My NOVAAR adventure/disasters

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Feb 13, 2004
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Hey all! Russ here.Some of you may know me from Yahoo as Ditchbilly.I have just posted a rather lengthy summary of my weekend launch with NOVAAR this past saturday on one of the groups over there.Since I've been looking for a good opportunity to start posting here as well then I reckon this is as good a chance as any.Before long I'll be posting another story regarding some projects that I have in the works.

Hey all! Russ here again.Just thought I would take a few to tell the story of my saturday fly with NOVAAR.Once again the NOVAARs put on a great show and the weather was just short of perfect.It could've been a bit cooler and a bit more calm but still not bad at all.
I managed to get in a bunch of flights this time.Sadly I also got in a few mishaps and one major tragedy.I'll cover them first.
The first foul up of the day was my Estes Vector clone.Tiny little bird that I stuck together in just a few minutes from BMS stuff.I've got her painted J.D. yellow with a black cone.I decided to fly it on an Estes 1/2A8-3.She came off the pad fine but went ballistic at about 50-60 feet and took off towards the right of the launch area.It didn't go far but at ejection the cone came out but the streamer stayed in still attached.No damage whatsoever.I sat down the other night and figured a new way to pack this one so it wont happen again.Still need to find a way to get some more weight forward though.
Next up was my Estes Eclipse clone.This is the rocket that I used as a test bed for figuring out my "Problems with Krylon" black paint blushing problem.Well let me tell ya';after about ten coats of Krylon and a final coat of Rustoleum topped off with a layer of Future this rocket may have been a bit heavy for it's size but it was smoooooooth! It actually looked really nice.As for the flight you would never know that this thing was handicapped with a weight problem because on an A10-3 it just flat out WENT.I think everyone was a bit suprised at how high this bird flew.I know I was.However,at ejection that's when the problems started.Apparently the shock cord was just a bit short because it broke off right at the base.First I watched the rocket tumble to the ground suffering only a loosened fin which is now repaired.Then I proceeded to watch a combo of wind and thermals carry the cone off to see Dorothy and Toto.I hope they bring it back if they find it.It's probably still going!
Now when I went to look for the rocket I couldn't find it.It was funny because I just KNEW that I saw where it came down.Later on when I approached the check in table I saw it sitting there and I was able to get it back.What I think happened is that since it came down right next to a bunch of Civil Air Patrol guys,I think one of them picked it up and returned it while I was watching my cone escape.This all worked out because after a bit of searching I began to think that maybe it had come down further away so I walked up on the hill and looked around.While doing this I just happened to find one of their Alphas and managed to get it back to them.What goes around comes around!
Another rocket flight that started out fine with but ended up less than perfect was my last flight of the day.My brand new Commanche-3.Blaze orange with an "aluminum" colored nose.This one also came out rather nice.This rocket has been many years coming as I bought it many moons ago from a guy who used to be one of my best friends when we where in elementry school.Upon opening it up at home I discovered a semi-crushed BT.I took it back and asked him to either give me a refund or a new tube.He said I was on my own.Well,long story short we're not exactly best friends any more.Like I was telling someone else the price I paid way back when and a new tube from BMS was still a bit cheaper than a new one today.
Anyhow I decided to give the thing it's first workout with a B6-0/B6-4 combo.The rocket flew great but popped off a fin at inpact.Both fins and fillets stuck together but the top layer of paper just ripped away.This too has now been fixed.Except for the fin I was happy with this flight.I'm gonna try a bit more weight forward though because it did have a tad slight angle on the flight.I would love to get this puppy straight up on a full load.
O.K.,now for the BIG disaster.This next flight I'm going to describe was my next to last flight of the day and is my all time worst disaster of all time so far.I'm sure that I will have worse failures in the future but none will be as painful as this.It involves my #1 favorite rocket.The rocket that I certified level #1 HP on three times as well as did my first reloadable flight on.Talkin' about my LOC Forte'.Sadly and with deep regret I must report that she is no more.
