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View Full Version : First Launch in many, many years


STRMan
03-23-2008, 07:36 PM
As a fairly new BAR it has been quite some time since my last launch. I've put together a simple but varied fleet, and I was just itching to put some of these birds up.

I live in a new sub-development and there are no houses yet built at thge far end of the block. The land has been cleared so there are no RET's either. I loaded up engines into 4 of my rockets and headed down the block with my son.

Even though the area I had to launch in was at least 100 yards long, it was only about 150 yards wide, and there was a light and variable diagonal wind to the launch area. I went very conservatively at first.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, IGNITION!

With a 5% angle of the rod into the wind, up went my little Wizard on a 1/2A6-2. Man, does that little rocket really move out! aybe 100' up it popped out it's streamer and landed 50 feet downwind from the l;launch pad.

Next up was the Razor on a 1/2A6-2. I angles the rod about 10% into the wind this time. This little tube fin model did nicely, maybe only 75 feet up, popped it's chute, and landed 50 feet upwind of the launch pad.

My 15 year old son Frankie, who is autistic, does not speak much, but he is absolutely loving this. He keeps saying "5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Ignition!" When he likes something, he latches on to it.

Now my Paveway was on the pad. I've got it loaded with an A8-3. It takes off, but something is wrong. It only makes it about 30 feet into the air, arches over, and starts to nose dive. The chute pops when it is only about 10 feet off the ground. Apparently, it got hung up on the launch rod while taking off. All of the sudden, that extra launch lug I put on near the top of the rocket doesn't seem like such a good idea anymore.

My son says "Rocket Ship 5, 4, 3, 2, 1" and hands me my Astrobeam. I've got it loaded with a B6-2. Do I dare? Of course! She takes off on a beautiful flight, arcing into the wind, and pops her chute at about 200 feet. It comes down about 50 feet downwind of the launch pad. Nice shot.

I ask my son if he wants to go home. He says "Rocket Ship 5, 4, 3, 2, 1" again. I ask him which rocket he wants to launch. He says "Yellow".

This time I load an A8-3 into the Razor. After a misfire and a new igniter, it takes off for about a 250 flight. The chute pops, and she starts drifting in the wind. This time, she lands about 150 feet from the launch site, maybe 100 feet from the line of trees. Not bad.

I forgot to bring masking tape to wrap around the engine for a tight fit, so launching the Wizard again is out.

I try the Paveway on the launch rod and feel it binding as it gets halfway up the rod. I sight down the rod and I can see it is bent a bit right at the junction between the lower and upper rods. With a little tweaking, the Paveway slides up and down the rod effortlessly.

I load it with an A8-3 again. This launch is beautiful. Maybe 75 feet up, and lands 30 feet from the launch pad.

I get the Astrobeam flight ready again with another B6-2. I just don't have the gut to try it on a C6-3 at this small field.

I figure I'll go for one more launch. I repack the Paveway once again and load it with a B4-4. The flight is gorgeous, arcing into the wind, popping it's chute at a couple of hundred feet just a little past apogee, and floating down. It is only about 40 feet from the launch pad, but it's coming down right on the asphalt road. I try to catch it to keep it from chipping a fin. I grab the body tube, but I loose my balance and start to fall. To keep my balance, I pull the rocket into my chest and break two fins!

I packed up my gear and drove the 3/4 of a mile back to my house. I got out some masking tape and some Elmer's yellow glue, and I've already got the fins in place with the glue drying. You can barely see a crack where they broke.

I really thought that I was going to enjoy building my rockets a lot more than launching them as a BAR, but I have to admit I haven't had this much fun in a long, long time.

I shot some pictures on a disposable camera. When I get them developed, I promise to post them.

tbzep
03-23-2008, 07:44 PM
Sounds like a great day. I'm glad the fin damage was easily repairable. Frankie's really going to love it the first time he see's a D12 motor launched. :D

Daniel Runyon
03-24-2008, 12:01 AM
That is one awesome telling there... I was right there with yall! I too am doing this with my son, and I think it may well be the single finest hobby we could have gotten into together. Do you think Frankie could build rockets himself?

Gus
03-24-2008, 01:03 AM
STRMan,

What a wonderful launch report. I could feel the wind and small field and kept thinking, "OK, he's gonna lose this one." Sounds like a great day.

I don't know Frankie's degree of autism but my nephew Nathan is also autistic and last summer we built a rocket together which we then launched. What a huge treat.

Each year I visit my relatives for "Family Day" and the last few years I've brought along an assorment of rockets to hold a launch for the kids (and adults). Nathan, now 16, always loves the launches and I always get him out to press the launch button for a few flights.

Last year I went a day early and brought along a Quest EZ kit (plastic fin unit) so I could help Nathan build his first rocket. It's a very simple kit, but was perfect for his level of dexterity. The hard part, for me, was restraining my urge to help too much, since I wanted Nathan to really know he had built it himself.

I've been fortunate to have a large number of really great moments thanks to model rocketry. Building a rocket with Nathan, and then helping him launch it in front of our whole family, ranks right up there with my very best moments.

Thanks for the launch report and the reminder of my special day with Nathan. :)

moonzero2
03-24-2008, 04:22 AM
Great reports!!!! What a wonderful hobby we have! Thanks for sharing.

