The rocket that never landed?

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Well-Known Member
Jan 18, 2009
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I had an odd thing happen at the CMASS launch yesterday.

It was windy with sustained winds in the teens.

I launched my BT-50 size Phoenix on a A8-3 to keep it low and only put an 8" chute into it so it would come down fairly rapidly.

It weathercocked into the wind and wasn't all that high when the chute deployed so I thought it would land fairly close.

It started to decend and was only about 100' up when it seemed to stop coming down and just go sideways. It continued like that until it got to the edge of the field where there is a hill. At the hill it started to climb and it got higher and farther away until I couldn't see it any more.

Anything like this ever happen to you?
Yes is has. Not so much here on the East Coast, but what I flew in west Texas as a kid, this happened often. I don't remember the altitude that the thermals kicked in tho.
Yep, I've had this happen, but I think this is the first time an A8-3 rocket has been lost like this on such a large field :p

I *almost* lost an Estes Drifter that I launched on a C6-5 with the 24" chute back when I lived in Florida. I launched it from Edgewater, FL and had put my name and address/phone on the rocket.

It went like yours, going up instead of down till we couldn't see it anymore. About 2 days later I got a phone call from Titusville, it had landed in a guys backyard about 45 miles away. He was so thrilled that he drove all the way up to return it! LOL (wish I still had that baby!)
I didn't have *exactly* that happen to me. But I lost my Flis Nomad last weekend. D12-0/B6-0/B6-6. Beautiful flight into a clear blue sky. Followed the smoke delay to ejection. Then....GONE! :eek: Nobody in the considerable crowd (NOVAAR launch) saw it come down. We combed the field for evidence of its return. Wasn't there! Best guess is that the thing made orbit.
I had a similar experience wit han Alpha III on a C6-5 and an 8 inch chute. Thing wanted to drift forever. Fortunately it landed on the field and someone much younger than I ran out for it.

I wonder how long it took to drift 45 miles? Could be the record for parachute duration! :cool:
Originally posted by jflis
...back when I lived in Florida. I launched it from Edgewater, FL and had put my name and address/phone on the rocket.

It went like yours, going up instead of down till we couldn't see it anymore. About 2 days later I got a phone call from Titusville, it had landed in a guys backyard about 45 miles away. He was so thrilled that he drove all the way up to return it! LOL (wish I still had that baby!)

Only REAL men fly in hurricanes :D
I had something quite similar happen. Last summer I was launching my Blue Bird Zero and at ejection the shock cord failed (happens when you use a 25 year old one). Well the rocket core sampled but the nose cone was carried far away with the chute. It just drifted out of sight, never to be seen again. My 6 year old son was with me and he sometimes still asks me if it's still floating around up there somewhere! Could be, either that or it landed across the ocean, hehe!

i've never had a drifting problem so much as a disappearing problem. all of my beta estes are now lost, they go up on C6-5's and just dont come REALLY cannot see them at 2,000'. i almost had it happen to my LOC aura. i put it up on an F20 at CMASS and it went straight and quick right into the bright blue sky....the delay was 7 seconds, after about 10 seconds i got pretty worried, then i saw the dark blue chute open and i followed it down closely. that was scarey, thats a nice rocket.
Yep bob:
Those darn thermals, If only I were better at spotting them:( at the September Sport launch I flew a new 12" vellium micro-maxx Pd model with a 12" mylar chute. the little motor pushed the model about 100'. We had a light but steady 6mph wind. the model floated up the hill side until over a parking lot and UP she went like a shot. We lost sight of the chute still going up in the direction of south mountain a fraction over 6 minutes later....Stopped the watches at 364.11 seconds:(
Launched and Edmonds EC-18 on a B6-2 a few summers ago, flew to about 50', transitioned into glide and begain to climb. I chased it for over a mile but she just kept going up...Up and Away...
Thermals are really COOL at contests, bummers at sport launches:D
Star Dart on an early June 2004 morning. It was my first proper build above an E2X. About 1000ft ceiling and I went for a C67. A woman and her 7 or so year old daughter emerged from a hiking trail about 1 minute after launch and she asked me..."did you just launch a rocket?" I answered "yes m'aam".... long pause about another minute she says "well is it gonna come down?" another long pause then I say "dunno". The three of us scanned the sky for about 5 minutes but hide nor hair of the Star Dart was never seen again. .

Jim F...45 MILES That is incredible. .

45 miles is amazing!!!

I've had a really bad boost glider catch a thermal and stay up for a min
It didn't move forward or backwards. It struck an equilibrium in the 4 directions. Really cool!! I was beaten though! :D
At NARAM this past year we saw several *egg* lofters boost, deploy, return, get within about 6-10 feet of the ground and **hang** there for about 10-20 seconds before droping the rest.

Really odd to see...
I had the same experience just recently with my Alpha III on a C-6-5 with a spill hole-it was a first for me. Off subject but my dad launched a free flight plane from Roosevelt Field Long Island, it landed in northern Connecticut more the 90 miles away. Its in the books and to say the lest he won the contest. That was back in the 40's.
I don't know if I can beat 45 miles, some of mine disappeared into the desert :( :)
A couple weeks ago, one guy at the local rocket club launched an A flexi wing glider. It got up to maybe 150 feet and got into a perfect glide. 6 minutes later, it was probably 300 feet up and barely visible. We lost it after 8:32, and it probably stayed yp for hours. It was last seen heading over a hill at probably 500' alt.
Yup...count me in. As a kid I had my vintage Cherokee-D drift for miles before we got stuck at a barbed wire fence and were unable to follow it any further and lost it. I was sooo bummed as it was my first D powered launch
Yes, I've had it happen twice. The first time it happened was when I was about 12. I had spent weeks scratchbuilding a rocket called the Falconstar II. To this, day I consider it one of the best models I have ever built. On it's second flight it caught a thermal on it's 24" parachute, began to rise until it was barely visible, and flew out of sight. We searched for it for hours but never found it. The second time when at Lucerne when I launched another one of my scratchbuilt rockets named Vertigo. I flew the rocket on a mild-mannered J315. I had flown it on the J314 several times and had never had the rocket land more than a couple hundered yards away. Feeling smug, I decided to use my trusty Rocketman R4C parachute and omit my usual Rockethunter tracking beacon. The up part of the flight was beautiful but as I watched the parachute deploy I noticed something was wrong. The rocket just wasn't coming down! Instead it was moving sideways rather quickly. There had been reports of upper wind currents all day and, to my dismay, Vertigo had fallen prey to the wind. I watched my precious rocket float to the East and out of sight. Nearly 7 hours, 5 jackrabbits, and one stuck SUV later, with darkness quickly approaching, we recovered the rocket nearly 8 miles downrange! I find this amazing for a 10 pound rocket on a 40 inch 'chute!:eek: NEVER underestimate how far your rocket can float.
When we were kids, some of the parachute duration contests that our local section held were run with 'return' rules. When there was no requirement to recover the entries, we would get out the really big chutes and pick out our most expendable rockets.
They would descend predictably while over the park's green grass. When they got to the park's perimeter road (asphalt) they would jump a little. When they got over the cornfields outside the park they just went up and up and out of sight. We put names and phone numbers on them but never heard from anyone.