L1/L2 Attempt - Joy!

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Well-Known Member
Jan 9, 2004
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Hey All,

On Saturday, 5/8 I flew my scratch built "Not Again/Once Again" rocket for my certs. (Sorry if I'm long winded)

We got to the site at about 9:15 am. Light winds. My parents were already there to witness and help me. Along with was Brady, Hahn and my fiance Sam. Got the car unpacked and had all the bits and pieces out. First things first - get the electronics in the bay and the charges made and connected. Took about 15 minutes. Next was to put the altimeter bay in the rocket an secure it with the 3 6-32 buttonhead hex screws. That took a few minutes. I then attached the recovery harnesses and all of the flame protection. I was going drogueless dual deploy and splitting the two sections with 15' of 3/8" Tubular Nylon. I had motor ejection backup on the drogueless recovery setup. Got the fin can attached to the payload bay after some wrangling and got some dog barf in there. Next came the main chute. Threw 2 body diameters dog barf in then proceeded to fold the chute. Samantha and I folded it three times and each time it wasn't fitting. I was going into panic mode. Each time before I could easily slide it into the tube and blow with my mouth and it would come zipping out. I was having to twist it to get the chute in. Not a good sign :( So then we refolded and realized we were rolling it from the wrong end. Whew!!! Once we got the chute rolled and it gently slid into the payload bay we put 10' of tubular nylon on top and connected the shroud lines. We put the nose cone on last, as always :)

I went to find Steve Mashburn - our TRA Prefect. He's an awesome guy and got home from work at 2am, slept until about 8 and came up for the launch. A great guy! We talked for a few minutes and I told him I was going to cert L1 and he said he would be watching. Next I went to Jim Amos of Missileworks and got the Pro38 2 grain casing and motor - the H 153. Jims a great guy and takes care of us at our launches. I kept the 13 second delay as a backup and assembled the motor. Those things are a breeze! Then I went back to my rocket and installed the motor and put the retaining clips from the boattail on and the motor was secure. I went up to the pad and had to wait for two flights...we only had one rail.

So I get my rocket inspected and out to the Pad. Loaded it on with no trouble at all. I then took the standard reocket pictures. Then I installed the igniter and armed the electronics. Mach delay set for 4 seconds, Main at 900'. All circuits ready to go.

Went back and they closed the pad. The cleared a couple Estes rockets and then mine came up. We had the five second countdown and then.....

The rocket leapt into the sky followed by a smoke trail. Burnt out and then it glided really gracefully up. It just started to tip over when the Drogue charge went off. A very clean split that then led to a nice flat spin. I was tense. This was where my last attempt failed. Passed through 1500 feet and then right on cue the main popped out and inflated very slowly. Wooooo Hooo! I heard Steve telling me to recover it no matter what. Darn straight! I watched as it gracefully fell at about 10 fps (from the data looked at afterward) and landed about 300 yards away. A perfect recovery. The altimeter read 2065'. I got the rocket and showed it to Steve. He gave his approval and signed off. :) I was a happy camper! L1 !!!

Now it was lunch time. We ate, looked at pictures and video of the flight. It was about 12:45. They asked if I was going to do L2. Winds were picking up and I wasn't sure, but I was going to prep the rocket again and see.

I then prepped the rocket as before. During prep Samantha quizzed me on the L2 test questions. :) I decided it was a go and went over and asked Steve for the test.

I went back to my chair and started the test. Took about 15 minutes to complete and I reviewed each of my answers. Then took it to Steve. He graded it and said I had missed 2 questions. :( I was going for perfect but I still passed with a 96%. I then again went over to Jim Amos and got a J285 with a 15 second delay.

I installed the motor in the rocket and checked all systems. I really like those slimline retainers:) I had to wait again for the rail, but I wasn't in a hurry. There was about 1/2 as many people there this time. We had some high clouds so it was going to be a little hard tracking the rocket this time. I went to the pad after inspection again and loaded her up. I really like rail buttons also - just to let you know. I again took the standard rocket pictures. I installed the igniter and then armed the electronics. I was the only rocket out there. The guys left were pretty sure I was going to lose the rocket with the slight wind and altitude I was going to get - and part of me agreed with them. But, the countdown was starting so I couldn't argue.

