Lost a Rocket for the First Time

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Jay515

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Weather wasn't too bad today, so I went out with my son to get some launches under our belt. We got off six launches and recovered five. My Crossfire ISX is tangled in the (very) high branches of a tree. The first five launches using A and B engines went into the (3-5 mph) wind, and when the chutes deployed they drifted to within 75 feet of the launch pad. On the final launch I used a C6-3 and I guess the wind shifted right after launch, because the rocket followed the same flight path up, but drifted at almost a 90 degree angle from the previous descent paths and into a wooded area.
I'm not even upset about losing the Crossfire. I feel like I've completed a rocketry rite of passage. We had a fantastic time, and now I have an excuse to order more kits!
 

mooffle

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It's a long shot but if the launch site is close to home you may wanna check back every couple weeks and see if the wind or rain knocks it loose. I had that happen to me just this spring.
 

Jay515

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It's a long shot but if the launch site is close to home you may wanna check back every couple weeks and see if the wind or rain knocks it loose. I had that happen to me just this spring.
Thanks! It's only about 10 minutes from my house. I'll definitely keep an eye out for it. The area isn't ideal for launches, but it's the best that I have access to in my area. Central Kentucky doesn't have a great deal of flat clear land that isn't occupied by horses, cattle or active crops. I found an NAR affiliated club, but they're an hour and a half drive away and they haven't been active due to Covid 19 restrictions in our state. I'll make a trip to meet them when things get back to normal.
 

K'Tesh

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Make sure that you write your name and email or phone number on the rocket somewhere... However, if it's the nosecone, and the rocket gets snagged in a tree, that part tends to stay up in the tree when the rest comes down...

Just in case you do locate it in a tree... here's a little help you might be able to use.

 

Jay515

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Make sure that you write your name and email or phone number on the rocket somewhere... However, if it's the nosecone, and the rocket gets snagged in a tree, that part tends to stay up in the tree when the rest comes down...

Just in case you do locate it in a tree... here's a little help you might be able to use.

Thank you for the link! In the future I'll definitely put some contact info on my rockets. I think my son has one of those small fiberglass bow sets from his time in Cub Scouts. I'll have to put that in the car on our next range day. It should be powerful enough to reach the top of most trees in our launch area.
 

SCooke123

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I remember watching one catch a thermal and float away -- was still way up there when it went out of sight. At least it was a cheap rocket, don't even remember what it was now. That was the only one I ever lost that way - I did have a Gyroc shred apart when I stuck a C motor in it back in 1968. Came down as a body tube and 2 wings.
 

Philip Tiberius D.

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Thanks! It's only about 10 minutes from my house. I'll definitely keep an eye out for it. The area isn't ideal for launches, but it's the best that I have access to in my area. Central Kentucky doesn't have a great deal of flat clear land that isn't occupied by horses, cattle or active crops. I found an NAR affiliated club, but they're an hour and a half drive away and they haven't been active due to Covid 19 restrictions in our state. I'll make a trip to meet them when things get back to normal.
I’m still building what I call my “Go High” rockets (just painted MadCow Twitch - waiting on graphics from StickerShock) but I’m mixing it up with some that are high drag such as the LOC T-Loc & Apogee Slo-Mo and flew the lil’ Fusion by SBR 2x last night on an A8 & B6 (chute not streamer). Still have the lil’ Horizon to build - both 18mm with TTW fins (nice).
 

jrap330

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How long have you been launching rockets as this is your 1st lost?
 

Jay515

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How long have you been launching rockets as this is your 1st lost?
Our first launch was in March of this year. This was our third outing. We've had a total of 15 launches and 14 recoveries. This outing was the first time we launched any C engines. Previously we had only used A and B sizes.
 

jrap330

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Pretty good 1 out of 15. If you have a small field, look at estimated altitudes on package.. I never launch any small Estes like Alpha, or Generic E2X or various others that are all the same rocket, just different name and paint scheme.. If estimated altitude is 800-1000 on a C. You need a large field and spotters/trackers. The Estes Sidewinders, AMRAM if still out are great C Flyers..good up to 400-500 feet. You enjoy the C burn more than an A engine. Big Beta great on a B...might loose it on a C. And if your tired of one of those basic kits like Alpha...go for a streamer recovery. I always wanted to fly it in my generic Estes basic and hope for the best. A
 

Zeus-cat

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One thing many people don't realize is that winds can be blowing at different speeds and in different directions at different altitudes. A bigger problem with rockets that go higher, but it might have been a factor when you switched from a B to a C.
 

Jay515

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One thing many people don't realize is that winds can be blowing at different speeds and in different directions at different altitudes. A bigger problem with rockets that go higher, but it might have been a factor when you switched from a B to a C.
I believe you've called it. It really seemed like the wind pattern was different on the descent for the lost rocket, and it didn't feel like it had changed on the ground. Prior to launch we checked the wind direction with the safety cap ribbon from the launch rod and a grass toss. It occurs to me that our launch site is in a low area with a gentle rise in elevation to the north and a sharper rise to the south. I checked a USGS map and it looks like our launch area is about 50ft lower than the surrounding terrain. The wind at ground level was from the east, but the lost rocket went almost due south on descent. Maybe the terrain "funneled" the wind at our launch site, and the wind above the ridge lines was stronger and from the north? It's our best option for launch locations right now, so I'm going to keep to lower flights until we can find a better place. Thanks for helping a rookie!
 

RocketTree

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Slingshot with fishing line and a medium sized nut. If you manage to get that over the tree, you can then swap it for heavier line. Sometimes I go all the way up to a steel cable. Always get them down if its under 50' Hard to find a place with no trees around here. I always give it a little extra effort when there is an onboard camera to recover.
 

BABAR

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One idea is for first launch of the day to be a, let’s call it a “low value” rocket as I don’t like the term “expendable”, like a Viking, with engine appropriate to expect upper range of rockets which will be launched WITHOUT trackers. Consider tracking powder and/or extra long streamer for visibility. This rocket gives a feel for what the winds are doing ABOVE ground level, and may help you adjust your motor choices, launch rod angle, parachute or streamer choices, and possibly decision whether to launch at all (the last is the hardest, especially if launch dates are few and far between. Too many of us, myself included, watched a rocket go out of sight thinking, “I knew I shouldn’t have launched in these conditions!”)
 

bobby_hamill

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wrist rocket slingshot, lead weight, and some fishing line and down she will come
 

rocketman4h

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Wind direction can shift over 90 degrees in direction in as little as 500 ft. and I have learned to call trees rocketeatemupas... so keep flying, your boy will love it and never forget. Also try to fins a larger field and find a local NAR chapter. Flying with a larger team is always awesome! you will learn much as well
 
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