Share Your Recovery Encounters

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Well-Known Member
Apr 11, 2009
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I have had a couple of interesting recovery encounters with people. The first was when my rocket drifted about a half mile from the launch site and I started my trek in the general direction of the landing. When I reached the hilltop I spotted my rocket being used as a spear being thrown into a snowbank. The kids saw me at the exact same time and one of them ran my rocket up the hill to me. No damage to the rocket. I don't remember what I said but I am sure I was fairly polite.

Another time my rocket drifted to the same general area, this time summer. I thought for sure it landed in the water. When I reached the hilltop (same one as before) I saw my rocket on the beach next to the waters edge. There were a father and son fishing next to it paying no attention to the rocket. I thought that was odd. Usually people check it out a bit. When I finally reached the beach I said hi and began to gather up my rocket. The son sat quietly and paid almost no attention. The father began to tell me they were scared that the rocket landed so close to them. "Sorry, I didn't mean for this to drift this far. It got caught in a thermal and drifted over here." I said. "Well, it scared us and I think we should be paid something" the father said. Now, I'm thinking that this is getting weird. "Sorry, I'm not going to pay you" I said. The father replied "it was very scary, I think you should pay us". I repeated myself and told him I had nothing to give and left. When I got back to the site I shared my story and some thought it might have been the same guy that fished a rocket out of the lake and held it until the owner paid him.


Epstein didn't kill himself
Dec 7, 2014
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You should've paid him...

They both will need years...

Of therapy...

The HORROR of it all...


Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
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Maybe a happier encounter. Last weekend I was following my tracker to my rocket at Bong. Was in a field with grass about 3 feet high or so. Noticed as I was getting closer- I saw a rocket that looked just like mine, but had a red parachute fluttering next to it. Very strange- mine had a yellow chute. Walked up to the rocket, and discovered that my rocket had come down in the grass right on top of someone else's rocket! I looked around, and saw a guy pacing through the grass about 150 feet away, looking very forlorn. You know- the "I'm never going to find that rocket in this grass" look. Asked him if he had a silver rocket with a red chute. Sure enough, rocket and owner were reunited.


Rocketry Tourist
Dec 14, 2010
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Northern California, USA
Not really a recovery story... but these photos show they land everywhere..

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corn s.jpg

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Milo s.jpg

Sonoran Desert
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Salt flats
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Mountain side
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Mojave Desert
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Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2011
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Here is a recovery story that happened to me while recovering a friends rocket at Whitakers NC field

It might be a tad long

On Sunday morning started out as being very foggy from
all the rain over the past 2 –3 days and the warm
ground. But around 11 am things started to clear up. I
was informed earlier in the week that the pilot’s wife
would not be riding along with him this time. So I
contacted several Whitakers friends and all had prior
engagements. And one had a birthday party to attend no
names mentioned (happy birthday Bill Samblin) !!!!!

Finally contacted Ken Stroud and he was ok to go as
long as he was back by 330. Ken was going to drive up
to my home then catch a ride with pilot back to
Whitakers. The pilot said he would pick up ken at the
airport in Tarboro that save Ken about a 50 mile drive
one way.

Well as the pilot was getting ready for the flight I
went on ahead to Whitakers. After arriving in
Whitakers I parked in the open field and when the sun
came out from behind the clouds it got hotter than a
well diggers destination!!!! So I ran to the first
spot of shade I could find !!! After a short wait I
could hear the plane approaching overhead. I knew it
was the correct plane as I could see the big wide grin
on Ken Stroud’s face :)

I then drove to the field where I located the nose
cone and drogue parachute a few days before. And
waited for the plane to come over. After about the 3rd
pass I was informed by the hand held radio that was
loaned to me by the pilot that the parachute had been
spotted from the plane. It was about 150 yards away
from the path I was driving down.

Alan you were right when you pointed to the high line
of brush and said “ it could be in that bunch of high
scrub for all we know” and it was !!! After a
10-minute walk across the field I walked to a small
deer path going into the tree line and saw the booster
section and fins of the rocket and then proceeded to
step in a small hole left by a decaying tree stump.
All of the recovery equipment was stowed in the upper
section I then went back in to get the bottom section.

One word of advice when you fly a dextrose motor
before you pack the recovery devices PLEASE SPRAY THE
seams that ants love dextrose (sugar) and will set up
a dwelling inside of the airframe. I must have been
funny as heck to the people across the street watching
me carry this huge rocket across the field only to set
it down half way across and do a perfect 3 stooge spin
in the dirt and then rip my shirt off and go to
slapping ants on my person !!!

Well the sugar rocket is safe in my shop and the ants
have been evicted. I have removed the ARTS altimeter
and will mail it out to Sterling Edmonds so he can
download the flight profile to his computer. I can’t
wait to see the flight profile of this very large
sugar powered rocket.

