was a splendid event in a beautiful place, with great people showing off some great toys. The weather was better than you could ask for. Others might disagree, but personally I love to fly in a place where neat old airplanes occasionally come gargling overhead; the sound of a big Wright rotary engine is just as musical to me as the honk of a big hybrid. The museum people are wonderful hosts, and since they have a crazy hobby too, they understand us. As for the field itself, I saw a lot of big, impressive, complicated rockets that worked great and came right back down within easy walking distance.
Kudos to the organizers, who worked their tails off so the rest of us could play.