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jimn

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A couple of times I have overhead someone saying that high power rockets have a very short life span. Like 3 or 4 flights. I have had many more flights from some of my rockets. One had about 30 flights, several others have had a dozen or more and are still going strong.

What has been your experience? Do you have a record rocket (highest number of flights)?I
 

cwbullet

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Only if the come in balistic or have a CATO. A few of our local members in GA and SC have 20 or more flights. My wife has one with over 20 flights.

It is rare to get 10 or more flights. I have several high power rockets with 10 or more flights. I have a bunch with just 1-2 flights that I just have not gotten aroudn to flying again.
 

Fearoflightning

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I find that the number depends entirely on material. Phenolic only seems to last 3-5 flights, bluetube 6-15, and fiberglass a generally unlimited amount.

This is how I justify the $$$ I spend on fiberglass:)
 

cwbullet

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One of my oldest rockets is phenolic. Phenolic does not take hard landings well. If you need to make it stronger, you need to add a layer of glass.
 

Nathan

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A fiberglass rocket could last forever if it doesn't crash or get lost. My record is my Frenzy XL which has 18 flights, mostly on K motors.
 

jd2cylman

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I find that the number depends entirely on material. Phenolic only seems to last 3-5 flights, bluetube 6-15, and fiberglass a generally unlimited amount.

This is how I justify the $$$ I spend on fiberglass:)
I must be doing something wrong. I have Yank 4" flexible phenolic rocket that has at least a dozen flights on it... :)
 

Salvage-1

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Bluetoob rockets, one approaching 20 flights, one with just 6, both have multiple hard landings, with at least 2 drogue recovery and this is in the high desert!

Phenolic - argh... dont talk to me about phenolic (the PML stuff), one or two flights
 

mpitfield

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I have a cardboard AeroTech Arreaux with I don't even know ho many flights on it but it was my first rocket, besides my kids smaller rockets, back into the hobby. I did zipper-proof the booster section after the 3rd or so flight by gluing a coupler into it, which without doing I am sure it would be toast by now. I would guess somewhere between 30-40 flights, maybe more. I just stripped the payload tube/nosecone and repainted it over the Winter.
 

DavidMcCann

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I've got almost 30 flights on my blue tube L1 rocket, an Optima clone. Wood fins and the crappiest epoxy the auto store carries. dinged and chipped up, she shows her miles. However it should fly for year to come.

I can't seem to fly a mini magg without breaking a fin.... Blew out the sides during deployment on my second vulcanite.... but have 8 really crazy flights on a 4" cardboard rocket with surface mounted fins.


I think built and flown right, there's a limit to flights, but it's probably between 30-50 flights even for cardboard. If you blow deployments or motors, obviously thats going to reduce lifespan.
 

Rocketjunkie

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My Motoreater (54 & 8 29 mounts) has 65 flights but does require replacement of the booster body tube (LOC) every 15-20 flights due to wear. My 54 mm upscale Deuce has 41 flights (Blue Tube). My High Tech H45 has 35 flights without having to replace the LOC tubes.
 

terryg

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My GlowLight Express XL night launch rocket has 36 flights on it. It's Loc tubing is kinda beat up, but at night no one can see that!
 

cherokeej

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We have members of Team ARLISS with rockets that have over 60 flights on a bird. I don't track it, but some may be approaching 100 flights. Mind you, these are very repairable rockets. Smack a fin on landing, it bends instead of breaks. Grab a screw driver and replace that fin, cuz here comes the coordinator with another team of students, and they're looking for a flight.

Fiberglass. Good stuff, Maynard.
 

Bat-mite

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One of the MDRA board members, Peter A., has at least 90 flights on his only rocket, Shaken, Not Stirred. Lots of videos of it on the MDRA YouTube channel, which is only coincidental to the fact that Peter is also the club's videographer. :wink:

I had ten on my Radial Flyer before it mysteriously failed to deploy and came in ballistic. I have, probably, close to 20 on my MAC Scorpion, although it has been significantly rebuilt.

