Rocketry Related Thread

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by tmacklin, Nov 20, 2015.

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  1. Nov 20, 2015 #1

    tmacklin

    tmacklin

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    What does that mean? Does that mean that everything discussed here on this forum must contain at least some minimal context that could be construed as being of interest to rocketeers? Is there some formula, like less than 50% is verboten while more than 50% is just hunkey-dorry? I'm perplexed.

    Now if the litmus test is greater than 50%, why is it that any discussion about a certain nameless and recent rocket related event in the Golden State has been squelched? Because it might be insensitive? Because it might be the subject of litigation affecting rocketry? Because it has been deemed to be "for mature audiences only"?

    Could someone here explain it to me?
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  2. Nov 20, 2015 #2

    WillMarchant

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    Sorry, what's the context for your question? Are you asking for clarification about some other thread?
     
  3. Nov 20, 2015 #3

    DizWolf

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    People are too worried about offending anyone to have a discussion about safety violations that were obviously going on.


    There's no good way to call out the actions of a group of people who just had a terrible and horrific event, and you just look terrible trying to do it.


    However, We're all still flying rockets..... there's boy scout troops still out there flying..... and these risks are still there. If we don't talk about what happened, and why.... It's going to happen again. Trying to just write it off as a "freak accident" does no one any good.


    It's a conversation we all need to have NOW. This is a game of odds. We can slant the odds in our favor with proper actions. We should be discussing what could be done better at launches an why. A lack of knowledge and or respect for danger lead to this. We can reduce both of those.... and the time is NOW. Not later.
     
  4. Nov 20, 2015 #4

    TALON

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    I have seen it enough to know what T Mac is talking about. A non rocketry thread, usually, but not always political, and usually someone will state "this is a rocket forum, you can go to XYZ forum if you want to talk about XYZ"
    About the tragic event on the left coast, I don't understand why we can not descuss the event. I understand the view against speculation, but isn't that the nature of a free society, especially when the facts are hard to come by? A way to stop speculation is to be open and get the facts out there ASAP. I don't see a problem with a image of the vehicle BEFOR the launch. Instead IMOHO we get treated like "move on, nothing to see here". How can we learn from a tragic accident if we do not have free discussion? I am sure that someone will say " let's wait for the facts to come out". Well it was this attitude I came up against in the thread about that poor child that was burned with "ROCKET FUEL". Well that was at least a month ago and not a peep about the REAL STORY.
    I know I will be attacked for thinking these unpure thoughts.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  5. Nov 20, 2015 #5

    DizWolf

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    I'll summarize.

    Drag race. 90 degree launch angle. Spectators nearly surrounding pads. These things are visible and known.

    Speculation- wind at launchers backs. The claim that other rockets were recovering away from everyone supports this, but not known.
    Underpowered rocket/ too long of a delay. It's visibly large, and reports of 4' body are credible. Flame appears to be BP or a small blue thunder. (by the
    white smoke, I bet BP)
    either way it's irrelevant, It came in ballistic for whatever reason.

    it doesn't add up to good odds.

    I'm very very very sorry this happened. It's terrible. But not talking about it does no one any good.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  6. Nov 20, 2015 #6

    rharshberger

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    Move along nothing to see here......
     
  7. Nov 20, 2015 #7

    DizWolf

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    This is taking an anti-establishment bend. Lets keep it educational.


    Plan for failure. Have a ballistic recovery zone and keep on eye on wind direction and rockets flying over head. Shut down or move the flight line if needed.

    Have pad managers to keep on eye on rod angles.

    Keep the crowds back and behind the line.

    Drag races make it difficult to track whats in the air. They're not safe. No one is ready for this discussion it seems.

    Have an RSO weighing every rocket and checking thrust to weight ratios.


    Even if you do all these things.... tragedy may still strike. But lets keep the odds down and make sure we're doing it.


