PDA

View Full Version : 4 quick launches, 3 stupid mistakes


Zeus-cat
06-22-2007, 11:33 PM
On Tuesday I launched three rockets; two new rockets and one rebuilt one (the one that crashed last year with my altimeter in it). Attached are pre-launch photos. Sorry, no launch photos as I was by myself.

First up was the Quest Triton-X which is a kit I bought at Hobby Lobby last year for $5 on clearance. It flew well, hitting 100 to 150 feet or so on a B engine. I launched it mainly to check the wind before I got to the serious stuff. I'd rather prang a $5 rocket than mangle something more expensive. It pretty much went straight up and straight down on the chute. No wind! Perfect for what I had planned next.

I loaded up my rebuilt Anubis with a D12-5 and let her rip (the Anubis crashed last year when I had a failure of the parachute ejection charge). She wobbled a little on the way up, but still flew fairly well. My guess is the nose cone was a bit loose and the parachute wasn't packed into the tube properly (I was rushinng a bit). Stupid mistake number 1, but I got away with it. I haven't gotten around to painting her yet since I made the repairs, so she has a nice big white tube where the mangled tube was cut out and replaced. I also installed a Semroc baffle to eliminate the need for parachute wadding. It worked well and I plan on getting more baffles soon.

Next up was my newest rocket - Rockits 4 Dummies (RFD for short still unpainted, but it will be black and yellow like the ... For Dummies books). She will also sport some appropriate decals. Anyway, I designed this one on my own, bought the parts from Semroc and put it together. She is made out of heavy-duty body tubes so it can handle Aerotech D, E and F motors. Her first flight was supposed to be on a D12-5 with an empty payload bay to make sure she was stable. The next flight she would go up on another D12, but the altimeter would go inside the payload bay. Heck, I was 2 for 2 on the night so I said screw the test flight and put my brand new altimeter in her and let her go. That was stupid mistake #2. She wobbled a bit on the boost phase, but I aimed for the sky and fortunately didn't miss. I got away with my second stupid decision.

Anyway, she did 466 feet on the D12. Not bad, but I had hoped for 600+. Oh well, the next flight is the one I was waiting for. Same setup, but the engine was an Estes E9-6. I loaded her up and hit the launch button. Straight up! No wobble at all. As a matter of fact it was so freaking straight up I lost sight of it as she went straight up and her exhaust trail obscured my view. An unpainted rocket 800+ feet in the air and I was just starting to loose daylight. I don't consider this a stupid mistake, but this might be the one I pay for. About 9 seconds after launch I heard the "chuff" of the parachute ejection charge. I looked and looked and looked, but no rocket and no chute anywhere in the sky.

I walked back to the car and loaded up my stuff and locked the car; time to start a search pattern. I walked out about 100 yards and then started walking in a big circle with my car as the center of the circle. Half way around I saw the rocket. She landed in another parking lot about 200 yards from the launch site; safe and sound. I went home, downloaded the altimeter data, cleaned it up a bit and had my first altimeter flight over 1,000 feet. She hit 1,092 feet at apogee. Woo-hoo!!!

Regrettably, the E9-6 got stuck in the engine mount and I accidentally damaged the mount pulling the engine out. I was impatient and really tried to force the engine out instead of trying to work it out. Stupid mistake #3 and this one cost me! Oh well, I can cut the rear off the rocket and salvage most of the tube, but I 'll need a new motor mount and fins. I really like the looks of the original design so I think I will order another body tube to recreate the original. I guess I will have the original RFD and a short version - maybe RFD Jr. Either way, it looks like its time for another Semroc order!

Oh, and then on Thursday I walked on the wing of a B-25. I went to work on the B-17 restoration as I usually do each Thursday night and another guy there asked me to help him fix the tarp that was pulled over the nose of the "Killer Bee". The "Killer Bee" is a B-25 and is one of two B-25s that are parked at the Urbana, OH airport for the summer. They have tarps over the glass on the noses to keep the sun out of the cockpits. The tarp had come loose on the "Killer Bee" and had to be put back on the plane. At one point I had to climb the ladder and get on the right wing to position the tarp. Once on the wing I had to get the tarp over the upper turret. I ended up leaning on the fake .50 caliber MGs. They were only the perforated sleeves and had no barrels. Getting down was a bit tricky, but I managed it without falling off the airplane.

Zeus-cat

A Fish Named Wallyum
06-22-2007, 11:53 PM
Next up was my newest rocket - Rockits 4 Dummies (RFD for short still unpainted, but it will be black and yellow like the ... For Dummies books).

:cool: ;)



Regrettably, the E9-6 got stuck in the engine mount and I accidentally damaged the mount pulling the engine out.

I've done the same thing, but I had a reason to rush. I had an MPC Icarus C that landed in the water on the edge of a lake at VOA before the chute and a gust of wind pulled it clear. The motor had begun to swell, so I went at it pretty hard and seriously bent the body tube. :( Bummer, but I'll live. (And at least I flew it.)


Oh, and then on Thursday I walked on the wing of a B-25.

Sounds windy. I hope you had on clean underwear. :D :rolleyes: