Fears of Losing Rockets

AllDigital

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There are a lot of clinical phobias, but I couldn't find one for "Fear of Losing Rockets". I just took the online test and self-diagnosed myself with the same phobia. There are other rocketry related phobias, like pyrophobia (fear of fire), barophobia (fear of gravity), aerophobia (fear of flying), tachaphobia (fear of speed), FOMO, and even trypophobia for Chris' fear of gravel pits. I propose we call the condition IdidntSeeAchutePhobia or LostSignalPhobia or noGPSphobia.

My rule of thumb on a 3" rocket is 4000-5000' without a GPS, but as others have said it depends on the size of the rocket and the conditions. A flight sim'd to 3000 feet that has a bad day off the pad could be almost a mile away. I usually fly in the desert (while eating dessert), so visual conditions are better than average.
 

Handeman

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My rule of thumb on a 3" rocket is 4000-5000' without a GPS, but as others have said it depends on the size of the rocket and the conditions. A flight sim'd to 3000 feet that has a bad day off the pad could be almost a mile away. I usually fly in the desert (while eating dessert), so visual conditions are better than average.
I had one that did that. 3" that should have gone to 3000 ft. but had that bad day off the pad. Not sure how high it went, but landed a mile away. Had a RDF tracker in it and found it, after crawling through streams, cow pastures, and crop fields. Fortunately, other than silos and trees that were missed, it was in the open and laid out on the ground. It didn't get to the woods. GPS would have made tracking much easier.
 

techrat

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Has anyone thought of literally adding bells and whistles? I mean, there have been goofier rockets than that! Glue on some bells and whistles and you can track it by ear.
 

G_T

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You won't hear the bells and whistles on descent if it is under chute. You won't hear them anyway at a distance, when you need them the most. And when it is on the ground, they are worthless.

I hate to say it to those looking to save money, but rocketry gets expensive fast. Lots of ways it does so... Losing a rocket on an otherwise good flight would be one of the more annoying ways. Unless you are well prepaired to lose your rocket with its motor case and electronics, get a tracker in there. You may still lose it, but you've improved your odds of finding it. And if your tracking method is a GPS rather than RDF, you might even know where to go find it even if it comes in pretty hard and totals itself.

Are you surrounded by farm fields, woods? Or on a wide open flat desert? Your conditions dictate the desirability of a tracker, and may indicate what type you need. Fairly open flat desert, RDF might work fine. Terrain, small farmer's fields, tree breaks... then IMHO you need GPS. You need to be able to point out to the farm people where your rocket is, so they can give permission and direct you how to get there. It makes things smoother in what is otherwise an awkward situation.

A GPS tracker is also useful when someone who is not a rocket person steals your rocket. Some have been recovered that way. Knowing what garage to go to is a good thing! How you deal with it though is your problem.

Gerald
 

ksaves2

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You won't hear the bells and whistles on descent if it is under chute. You won't hear them anyway at a distance, when you need them the most. And when it is on the ground, they are worthless.

I hate to say it to those looking to save money, but rocketry gets expensive fast. Lots of ways it does so... Losing a rocket on an otherwise good flight would be one of the more annoying ways. Unless you are well prepaired to lose your rocket with its motor case and electronics, get a tracker in there. You may still lose it, but you've improved your odds of finding it. And if your tracking method is a GPS rather than RDF, you might even know where to go find it even if it comes in pretty hard and totals itself.

Are you surrounded by farm fields, woods? Or on a wide open flat desert? Your conditions dictate the desirability of a tracker, and may indicate what type you need. Fairly open flat desert, RDF might work fine. Terrain, small farmer's fields, tree breaks... then IMHO you need GPS. You need to be able to point out to the farm people where your rocket is, so they can give permission and direct you how to get there. It makes things smoother in what is otherwise an awkward situation.

A GPS tracker is also useful when someone who is not a rocket person steals your rocket. Some have been recovered that way. Knowing what garage to go to is a good thing! How you deal with it though is your problem.

