Best Paint and Parachute Colors for Tracking and Finding Rocket?

brockrwood

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I have started using black plastic trash bags as my parachute material because black is easier to see against a background of clouds or even a light blue sky.

I have started painting some of my rockets with a base coat of white while using darker colors for accents, stripes, fins, etc. The white color just seems like the easiest color to see when the rocket is on the ground. This is especially true if I am surveying a large patch of ground and trying to catch a hint of white.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Alternative ideas?
 

heada

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Whatever color you pick, it'll have drawbacks. I remember a story of a flier in Florida who used white and orange thinking that it'd stand out against the green fields. On it's first flight it landed in an orange grove that was in bloom with.....white and orange flowers.
 

boatgeek

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Colors not found in nature will usually pop out against the ground. I usually make nylon chutes myself, usually with alternating navy blue and orange gores. That's almost always nice and visible against both sky and the terrain where I launch.

Red, orange, and pink usually stand out well on the ground, but maybe not in the red-clay South. I recommend against unpainted fiberglass, unpainted blue tube, and desert camo in sagebrush. I nearly tripped over the rocket before I saw it.
 
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I like to use a long mylar streamer, either as the first deployment event or along with a parachute--it flashes on a sunny day and really helps to track rockets at high altitudes. For me, I never found black parachutes any better to track than bright ones in the air. In the Midwest, bright orange or pink parachutes help on the ground. Or a long streamer. For rockets, you can't beat a neon orange rocket with a neon yellow candy can stripe. It is a pattern and color combo that is not natural, so your eyes readily track on it. I had a Quest Nike Smoke that I painted that way, with a Happy Birthday mylar streamer. I built it to use 29mm F motors (299mm motor tub just fits inside airframe). Plastic fins survived multiple flights. Never lost the rocket--it finally separated after about 10 flights. Fun rocket. I named it, "Get Lost!" of course.
 

lakeroadster

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For my rockets, the paint scheme (of the rocket) is always "Form Over Function". I want the rocket to itself to be appealing visually. No florescent fuchsia rockets for me. Maybe someday, never say never.

For the altitudes I design my rockets to fly, under 1,200 feet but usually around 800 feet, rocket color is not an issue.

In regard to recovery, I try to use colorful parachutes. My favorite color is shown below. On a sunny day... it's almost like it has a light in it.

Hammerhead Launch 004B.JPG Hammerhead Launch 004C.JPG
 
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I'm gathering info:
Parachute- florescent green or orange, and black panels.
Rocket- Chrome body with florescent red nose cone, black fins.
TABIw5F.jpg
 

boatgeek

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For my rockets, the paint scheme (of the rocket) is always "Form Over Function". I want the rocket to itself to be appealing visually. No florescent fuchsia rockets for me. Maybe someday, never say never.

For the altitudes I design my rockets to fly, under 1,200 feet but usually around 800 feet, rocket color is not an issue.

In regard to recovery, I try to use colorful parachutes. My favorite color is shown below. On a sunny day... it's almost like it has a light in it.

View attachment 539261 View attachment 539262
Silver and saturated reds/blues work nearly as well as fluorescent colors in my experience. It looks like you have mostly low grass where you're flying, so the chute is probably the easiest thing to spot.
 

lakeroadster

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Silver and saturated reds/blues work nearly as well as fluorescent colors in my experience. It looks like you have mostly low grass where you're flying, so the chute is probably the easiest thing to spot.
Our native grasses are more like corn in the Midwest "Knee high by the 4th of July."
 

HonestJohn

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Flourescent orange and pink are colors not found in nature and glow brightly against any background (That's why we wear those colors while hunting, so we stick out like a sore thumb). Either would make for a good choice for chute colors.
 

bjphoenix

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I have older parachutes that are fluorescent orange or pink and they work well. Most of my newer Estes parachutes are their own form of blue/white or purple/white checkerboard.
We fly once a month on a small field that can have varying heights of weeds. One time this past spring the dark green plants had large amounts of little red/orange and pink flowers to compete with the rockets and parachutes.
 

