# 06-29-04 flight report (w/pics)

### Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

#### grimlock3000

##### Well-Known Member
After work today I should be able to get in a good flight session. This will be my first D engine launch, first launch of a rocket I did a bunch of mods on (Big Daddy), first field test of my scratch built 12v controller, and first simultaneous launch of multiple rockets at once. It should make for a great afternoon of flying with some friends if the weather and my schedule hold up.

Here are the 5 rockets ready and waiting to get loaded into the car. I have each one preloaded with recovery wadding and chutes:

This is some stuff I picked up at Michael's with 50% off coupons. The launch pad in the Alpha III starter set will be my second one for the drag racing, and the smaller box is the Estes Blast Off Flight Pack with 24 engines:

12v controller ready to launch some rockets:

And finally the clip whip coming from the launch controller:

Flight report coming soon, hopefully with some good lauch pics

#### kelltym88

##### Well-Known Member
Can't wait to see your pictures. I like the simple design of your controller. I'd like to know more about how you made it. Hope everything goes well.

#### Fore Check

##### Well-Known Member
You might want to unpack those chutes and unfurl them, and shake some of the "memory" out of them before launch - particularly if using plastic or mylar chutes. It only takes a few few minutes and it will greatly reduce the possibility of a failed chute opening (I've had this problem before.... :kill: )

Also, don't forget to clip your unused cluster clips to something non-conductive (a scrap of balsa or other fins stock or a small wood dowel works nicely) when launching less than 3 engines at once, so that you don't short out your launcher if they "accidentally" come in contact with each other (I've had this happen too.... :kill: )

Good luck, blue skies, and calm winds today!

#### grimlock3000

##### Well-Known Member
Launch got rescheduled to 7/1/2004. That is really too bad because yesterday and today would have have been perfect launch days... Low 70s temp, a clear sky, and barely a breeze. I can only hope tomorrow is just as good

kelltym88, you can find out all the information about my controller and how to make one here:

It would cost you about $15 ->$25 for everything and the controller can easily light up multiple igniters without an issue. The way I built mine with thick wire and epoxy, it should hold up really well over time. Feel free to ask me any questions you may have.

Fore Check, I was already getting a bit worried about my plastic chutes sitting in the tubes for too long. Last night I bought some baby powder for my plastic chutes and repacked them into the tubes after powdering them. Then I tossed in some more baby powder for good measure All of the rockets have pretty fat body tubes so the chutes are very loosely packed. If any of the rockets have an issue in the first few launches, I will repack everything on the field. Thanks for the good tip on the scrap balsa to prevent shorting out the clip ends.

#### JRThro

TRF Supporter
I'm really looking forward to your report on the multiple launches and on your launch controller.

I'm very new to the hobby/sport, and I'm planning to build my own launch controller, which now will be based in major part on your design, since you included Radio Shack part numbers. I read the various questions you asked in the forum before you built your controller, so pretty much all of the questions I would have had are already answered. Did you include the option of either internal battery power or external batter? I don't recall, and since I'm in the middle of this reply, I can't really go back and find out. Optional internal/external power is one thing I'm going to include in my controller, with a jack in the side to connect the external battery, if one is being used. I'm also planning to include a "Power On/Off" switch and LED to indicate if power is present, plus the continuity LED, plus the pushbutton launch switch.

Here's the logic of my proposed switches and LED's:
Power switch off - no LED's lit.
Power switch on - Power LED lit. Power is present.
Power switch and Arm switch on - Power LED and Arm/Continuity LED lit. Continuity is good.
Power, Arm, and Launch switches on - Rocket launches.

#### Max_Power004

##### Well-Known Member
Nice controller grimlock can't wait to hear how the launch goes. Let's have some sweet pics!!

#### JRThro

TRF Supporter
I forgot to mention that I'm planning to have both the optional external battery and the wiring to the alligator clips be connected to the launch controller by plug-and-jack. That somehow seems cleaner to me than having the external wiring permanently hardwired to the box.

Of course I'll use different jacks for the two connections so I won't be able to accidentally plug the wiring into the wrong jack. Making it physically impossible will be much better for me than just marking the jacks or remembering which one is which. If safety is the key, making it impossible to screw up is always a good thing.

#### grimlock3000

##### Well-Known Member
JRThro, my controller I built is not large enough for an internal power supply. The type of battery would would normally want to use in a 12V system is a bit larger than something you would want to hold in your hand Using rechargable AAs would not work very well because they can not supply a lot of amps to the igniters. Battery packs designed for use with RC electric motors and power tools will work just fine, however while those cells can provide a lot of amps, but they are not cheap The sealed lead acid battery I am using is the same type you would find in a motorcyle. It can provide a lot of current and was only \$10.

Having removable plugs for the wires is a great idea. I was planning to do that to mine but decided to leave it out at first since I can always add the removable plugs later for a pretty low cost. As is is now, the whole thing fits right into my flight box without an issue if I spend more than 10 seconds wrapping the cables. You can use banana plugs for one side and RCA type plugs on the other to prevent any possibility of plugging in wires wrong. The beauty of building a controller yourself and knowing how it works is you can modify it to suit your situation. My current design was to make something as effective and safe as possible without being cost prohibitive or complicated. Once you get the basic idea is down, the sky is the limit with additions and new features

Fore Check, nice idea with the eternal cluster wiring box. I can see how that would be very handy when you have multiple rockets spread on a pad or only want to use one/two at a time. I could very likely attempt something like that in the future, with the same design as yours.

