Spectacular new aerial photos!

More than a month after my Nevada trip, the torn muscle in my leg had finally healed and I was chomping at the bit to fly some rockets again.
So I made some arrangements and headed out to the desert last week for a brief overnight trip.
I had hoped to get there in time to launch a couple rockets prior to sunset, but got delayed. I just barely managed to get a two-stager prepped and ready to fly in time, on an I284 in the booster and an I211 in the second stage. Great flight, but the camera jammed at liftoff -- no pics. Took quite a while to find the booster, which ended up in a large ocotillo.
The next morning I had three rockets ready to launch simultaneously. The biggest was a 2.6" diameter two-stage, with a J180 booster and J135 sustainer. Next was a single stage 2.6" rocket on an I211; and finally a 1.8" rocket with an Ellis I69 and four D12's in strap on boosters.
The two-stage flew perfectly, reaching an altitude of 8144 feet while taking some of the most eye-popping aerial photos I've ever gotten.
The single stage rocket also flew fine but again, the camera jammed at liftoff. Usually that's a pretty rare failure mode with this combination of rocket and motor. Apparently the motor lit just as the camera was snapping a photo, with its lens extended, and the sudden jolt caused the lens mechanism to jam.
The 1.8" rocket had an magnetic apogee detector to deploy the chutes, and for some unknown reason it failed to fire the charge. The rocket came in ballistic from at least 3000 feet and was destroyed.
About an hour after launching those three rockets, I fired off one more small one -- a good flight with some pretty decent pics.
The rest of the day was spent recovering everything. A RocketHunter tracking transmitter was attached to the camera payload of the two-stage rocket, and performed impressively. The camera and rocket landed over a mile way in the middle of a maze of narrow canyons, yet the tracker lead me right to it! The hard part was finding my way through the maze -- if I'd been able to walk straight towards the transmitter, I could have recovered it in short order. Once I had recovered the camera, I then had to seach the surrounding area unaided, to find the second stage rocket.
Here are the pics:
http://albums.photo.epson.com/j/AlbumIndex?u009006&a0098271&f=0
Enjoy!
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Really nice Ray!
Whatever you spent was worth it. ; )
Randy www.vernarockets.com
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Very nice indeed!
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BTW I will be at PlasterBlaster and will have plenty of my best pics on hand, including some of these recent shots.
I probably won't do a lot of flying but if anyone has a large rocket and would be willing to let me fly a camera rocket alongside it, look me up.

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Where is Tapiado Bluffs? From the pics, it looks like Anza Borrego or vicinity. I googled the name and only came up with your photo page.
David Takemoto-Weerts NAR #80818, L1 Davis, CA
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snipped-for-privacy@ucdavis.edu wrote:

It's in western Imperial Valley. A lot of these remote sites don't have names so I just have to pick a name for it.
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