2...1...Whooooooosh. The rocket LEAPT off the pad and was lost almost instantaneously. Everyone looked skyward and it wasn't in site at all. I spend a good minute looking skyward and scanning the skies.

"I got it - its coming in separated, I see two pieces" - A guy from the end of the line shouted. He pointed and I could barely make it out. I told him main was set at 900 and he kept yelling what he thought the altitude was. "Its coming in hooo----theres a chute." Whew... The T-cup shot out again and slowly inflated. I could see it in the distance. One of the shroud lines had gotten tangled in the nosecone and was about 2 feet shorter - resulting in a spinning parachute. Still, with this it came down at 12 fps (from altimeter data). It landed about a mile away. Steve once again told me to bring her back in one piece.

My Mom, Dad, Hahn, Brady, Samantha and I started the walk. Took us about 15 minutes to get there and we found the rocket nicely laid out in a perfect recovery. I listened to the beeps and the altimeter read 6788'. Not bad :) I undid the parachute from the quicklink and stuffed the tubular nylon back into the airframe and assembled the rocket so it could be carried easier. After the walk back I showed it to Steve and again he signed off. :) L2!!!!

It was a good day! Thanks to my parents, Hahn, Brady, Samantha, Steve, Jim Amos and the NCR club that made the launch possible. You guys run a class act and I appreciate it!

I'm looking forward to LCO sometime in the future.

Now for the pictures. I'll attach them in the following posts.

Here is the parachute that brought the rocket back. It produced a descent rate between 10 and 12 fps
Here is me waiting at the LCO table. I'm also checking to make sure that the quick link to the parachute is attached to the swivel. Details details :)
Here I am making a stop for the rocket. Electrical tape. Hahn is on the left and Brady on the right. I'm in the black hat.
Here is the 'standard' rocket photo. The black tape on the rocket is holding the wires to the airframe for the altimeter. I twisted them together for easy. I'm sorta smiling and holding my glasses behind me cause they cause glare.
Holy shmokes Edward! You put a J in that!?!?!


What, oh what, has rocketry come to when you put a J in that....


Just kidding, Ed. Congrats on the L1 and the L2! Have fun with them!

:D :D

Here is the motor just before burnout. The burst 3 mode on the digital camera is a great feature :)
Here is the rocket and recovery system all strung out on the ground. Watch out for cacti!
Here is a closer picture of the nosecone and parachute. It turned out perfect.
Now onto the L2 set of pictures. Here again is the 'standard' rocket photo. I'm on the left, Hahn is in the middle and Brady on the right.
Here is the launch...or what we caught of it. The thing screamed off the pad. And it was loud too :)
We didn't get any recovery pictures - it was too far off. But here is me with a big grin carrying 'Not Again/Once Again' back on the road to L2.
Also, thank you to all of ya'll here on the forum - you helped me a ton and I couldn't have done it without ya'll's advice.

Okay, one last picture. Here is what the Perfectflite MAWD had to say about the L2 flight.
congratulations! that is a really neat parachute. how did you get that big chute in that little airframe!???

and the perfectflite graph is neat-o too.

It was some folding magic. Samantha and I spent about 30 minutes one day just trying different folding methods till we got what we wanted. The tube is a LOC 2.14 and I had 12" of airframe to put it in. We just folded and folded until we had something that was 12" and would slide easily. When folded correctly you can blow and get the parachute to zip right out about 5 feet. If you want a photo-essay on how it's folded I can post that also.


A HUGE Congratulations to you on your Certs man...what a way to do it!!! You definitely had a busy weekend, but it has just begun. Now you get to build all those monster birds you wanted! ;)

Once again, well done!

That day had to rock dude! I wish we all coulda been there...Congartulations, and welcome to high power.

Now about that "sweet tooth..." :D

Congrats on both of your certs too :) I can't imagine doing 2 certifications in one day... Too nervewracking for me. (Heck, I even took the L2 test a month before doing my flight!)

Great pictures too!