Gerald
Agree 1000% here. One thing that is a decent test practice is drop your rocket on the ground with the tracker on, RDF or GPS and walk away from it to see what the ground footprint is BEFORE you fly it. If the range seems much too short, there is an antenna or maybe paint problem. The 70cm band trackers don't like metallic paint and attenuate the range. Don't ask me how I know that but I was lucky to get those rockets back. Use non-metallic paints on those rockets. If one can put a tracker in a "hardened" case on the apogee harness with a robust antenna that is a decent alternative as we mainly want to get the rocket back. Out in the open is ideal if one isn't running an external antenna for the tracker on the side of the rocket.
Signal may be lost on boost but once ejected at apogee one will be able to receive the signals/packets loud and clear.
Had a friend who had an early Communication Specialist/Rocket Tracker RDF transmitter that was on a PC board device. Nothing like what they sell now (http://www.com-spec.com/rcplane/index.html)
Unit wasn't secured properly and was ejected from the rocket with the battery and fell a couple of thousand feet.
Rocket was visually recovered but still getting a signal from the tracker. We took the integrated Yagi antenna/receiver and walked right up to the tracker and recovered it from the grass!. It was a small device lying in a clump of grass and picked it right up. No way in Hades to find it otherwise.
I've seen a few other stories of folks who picked up ejected trackers in the past too. Most of them are very light and survive when landing in the grass. It then becomes a fox hunting issue and every account I read, they at least get the tracker back. As long as the battery isn't ejected and the tracker survives, it can be found. Kurt
 

G_T

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It's not just metallic paint. Yellow also attenuates RF for instance.

The thing about GPS trackers is you get the fix BEFORE it gets on the ground and potentially out of line of sight. So you already know where to go.

Gerald
 

Handeman

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It's not just metallic paint. Yellow also attenuates RF for instance.

The thing about GPS trackers is you get the fix BEFORE it gets on the ground and potentially out of line of sight. So you already know where to go.

Gerald
I agree with this, but it still helps to bring the receiver along on recovery because the rocket can easily be +100 ft. from the last coordinates. Once you get to that last location, you can usually pick up the signal again and be guided right to it even with poor ground transmission.

I left my receiver at the flight line once, because I had a line on the rocket and the last coordinates. I spent 10 - 15 minutes finding it once I got to the last coordinates. Between tall grass, fence lines, etc. it took a while. It was only about 150 ft. from the last coordinates, but it's east coast on a dairy farm. 150 ft. can seem like a 1/4 mile some times.
 

ksaves2

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It's not just metallic paint. Yellow also attenuates RF for instance.

The thing about GPS trackers is you get the fix BEFORE it gets on the ground and potentially out of line of sight. So you already know where to go.

