Time to give up

Discussion in 'Low Power Rocketry (LPR)' started by Big-Bob, Feb 9, 2020.

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  1. Feb 9, 2020 #1

    Big-Bob

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    I'm afraid it is time to give up my hobby of 50 years. I recently lost a rocket that I had more than 3 months and $150 invested in. I designed and built it myself. I have achieved altitudes of over 3000 feet using nothing larger than D engines, using clustering and multi staging. I am 61 years old with some fairly severe disabilities. My walking distance is about 200 feet before my legs give out. I have a moped that I carry on a rack on the back of my car to retrieve rockets. Unfortunately I have crashed that a couple of times and was barely able to get it back on the car rack. And despite all the wide open spaces in AZ, most of them are fenced off with barbed wire, and have no trespassing signs. There is no launch site near me. I was driving nearly 100 miles to find a launch site. AZ is known as the barbed wire capital of the country. You cannot use state trust land, because they consider model rockets to be fireworks. No reservation will allow me to use their land. Back in the '70s you could go almost anywhere. I was actually stopped once and threatened with arrest by AZ DPS because I had model rocket engines in my possession, which they considered explosives. Seems like nothing is legal anymore.
     
  2. Feb 9, 2020 #2

    Donaldsrockets

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    I know the feeling all too well. I too had to give up the hobby as well due to not having a place to fly from anymore. Years back I was able to fly from a hay farm not too far from where I live but eventually the land was sold and as a result, I could no longer fly from there anymore. Never did find another field so last year I sold everything I had to a good friend of mine and called it quits.

    Sucks but that's the way it is sometimes. Long gone are the days where you could fly rockets anywhere you'd like without fearing possible repercussions. It seems like that unless you own a big piece of open land or know someone who does and will let you fly there or fly with a club, you are pretty much screwed.

    School yards here are not an option either since all the schools have perimeter fences around them which of course are locked on the weekends.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
  3. Feb 9, 2020 #3

    kuririn

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    Hey Bob, don't give up! Have you tried flying with a club? I count 6 NAR sections in AZ, maybe there's one close to you.
    https://www.nar.org/find-a-local-club/nar-club-locator/
    They can give you assistance on recovery and loading/unloading your gear.
    Plus I find it's much more enjoyable launching with others than going solo.
    Cheers.
     
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  4. Feb 9, 2020 #4

    tightwad

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    I know how you feel. At 73 I still fly, mostly LP from my back yard, but the tide has to be out and then there is two rivers that could drown my rockets. If the wind is right I fly. I have had to reduce my hunting for deer and elk because knee surgeries (tendons) and I do not want to be laying out in the woods with dislocated knees.

    My large flying fields that my friend owns are now rented out to other ranchers and well...they are different and I am still working on them.

    Some how, my brain thinks that I can still do things, but the body talks louder. I have even thought of selling my rockets...must be fever induced thoughts. LOL
     
  5. Feb 9, 2020 #5

    grouch

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    Funny, I moved to AZ in October and I see more flying land than any other state I've lived in. The BLM's are wide open for rocket fun. Where are you flying?
     
  6. Feb 9, 2020 #6

    BABAR

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    There’s always MicroMaxx and saucers!
     
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  7. Feb 9, 2020 #7

    K'Tesh

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    Sorry to hear about the loss of the rocket, and the problems you're having Bob.

    Perhaps it's time for water rockets (let's see them claim that's explosive) with low and slow flight characteristics.
     
  8. Feb 9, 2020 #8

    mikewrt

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    Sorry to hear about your troubles. I too am in Arizona.... where are you flying?
     
