Sunday Launch (pics)

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Well-Known Member
May 2, 2009
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i forgot how powerful APCP was!

Sunday was a beautiful, clear day, but i couldn't get anyone interested in going flying, so i went alone! i grabbed 4 rockets, the sandhawk, fade to black, skeeter 3D, and baby bertha.

i got to the field and there was a bit of a breeze, but no more than about 3-7 mph gusts. i set up and decided to do the cluster first thing. I had modified my estes launch controller with battery clips so i could use it with my Black & Decker 18V battery, so i was ready for clusters and composite propellent ignition.

First up was the Skeeter 3D on 3x C11-3. at the press of the launch button, the 3 motors screamed to life taking the SE hurtling skyward. the chute popped at apogee, and ill-aimed, the bird landed way back in the parking lot, mashing a fin slightly, but overall it appeared unscathed and no worse for its journey.


a nice first flight!

second up was Fade to Black on an AT E25-7!
FtB weighs less than 65g and is 34mm (bt-50?) in diameter...
it went up so fast it looked like a cartoon!
i sim'd it and it was doing about 82 at the top of the launch rod, maxed out at 410 mph, and went about 1300 ft.


i think it needs to be a little heavier to make a better altitude.

next i decided to burn 3x D12-5 in the S3D to see if it could live up to the name. i stuffed the igniters in the motor, did the secret twist that allows use of a simple pair of clips, and inserted the interlock key. the rocket leaped off the pad like a cat on fire, at about 300' the light balsa fins shredded and, still under power, the bird arced over toward the running track. the chute popped about 10' up, depositing the smoking body tube and nose cone rudely on the grass. slight buckling of the body tube, but nothing that needs repair except the fins.


One down.

Next up, the FtB on another E25-7
i got the clever (not) idea of using one of those little plastic plugs to hold the igniter in place, sealing the nozzle of the plastic-cased composite motor. when i pressed the launch button, there was a *pop* and the rocket moved a little on the pad. i was taking video and just as i was turning off the camera, i noticed something strange. the bottom of the rocket had a hole in it. OOPS! now i know! the pressure caused by the burning igniter burst the case of the motor. the fuel grain is intact except the paper shroud is kind of shredded...

Two down!

Next, since it was the only one left...
oh i forgot to say what happend to the sandhawk!
on the drive to the launch site a hen turkey crossed the road and i hit the brakes hard to keep from hitting it, sending my range box sliding into the aft end of the sandhawk, shattering two of the fins. i did have super glue with me, not sure why i didn't fix it?

anyway, i guess that's Three down!

Baby bertha was the remaining victim of my abuse. i sent her up on an a8-3 and she went up nicely, out came the streamer, and it landed 30' from the pad. next flight was on a c6-5 and a similar result.

by this time 3 boys, about jr hi age, came up to check out the rockets and ask a lot of questions. i told em all about where in town to get a starter kit and some of the tech stuff they asked about...

i decided to give baby bertha a workout and loaded up the last E25, this one with a 10-second delay. It screamed off the pad just like the FtB, went waaaaaaaayyyyy up there, and came down about 150 yds away a couple minutes later.



i sent it up on about three more flights with A and B motors until the shock cord gave out at ejection. fortunately, on an A motor, it didn't have enough altitude to damage itself when it lawn-darted.

Four down, time to go!
the guys had left after the e25 flight in the bb and thanked me for the info and turning them on to model rocketry.

even with all the carnage, i had a great day!
9 launches total.
I'm just gonna put my weekly pics in this thread to keep from cluttering up the forum in my excitement.

started a grass fire today on the first launch.

I sent the initiator up on an F20-4
it soared swiftly skyward on top of a black plume of smoke and flame. the chute came out jus tpast apogee and the model floated swiftly toward the ground. the AT Baffle system must have failed, igniting the shock cord, which melted through at about 200' releasing the main fuselage which fell horizontally, saving it from any damage. the chute/nose cone/smoking shock cord was a different matter though. i saw the smoke about 10' before th e rocket impacted on the other side of the hill in dry grass. the only patch of dry grass between several playing fields. figures! as soon as i saw the smoke, i did triple-time, when i reached the spot, the flames were a couple feet tall already and i did my best to stomp and scrape a perimeter, but it was too dry and the wind didn't help much...there was a baseball game going on nearby (the pitcher got a warning for holding up the game cuz he was watching the rocket!) and i looked up and they were just WATCHING!!!!! i YELLED, I need some HELP here!!!!!!!! and 5 or 6 guys came running and we got the fire put out. then the fire trucks came... one of the guys (while we were wrapping up the fire) said "that was pretty stupid shooting your rocket into the dry grass!!!!"

i said, " I shot my rocket into the CLOUDS! JESUS sent it into the GRASS!!!!!"

funny statement coming from an atheist!

sure shut him up though...

i guess next time i need to bring a fire extinguisher just to be safe.

i feel like a did a bad thing for the hobby today.
I'm curious to know why your 3D skeeter shredded on 3 Estes D engines... How thick was the balsa? Were they weakened a bit from the landing on the parking lot? What type of adhesives were used to attach the fins to the airframe?
On your Initiator launch report :

"i feel like a did a bad thing for the hobby today. :("

Nah. S*** happens. The guy who made the comment was a dork.

Did your rocket burn up in the grass fire, or was it saved?
the rocket's fine!
chute got singed, motor mount needs repair, motor kicked out...

there were a LOT of people watching...
all they think now is that model rockets are dangerous.
maybe i should have stayed and done a few successful launch/recoveries to demonstrate that that was the exception rather than the rule.

my kid was freaked out, i was exhausted, and there were firemen to talk to...

the fireman told my little girl that i was a hero having gotten the fire put out before they even got there and that these things happen...just an accident, etc.

i hope i don't get a bill.


for the launch reports. I loke hearing about em just as much as seeing pictures.
lots of CATOs too...
i think 5 motors exploded...all d12-5
first we sent up the 1:1 scale Mosquito...
it went out of sight on an A10-3t
didn't find it for several launches...

then i sent up an ASP Sandhawk clone on an A3-4T it came down nicely with nose blow recovery, but maybe a little quickly, so i put on a streamer which failed...
rocket's fine though.

then we decided to launch the Mosquito 3D on 3 D12-5
all 3 motors lit, one CATO'd, blowing that motor mount out the side of the rocket, and it just did cartwheels about 20' off the deck, parachute melted...

then i switched to my old faithful, the big sandhawk (bt-60 based) first on an E9-6 which carried her up to about 1400', chute deployed and it landed pretty far away, but it was successful! then i sent it up on a D12-5 over and over again. several CATOs and finally the MMT got blow'd up and some bt damage.

sent up the Cheetah on a D12-5
it didn't do too bad!
finally a CATO took out the 29-24mm mount, so i decided to use the last F20-4 in the Cheetah's native 29mm MMT.

the flames roared from the motor, sending the rocket soaring into the sky atop a black plume...the chute deployed properly and several minutes later, the rocket touched down about 100 yds away.

i lost one rocket that went too high and flated off into a field that was ringed with electric fencing...

oh well!

i lost track of how many motors i burned up, but i'll go count em.
i always bring everything back that i can find.

here's a couple pics of the Cheeta's flight! nice smoke and FLAME!