A BAR's first launch in 11 years.

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Well-Known Member
Feb 13, 2010
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This is a story of anticipation, excitement, disappointment and elation. My return to model rocketry has greatly exceeded my expectations. As trailboss put it, “It’s like an addiction!! I launched Sat. afternoon at about 1:30. As soon as I reached my desired launch site, two 10 or 11 year old kids walked up,
“Can I launch the rocket? Can I launch the rocket? Can I launch the rocket?”
Arrrggh, I wound up letting the kid launch one, and help me with retrieval. He was a great help actually. It was kind of annoying when he was digging through my stuff and wanting to run up and troubleshoot when the rocket failed to ignite, had to hold him back till I knew it was safe.
I was launching the Snapshot and the Shuttle Xpress. I added a parachute to the Snapshot for extra slow descent, and redundancy, (gotta baby the camera). First launch, Snapshot, C6-7 engine. Beautiful launch blew ejection charge just as it began the nosedive. One parachute opened but it was still a good descent, the soft muddy, swamp-like ground made for a nice cushion. Next, Shuttle Xpress, C6-5 engine, beautiful launch, nice slow glide for both gliders. Back to Snapshot. Once again, C6-7 engine, great launch, veered toward the small man-made lake. Might make for a nice picture, we shall see. Landed pretty close to launch site slowly descending on two fully deployed parachutes. Shuttle Xpress again, C6-5 engine, just like last one, nice. Wind had changed directions though, and carried the rocket and gliders fairly close to a street, yikes. OK, one more Snapshot launch before we have to go. Decided to try C6-5 to get a horizon pic, also ever so slightly pointed the launch rod into the wind, to keep it from going near the street again. Alas, the wind died right when I launched, flew in the direction of a very overgrown impassable area. Lost it in the sun! Looking, looking, looking, there it is!! NO NOSE CONE OR PARACHUTE!! Craaaaaap!! Recovered the back half of the rocket, no damage, and started the search through the sludge. No luck, had to leave. The rest of the evening I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
“If I would have used a C6-7, it would have been fired straight to the soft ground instead of through the air.”
Left kind of bummed, but still had a great time.
Sunday, about 5:45PM. It was nearing dusk, just wanted to use my last two engines to show my girlfriend. She wanted to see it, but couldn’t come yesterday. I also just couldn’t stop thinking about launching! Launched the Shuttle Xpress on a C6-7 engine great flight, When you launch at dusk, you see an orange flame shooting out of the back of the rocket, nice! Last launch, C6-5 this time, same rocket. Once again, very nice flight, one glider got pretty far away from me near the thick brush, lost track of it in the air. Whilst searching for the glider, I found my Snapshot nosecone!!!!!! YES!!!!! Oh glorious day!! I just had to dance a jig. It had both parachutes attached. Found both gliders too. After 8 launches both rockets were left in great condition. I took pictures of the launches and some of the descents. I’ll probably finish up the film on my next launch, if I have any good pics I will be sure and post ‘em. Nice first model rocket weekend, eh? I may have added two more model rocket enthusiasts, my sister, and girlfriend.

P.S. Sorry for the painfully long post :D
Congrats on your 1st outing as a BAR and the safe recovery of your birds. The fact that everything doesn't always "go well" makes for a bit of excitement.
I still get a giddy feeling everytime I get a chance to launch. ;)
long post, perhaps...

painful, NO WAY! :)

We all love to hear about launches and returns to the hobby, not to mention new members to the forum!

