Most Flights You Ever Got Out Of A Rocket?

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tfrielin

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I imagine this question has been asked many times before here, but not seeing such a discussion myself, I have to ask:

What if the total number of flights you ever got out of a single rocket? Before it just plain wore out? Or otherwise lost it to a failure? Or a tree?

Really would like to know the record. Thanks.
 

Zeus-cat

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A number of years ago Jim Flis told the story how he went to a big rocket launch and Vern and Gleda Estes were there. He had Gleda launch the rocket for its 499th flight. He then had Vern launch it for the 500th flight. He gave them the rocket after that.

My best is 65 launches on one rocket.
 

Fishhead

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At the moment my most frequent flyer is my upscaled Star Snoop, or a modified Fat Boy. 39 flights and counting.
image-frw-super-snooper-flightmoment-5jpg-900-600-100620204828627.jpg
 

manixFan

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I have over 30 flights on of all things, a PML Tiny-Pterodactyl made out of Quantum tube. It was one of the first mid-power rockets I built, now over 20 years old I'd guess. It's lawn darted a couple of times into plowed dirt with no ill effects other than to the paint job, suffered from tangled chutes, and even late deployments. I think the long root chord of the fins adds a lot of strength to the body tube and has made all the difference. As long as the QT isn't stored in heat or sun, it seems to age ok for the most part. And the PML chutes with the nylon strap recovery harness have been pretty bulletproof for most flights.


Tony
 
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Bowman

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I imagine this question has been asked many times before here, but not seeing such a discussion myself, I have to ask:

What if the total number of flights you ever got out of a single rocket? Before it just plain wore out? Or otherwise lost it to a failure? Or a tree?

Really would like to know the record. Thanks.
What percent of the original rocket needs to be present in a rebuild to still count?
Aw heck, doesn't matter, I don't count anyhow but I have a few rockets that have flown many times over 20+ years.
I have been flying since ~1967, but became a BAR in ~1989. All my current rockets are post-BAR.
 
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BEC

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I have an Alpha with 103 flights on it, a Nova Payloader with 101 and another Nova Payloader that has 86. Of these three, the 101-flight Nova Payloader still has its original entire airfame tube, payload section, and fins. The top two inches of the Alpha plus its nose cone are recent replacements after a broken shock cord caused the 'chute/nose cone to fly away and be treed high up and not recovered. The 86-flight Nova Payloader had a significant portion of its main body tube replaced very early in its life. The shock cord and 'chutes have been replaced on all three at least once.

Both with the airframe tube replacements were at least partially repainted and got new decals (Nova Payloader) or stickers (Alpha).

All three have all three of their original fins, though they have all been broken and/or broken off at least once each.
 

Sooner Boomer

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This depends upon what you're calling "a rocket". I have two that are about 20 years old. They are both veterans of flying at the Lloyd Noble Center south of campus, here in Norman. We would set up on the south side of the area. If the rockets went to the south, the landed on grass. If they went north, they landed on a paved parking lot. A very hard parking lot.

This first rocket started as a Fat Boy (20 years ago). It's been crashed and rebuilt many, many times. It now has plywood centering rings, plywood fins, and a 24mm motor mount. For landing on hard pavement, the engine mount is rebated inside the body tube more than an inch. It also has about two inches of several layers of fiberglass on the aft of the body tube. And I have to mention the really nice balsa nosecone from BMS!
rebuild1 crop.jpg


The second rocket is a scratch-built made from 54mm phenolic, with a 29mm mount. I used to launch it a lot on G80's. More than once, it's come down sideways with a bound-up parachute. I originally built it with yellow glue (and ply fins/centering rings). I certified Level 1 earlier this year with the rocket. Then a couple of months ago I launched it on a reload that I must have messed up. The delay was waaaay to long and the chute ejected a few feet above a hard concrete surface (runway). The nosecone was ruined, and the body was zippered almost down to the motor mount. I rebuilt it, adding on a few inches more body tube. It was originally painted using DupliColor "Mirage" color-shifting paint (purple-green, it's why I called it "Octiron"). The rebuild is still in primer; I'm looking for a suitable paint. I also added rail buttons in the rebuild.
original
pad2.jpg

(sorry, no pics after rebuild that I can find)
 

tfrielin

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Well, I can see I'm a piker here.

I think the most flights I ever got out of one rocket was maybe 12--15 with an Estes Executioner.

At the end, the parachute started having trouble fully deploying (popping out completely). So I retired it and did an "autopsy" on it. I'd forgotten it had that internal tube that shunted the ejection charge up to the parachute section. That tube burned through at some late stage so that's why the 'chute wasn't deploying.

I guess a combination of never having access to a spacious enough flying field, trees, and less than Master building skills, al have combined to shorten the life span of most of my rockets over the years.

But, I am impressed with the numbers some of you have racked up.
 

msjohnso

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My personal best is 119, on a rocket I built in 1967 from an Estes plan, and finally lost somewhere around 1995 or so.
 

jflis

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A number of years ago Jim Flis told the story how he went to a big rocket launch and Vern and Gleda Estes were there. He had Gleda launch the rocket for its 499th flight. He then had Vern launch it for the 500th flight. He gave them the rocket after that.

