The most recent club launch that took place had the best weather that we have not had for some time. We had six people in attendance with a lot of great successful flights. Don, Vernon, Daniel and myself all had great flights. Vernon launched one of his 3D printed rockets up on an Aerotech 24mm F44 motor and it must have achieved an altitude of 800 feet. He also launched a cool Estes kit with landing legs called "Destination Mars" and an electric propellered kit.
Don launched the Estes Helicopter recovery rocket called the "Flip Flyer" which had great rotation recovery on the three flights he had with the kit. I need to get one of those cool kits. He also launched the Estes Conquest model rocket and the Multi Roc kit in the two-stage format.
Daniel brought out an arsenal of rocket kits. He had several different Nike Ajax rocket models that all went up and recovered perfectly. He launched the DynaStar Snarky model rocket that was very impressive to see during liftoff and ascent. An Estes E12-4 was used with one of Daniels Nike Ajax rockets and was picture perfect. He also launched a LaunchPad Nike Ajax on an Aerotech E15-4.
I launched two 18mm J&H Aerospace boost glider kits. One was perfect with the Estes B6-2, the other one was not as successful. I think it was due more to launch rod whip and not the glider. I then launched the Estes Executioner rocket which had two great flights with the Estes E12-4 motors. The second flight I added the Jolly Logic Alt 3 just to see how high it went and the altimeter read 541 feet:
The weather was so great, that I had wished myself that I had brought more rockets 🙂
I do hope that our next launch has picture-perfect weather like this great launch day.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) did a great documentary in preparation for the Apollo 11 50th anniversary last year which was really well done. For those rocket history buffs, they may find this interesting:
-use switch or shunt on charge circuits until placed on pad
4. Erratic boost
a. Rocket unstable
- Check the stability of the rocket with the selected motor per
NAR safety code if not a proven design/motor combination
-Use computer CG/CP
program, CP should be 1.0 body diameter aft of CG
Unstable launch pad
insure launch pad is sufficiently strong to withstand wind and launch forces.
use rail system for HPR launches
c. Too much wind
- Launch only in winds of less than 20 mph as required by NAR
- In windy conditions low thrust launches should be avoided.
d. Insufficient thrust
- Follow anufacturer¹s recommended
maximum lift-off weight per NAR safety code
- Use computer simulation program to determine thrust required
5. Airframe failure
a. Improper construction
- Follow manufacturer assembly
- On original designs use standard
- Check for secure fins, launch lugs,
and proper nose cone fit.
- Check secure motor mount assembly.
b. Fin flutter
- Be sure to align grain with leading edge of fin. (standard
- Avoid high aspect ratio fins
c. Improper Motor Selection
- Use care in selecting motor for flight. Follow manufacturer recommendations.
- Follow manufacturer recommendations for max lift off weight
per safety code.
- Attempt high-G launches only rockets having appropriate
6. Catastrophic motor
a.Temperature cycling of black powder motors
- Store motors at a consistent temperature
b. Improper construction
- Check all parts have been used (O-rings, ejection charge,
- Check closures are tight, threads are not stripped.
7. Failure to eject
a. Motor ejects from rocket
- Use motor retainer clips or sufficient tape to provide
positive friction fit of motor
- Be sure that recovery system not packed too tightly
- Use heat resistant adhesives in motor retention system
b. Improper assembly of reloadable motors
- Build motor correctly following manufacturer directions
- Avoid grease on delay
- Avoid crimping or
-Verify ejection port is
clean and clear
- Insure ejection charges
c. Electronics failure
- Verify system integrity before first flight or after major
- Use motor ejection for redundancy
d. Failure of electronic
recovery system to
- Verify charge integrity with multi-tester or self-testing
- Check mach lock-out settings on altimeter
- Insure all hardware and electrical leads are installed
properly and secured against flight loads.
e. Construction/ Preparation
- Too much wadding/packed too tightly
- parachute packed too tightly
- obstructions within body tube
8. Failure of chute to open
a. Recovery device stuck in rocket body
1- Too much wadding
2- Recovery device too large or not packed properly
Insufficient ejection charge for size of body tube – see chart
b. Parachute burned by ejection gasses
- Use flame-resistant recovery wadding or other protection
c. Parachute shroud lines fouled
- Fold parachute
carefully as described by manufacturer
9. Strip of recovery system at deployment
a. Deployment occurred too early or too late
- Follow anufacturer¹s recommended maximum lift-off weight
and/or computer simulation data.