You wanna be *perfect* here? post pix and yer there :)

Great launch report and it sounds like you got off to a good and very normal start. As for the kids, having to *share* a launch with a couple of inquisitive kids is (for me) a big part of what makes it fun :)

good luck and welcome back!
Awesome report! Must have been great to fly some rockets after having been out for so long! Just curious, but what exactly motivated you to get back *into* the hobby? Everyone's reason varies. I'm just curious how you found the sport again. Also, if you haven't already seen, you will find loads of great info. For future reference, before you purchase, build, or fly a kit, go to RocketReviews.com and do a search. Or, if you don't find what you need there, drop into TRF and post a question. This way you might avoid a loss in the future. The Estes RTF (Snapshot, Tidal Wave, etc.) starter set rockets are notorious for losing their nosecones due to burned shock cords. Glad you found your payload though! Now I'm anxious to see your photos! Glad to have you around TRF.
It was kind of annoying when he was digging through my stuff and wanting to run up and troubleshoot when the rocket failed to ignite, had to hold him back till I knew it was safe.

That's what duct tape is for!!

Really good report!! Great reading!:D
Yeah, I was actually glad to give the kid a thrill. I showed him how to load the engine, fuse, plug, the whole shabang. I'll bring duct tape next time though:D As far as how I got back into rocketry: funny story, ok maybe not. Anyway, I was in the Museum of Natural Science Gift Shop and I saw a goofy little air rocket and memories of launching rockets just came flooding back. I wound up chewing my girlfriend's ear off about it the next few days. I kept thinking, "I need to get a rocket" My sister and girlfriend went to Michael's one day and wound up looking at them. The g/f said she almost bought me one, (shucks). :D And that's about it. As far as rocketreviews.com goes, I did go there after purchasing. Unbelievable resource for info, a plethora even. "Yes, they have a plethora" BTW, where can I get kevlar for my replacement shock chord on the Snapshot. Also, does Hobby Lobby sell the Estes elastic shock chords?
if you just want some elastic for shock cord, go to the fabric store (or have your g/f pick it up).

if you want some kevlar, you can get it from Apogee, Flis, ThrustAero & a few other TRF frequenters!
Max, welcome back to rocketry! Hope you recover your first BAR birds many times - mine have been eaten by the Tree Spirits. :p

Yep, we (FlisKits) have kevlar cord. Our #90 is great for model rocket shock cord. Part number is SLK-90-24 (24 feet of #90 cord for $1.95)

Go to our website's Product Section and click on COMPONENTS then RECOVERY.

hope this helps!
If'n you REALLY want to attract the kids, bring out a Mean Machine. Really a crould pleaser.

"C'mon! Launch the BIG one!"

"When are you gonna launch the BIG one?"

"Wow! Lookit the BIG one!"
Great story, and welcome back to the hobby and the forum.
Really glad you found that nose cone.
When I got back into rockets a couple years ago, the Astrocam was one of the first rockets I got as well. It was one I always wanted as a kid but couldn't afford.
Also glad to hear your gliders flew well. It took me quite a bit to get mine trimmed well enough to glide. I actually had to step on one. Well, I accidentally stepped on it, but after repairs it flew better than ever. :)
Hope you get some nice pics.
Oh yeah, when you get some more elastic, you may want to get some 1/4" wide instead of the 1/8". It'll last a lot longer.

That was a great report...wonderful content and Ya gotta love the ending! Glad to see your back in the fold launching again.:D

I have a tiny little field across the street from the house in DC. directly across the river from Reagan National Airport, about 2 miles as a crow flies. the Airport porximity limits by model selection to my custom Micro-Maxx models and really only the heavier 8 to 17gram models to keep them out of the landing flight paths:) It's seems no matter the size a single model rocket flight attracts folks like bee's to honey! Every time I set up.. I'll have 20 to 30 kids (Kids I NEVER see any other time) swarm in to watch and ask tons of questions. usually a parent or two will wonder over to see what all the excitment is about.
Originally posted by Max_Power004
Also, does Hobby Lobby sell the Estes elastic shock chords?

Hey Max, sounds like you're having a GREAT time!

If you are in a hurry to grab some elastic, go to the sewing section of your local W-mart (I am sure that Houston is infected with those stores too). They have a good selection of widths and the stuff is cheap.