We have a rocket launch scheduled tomorrow, Saturday, September 28, at the Rantoul Aviation Center.
Setup will begin at 12:00 noon, probably (but not guaranteed - see below) on the east side of the airfield just inside the perimeter fence. Flying can continue until sunset at 6:40 PM. Our waiver allows flying rockets up to 10,000' MSL (about 9,250' from ground level). "K" motors are about the maximum practical on this field.
I normally check several different forecasts before each launch, but usually quote the "official" National Weather Service text in these messages. Rarely have the different sources disagreed so much or predicted such wild changes in wind direction and other conditions during a day:
This is from the NWS:
Saturday - A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 78. West southwest wind 6 to 8 mph becoming northeast in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
The Weather Channel says:
Scattered thunderstorms in the morning. Cloudy skies late. High 81F. SW winds shifting to NE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%.
(Wind NE 10 mph gusts to 23 mph)
I'm not entirely sure what to expect, especially in light of that 180° wind shift from SW to NE right about the time we're scheduled to set up. This may make it difficult to decide between the two possible launch site locations on the Rantoul field. It's also possible that wind, rain or low clouds may interfere with our plans. (Note that TWC included 23 mph wind gusts in the detailed supplement to their forecast.) I'll try to stay optimistic until I post the final decision about the launch here shortly after 11:00 AM tomorrow. You can call me after that time at 217-840-1678 for an update.
Our next scheduled launch will be Saturday, October 12, also at Rantoul.
Greg Smith N9LHI
NAR 15881 * TRA 1974
Director of Operations, Central Illinois Aerospace