STRMan
03-24-2008, 09:49 PM
Well, this is so soon, I can't justify a new thread. I went out today, just before dusk, with three rockets ready to launch. Things did not go so smoothly today.

My 15 year old son and I were joined by my 16 year old daughter. Up first was my little Wizard on an A8-3. It was quite calm. I asked my daughter if she noticed any wind. She said if there was any at all, it was blowing out of the South. I leaned the rod over about 5 degrees towards the South. In actuality, the wind was coming out of the North.

Frankie did the honorary countdown. That Wizard took off like a.... a rocket! It was heading over to the tree line. The steamer popped. It was coming down quick. I took my eyes off it for a split second and could not find it again. We walked over to the tree line, but it was just about dusk, and I couldn't make anything out. I'll see if I can spot it tomorrow during bright daylight.

I then was going to try out my Python, but the launch lugs were binding up on the launch rod. I placed it aside for another day.

Now, the real reason I was doing this so close to dark. I wanted to give the Astrobeam a go when it was getting dark to see how it looked. I launched it on a B6-2. With the rod straight up this time, I gave a good flight. Man, is that light show visible the whole way up. There was no losing sight of this baby. I could see the chute pop, but it seemed to be coming down rather fast. It didn't have much altitude to begin with, and I must have packed the chute too tightly, because it never opened. When it hit the ground, it broke off two of it's plastic fins. They are easily repairable.

So, I lost my first rocket since becoming a BAR, and I broke another rocket with an easy repair. Most importantly, i had another great time with my kids. My daughter seems more upset about me losing the Wizard than I am. She'll be happy if I find it tomorrow. If I don't, maybe I'll just buy another one at Michael's and let her build it this time.

tbzep
03-24-2008, 10:01 PM
It's hard to track stuff at dusk. One thing that might help is to chunk the little plastic streamer and use a long 2" wide crepe paper streamer, as long as you can fit in the body tube without it being tight. (Found at just about any Walmart or department store.)

The big orange streamer will show up better than the tiny ones Estes puts in kits now days, plus it has another benefit. The crepe paper will tear easily when wet, so if you hang it in a tree, you've got a better chance of it falling out overnight after a heavy dew.

A Fish Named Wallyum
03-24-2008, 10:07 PM
The big orange streamer will show up better than the tiny ones Estes puts in kits now days, plus it has another benefit. The crepe paper will tear easily when wet, so if you hang it in a tree, you've got a better chance of it falling out overnight after a heavy dew.

I used to drink Diet Dew. The big bottles were heavy, but I don't know what that has to do with rockets in trees.

A Fish Named Wallyum
03-24-2008, 10:15 PM
Well, this is so soon, I can't justify a new thread. I went out today, just before dusk, with three rockets ready to launch. Things did not go so smoothly today.

My 15 year old son and I were joined by my 16 year old daughter. Up first was my little Wizard on an A8-3. It was quite calm. I asked my daughter if she noticed any wind. She said if there was any at all, it was blowing out of the South. I leaned the rod over about 5 degrees towards the South. In actuality, the wind was coming out of the North.

Frankie did the honorary countdown. That Wizard took off like a.... a rocket! It was heading over to the tree line. The steamer popped. It was coming down quick. I took my eyes off it for a split second and could not find it again. We walked over to the tree line, but it was just about dusk, and I couldn't make anything out. I'll see if I can spot it tomorrow during bright daylight.

I then was going to try out my Python, but the launch lugs were binding up on the launch rod. I placed it aside for another day.

Now, the real reason I was doing this so close to dark. I wanted to give the Astrobeam a go when it was getting dark to see how it looked. I launched it on a B6-2. With the rod straight up this time, I gave a good flight. Man, is that light show visible the whole way up. There was no losing sight of this baby. I could see the chute pop, but it seemed to be coming down rather fast. It didn't have much altitude to begin with, and I must have packed the chute too tightly, because it never opened. When it hit the ground, it broke off two of it's plastic fins. They are easily repairable.

So, I lost my first rocket since becoming a BAR, and I broke another rocket with an easy repair. Most importantly, i had another great time with my kids. My daughter seems more upset about me losing the Wizard than I am. She'll be happy if I find it tomorrow. If I don't, maybe I'll just buy another one at Michael's and let her build it this time.

We lost a Wizard once in bright sunlight while flying on the front lawn of Big Bone Lick State Park where my in-laws were camping. (On Good Friday, seven years ago this past weekend.) The bright sunshine was a false front for the rest of the weekend; cloudy on Saturday and a deluge on Sunday. My brother in law tried the Wizard on a C6-7 and it was the classic "heard the pop, saw nothing" situation. A couple of days later when they were leaving, Tony caught a glint off of something high up in a tree just down from the campground. It was the Mylar streamer from the Wizard, high up in a tree a long way from the launch site. Other than that, it was a great day. It was the only one we lost and we only had minor damage on a couple of others. Now that I think of it, it was the only time we got all of the nieces and nephews out together to fly. If we asked now, they look at us like we had two heads. :rolleyes:

metalhead100
03-25-2008, 07:05 PM
Thanks for sharing the story!

Good reading........cant wait to take my little buddy (son) back to the field and see what Big Daddy's gonna do on those D slugs.

Jim