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kramer714

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I'm building a minimum diameter Rattworks H70 hybrid. To save weight and size I have decided to go single deploy.

The Hybrids don't have a lot of tracking smoke, plus small rocket high altitude (6500 feet) has me thinking, is there a color or combination of colors that improves visibility at altitude. I'm interested in the parachute and also the rocket itself. (plus spotting chalk colors if that helps)
 

blackjack2564

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After years of high flying and hours spent searching, many different color combos, I use florescent red-orange/dark metallic blue.

Dark against the sky, bright orange to help find on the ground.

Any dark/bright seems to work, I just favor this one.

Tend to use red or orange and white combo chutes for same reason.

The pic is a 3 in, 54mm and 38mm rockets.

A metallic or bright streamer on the drogue side is easier to see than a small drogue chute.

Coating your rocket with a high gloss clear will help reflect sun light and "flash" on the way down, no matter what color you use.

100_1924.jpg
 
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kandsrockets

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Dark and bright contrast works great. I like Black and Flourescent Pink for chute colors, easy to see in the sky and easy to spot on the ground. As Blackjack said about a metallic streamer for the drogue is great. As for rocket colors I like the dark and bright contrast. My latest project will be plum purple and bright pink.
 

adrian

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The Royal Air Force did a study of exactly this subject, concluded that black was the most visible colour for an aircraft in the sky, and now paint all their trainers black for that reason.
 

Gillard

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i built a rocket glider and painted it matt black - really good visibility in the sky:), never did find it after it landed in some rough grass:(
 

DAllen

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My experience has been that it depends on the field conditions as to what color stands out the best. Fluorescent lime-green seems to stick out rather well in green grass while fluorescent orange sticks out really well great against the light brown of corn silage and cut wheat. Black really sticks out in the sky.

Many hardware stores carry 2" surveyor flagging in many different colors in rolls by the hundreds of feet. I use a fluorescent orange flagging and there is something about that flagging waving around in the wind that seems to draw your eyes to it even after it lands.

-DAllen
 

troj

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Dark and bright contrast works great. I like Black and Flourescent Pink for chute colors, easy to see in the sky and easy to spot on the ground. As Blackjack said about a metallic streamer for the drogue is great. As for rocket colors I like the dark and bright contrast. My latest project will be plum purple and bright pink.
I've found that pink works really well on the ground -- I've had various greens and yellows (including flourescents) blend in to crops.

Pink, however, unless your rocket lands in the Mary Kay parking lot, is hard to miss.

-Kevin
 

kramer714

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Same Sky different ground...

I launch out at Lucerne Dry Lakebed http://aeve.com/digitaldesert/ddpi/ldl01.html gives you an idea what it is like to launch there. As long as the color contrast with brown, the lake bed isn't the issue. No self respecting bush or tree would live within a mile of where I launch.

The only time I had an issue on the ground is when I painted a rocket neon yellow and used a white parachute. After it hit the ground the parachute had picked up enough dust that it was lake bed color, the neon yellow as bright as it seemed, blended in with the brown of the lake. I took the same rocket and added 'bumble bee' black stripes on it, now it really stands out.

Isn't it amazing how you cant see the rocket when you walk right by it, once your eye picks it up you cant imagine how you didn't see it from farther away. The beepers help get you the last 50 feet to the rocket.
 

FROB

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I agree with what most have said here -
and notice that visibility in the sky going up, going down, and on the ground- all have some opposing criteria-

The worst situation is probably a small rocket against cloud or overcast sky. Those sidewinders with the scale light gray paint job disappear instantly!
Dark colors on the airframe with some sparkly reflective areas seem to work best for going up. Fluoresecent orange seems to work best around here against vegetation or dirt.

Going down its usually the chute/streamer that counts the most. If there's any sun out, a streamer made from 'holographic' metallic gift wrapping mylar film, (3 for a dollar) does a great job of sparkling in the sun and helps a lot with smaller or less visible chutes. I've even made 'Estes'-style chutes from the stuff, up to 3' dia.

One trick i've thought of and will try this season for some min-dia. birds is to paint one side a dark color (say flat black) and the other side a bright sparkly one ( fluorescent orange with a metallic stripe) with fins not quite straight so it has a slow spin, the alternating flash of light and dark should make it especially visible in the sky going up.

One other thing i've always wanted to try, if the airframe is big enough: include a small helium "saussage" balloon with a 30' kite string in with the chute (longer for wooded areas). trick is finding a way to protect it from being popped at ejection.
If it works, you end up with a perfect "I'm over here!" marker floating high above the landing spot.


We often launch around corn fields that seem to have a magnetic attraction for rockets, especially in the fall when the corn is 8' tall. spotting anything in there from more than 10 feet away is nearly impossible.
Under these circumstances (also good for hilly terrain/brush) i've gotten in the habit of attaching a long piece of bright red "danger" tape or similar streamer material- at least 30'-50' long- to the shock cord. it helps in the corn because it gets caught and stays near the tops of the stalks/bushes even if the rest falls to the ground between the plants, and thus helps you see it from further away as you're trudging up and down the corn rows. A beeper is also a huge help here.

Instead of plain G4 for fins, i often use surplus circuit board material, with a thin film of copper laminated to both sides. with some 4f steel wool and a little elbow grease, it takes a high polish very quickly, and a quick spray of clear urethane helps keep it that way. if the sun is out they flash very brightly and can be seen for miles.
 
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