October 8, 2006 Launch
Rockets in the Afternoon
October 8, 2006

I launched a few with my daughter and my neighbor's son on Sunday the 8th. The neighbors are blessed with a large, tree-less back yard; my yard is big but has a bunch of trees. Just a few of my old rockets, refurbed, and a couple of beginner rockets we all put together recently. My old Estes Sprint with a parachute rather than a streamer, my old Estes Alpha with a replacement parachute, a new stone-stock Quest Sprint, my daughter's Skywriter, and the neighbor kid's Quest Flash. Sorry, no pictures*. It was a lot of fun... I let the kids push the button, it gives them a real kick.

I ran into a problem with the Quest rockets... the streamers don't slow them down much. Both my Sprint and the neighbor kid's Flash broke off a fin on landing. Of course, they were easily repaired, but I'm open to suggestions regarding improved recovery for both.

The Alpha had a parachute originally, but over 20 years later it was pretty nasty; so I made one from scratch, starting with an aluminized mylar balloon ($1.00 at the local dollar store) and I have material from the same balloon to make another. Those mylar balloons curl badly at the edges, but I used a strip of magic transparent tape along the edges before attaching the shroud lines (size 10 crochet thread courtesy of my wife) and it worked fantastic. Best thing is that it is incredibly visible, though not nearly as shiny looking when coming down as I expected; looks more like a black dot at a distance.

Likewise the Estes Sprint had a streamer, but it was nasty also; I borrowed a parachute from an unfinished Baby Bertha (got some snap swivels on discount at ShopKo) and it worked fine. I don't have enough of a range to put a C6-5 into the Sprint... doubt I'd ever see it again. It went up twice, but the second time one fin was broken... can't figure it out, since the neighbor kid caught it by the shock cord both times without it hitting the ground.

I think I'm going to fit the Baby Bertha with a mylar chute rather than the one it came with. I have this nice silver paint that looks good on the model but is hard to see in the air... the highly visible chute will help make up for that. The balloon material is bulkier than the normal chute plastic, so the bigger body tube is a plus when using it.

And the Skywriter ended up in the tree of the neighbor's neighbor... I got it down with a ladder and an extension pole fitted with a hook. We used to use that combination to put Christmas lights on our spruce, but it got too tall. I was sure glad I kept the pole though.

Anyway, a good time was had by all. I'm going to have to improve my craftsmanship so I won't be embarrassed to take pictures to post...

8/1/2007 Note: Links have been added to the above, leading to the indicated rockets on my Fleet page.

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Last Updated 07/18/2017