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Weirdest flight/recovery ever thread...

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luke strawwalker

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I was just reading a few posts to my wife as she relaxes on the couch and we were discussing the thread awhile back about "worst rocket launch ever" where folks posted some of their misadventures, like having a rocket go unstable and crash through the neighbor's screen door and land on the dinner table during suppertime, or hit the water tower and bounce off, and the sheriff shows up at your door because the old biddy living next to the water tower calls the cops and reports that you 'blew a hole in the water tower with a rocket' when actually the float valve inside is hung and the water tower is draining from the overflow pipe and pouring water on her house... :D (That's still the funniest thing I ever heard)

Thought I'd kick off a thread about your weirdest flight or recovery ever...

Back when I was in high school, my mom had a good friend she worked with at the hospital, and we spent quite a bit of time at their house in the next town over. I was a rocket noob and got her older son (about two years older than I) interested in rocketry and so one day I took my two stager (based on the "Comet" rocket by Estes, can't recall the name at the moment, but I still have it-- found it somewhat the worse for wear in Grandma's attic) over to his house in Boling, TX and we launched it from the pasture across the creek at the end of the street behind his house. Well, it just cleared the tree line and hit the wind, heeled over about 60 degrees off vertical, and staged, really quick, 1,2,3 like. That sustainer motor took over and SHOOM! off she went heading into the wind, with me watching it... it started coasting, slowed and seemed to 'hover' in the wind, and started dropping nose down, and POW deployed it's chute, but popped those silly rubber shock cords Estes used to use, and started dropping straight down for a core sample. Now, the creek sorta meandered south around behind the houses on either side of the street, and the two other streets actually dead-ended at the creek, before the creek turned west heading back toward the highway two streets over where the houses stopped and the other side was a big ranch. I watched it come in and was sure it core sampled, and watched the chute drift off, and figured all was lost. We hiked back across the creek and down the street to the intersection and over two streets in the direction it went toward the creek, looking in yards and on roofs as we went trying to figure out where it went. I was pretty sure it ended up either on the ranch or in the creek, and figured it was totalled for sure. Well, we walked to the last street and I was looking down into the creekbed, which was overgrown in waist-high weeds, and decided to hike down there and look. I walked along the weeds awhile til I found a 'clear spot' to go down to the water, and there, not a foot from the water's edge, in a perfect 2 foot round clearing of weeds, sticking perfectly straight up from the soggy clay muck soil, was the rocket. I pulled it out of the ground, wiped the 3 inches of sludge off the end, and dug the core sample out with a stick. It wasn't even dinged! Just mucked up a bit by the mud. Now for the chute and nosecone. I walked down the street aways til I found a spot to cross the creek, climbed through the fence, figuring I was on a vain search for the nosecone and chute, but lo and behold I found it within ten minutes in the pasture. I crossed back over and Mark and I went back to his house. That had to be the most 'miraculous' recovery I've ever had...

So what are some of yall's "Amazing Stories"?? OL JR :)
 

jflis

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Oh man, I could write a book... LOL

One was a launch of my USS Grissom. Beautiful model. On an A10-3 she goes about 150 feet. On this particular launch she flew off of pad #4. Deployment at apogee and a gentle return...

...only to have the parachute canopy drape itself right over the tip of the launch rod on pad #5...

...as I hear the LCO call out over the PA "And on pad #5 we have...."

All the while I'm screaming "DO NOT LAUNCH PAD 5!"

What a hoot :)

I'll relate more later
 

BsSmith

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All of my flights in the past year or two have been pretty good. Here are my boring stories.

First problem, I was launching my Yank Mystic Buzz for the first time, it was my first G motor. It was a windy day. The rocket went up perfectly, pointed into the 15mph wind, deployed it's chute, and the parachute got caught between the fins. When we found it (1/2 mile away) it was completely undamaged.

Different day, launched my LOC Little Nuke that took 6 months to get the paint right because I wanted it to look likr the picture on the package. It was coming down from 2000' on its small chute towars the parking lot. It landed behind the building with the bathrooms and when we walked over to get it, it had landed in the 2 feet of grass of the parking lot divider, no damage.
 

hcmbanjo

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I was test flying my entry in a (mail order contest) Estes Space Shuttle Contest. This had to be in 1972 or 73.
We flew on my grandparent's ranch, 150 acres of artichokes in northern California.
I finally convinced my grandmother to come out of the house to see the Shuttle's first flight on a B6-4.
It got off the pad and was vertical for 30 feet. It did a 90 degree turn to horizontal, making a bee-line for the ranch house.
The nose cone of the booster hit the power line going to the house. (That one, single line ran from a power pole to the house.) You could actually hear the power line go "boiiiiinnnng"! The line vibrated like a guitar string for quite a while. The nose cone was split down the middle.
My grandmother just shook her head and went back in the house.
I didn't win the Shuttle design contest.
 