- Use electronic apogee detecting deployment system.
- Use rocket flight simulation program to simulate flight
determine best delay time.
- Select shorter delays when winds are higher. The rocket will weather vane into the wind
and shorter delays are required for proper recovery system activation.
b. Improper construction
- Use proper hardware
10. Separation of recovery or other system.
a. Recovery system
during preflight prep.
For initial flight, or subsequent flights after repair, double check that the
recovery system is properly attached to the rocket/payload section/nose cone.
Inspect quick links, eyebolts, or other hardware to ensure that links are
closed/locked and that other hardware is intact and secured.
Insure eye bolt connector will not un-screw during descent
b. Failure due to wear and
tear of flight
Periodically inspect all components of the recovery system. Replace/repair burned or worn shock cords.
Replace/repair parachutes with worn or frayed shroud lines.
Rocket drifts into buildings / houses / trees
Parachute too large
to parachute sizing guide and drift charts on back of checklist
winds are within limits. Consider winds aloft information
shear pins to secure main parachute compartment.
extra long shock cord and “metered deployment” of cord in drogue section.
proper amount of black powder in drogue ejection charge
Rocket impacts prep area causing personal injury
not paying attention to rocket flight
Use electronic PA system for all high power launches.
Launch Control Officer responsible for calling “Heads Up”
give periodic detailed briefing to spectators on the meaning of ‘heads up’
and the corrective action to be taken
possible, angle all flights away from spectators
Rocket impacts Buildings/houses
see “failure to eject recovery system”
NOTE: Preventative measure
is not all inclusive and additional precautions may be required in order to maximize
safe flying condition.
The weather turned out really very nice for a club launch for February 9th 2020 at the WyEast Middle School
Vernon, Don and John
Casey were in attendance along with me for the launch. It was sunny with little to no wind. The field was quite marshy, so the pad was
set up on the pitcher’s mound since that was the highest and driest spot out in
the field. John Casey launched a very
cool model rocket from Estes called the Manta II.
Don Buchanan Launched
the Estes Multi-Roc Rocket once with the boost glider attached and twice in the
two stage configuration without the boost glider. The booster sections parachute caused the
rocket to land up behind the baseball catchers mount fence. Before we knew it,
Vernon was climbing up the fence and retrieved the booster section which was
used again for two more flights as a two stage rocket. All flights were very
impressive and successful. Then he launched the Sirius Rocketry Eradicator
I launched two with Estes motors and then two more with the
new Quest Aerospace C and D composite motors:
I was not impressed
and honestly embarrassed and disappointed as to how the C and D motor under
performed. Both motors sputtered on the
pad and then caused the rocket to lift off and do a U-turn into the muddy
ground. It was funny to see that happen, however if this had happened to a new
rocket hobby enthusiast with a complex model they had spent hours on, hoping
that the motor would push the rocket high up in the air like the Estes C and D
motors normally do, then that would have been very bad and sad. Fortunately you
as a hobby consumer can do something about it.
First, retain the motor and take a photo like the one above that has the
motors lot/batch number. Go to this web site: http://www.motorcato.org/ There is a link
to report a motor malfunction. There is
also a list to review of the most recent motor issues here: http://www.motorcato.org/latest
Sometime it may be a good idea to see what others have reported about a certain motor before buying it. Also sometimes you can email to the motor vendor such as Aerotech or Estes and they may try to compensate you with a new kit or new motors if the motor burned through the side of your rocket.
Towards the end of the launch window, I launched a FlisKits
model rocket called the Borealis. It is
a very cool looking Sci-Fi kit that I do hope the new owners bring back for
further sales. It looks complicated,
however can be built within two days. It was launched up into the sky with an
Estes C6-3. The rocket lifted up
perfectly and the rocket rotated while under thrust slowly as if it was going
to be placed in orbit. The recovery parachute did not deploy perfectly, however
the model is so light weight that the landing was fine and the rocket suffered
no damage at all.
Next Sunday February 16th is our launch at Goldendale. I do hope the weather turns out nice like the launch we just had here at Wy East. Keep your fingers and toes crossed. I will see you all there.
winds be light, and the skies be blue, and may all your rockets fly straight
The December 14th launch was a cold morning. However, the sun did come out for a bit and there was no wind during the times of the launch schedule. We had a few contest flights and some nice D impulse launched rockets.