Delano, MN

Well it turned out to be a beautiful day for a launch over in Delano, MN with my good buddy Bruce. Bruce and I launched the final Yavin IV last year, the one that was lost in Taylors Falls, so we had some baggage we needed to take care of. Naturally there was some concern about launching from the doomed Delano, and Bruce thinking he was bad luck, but we were determined to conquer all the bad vibes and have a successful launch.

We launched from right over by the Delano Water Tower, as we felt comfortable the wind direction would take us away from the tower and over the power lines no problem, yet still provide a great opportunity to get a shot of Bruce’s house from above… which we successfully accomplished.

We sat in the park and watched it sail up over 25,000ft before it slipped behind a cloud, obscuring our vision. After that point it was so small we didn’t bother trying to find it again and just hopped in the car to go get coffee along the chase route. Its fun when the days are that clear and you can watch it get that high.

So we hit up a local coffee shop in Waconia and were enjoying our drinks, watching it travel towards Prior Lake via APRS.fi on our iPad. After a couple minutes in the comfy chairs, we saw it drop in altitude quite drastically and we realized it had burst… quite early. We hit a max altitude of 88,403ft up in the air, over near Prior Lake, then it sailed gently back down to the ground via the new bigger parachute we’d attached. As we watched its descent we got rather excited as it got to nearly ground level, as it was headed right over a golf course. What a perfect place to land. After the SPOT kicked in we saw it should be right on the edge of someone’s lawn right off the edge of a tee box at the golf course. So, we decided to hit up the residence and see if we could snag it that way. The couple was more than happy to let us wanter around (they even got out their camera and shot some pics of us), but just as we thought to ourselves “This is gonna be an easy one,” we discovered the BESPIN II high up in a tree. Fortunately the owner had an extension ladder and a 10ft pruner we were able to use to cut it all down and go on about our way. Aside from almost falling from about 20 ft up on more than one occasion during the cut down process, it was a fairly simple extraction process.

The up side was it was a beautiful day, we had a blast chasing it, the recovery was easier than some in the past and we got some GREAT video. The DOWN side was that we didn’t get as high as we’d hoped and we had some serious issues with fog on the still camera lens for some reason and got NO photos of any value from above the clouds. We think the new hole we added for the Sonic BeepX device was just enough to cause the fogging issues combined with the high humidity in the air that day was too much for the lone desiccant packet. So we’re going to try and solve for that this upcoming Friday when we launch again.

Either way, still a great way to spend a Saturday and we got some really great video from the launch. Here’s a fun little snippet from the day as well as a Google Earth KMZ file of the flight path & altitude.

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