Lesson Learned


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Sep 16, 2015
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Louisville OH
Managed to weasel my way out of packing for our upcoming move and made it to our club launch today. One goal was to fly my newly repaired Stretched Leviathan (it was originally a Scion “SPEV” kit but I just went ahead and did it as a longer Leviathan) on my very first Aerotech LMS motor - a G78-7 Green Mojave. A lot of my rocket shop stuff was already packed when I started repairing the damage from last month’s hard landing - one thing it needed was some new recovery gear. I built it with an NCR style “Gorilla” steel cable leader for the shock cord but I needed to install a length of something from the leader on up. Usually that would be ten feet or so of 550 paracord but that’s already in a taped up box staged for the move. So maybe six feet of 1/2 elastic will work, right? Wrong. The elastic failed, the booster core sampled (just the payload section was destroyed, the lower tube, mount and fins survived) and the nose cone, Jolly Logic Chute Release, and dollar store screamer alarm sailed merrily under one of my 30” nylon chutes into the 7 foot tall corn! The screamer was zero help - standing corn pretty much swallowed up the sound. And visibility between the rows was nearly nonexistent. After searching for nearly 2 hours I gave it up.

Now, everyone watching agreed that the delay was way longer than seven seconds but that could’ve been operator error on my part though I don’t know how I could’ve screwed up that part of assembling the motor - it really is a pretty straightforward process. But if I had used the right materials - stuff suited to the type and size rocket I built - instead of half-arsing it with LPR build techniques the rocket still would’ve crashed but my Chute Release wouldn’t be laying in a cornfield waiting for the picker to smash it to pieces.

Lessons learned - bigger rockets are NOT just big model rockets. There’s a reason for using slightly different stuff like epoxy, plywood, fiberglass, recovery harnesses, nylon parachutes and electronics. I may even setup two separate shop areas at the new house and keep the model rocket builds apart from the HPR rocketry - there’s enough room in the basement for that to happen. And it’s time to get a little more focused on the electronics side of things - building av bays, adding dual deployment capabilities, adding some kind of tracking device - though none of those gadgets would’ve made a difference today, this one is all on me.
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