Halloween launch...

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Just got back into town today, after attending my brother's wedding - his third. Need less to say, I didn't dress up much for this one :D

I gave some parts to a friend so that he could build another "atmospheric entry probe" for his decades-old Estes Enterprise, and this afternoon was set as the time for this rocket's second flight - she dragged the controller cables up with her on her maiden voyage :) We headed out to the now-cleared cotton field near my place and set up a couple of pads. Weather was good, slightly breezy with gusts up to 10 mph.

First up was my Semroc Swift on an A8 to test the wind - flawless flight, the streamer deployed near apogee, and she was recovered a few yards from the pad. Inspection revealed a cracked fin - easily repairable.

Next was Rob's
Sputnik Too, a styrofoam ball - dowel construct that flew surprisingly well on an A8-3. One of the dowels broke on landing, however - 18" long 1/8" thick dowels are not incredibly robust. Easy fix...

The third flight of the afternoon was my baby - a Fliskits Deuce's Wild - on 2 B6-4's. I had rigged up a clip whip for this, my first cluster launch since the 80's. Had some butterflies in my stomach, but I need not have worried.. the Deuce lived up to its rep and turned in an inspiring performance:


Flight #4 was the second voyage of the starship Enterprise, on a B4-2. Straight boost to about 100-150 ft, despite the breeze, and a nice chute deployment:


The next flight involved the second use of my clip whip, as I stuffed 3 B6-6's into a Semroc Goliath for its maiden trip into the wild blue yonder:


All three engines lit - yay! - and I was surprised by the altitude this puppy achieved. Clusters rock! :D

Flight #6 was that of my Centuri Vector-V clone, on an A8-3. Another great flight...


Next up was the Enterprise on a C6-3. Boost was anything but straight, as it followed a nice arc off to the west. Fortunately, it was about 50' off the ground when the chute deployed. No damage, but I am wondering why the B4 flight was much better (scratches head)?

The final flight of the day was that of my 2nd Centuri Excalibur clone - the first being lost in this same field back in late
July . It shot off the pad on a B6:


Chute deployed just after apogee, but it looked like the payload section had gotten tangled up with the chute. However, the descent rate was still fairly slow and the rocket sustained no impact damage. But...

Inspection of the rocket revealed the most unusual recovery "prang" I have experienced. It was something similar to the "Estes dent", save in this instance, the balsa adapter at the base of the payload section hit the launch lug upon snap back, impaling a "spear" of balsa into the lug - along with the shock cord and a chute shroud line. Seeing is believing, so here's a pic of what I'm calling the "Centuri cut":


I need not add that I have now lengthened the Excalibur's shock cord - after repairing the adapter.

No rockets lost, just a bit of minor damage. A bonus was that my friend's son now wants to build and fly his own rocket - he was quite happy when I gave him a Quest Totally Tubular kit. The benefit to me is that he wants to fly it this coming weekend, so I may get a chance to fly some more very soon :D

If you don't own one, get a Deuce's Wild from Fliskits. Believe me, you won't be disappointed!
Looks like you had a great launch! Great pic of the Deuce launch!!

Looks like you had a great day :)

That wierd prang with the Centuri Excalibur is just another one of the many ways these things can act up in wierd ways... :p

On our FarScape model, we have a toothpick end that is glued on to resemble an antenna point... On 3 occations (twice with my FarScape and once with someone elses) I've seen the *side* of the nose cone hit that just right so that the toothpick breaks off and is impaled onto the nose cone....

Things that make you go hhmmmmm :)
Nice flights! Looks like you were using an Estes controller even to light the clusters...was it one of the "E" controllers? That's what they are reccomending for the new cluster kit Estes is coming out with (one of the X-Prize kits).

I've seen one of these controllers, but didn't look at it enough to see if there was any battery power difference between one of these and a standard Electron Beam. But if you can light a cluster with it then the power source must be diffrent. What does it take for batteries?

If it was made just to light E9 motors I would just guess that it would be a regular controller with longer leads because you don't need any extra power to light a single E9 b/c they use the same igniters as all other Estes motors. Maybe they were trying to compensate for the power that may be lost in the longer cables...or maybe they just gave it the extra power to add to the price and make you think that you need it to launch E9 motors. Whatever the reason, it can ignite at least a small cluster and I want to know why! Heh.
Originally posted by marvSRG
Nice flights! Looks like you were using an Estes controller even to light the clusters...was it one of the "E" controllers?

Thanks Marv!

It may look like an Estes E controller, but what I was using was an old Centuri launch controller - The PowrControl. It was connected to the Celestron PowerTank I use to power my telescope when in the field (7 Amp Hour, 12 Volt).

I use this setup to ignite clusters; the other birds were launched using the standard Estes Electron Beam. Haven't purchased an E controller, though I do have one of the Estes Porta-Pad E's.
Cool deal. Still makes me wonder what's so special about this E controller that allows it to ignite clusters b/c it really just looks like a spiffed up Electron Beam with longer leads to increase the safe launch distance. There is no need for extra power.