# Crash and burn stories

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#### GL-P

##### Well-Known Member
Share your stories of CATOs and all thing not too pleasant in rocketry. Pictures would be cool!

I'll start with one: One rocket I saw that was about 4 inches and was pure carbon fibre. Beautiful piece of work with a solid tip metal nosecone for trim. The guy racked it up.

I was the pad manger and would be out between the two pods to recycle the lauch boxes and help racking up rockets. Both pods ended up being fully racked. I usually stand at the one that is being racked but now I couldn't. Had to stand in between the 2 pods.

The carbon fibre rocket ignited but the engine quit 40 feet up. The rocket had enough time to tilt just above the horizon and then the motor reignited. The rocket drove itself into the ground 100-200 yards away from crowd. The first bounce sheared off a fin and then it came to a stop.

That incident was as close as I'd ever like to get to a ballistic rocket (even though in Canada the safe distances are a lot longer). I was the closest to where it landed so I was the one to call on the radio for the "fire truck"

Share your stories and include pics whenever possible...

#### DynaSoar

##### Well-Known Member
Originally posted by GL-P
Share your stories of CATOs and all thing not too pleasant in rocketry. Pictures would be cool!

I can honestly say I've never had one. All my accidents were on the ground, breaking fins trying to force a motor in, etc. Which only goes to prove rockets weren't meant to be on the ground.

I saw an Estes Spaceman tip off at an air show at Grisson AFB, and fall just short of hitting the rudder of one of the Thunderbirds' T-39s, which were prepped to fly next.

I must say Hospital_Rocket's ground-to-ground assault on Osama bin Monkey at the last CATO launch was, um, impressive. By the time I'd figured out it wasn't supposed to do that, it was all over.

Oh yeah, my stealth interceptor hit a rock on landing and broke the balsa nose right in half, and bent the "payload" section (which was packed full of weight to make it stable, and apparently heavy enough to break a balsa nose). It looked far worse than it was because the thick flat black heat resistant paint I used to make it look all carbony had stripped off of the styrene fins in strips, but that was sheer flight stress and cosmetic.

#### Karl

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I think my Semroc Hydra 7 was the most sickening flight I've ever made . Loaded up with all C's wired with a large ammount of quickmatch , everything was going great even tho one motor didn't light , the whole thing span at about 10-20ft up under full power from 56ns!! So the bodytube bent straight over due to the spinning & force from the motors , and the ejections toasted the whole thing

##### Well-Known Member
The flight of my first attempt at Rheinbote was interesting.
First stage: 6 x C6-0; second and third stages, one C6-0 each; fourth stage, C6-7.
Five of the first stage motors lit. It went straight up, then the motor which hadn't lit was ignited by the five which had, from the front, when they burned out. Stage 1 literally crashed and burned. But not before it had successfully ignited stage 2, which in turn ignited stage 3 and then came down ballistic. Stage 3 ended up in a nearby forest. Stage 4's nose-cone separated and drifted off over the hills and far away; the rest of stage 4 tumbled back into the field and was recovered intact.

Rheinbote Mk 2 has partitions in stage 1 to prevent cross-ignition, while stages 2 and 3 have small Nomex streamers to destabilise them during recovery. It worked rather better than its predecessor.

Some years ago, I tried to get a launch photo of someone's rather nice, large Patriot, and got this. Fortunately the rocket was not seriously damaged and soon flew again, properly.

#### WiK

Wow! That is a good pic!

#### loopy

##### Well-Known Member
A weak ejection charge caused my first Big Daddy to lawn dart in a beautifully ballistic fashion. Pushed the nose cone about halfway down the BT. Had to cut the BT in half to get the nose cone out. One fin survived that crash, and that was it.

Also had a Commanche 3 fail to ignite 2nd booster, so it tipped over, and also pranged in a beautifully ballistic fashion with two unused motors still loaded to make a nice end weight that whipped over magnificently when the nose cone hit.

#### rabidsheeep

##### Well-Known Member
uhh. ok...

was working on a small 1/2 a rocket that would just float down after the ejection charge (like the misquito)

now, it was alitttle unstable, so my teacher told me to put nosecone weight in it,

to make things short, i had never seen a tree branch and been so happy in my life... it came, bulleted down, bounced off a branch and missed a few kids from the camp by about 2 feet.

edit:

oh, and i cant forget the first 2 mean machines i had worked on, both lawndarted... the 2nd one: the 6 foot monster became a 4 foot crumpled peice of cardboard...

#### Donaldsrockets

##### Well-Known Member
I once had a Custom Serval being flown on a C6-5 that took off, went unstable, and did about three loops before slamming nose first into the ground at full power. Then the ejection charge popped the motor out of the motor mount taking the motor hook with it.