  9. Feb 10, 2020 #9

    Big-Bob

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    I was flying at the SSS site just off I-10 near Hovatter Rd. I live in Chandler, AZ, and that is a 200 mile round trip. There is some land closer, but it has brush that is way too tall. If a rocket comes down in that brush, there is no way to get too it. I prefer to fly alone, so I can set things up my way, and also since I design my own rockets, I do not want to put anyone in danger if something should go wrong. I did go to several club launches way back when SSS was using the Rainbow Valley launch site out by Estrella Mountain. A lot of fun, but too many people to be able to set up my equipment the way I wanted, and not safe to launch an unproven design. I used to use that launch site when there was no one (but cows) out there. There is a lot of farm land down around Florence, Coolidge, and Casa Grand that would be great for launch sites, but the farmers are afraid of liability. The place where I lost the rocket was about 20 miles northwest of Arizona City. There is a completely deserted area out there where they started to build a housing development back in 2007, actually put in some streets, then went bankrupt. The property is now for sale, so nobody is watching it.
     
  10. Feb 10, 2020 #10

    neil_w

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    I always feel bad when I see someone who feels "forced" to give up a hobby. In this case I do find the circumstances to be interesting.
    I am curious what you mean by "set things up my way", and also exactly how unconventional are your rocket designs such that you don't feel safe launching them around other people. I design most of my own rockets and don't hesitate to launch them at clubs, because I know that I know what I'm doing, and will call for a heads-up flight when appropriate (though I've never had any sort of mishap yet, knock on balsa).

    Let me emphasize that I understand this sort of thing is 100% up to you and your own preferences, and if the way you fly now is the only way you can enjoy it, then it's nobody else's business but yours. But there are so many ways to enjoy this hobby; I'm surprised you find it preferable to give up entirely rather than just be a little flexible in your requirements.
     
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  11. Feb 10, 2020 #11

    new2hpr

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    With the limits on your mobility, and access to flying fields, you can still build! I know many in the hobby who prefer the design and construction phases to actually flying them. It allows you to put in that extra effort of quality or detail that you might not be willing to risk on a flying model. Good luck to you, either way.
    -Ken
     
  12. Feb 10, 2020 #12

    ThreeJsDad

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    This sucks !!! It is getting to where anything we truly enjoy is being taken away. It feels like we are being herded to the couch so we can sit in front of advertisements all day.

    Bob, I left rocketry for a while and now I am back and I can tell you I missed it so please don't hang it up. Take the energy and passion you have to find ways to enjoy the hobby you love so much. Even when I had my L2 I would fly MMX and saucers with my friends at parks or in back yards.

    Stick around it is worth the effort. We are getting to old to be giving up on things !!!!
     
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  13. Feb 10, 2020 #13

    Lahkun

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    Hello. I'm sorry to hear about your health issues and other problems with the hobby. I'm in Arizona too, and the restrictions can be tough. Have you tried looking at local park rules and regulations surrounding the hobby? I know it can sometimes be annoying to launch at parks, ( Not enough space away from people, attracts spectators or kids who try to touch stuff without asking, etc.) But there are a few parks with a nice open field. There are, however different motor restrictions between parks ( Some only allow A,B, and C motors while others allow D and E.) Here are eight parks in Phoenix where model rocketry is allowed. They are listed here: https://www.phoenix.gov/parks/parks/rules/radio-controlled-aircraft . Copy and paste the link if it doesn't work. Unfortunately, I don't believe any parks in Chandler allow rocketry without permission. Also, SSS is a good club. I don't get the chance to go often, but most of the people there are really great. I've never had a problem setting up my own launch gear at the launch site. If the RSO doesn't approve your rocket it may be for good reason or that RSO may be too strict. If it's low power, most of the people there would let you fly as a heads up if only something minor is questionable. They wouldn't approve a mid rocket I was trying to fly on an F because the launch lug was one size smaller then a 1/4 inch ( it was a weird size but had already flown once). They were concerned with potential rod whip. If you do decide to give them another chance and the RSO won't allow you to fly your rocket, you can always get a second opinion or wait until someone else takes over RSO duties and try again. If a rocket lands outside your walking range, you may be able to get someone there to retrieve it for you.
    Hope you can give it one more shot. Good luck!
     