Stizzealth

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I've had too many questionable launches to count, but my favorite was probably an unfortunate launch that occurred in the summer of '06 with my newly built and painted Estes Phoenix. At that time, I didn't understand (don't laugh- it was maybe my third rocket ever and I didn't have a clue) that D12-5 meant a 5 second delay and D12-7 meant a seven second delay. In any case, I used a D12-7 in the Phoenix which, if I remember correctly, was designed for use with a D12-3. Upon ignition, it refused to leave the pad. I've concluded that it probably had something to do with the Krushnik lock- but a couple of seconds into the boost it finally scooted its way up to 50 feet before the decades-long D12-7 delay began burning.

Needless to say, it came down hard cone-first. To remedy the situation (rear end seriously burned and flaky, and cone jammed 3 inches into tube) I lopped off the top 4 or 5 inches. Good idea? Certainly not, especially with the Phoenix's enormous forward fin area. I used a D12-3, and it got off the pad this time. At about 100 feet AGL, it predictably went ballistic. The chute did, however, pop in time. I retired the Phoenix at that point due to safety concerns. :eek:
 

DAllen

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Not exactly "weird" but this one was flat out terrifying...

Last year someone came to our club with some small project with an impressive electronics setup complete with a home made tracker that looked quite sweet. He was flying on a H97 and was supposed to hit 3k. But then came the launch...chuff...chuff...chuff...BIG chuff...flies off of rail does a big loop about 20 feet off the ground and then the motor decides to come to full pressure while parallel to the ground and proceeds crash into the ground under power. That was a very painful trash bag recovery to watch. Poor guy had at least $300 of electronics in that thing along with HOURS of work into that ebay. I think he at least saved the casing.

-DAllen
 

Larry

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Maybe I shouldn't tell either one of these....Had a big bertha that got hung up in a tree so I got the gun out and shot the branch off...Well I used a 410 and besides knocking the branch off I riddled the rocket with shot:eek:

Had another rocket eating tree gobble up a rocket. Don't even remember what the rocket was. Anyway I got the saw out and hacked the tree down to retreive the rocket:eek:

Larry:eek:
 

Handeman

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I was probably in the 8th grade and we lived on the end of a street that dead ended against a big field. I would park my Mom's car on the street in front of the house and hook my launcher to the battery.

The wire draped out to my homemade launcher I modeled after that wooden Estes one with the adjustable legs. I would stand next to the car as I launched. My Drifter was on the pad and I had just pushed the button as our dog came trotting around the front of the car.

The dog was a Heinz 57 that had a tail that curled up and actually pointed in the direction the dog was going. Needless to say, this tail made the perfect hook and caught my power wire and pulled the pad over toward the car as the Drifter ignited.

The rocket glanced off the front fender, skipped about 10 feet in the air as it cleared the car, came back down on the street and land sharked a half block up the street. I went running and screaming after it as it lay smoking in the middle of the road and a couple of small kids were making a bee line for it from a nearby yard. Fortunately the ejection charge went off after what seem an eternity, but couldn't have been long since the kids didn't get anywhere near it.

What amazed me the most about the whole event was how far the shock cord stretched when the ejection charge went off. It stretched more then half the width of the street! No wonder Estes dings are so common.
 

luke strawwalker

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I took my nephews down from Rochester, Indiana, which is north central part of the state west of Warsaw, and we drove down to NSL 2007 in Muncie. Well, we got there late morning I guess it was, watched a few go up, and wandered over to the vendor tents, since they needed to get a few rockets for their 4H rocketry project, and of course I was shopping as well:) Anyway, we wandered over to the Fliskits area and I was looking at the micros, and admiring the (then) soon to be kitted mud dauber and I hear "WHOOMP" right over my head, and see something flop off the roof of the huge 'circus tent' into the trash can just outside by a trailer. We looked around and sure enough, there was a foamie scratchbuilt looking rocket that had gone awry, lawndarted onto the tent canopy and ricocheted into the trash can...