#### grimlock3000

##### Well-Known Member
Today's launch went very well. The local forecast was calling for isolated thunderstorms all over the area but we went out anyway. First up, I can say the the new launch controller works awesome! Ignitions happened in an instant and it really seemed like the rockets jumped off the pad instead of sizzling for a split second and then moving. Multiple rocket launches all happened perfectly. Here was the first test of the day with a Baby Bertha on a A8-3 and some Qubits on A10s:

Everything took off without an issue. Shoving a launch rod in the ground is obviously not reccomended so we did this in an area with damp grass and really pushed the rods into some tough soil to make sure nothing would move. Also, we determined only the Quibits were suited for this test for obvious reasons (they are free and do not fly far). We then moved on to some single rocket launches to test the winds, here is the BB on a solo flight, B6-4:

The wind was _dead_. Rockets were launching straight up and falling within 20 yards of the pad everytime. After a few of these, I decided to pull up the Big Daddy and my 3/16 launch rod. The liftoff and boost were perfect! Being the first D rocket I have launched, I was really happy with the smoke and noise along with seeing the big rocket take off. I was using a D12-5 and ejection happened perfectly at apogee. My brand new Thustline 18 inch nylon chute came out and took air perfectly. I could write a book about how great this was! Then, something happened. In some freak weather pattern likely caused by the thunderstorms in the area, the wind picked up to about 15 mph. Within seconds and blew my Big Daddy right off the edge of the field and into a tree about 75 feet up. We stood there waiting for the wind to hit just right to blow it out of the tree. Instead, it just got more tangled in the branches. Zero chance of recovery, here is the last pic I got of it:

I was pretty bummed after than and went back to a couple single rocket launches, here is C6-5 in an Estes Paveway III:

Then, it was time to break out the drag racing, first up, Paveway III vs BB on B6-4s

Here is this launch as it happened, the Baby Bertha just barely beat the Paweway III to a higher apogee:

We figured the Superbird and the Paveway III would be a better match up on some C6-3s. We lined them up with another Qubit, but pulled the Qubit off the pad for safetey before trying to fire it along with the other rockets:

Now here is a sweet pic coming up. This is the Paweway III and Superbird just as they left the pads. The Paweway took off faster intially as you can see here, but the Superbird is literally within inches of it:

#### grimlock3000

##### Well-Known Member
Here is the same race, I was able to get a lucky shot just before burnout:

The Paveway was barely higher at burnout, but the Superbird beat it out in the coast phase by virtue of being more aerodynamic. The final flight of the day was a Patriot that my wife painted and launched. It came down right in the middle of a dirt road, luckily cars barely go down the road so it did not get run over before I got there:

I am still bitter about losing the Big Daddy since I built the rocket to be a 24mm workhorse and lost it in one flight. I would have shot any other two rockets into the trees to keep the Big Daddy around After launching, I went to Wal Mart and bought myself another Fat Boy to feel better Now I have two Fat Boys in the packages just waiting to be built. I am going to setup one Fat Boy with a 3x18 cluster, and the other with a 24mm engine mount. Should be fun

#### Fore Check

##### Well-Known Member
Those drag race pics are *fantastic*!

Now that I have a spare pad, I think I'll have to copy that idea and do some drag racing myself.

Too bad on the Bid Daddy. It always stinks to lose a rocket, especially on its maiden flight.

#### slim_t

##### Well-Known Member
Great pics!

Sorry about the Big Daddy. If it makes you feel any better, on my first Big Daddy launch, it drifted into my pond. I had to paddle out in my boat to retrieve it, but at least I got it back. Had to replace the guts, but the BT, NC, and fins were ok.
And my first Mean Machine launch (also my first D) it drifted out over a pine forest. Dang wind. Never saw it again. But that was before I knew of this forum and EMRR. Now I know I should have used a smaller chute.

If by any chance you glued in your shock cord mount the Estes way, as soon as it gets wet your booster will fall out of the tree, but probably not the NC.

Those drag race pics are awesome. I wish I could get that good with my camera.

Tim

#### kelltym88

##### Well-Known Member
Awesome drag race pictures!!! Bummer about your Big Daddy. I lost my Magnum this year to R.E.T. I feel your pain. Again, great in the air shots!!!

Hello,
Nice pictures! That is what launching model rockets is all about. After looking at the pictures, I am ready to squeeze in a launch later today. I especially liked the idea of launching two rockets at the same time. I never thought of that.

Best Regards,
Brian

#### 11bravo

##### Well-Known Member
How DO you guys get those pictures?
I haven't tried it yet but imagine all I'll get when I do is a picture of a launch pad shrouded in smoke.
The pics were GREAT!
I know the pain of losing a rocket on a maiden flight; last month I lost an Estes Eliminator on an E engine.
Stupid thing is that the packaging said it was supposed to have a 24" chute, but it had a 12". {Estes must know me better than I know myself }
I had my buddy stop by and pick up a 24" on his way to our launch and put it in while standing at the launch pad.
Lifted off great. Flew great. Floated off to never be seen again even better.
If I'd used the 12" they gave me, I would have gotten it back and the oats it would have landed in would have prevented damage.

Greg

#### slim_t

##### Well-Known Member
Yeah, Estes realized later that the 24" chute was way too big and changed it to the 12", but evidentally didn't change the directions or packaging. Luckily I saw someone else's drift away before I launched mine. But he got it back. On his way home he saw it laying in someones yard about 1/2 mile from the launch site. Talk about luck. It's probably better to use a streamer when using E motors. I launched mine a couple weeks ago on an E with a 12" chute and still almost lost it. It covered about 30 acres of field and landed within about 50 ft of the tree line.

Tim