    More info would close gaps.... rocket weight.... motor used.... was it the first flight.... did the ejection charge fire....etc. We may never know. We really don't need to. We just need to do the things we know will make us safe..... every time.... for every rocket.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  8. Nov 20, 2015 #8

    Screaminhelo

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    Give NAR or who ever an opportunity to investigate. Let them gather details for the rocket and the incident and provide a report to the community. Attempting to keep pertinent details quiet for the time being is a benefit to the investigation. Make all of the jokes that you want to, but this is not unusual in military accident investigations. After an accident in March, findings were released to us this month. How long do we wait? well, 8 months seems a bit long here but lets give them more than a week.

    As far as taking a step back and focusing on safety, SPLENDID IDEA!! Dave is absolutely correct, rocketry is not coming to a screeching halt and most of us here are in the midst of building something and looking forward to our next launch. Since we are going to continue launching rockets, let's help each other do it safer tomorrow than we did today.

    There are sticky threads here for all manner of things but there is not a sticky for safety. Let's put our heads together and build a thread where the first time rocketeer will clearly understand that they will find information to help them conduct a safe launch and determine if a launch that they are attending is one that is safe to stay at.
     
  9. Nov 20, 2015 #9

    DizWolf

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    Here's the thing. It wasn't a NAR or TRA event. They have ZERO authority to investigate this, and it's unlikely the local authorities will past stamping it "tragic accident"

    NAR has made it clear they don't intend to investigate past anyone sending them info, and has tried to just silence anyone from trying to learn form this.

    TRA is dead silent.


    I'm sorry, but that leaves it to us. There is no NTSB for this. We're responsible for our own safety and launches. No one else is going to look into this and make a report for us down the road. Anyone even know who the local authorities in the area are, and if any of them may have helpful information?


    I've done incident investigation. Telling people to calm down and not speculate is VERY telling. You know, we know. Let's just talk about it.

    Not getting hit at a launch is a game of odds. period. You can change the odds. You can not eliminate them. No one wants to admit this.

    Drag races.... reduce odds. period.

    though not an issue in this case, night launches are INSANE.



    No one wants to stand up and say these things. I call for both organizations to ban both activities, and for it to be added to the NFPA as well.


    Who ever builds my cross, I'm 6' 2" and 200 pounds.....
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  10. Nov 20, 2015 #10

    rharshberger

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    Still would be nice to have some information about the rocket so we can use that information to increase our knowledge and maybe modify our safety practices.
     
  11. Nov 20, 2015 #11

    K'Tesh

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    There are individuals on the news sites who claim to have been at the launch and witnessed it. If their story is confirmed as fact, what happened was well outside of any NAR or TRA safety rule. The launch of a large PVC rocket using clustered motors, and without a parachute doesn't meet any criteria for a safe flight from any responsible organization.

    Of course I had to surf a lot of posts over at YORF to get this info. And again, I can't vouch for the authenticity of the sources.
     
  12. Nov 20, 2015 #12

    samb

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    You fellas have read the two eyewitness comments on the original Press Enterprise story right ? Assuming they're accurate, it doesn't leave a whole lotta mystery to me as to the how. The why is a different story that I'll leave to others to speculate on.

    The way forward is clear IMO:

    Follow the safety code that's worked for the last 50 years (give or take)

    Promote best practices in range set-up and operation within your sphere of influence (many of these spelled out in Diz' posts)

    Don't be afraid to say "No!, not today, not here."
     
  13. Nov 20, 2015 #13

    DizWolf

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    I havent been over on YORF. details on the rocket itself elude me. I have a photo of the launch. It was a drag race. the rocket in question didn't appear to be clustered, but I only have a single photo, so I don't know.
     
  14. Nov 20, 2015 #14

    rharshberger

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    Agreed but it would still be nice know about the rocket itself just for personal info, and for the record I know my club operates with similar methods as Diz's (URRG iirc).
     
