HPR photos L1-2-3 flights

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Mach_Seven

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9.jpg

My Level 4 attempt. Epic fail. I jammed the flight control actuators in backwards, even though they don't fit that way and I had to pound them in with a hammer.

(OK, that's actually a Russian Proton rocket. And that's actually how they crashed it.)
 

Mach_Seven

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Level 1 Cert.

Kit: 3" Loc Iris w/tailcone.
Motor: Aerotech DMS I280
Altitude: 3716'
Recovery: RRC3 for apogee deployment/motor backup, 42" main with JLCR set to 700'
Payload: digital camcorder
Location: Palm Bay, FL
Tripoli Prefect: Spaceport Rocketry Association
 
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SteveNeill

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Adam told me about this thread and ask if I would mind posting some pictures of my level 1 attempt. I'm happy to report that three weeks ago I was lucky enough to get my level 1 cert on my first try. It was also the maiden flight of my Zephyr built over 2 years ago.

Why so long a wait? First of all our launch sight and club ROC is 4 hours away from my home in Ventura. That's one way. When I first planned the trip out 2 years ago the fires blocked our way to the sight. Even at that it was just not safe to try and get back out there in the fires that year.

So next year I get ready to go in March and Covid strikes. All launches for the year were canceled by the BLM. We weren't allowed to have launches until three weeks ago and even then it was only members of the ROC allowed.

We loaded up the motorhome and the 2 dogs and our granddaughter and headed out to the Lucerne dry lake bed the night before the launch and camped out. I got up with the first flight, had my tea and breakfast and headed out to registration at 7 am. The crew for the ROC was very helpful and nice. They helped me fill out all the paper work and checked out the Zephyr and told me I was good to go.

I used a single use White Lighting H100W-14A and drilled the delay for 7 seconds. It turned out to be just right. Then they had me go out to the H pad. It was the furthest out of all the pads and a low walk. I talked to the camera on the way out. Talked about how I felt. Normally this would have all been shot on our professional 4K HD camera with Mary shooting. We do a show every week about our studio work at our film effects studio and make films. But on this day I just didn't want any distraction and remained focused on the task at hand. I shot everything with my iPhone for simplicity.


The flight went perfect, even textbook. We launched in 14-17 mph winds too. The rocket ended up going pretty far down range so I had that long chase as the winds kept dragging it across the desert until it found a slight ditch and came to rest. My granddaughter got there first and a friend that was down range already getting ready for it. Launching in such high winds isn't advisable but after all the time I waited and long drive I was about to be detoured by weather.

IMG_9687copy.jpg


The result was so desert rash but nothing that would prevent me from fly a second flight so they gave me my level 1 cert and patch. It was a happy day for sure.

IMG-9713copy.jpg
 
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Adam3836

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Adam told me about this thread and ask if I would mind posting some pictures of my level 1 attempt. I'm happy to report that three weeks ago I was lucky enough to get my level 1 cert on my first try. It was also the maiden flight of my Zephyr built over 2 years ago.

Why so long a wait? First of all our launch sight and club ROC is 4 hours away from my home in Ventura. That's one way. When I first planned the trip out 2 years ago the fires blocked our way to the sight. Even at that it was just not safe to try and get back out there in the fires that year.

So next year I get ready to go in March and Covid strikes. All launches for the year were canceled by the BLM. We weren't allowed to have launches until three weeks ago and even then it was only members of the ROC allowed.

We loaded up the motorhome and the 2 dogs and our granddaughter and headed out to the Lucerne dry lake bed the night before the launch and camped out. I got up with the first flight, had my tea and breakfast and headed out to registration at 7 am. The crew for the ROC was very helpful and nice. They helped me fill out all the paper work and checked out the Zephyr and told me I was good to go.

I used a single use White Lighting H100W-14A and drilled the delay for 7 seconds. It turned out to be just right. Then they had me go out to the H pad. It was the furthest out of all the pads and a low walk. I talked to the camera on the way out. Talked about how I felt. Normally this would have all been shot on our professional 4K HD camera with Mary shooting. We do a show every week about our studio work at our film effects studio and make films. But on this day I just didn't want any distraction and remained focused on the task at hand. I shot everything with my iPhone for simplicity.


The flight went perfect, even textbook. We launched in 14-17 mph winds too. The rocket ended up going pretty far down range so I had that long chase as the winds kept dragging it across the desert until it found a slight ditch and came to rest. My granddaughter got there first and a friend that was down range already getting ready for it. Launching in such high winds isn't advisable but after all the time I waited and long drive I was about to be detoured by weather.

