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The Goldfish Club... (Where wet rocketeers get to share)

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K'Tesh

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Ok, guys, you know who you are...

Who's had to fish out a rocket from the ocean, a river, stream, pond, swimming pool, puddle, water filled ditch, or lake?

Me, it was my Cherokee D. I was launching on my Great Grandmother's ranch on the shores of the Rogue River (rogue, like loveable, not rouge (as in red)). The rocket boosted clean, but there was a wind, and it drifted over the river, and came down in the rapids on the far side. I managed to strip down, and cross over the river to recover it. Froze my 8alls off in the process (that river is glacier fed), but at least my clothes were dry. Later lost the rocket on another day (long after it had dried out) to a snag, on my side of the river. The osprey that occupied it flew around and checked it out while it was descending.

My 2nd water recovery was a deliberate action. I launched a Yellow Jacket in the hopes it would act like a torpedo. It didn't work like that. The motor was sealed with wax, and the rocket was flooded, but it still was pretty buoyant. It was launched sideways from a launch rod held underwater (by me). The rocket jumped out of the water a foot off the rail, flew in a ballistic arc, reentered the water, and then dove for the bottom, where it wasted the rest of it's powered swim. I still would like to try a water launch, but a river isn't the place to do it. I'd launch it downwards, in a deep portion of the lake, and add sand or some rocks to act as ballast. When the ejection goes, the ballast is dumped, and I'd recover the rocket when it floats up. Additionally, I have a GoPro, so now I'd be able able to film it.



BTW, there really is a Goldfish Club, for pilots and other aviators who's lives were saved by flotation devices after ending up in the drink (image links to wikipedia's article).
 
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Gary Byrum

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I've never landed one in the water, but I saw this HPR rocket take a dive when the deployment failed. The rocketeer made a bee line for it but not before the electronics began to show signs of corruption from the water. He knew he had a problem when he saw his rocket doing the backstroke and dipping across the surface like a dolphin.
 

JJSR

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Estes Wizard, one of the best 3FNC rockets ever!
no matter how I would angle the launch rod mine would find water. For months at one of clubs I fly with it would ALWAYS go across the street and land in the pond. I'd dry it out and try again and again every time in the pond.
even when that one wasn't flyable any more and I'd built a new one it would find water, pond, puddles, pools, WATER!
I don't know :confused2:
 

Worsaer

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I fondly recall a flight of my Aerotech Initiator at the Berkeley Marina, on an F-something, circa 1995 or so. It weather cocked into the breeze, well out over the bay. The chute deployed beautifully, and it stated the long drift back, but fell short, about 50 yards off shore in the SF bay. Fortunately, the tide was slowly coming in and the wind was favorable, so in about an hour or so I recovered it on the rocks. I simply drilled a couple of drain holes in the aft CR to get the water out, let it dry thoroughly, and she flew again.

I still have the rocket - I may part with others, but this one and I have been through a lot - it's a keeper.
 

K'Tesh

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Estes Wizard, one of the best 3FNC rockets ever!
no matter how I would angle the launch rod mine would find water. For months at one of clubs I fly with it would ALWAYS go across the street and land in the pond. I'd dry it out and try again and again every time in the pond.
even when that one wasn't flyable any more and I'd built a new one it would find water, pond, puddles, pools, WATER!
I don't know :confused2:
Your Wizard wasn't by any chance named "Rob McKenna" was it?
 

Zeus-cat

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I put two low power rockets into the stream that runs through our high power field. Both on the same day. They got fished out pretty quick, but two on the same freaking day and none before or since. I also put two rockets into trees at a park I used to launch at. Both on the same day and none before or since.
 

Bat-mite

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MDRA launch at the sod farm a couple of years ago. Giant Leap Vertical Assault, the older one with phenolic tubing. My Level 2 rocket.

Perfect flight, perfect dual deployment, and it came down behind some weeds.

I started walking, and as I got closer to the weeds, I noticed that they were actually reeds. And the mud got wetter and wetter, and I started to stick in it.

My shoes were completely soaked and muddy, but I kept going. I had to force my way through about 20 feet of reeds, meanwhile getting deeper and deeper into the water.

I finally broke through the reeds with the water about waste high. I tucked my cell phone and GPS navigator up under my hat, and waded out into the pond.

Surprisingly, the rocket was in excellent shape, and the AV bay and electronics were in good shape. I had to hoist everything up to my shoulders, wade back to the reeds, and then ....

I didn't know how to get back through the reeds carrying the rocket. I couldn't use my hands, and I really didn't know what to do.

So I ended up turning around and backing my way out, occasionally stumbling, and having to hold everything above my head.

