The Flying Picnic Table of Doom

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Well-Known Member
Jan 19, 2009
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KIDS - DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! This was done by a team consisting of some of the top amature rocketeers in the UK. I heard somebody say "Mad things are done at IRW, but this is just pain nuts!". Bonkers as it is, all steps were taken to ensure safety; this was 'launched' in a huge EMPTY field, and was checked over for sturdiness by a number of differant individuals etc..

The story started on the Tuesday night of IRW 2004, when we had an improptue (and drunken) BBQ. Damian Hall had brought along one of those plastic foldaway 4-person picnic tables, which we managed to break during the evening. Being drunken rocketeers, we started chatting about how we could put a motor into the centre-hole, normally used for the umbrella/sunshade.

Nothing much more was said, until the Friday; when the table appeared in the middle of the IRW hut, tools came out, and The Flying Picnic Table of Doom was built!
We tried to Rocksim it, but as that prog told us it had a predicted altitude of 1,000ft, we returned to the tried and tested pen/paper/calculator method.

Calculations were gone through a few times, and the CP seemed to be just below where the crossbraces cross.

Here is the table beeing reinforced with aluminium struts.
Damian (I think) had a piece of airframe from a previously spacked rocket returned to him at this event. It was quickly employed to hold the recovery device.
Next problem: we needed somebody to RSO it.

After much persuasion, John Bonsor (the organisor of IRW) agreed to RSO it. Here he is checking the table over.
Sunday evening, during the Official BBQ and driving rain; The Flying Picnic Table of Doom, was carried into the middle of a large field. Sorry for the lack of quality in this pic, it was ****ing down with rain, and I made sure I was stood at a 'safe distance'
...and SPACK!!!!

If you look at the smoke trail, you can see how she flew.
Heres the damage. Basically she flipped over, and the table-top gave way, as the 'washing/laundry tube' coresampled.
LOL, I love it! This is thinking outside the (folded table) box if ever I've seen it :) And you can still pack it up even after the launch.
There is a very good and seriously funny video of the launch. As soon as I get a copy/url/whatever for it, I'll post it.
Well, in the scope of attempts made at rocketry someone *has* flown a Port-O-Potty before! I suppose this idea was a bit crazy, but it does score a perfect 10 in the creativity department!
The aerial outhouse was funny, although somewhat dubious in its representation of rocketry as a serious and responsible sport. The Flying Port-o-Potty does definitely qualify for the "of Death" moniker.
More photos here. (There will be other photos there in due time, but I've dealt with these ones first.)

I got some reasonable pre-launch close-ups. As I approached, someone shouted "Go away". I replied "Can I come and get some photos?" The shouter by the table evidently didn't here me because this exchange was repeated a few times, until I was presumably close enough to be heard, then yelled "Can I come and get some photos, then go away?" This was permitted. Then I went and took cover under a nearby Viking longboat. The longboat probably wasn't tableproof, but didn't need to be as the table wouldn't get that far. It was rainproof, though.
Originally posted by cydermaster
A team consisting of some of the top amature rocketeers in the UK.

... no there not, there a bunch of very silly boys and girls from the usual suspects list :D

Can F(insert object)ODs get any sillier?

Cracking pictures Cyder and Adrian
To answer some of the questions...

It flew on an Pro38 I287SS

The supposed recovery tube was Damian's leftovers of UncleBob which fell drogueless just over 11,000ft at the Canterbury Cup.

The pics are good, but the video (if/when it makes it online) is even better!
Why did we have to leave saturday?!? :(

Great pics both of you! I hope the video makes it online :)

a few small mods and i will bet money it could be (s)table...

good name for it
Not (S)table
it was a stable table.
Motor burn was only ~2 seconds. Only after the burn did it turn over and plummet.

Vid shows it clearly if/when it makes it online.
it looked kinda low to have been a (s)table flight...

in that case, i think you should put a bigger motor in it... something with a looooooooong burn...
The only burning question I have: Did you use rail(s) or rod(s) as launch guides?

Excellent work! I love it! :p
LOL, I just watched the video....yep well worth the 10mb download!
Funny video indeed. Needed more motor :) Goofy but safe - plenty of distance between it and the crowd.

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