View attachment 462838

The result was so desert rash but nothing that would prevent me from fly a second flight so they gave me my level 1 cert and patch. It was a happy day for sure.

View attachment 462839
That’s really cool
Long wait for sure but worth it ! Sounds like it was a nice day.
The Idea of camping the nite before to wake up to a day of launching rockets sounds perfect !!
Congratulations steve
 

Mach_Seven

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There has to be a new word invented that captures the exquisite feeling of excitement, anticipation, focus, and even that little bit of the fear and nervous energy we feel as we prep a rocket for a cert flight. I came up with "flightgeist".
IMG_1517.JPG

IMG_1519.JPG
 

SteveNeill

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Michael L

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I started on my L1 cert almost 2 years ago. 20-ish months… something like that. The only rocket I had ever launched prior was Estes rockets with my kids 20 years ago. Now I launch Estes rockets with my grandkids.

As of May 1, 2021 I had a successful L1 certification flight with a LOC IV (modified, more on that in a minute) with a Cesaroni I350SS, single deploy. I had an AltusMetrum 3.0 data logger / GPS / tracker onboard the LOC IV and TeleMini in the Graduator. The TeleMetrum 3.0 turned out to be handy.

In the beginning I planned to follow the usual recommendations. You know, build something simple, don’t change anything, launch with the minimum motor you can use, no electronics, single deploy, etc. All good advice and advice I would give now that I’ve got past the first level (two to go).

The first thing that I did was buy a LOC Graduator. I wanted to try building a medium power rocket before I tackled the high power rocket build. I built it and made one significant mistake. I forgot to put the shock cord attachment and shock cord in the forward motor tube support before I epoxied it in. I hadn’t glued in the aft centering ring so I could get to the nut on the bottom but I couldn’t reach in and install the eyebolt because the tube is a lot smaller than my hand. I 3D printed something to hold the eyebolt on the eye and insert the other end into a 3/8” dowel. It was one of the first things that I had ever printed so it got printed a few times before I got it right. I almost installed the eyebolt without attaching the shock cord to the eyebolt but caught that mistake while I was guiding the eye in. Oh… I also forgot to drill the hole in the forward motor mount. Did you know that they make and sell really long drill bits? I do now :)

I decided that I had better buy and build the LOC IV while the Graduator build (and mistakes) was fresh in my mind. Unfortunately I had some things come up at work so a couple of weeks passed before I had time to get on with building.

The build went pretty well. I think that it’s a little easier to build the larger rockets. I had both rockets primed and ready ahead of launch season (we shut down from Dec thru March). So… what does one do when they think they are ready to go in December? Wait for April… that would make sense. So that’s not what I did. Did you know that LOC sells an AV bay for the Graduator and LOC IV? I didn’t either. I was looking around the LOC website and I thought, I should get an Av bay for each rocket but keep it motor deploy and single chute (I really wanted it to launch dual deploy. There... I said it). And, oh yeah, since it’s going to have an Av bay it may as well have electronics right? That’s how they were both built. Onward thru the fog.

April launch day was coming up so I measured and weighed everything. I had already loaded the LOC IV RockSim file, added an Av bay, etc. So that was all perfect (hold on to that thought). By 2 days before launch I had primed and sanded both rockets with down to 1500 grit and they were looking smooooth and ready for paint after they flew. The day before launch (I actually took the day off to do final prep) I was installing the launch guides in the aft section and I heard a clickety click sound. Sigh… that was the sound of the nut that was pressed and glued into the aft launch rail button retainer bouncing off of the motor tube. The retainer was a 3D printed part (not my design) and the nut was not captured between it and the wall of the rocket. :/ I wish I would have caught that before I installed it and put the aft bulkhead plate in. I guess all of the removing and installing for paint loosened it up, plus its a bad design. I spent until 10 pm cutting a hole, installing the backer, and patching the hole (it's invisible). I was still determined to launch but something else came up when I was getting ready the next morning so I scrubbed the L1 attempt and I was once again a spectator. I don't recall what the "something else" was... just that I was very disappointed.

May launch was coming up fast so I started getting the two rockets ready to fly. In the sim I noticed the weight and Cg were a lot different than my measurements. I might’ve said a bad word at that point. I started the sim over, put all of the weights and Cg’s in… and I thought that it looked better but something was off. I still had a week or so until launch and the Cp/Cg relationship was flyable so I tabled the issue for later (bad idea). Somewhere in all of this I put the Graduator on hold.

