First launch

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Well-Known Member
Feb 26, 2009
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My wife and I went to our first launch as rocketeers this weekend. We had seen model rockets on the Discovery Channel before, and attended the Kloudbusters Air Fest in September, but never launched anything. However, after Air Fest we were hooked, and embarked on a month-long construction project, with the goal to launch something at the next Kloudbusters meet on October 9th. As it happened, a month was enough to build and paint five Estes rocket kits.

On launch day, we hung around and watched some launches before getting ready to fly. First up was a Fat Boy, painted bright orange with black fins, powered by a C6-5. To say I was nervous was an understatement. Would the rocket explode on the pad or fly sideways mowing down spectators? I had no need to worry... it was a perfect flight. Straight up from the launch rod, the nosecone popped just after apogee and the parachute deployed properly, then we had a trek across the freshly plowed field to retrieve the rocket. Not a scratch or ding on it... ready to fly again.

Next up was a Blue Ninja, flying on a D12-5, one of the rockets my wife built. Again, a great flight only spoiled when the blue tube wrap came undone just before apogee which slowed the flight. Again it recovered perfectly, and we trekked back to almost the same place in the field. We decided that we liked the body tube better in the silver finish, so peeled the rest of the blue off, so now it's a Silver Ninja.

Third to go was a Patriot, on a B6-4. I was keen to see how much difference there was in the B and C motors. The flight was straight up, but not that far, and landed within 30 feet of the launch pad. Next launch it's getting a C motor, to see what it can do. Recovery wasn't great, as the 12" PVC chute tangled in the shock cord a little and didn't fully open, although the rocket landed safe and was ready to fly again after a wipe down to remove the dust.

Time for one more... this time a Gnome. This tiny little thing got a surprising amount of attention as we took it to the pad. Launched on a 1/2A3-4 motor, it scooted off the pad and went surprisingly high. Deployment wasn't perfect, as the shock cord seperated and the nose cone came down on the streamer while the body tumbled down. No damage, apart from the shock cord, and will be ready to fly again when we replace the Estes elastic with some kevlar cord, and maybe try an A10... :eek:

The final flight of the day was a Bull Pup 12D on another C6-5. The rocket pitched over quite a bit, but still made a respectable height before deployment. However, the 12" PVC 'chute again tangled on the way down and it ended up in a patch of brambles over six feet tall. Two spectators helped us look for the Pup, and found it despite the overgrown area of landing. The 'chute was torn around two of the shroud lines and it was twisted with the shock cord, but despite it's fall the rocket had only minor scratches, and will be back to fly another day. I may try the Bull Pup on a streamer instead of replacing the parachute, as it has quite a narrow tube.

Flush with our sucess, we have sprung for three more Estes kits... a Stormcaster and Executioner, which will be built stock, and another Fat Boy that's getting a 24mm MMT for either a D or E motor. One launch and the Frankenstein ideas are already starting to form. :D

Seeing rockets fly is cool. Watching something you built rising from the pad is such a rush. We're hooked. :cool:
congrats and welcome to the fold :)

You've come to the right place to tell tall tails and seek advice/help as well as to give it :)
Originally posted by melvyn
Seeing rockets fly is cool. Watching something you built rising from the pad is such a rush. We're hooked. :cool:

Welcome to the world's greatest hobby. On behalf of the moderators, Welcome to THE ROCKETRY FORUM!

I can see from your first launch report that your interest in this hobby has certainly exceeded your initial expectations! The best thing is that they will continue to exceed along with your imagination. The Rocketry Forum and its members are always glad to help out and chat. If you are hungry for information pertaining to your rockets, check out for customer submitted reviews. (You'll notice that you are not the only with with a peeling Blue Ninja! :) ) To get a good starting point in the hobby and to find links to general information, check out - If you just want to chat rocketry, share experiences, or post pictures then you've come to the right place!

Take care and thanks for posting. If you have any questions feel free to send a PM or Email.

Once again, welcome to TRF and best of luck to you!
Like eugenefl said "On behalf of the moderators, Welcome to THE ROCKETRY FORUM!" Here at TRF we offer a wide selection of many rocketry related discusions and in a family enviorment. There are many people who will be here to help at the drop of a hat if ya have any questions. We hope you enjoy TRF and I can see you enjoy the hobbie so keep us informed of your builds and launches and enjoy being part of TRF family
Welcome! I wouldn't recommend using a streamer for the Bullpup, it's heavier than most rockets of that size due to the noseweight.

Hey! Welcome aboard! I'm glad that your first flights went well.I know it can be discouraging when they don't.However,don't let it get too you when things do go badly.Eventually you will have "seen it all".Lost rockets,CATOs,lawn darts,ejection "failures":rolleyes: and the list goes on.That's part of the fun of rockets is that when things goof you can then pick up the pieces and figure out what happened.It makes you feel all that much tha better when the next try goes well.
sounds like you're having fun...check it out though...ever seen a fliskits deuces wild? if you're looking for a 2 engine cluster rocket that will be one of the most spectacular 18mm flights you've ever seen....thats the one to get. just a little plug for jim there...dont mind me.:p

anyway, have fun with your future rockets!!
We are happy to have you and your family join us!

If you happen to build another Blue Ninja, try using a bit of scotch tape around the front ends of the blue wraps to help keep them attached. That rocket lasts a lot longer that way.

Also, note (per another thread here on TRF) that this week is THE time to go stock up on Estes kits at your local Hobby Lobby. It just don't get better than half-price!
The C engines are a blast! In the small field where I launch, I can only use an A or B engines. I loose my rockets every time on a C!

It's great you both can share this hobby together!

Take care,
sounds like fun, now you know what to get her for the holidays :D

Originally posted by melvyn
The rocket pitched over quite a bit, but still made a respectable height before deployment.

was this just the rocket slanting or did it go flip every which way? (if you forget the nosewiehgt in bullpups they have a tendancy to do so)

And of course "Dudette"

P.S... Pictures are not only allowed... They're Demanded...!!!