View Full Version : Certified Level 1 With a MARS LANDER !!!

07-18-2005, 09:46 PM
Yep folks, He's a crazy one.. :eek:

But like I said at NYPower-11 on the 4th of July,
"If ya can't run with the big dogs, Stay on the porch"
(My military side said something I won't post here, heh)

Everyone said I was crazy, but I had over a half dozen guys ready to sign my Paperwork !
Pics of it will be available once scanned.

This is a Papa Tango Kit 1.6 X Lander, My weight w/o motor was 2.5 Lbs. Not the 3 Papa Tango says it will weigh. Admittedly, I'm shy some details and a final coat of paint, but it's very close.
Chutes are from Papa Tango, I went with the twin 36" chutes. They are a pain to get in the tube with a 240mm motor sticking up into it, but twin chutes always look good and I feel they give a smoother descent.
I put a 29mm H97J (29 x 240mm) in it with a short delay.
My Brother and a few others watched me assemble the motor, with several snide comments
One guy telling me to use more grease, one guy saying I use too much, just right has to be in there somewhere... :)
I ended up re-packing the chutes 3 times before i was happy with the fit in the chute tube. It's very tight with 2 36" chutes and 4.5 yards of 3/8" shock cord in there on top of a 240mm tall motor.
One fellow commented, "I've never seen anyone fold a model rocket chute so carefully before." Another one said "You can pack my chute anytime, Ill sign you off for the job" He packs military and skydiving chutes for a living !
I replied "I had to get them tight and smooth or they won't fit in the tube!"
Once I had it all packed and stuck a piece of tape on the nose cone to keep it in till ejection, I went for safety inspection.

The RSO looked it over and commented "You realize, if anything breaks on this you don't certify, right?"
I repeated my quote about the dogs and the porch.
He grinned and said, "OK, if you are sure, go for it. The bird looks good to me."

I got in line, 3 people told me to go ahead, they wanted to watch mine, not be out chasing thiers when it went up.

I got my pad assignment, wouldnt you know it, the Launch man heard my comment to the RSO, "You like to run with the big dogs, you get Pad 13", he said.

so off I went to pad 13. No Biggie, my house is #13 too.
I load up and hit a snag, it won't slide all the way down the rod...
I take it off and start wiping accumulated crud off the rod. after all, this is day 4 of the launch.
I get it cleaned up and try again, good till I get close to the bottom, then binds a little.
The Club Photog says, no biggie, just move the pins up a bit, it's probably bent there.
So be it, I lose 6" of rod length, on a 6 foot rod.

I go to hook up the ignitor.. oops... Then I run to get one, I forgot it!!!
I'm not used to installing them at the pad, I'm used to model rockets where you put them in before putting the engine in the rocket...
I get it installed and check for continuity, looks and sounds good.
I turn to go back to the safety line and there is a line of folks with cameras...
Wait a minute they say.... click click click...

A few minutes later I finally get to the safety line, then we wait while a few more folks load up on that group of launchers.

Finally, the Launch man calls out "OK, Pad 13, Heads up Flight, Maiden launch of a Mars Lander for a Level 1 Cert, Who's watching this flight for certification?" Half a dozen guys wave and say "I will" (All from my brother's club, they were very helpful)
But they deferred to my Brother. After all, He's 6' 6" tall & weighs about 240 lbs....
Yeah, He's bigger than me by a lot. I still call him my little brother, I'm older.

So the Launch controller Says;
"OK, we've got plenty of coverage, Range (looks out at folks in the distance retrieving rockets, they wave) Clear, Line Clear, planes (scans around..) Clear..
5... 4... 3... 2... 1... Launching....and mashes the button.
As with most Hi-Power launches, about a 1 second delay after pushing the button, She lit.
Black Jack engines make thick black clouds of smoke and look very cool.