Later the next week I took a look at altitude at apogee and decent rate in the sim and didn’t like what I saw. I had added so much weight to the rocket that altitude was lower and the descent velocity was too high. So I ordered a 48” Fruitychute. Problem solved. Uh… no… Now I had to stuff a 48” chute and 16’ shock cord into a teensy little sustainer section. About now I should mention that I had also decided to buy a Cesaroni 6 grain case and spacer for a bigger motor in the future. Except that to do that I need my L2. I was launching with an I350. I think the next step up is an I540... After that, it's a J. The 6 grain case sticks into the space that the chute and shock cord were supposed to be about the length of 2 grains, 5” ish. That doesn't leave much room.

The day before the launch I was digging around in the sim and comparing it to actual weight and Cg measured with a string. That’s when I noticed the length of the rocket in the sim. It was way off. So I went to the LOC site and downloaded their RockSim file. I was totally calm (no I wasn't) and was fully confident that I had it all under control (no I didn't). With the new sim file, the length matched. That was a good start. I looked at the date of the file that I got from the vendor website and it was dated 2010 (which vendor doesn’t matter). I emailed them and it’s fixed. So that was that right?

Nope… when I got done adding all of the data to the sim the Cg was still very close to Cp but better. Weight was better but I still needed the bigger chute. All in all it was good enough to fly. Of course it wasn't.

When I tried to pack the chute in the rocket I found out that there was no room for the shock cord protector, 16’ of shock cord, and a 48” chute. I wanted more forward weight too so with less than 12 hours to flight time (it was dark outside) I removed the Av bay (that didn't help my Cg at all), used rivets to install the original coupler to the payload section (so I could change back later), and switched to a modified version of the original rocket. Modified?! Yup. Instead of putting the hardware at the bottom of the coupling, facing the motor, and still having a lack of space issue, I put the bulkhead plate toward the nose cone and installed the eye facing down, toward the motor. That gave me a few inches of room in what was otherwise wasted space as well as shifted the weight of the parachute forward.

First I connected the shock cord, z-ish folded it, put some rice tape around it to keep the cord tangle free, and put that in the top of the coupling. Then I packed the chute and shroud lines and slid them into the coupling. It was an easy fit. I coupled the nose cone and sustainer together and the rocket was ready to fly. Almost.

Not having an onboard GPS and/or tracker was bugging me. We have a lot of hills, sage brush, and open space where we launch from. I had selected a motor that was supposed to clear 5,400' (it didn't) instead of keeping it low and easy to find. So… I kludged the AltusMetrun 3.0 and the battery together, no switch, wrapped it in protective padding (Digikey sends their components wrapped in the stuff that I used, it’s really good), popped the rivets that hold the nose cone out, and slid the payload into the payload bay. This was done at the launch rail. After that the nose cone was installed and the rivets were replaced and we were ready for launch.

Thankfully the launch and recovery went very well. This is not a how to guide...

Oh boy... that's not going to fit very well



So far so good



I wonder why they call the motor Smokey Sam?





Time to go find a rocket. It's right out there. Do you see it? Yeah me neither but I have the lat / lon from the AltusMetrum so keep walking



What about now? Nope...



Oh look, my assistant secret weapon a cow has found it. HEY! DON'T EAT THE CHUTE!!!!



All laid out like it's supposed to be



I checked with the cow... it didn't have another I motor or launch rail. Joe Barnard didn't answer his phone (no I don't have his number) so , because that's the only choice I had, I elected to call this one good and go back to the launch site, which is roughly 3,910' just to the right of the production equipment that the nose of the rocket is pointing to instead of launching again.



She wandered a bit. Apogee @ 4,541'. I think that's a lower altitude than the sim but it'll be a few days before I can check. Descent ranged from 3 fps to 17 fps. 6 fps at last recorded data point.




PS - I'm not done with this rocket yet. I've got a coupling and some more body tube coming... :)
 
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Michael L

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Absolutely! It came off of the launch rail and flew nice and straight until it was out of sight. The long walk to the landing site was full of concern. I wasn't sure hw recovery was going. Not a scratch on it.

Every one of those problems that I listed above didn't do anything but firm up my resolve to get my L1. Now to start learning what it takes to get an L2.
 

Mach_Seven

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I started on my L1 cert almost 2 years ago. 20-ish months… something like that. The only rocket I had ever launched prior was Estes rockets with my kids 20 years ago. Now I launch Estes rockets with my grandkids.