Gerald
Yeah, I've known that for years. When the rocket is 50 feet or higher in the air, one gets the last known position and the rocket is there. Might be a lower altitude if the rocket is closer to the radio receiver. I fly off of a corn stubble Midwestern field so wind is not an issue. Small light models may get blown by prevailing winds but if one gets to the last known position will likely be within the ground footprint to get a "new" updated position. I've never had that happen though as the corn stubble in the no till field usually stops a blowing rocket as the recovery harness or chute gets tangled in the stubble.
Usually the scenario is the signal is lost when the rocket is down. When going out to recover at the last known position, one gets an updated data stream of the final rocket position. Piece o' cake.
Technically, if the GPS receive antenna is facing the dirt when the rocket is down, might not get an updated position but one is usually close enough to visually find it. That never happened to me though. Always got good position fixes on the ground when I was in the ground footprint of the tracker.
Thing is if one has a Ham Radio callsign and use the 70cm/400Mhz and (Beeline and others) APRS trackers, use a 70 cm band Yagi antenna on your receiver. Will extend the range of reliable packet reception. Just swing the Yagi to where you think the rocket is and maximize the signal strength.
One memorable flight was a rocket that wasn't even mine but the flier was a Ham and was using a Beeline GPS tracker and Kenwood D72A. Motor was an L or M and the MD rocket ripped off up to the ether. Over 20k feet.
Well, I had my D72A interfaced to a computer and could see on a map where the rocket was going. Everyone was looking to the West and the winds aloft were pushing the rocket to the East. I could tell the rocket was under drogue by the descent rate as it was passing overhead still out of sight by my live mapping program. The D72A and most computer tracking programs will give the GPS altitude so descent altitude can be called out. Is cool because one can yell out when the main chute should be deployed knowing the settings of the deployment altimeter. Well this rocket was blowing towards the East when everyone was looking to the West as an East to West wind was blowing on the ground. I looked up seeing the crowd and started yelling, "Dammit, look East, look East, (pointing) it's overthere!!! We didn't see the main chute as the rocket was too far out of sight but I could tell by the APRS altitude reporting, the descent rate was nominal and the main chute had to be out. Got a good mapping fix and knew right where to go. The flier/owner of the rocket was struggling to get the last known position Lat/Long into his handheld GPS from his D72A. I told him to screw it as I know exactly where it's at and showed him on my computer map. Needless to say, he got his rocket back! I did tell him how to get the lat/long units right and input them into his handheld GPS. His mapping GPS was compatible with his Kenwood D72A and I told him what cable to get to interface them so he could have a map in hand with his Garmin 60Cs(x) to track his rocket live next time. He was very grateful and I was very happy I was able to help a fellow flier recover their high flying rocket.
 

Handeman

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Yeah, I've known that for years. When the rocket is 50 feet or higher in the air, one gets the last known position and the rocket is there. Might be a lower altitude if the rocket is closer to the radio receiver. I fly off of a corn stubble Midwestern field so wind is not an issue. Small light models may get blown by prevailing winds but if one gets to the last known position will likely be within the ground footprint to get a "new" updated position. I've never had that happen though as the corn stubble in the no till field usually stops a blowing rocket as the recovery harness or chute gets tangled in the stubble.
Usually the scenario is the signal is lost when the rocket is down. When going out to recover at the last known position, one gets an updated data stream of the final rocket position. Piece o' cake.
Technically, if the GPS receive antenna is facing the dirt when the rocket is down, might not get an updated position but one is usually close enough to visually find it. That never happened to me though. Always got good position fixes on the ground when I was in the ground footprint of the tracker.
Thing is if one has a Ham Radio callsign and use the 70cm/400Mhz and (Beeline and others) APRS trackers, use a 70 cm band Yagi antenna on your receiver. Will extend the range of reliable packet reception. Just swing the Yagi to where you think the rocket is and maximize the signal strength.
One memorable flight was a rocket that wasn't even mine but the flier was a Ham and was using a Beeline GPS tracker and Kenwood D72A. Motor was an L or M and the MD rocket ripped off up to the ether. Over 20k feet.
Well, I had my D72A interfaced to a computer and could see on a map where the rocket was going. Everyone was looking to the West and the winds aloft were pushing the rocket to the East. I could tell the rocket was under drogue by the descent rate as it was passing overhead still out of sight by my live mapping program. The D72A and most computer tracking programs will give the GPS altitude so descent altitude can be called out. Is cool because one can yell out when the main chute should be deployed knowing the settings of the deployment altimeter. Well this rocket was blowing towards the East when everyone was looking to the West as an East to West wind was blowing on the ground. I looked up seeing the crowd and started yelling, "Dammit, look East, look East, (pointing) it's overthere!!! We didn't see the main chute as the rocket was too far out of sight but I could tell by the APRS altitude reporting, the descent rate was nominal and the main chute had to be out. Got a good mapping fix and knew right where to go. The flier/owner of the rocket was struggling to get the last known position Lat/Long into his handheld GPS from his D72A. I told him to screw it as I know exactly where it's at and showed him on my computer map. Needless to say, he got his rocket back! I did tell him how to get the lat/long units right and input them into his handheld GPS. His mapping GPS was compatible with his Kenwood D72A and I told him what cable to get to interface them so he could have a map in hand with his Garmin 60Cs(x) to track his rocket live next time. He was very grateful and I was very happy I was able to help a fellow flier recover their high flying rocket.
Wow, that all sound exactly like what the Ham folks would explain as a fun and exciting situation with matching cable types, formats, etc. between devices to get it all to work. I can appreciate that and do enjoy technical challenges, but I would still rather have any radio/electronics be an out of box solution that would work first time every time without all the technical work arounds.
I guess that is why rocketry is such a great hobby, we can all get into what parts of it we want to and have fun with what we enjoy!