  14. Feb 10, 2020 #14

    scsager

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    Hi Bob, sucks to get old... I know from personal experience. Also sucks to loose a rocket. I have a lifetime worth of experience with that one.

    Here are my two simple tips.
    1) That rocket isn't really lost, you just haven't found it yet. With rocketry, Attitude is at least as important as altitude.

    2) No man is an Island - Always bring a launch buddy - or 3. You will have a much more enjoyable time when you share it with someone that can assist with retrieval.
     
  15. Feb 10, 2020 #15

    Steve Shannon

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    If you’re a member of one of the National/international organizations you can get an insurance certificate for the landowners that should help them with their concerns about liability.
     
  16. Feb 11, 2020 #16

    hakudoh

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    As you all know, Japan is small, so few places can be launched high.
    My friend has devised a competition that can be challenged even in a small place.
    It launches a larger aircraft exactly 120 feet using a B-motor.
    Building a light and large rocket is a challenging project.
    I launched a rocket with a diameter of 114㎜ and a height of 1500㎜ to 130 feet.
    Under difficult conditions, you can enjoy it even at low altitudes.

    http://gallery-h.net/top/?p=667
     
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  17. Feb 11, 2020 #17

    BABAR

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    They’ll probably outlaw them in California. They will claim it is a waste of water.
     
  18. Feb 11, 2020 #18

    Big-Bob

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    I am what you would call an amateur engineer and designer. I have software on my computer to help with designs. And I have had some great successes, along with a number of failures. It is not easy to reach 3000 feet with low power. But it can be done. However, 3000 feet is over half a mile, and you need a very large open area, away from trees, power lines, and roads. The rocket I lost may have drifted over a mile from the launch site. I am an experimenter, and do not enjoy being around a large crowd of people, other than just to watch. When you are alone, in a large safe open area, there are no club rules or restrictions to deal with. I am restricted to low power due to financial reasons, otherwise I would have moved into mid power. But it is also a lot of fun seeing just what you can get out of low power.

    I don't build scale models, or paint my rockets different colors and put decals and stickers on them. Nothing wrong with that, it's just not part of the hobby I'm into. I paint all my rockets bright white/fluorescent orange, to make them more visible against the sky and on the ground. I prefer to do things the Robert Goddard way, if that makes any sense. I do follow all NAR rules in the construction of my rockets. They are made from cardboard and plastic parts with only a tiny bit of metal. I use only nylon chutes. I do everything with safety in mind, but there is no way to be sure a rocket is going to perform the way you expect it to without actually launching it, and I like to do that in a safe area.

    There is a lot of BLM land in AZ, I just don't know where most of it is. The Superstition Spacemodeling Society kofa launch site is on BLM land, but is a long way from where I live. I spend more money on gas to and from the launch site than on the rockets and launch equipment itself.

    I not only design my own rockets, but have also designed and built all my launch equipment. I never cared for the toy like stuff from Estes and Aerotech. Yes it works, but I prefer something a lot heavier and sturdier, with no plastic or wood parts. I use orange outdoor extension cords for launch cable. Yes, it's serious overkill, I just like the look and feel of it. Again it seems less toy like.

    Grouch, can you point me toward some of that BLM land? I'm in the Phoenix/East Valley area. Bob.
     
  19. Feb 11, 2020 #19

    Big-Bob

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    I am what you would call an amateur engineer and designer. I have software on my computer to help with designs. And I have had some great successes, along with a number of failures. It is not easy to reach 3000 feet with low power. But it can be done. However, 3000 feet is over half a mile, and you need a very large open area, away from trees, power lines, and roads. The rocket I lost may have drifted over a mile from the launch site. I am an experimenter, and do not enjoy being around a large crowd of people, other than just to watch. When you are alone, in a large safe open area, there are no club rules or restrictions to deal with. I am restricted to low power due to financial reasons, otherwise I would have moved into mid power. But it is also a lot of fun seeing just what you can get out of low power.