As of May 1, 2021 I had a successful L1 certification flight with a LOC IV (modified, more on that in a minute) with a Cesaroni I350SS, single deploy. I had an AltusMetrum 3.0 data logger / GPS / tracker onboard the LOC IV and TeleMini in the Graduator. The TeleMetrum 3.0 turned out to be handy.

In the beginning I planned to follow the usual recommendations. You know, build something simple, don’t change anything, launch with the minimum motor you can use, no electronics, single deploy, etc. All good advice and advice I would give now that I’ve got past the first level (two to go).

The first thing that I did was buy a LOC Graduator. I wanted to try building a medium power rocket before I tackled the high power rocket build. I built it and made one significant mistake. I forgot to put the shock cord attachment and shock cord in the forward motor tube support before I epoxied it in. I hadn’t glued in the aft centering ring so I could get to the nut on the bottom but I couldn’t reach in and install the eyebolt because the tube is a lot smaller than my hand. I 3D printed something to hold the eyebolt on the eye and insert the other end into a 3/8” dowel. It was one of the first things that I had ever printed so it got printed a few times before I got it right. I almost installed the eyebolt without attaching the shock cord to the eyebolt but caught that mistake while I was guiding the eye in. Oh… I also forgot to drill the hole in the forward motor mount. Did you know that they make and sell really long drill bits? I do now :)

I decided that I had better buy and build the LOC IV while the Graduator build (and mistakes) was fresh in my mind. Unfortunately I had some things come up at work so a couple of weeks passed before I had time to get on with building.

The build went pretty well. I think that it’s a little easier to build the larger rockets. I had both rockets primed and ready ahead of launch season (we shut down from Dec thru March). So… what does one do when they think they are ready to go in December? Wait for April… that would make sense. So that’s not what I did. Did you know that LOC sells an AV bay for the Graduator and LOC IV? I didn’t either. I was looking around the LOC website and I thought, I should get an Av bay for each rocket but keep it motor deploy and single chute (I really wanted it to launch dual deploy. There... I said it). And, oh yeah, since it’s going to have an Av bay it may as well have electronics right? That’s how they were both built. Onward thru the fog.

April launch day was coming up so I measured and weighed everything. I had already loaded the LOC IV RockSim file, added an Av bay, etc. So that was all perfect (hold on to that thought). By 2 days before launch I had primed and sanded both rockets with down to 1500 grit and they were looking smooooth and ready for paint after they flew. The day before launch (I actually took the day off to do final prep) I was installing the launch guides in the aft section and I heard a clickety click sound. Sigh… that was the sound of the nut that was pressed and glued into the aft launch rail button retainer bouncing off of the motor tube. The retainer was a 3D printed part (not my design) and the nut was not captured between it and the wall of the rocket. :/ I wish I would have caught that before I installed it and put the aft bulkhead plate in. I guess all of the removing and installing for paint loosened it up, plus its a bad design. I spent until 10 pm cutting a hole, installing the backer, and patching the hole (it's invisible). I was still determined to launch but something else came up when I was getting ready the next morning so I scrubbed the L1 attempt and I was once again a spectator. I don't recall what the "something else" was... just that I was very disappointed.

May launch was coming up fast so I started getting the two rockets ready to fly. In the sim I noticed the weight and Cg were a lot different than my measurements. I might’ve said a bad word at that point. I started the sim over, put all of the weights and Cg’s in… and I thought that it looked better but something was off. I still had a week or so until launch and the Cp/Cg relationship was flyable so I tabled the issue for later (bad idea). Somewhere in all of this I put the Graduator on hold.

Later the next week I took a look at altitude at apogee and decent rate in the sim and didn’t like what I saw. I had added so much weight to the rocket that altitude was lower and the descent velocity was too high. So I ordered a 48” Fruitychute. Problem solved. Uh… no… Now I had to stuff a 48” chute and 16’ shock cord into a teensy little sustainer section. About now I should mention that I had also decided to buy a Cesaroni 6 grain case and spacer for a bigger motor in the future. Except that to do that I need my L2. I was launching with an I350. I think the next step up is an I540... After that, it's a J. The 6 grain case sticks into the space that the chute and shock cord were supposed to be about the length of 2 grains, 5” ish. That doesn't leave much room.

The day before the launch I was digging around in the sim and comparing it to actual weight and Cg measured with a string. That’s when I noticed the length of the rocket in the sim. It was way off. So I went to the LOC site and downloaded their RockSim file. I was totally calm (no I wasn't) and was fully confident that I had it all under control (no I didn't). With the new sim file, the length matched. That was a good start. I looked at the date of the file that I got from the vendor website and it was dated 2010 (which vendor doesn’t matter). I emailed them and it’s fixed. So that was that right?