When I go to the point where I figured I was about five feet from the end of the reeds, I just threw everything as hard as I could. Then I was able to walk forward out of the reeds.

I picked it up and went back to the launch area. Fortunately, AMW ProX was on site, and Robert let me use the external hose on their motor home to clean myself off. If was the middle of summer, so I didn't mind getting soaked.

I put the rocket and chutes on the hood of my car and went on launching. But I think to date, I have never been so exhausted. I drove home totally soaked, with the heater on full blast to try to dry my shoes. But the rocket did fly again.

I don't know why Google calls the pond the Wye River. There is a Wye River, but that isn't it.

GLVA landing.jpg
 

K'Tesh

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I like the aerial view of your splashdown site... I think I'll add my own. I'd launch from the dirt path going through the hay field (just north of the Yellow Jacket site) when it was ok with my Grandfather (not during the heat of summer).

Goldfish.jpg
 
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rstaff3

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One year a while back, it seemed like I always found water...ponds, irrigation ditches, streams, standing water...

The best outcome - Also at MDRA's Sod Farm, I dunked one smack dab in the middle of the holding pond. While pondering what to do and looking for a boat, the wind that took her there also blew her to shore. The rocket was 'pseudo-glassed' BT-80 and the motor mount was phenolic. Since it was mostly plastic, I dumped the water, let it air dry, and pulled the motor. No damage AT ALL!

The worst outcome - At NARHAMS' old field, one dropped into a drainage pond. Not deep and easy to recover. Unfortunately, 5.5" Quaker Oats bins don't hold up as well as coated Estes tubes. Luckily for me, Quaker made more tubes where those came from.
 

rstaff3

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MDRA launch at the sod farm a couple of years ago. Giant Leap Vertical Assault, the older one with phenolic tubing. My Level 2 rocket.

Perfect flight, perfect dual deployment, and it came down behind some weeds.

I started walking, and as I got closer to the weeds, I noticed that they were actually reeds. And the mud got wetter and wetter, and I started to stick in it.

My shoes were completely soaked and muddy, but I kept going. I had to force my way through about 20 feet of reeds, meanwhile getting deeper and deeper into the water.

I finally broke through the reeds with the water about waste high. I tucked my cell phone and GPS navigator up under my hat, and waded out into the pond.

Surprisingly, the rocket was in excellent shape, and the AV bay and electronics were in good shape. I had to hoist everything up to my shoulders, wade back to the reeds, and then ....

I didn't know how to get back through the reeds carrying the rocket. I couldn't use my hands, and I really didn't know what to do.

So I ended up turning around and backing my way out, occasionally stumbling, and having to hold everything above my head.

When I go to the point where I figured I was about five feet from the end of the reeds, I just threw everything as hard as I could. Then I was able to walk forward out of the reeds.

I picked it up and went back to the launch area. Fortunately, AMW ProX was on site, and Robert let me use the external hose on their motor home to clean myself off. If was the middle of summer, so I didn't mind getting soaked.

I put the rocket and chutes on the hood of my car and went on launching. But I think to date, I have never been so exhausted. I drove home totally soaked, with the heater on full blast to try to dry my shoes. But the rocket did fly again.

I don't know why Google calls the pond the Wye River. There is a Wye River, but that isn't it.

View attachment 303097
I know that pond! Didn't know it was attached to a river :confused:
 

cavecentral

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I had a few go swimming. Either the ebay gets wet or the chute. Chute needed a good rinsing as it smelled awful.

Thinking drainage ditches at MDRA's Higgs farm, and the Stream behind the parking area at URRF are the main areas for rockets playing torpedo.
 

rstaff3

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I had a few go swimming. Either the ebay gets wet or the chute. Chute needed a good rinsing as it smelled awful.

Thinking drainage ditches at MDRA's Higgs farm, and the Stream behind the parking area at URRF are the main areas for rockets playing torpedo.
I can't believe how many times I've landed in those ditches! When the ditches are running, finding the little ones can be challenging!
 

dave carver

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To get a real good idea of what our launch site is like watch Clint Eastwood's 'High Plains Drifter'. You will know exactly what the terrain around the site is like. The rim of the Snake River Canyon is just over two miles away but as far as I know no one has made it over the rim. The prevailing winds run parallel to the river.
 

Handeman

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The only real water landing I've had was with my PML Callisto. It landed in the stream running through the farm the VAST club used to launch at. I grabbed the rocket and lifted it out. I was surprised at the drag the chute had in the water. A real sea anchor in the slow moving stream.