My best is 65 launches on one rocket.
here’s Vern Estes loading her up for flight 500, and the launch. The model was built in 1973, costing me $1.75, with over $765 in motors…. ALL original except shock cord and streamer…

it is now in Vern’s collection
 

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Bowman

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But, I am impressed with the numbers some of you have racked up.
I wonder if "Fish Stories" has any parallel here...
Or the saying "the first liar doesn't stand a chance " ;)
 

Nathan

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I keep track of total accumulated altitude of my Frenzy XL. I should reach 100,000 ft this season. Mostly with flights under 4000 ft.
 

BEC

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I keep track of total accumulated altitude of my Frenzy XL. I should reach 100,000 ft this season. Mostly with flights under 4000 ft.
Oh, that's an interesting idea. I have altimeter data for almost all the flights of the models I listed in my prior post....I should sum that all up. I probably don't want to do what Jim did and sum up the costs of the motors.... :eek:
 

Donnager

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So far, a decidedly small number. I tend to build faster than I fly. I feel a little guilty about the old ones that are in perfect shape, but never make it (back) to the range.
 

heada

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There was a kid (10-ish) that had an Estes Redstone. Over a 2 day weekend launch, he burned up 2 bulk packs of Estes 18mm motors in it. He was at the flight line every 15 minutes or so it seemed. By the end of the weekend, the escape tower was long lost but the rocket was still flyable (mostly)
 

Back_at_it

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Back in my youth we had two rockets that we used as "test rockets" to test the wind. These were always the first rockets up. One was a Quest Falcon the other was a scratch build affectionately referred to as Butt Ugly. The Falcon had around 70 or 80 flights before it was retired. Butt ugly flew for about 4 yrs. and I'm guessing it had somewhere around 150ish flights before I left the hobby. Unfortunately that rocket was lost at some point while I was out of the hobby.

Since returning to the hobby about 4 yrs ago I have built myself another Butt Ugly 2.0 that gets used for testing. It's the first rocket up every time and most outings it gets flown more than once. It's an obnoxious color so it's easy to track. Looking at my flight logs I show 41 flights on that rocket on everything from a B6-2 to F44-8. I have several other rockets in the 10-20 flight range since returning.

Here's Butt Ugly on the pad at Bong. She ain't pretty but she's a work horse. BT55 with a full length coupler, Basswood fins and a 24mm mount. This was a few years back when it still looked presentable :)

21.jpg
 
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Bowman

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There was a kid (10-ish) that had an Estes Redstone. Over a 2 day weekend launch, he burned up 2 bulk packs of Estes 18mm motors in it. He was at the flight line every 15 minutes or so it seemed. By the end of the weekend, the escape tower was long lost but the rocket was still flyable (mostly)
I showed my daughter how to prep and fill out her flight cards when she was about that age.
Similar behavior. As long as I kept 13mm motors in the range box she would cycle her rocket as fast as the club could cycle the pads. She didn't go through 2 bulk-packs in two days but she went through as many motors as I bought her.
Still have that rocket in the basement. I think it is a "Quick Silver"?
Now she's 27 and shows no interest but who knows, she might eventually become a BAR.
I think a lot of us went through that cycle.
 

Back_at_it

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I was thinking it doesn't look bad enough for the name. Maybe it grew into it.
The original Butt Ugly wasn't as nice. It was built by me when I was in my teens. It was flat neon pink with a black nose cone and one black fin. It didn't have a name for the longest time. I always just referred to it as the "test rocket" until one day my buddy looked at all scratched and beat up and said they is one said butt ugly rocket. The name stuck from there.

When I returned to the hobby this last time, I found an old picture from a launch and there was butt ugly on the pad. I knew then I had to build another one. It only seemed fitting that I keep the name. This one was a lot nicer than the original but it too is starting to earn it's name. After 41 flights it's isn't very attractive but it still flies perfect.

I might do a cosmetic restoration thread on it this winter.
 

Woody's Workshop

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I've got 30 or so flights on my original Wizard. Pulled it out of trees numerous times. Reshaped and reglued the fins back on (no longer quite look like Wizard fins). Replaced the shock cord numerous times. It's the oldest rocket I have. How I kept from loosing it after all these years is beyond me.
Rockets have come and gone by the dozens, yet...Here this Wizard is.
I guess that is why I decided to build the Wizard from BT-5 mini engine to BT-80 29mm engines.
Sadly, the BT-70 & 80 will probably never get finished now. Both are TTW fins done in Rocksim.
They do seek a good home where they can be finished and flown.
I will have to look to see if I have decals for them. I know I do for all the smaller ones from Sandman.
I may have wanted vinyl from Stickershock for the big 2. I'd have to dig in the file cabinet to see if I ordered them and have them.
Anyone interested, send me a PM. Any reasonable offer will be entertained.
 

MarkB.

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A couple of years ago, my nephew and I put in 26 launches in one day and another 22 about two weeks later gathering data for his science fair project on what was basically a BT-50 size Aerobee 300A with a modified payload bay and a Jolly Logic Altimeter2. All flights were B6-4. Over those flights, we replaced the mylar 12" parachute once and the elastic portion of the shock cord twice. It had one lawn dart incident and somehow split the launch lug somewhere along the way. After we were done with the project, I touched up the paint and re-flew it a couple of times, so it's 50+ flights for sure.

We had tried a similar project the year before that was 22 launches on his Modified Goblin but that really didn't result in useful data.
 
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