What are the odds... :) OL JR :)
 

Adam Selene

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Back in about 2003, i was doing the Florida renaissance festival. my buddy Justin and I grabbed a couple of rockets and went to do a gorilla launch in a city park. we knew the park rangers would toss us out when they noticed us but, hey, we were desperate to fly. He launched an estes v2 with a nice flight and recovery. my turn. I launched my estes mercury redstone for a very nice flight and recovery. it landed right next to the car, which was parked with the rear door open. a gust of wind came up, grabbed the 'chute and lifted the rocket right up and into the car! It was like the rocket knew it was time to go.
 

judo

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Lol, that's hilarious. But it's a good thing that it wasn't any bigger or faster.
You mean like this?
http://www.nefar.net/gallery/2009-02/Mongolian-Cluster-Thrust-Robb-Haskins.wmv

Back in the late '70's/early '80's I launched my Estes Nike-X. It looked like a normal flight until ejection. The parachute deployed but it just didn't "look right" coming down. When I made my way over to where it had landed I found out why. The nose cone had performed a perfect 180 degree turn and re-inserted itself, pointy end first, back in to the body tube.
 

jflis

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Two quick ones, different times, both at competitions....

One was a PD model that boosted perfectly, deployed a large parachute and proceeded to come down in to the launch area.

The owner of the rocket got under it, not to catch it but to just be there when it landed. At about 10 feet or so off of the ground it caught a thermal and simply hung at 10 feet and started to drift across the field, with the owner walking under it. near the edge of the field it started to gain altitude and was never seen again....

=========================================

An egg lofter boosted and drifted way out over the trees into an adjoining set of fields. Needing a return for a qualified flight, the owner took off after it.

After about 30 minutes some of us got worried as he hadn't returned yet so we went off looking for him. We found him...

He was straddling a fence and you could see his model about 20 feet away in the other field. He was hollering at us and when we got there we discovered that it was an electric fence... He began stepping over it and it POPed his leg with a good jolt. He was afraid of getting popped again so he just stood there, legs spread, this wire wavering between his legs, for 20 minutes... Man, his legs were shaking he was so tired and cramped up LOL
 

georgegassaway

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It is sort of hard to pick....

Recovery-wise, one of the oldest and still bizarre ones was at NARAM-17 in 1975. I flew a flex-wing boost glider that hit a little thermal and slowly drifted off to the West. I was not able to keep up with it, and returned to the contest area. This really sucked too, because under the 1975 rules you had to get the flight back for it to count. Then about 20 minutes later, I saw the CD walking around carrying that glider that I had just lost. What??? He said someone saw it land near some parked cars a few hundred feet away a few minutes before. Apparently, after I lost sight of it, the thermal stopped, and also the wind shifted exactly 180 degrees, bringing the glider back to within 100 yards of the launch area. And with the flight returned, having scored a great duration, it won, the first win I had at a NARAM

Flying-wise, a couple. One, at NARAM-35 in 1993, I was flying a G12 powered 60” Span R/C R/G called Raven-7 (by Bob Parks). Oh, the boost was fine (hey, this is going to be a “recovery” story after all. Well, a "landing" story....). Having glided around for about 4 minutes, it was getting low enough to start to pan the landing approach, when Ken Brown flew a converted big plastic Detergent Bottle. I thought that I would fly over it to “buzz” it, so I adjusted the glider’s path to go towards it. As the glider was getting close horizontally, I realized it was too low vertically and tried to pull up, but it was too late. The glider nose flew right through the shroud lines of the parachute, about half the lines on the left and half on the right, snaring the chute and rocket perfectly. But the chute was pretty big, and stayed open, so the tangled glider and rocket fell to the ground at about a 45 degree angle. There was some minor damage to the glider, but none to Ken’s rocket. Ken started to apologize for his rocket “getting in the way of the glider”, not realizing yet that it was all my fault. A post-impact photo is attached below. I could TRY to do that 100 times and not be able to spear the glider nose thru the chute that “perfectly”, and probably not even hit it at all.