    I don't build scale models, or paint my rockets different colors and put decals and stickers on them. Nothing wrong with that, it's just not part of the hobby I'm into. I paint all my rockets bright white/fluorescent orange, to make them more visible against the sky and on the ground. I prefer to do things the Robert Goddard way, if that makes any sense. I do follow all NAR rules in the construction of my rockets. They are made from cardboard and plastic parts with only a tiny bit of metal. I use only nylon chutes. I do everything with safety in mind, but there is no way to be sure a rocket is going to perform the way you expect it to without actually launching it, and I like to do that in a safe area.

    There is a lot of BLM land in AZ, I just don't know where most of it is. The Superstition Spacemodeling Society kofa launch site is on BLM land, but is a long way from where I live. I spend more money on gas to and from the launch site than on the rockets and launch equipment itself.

    I not only design my own rockets, but have also designed and built all my launch equipment. I never cared for the toy like stuff from Estes and Aerotech. Yes it works, but I prefer something a lot heavier and sturdier, with no plastic or wood parts. I use orange outdoor extension cords for launch cable. Yes, it's serious overkill, I just like the look and feel of it. Again it seems less toy like.

    Grouch, can you point me toward some of that BLM land? I'm in the Phoenix/East Valley area. Bob.
     
  20. Feb 11, 2020 #20

    BABAR

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    Not that I’ve been out there recently, but at my club “Mid-south Rocketry” if I had something sort of @Daddyisabar -ish (aka, unconventional) they’d have me come early or stay late, so fewer people around to, um, entertain, and it would be a heads up flight. Never had any problems.
     
  21. Feb 13, 2020 #21

    Big-Bob

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    I have given this considerable thought, and may reconsider giving up. Some things would have to change. I would have to design a new launch pad that could be set up at table top level (I have a terrible time getting down on the ground, and an even worse time getting back up. I have launched rockets from the bed of my truck before. I would also have to come up with a better way of retrieving rockets that came down some distance away. I can use a locator beacon, which I have done before, but I would have to have some type of off road vehicle to go hunt it down with, as I cannot walk that far. Not sure what kind of rules most BLM land have for something like that. I do have disabled plates on my truck. I am still not interested in club launches other than as a spectator.
     
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  22. Feb 13, 2020 #22

    neil_w

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    Good luck, hope you can find a way to make it work.
     
  23. Feb 13, 2020 #23

    SecondRow

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  24. Feb 13, 2020 #24

    SecondRow

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  25. Feb 15, 2020 at 2:08 PM #25

    Big-Bob

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  26. Feb 15, 2020 at 5:59 PM #26

    Zeus-cat

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    Reconsider the club if there is one close to you. We have a guy in our club with limited mobility. He had a stroke as a teenager and walks with a significant limp. When one of his rockets goes further than he can reasonably walk someone goes and gets it for him. No one considers this an imposition. Seriously, no one minds retrieving his rockets. Rocketeers are some of the nicest people and most are glad to help each other.
     
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  27. Feb 16, 2020 at 11:10 AM #27

    Funkworks

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    In my case, most of my hobby time is spent building anyway, either in the workshop or on software.

    Having recently moved, I built a few hundred dollars worth of rockets without even knowing yet if and when they’re going to be launched. Nearest club is likely hours away.

    My point: you can always just build. Launching doesn’t have to be a big part of it and many people need a club to launch anyway.
     
  28. Feb 16, 2020 at 12:30 PM #28

    dpower

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    We have a fellow with similarly limited mobility in our club, we retrieve almost all his rockets at our monthly low power launches. With his life challenges, Rocketry is a big part of his life, the whole club works to see that he is able to enjoy the launches.
     
  29. Feb 16, 2020 at 2:35 PM #29

    John Kemker

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    Another thought:

    Develop a relationship with someone younger who is interested in rockets. Mentor them. Teach them. I'll bet they'll be more than happy to retrieve rockets for you!
     

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