Crawf56's Rocket Glider Launch Pad

Crawf56

Pig Soooiiieee!!
TRF Supporter
Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Messages
1,699
Reaction score
461
Location
Paragould, AR
Greetings, all. We focus so much on the gliders, that I thought it might be helpful to review the launch pad that I use for my rocket gliders.

m_IMG_1462.jpg

Note that I use a launch ROD. I originally used an Estes E-pad with a 1/4" launch rod. But I found that the E-pad was not sturdy enough for some of my rocket gliders. Also, the Estes 1/4" launch rod came in 3 pieces, and I seemed to be constantly damaging it in storage or transport.

I believe that launch RAILS are probably a better way to go; but my T-25 Centurian and my ARCIE II were set up for a launch rod. Thus, I have continued with launch rod lugs.
 

Crawf56

Pig Soooiiieee!!
TRF Supporter
Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Messages
1,699
Reaction score
461
Location
Paragould, AR
I have my 1/4" diameter launch rod at a roughly 5 degree angle. I fly at RC fields a lot, and I wanted a setup that allows me to launch the rocket glider from an RC airfield flight line, but also AWAY from the flight line.

m_IMG_2670.jpg

Since I am the only guy in my area (northeast Arkansas) the flies RC rocket gliders, I must make sure that I meet the safety concerns of organizers at various RC events. In my opinion, a "straight up" launch causes concerns.
 

Crawf56

Pig Soooiiieee!!
TRF Supporter
Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Messages
1,699
Reaction score
461
Location
Paragould, AR
The structure of my launch pad is based on a video at Dynasoar Rocketry for a Rail Launch Pad. (Frank has some pretty good ideas over there.)

I am using PVC tubing that I got at Lowe's. There is a center 4-hole connection, with three 1-foot and one 2-foot PVC tubes.

m_IMG_1463.jpg

Even though the pad can be dismantled, I leave the tubes connected.
 

Crawf56

Pig Soooiiieee!!
TRF Supporter
Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Messages
1,699
Reaction score
461
Location
Paragould, AR
I drilled 1/4" diameter holes through the center PVC connector to hold the launch rod.

m_IMG_2669.jpg

I made an "angle gauge" out of cardboard to roughly get my 5 degree orientation for my hand drill, when drilling the holes all the way through the center piece. I used a round file to open the hole slightly to help the rod fit.

I use a rod collar on the back of the launch rod to hold the rod on the pad. I just leave it on. Since I am almost always on a grass surface, the rod collar & rod sticking out below the center PVC connector (about 1/4" inch) doesn't cause a problem.

m_IMG_2671.jpg
 

Crawf56

Pig Soooiiieee!!
TRF Supporter
Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Messages
1,699
Reaction score
461
Location
Paragould, AR
So, when I get to the field, I run the Launch Rod through the Pad Support Structure, and place it on the ground. Then I put a Blast Deflector from an old E-pad over the launch rod, down to the Support Structure.

m_IMG_2668.jpg

I also place a piece of a brick on the Blast Deflector. The weight helps to keep the pad steady, and lifts the model up off the Blast Deflector.

m_IMG_1464.jpg
 

Crawf56

Pig Soooiiieee!!
TRF Supporter
Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Messages
1,699
Reaction score
461
Location
Paragould, AR
I got my 1/4 inch diameter launch rod from McMaster-Carr (an industry parts supply company). I looked at various stainless steel rods.

Part Number 88855K - Made of 17-4 Stainless Steel - Cost: $26

Part Number 87095K82 - Made of 15-5 Stainless Steel - Cost: $22

Part Number 89325K91 - Made of 316 Stainless Steel - Cost: $14

These are all 6-feet long. I cut my rod down to 4 feet (48 inches). Has to be long enough to guide the rocket glider, and short enough to not cause a "whip" effect during launch.


 
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
1,686
Reaction score
584
Like how portable and quick/easy to build this is. I modeled mine after an online version, also made of PVC, and although its really adjustable and I included an umbilical attachment for gliders, it's a pain to assemble/disassemble so now I'm just using an old tripod with an adapter to mount the launch rod.
 

Crawf56

Pig Soooiiieee!!
TRF Supporter
Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Messages
1,699
Reaction score
461
Location
Paragould, AR
I leave the Cross assembled (4 ft x 2-1/2 ft) and it easily fits in the floor of my van, and back of my SUV (Explorer).

My launch rod is one piece, and I leave the rod collar on. My assembly is:

Step 1: Run Launch Rod thru Cross. Set on ground.

Step 2: Put Blast Deflector over Launch Rod, slides down to Cross.

Step 3: Well......I'm pretty much done. I have a piece of brick that I use to hold the Rocket Glider off the Blast Deflector.
 

Crawf56

Pig Soooiiieee!!
TRF Supporter
Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Messages
1,699
Reaction score
461
Location
Paragould, AR
You must have large gliders that use D and above motors?

You are correct. I have an Estes launch pad with a 1/8" diameter launch rod for rockets and smaller gliders.

My "main" area of interest is RC scale models. For example, I am currently building a 1/3 scale Nieuport 28 (WW1 fighter; model has 9 ft. wingspan). But these scale projects take months, or even years, and sometimes I need a break from them. One of my side interests is RC rocket gliders.
 
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Messages
1,686
Reaction score
584
You are correct. I have an Estes launch pad with a 1/8" diameter launch rod for rockets and smaller gliders.

My "main" area of interest is RC scale models. For example, I am currently building a 1/3 scale Nieuport 28 (WW1 fighter; model has 9 ft. wingspan). But these scale projects take months, or even years, and sometimes I need a break from them. One of my side interests is RC rocket gliders.

Really like DynaSoar Rocketry's models. I may eventually go that route myself once I learn all I can about non-RC rocket gliders.
 
Top