Since the rocket was G10 fins and Quantum tubing with phenolic MMT, it wasn't damaged at all. It's had a couple dozen flights since then.
 

fyrwrxz

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Back in the day we were allowed to 'test' MPR and HPR within reason at DART launches on Fiesta Island. Now you'd think being surrounded on three sides by the ocean that would be the biggest obstacle to avoid-right? No level 2's so it was reasonable to assume you could recover over land even if it drifted a little inland.
The City, trying to recycle everything as much as it could, installed a "sewage to fertilizer plan" on the Island (away from sensitive noses-not!) and sure enough, the Aerotech Mustang I modified as a second stage decided the 'G" motor was just right-for catching the breeze and riding it down into "Pond Number 3" (out of 4 'ponds') consisting of an oozy, fairly gelatinous and sticky distillation of some of San Diego's Finest City's residents. The fins stuck in the surface and then the 'chute filled just enuff to tip it over. Mind you, it never sank, per se, but gathered a random sample that would please any Gastro-Intestinal Doctors out there. Amid the hoots and hollers of my fellow rocketeers, I undauntingly appproached the work shed just outside the fence to find a chap apparently in charge of preventing trespassers (WTF?) into the ponds. He looked at my rocket seated securely and firmy in the exact middle of "Pond 3" and stated "It's too deep out there to use the bucket"-referring to a skip loader I guess used to transport the muck from one place to another. "But"...he said brightly, "I've got this here fishing pole". Being an avid fisherman and pretty sure of my casting skills (all the while the Viking Princess is saying "Just leave it-you can get another one"), I cast out and snagged it. Now pulling this thing across something like SAE 8000wt oil required extra drag and a few Bass moves to get it to 'shore'. Oh. Lordy- did that thing reek! I poured a whole bottle of drinking water in it and tried to get the sludge out the best I could. Keep in mind the parachute was soggy, too! So to the cheers of the dubious onlookers, I gamely wrapped my bird in a trash bag for the trip home. 2 seconds down the road, while still on the Island, we both began retching so bad I opened the rear hatch on the station wagon and we road home on the freeway like that, all windows down and the AC on 'high'. Got home, rinsed it out in the bathtub and applied a little Fabreeze (okay-a LOT) and set it outside to dry until sunset. Still flies today , but not as a second stage. It pays to soak everything in thin CA, but I don't trust it over mach, so 'G''s it is for the rest of it's life.
 
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K'Tesh

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Dave, I was dreading the thought of someone's rocket going down in a sewage pond... I see my fears were well founded.

Adjacent to one of the few areas that I was tempted to launch from in Tigard, Oregon was a sewage plant. I never launched there, and likely never will, because the only way to ensure you don't lose one to the pond would be to launch downwind from it. And that's not a pleasant idea.
 
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rstaff3

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IIRC, in the early days of the Rockets for Schools launches from Cape Henlopen Delaware, there were high power demo flights that took a playbook from the Wallops launches - they intentionally went into the Atlantic.
 

cavecentral

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Back in the day we were allowed to 'test' MPR and HPR within reason at DART launches on Fiesta Island. Now you'd think being surrounded on three sides by the ocean that would be the biggest obstacle to avoid-right? No level 2's so it was reasonable to assume you could recover over land even if it drifted a little inland.
The City, trying to recycle everything as much as it could, installed a "sewage to fertilizer plan" on the Island (away from sensitive noses-not!) and sure enough, the Aerotech Mustang I modified as a second stage decided the 'G" motor was just right-for catching the breeze and riding it down into "Pond Number 3" (out of 4 'ponds') consisting of an oozy, fairly gelatinous and sticky distillation of some of San Diego's Finest City's residents. The fins stuck in the surface and then the 'chute filled just enuff to tip it over. Mind you, it never sank, per se, but gathered a random sample that would please any Gastro-Intestinal Doctors out there. Amid the hoots and hollers of my fellow rocketeers, I undauntingly appproached the work shed just outside the fence to find a chap apparently in charge of preventing trespassers (WTF?) into the ponds. He looked at my rocket seated securely and firmy in the exact middle of "Pond 3" and stated "It's too deep out there to use the bucket"-referring to a skip loader I guess used to transport the muck from one place to another. "But"...he said brightly, "I've got this here fishing pole". Being an avid fisherman and pretty sure of my casting skills (all the while the Viking Princess is saying "Just leave it-you can get another one"), I cast out and snagged it. Now pulling this thing across something like SAE 8000wt oil required extra drag and a few Bass moves to get it to 'shore'. Oh. Lordy- did that thing reek! I poured a whole bottle of drinking water in it and tried to get the sludge out the best I could. Keep in mind the parachute was soggy, too! So to the cheers of the dubious onlookers, I gamely wrapped my bird in a trash bag for the trip home. 2 seconds down the road, while still on the Island, we both began retching so bad I opened the rear hatch on the station wagon and we road home on the freeway like that, all windows down and the AC on 'high'. Got home, rinsed it out in the bathtub and applied a little Fabreeze (okay-a LOT) and set it outside to dry until sunset. Still flies today , but not as a second stage. It pays to soak everything in thin CA, but I don't trust it over mach, so 'G''s it is for the rest of it's life.
Not sure if I should applaud your efforts or fear you.