And finally, one model, two flights. At NARAM-48 in 2006 I flew my Sunguidance model 5-staged. Well, when you have a guidance system, you do not have to worry about weathercocking. USUALLY not, anyway. Rather than repeat all the details here, use the link below to see what Sport Rocketry editor Tom Beach wrote about it, plus a link on that page to a photo sequence by Chris Kidwell. The very basics is that it came REALLY close to crashing on that flight, in part because when Stage 3’s engine lit, the lower airframe that served as a “finned” stage for engines 1 and 2 got hung up and the guidance was unable to keep the bird pointed up with that lower stage airframe attached:

http://www.mindspring.com/~sportrocketry/ggsg/sunguidance.html

I guess I should add that normally I fly the Sunguidance model Chad-staged, with no lower stages at all. But I had never done it more than 3-staged, and it probably would have been unstable 5-staged with two more engines that far back (the guidance cannot handle unstable). So I used a ring-saucer type model I had built from a few dozen short tubes, in Quest's kitbash contest, for the 2nd stage's engine. And "chad staged" the 1st stage engine under that. So, it was supposed to come off when the stage 2 engine ignited the stage 3 engine. The extreme amount of extra fin area in back made it very over-stable, plus all the drag from those tubes made it boost slower, so that is why the nose contorl fins were not effective while it was attached.

I repeated that flight, except I made sure the airframe for stage 1-2 would NOT get hung up. Chris Taylor recorded the flight, as linked below. The flight path for stage 1 and 2 was exactly like the first flight, but this time it did drop the lower airframe when stage 3 lit. So, THAT one went pretty much like I had in mind, especially the 3-second delay between stage 3 burnout and stage 4 ignition (engines for both flights were D12-0 / D12-0 / D12-3 / D12-0 / E9-6).

http://homepage.mac.com/georgegassaway/GRP/video/VidFiles/Sun-G-5stage-N-48.mov

- George Gassaway

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BsSmith

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Wow, that sun guidance is amazing!

Hmmm, I have a 29mm motor tube and a Basic Stamp sitting around with no home...
 

mjennings

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Back in about 2003, i was doing the Florida renaissance festival. my buddy Justin and I grabbed a couple of rockets and went to do a gorilla launch in a city park. we knew the park rangers would toss us out when they noticed us but, hey, we were desperate to fly. He launched an estes v2 with a nice flight and recovery. my turn. I launched my estes mercury redstone for a very nice flight and recovery. it landed right next to the car, which was parked with the rear door open. a gust of wind came up, grabbed the 'chute and lifted the rocket right up and into the car! It was like the rocket knew it was time to go.
Hmm must be something with the Mercury-Redstone I fly mine at the SRA launch in Feb and it landed only a couple of cars down from where I was parked.

We have rockets land in our RSO's truck's bed (about 2-4 times a year), we even had one once that flew in through the empty window and landed in his passenger seat. He parks only about 30 feet from the control table.
 

Gillard

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for weirdest flight i'd have to go with my scratch built TARDIS - (phone booth)
it had flown fine before.
on its last flight, on a D12, it went horizontal flew 20 meters and hit me square in the chest, this knocked me to the ground and then the flame continued to burn, and it did a good burning job on my foot, mananged to knock it away before the ejection charge. decided not to fly it after that.
 

sandman

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30 years ago my daughter who was 8 years old at the time built an Estes Falcon Commander. She worked real hard on that model to get it right and apply al the decals perfectly.

She was very in a big hurry to launch it and I tried desperately to talk her out of it because it was a very windy day.

She won out and launched it for a beautiful flight.

After deployment we chased the model for quite a ways when it started coming down right next to the road but...it drapped itself over a power line.:(

She was heartbroken. Crying and complaining that if I loved her I would get her rocket. If any of you have a young daughter I'm sure you've heard that line!

But honey, it's a power line!

We walked back to the house and I got my slingshot (my trusty old wrist rocket, yes, I still have it!)

We went back to where the model was still on the power line all the while she has this disgusted look on her face because all I had was the slingshot.

I picked up a stone from the road and FLING! Not even close...the disgusted look on her face grew worse...accompanied by grumbles and muttering.:mad:

I picked up another stone and shot...FLING!

This time dead on! I hit the little plastic loop on the nose cone and snapped it right off!:D.

Both halfs of the rocket fell straight down.

I was a hero!:D
 
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sandman

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I had a Mean Machine land in a really big white pine. My neighbor (he's only about 130#) said he could get it with the 14' bamboo pole we had.

He could climb up the tree close enough to touch the rocket but he couldn't get it with just one hand. He had to use the other hand to hold onto the tree.

He climbs back down when suddenly his eyes light up he drops the pole and runs to my garage.

When he returned he had a roll of duct tape with him.:confused:

He climbs back up the tree and wrapes several wraps of duct tape around him and the trunk of the tree.