Nope… when I got done adding all of the data to the sim the Cg was still very close to Cp but better. Weight was better but I still needed the bigger chute. All in all it was good enough to fly. Of course it wasn't.

When I tried to pack the chute in the rocket I found out that there was no room for the shock cord protector, 16’ of shock cord, and a 48” chute. I wanted more forward weight too so with less than 12 hours to flight time (it was dark outside) I removed the Av bay (that didn't help my Cg at all), used rivets to install the original coupler to the payload section (so I could change back later), and switched to a modified version of the original rocket. Modified?! Yup. Instead of putting the hardware at the bottom of the coupling, facing the motor, and still having a lack of space issue, I put the bulkhead plate toward the nose cone and installed the eye facing down, toward the motor. That gave me a few inches of room in what was otherwise wasted space as well as shifted the weight of the parachute forward.

First I connected the shock cord, z-ish folded it, put some rice tape around it to keep the cord tangle free, and put that in the top of the coupling. Then I packed the chute and shroud lines and slid them into the coupling. It was an easy fit. I coupled the nose cone and sustainer together and the rocket was ready to fly. Almost.

Not having an onboard GPS and/or tracker was bugging me. We have a lot of hills, sage brush, and open space where we launch from. I had selected a motor that was supposed to clear 5,400' (it didn't) instead of keeping it low and easy to find. So… I kludged the AltusMetrun 3.0 and the battery together, no switch, wrapped it in protective padding (Digikey sends their components wrapped in the stuff that I used, it’s really good), popped the rivets that hold the nose cone out, and slid the payload into the payload bay. This was done at the launch rail. After that the nose cone was installed and the rivets were replaced and we were ready for launch.

Thankfully the launch and recovery went very well. This is not a how to guide...

Oh boy... that's not going to fit very well



So far so good



I wonder why they call the motor Smokey Sam?





Time to go find a rocket. It's right out there. Do you see it? Yeah me neither but I have the lat / lon from the AltusMetrum so keep walking



What about now? Nope...



Oh look, my assistant secret weapon a cow has found it. HEY! DON'T EAT THE CHUTE!!!!



All laid out like it's supposed to be



I checked with the cow... it didn't have another I motor or launch rail. Joe Barnard didn't answer his phone (no I don't have his number) so , because that's the only choice I had, I elected to call this one good and go back to the launch site, which is roughly 3,910' just to the right of the production equipment that the nose of the rocket is pointing to instead of launching again.




Did you know you could break those Aderals in half? Just kidding. That was a great read and post. I admire the thoroughness. Always interesting to get insight into how other more experienced rocketeers approach things.
 

Michael L

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All this time and I could have saved so much money :D :clapping:

I don't know if I would put myself in the "experienced" category. I have two mottos, Onward thru the fog and Endeavor to Persevere 🚀
 

GrouchoDuke

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Fun thread!

These are from a few years ago, but here are my L1 & L2 flights. Great learning on both thanks to Bernie Lucido's great mentorship - Godspeed, Bernie.

L1: Nov 19, 2016, PML Quicksilver, H135, DIY flight data logging/tracking/telemetry, 2362ft Jean, NV with Tripoli Vegas.

IMG_9032.JPG

Bernie and Me small.jpg
IMG_9065.JPG
IMG_6822-crop.jpg

GoPro screenshot 01.png


L2: Apr 15, 2017, PML Quicksilver, J270, DIY flight data logging/tracking/telemetry plus JLCR & Altimeter Three, 7533ft. Jean, NV with Tripoli Vegas.

IMG_8713-rotated-crop.jpg
IMG_8715-crop v2.jpg
 
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Adam3836

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Fun thread!

These are from a few years ago, but here are my L1 & L2 flights. Great learning on both thanks to Bernie Lucido's great mentorship - Godspeed, Bernie.

L1: Nov 19, 2016, PML Quicksilver, H135, DIY flight data logging/tracking/telemetry, 2362ft Jean, NV with Tripoli Vegas.

View attachment 463254
View attachment 463252View attachment 463255View attachment 463250
View attachment 463253

L2: Apr 15, 2017, PML Quicksilver, J270, DIY flight data logging/tracking/telemetry plus JLCR & Altimeter Three, 7533ft. Jean, NV with Tripoli Vegas.

View attachment 463256View attachment 463257
Awesome !! Congrats
 
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