I think I would have written that one off and let the plant wonder how someone managed to flush that.
 

Bat-mite

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Dave, I was dreading the thought of someone's rocket going down in a sewage pond...
Sewage pond, you say? Try landing in the huge pile of manure at the Higgs farm that magically appears every April. MDRA gives away special prizes to anyone who has to climb the poop to recover his rocket. :wink:

I bet there will be one there for LDRS36.
 

Bat-mite

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I know that pond! Didn't know it was attached to a river :confused:
I guess, looking at the map, it really is the end of the Wye River. I never knew that. We used to crab in the Wye River when I was a kid, and farther south it is much bigger and navigable.

But on Google Maps, it looks like it trickles on through to the sod farm. Crazy.
 

rstaff3

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I guess, looking at the map, it really is the end of the Wye River. I never knew that. We used to crab in the Wye River when I was a kid, and farther south it is much bigger and navigable.

But on Google Maps, it looks like it trickles on through to the sod farm. Crazy.
Good for the Sod Farm, I wonder if they pump their water from the pond.
 

Daddyisabar

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Our club site is near a lake so water recovery is fairly common. Usually there are kind fishermen on the lake to recover them. One member can call in the wife to bring in the boat from home if necessary. I have had some float real nice like TLP Krypton and eventually blow to shore. After half an hour in the water only the white glued trifold shock cord attachment needed replacement. Some rockets don't float so well and are now with Davey Jones Bones. It really hurts when they have a reload case going down with the ship.
 

K'Tesh

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Some rockets don't float so well and are now with Davey Jones Bones. It really hurts when they have a reload case going down with the ship.
Seems to me that cheap insurance would be to put a partially inflated balloon inside the nosecone, to help prevent the loss of rockets like that.
 

Handeman

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Seems to me that cheap insurance would be to put a partially inflated balloon inside the nosecone, to help prevent the loss of rockets like that.
Or use a longer MMT and an extra CR to give you a bigger air filled void around the fins. That void around the fins is what kept my Callisto afloat when it took a swim.
 

TangoJuliet

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I think I would have written that one off and let the plant wonder how someone managed to flush that.
:roll:

I never landed one in water that I can recall, but I do recall a time in 1991 while I was stationed at Minot AFB, ND, a fellow rocketeer launched his new scale rocket - a Black Brandt IIRC - on an Aerotech RMS, which was also fairly new to the market at that time. We were allowed an area in the northwest corner of the base... Directly south of our launch site was a holding pond. His ejection charge failed to deploy the 'chute and it arced beautifully to the south and directly into the holding pond :facepalm:. He never did recover it that I'm aware of.
 

tab28682

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image.jpgimage.jpg

A couple of years ago I put a very old and beat up NCR 4" Patriot into the stock pond, ballistically, at the DARS Gunter site.

It comically stuck out of the water as it was only about 12-18" deep there. Was a near total loss as it ruptured the airframe tube and the nose cone was ruined, despite the water/mud impact.

No deployment. Took a chance on an old AT G40. The ejection charge went off, but must have been weak.

A great young club member volunteered to wade out and retrieve the remains, thank goodness.
 
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rstaff3

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View attachment 303479View attachment 303478

A couple of years ago I put a very old and beat up NCR 4" Patriot into the stock pond, ballistically, at the DARS Gunter site.

It comically stuck out of the water as it was only about 12-18" deep there. Was a near total loss as it ruptured the airframe tube and the nose cone was ruined, despite the water/mud impact.

No deployment. Took a chance on an old AT G40. The ejection charge went off, but must have been weak.

A great young club member volunteered to wade out and retrieve the remains, thank goodness.
You win the best photo prize. Never seen a lawn dart in a pond.
 

cavecentral

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I hear those tat fly at Bong, often wear waders to the launch. At least I haven't flow in an area where the water hazards are that bad.

Although, Thunderstruck 5 or whatever that last one was before losing the field was a pretty wet, muddy affair. More of a puddle hazard and making sure the pads were on solid enough ground to no tip over by sinking in the mud. Fun times, too bad about the field.
 

tab28682

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You win the best photo prize. Never seen a lawn dart in a pond.
Not my photo, but will pass that along to the photographer from DARS.

The nice thing about the internet is that many, many more people get to hear about and see your less than stellar modeling moments....:)
 
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