Back_at_it

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Pretty much anything that isn't natural in the sky. Black, Red, Orange and Bright Pink are my go to colors for high flying but Chrome is even better as it reflects the light. I've watched a chrome parachute from 2000ft all the way to the tree that it landed in :)
 
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I like to use a long mylar streamer, either as the first deployment event or along with a parachute--it flashes on a sunny day and really helps to track rockets at high altitudes. For me, I never found black parachutes any better to track than bright ones in the air. In the Midwest, bright orange or pink parachutes help on the ground. Or a long streamer. For rockets, you can't beat a neon orange rocket with a neon yellow candy can stripe. It is a pattern and color combo that is not natural, so your eyes readily track on it. I had a Quest Nike Smoke that I painted that way, with a Happy Birthday mylar streamer. I built it to use 29mm F motors (299mm motor tub just fits inside airframe). Plastic fins survived multiple flights. Never lost the rocket--it finally separated after about 10 flights. Fun rocket. I named it, "Get Lost!" of course.
I have used chrome and gold adhesive mylar in the center of fins--the sheets you get at R/C shops. It also flashes in the air to aid tracking. The nice thing about the flashing fins or mylar streamers is the distance--you can see that flash when you can barely see anything else. Very easy to track a rocket with a flash every 3-5 seconds.
 

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I have used chrome and gold adhesive mylar in the center of fins--the sheets you get at R/C shops. It also flashes in the air to aid tracking. The nice thing about the flashing fins or mylar streamers is the distance--you can see that flash when you can barely see anything else. Very easy to track a rocket with a flash every 3-5 seconds.
 

brockrwood

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I like chrome Mylar on the payload section. You can get it from any auto parts store. It's adhesive backed and easy to apply and it flashes during descent.
This stuff?

VViViD Chrome Silver Gloss DECO65 Permanent Adhesive Craft Vinyl for Cricut, Silhouette & Cameo (6ft x 11.8" Roll)
https://a.co/fLS1rYU
 

boatgeek

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Serious Question - at any significant altitude, does the color even matter?
In my experience, the color of a backlit rocket body matters little. Chutes definitely matter. Chrome or gloss matter. On the ground, color definitely matters.
 

teepot

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The color of the rocket doesn't matter to me. I don't see pink or orange well. I'm a little color blind. I like yellow. I have a collection of chutes of many different colors. But I use a bright yellow Nomex cloth for protecting the chutes. I have also used bird deterrent silver Mylar with a holographic design on it. Flashes at every angle.
 

4regt4

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I like to use a long mylar streamer, either as the first deployment event or along with a parachute--it flashes on a sunny day and really helps to track rockets at high altitudes. For me, I never found black parachutes any better to track than bright ones in the air. In the Midwest, bright orange or pink parachutes help on the ground. Or a long streamer. For rockets, you can't beat a neon orange rocket with a neon yellow candy can stripe. It is a pattern and color combo that is not natural, so your eyes readily track on it. I had a Quest Nike Smoke that I painted that way, with a Happy Birthday mylar streamer. I built it to use 29mm F motors (299mm motor tub just fits inside airframe). Plastic fins survived multiple flights. Never lost the rocket--it finally separated after about 10 flights. Fun rocket. I named it, "Get Lost!" of course.
I've considered a mylar streamer in addition to the parachute, but I'm concerned the two will get tangled up with each other and not have proper deployment.

Suggestions?

Hans.
 
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I've considered a mylar streamer in addition to the parachute, but I'm concerned the two will get tangled up with each other and not have proper deployment.

Suggestions?

Hans.
I suppose they could become tangled, but I never had it happen. Couple of ways to mitigate the risk: (1) put the streamer on a cord long enough that when it is flapping it is always above the parachute; (2) attach the streamer at the apex (vent) of the parachute. Both have the effect of putting the streamer above the parachute. Remember, once the parachute opens, the streamer will not be as active in the airstream.
 
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