3 Estes motors CATO on the same day from the same pack.

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Pepe Le Pew

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Today's flying day was marred by no less than three CATO's from the same package. My flying buddies and I took to the field to have some fun. We ended up losing three rockets today. Hey, we build them with known expiration dates, but cato's....huuugh! The motors, Estes E-9-6, have always performed admirably, but not today. The first victim was my trusty, high flying Vagabond, on takeoff the motor malfunctioned and destroyed the rocket. Thinking it was just a bad motor, we put another E motor from the same pack into a Red Flare. The explosion knocked the phone from my hands. I have placed a link here but be warned, there is profanity on the video, sorry for that. The third, we thought, let's just light it off outside of a rocket in case it cato's also, and boy are we glad we did. The explosion was louder than my handgun! Of the three Arapahoe E's one was lost

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWQXplKEPE4&feature=youtu.be

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orV4tYq2IAQ&feature=youtu.be

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cwbullet

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E-9s are notorious for Catos.
 

KennB

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E-9s are notorious for Catos.
Notorious, maybe. But without data, nothing will happen.

Pepe, please report your losses to Estes, both motors and kits, and fill out a MESS form. Estes will do what they can to make you whole again and the MESS form is the best way we have of tracking reliability.

Sorry for your mishaps. I'm glad when you dropped your phone, it landed in the grass; those E motors can be loud when they mis-perform.
 

aerostadt

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Can you list the serial numbers?

The bad ones I have for E-9's are as follows:
09-04-12
06-28-11
06-14-01 A

However, these are from several years ago. Your serial numbers may be different.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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Sorry for the bad luck and the loss of the rockets. That's a tough day.

i think I've been very lucky with E9's and E12's and all BP motors in general, because I've never personally had a BP motor cato in all my years of rocketry that I can recall. Definitely not in recent years. My only Cato was an Estes composite. That said, I've seen a lot of E9 and E12 catos. At one of our club launches earlier this year we had so many E catos that the LCO started telling everyone to get ready for the Cato when the launch card listed a BP E. Five, four, three, two, one, BOOM!

I still like the E9 and E12 motors and have a big stock to work through, so I guess I'll just have to push my luck and hope for the best.
 

Bluegillbronco2

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I heard somewhere that when droped or handled roughly the BP can crack and form holes that can cause these CATO. I guess it is always possible that somere in shipping or you handling it that they got droped and cracked. Maybe someone should do some tests were they smash them then static fire to see it it is true.
 

Woody's Workshop

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I heard somewhere that when droped or handled roughly the BP can crack and form holes that can cause these CATO. I guess it is always possible that somere in shipping or you handling it that they got droped and cracked. Maybe someone should do some tests were they smash them then static fire to see it it is true.
I can see where shipping could do this if the motors were exposed to prolonged freezing temps as in theory, it would shrink, get harder (more brittle) and if not packed well could receive a damaging blow.
In normal temps, it seams to me nothing less than a blow from a hammer would crack the propellant. The casings are pretty darn tuff.
I should take an unused and used motor to the range and try to to penetrate the casing is a .22 & .22 mag to see what happens out of sheer curiosity.

Like Thirsty, 46 years and I have never had a BP CATO.
 

Charles_McG

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I had 2 E12s CATO on me this weekend. Same flight - 3 motor cluster with an E9. The E9 was fine - just underpowered for the rocket without the rest of the cluster.

Lot A 11 15 11.

(Does a CATO count as burned Ns for the Tally thread?)
 

aerostadt

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I had 2 E12s CATO on me this weekend. Same flight - 3 motor cluster with an E9. The E9 was fine - just underpowered for the rocket without the rest of the cluster.

Lot A 11 15 11.
Charles, that is the same bad E12 lot number that I have on my list. I, also, have a bad E12 lot number A 08-18-11.
 

EXPjawa

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At this point, I'm looking at building a simple, MD, 3FNC type rocket that's cheap and quasi-disposable for the sole purpose of burning off the E9's that are still in my box...
 