Well that is the complete story

I wish to extend my thanks to the pilot a Mr. Ralph
Johnson for conducting the flyover many kudos to him

John “bird dog” Hamill


latest photo
Jun 6, 2011
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I'll try to keep it short.
Day 1-set up camp next to a German off road crew taking a break from race support. Dad,Grandad and son watching the pretty rockets flying.
I asked if it was okay to be right next to them and go t the green light.
Iinformed them I had to do a deployment test for shear pins on my nose cone so noise didn't scare them.
Proceeded to hit Grandad in the side if his head when nosecone didn't budge but casing did=-felt really bad and apologized over and over. The just laughed and the old guy was cool about it. Test 2 was away from people behind canopy.
Both son and dad watched me build motor asking questions and seeming very interested. Packed chute and armed beeper.
Out to pad with small cheering squad chanting "Go PimpChild" knowing it was gonna disappear-always does on a "I" motor
launch and no sign of it anywhere. Bummed- do walkabout for three quadrant radius. It had a beeper with unknown battery life left in it. No joy
Packed up later after several other flights and drove home. Bugged me so much that night I decided to go back out in the cooler morning and look, This was a 2.5 hour drive!
Day 2-As I'm pulling into the test range road out to the launch site, the Super OffRoad German Racing Team Support Vehicle is just starting to exit the playa. He pulls over and waves me down.
Son heard the faint beeps in an arroyo in the quadrant I never searched and rescued my bird. Grateful and amazed they actually went looking for it and found it!
gave son $20 and hearty handshake and Dad and Grandad just looked on and beamed. Hugs all around. Never seen them since.
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Crazy Jim's Gone Banana's
TRF Supporter
Jan 18, 2009
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Savannah Ga
Rocketry 101
"Fly 'em like ya don't care if they ever come back!"

Then they always will!!!!

Several years ago Wildman gave me an Ugly Orange Widman JR. I wrote my cell # and "Crazy Jim's rocket" and added a kicking Jackass sticker on it.
His daughter's ex-boy...[insert politically correct term here] had built this, & had been laying around the dungeon,for quite some time.
He had never built any rocket before...let alone a fiberglass one. BUTT UGLY, epoxy dripping all over it.

I/we would stick some stupid big 38mm motor in it & launch , never going out to retrieve/look for it.
Some one would ALWAYS bring it back...wherever we were traveling/launching....all over the country!

It got to be a big gag, where other fliers would be sure to find it, just to see the look on my face when it came back.
Sometimes it would be gone over night or until the next launch.....but it always came back.

After a year of this debacle, I was at BONG park in Wisconsin flying the darn thing. It was VERY windy, but I put it up anyway on a big 6xl 38. Just the fincan with NC on it, and a big chute. Bong is not a normal flat open's full of ponds, woods, marshes, and full blown prairie will all the high grass, weeds, etc. It,s a chore to find your rocket when you actually want to.

Finally success! No one even saw where it went, weeks, months, years go by....then 3yrs happens:

I'm back home in Savannah Ga 1300 miles from Bong & the phone rings, "Hi this is Ranger Laura from Bong is this Crazy Jim?''...."a hunter found this orange rocket while hunting deer & brought it to the ranger station".

Yes this is Jim H.
"well if you can prove it yours, you can have it"

Ummmmm....wellll you dialed the number on the rocket & I answered & told you I was Crazy Jim :facepalm:
. Pause while she's thinking....."can you tell me what color it is?"

Yes it's Orange. :facepalm:

"OK, can you pick it up this weekend & get it out of the office please?"
I'm wondering if drinking on the job was allowed.:eyeroll:
Well actually mam, I'm in Georgia & won't be coming to Bong for 2 months, could you hold it till then?

Dead silence for 10-15 seconds...."Wow you launched that in Georgia & it landed here....amazing" :flyingpig:

Tim picked it up that weekend, as he was attending launch then...LOL


yes it's true.
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Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Jan 16, 2011
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Now I know why Ranger Laura is no longer working at the Bong. She have used the Bong to many times.


Desert Rat Rocketeer
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Mar 23, 2011
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Goodyear, AZ
Not really a recovery story... but these photos show they land everywhere..

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Sonoran Desert
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Salt flats
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Mountain side
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Mojave Desert
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Well, I don't have a picture with corn or grapevines, but all the other terrain looks very familiar....
Since I have seen David at several of the launches we go to, From the rocket pasture in Argonia, Kansas to the Bonneville salt flats in Utah, that shouldn't be surprising. Since we both fly Wildman rockets with Recon chutes, some of these pic's look almost identical.

My humorous story occurred at the Eagle Eye launch area South of Aguila, AZ. Myself, Sharon and Brad Evans are on the trail to recover "Jughead", my overbuilt, overweight 5" Jart. It has an Eggfinder in the N/C, so no doubt we will find it. It flew on a 75mm L910, so I really didn't expect to have to recover it over 3.5 miles away, but the uppers where moving right along and took the rocket quite a ways Southeast. We drove separately until Brads 2 wheel drive SUV couldn't go any further, so he jumped into our truck and we continued another mile to a fence we couldn't cross. Got out and climbed over the fence and continued another half mile along a trail, still following the the last heading from my Eggfinder. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see another rocket landing right next to us. We are over four miles from the launch site! Called back and got a hold of another member and told them where we were and asked if they wanted us to recover it. Nope, they also have an Eggfinder and want to track it down. So we continue on and walk right up to Jughead, pack it up and just as we are getting back to the truck the other members of the club show up to recover their rocket. You meet the nicest people chasing rockets!
One thing I learned early on flying at Eagle Eye, if you want to take advantage of our 50,000 ft. standing waiver, bring a tracker!


Well-Known Member
Jan 18, 2009
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I was at my first NARAM, Orlando Florida back in 1975.
The launch area was where Universal Studios is now. We were at the North side where the Men In Black attraction is located.
The property was hot and swampy.

I was helping someone find their streamer duration rocket.
Somebody ran out of the recovery area.
We yelled over: "Did you find a rocket?"
He responded: NO! Cotton Mouth Snake!