The boost was smooth and straight with a very slow roll clockwise.
Since the wind was from behind us it slowly arced over to be almost directly above me on the safety line, then right at apogee, ejection popped the top.
Time was standing still for me...
The yellow chute opened then the red one. I used a VERY long shock cord and the announcer commented on it. 4.5 Yards may be a bit extra, but it sure works good.
The bird swung smoothly down to hang beneath the chutes with no rocking or spinning at all.
She landed about 400 feet downwind on her feet, Bounced once a few inches back up into the air (cleared the stubble in the field) and then sat back down on her feet, staying upright.
I let out a Whoop and almost took off running to get it.

We had to wait for the rest of the birds on that group to launch, then went out for it.
As I approached, My brother hollered, "Don't touch it, we want pictures !!!"
E-gads!!! So I gathered up the shock cord and wadded up the chutes and looked at it carefully as the others ran up and took photo's.
Not a scratch on her !!! The chutes were laid out neatly too !

My brother and the Club Photog told me to tip her up and verify the engine casing was still in it. I lifted it up and tipped it over, Casing intact, but man what a lot of black crud on it.
Those Black Jack motors are cool to watch, but they make for a lot of clean up.

I carried it back and held it up to the crowd, and many cheered.
The RSO said "Welcome to Hi Power rocketry, Visa and Mastercard Accepted."

07-18-2005, 09:53 PM
Congrats on your L1, Ramjet! Too bad mine didn't go as smoothly a few years ago. You can check it out in this thread:


A Fish Named Wallyum
07-18-2005, 10:38 PM
Did I mention that I completed the bronze level for Nartrek? :cool:
Yeah, I'll be finishing that silver level any day now, then LOOK OUT! :rolleyes:
I saw Tango Papa fly one of his big Landers as a part of an "All-Lander" brace at NARAM 43. One of his drifted back into the crowd and landed on a tent IIRC. Pretty cool. I've never seen one fly up at VOA in the three years since I've been going up there. Makes me think that one of the smaller ones would make a nice birthday present. Who wants to call my wife and drop the hint for me? ;)
Oh, yeah. Looking forward to the pictures. Anyone post any on your brothers club site?

07-19-2005, 06:30 AM
Great story and congrats Ramjet! BTW - What service were you in? I was Navy, 8 years.

I did my L1 with an Estes upscale too. Here's a pic of my L1 taken back in '95?... whenever they started up the HPR cert process. I'm still at L1, but the folks from JMRC have me itching bad to get my L2. :D

07-19-2005, 08:10 AM
Congrats on the L1! You did it with style :D

07-19-2005, 10:42 AM
Did I mention that I completed the bronze level for Nartrek? :cool:
Yeah, I'll be finishing that silver level any day now, then LOOK OUT! :rolleyes:

Hey, I have yet to even start on the NARTREK Bronze, so at least you have someone even further behind than you.

I've never seen one fly up at VOA in the three years since I've been going up there. Makes me think that one of the smaller ones would make a nice birthday present. Who wants to call my wife and drop the hint for me? ;)

Can't we just e-mail her? I'd have to leave the computer to use the phone, and I'd really rather not do that.

07-28-2005, 09:53 PM
OK, bfgphotography was onsite taking pics, here is the link;

My Lander is on page 6 of the 4th of July set. He got several shots.
My mug next to it on the pad, :)
. Lineup along the pads showing PAD ID placard, :eek:
. . Igniter firing,
. . . Ignitor still firing,
. . . . Boosting on the rod,
. . . . . . . . 3 shots of smoke trail he didnt post...
. . . . . Under Chutes,
. . . . . . Right at Landing. :D

Too bad he didnt take any of my Explorer Aquarius flight the day before, guess model Rockets don't rate, no matter how cool they are.

Oh ya, My brother's grandson launched one on the 4 th too, page 10, long white body, red nose n fins. Mostly succsessful, lower half of body took a core sample, chute never deployed. It's in repair.

Yep, life is good, now to find a place in New Hampshire thats not tree covered...