He now can use both hands and retrieves the rocket!

Duct tape...the handymans secret weapon!;)
 

luke strawwalker

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I had a Mean Machine land in a really big white pine. My neighbor (he's only about 130#) said he could get it with the 14' bamboo pole we had.

He could climb up the tree close enough to touch the rocket but he couldn't get it with just one hand. He had to use the other hand to hold onto the tree.

He climbs back down when suddenly his eyes light up he drops the pole and runs to my garage.

When he returned he had a roll of duct tape with him.:confused:

He climbs back up the tree and wrapes several wraps of duct tape around him and the trunk of the tree.

He now can use both hands and retrieves the rocket!

Duct tape...the handymans secret weapon!;)
Well, like I said in another thread, "anything capable of returning a crippled moon mission to Earth and saving three astronauts from asphyxiation deserves a place in our range boxes"... :)

OL JR :)
 

gpoehlein

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My best so far was during an Egg Lofting Altitude event at one of our regionals. It was Sunday morning and the skys were very grey, and the clouds were really low - it looked like it could start raining any minute (and it did, not long after). I didn't get to fly the event Saturday, and a couple others wanted to get a flight in, so out went the scopes. I got to go first, and set up for my flight. The rocket launched beautifully, only to be completely engulfed in the low cloud cover almost immediately. Of course, track lost, never saw it eject or anything. Well, we waited for a couple minutes and didn't see it come down, so I decided to strike off downwind to see if maybe I might find were it landed. As I get about 30 feet from the launch table, I hear one of the guys call out "there it is!" I turned around only to see it land in the owner's garden, maybe 20 feet from the launch circle! Full deploy, soft landing and the egg was intact. I decided not to tempt fate and launch it a second time.
 

judo

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The guy who got me back into rocketry and in to high power decided to put a couple up in really marginal weather. It had stopped raining but the overcast held. He put up his upscaled Estes Pathfinder without a problem. I flew my Aerotech H/V ARCUS on an E something. It went up into the soup. We never heard an ejection or a crash. We never saw a parachute.
 

Mikus

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Nothing particularly dangerous or even scary.

You may remember this one.... ;)
 

RocketT.Coyote

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At a HPR launch south of Lansing, MI my Cosmodrome Nike Smoke went into wild gyrations upon leaving the rod on an Aerotech 29mm. At least two fins broke and the ejection failed. The Copperhead stayed in the nozzle. which likely contributed to the wild ride.
 

kelltym88

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Aside from some rockets weathercocking and taking a hard right or some booster stages not quite igniting the sustainers, the most unusual flight I had was back in '04.

I was out at Lucerne, and had brought my upscale Photon Disruptor. The first flight was amazing. So, later I decided to launch it again. 3,2,1 ignition.... it barely clears the rod when the ejection charge blows the nose cone off. The rocket starts dancing around about 20 feet up in the air. Then the 29mm motor case shoots out the back and starts spinning on the ground like one of those Chinese Star fireworks. Flames shooting out both ends. Then it stops spinning, for about 2 seconds, then it takes off down the flight line, airborne, hits someones umbrella and ricochets into the back of an open hatchback. Still burning!!

Of course by now the rocket had hit the ground, but we all ran to the car. Someone had grabbed a fire extinguisher and doused the casing. All in all, no one was hurt (although someone did suffer some minor burns from grabbing and removing the casing), and very little damage. At the risk of embarrassing anyone, I have purposely left out names, but if you were there, and you know who you are, and you'd like to add more details, feel free to do so.

I actually have it on video, but I do not have the programming to isolate it.
It was pretty wild.


Oh, yeah. It all happened because when I was putting the motor together, I put the delay element in backwards, with the spacer pointing up . When the rocket ignited, the delay burned right through and lit the ejection charge. And I had no motor retention, which is why the casing came out the back. I Learned ALOT that day.
 

DAllen

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Nothing particularly dangerous or even scary.

You may remember this one.... ;)
I had something similar happen to my ez-up tent. At a Team-1 launch in Three Oaks one of the folks from Canada had a rocket trying to break the sound barrier and it shredded. The aft section (I think) tagged my tent and put a 2 inch gash into the fabric - not a big deal at all. I made some sarcastic remark about why did that have to hit my tent blah..blah..blah...In reality it didn't bother me at all. I think the Canadians heard a little bit of what I said and thought I was ticked off because they had that rocket cleaned up and out of there in a hurry - lol.

-Dave
 
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