I'm glad it all worked out and you had such a great time with it.
 

gdjsky01

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Binos are great! But for nature's sake, be aware of where the Sun is!!! One quick screw up and the IR is brutal!
 

ksaves2

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Wow, that all sound exactly like what the Ham folks would explain as a fun and exciting situation with matching cable types, formats, etc. between devices to get it all to work. I can appreciate that and do enjoy technical challenges, but I would still rather have any radio/electronics be an out of box solution that would work first time every time without all the technical work arounds.
I guess that is why rocketry is such a great hobby, we can all get into what parts of it we want to and have fun with what we enjoy!

I'm glad it all worked out and you had such a great time with it.
Yeah, but simply with a single cable from a Kenwood D72A to a handheld Garmin 60Cs or 60CsX GPS both that can be had used now, one can have a simple mapping GPS tracker without too much muss or fuss with the Beeline GPS. There are other small APRS trackers out there in the Ham bands now. Will guide one to the last known position of the rocket and point the way. I use that when I don't want to mess with a laptop. It's actually easy and others have done it. Some fliers were doing it when the old Kenwood D7A(g) was the only Ham APRS radio around over 10 years ago. Handi-talkie radio with a cable to the handheld 60Cs or CsX. Very easy to carry out to the recovery site.

EggFinder stuff I've ported to mapping programs though that takes a bit of a setup job running two instances of the tracking program and piping the GPS info from the rocket instance to the base station instance. Works well though once setup is completed.

The Android GPS Rocket Locator program can work well if one can pipe the GPS positions off the Eggfinder receiver (which is doable via bluetooth) to the Android program. I have a ton of maps pre-saved on an Android device of areas I fly so I don't have to have internet access through a phone to track. Using a phone with 5G internet access is doable just as well. Data I think is cheap these days for the device to download the maps as long as one has access to the cell phone network for the maps.

I recall one time I didn't have access to the maps and the program still put a line on the screen from my position to the rocket. Still could walk the line and do the recovery even though I couldn't see on the screen where I was going on a map. Just had to look up every now and then to make sure I didn't walk into a ditch. Kurt
 

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My goal is to get a newer iPhone. I now have a POS iPhone 6S that has a camera that won't focus. If you have an iPhone 11 or above, then you can use the AirFob discs that fit in the keyfob holders which you could clip on your recovery lines/parachutes/eye bolts. Your phone points you in the direction of your airfob and distance readings. No monthly subscriptions either. The airfobs are $25.00 each.
 
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My goal is to get a newer iPhone. I now have a POS iPhone 6S that has a camera that won't focus. If you have an iPhone 11 or above, then you can use the AirFob discs that fit in the keyfob holders which you could clip on your recovery lines/parachutes/eye bolts. Your phone points you in the direction of your airfob and distance readings. No monthly subscriptions either. The airfobs are $25.00 each.
Whats the range on those? Do you mean the Airtag?
 

waltr

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It depends on the area and altitude. If flight is within sight but to lands in the all corn or other crops then you have a good general idea where the rocket is. In this case an 'Airtag' would be perfect since it is pretty easy to get with in 50 feet.