Daddyisabar

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If one motor CATOs and you still have two left in the pack you are taking a real chance using another from the same pack in a rocket. Best just to have fun with static tests with the rest of the pack. Some will work, some won't. Static testing is fun on an old Estes Porta Pad. Had a bunch of old D12s from an Estate that had not been stored properly. At least a 33% Cato rate but fun static testing until the Porta pad gave out and the 1/4 rod bent. The power of the CATO is awesome! Fuel grains burning in the air, little bits of poopy clay flying around, folks in a parking lot across a vacant lot looking for a gunman.
 

Bat-mite

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I have two E9-4 and probably four or five E9-6 that I don't know what to do with. I can't ship them, and I won't use them. I don't even want to waste igniters on them, but I know I can't throw them in the trash, either.

Maybe somebody at a launch will want them.
 

crossfire

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The E9s have been problems for years. We all know it but what has been done? Nothing. I have never seen one not cato.
 

chrisudy

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I have two E9-4 and probably four or five E9-6 that I don't know what to do with. I can't ship them, and I won't use them. I don't even want to waste igniters on them, but I know I can't throw them in the trash, either.

Maybe somebody at a launch will want them.
Soak in water to destroy, then toss in the trash.

From Estes FAQ https://www.estesrockets.com/customer-service/faq/

Can I use my older engines?
Engines do not have a shelf life. You can use old engines if the engines were always stored in a cool dry area, and never exposed to humidity and extreme heat or cold (garage or attic) you can use them. However, you will also have to watch for erosion of the clay cap and the propellant showing on the sides. My last recommendation is due to the age of the engine. I would never put the engine in a rocket that is dear to me and irreplaceable. If these motors do not meet these recommendations I would soak them in water and destroy them.


Soaking a small quantity of model rocket engines in water until they disintegrate will render the engines harmless. The non-colored paper casings will become unwound. The glue with which they are held together is organic and non-toxic. The intimate mixture comprising the propellant, delay and ejection charge will separate and fall to the bottom of the water as will the natural clay material comprising the nozzle and cap. These remnants can be safely disposed of in an outside trash receptacle. Each of the components is basically harmless alone and is not dangerous to people or the landfill in small quantities. If the components are left together to dry completely, the remnants are likely to be very flammable but should not pose a great hazard so long as they are not "remixed".
 

tightwad

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Sorry for your cato's. Unfortunately cato's do happen and they can ruin a days flying. I had four in one day and it was in front of a gathering of friends (All D-12's). One of my friends had flown rockets in his youth and he was my only supporter, but that sob sure laughed his but off.

After looking at your pictures, I believe that the rockets can be re-built and fly again. I have had cato's that blew out the motor tube and centering rings. After expressing my frustrations to my recovery dog I went home and sanded the interior of the bt, cut new cr's and glued them and a new motor tubes into the airframe. They have flown again.
 

aerostadt

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Aero, is this list published somewhere?
Charles, I don't think that the list is formally published anywhere except in this thread and other threads on TRF. I have listed all the E9 and E12 lot numbers that I know of on this thread. That is why if Pepe knows of some other bad lots, I would like to know the numbers.

Like Thirsty, I have E12's in my inventory that I will be burning through and it would be good to know if there are more bad lots out there. The E12 is really a good motor when it works. It is easy to ignite and delivers enough power for most mid-power models. I used it in my Double Shuttle as a cluster before it gave up the ghost and it often worked good as a mid-power cluster.
 

cwbullet

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I do not understand about the E9s. I have flown a lot of these and just recently started having CATOs. I did fill out a report.
 

Kruegon

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Sorry for the bad luck and the loss of the rockets. That's a tough day.

i think I've been very lucky with E9's and E12's and all BP motors in general, because I've never personally had a BP motor cato in all my years of rocketry that I can recall. Definitely not in recent years. My only Cato was an Estes composite. That said, I've seen a lot of E9 and E12 catos. At one of our club launches earlier this year we had so many E catos that the LCO started telling everyone to get ready for the Cato when the launch card listed a BP E. Five, four, three, two, one, BOOM!