Saturday I went to pull off my second reloadable flight on an Aerotech G64-4.The flight itself was absolutely perfect.That is until the time came for ejection.Sounds of silence by Simon and Garfunkle would have been very fitting right then because there was not so much as a pif or a poof or anything at all.Nothing to be heard but my heart breaking as she came barreling in from about 800 feet or so to her sudden,shocking and violent death.You can ask anyone who was there it weren't pretty at all.In fact this impact did things that I've never seen happen before.First of all it landed in hard horse packed dirt on the edge of a creek.One of only a handful of non-grassy areas on the whole site and I found two of them saturday.When the rocket hit not only did it bury its nose completely but the "milk carton stomp" effect was so powerful that it actually turned the cone nearly inside out.The bottom of the cone was shoved about halfway up into the cone and the tip was blown completely out.Now most of you know how hard the plastic on one of those cone is.It's as hard as a rock! In addition to all of that the side blew out of the rocket so hard that it blew the airframe about 15 feet from the nose cone.Also,the tube was split from the second centering ring all the way up the airframe.To top it all off I probably don't even have to describe the accordian effect.A considerable bit of the rockets length was handily removed.Well what it amounts to is that the bird was a total loss.At first I thought that I might be able to salvage the back 1/3 from just ahead of the fins and rebuild just for prosperities sake.Upon closer inspection I'm afraid it's not to be.The motor tube was buckled and the body tube itself showed signs also.The rear centering ring was jared pretty loose from its mount also.Luckily the reloadable motor system was completely intact and undamaged.As far as causes go I have not a clue.The damb thing just did not fire,period!The delay burnt clear to the end but no go on the powder.In fact I recovered nearly all of it.The only thing that I can think of is that because I didn't shake the motor after installing the cap and that perhaps none of it went into the hole and contacted the delay ellement.Perhaps it just all shot forward when it went over the top?Who knows?
All of this didn't dampen my enthusiasms though and I am actually very eager to build a new Forte as well as try another reload in my PML Black Brant.When I build the Forte this time it will have a piston ejection system that I wish I had known about when I built it before.
Well o.k. now that I'm done crying just let me say that the whole day wasn't a disaster.One up side to the days flying where two very nice flights on my brand new Big Red Max.The first was a knuckle biter on a B6-4.The second on a C6-5 was beautiful!A perfect flight.Those awesome decals from Slotrod at Excelsior rocketry must have made it fly better because it flew as well as it looks.I look forward to many nice flights from this bird and am eager to do some more work on the 24mm version that I have started.I also had great flights from my Estes Yellow Jacket and Bullpup as usual.The one last rocket I forgot to mention that also met with a slight misfortune on its first attempt was my brand new Estes Corkscrew.On its first attempt I was using a clothspin standoff which got snagged by the motor clip and caused the rocket to hang up with the lug only about six inches from the end of the rod.I'm actually glad that it didn't leave the rod after wasting all of that energy dragging that clothespin behind it.Hey! That was suppose to happen! It was a static test!
Anyhow, the next try came off beautiful on a C6-5.Awesome flight! What a pigtail! This may become one of my favorites.This rocket is also carrying around one of my nicest paint jobs.I got a lot of compliments on it.I used some Krylon Fusion Patriot Blue that I has left over from a Vought F4U Corsair build.This combined with florescent orange from Colorworks really came out nice.
The last rocket that I have to mention was the upper stage of my Estes Delta Clipper.This is the one that got the fin broken on the way to NARAM a few weeks ago.I made a whole new fin for this one and it fxed up real nice.It also flew nicely.I have flown it two staged before and it was very impressive.However,after all of the things that had gone wrong saturday I wanted to make sure that I would get it back.I did.Sweet!
Well,anyways that was my day at the Plains with NOVAAR.A bit frustrating but certainly not boring that's for sure.Once agin I'd like to thank NOVAAR for putting on such a cool show.Oh and by the way I'm gonna have to volunteer some time at the next launch because I think I really owe them now.
One last note;Here within the next few days or so i'll be putting up a story about all of the stuff that I have in the works as well as some future projects that I am pondering.Another long read.Look for it.Till later!-Russ
Wow, you had such a busy day! As I had mentioned before I think I'll have to start posting in advance of the NOVAAR launches so some of us can get together and actually meet. I do plan on being there for the 9/18 launch but I'll remind everyone again in a few weeks..
That sounds like a good idea Maelstrom.You may remember me.I was the one with the John Deere ballcap and the Bill Elliot NASCAR shirt on.No matter what I'm wearin' it's usually a bit rednecky.Also,I too will be there next month.I'll be at Battlepark too.
Welcome to TRF.
I enjoyed reading your launch report.
Sorry to hear about your Forte'.
I guess we all have to pay our dues:rolleyes:
Thanks for the welcome Missleman.Glad you enjoyed my ranting. Yeah I figured something like that would happen some day.I just didn't want it to be that bird.Oh well! Sounds like an excuse to build another one even better than before.