7-4-04 flight report - 2 models flown


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Jan 17, 2009
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Houston, TX
On Friday, I bought several kits from Hobby Lobby, since they were 1/2 off:
Estes Stars and Stripes Starter Kit w/ Launch Pad and Controller
Estes Freaky Flyer (for my 4 year old son)
Estes Patriot Missile (Enduring Freedom edition)
Quest (purple model whose name keeps escaping me - or is just the packaging purple?)

The plan was to fly the Freaky Flyer in our neighborhood rainwater retention pond, which is very roughly the size of a football field.

Initially, I used Testor's non-toxic plastic cement to put the Freaky Flyer (FF) together on Saturday, but by Sunday morning it STILL hadn't all dried. Sunday morning I bought a tube of super glue and used that to finish the FF.

Sunday afternoon, we launched the FF three times using 1/2A engines. Each flight was a success:
1st flight, went up surprisingly fast and high. I missed it and didn't even see the rocket until the ejection charge went off. Nose cone popped, streamer deployed nicely, rocket landed in the retention pond as planned.
2nd flight, I followed it visually all the way. Everything worked perfectly again, rocket landed in the retention pond again. I noticed the body seams were visibly wider than after the first flight, but went ahead with 3rd flight.
3rd flight, launch was perfect, heard ejection charge go off, but nose cone did not come off. Rocket came down fast into retention pond again, but even after searching for about 15 minutes with the help of 2 of my sons and 2 other neighborhood boys, we had no luck finding it again. I'm guessing that it's stuck in the mud or in one of the puddles in the retention pond.

All in all, success! Especially considering that the FF cost $1.94 at half price.

We went back home, my sons went out to play at the neighborhood park, and I decided to put the Stars and Stripes together. (It was the 4th of July, after all!) That took maybe an hour, now that I was using super glue to do it. I also used regular Elmer's white glue for filleting the launch lug. Instead of the normal Estes folded paper shock cort mount, I decided to try something I had read about: I cut two slits in the body tube 1" from the end and fed the shock cord through them, tying off the end of the shock cord with a double knot. Then I super-glued the knot up against the lower slit. I also filled in the area of the slits and shock cord on the outside of the body tube with Elmer's glue, leaving a small, but smooth, raised area there.

Since I wanted the Stars and Stripes (S&S) to land in the retention pond, and since there was some amount of wind (maybe 5-10 mph?), I used A8-3 engines to launch it.
1st flight, good launch, maybe to 75 ft altitude, ejection charge popped nose cone, but streamer did not deploy. I noticed that the streamer had gotten caught on the double knot on the other end of the shock cord, up against the side of the body tube. Streamer was scorched and recovery wadding was still inside body tube.
2nd flight, I was careful not to shove the streamer quite so far down into the body tube, hoping it wouldn't get caught on the shock cord knot again. Success! Streamer deployed perfectly.
3rd flight, same as 2nd, except that rocket landed in a tree. Fortunately, the tree was only about 10 ft tall and I could reach the branch that caught the rocket. Recovered rocket w/ no problems.

Lots of fun! This was only the 2nd and 3rd model rockets I've ever built, and the first time I've launched anything myself. Actually, my sons and one of the neighbor kids did the actual launching.

Later on Sunday, I started assembly of the Patriot missile. I've only gotten as far as putting the motor mount w/ standoff rings together, and gluing the couplers into 2 of the 3 body tube sections. I'm hoping to finish it before Saturday; there's a local club who is having a launch on Saturday morning, and I'd like to take 3 rockets to it: the S&S, the Patriot, and my 7 year old's Estes Skywriter.

(Man, how verbose was that!?!?)


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Jan 18, 2009
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Nice job.

I still use the Estes style shock cord mount for most of my rockets. Simple to do and keeps the inside of the tube nice and smooth to prevent ejection obstructions.

I always smear several coats of white glue over it to keep any little edges from popping up.

Sounds like you're having fun, which is what model rockets are all about.

Once you get used to launching, try snapping some pictures of the launches.

We love pictures on TRF. :D