Look at all that can happen, though. Motor cato, failed apogee deployment, failed main deployment, lost, treed, lands in body of water....
 

Banzai88

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I must be doing something wrong, my 2.6 high power Optima has 16 dual deploy flights on it, and it's all cardboard and wood.

I have a darkstar mini fiberglass that has over 50 flights on it, not all of them HP though.

I think rocket lifespan has a lot to do with how well it was put together, how well it was stored, what it is made from, and what it lands on.
 

Wizard

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I've got 18 flights on my Madcow Prion, cardboard/plywood, on everything from I's to K's. Its suffered a couple runway landings and the only repairs have been to seal up where the cardboard was scraped on the booster as the chute dragged it down the runway. Nose paint is pretty beat-up, though. Having a tailcone on it really helps protect the rocket on landings.

David
 

Exactimator

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According to my launch records, my two cardboard and wood rockets launched about a dozen times before they were so beat-up I retired them. My one phenolic rocket would need some sort of repair after most flights, and made it to 11. These are built stock and the phenolic has no fiberglass wrap.

The most launches I have on a FG rocket is 7. It still seems brand new and I see no reason it can’t go many more.

I’m curious about what’s happening to the rockets that only last three or four flights.
 

rstaff3

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I think materials, how well it it is constructed, how it is constructed and how well recovery goes all make a difference. An example in each category. For me the last item is the tall pole.

Paper and cardboard will eventually burn through. More so on composites with their afterburn. Afterburn can kill an Estes minimum diameter rocket in one flight while a 3" will survive much longer. If your motor mount support isn't ahead of the end of the motor that is eating up the motor tube.
 

AfterBurners

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Mine usually last 2 flights...I tend to cato them or come in ballistic and I find the more time I spend on a paint job the more likely it will be destroyed.
 

Lowpuller

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I have many rockets with near infinite flights..................that's what I call it when they get captured by the tree and blow in the breeze until full material breakdown and failure!
 

Bat-mite

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I have many rockets with near infinite flights..................that's what I call it when they get captured by the tree and blow in the breeze until full material breakdown and failure!
I once saw a kid deploy an 18" chute from a 1 oz. rocket. It caught a thermal and rose and blew slowly out of sight. I'm pretty sure it circled the earth at least once before in came down. :wink:
 

neil_w

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I once saw a kid deploy an 18" chute from a 1 oz. rocket. It caught a thermal and rose and blew slowly out of sight. I'm pretty sure it circled the earth at least once before in came down. :wink:
I LOLed. Sorry, unnamed kid.
 

rstaff3

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One of the MDRA board members, Peter A., has at least 90 flights on his only rocket, Shaken, Not Stirred. Lots of videos of it on the MDRA YouTube channel, which is only coincidental to the fact that Peter is also the club's videographer. :wink:

I had ten on my Radial Flyer before it mysteriously failed to deploy and came in ballistic. I have, probably, close to 20 on my MAC Scorpion, although it has been significantly rebuilt.

Look at all that can happen, though. Motor cato, failed apogee deployment, failed main deployment, lost, treed, lands in body of water....
Dave Weber's Tuber has about 250 high power flights. It has been , er, touched up at least once.
 

Oberon

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I imagine a lot of rockets turn into a "ship of Theseus" type situation...

Oddly in my experience almost all of my rockets either die a horrible death on their first flight, or survive until they get so aesthetically beat to hell from minor dings that I'm embarrassed to put them on the pad (or I get bored of them and move onto another rocket). I've thankfully not lost any rockets on actual high-power flights, but I've had two catastrophic losses of high-power capable birds on G engines. Both happened to be first flights (a CATO of a 29 40/120 in a flight proven case, and a lawn dart when the delay element fizzled).
 

fyrfytr310

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Whoa, I didn't realize you had lost your 10" Smoke. What happened?
Basement flood..... I've been delaying the inevitable parts-stripping in the interest of keeping it around despite the damage :(
 
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