Put my rocket and altimeter into the corn

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Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Mar 14, 2009
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I launched half a dozen rockets this morning for some friends. The third flight was a Launch Pad Bolo modified with an altimeter bay and an unweighted nose cone. I put in a D12-5 and launched it expecting it to go about 500 feet.

Well, the combination of a chute that was too big (18") and stronger than expected winds caused it to float away. I ran after it and watched it sail over the trees into a corn field. This time of year in Ohio the corn is 8 feet tall. I marked the spot where I ran up to the field and then had to find my way around the barbed wire fence.

I found a big hole in the fence and went through and walked back to the general area of the spot. My wife had gone to the spot so it was easy for me to find even though heavy brush and trees made it impossible to see the sticks I had marked the spot with. I then carefully picked my way through the corn. I wanted my rocket back, but I didn't want to damage the corn either. I went in 30 to 35 rows and started walking up and down.

I stumbled around for a while, but after only a few minutes I heard the altimeter beeping. I thought I knew which way the sound was coming from so I walked about 20 feet. The sound diminished considerably, so I had gone the wrong way. It is easy to get disoriented when all you can see is corn everywhere you look. I reversed course and went about 40 feet. Now the beeping was fairly close and off to my left. I carefully threaded my way through a few more rows and there it was. I pulled it off the stalk and worked my way out of the field. I counted 43 rows of corn to get out. Of course, there was a heavy dew this morning so I was quite wet by the time I got out.

I know I was darn lucky I found it. And to make things even better it probably only took me 10-15 minutes. :)
Maybe the altimeter beeping had a too high frequency for your ears/brain to pick its direction?
...And to make things even better it probably only took me 10-15 minutes. :)

I'm impressed. My first experience with corn (intermixed with sunflowers in a tightly packed row) was this spring when I dropped my 40" x 3" TARC-task bird (our club, DARS, has a competition for the senior members to see who can best perform the current year's TARC task - I managed to win this year) into a corn/sunflower field.

My first foray, with two additional searchers, took about an hour and we never got close enough to hear it, much less find it. After re-hab and recruiting some extra help, it was back into the jungle for about 45 minutes before one of the other guys found it. We also found three other rockets in there while we were looking.

You can still see the scars from the slices the sunflower stalks took out of my shins - never, ever, ever, wear shorts in a corn/sunflower field! An I've since invested in some sonic beacons that'll accompany anything that does have active tracking support from a radio beacon!