Speed Demons from LDRS in Argonia

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Chuck Rudy

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Supersonic Speed Demons

33 DSC: Wednesday, September 15 8:00 PM
Special, Science

Rocketeers compete to build and fly rockets at speeds over 1,300 miles per hour; competitors launch rockets at targets.


Original Air Date: Nov 09, 2003

All times Eastern!!
 

Elapid

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i would have missed it!
:(

i'm going to tape this one too!
I have a BlackBird rocket that was made by Dave Triano...
i think he's in this one.
;)
 

JStarStar

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Also scheduled for 1100 PM ET.;)
 

AlexM

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I notice how they call the newton-seconds pounds of thrust. When they said "This motor produces 550 pounds of thrust", and I saw a k550, it just kind of dawned on me.
 

JStarStar

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Too tough for the metric-challenged viewership to figure out. ;)
 

JStarStar

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I watched it and it was pretty cool, lots of major-league rockets going up, some amazing technology on the telemetry.

I think it was a rerun from the "Rocket Challenge" series on Discovery last year.

I did have kind of mixed feelings on some of it - it seemed some of the stuff was really questionable, stunty stuff that maybe it really wasn't that great an idea to have on national TV, that reinforces the idea of rocketry people as crackpots who don't really know what they're doing.

The continuing part where they're trying to simlultaneously launch 250+ rockets, they try, and try, and try again, I'm sure we've all had this happen at a demo launch... "5-4-3-2-1"..... pffft... nothing, everybody starts laughing. Then it happens again, everybody gets in their car and leaves, thinking "What a dimwit."

They did, finally, get 'em all (almost all, anyway) to go at the very end of the show, so it was a happy ending. But in the meantime, they looked like a bunch of slappys.

The other part that actually concerned me more was the episode with the "Snitch Girl" who built the Snitch with 28 motor tubes built into it, and for engine ignition, they came up with the great idea of setting the rocket's tail end in a metal plate full of blackpowder, along with some kind of (presumably inflammatory) liquid they were pouring around the base, all to be set off with an ignition switch, upon which supposedly the flash and flame was going to get all 28 motors firing.

So they hit the switch and amazingly enough :rolleyes: instead of igniting all motors, what the ignition sequence does is ignite MOST of them and blow the airframe apart, so what you have is 28 separate firing motors, coated with burning black powder and alcohol or whatever it was, flying away from the pad in 28 different directions into the grass fields surrounding.

So after the launch, they talk to Snitch Girl, she says, "Well, I feel kinda bad because I started four fires."

Gee whiz, ya think??

The thing I had to wonder was ... they did have a Range Safety Officer here, didn't they??

I'm not being nasty here because she was cute and everything and I'm sure she's a great rocketeer, etc., but I really don't know if when a major TV network is shooting footage is the time to try that sort of stuff....
:confused: :confused:
 

UncMikesRktShk

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Hey now give snitch girl (Emily) a break she is a fine young lady I have met her several times at launchs in Michigan. And she loves to fly those snitchs LOL!! Besides it was entertaining:)
 

Missileman

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Yes Emily is a fine young rocketeer.
Flashpans are a very common method of lighting large BP clusters.
Perhaps the 28 motor snitch wasn't the best idea but you never know what you can do if you aren't willing to push it to the limits and beyond.
EDIT: the large rocket with the ejection charge going off in that guys face as he was clinging to the launch rail gave me more pause for concern.
 

Chuck Rudy

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Someone at an RSO table at another launch told me this story. He overheard someone else at the table say to a flier "you can't do that you'll trash your rocket." Well as soon as heard 'trashed' he had to cut in. He explained to the other person at the RSO table and told them it is not their job to prevent people from 'trashing' their rockets, it's their job to check for safety so no one gets hurt. His theory being that no one will ever learn by contantly being told NO.

As the story goes, the lad was able to launch his rocket as is, the rocket was thoroughly trashed and he learned a valuable lesson and entertained all with the show. He learned a lot more than he would have by having someone telling him no. I presume if he'd ask why he'd have been told 'because'. Emily learned a little bit on her flight with 'trashed' her snitch, and the learning continues.

Chuck

BTW this guy launches some of the largest rockets on the east coast, he does know a little bit about the science of rockets and I value his experience.
 

Fore Check

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I agree with what was said above: Emily's flash pan mishap was both safely acceptable (or they wouldn't have allowed her to do it in the first place) and entertaining in it's result. The only thing lost was a $3 piece of plastic and a bunch of motors that were spent for an "unintended" level of entertainment.

The mishap with the reversed wires on the recovery deployment charge on the full-scale Nike Smoke was another matter altogether. This would have been less disturbing if they would have covered - with equal time and detail - an adequate number of successfully armed and launch rockets of similar scale to reflect the realistic ratio.

Now, I understand that this is not practical; the number of rockets armed and launched successfully without mishap or injury is far greater than those that end like the Nike Smoke did. But that fact alone emphasizes my point: showing that one mishap and what could have been a very serious injury as a result (thankfully it wasn't) terribly slants the uneducated audience to believe that that sort of stuff happens quite often. It happens, but not very often.

It gave the impression that our sport is more "unsafe" than it is. I thought that was unfair and completely inappropriate.

So what if the announcer said something like "Occurences like this are rare" or something of that nature. I don't remember it, and neither does the casual viewer. What they (we) remember is the slow-motion replay of the guy being blown off the tower and the ambulance on the way.

This sequence alone really soured the entire episode for me.
 

Chuck Rudy

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Originally posted by Fore Check


The mishap with the reversed wires on the recovery deployment charge on the full-scale Nike Smoke was another matter altogether. This would have been less disturbing if they would have covered - with equal time and detail - an adequate number of successfully armed and launch rockets of similar scale to reflect the realistic ratio.

What they (we) remember is the slow-motion replay of the guy being blown off the tower and the ambulance on the way.

This sequence alone really soured the entire episode for me.
At this year's LDR$ another rocket blew it's cone on the pad while it was being worked on, it happens, not often but it happens. Fortunately there were no injuries, everyone was on the other side of the rocket. If you want nothing but good press then you don't have the show which they put on, and you'll have to bankroll it yourself. The balance of the respect we all need for the dangers involved and how it is dealt with was balanced pretty well with the education and entertainment we all enjoy.

The show was entertaining and educational for the uninitiated, they could have made us out to look like something else, something much, much worse had they wanted to slant it another way. Fortunately it was balanced well.

Chuck
 

lalligood

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I just finished watching this show for the 4th or 5th time just this morning on my DVR...

There are *far* more successful (& safe) launches shown on the entire show than failures. Face it, what we enjoy doing *can* be dangerous...but that's why there are so many safety guidelines (backed by 2 national organizations) there to protect us. Accidents can & will continue to happen. The best we can do is design, build, and prepare to minimize those from happening and ensure that we have a safe, fun flight. The narrator said that there are 439 people certified Level 3 in the US. Assuming that he's only referring to Tripoli members (since LDRS is a Tripoli event), double that number to include any NAR L3's that may have been omitted. That's still less than 1000 people capable of flying something remotely on the scale of that Nike Smoke. That's small comapny in my book!

Like the guy from Al's Hobby Shop (Tim Lehr, I think was his name) said, "If rocket science was easy, everyone would be doing it." I don't do it because it's easy either... Do you?
 
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