10/04/04 Launch

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Jun 7, 2009
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My son and I have been waiting for what seemed like an eternity to have clear fields to launch our rockets over. Last week my friendly neighborhood farmer took his soybeans out and opened the field for us!

Yesterday we got to launch rockets.

Temp was abouty 60 degrees F when we started, SW wind at 5-15mph, clear blue October skies!

First one is the Ariane 5 - you will notice that one of the boosters did not light. As the rocket came off the rail it went about 30' up then veered to the right and hit the ground - the ejection charges went off while the rocket laid in the grass. Rocket was not damaged too badly and is easily repairable. Not a good way to start the day!

D12-0's in the boosters and C6-3 in the main

Ariane lift off pic...
second up was our 2x upscale of the Blue Bird Zero. The rocket is not all painted because it's first flight a few months ago was not good. The chute was too far down in the body on the first flight and did not eject. Rocket came in nose first and severely crumpled the upper BT. When I repaired it I added a baffle about 14" from the top of the BT. It did the trick as this time the flight was fantastic!

4 D12-3 cluster put her up there a long ways, chute deployed nicely and rocket was recovered about 500' from pad undamaged

BBZ lift off...
After the successful flight of the BBZ we were feeling brave and decided to fly our Duck Dodgers rocket for the first time.

This was also our first time using a 29mm motor, an AT F50.
I was really nervous about this one as I had put a LOT of work into this rocket.

Justin hit the launch button and it seemd like the F50 took a long time to light but suddenly with a roar, away she went! All I can say is WOW! Perfect straight flight to about 400', the rocket did some squirrelly twisting just before apogee, chute deployed well after apogee but rocket came in nice and slow on a 30" chute with no damage.

This thing was cool!
We were pumped!!

DD on pad...
DD lift off...

The F50 did not make much smoke but it sure roared!
Next was my Executioner 2 stage - this rocket is my first gap staged. It was built from 2 Executioner kits.

1st stage had central D12-3 and 3 C6-0s. The 18mm motors fit loosely so they would eject and lighten the stage to minimize weight for recovery.

upper stage had D12-3

This was one was our favorite of the day! We flew it 3 times and it worked almost perfectly every time. On the second flight 2 of the 18mm motors in the lower stage did not light so the flight was more of an arc than straight up but it was still a cool flight!

Man what a rush when you see that upper stage light and she takes off almost out of sight!

Jusitn and I were high-fivin'!
Last but not least we flew our Saturn V.

We put an AT F21-4W in it. First copperhaed ignitor did not light the motor. Second ignitor worked and we had a nice straigh boost to about 400' but then the ejection charge went off and blew the entire baffle and mmt assembly right out of the body!
Guess I need to work on my glueing skills. Body tumbled down and broke a fin, could have been worse!

Baffle assembly and the top half of rocket came down under chutes with no damage.

She will fly again.

Here she is as the motor lights...
Steve -

Great pics! Sorry to hear about the Ariane cluster failure... out of curiosity, how were you trying to light the cluster? Clip whip? Wire wrap leads? What sort of battery were you using?
VJP - used a clip whip on a 12V 7A gel cell battery, I must not have had a good connection on the failed motor, the ignitor never even lit. I have to be more careful in checking my connections.
good stuff, great pics of some nice models too!

I like these kind of shots just as much as the "look at my 12' flame" pics
almost forgot about our V2 - we launched it on an AT E18-4W reload, nice take off, but weathercocked some, got maybe 300ft up, wound up coming down ballistic, looked like it was going to hit our barn but about 50' from the ground the ejection charge finally went off and saved the rocket. The rocket landed about 25' S of the barn in the soybean field. Much to our amazement the thing was undamaged!

So what's up with the long delay on these E18-4 reloads? this is not the first time this has happened to me. Makes me wonder if I am doing something wrong.

sorry, no pics of the V2

I forgot also to mention that I tried to video-tape some of the launches. I did it with one of those X10 home security cameras hooked up to a 13" TV/VCR. We just set the camera on the ground and let it record. Pretty cheesy video but at least it convinced my wife that I really do NEED a good camcorder!
Steve- pity about the ignition failure - it could have been a short, too, which is another reason why I like using the wire wrap leads.

Re. the Aerotech bonus delay, ironically all my experience has been good with the RMS motors including the E18-4, but lousy with the single use motors (my own V-2 crashed a few months back on an E15-4 which was more like a -8). One thing I always do, though, is hit the end of the delay grain with a little rough sandpaper (or scratch lightly with a pin); I read somewhere once that this helps it to light more reliably. It seems to work for me, although I can't state for certain that they wouldn't have anyway.

Hope you can rebuild the Ariane and have her back up soon!
Nice pictures. Glad you had a chance to fly. As for the long delay...Just wondering if your getting grease on the delay grain, or if your using a little to much grease. I usually grease all the O rings just so they are shinny, and then clean my hands well before I handle the delay grain. Its just a thought.....Larry
Hey Larry, yeah I had read somewhere here on TRF about using too much grease so I was very stingy with it - barely had a shine on the o-rings. I may try scratching up the surface of the delay charge like VJP suggested - my V2 has had a lot of close calls.

Another beautiful day in NW Iowa today so Justin and I launched rockets when he got home from school -

We launched;

Estes Trans-wing
1.75X Orbital Transport
2x Astron Space Plane
Estes Echostar (modified for gap staging)
Estes Renegade
Estes Executioner
Fliskits Tres Wild
Pen Cam Rocket

pics coming...
we launched our camera rocket on Sunday too, no pics of liftoff but here's a couple from the camera that turned out pretty well.