Flight Log for 6 Jul 1997, Monroe, WA

Low partial overcast, which burned off to "mare's tail" cirrus and scattered low clouds later in the day; wind shifted from S 2-5 just before launching started to N 5-12 for most of the day, picking up to N 7-15 by late afternoon.
Model Flt
Recovery Type Motor Comments
Bully 6 18" nylon x-form parachute Estes D12-5, 4x Extes C6-7 With recent repairs to this rocket indicating it didn't have much life left in it due to the hard landings under the x-form parachute, I figured if I was going to get a flight in with all tubes loaded, it had to be today. I took a nose cone from a new Fat Boy kit I had just purchased, glued 12 148 gr bullets into the tip to provide four ounces of nose weight for stability, and loaded up all five motor mounts. I had made up two flash-pan ignition units the previous night from the bottoms of beverage cans -- I was sure the thin aluminum wouldn't last more than one launch, but as long as it lasted long enough to light all the motors, it would be enough. The first launch attempt, the igniter pulled up out of the pile of black powder that would provide the actual ignition, and burned its pyrogen witout firing the flash. I pulled the rocket off the rod, put a new igniter in the flash pan, and reset things; on the seond attempt, the powder lit with a satisfying flash and the rocket took off. It turned sharply off the rod, indicating at least one motor hadn't lit, but one motor ignited in flight at about the time the first motor(s) burned out -- by that time, the rocket was flying almost horizontally and headed for the deep swamp.

The ejection fired right on time, with the ejection from the late outboard firing as the rocket was descending on its parachute. Unfortunately, shortly after that event, the rocket drifted into a power line and hung on one of the hot wires about thirty feet above ground -- due to the hazardous landing point, the rocket was written off as lost.

Examination of the flash pan showed burnthrough only from the stronger flame of the D12 core motor, but there was evidence on the exterior of the can section that at least one ouboard lit on the pad -- also, with a rocket weight of about 12 ounces in fhis configuration, the rocket seemd to get off the pad more quickly that I'd have expected on only a single D12 motor. I don't have an explanation for the delayed ignition of one outboard motors, however, and can't examine the rocket to verify how many motors actually ignited.

Comet Mustang B/G conversion 1 Glide, with streamer for the boost pod Estes 1/2A3-2T This rocket was built in anticipation of an upcoming contest -- I used a commercially available catapult glider, which cost $1.59 and took about two minutes to assemble, and built a pylon to attach a boost pod to the glider on its original catapult hook. This put the thrust on the "wrong" side of the glider, "underneath" instead of "above" the centerline, so that the rotation moment from off-center thrust would be added to the glider's natural pitch-up rather than offsetting it; to counter this, I put canard surfaces on the pod, similar to those on the old Astron Nighthawk design, intended to prevent looping under power. Unfortunately, either the canards didn't have enough lift to offset the rotation, or were too close to the CG, or both, and the rocket tumbled immediately on leaving the rod. Back to the drawing board.
Bertha 24 6 12" plastic parasheet with spill Estes B6-4 The wind was shifting and I wasn't sure of being able to recover a high flight on the field, so I prepped the Bertha 24 with my adapter and a B6-4. I didn't have to walk far at all, and the flight was the usual perfection I expect from this reliable design.
Bertha 24 7 12" plastic parasheet with spill Estes D12-7 The results of the B6-4 flight were so encouraging, I decided to go ahead with a D powered flight, and reprepped the Bertha 24. The flight was high, straight, and roll free as usual; with the slight additional rod tilt I used to offset wind, I easily recovered the rocket on the field, about 100 feet from the launch point.
Deltie Thunder 3 Glide with 12" mylar parasheet on pod Estes D12-3 After adding three small lead sinkers to the nose of the glider, it was time to test fly the Deltie Thunder again. As on the two previous flights, the stack rolled and pitched during boost and coast, and ejected inverted with wings and nose level. Unfortunately, it immediately flew through the recovery system for the pod, and the shock cord wrapped around the nose of the glider, leading to a "Rred Baron" landing -- but no damage.
Deltie Thunder 4 Glide with 12" mylar parasheet on pod Estes D12-3 A quick reprep and the Deltie Thunder went up again. Once again, ejection occurred with the glider perfectly inverted, but there was no tangle; the glider recovered with a half loop, followed by two stalls due to the excess speed developed before settling into a glide at about 10 feet altitude. Not spectacular, but it flew.
Deltie Thunder 5 Glide with 12" mylar parasheet on pod Estes D12-3 Third try for the day, on my last D12-3, oriented differently on the pad relative to the wind, but with results effectively identical to the previous attempt. I've posted to rec.models.rockets hoping someone can suggest a way to modify the boost and coast profile to get ejection in a more nearly normal flight attitude, and hope to be able to report more success for the next launches of this huge glider.

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