I still like the E9 and E12 motors and have a big stock to work through, so I guess I'll just have to push my luck and hope for the best.
I've never had a CATO on an Estes motor. In 25 years I've only had 3 do a fast burn. Lost those rockets to heat damage. Warped and reformed tubes. Never an actual explosion. No true CATOs. And I fly a lot of E9 motors.
 

Bat-mite

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I've never had a CATO on an Estes motor. In 25 years I've only had 3 do a fast burn. Lost those rockets to heat damage. Warped and reformed tubes. Never an actual explosion. No true CATOs. And I fly a lot of E9 motors.
I've had two E9s cato in under three years.
 

EXPjawa

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So, clearly there's a lot of variability at play here. Lots of people claiming they've experienced a lot failures, lots of others saying they've never seen it first hand and have flown them a lot. Which makes me wonder what other factors are involved; if this is a case of a generally good product that is affected by specific mitigating factors under certain circumstances, then on the whole the product is reliable if we can identify what those factors are. But there's so much stigma associated with the E9 especially, that it is tough to overcome. Is the information collected by the MESS reports put some place that users can access, so that they can be informed about what to avoid or what factors need to be considered?
 

crossfire

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I would guess 98% of flyers have never heard of a MESS report. Let alone look for info on a certain motor.
 

Flash

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E9-6 Cato cases.JPGE9-6 Cato case with ejection charge cap.JPG
I also had three catos from same pack of E9-6. Total clay nozzle failure each time, blowed the total end out of the paper motor casing. Lost two rockets from the deal. I have a pic of one during flight. Here is two of the cato motors. The first pic shows the nozzle ends and the second pic show one with the ejection clay cap still in place, the ejection charge went through the motor with that one and in both directions on the other one. I don't have the three motor that cato from this lot. The Lot numbers are on the side and these motors were kept with over 30 A-C motors of the same age together indoors in NC. The other A-C motors were used during the time these motors were used without a problem. Sorry for photo direction, they are correct on the computer but 90 off here, tried to correct but couldn't. I have the Big Daddy Cato pic to but it looks bad side ways so I didn't post it here.
:mad:
 
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samb

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So, clearly there's a lot of variability at play here. Lots of people claiming they've experienced a lot failures, lots of others saying they've never seen it first hand and have flown them a lot. Which makes me wonder what other factors are involved; if this is a case of a generally good product that is affected by specific mitigating factors under certain circumstances, then on the whole the product is reliable if we can identify what those factors are. But there's so much stigma associated with the E9 especially, that it is tough to overcome. Is the information collected by the MESS reports put some place that users can access, so that they can be informed about what to avoid or what factors need to be considered?
The MESS reports are processed by the motor testing folks with CAR, NAR, and Tripoli. This old post from a former NAR president is the best explanation of how the system works that I've found (to this day, I believe): https://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?97445-NAR-PREZ-MESS-Reporting-Background

To answer your question, the information is not generally available. I think that can change through some parliamentary process within the three national organization if enough members wish it so.
 

Pepe Le Pew

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Thanks all for your help and suggestion. I filled out a MESS report and sent Estes a copy and I do have the serial #'s, I will post them later tonight, still at work!
Hope to be flying again Saturday!
Thanks everybody!!!

Pepe
 

Charles_McG

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Two notes:

First, I looked back in my research notes and found that I had made a list of known problem E9 and E12 batches this winter by using the by-motor search on rocketreviews.com. I found all 5 lots mentioned in this thread, and no more.

Second, Christine at Estes asked for a picture of the CATOed motor itself. I had to pull it out of the garbage, but I could send pics of 1 of 2. Plan ahead. Don't pitch the casing right away.
 
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