Needless to say, it was pretty much totaled, even the nose cone was destroyed, must have hit a rock or something in the dirt that it plunged into.

But it flew fine on the previous flight with the same motor so I have no idea what happened.

#### GL-P

##### Well-Known Member
The only thing I can think of is that maybe the recovery device during the fateful flight was farther down the rocket than on your previous flight. This could've srewed up the stability.

#### Donaldsrockets

##### Well-Known Member
Originally posted by GL-P
The only thing I can think of is that maybe the recovery device during the fateful flight was farther down the rocket than on your previous flight. This could've srewed up the stability.
That could very well be. I was using dog barf as wadding so maybe the streamer shifted downward.

Since the Serval was/is a tube fin rocket, I'm sure it only had a narrow stability margin that could be easily exceeded resulting in an unstable flight.

#### GL-P

##### Well-Known Member
I don't have a tube fin rocket but I can just imagine how heavy the business end is.

#### daveyfire

##### Piled Higher and Deeper
I've seen lots, but this one has got to be one of my favorites:

Last year at our May monthly launch, Wayne Mrazek (resident Mr. Hybrid Guy and proprietor of Now Hybrids) attempted to fly his Polecat Aerospace 10" V2 on a Hypertek Max-M1001.

Something didn't go right. You'll just have to watch the video to understand:

#### GL-P

##### Well-Known Member
Ouch! What happened there? Looks me like the rocket started to oscillate and then the chute deployed (accelerometer based altimeter?) Everything else speaks for itself!

#### LOGAN

##### Well-Known Member
Ok this is my buddys V2, second flight and yes under powered.

It hung a left about 20 ft up and became ballistic and embedded

itself into a field up to the nosecone. Not so bad ...until the

ejection charge went off and blew the body backwards .

Blew the nose cone apart and cracked the tube but the fins were

ok...we all know how much fun those fins are to build.

It is repaired and almost ready to fly again.

#### GL-P

##### Well-Known Member
Yeah, I have had a rocket where the trim was attached to the shoulder of the nosecone. The ballistic impact destroyed most of the shoulder of the nc. (pennies are lethal )

#### rabidsheeep

##### Well-Known Member
well, the v2 did what a v2 does i guess... went ballistic

#### cls

##### Well-Known Member
my Skunkworks 10' Saturn V ... the up part was great, all 5 Cesaronis lit and it just took off, straight up, very low roll ... ejection right at apogee ... and no chute - one of the shrouds singed to the silk and prevented it from unrolling. 80 pounds falling from 3000'. everything is crumpled. maybe I should post some pix. I am just really really glad noone got hurt.

#### GL-P

##### Well-Known Member
That really sucks! Post before and after pictures pls. Must've been a really nice take off! I could just see a 10' saturn V with 5 cesaronis

#### rabidsheeep

##### Well-Known Member
best picture i have of a cato is misfit. when about 8 inches up the rod, launch lug snapped, knocked the rod over, and landed in the dirt with its balsa nose cone stuck in... now im thiking "ok... hmm... im behind this thing and ITS A TUMBLE RECOVERY ROCKET!!!" so i push my friend out of the way who was RIGHT next to where it was, and as im about 5 feet away you hear a loud POP and some flamey thing shot out the back end (ejection charge i guess?)

ill see if i can do a still fram shot of it later...

#### Donaldsrockets

##### Well-Known Member
Oh here's another one.

I once launched an Estes RTF Star Wars Naboo Royal Starship, the large one on a C6-3.

Well at launch, it goes unstable about 20 feet off the ground, starts tumbling end over end under power as it fell to the ground and proceeded to burn the delay on the ground. Then at ejection, the motor shoots out of the motor mount even though it was friction fitted adequately and shot a cool trail of sparks along the ground.

Scared the living crap out of me

Surpringly, only two fins were knocked loose which were glued back into place. I haven't tried to launch it again since that incident but I may see another launch attempt in the near future. Maybe I should put my last D21 in there.

#### Justin Horne

##### Well-Known Member
Yeah, that'll help, lets move the CG even farther back!

To quote dale from Kind of the Hill: "Gentlemen, the crap has literally been scared out of me."

Justin

#### Donaldsrockets

##### Well-Known Member
Originally posted by Justin Horne
Yeah, that'll help, lets move the CG even farther back!

To quote dale from Kind of the Hill: "Gentlemen, the crap has literally been scared out of me."

Justin
Well it did fly successfully the first time on a C6-3. I probably won't do it, don't want to waste my last D21 in that rocket.