Labor Day Launch
Labor Day Launch
September 1, 2008

My daughter Taylor and I launched a very few rockets in the back yard tonight, starting around 7:30pm; thus, we had about half an hour of useful daylight left. Mainly, I wanted to test my new miniature X-24 Bug (3/4 scale, 13mm power, all paper except for the bulkhead) and try out my over 20 year old Centuri Flying Saucer. I also launched Taylor's Gauchito. Rather than dragging out the four-way stand, I used an Estes stand (modded with a ceramic tile launch deflector) and my wooden launch controller. It was about 85°F and apparently windless.

First up was the mini Bug, on an A10-3T. I didn't even bother trying to hand-toss and trim it in advance; given the full-size Bug's flight characteristics, I figured I couldn't throw it high enough to learn anything. So I put half a square of clay in for trim and flew it.

It came in nose first after an excellent, low flight. Really, that's not bad for a first try, and it's so small and light, the crashlanding didn't hurt it a bit. I guess I could consider it a featherweight recovery model...

Next up was my Centuri Flying Saucer, on a Quest B6-0 (pre-fire US made). It flew quite well, considering that the minimum recommended engine is a C6-0, landing on its antenna-legs just as advertised. Perfect for my small launch area, at any rate.

I put the mini Bug up again, and it turned in a repeat of the first performance. Definitely, it does not glide as trimmed. I'll put the rest of the square of clay in and try again another day.

I wanted to fly the Saucer again. I had no C6-0 engines, and wasn't entirely satisfied with the altitude of the B6-0 flight, so I decided to try an experiment. I inserted a C6-3 engine this time.

This was really not a bad flight at all, with the ejection charge making little more than a few sparks when it fired. The Saucer landed on its antenna-legs once again. Taylor loved it.

Next I loaded up the Gauchito with a 1/2A3-4T. No, that wasn't a good idea. It would have been a power prang, if the engine had any power. I think it may have made 10' of altitude. I noted no damage to the rocket.

I loaded an A10-3T into the Gauchito, repacking it with the same crepe paper wadding (which hadn't gone far, unsurprisingly). This was a nice flight, high (for this fat little rocket) and straight. The deployment was perfect, and then the rocket began to drift. Oops... I watched, a four-letter word held at the ready on my tongue, as it drifted west across the street toward the neighbor's trees...

... but it threaded the needle and landed on the grass. Whew.

As it was getting gloomy, and I had accomplished everything I planned to, we packed it in for the evening. None lost, none damaged.

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