How to find a rocket lost in high grass?

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

billdz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2017
Messages
1,305
Reaction score
94
Still looking for my Estes Patriot that flew yesterday on a Klima C6-5 motor. The grass is high but I did not expect trouble, since the sim showed that apogee would be at just 215 meters and the landing would be less than 100 meters from the pad (there was almost no wind). I did not see the rocket at all during descent, so perhaps the chute did not open. On the video at the 0:30 second mark, you can hear the ejection charge fire 6 seconds into the flight, which accords with the sim.

Any tips on finding a rocket in high grass would be appreciated. It must be there somewhere. Here's the video of the flight:
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipNjV0qqNWgX2z9QI8szB7tecN-iVqPfuA1d16zG
Does this give us any helpful info to narrow the search area? The houses on the far side of the flight line are 400 meters from the pad. The 2 low apartment buildings visible at liftoff are 200 meters from the pad. The little wind that was blowing should have sent the rocket back in the direction of the pad. I started the search by walking in the direction of my shadow at the 0:35 second mark, walked all the way to the small single story yellow house with brown roof, and then fanned out. Not sure if I'm looking in the wrong area or I've been near the rocket and just can't see it in the high grass.

Thanks for any thoughts,
Bill
 

EXPjawa

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Messages
2,205
Reaction score
57
Location
Finger Lakes, NY
If you didn't see it coming down, you have little to start from. 215 meters is about 700' - high enough for a rocket that size to become hard to see, as you noted, and is also high enough to start seeing different wind patterns than you've observed on the surface. But either way, high grass is far more concealing than people realize (until they experience what you did). I've had much larger rockets than that completely disappear; you hope that the chute canopy stays on top, but in many cases it gets pulled under. At this point, all I can suggest is to take a best guess for the direction and distance (I can't watch your video from here, so I can't help there) and walk a search pattern, being aware that it might not be visible unless you near step on it.

Going forward, a screamer attached to the shock cord will help. And it goes without saying not to take your eyes off of it. In that, it helps to have multiple eyes on it, including binoculars. Kids also tend to have sharp eyesight. I recently launched my Black Brant III on an calm day with F44-8 to see what it would do, which hit 1768' based on the altimeter data. I lost it at the top of the flight and didn't reacquire it until it was around 500'. But others saw it the whole way.
 

TangoJuliet

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2016
Messages
1,239
Reaction score
9
:point: I believe Rick meant to type "streamer", but a "screamer" would certainly help to find it. :grin:

Beyond that, I'm afraid I can't be of further help. I lost an Estes Goblin in tall grass when the silver mylar streamer failed to fully deploy. The area was extensively searched on multiple occasions, but I never found it.
 

blackbrandt

That Darn College Student
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Messages
9,281
Reaction score
42
Yessir. Pull pin sirens are a life saver.

And I can attest to rockets being lost in grass. I helped recover a formula 150 at LDRS. The 10-12 foot parachute was not visible until we were about 30-40 feet away. The only thing we saw was a black fine tip poking up out of the grass.

Always fly with marking chalk and a pull pin siren.
 

Bat-mite

Rocketeer in MD
Joined
Dec 5, 2013
Messages
11,130
Reaction score
1,862
Location
Maryland
Get a very big A-fram ladder, tallest you can find/carry, take it out to the field, and stand as high on it as you feel safe. Look for impressions in the grass, flutter of a parachute, etc. Good hunting!
 

ksaves2

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 25, 2009
Messages
6,170
Reaction score
415
Location
Central Illinois
If you want to make one, I did several of these: https://www.jbgizmo.com/page6.html
Get the parts in bulk and make o' mess of 'em.

Use duct tape to hold the battery in and epoxy the blinking LED and the Piezo on each end. I had the restraint break once on a rocket and it came down within
sight. I mentally tried to place myself under where the ejection occurred and by golly, I found the beeper, beeping away in the grass. That's the reason for the
duct tape. Kurt
 

billdz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2017
Messages
1,305
Reaction score
94
Thanks for the replies, here's another link to the video:
[video=youtube;MFXvx8ohi0s]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFXvx8ohi0s[/video]
I know there's a 99 percent chance it's lost but such a small area, hard to give up. If we could just get a bearing from the video. Drone sounds like a clever idea. What about a dog, have him smell a motor and then sniff for a similar smell in the landing area?
 

billdz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2017
Messages
1,305
Reaction score
94
@Steve Shannon - Is the alarm typically turned on before liftoff on the pad, or are they rigged up somehow so the pin is pulled when the chute is ejected?
 

