May 15, 2008 Launch

I was supposed to weedwhack tonight, but the weather was nice and I was home reasonably early, and Tracy told me to go ahead and launch (before I even asked!)

I should have weedwhacked.

This was the first test of my four-way launch system, and as far as that goes, it was a resounding success. The first rack consisted of my Double-Barrel Baby Bertha on a pair of A8-3s, Jaclyn's Hi-Flier on an A8-3, Taylor's Carrot (a hand-rolled paper rocket with a plastic carrot for a nose cone) on an A8-3, and my Starlight Sparrow on an A8-3. I don't have any pictures of the Sparrow, and as you will see below, I probably won't...

We launched the DBBB first, and it was a great flight, with perfectly simultaneous ignition courtesy of the 12V battery in the new controller.

Next we launched the Carrot and Jaclyn's Hi-Flier simultaneously. This was my first really simultaneous launch ever, and it was cool. The Hi-Flier turned in a perfect flight (much better than last time, where the shock cord burned through twice) but the Carrot, after a nice flight, drifted into a tree. Taylor took it pretty well, but this was a harbinger of things to come.

Last we launched my Sparrow. It flew well, arching a bit on the boost but then spiraling nicely down a bit north of the launch area. Taylor recovered it in good order.

The next rack was Justin's Hi-Flier and Flash, both with A8-3's, my Dawn Star on a B6-4, and my Cyclone on an A3-4T. I launched my Dawn Star first, and after turning in a pretty boost, the parachute failed to deploy. The rocket came down ballistic in a wheat field... the wheat is about 18" tall, and there is just no chance of finding it in there. Had the parachute deployed, it would have laid atop the wheat, and I would have found it.

I'm still not over it. I put a lot of work into that bird. But if you don't lose a few, you aren't launching them.

Next I launched my Cyclone. It went up straight, separated, and fluttered nicely in. The black and white booster section turned out to be a lot more visible on the ground than the orange maple-seed upper, but it took long enough to land that Taylor almost caught it.

We intended to launch Justin's Flash and Hi-Flier simultaneously, but for some reason we couldn't get them to fire. I need to test the battery... it is a cast-off, after all. So we launched them separately. The Hi-Flier turned in a nice flight, but the Flash came in rather fast (despite an apparently-good deployment) and broke off a fin. I swear I never saw such a battle-scarred rocket...

The last rack consisted of Justin's Patriot on a C6-5, my Bandito on an A6-4, my Sparrow on another A8-3, and my Cyclone on another A3-4T.

The Patriot was first, and it flew excellently, a high straight boost and very little drift on the return; it landed perhaps 50' from the stand.

Next was my Bandito. It did some tailwagging on the ascent. I taped the loose-fitting Quest engine, and I may have gotten it a bit cocked; or perhaps the nozzle had a defect. But it returned just fine.

Then the Cyclone went up again, and though it came down entirely across the launch area from the previous flight, it was again perfect.

Last was my Sparrow. It arched worse than before, and then turned in a stalling glide, dropping at last into the tall grass south of the launch area. Another one lost.

With two lost in vegetation and one hung in a tree out of 12 flights, I have to say it wasn't a great session. I have plans to build another sci-fi rocket, probably very similar to the Dawn Star. Considering my terrible results with gliders, though, I don't think I'm building any more of them.

Update: We got the body back from Taylor's Carrot a day or so later, apparently unharmed, but missing the carrot-cone.

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