I build and use a low power RF Beacon TXs in my rocket when the corn is up. Range is about 50' and can always get a signal to RDF on to the rocket.
 

G_T

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Hmmm, I'm used to flights where getting within a thousand feet is a challenge. YMMV.
 

mh9162013

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How about a fear of unexpected wind that occurs right after apogee?

You know, you're in a municipal park with little to no wind. You're launching a rocket with an A motor that shouldn't break 200 feet in altitude. Lift off is great, ejection occurs without issue and the parachute immediate deploys.

But then it seems like the rocket isn't descending like you expected. Rather, it's as if the rocket is quickly moving along some invisible air current in the sky toward a stand of trees. You get a sinking feeling in your stomach and curse under your breath and tell yourself that no, you didn't have to use your Flight Sketch Mini or Jolly Logic AltimeterTwo during this launch.

As you continue watching your rocket move laterally faster than it descends, you start wondering if you remember the name of that tree guy who took care of some dead tree limbs in your front yard last year...
 

AllDigital

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How about a fear of unexpected wind that occurs right after apogee

Ancraophobia, also known as anemophobia, is an extreme fear of wind or drafts.[1] It is rather uncommon, and can be treated. It has many different effects on the human brain.[2] It can cause panic attacks for those who have the fear, and can make people miss out on regular everyday activities such as going outside.

The level of fear as well as other symptoms will vary between individuals. There are four general types of symptoms: psychological, physical, mental and emotional.[6]

Psychological​

Psychological symptoms include extreme anxiety when rockets are exposed to wind, feelings that the wind may harm or hurt the rocket, and a compulsion to avoid encountering wind. The fear of wind is caused by the mind over-estimating the danger caused by wind, believing that wind presents an actual threat, when in reality, it may not, but it probably does, especially late afternoons on the Lucerne Dry Lake bed in the spring.

Physical​

Physical symptoms include dry mouth, tremors, tightening in the chest, rapid breathing, sweating of the palms, nausea, irregular heart beat and ironically, a constant need to pass wind.

Mental​

  • Obsessive thoughts about apogee
  • Difficulty thinking about anything other than the fear or power lines or bodies of water the wind will take the rocket
  • Feelings of unreality or of being detached from oneself
  • Fear of losing control of the rocket
  • Fear of the rocket fainting

Emotional​

  • Anticipatory anxiety: persistent worrying about upcoming events that involve air movement.
  • Terror: a persistent and overwhelming fear of the same
  • Desire to flee: an intense need to leave the situation and fly another day
 

trialsguy

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How about a fear of unexpected wind that occurs right after apogee?

You know, you're in a municipal park with little to no wind. You're launching a rocket with an A motor that shouldn't break 200 feet in altitude. Lift off is great, ejection occurs without issue and the parachute immediate deploys.

But then it seems like the rocket isn't descending like you expected. Rather, it's as if the rocket is quickly moving along some invisible air current in the sky toward a stand of trees. You get a sinking feeling in your stomach and curse under your breath and tell yourself that no, you didn't have to use your Flight Sketch Mini or Jolly Logic AltimeterTwo during this launch.

As you continue watching your rocket move laterally faster than it descends, you start wondering if you remember the name of that tree guy who took care of some dead tree limbs in your front yard last year...
It’s not a problem as much as it’s a feature!
Where else can you get so much excitement and suspense?! ;o)
 

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I watched some videos on the Airtag and it only has a range of 80 feet, so that's worthless. I thought people were tracking lost luggage, finding out where their kids were, etc. :questions: maybe that's a different product?
It's a little different--the tag only has to be in range of any IPhone with Find My... activated. Some random person's phone can pick up the signal, send the location to the cloud along with the ID, and the data makes it way to your device. That means you have to have data coverage wherever you launch. It might work for rocketry if someone with an IPhone goes within range of your tag and gets you a location.
 

hobie1dog

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I guess I'm confusing the Airtags with the small (monthly subscription ) models that people use to find lost luggage and track their kids car locations.
 
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