Flight Log for 2 Feb 1997, Monroe, Washington

Overcast at about 2500' AGL, wind 2-15 from the South, temperature hovered around 40 degrees, and it rained off and on all day. I'm amazed we had no cases of hyporthermia, but we did launch!
Model Flt
Recovery Type Motor Comments
Maniac 1 19.5" nylon x-form parachute Estes D12-5 This was my first-ever 24mm motor flight -- all previous D motors have been Aerotech 18mm motors, either the D21 expendable or the D13 reload. The flight was completely nominal. There had been doubts expressed concerning whether such a bulky parachute could be successfully deployed from a BT-56 rocket, but testing prior to launch day indicated I could deploy the parachute by simply blowing my breath into the motor mount -- and my confidence was upheld when the parachute deployed perfectly, then unfurled and opened more slowly, bringing the Maniac to Earth about 50 feet behind the LCO table, and only about a 20 foot walk from where I stood to watch the flight.
Maniac 2 19.5" nylon x-form parachute Estes C6-3 For the second Maniac flight, I wanted to experiment with motors smaller than the D12, arguably one of the weakest 24mm motors made. The experiment involved converting an old dummy casing (a thrust block pusher from an Omega kit that was never finished or flown) to an 18mm-24mm adapter, and launching the Maniac with one or more 18mm motors. The result on the first try was an acceptable flight, but very slow off the pad, and with some tip-off near rod end when the thrust spike ran out. Plans to attempt launch on a B6-2 were immediately scrubbed, possibly to be revived on a day with zero wind, but this combination was acceptable for ordinary low-wind conditions, and keeps the rocket around 250 feet. The parachute deplayed and opened nominally for a second time.
Ninja-B 1 18" plastic streamer Estes A3-4T This was the longest delay available in this motor -- and was much too short. The addition of a boattail to the Ninja (hence Ninja-B) apparently reduces drag to the point where the rocket was still traveling upward at considerable velocity on ejection. The ejection or streamer forces opened the snap swivel holding the shock cord and parachute to the nose cone; the nose cone came loose and was lost, but was later found and returned to the LCO table -- no small feat, given the size of the cone and the height of the grass. Next time I'll try a 1/2A3-4T, or find out if Apogee still sells the A3-6T.
Hawkeye 1 Nose-blow tumble Estes 1/2A3-2T The Hawkeye is a remarkably complex and good-looking model for being based on BT-5 and flown on tumble recovery. It also flies very well if assembled straight. Mine is, and did; the tumble recovery minimizes drift, and the rocket landed less than 100 feet from the pads. This could become one of my favorites, though I could wish it had a motor clip, instead of requiring friction fitting the mini motor in the restricted space between the "elevator" tabs on the main fins and the simulated jet tubes alongside the "vertical" fin. It certainly lends itself well to getting a lot of height in a restricted space.
Maniac 3 19.5" nylon x-form parachute Estes D12-5 Just to prove it wasn't a fluke, I launched the Maniac again on the D motor -- and this time, after a very slow parachute opening, it landed between the pads and LCO table, less than 75 feet from the launch point. On recovering the model, I found why the parachute had been slow: an anemic ejection charge had left the wadding still in the tube, and had apparently only partially deployed the recovery system, but the drag of the nose cone as the rocket tumbled pulled the parachute out of the tube, allowing it to open.

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