  15. Nov 20, 2015 #15

    samb

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    Yeah, preaching to the choir here, for the most part. How this shakes out for the Boy Scouts and perhaps other organizations promoting model rocketry remains to be seen. For us, outreach to these groups locally as much as time and energy allow is the best way I can think of to make a difference.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  16. Nov 20, 2015 #16

    georgegassaway

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    As it has now turned out, by witnesses posting days later (presuming they are correct), the rocket was a PVC pipe rocket of about 4 inch diameter and 4 feet long, powered by a cluster of three E engines. It was apparently angled (EDIT - it seems that it may not have been after all, but the scout rockets were described as being launched at an angle), to purposely crash off in some "safe" downrange area. Flown from an "experimental pad" for rockets of that nature.

    Yes, the builder/flier had no recovery device in it at all, it was supposed to crash nose-first with no recovery system, not even pop off the nose.

    For some reason (I have a theory but there's been too much wrong speculation about this tragedy already), despite the angle (UPDATE - it now seems not to have been angled), it ended up above the launch area at burnout, then nosed over and fell vertically, near where it was launched, instead of crashing "safely downrange" as intended.

    So, bottom line, if the descriptions by those who were there are accurate, it was an unsafe illegal rocket to begin with (sort of like things Jerry Irvine used to publicize and encourage, like horizontally fired handheld model rocket bazookas, and gasoline in model rockets, documented in his magazine CRM long ago). It broke several safety code rules , as well as apparently being in violation of California's current laws for a rocket like that. Which opens the doors for all sorts of legal repercussions for the person who flew it.

    I would not go about on a rant-rave bashing the RSO, or whoever was the one most in charge if there was no formal RSO ("official" RSO's are more an NAR/TRA thing and not necessarily used by other launches). Because of the odds that, unfortunately, the person most in authority for allowing that particular flight, MAY very well have been the victim. :sad:

    - George Gassaway

    From comments at this news story link:
    http://www.pe.com/articles/bentley-786423-rocket-event.html?page=2

     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  17. Nov 20, 2015 #17

    rharshberger

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    Thanks George that exactly the kind of information that if its correct is what I would want to know. Not only was it an unsafe rocket to start with its also a violation of FAR101 as it definitely weighed in excess of 1500 grams. If its all true then criminal charges could made.
     
  18. Nov 20, 2015 #18

    Zeus-cat

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    Where are people finding information on this tragedy? I only see the basic facts in the articles I am finding.
     
  19. Nov 20, 2015 #19

    samb

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    To be clear, the Press Enterprise article was the link that Ted Cochran posted on the NAR Facebook page. George included that in the first post here and on YORF of his "SAD NEWS..." thread. The thread is locked here but not deleted. Shouldn't be that difficult to find.
     
  20. Nov 20, 2015 #20

    DizWolf

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    Got this from a witness. I wasn't going to post it. Upon hearing this was a non recovery plan.... along with what I see in this photo.... I believe it's time to share it. That's not angled kids.

    If this was a cluster, it doesn't look like he got all three.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  21. Nov 20, 2015 #21

    samb

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    :facepalm: I feel the heat of Troj's old skillet of harsh discipline. Hope I'm wrong.
     
  22. Nov 20, 2015 #22

    K'Tesh

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    Down in the comments of the original news report that the NAR President linked to on FB (http://www.pe.com/articles/bentley-786423-rocket-event.html). The comments of Brian Saffell and Shannon Taylor.
     
  23. Nov 20, 2015 #23

    K'Tesh

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    There are two possible angles that I could see that would still allow this to be an "angled" flight (presuming that was of the launch that resulted in the tragic death of Michael Bentley)... One slightly towards the photographer (which violates safety rules), and one slightly away from the photographer (and towards the scouts in the background)(again a safety violation). This is very troubling.

    [EDIT] I personally do not believe that the rods were angled, I was only posing the possibility that they were.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  24. Nov 20, 2015 #24

    rharshberger

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  25. Nov 20, 2015 #25

    DizWolf

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    I see no angle. I see spectators surrounding a launch. I see people WAY too close for the combined impulse. There's a tent maybe 20 feet from the pad?


