A Tale of Loss

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RomCat

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It's my son's 5th birthday and he's at that age where rockets are the COOLEST THINGS EVER! The wind was low (5mph) this morning and the sky was clear, so we went to the park to fly a new scratch built rocket. The rocket was designed for a C6-7 and an altitude of about 850 feet. I suspected this was a bit too high for the ball park, but who among us can say they never felt the temptation to cross their fingers and let it fly? I went back and forth debating it in my mind for about 10 minutes before we left, because I wanted to send it on its maiden voyage next weekend at METRA, but I finally decided today would be the day. I removed the parachute and switched over to streamer recovery to prevent drift. If I had to replace a balsa fin or two before next weekend, so be it.

Well... as you can tell by the title, it didn't go so hot. The rocket launched beautifully, but at about 600 feet started on an arc. I hadn't quite realized how long of a burn those C6-7's have compared to the B6. B to C is a real step up on smaller rockets. It soared over the trees and came down in the field behind it. I drew a line in the dirt from the launch point to where I saw it go down behind the tree line. I could refer to this and walk a nice straight line to find the rocket. I was pretty confident on this one. I've had some miraculous recoveries in the past that I never thought I'd get back. However, when I got to the field behind the trees, I saw the grass and brush had grown to waist high at this point in the summer. I could walk right past thing and never know it was there. I walked the line back and forth and then expanded the search area when that turned up nothing. No luck. After 20 minutes I gave up. I'm sure I'll find it someday as nothing more than a bit of red cardboard mush when all the flora dies back in the winter.

My son wasn't too heartbroken. It was my rocket not his, so of course he didn't really mind its loss.

Now, I get to build another one. :)
 

Bat-mite

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Always a debate between whether to play it safe and launch low, or experience the thrill of letting her rip! This, sadly, doesn't change when you get to Level 3 and your rocket costs over $1000. :facepalm:
 

ksaves2

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Sorry about your loss. It was a smart move to switch out to a streamer. I like to use a long as I can get in Metalized mylar streamer. If the tall grass is bent over, many times the streamer will stay up on top of the grass while the rocket body goes down into it. If I walk far enough I can usually find it. Even a small rocket with a parachute sometimes the parachute stays up on top of the bent over grass. Ordinarily, the rocket is out there a lot farther than you think it is. I keep walking until an obstruction is in my way that I can't get around.
Standing corn is a different problem or vegetation that stands straight up seven or eight feet tall. In that regard you need to put a screamer on the harness. AKA as a beeper. Kurt
 

RickGr4

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Even though I fly primarily E2X and lower cost rockets, it took me a year to realize not get attached to any one particular rocket especially when you fly on a small field. Earlier this year I went six weeks without losing a rocket then I lost six on one weekend. Then I went another six weeks without losing a rocket then just last weekend I lost two including a Maxi Alpha 3 which I had just built and was near and dear to my heart.

My advice? Try not to get attached to any one particular rocket and always have spares. Also, realize that every once in a while no matter how much planning you may do, once in a while the wind is going to grab a rocket and take it to la-la land.

Roughly a month ago I accidentally launched an Estes Show Stopper with a D12 engine but I intended to launch it with a C11. The wind caught it and I had no chance at recovery. I think the rocket landed in the next county.

That being said, I have recovered rockets that I may have had no business recovering so don't ever stop trying to chase them down.


It's my son's 5th birthday and he's at that age where rockets are the COOLEST THINGS EVER! The wind was low (5mph) this morning and the sky was clear, so we went to the park to fly a new scratch built rocket. The rocket was designed for a C6-7 and an altitude of about 850 feet. I suspected this was a bit too high for the ball park, but who among us can say they never felt the temptation to cross their fingers and let it fly? I went back and forth debating it in my mind for about 10 minutes before we left, because I wanted to send it on its maiden voyage next weekend at METRA, but I finally decided today would be the day. I removed the parachute and switched over to streamer recovery to prevent drift. If I had to replace a balsa fin or two before next weekend, so be it.

Well... as you can tell by the title, it didn't go so hot. The rocket launched beautifully, but at about 600 feet started on an arc. I hadn't quite realized how long of a burn those C6-7's have compared to the B6. B to C is a real step up on smaller rockets. It soared over the trees and came down in the field behind it. I drew a line in the dirt from the launch point to where I saw it go down behind the tree line. I could refer to this and walk a nice straight line to find the rocket. I was pretty confident on this one. I've had some miraculous recoveries in the past that I never thought I'd get back. However, when I got to the field behind the trees, I saw the grass and brush had grown to waist high at this point in the summer. I could walk right past thing and never know it was there. I walked the line back and forth and then expanded the search area when that turned up nothing. No luck. After 20 minutes I gave up. I'm sure I'll find it someday as nothing more than a bit of red cardboard mush when all the flora dies back in the winter.

My son wasn't too heartbroken. It was my rocket not his, so of course he didn't really mind its loss.

Now, I get to build another one. :)
 

Bat-mite

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I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- MDRA's rule #1: if you don't want to lose it, don't launch it. :wink:
 

RomCat

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That being said, I have recovered rockets that I may have had no business recovering so don't ever stop trying to chase them down.
There are two recoveries that stick out to me in my memory where I had absolutely no hope of ever getting the rocket back and yet miraculously stumbled upon them. One launched from the same park in my OP that sailed away under a parachute in the opposite direction that was recovered 3 blocks away in the middle of the street missing every 75 foot tree in the neighborhood, and another tiny rocket 6 inches long that fell in the same heavy brush field that I just happened to see on my way back after giving up.
 

Bat-mite

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And then you get the ones where several people see it land, all walk out to get it, and when they get there, it's not there.
 
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