(October 8, 2011 – Aurora, OH)

Pathfinder performed wonderfully in three test flights using dual deployment technology, but in a small BT-60 diameter airframe.

Pathfinder on the launch pad.

The tests were a raging success!  Only two missions were planned.  After the second mission, we found that there was some minor wear-and-tear on one of the ejection charge canister holders. A simple masking tape fix was enough to prepare Pathfinder for an encore mission.

Here are some quick data points:

ALS-036 (Maiden flight) Max altitude: 1007′ Speed: 240 MPH Main deploy: 500′
ALS-037 (Second flighy) Max Altitude: 1056′ Speed: 265 MPH Main Deploy: 500′
ALS-038 (bonus flight)  Max Altitude: 902′  Speed: 220 MPH Main Deploy: 400′

Pathfinder lifting off on the encore mission ALS-038

All three flights were met with cheers as the main parachute deployed on target at the pre-programmed altitude, and Pathfinder floated home with a nice and gentle landing.

Since Pathfinder is equipped with a Perfect Flite “Stratologger” as a flight computer, she had an additional role.

Missions ALS-037 and ALS-038 were spotted by the MTMA optical tracking crew.  They were working as contributors to a national effort across many of the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) club chapters in the country
to verify the accuracy of the peak altitude calculations from the Stratologger.  This data is needed to qualify the Stratologger for use in NAR altitude competitions.

Pathfinder lifting off on it's maiden voyage, mission ALS-036

In that regard, we found the Stratologger to be completely in line with the tracking crew’s calculations, which were derived from the tried and true method of optical triangulation.

More information to come as I crunch through the data from these missions!

Enjoy the video below of the maiden flight of Pathfinder!

Best to view full screen, maximum resolution (1080)

((( )))