May 5, 2008 Launch

I didn't get a chance to launch over the weekend, and I was itching to burn some black powder... and when I got home from work after a really annoying day, I was pleased to note the calmness of the late afternoon. Surely launching a few low-fliers in the back yard would put me in a better mood...

I prepped four rockets: Taylor's Gauchito, with an A3-4T; my Outlander, with a C6-3; my Applewhite 13mm Saucer, with an A10-3T; and my Estes Lucky Seven, with an A10-3T. Taylor joined me, and along with her three boys about her age (the range of ages was from 9 to 11, I believe). With four rockets to launch, everyone got to launch one. Given the limited time, I got out my scratchbuilt wooden launch controller and an Estes launch stand, rather than setting up my four-way launch system. Tracy was busy, so I decided I could do without pictures this time.

The Gauchito went up first. It was a beautiful, straight flight, but when the chute popped, I suddenly realized there was more of a breeze than I thought. Amazingly, the little rocket threaded the needle between the trees, and was recovered just fine.

So I moved the stand upwind, and put the Lucky Seven on the stand next. This was NOT a pretty sight... it went up maybe 30' (at most), then started looping! It hit the ground about a second before the ejection charge went off. I just don't think that an A10-3T has enough "oomph" to make that bird fly right... I said before I wouldn't launch it again, and now I'm saying I REALLY won't launch it again. (Yeah, yeah, laugh if you must...)

Next was the Applewhite saucer. I had forgotten just how fast that puppy came off the stand! The kids loved it. The saucer was slightly damaged by the ejection charge (you're really supposed to use A10-PT engines, but I don't have any), but it will fly again.

Last was the Outlander. Oops. After a slightly arching flight (which indicates just how badly this rocket needs a D engine), the parachute popped out nicely... and it drifted right into a tree. Not down low, either... it got hung up just about as high as it could.

With the assistance of my helpers I packed up the rest of the rockets and launch equipment. Then, I got out my tallest stepladder, and the pole I use to decorate for Christmas, and tried to get my rocket back.

Without success. I tried, I really did, and I worked up a sweat doing it. Finally, tired, I sat down with Tracy in the porch swing (which we have on our patio, so I suppose it ought to be a patio swing). I told her my troubles, and she replied that she could probably hit it using a fishing pole.

So she clipped a sinker to the end of her fishing line, and in a SINGLE CAST, she snagged the limb and got the rocket down.

I did have to give her a new snap swivel (as we had to cut the line) but otherwise it was as easy as that. She didn't even want a replacement for the sinker.


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Last Updated 10/08/2015