Don't you hate stories that end this way? I sure do. I have to many rocket stories that end with "Rocket Misplaced @ Black Rock"
Fast forward to Balls 2017. I'm not having the best of luck with a couple of my flights. I'm just getting back from recovering one of them and Becky yells over "hey Tony I think they found one of your rockets". I've always felt that if I misplaced enough rocket out at Black Rock, someday I might start finding some of them. Anyway, I go strolling over to the LCO table and as I approach I see it!
My first thought was..It worked! It was fully intact. I carried it back to camp and looked it over. The chutes and shock cords are now garbage after laying out in the elements for 8 years. I had to use a hacksaw to open up the electronics bay. It looked pretty good.
The Beeline GPS is still wrapped in it's foam padding. I realized Greg with Beeline is just a few camps down from me. I take it to him and told him the story. He was amazed that it's is such great shape. He kept it to tinker with it at home. I put the rocket back together and I was a happy camper.
Once back at home I turned my attention to the motor case. The closures came right off as did the fin can. The 2 piece liner slides right out. Status of motor case - usable! The fin can looked great. Status - minor sanding = usable! Body tubes and nose cone - maybe usable. Next up were the electronics. What's the chance of them working? I started with the ARTS 2. I got it hooked up and had issues with the program seeing the ARTS. (which is a very normal issue with them) With just the right turn this on, plug that in and open this up, it connects and downloads the flight data. Next was the G-WiZ LCX. It had some corrosion issues that I cleaned up with electrical parts cleaner and then some denatured Alcohol. Plugged in a battery and....nothing. Not a single beep, no sparks or even that magic smoke that's normally inside these kinds of things. It's dead.
I got an email from Greg with the GPS file. It shows that the Beeline lost signal a few seconds into the flight. It re-acquired at 14,000 on it's way down. It landed 6 miles to the Northeast from where it was launched. The ARTS data was just under 41,000 feet mach 2.3 and 20G's with a nice burn profile.
So, What did I learn? #1. Don't give up so fast on the tracking. We may have been preoccupied with 'poor us', and should have continued tracking for several minutes longer then we did. #2. Things are not always lost! Sometimes they are just Misplaced!
I want to thanks the Alaska Crew for finding it and especially Nick, for not thinking it was "Playa Junk" the second time he walked over it!
PS..Look for the second flight of this Rocket at Balls 27?
Tony Alcocer TRA & NAR L3 AeroPac
I call it "Going Dorothy Gale".I believe there are special places where the rockets go when they are lost.