    In any event..... you can look back and see a chain of events that lead to it. Some links can be broken, some could not. I see a ton of links to break here..... A shocking amount, actually.

    Make sure we break those links.
     
  26. Nov 20, 2015 #26

    DizWolf

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    EDIT: removed inaccurate information regarding motors and the FAA
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  27. Nov 20, 2015 #27

    tmacklin

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    I believe FAA 101 now allows 125 grams of propellant and 1500 grams total lift off weight without written waiver. An Estes E9 contains 35.8 grams and an Aerotech E30 contains 17.8 grams. Three of each would both fall within the current FAA propellant limits. Since we don't know anything specific about either the rocket or the actual engines used to propel it we are still just speculating.

    I noticed in the photo that you posted that there seemed to be very little wind at ignition as evidenced by the smoke and there there were a number of people taking pictures. If the larger of the two rockets is in fact the one that struck Mr. Bentley the large cloud of white smoke indicates a black powder engine/s while the smaller rocket is almost certainly being propelled by a composite engine. 4" thin wall PVC SDR pipe weighs about 108 lbs/100 ft so a four foot rocket would weigh at least four pounds, plus fins, engine mounts and engines. The two people who claim to have seen the rocket and commented in The Press Enterprise story both have Facebook pages. If I can determine this then so could the journalists who did the story and additional data might be gleaned.
     
  28. Nov 20, 2015 #28

    JStarStar

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    It's pretty safe to guess there will be lawsuits stemming from this incident, so it's more than likely some kind of investigations will be upcoming.

    From the standpoint of NAR and the larger rocketry community, the first question is whether the incident was in whole or in part the result of faulty or inadequate safety procedures and whether existing safety guidelines need to be updated to prevent possible reoccurrence. The second question is whether the incident was the result of failure of properly utilized components. It is in the interest of the entire rocketry community that both these questions be answered as completely as possible. If we're doing something wrong, changes should be made.

    From early reports -- and again the info we have here online is fragmentary and incomplete -- it appears several rather flagrant violations of the MRSC took place, and it appears rocketry equipment may have been used in designs which were in violation.

    The interest of the NAR is that the circumstances of the accident are not sensationalized and extrapolated into an indictment of "rocketry in general" and draconian new restrictions promoted. At this point the most likely conclusion is: make sure CURRENT regulations and safety codes are followed.

    Again this is a tragedy and a good man was lost. The tragedy will be worse if nothing is learned and a similar accident occurs in the future.
     
  29. Nov 20, 2015 #29

    georgegassaway

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    Given so much that has turned out to be different….. I won't take as 100% sure that the rocket used PVC tubing. It could have been some other type of polymer tube that the builder might have thought was PVC. I do not want to name or give a specific example of such a tube, there is no point in citing a specific example, that would be totally unfair. So, just pointing out the possibility that it was not PVC and therefore not necessarily as heavy as a true PVC tube would be. But still would have been heavy, and perhaps over 1500 grams anyway.

    One reason I think of this is that the rocket itself appears to have used a commercially made ogive cone, not a homemade nose cone. So, if true, if they used a commercially made 4" nose cone, they may have had a commercially made tube to go with it.

    Take note I am NOT saying it was not PVC. Just that so many things have turned out differently than originally known/described, or even speculated with no info.

    Of course whether made of PVC or a bit lighter tube, still does not excuse the way this rocket was flown - to purposely crash (according to what the witnesses have described, assuming that info is correct)

    It has taken time to find out what we know now, for bad info or assumptions to be discovered to be in error, and will take more time to find out more specifics.

    - George Gassaway
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  30. Nov 20, 2015 #30

    rharshberger

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    One other part of FAR 101c that was not observed: (4) Does not create a hazard to persons, property, or other aircraft.
     

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