# Subbing a streamer for a chute?

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#### Landshark

##### Well-Known Member
Hey all...

I'm new to the forum and had a quick question. I was into model rocketry a lot when I was in my early teens and now that my son is 11, he's taken an interest in the hobby as well. I'm pretty excited about building / launching with him.

Anyway, we picked up four Estes kits...the Bandit, the Amazon / Crossfire (comes with the lauch pad) plus I just picked up a Crossbow at Wally World this past weekend.

My question is this... It seems like Estes is now putting parachutes on quite a lot of their low power (mini-engine), low weight models. Seems to me that a model like the Bandit could get by with a streamer instead. I'd imagine Estes is trying for the "wow" factor on the beginner kits by putting in a chute or something.

Has anyone switched to streamers on these small kits in the interest of actually recovering them on a slightly gusty day?

Finally... what type of material could I use to make some streamers? I was thinking maybe something like an old PVC rain poncho...

The other idea I had was to cut a spill hole in the chute to make the model descend faster. Not sure if that'd cause the chute to collapse or work as intended though. Any thoughts?

##### Well-Known Member
Not many rockets up to D power, at least, really need a chute. They will drift much further, which is a problem on a small field.
Streamers are quite adequate if you build reasonably well. I used to use crepe paper, but now use mylar heat sheet because I happen to have a fair amount of it and it's quite easy to spot. On very small rockets, rigid mylar strips are sufficient. PVC is a bit more prone to heat damage.

#### hardinlw

##### Well-Known Member
A spill hole will stabilize the parachute. A good rule of thumb is for the spill hole diameter to be 20% of the parachute diameter. That actually will slow the descent. You'd need to go larger to make it drop faster. I've gotten away with cutting spill holes nearly half the chute diameter and they still opened. Can you go to a smaller chute?

Streamers are fine. I've made them from the yellow plastic "do not enter" strips from Home Depot. Aluminized mylar is very visible. I believe tracing paper is used for contest streamers, but it is not very durable. Here's one source with a lot of options.

http://www.asp-rocketry.com/store/category.cfm?Category=214

Many of these are wide for competetion use and you'd want to cut them down to get a higher descent rate.

#### TheAviator

##### Well-Known Member
I have flown several of the smaller Estes kits on a streamer and recovered them just fine. If you're looking for something on the cheap, you can't beat crepe paper party streamer. Works great, lasts a few flights, comes in a variety of colors, and works great as wadding if you run out! (I really have stopped buying Estes wadding and use crepe exclusively. It is very fire resistant.) Oh, it's $1 for 100 feet of it at the dollar store. If you want something a little stronger for not much more money, emergency blankets cut up into pieces make great streamers and parachutes. Again...$1 at the dollar store. You don't get as much material, but you can also make parachutes out of it.

#### gpoehlein

##### Well-Known Member
You might also check the tool section of your local big-box hardware store (Home Depot, Lowes, etc.) They should have some fluorescent orange caution tape that is virtually identical to the stuff that Estes packs in some of their kits. Cut a decent length (the tape is 1" wide, so I'd cut 15" to 20" for a streamer). You can either tie it about halfway down the shock cord (just tie the shock cord in a knot around the center of the streamer material) or you can fold it in half and punch a small hole about 1/4" from the fold. Tie a piece of carpet thread or kite string through the hole and tie a loop in the other end. You can then use that loop to attach it to your rocket in a non-permanent fashion.

Whether to use a streamer or a parachute will depend on several factors. Is the wind blowing fairly well. If so, you'll probably want to use a streamer. Another factor is the field surface. If you are flying from a paved lot, you will likely need a parachute. If flying in a grass field, you might even get away with no parachute or streamer at all on smaller rockets. This is called nose blow recovery and just popping the nose cone off (it is still tethered to the rest of the rocket with the shock cord) well make the rocket unstable and it will land safely.

Most importantly, have fun! If you can track down a NAR chapter nearby, check them out. Most chapters love to have guests fly at their launches and will be able to offer scads of advice!

#### n5wd

##### Well-Known Member
Has anyone switched to streamers... what type of material could I use to make some streamers?
As you can see streamers are a popular substitute for a parachute. Crepe paper has been suggested as a streamer material - it has the advantage that (if you're in the US - don't know about other countries) it's required to be fireproof. I'll often put a 10-15' crepe streamer in something like an Alpha and it works quite well.

#### Landshark

##### Well-Known Member
Thanks for the responses! That's exactly the information that I was looking for. I may remove the chutes from these smaller rockets (which are harder to pack with their smaller tube diameters) and go the "crepe" route or visit the dollar store. We don't have a lot of huge open fields around here so a smaller recovery area will be helpful.

#### Micromeister

##### Micro Craftman/ClusterNut
TRF Supporter
Switching between chute and streamer is a very popular alteration. Most folks I fly with carry a variety of both chutes and streamers in baggies allowing mix & match of recovery device to the model and current field conditions. By having our recovery devices fitted with snap swivels we can add whatever recovery device fits the situation.

For sport flying models don't overlook sheet and roll type mylar wrapping paper. Also check the many forms of Crepe paper available in the party and dollar stores, Crepe papers by the way are generally flame retardant. Some Wide Ribbons can be used, along with 1" & 2" Surveyors tapes and barrier marker "Caution" tapes.
sometimes a picture is worth more then all the words, these should help with a couple ideas.

#### RangerStl

##### Well-Known Member
I keep some plastic table covers from the party supply store on hand to cut chutes out of. There's always a couple segments left over after getting all the chutes you can. You can cut lots of streamers out of that and a whole 6'x10' table cover is usually only a buck or so.

#### sj_h1

##### Well-Known Member
I have flown several of the smaller Estes kits on a streamer and recovered them just fine. If you're looking for something on the cheap, you can't beat crepe paper party streamer. Works great, lasts a few flights, comes in a variety of colors, and works great as wadding if you run out! (I really have stopped buying Estes wadding and use crepe exclusively. It is very fire resistant.) Oh, it's $1 for 100 feet of it at the dollar store. If you want something a little stronger for not much more money, emergency blankets cut up into pieces make great streamers and parachutes. Again...$1 at the dollar store. You don't get as much material, but you can also make parachutes out of it.
Wow, I use to do the same thing years ago. Crepe for both streamer and wadding. I would also put a little dab of clay in the wadding crepe paper and it kind of made a party rocket with 2 or 3 extra streamers.