Steve Shannon

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2011
Messages
6,759
Reaction score
3,668
Location
Butte, Montana
@Steve Shannon - Is the alarm typically turned on before liftoff on the pad, or are they rigged up somehow so the pin is pulled when the chute is ejected?
Most often I've seen people pull the pin first. The purpose built ones sometimes detect light when the chute deploys.


Steve Shannon
 

rharshberger

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2014
Messages
9,895
Reaction score
1,860
Location
Pasco, WA
Most often I've seen people pull the pin first. The purpose built ones sometimes detect light when the chute deploys.


Steve Shannon
Most people I know that use the modify the pin to be easy to pull, then attach the pin to the recovery harness, and the other end to either the harness or a bulkhead, as the harness pulls out the pin is pulled.
 

rharshberger

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2014
Messages
9,895
Reaction score
1,860
Location
Pasco, WA
The personal alarms are cheap ($10 or so), and can usually be bought locally, I buy mine at Target usually they are located with the smoke detector/alarms and door knob alarms.
 

boatgeek

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2014
Messages
3,470
Reaction score
2,012
This is what I use and I swear a deaf man could hear it! Worked brilliantly at LDRS on two launches. I quit using electronic locators about 1.5 football fields away from it just because there was no mistaken the scream. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N9R2LZ1/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
Just be aware that there is a complicated Murphy's Law physics that states that the louder a screamer is, the more attracted the rocket is to power lines in the area. The effect is magnified at larger launches. :)
 
Last edited by a moderator:

rstaff3

Oddroc-eteer
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
11,759
Reaction score
15
Thanks for the replies, here's another link to the video:
[video=youtube;MFXvx8ohi0s]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFXvx8ohi0s[/video]
I know there's a 99 percent chance it's lost but such a small area, hard to give up. If we could just get a bearing from the video. Drone sounds like a clever idea. What about a dog, have him smell a motor and then sniff for a similar smell in the landing area?
It probably is difficult to get a useful heading for the reasons mentioned earlier. If you don't know where the wind was headed, the direction it headed might only be slightly useful if it didn't deploy. Additionally, in my experience it is sometimes hard to follow a heading even if you watch it come down. It's easy to think, "it came down in line with xyz landmark". However, following that heading perfectly can be difficult ( like to have a 2nd person and a pair of FRS radios so they can guide you). Then, I've walked a few feet away from a largish model that totally disappeared into soybeans.

That being said, give it another try. Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes I get luckier when I give up my notion of where I should have looked the first time.

Hope you find it.
 

modeltrains

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2011
Messages
1,490
Reaction score
356
Q: How to find a rocket lost in high grass?
A: have an on-board remote control inflatable helium balloon.
 

Salvage-1

Certified
Joined
Mar 18, 2012
Messages
2,672
Reaction score
5
Last edited by a moderator:

chrisudy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
535
Reaction score
10
This is the 'screamer' that I use... 130dB is DEAFENING when you are stood close to it.
I dont pull the pin before flight, I tape the screamer to the shock cord and ziptie the pin to an area of shock cord about 3 ft from the screamer. Fold the 3ft of shock cord over on itself and losely tape. When the shock cord extends fully, the pin gets pulled

https://www.amazon.com/Vigilant-130dB-Personal-Alarm-Flashlight/dp/B005BCL66Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497304482&sr=8-1&keywords=rape+alarm


I use the same one. Although every time I use it, the rocket lands within 50' of the pad...
 
Last edited by a moderator:

ThirstyBarbarian

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Feb 11, 2013
Messages
8,671
Reaction score
1,316
Another good technique for finding rockets in high grass is to get 500 goats that have undergone aversion training to avoid eating rockets. Herd them into the field, and come back a few days later. Your rocket will be the only thing left.
 

snrkl

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Apr 11, 2017
Messages
1,368
Reaction score
208
If it were me, I'd be searching this pattern.

ImageUploadedByRocketry Forum1497317012.693678.jpg

Also, if it didn't eject, you might be searching in someone's back yard... hard to judge how far away those houses are.

I had an 18mm MD on an a motor that suffered a sudden turn just after launch. It managed to fly 200m on a balistic trajectory...

My son saw it walking to school on the far side of the pond - totally unrecoverable without going swimming in a not very nice pond.
 
Top