Tuesday, October 02, 2018

It's the end of the line for Rockets Magazine :(



Well, as many of us had suspected, Rockets Magazine is no more. You can now download the final issue for free (direct link). The main article is a post-mortem with a walk down memory lane. I had fun reading the magazine both in print and digital formats and even helped out a bit by gathering and writing product announcements. I got a few freebies along the way and this issue features my last sponsored announcement. (Note these were announcements not reviews.) This announcement was for the book, Make: High-Power Rockets by Mike Westerfield. It came out about 8 months late, so I ask all my readers help clear my conscience by reading the announcement (which I included below). I liked the book and it is worth having if you are like or are curious about HPR.

Bob and Neil - it was a good run indeed...thanks for all your efforts!


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Just pinging the blog...

I took a break from rockets as I haven't built anything and the universe has conspired against me flying. A couple of follows have asked me how I'm doing, and that is greatly appreciated. 

Meanwhile, I have discovered SpaceX's true motivation of their new, finned 'Moon BFR' which will take Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and a handful of invited artists around the Moon (hopefully!).


(original photo courtesy of SpaceX; Fat Boy graphics by Estes)

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Launch Report 2018-2 - MDRA ESL-239

Location: Central Sod Farm
Weather: mid-80's, wind 0-5, clear
Total flights: Today - 5; YTD - 14
Total motors: Today - 6; YTD - 17
Motors by class YTD: A-2, B-1, C-4, D-2, E-5, F-2, I-1


This was a fantastic launch day with great weather and good company.  The little wind we had was in the most favorable direction.
  1. Twice Removed from Yesterday on an I357-10 - JLCR@300' - Nice flight. My first successful application of the Chute Release on a big rocket. The Rocketman chute packs nice and small.
  2. Yarn Cone Nonami on an E12-4 - This little rocket went off our longest rail. It still struggled on the way up. Nice flight though.
  3. Higgs Rocket on a C11-3 - Drag race with Tom and Bob. I was last but didn't lose :)
  4. Art Applewhite Ring of Fire on two E9s - Nice flight!
  5. Hat of Death on an F15-0 - I gave up on the G74 and stuffed in the BP F. It got cheers from the crowd.

All my photos are here.


Saturday, April 21, 2018

"I fell into a Burning Ring of Fire"....

First off, I want to thank Art Applewhite for this cool birthday present. I love saucer-like AND spinny rockets, so this fits me too a tee!

The Ring of Fire is Art's latest kit and, as Art states, is the "epitome of Minimalism." Since the beginning, Art has pioneered the use of simple, low tech components - plastic plates, foam board and cardstock. Who else provides a kit that has been printed on a computer? However, the Ring of Fire actually uses REAL ROCKET PARTS!  Exactly two of them - a piece of a LOC 38mm motor tube and a short section of 5.5" tubing.

There are no motor tubes nor is there a launch lug. These functions are served by holes that are cut in the 38m tube. My Ring of Fire came with pre-installed flame wraps that also serve as cutout and alignment templates.  I did my cutting using the recommended "plunge cut" technique. That is, you take a hobby knife with a new #11 blade and repeatedly shove it into the tube along the guide lines. The length of the cut depends on the depth of the plunge. This is also my preferred method for slotting tubes for through the wall fins.

Art recommends gluing the center tube into the 5.5" ring with Elmer's glue all but I used Tightbond Quick and Thick. I sanded the end cuts slightly making sure the fit of the 38mm tube in the ring was good.

The motors are mounted using tape thrust rings. If you add a few tape wraps on the upper end of the motors once they are inserted they will also have positive retention.

I flew the Ring of Fire twice at NARHAMS' April launch. The first flight was on two D12-5s. It was a real crowd pleaser, ripping off the pad with a loud whir.  I then moved up to a pair of E12-4s. This flight was faster, longer and even LOUDER!

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This is a really fun kit and is sure to get everyone's attention!

You can find all my photos/videos of the Ring of Fire [here].




Launch Report 2018-1 @ NARHAMS

Location: Mt. Airy
Weather: 60's, sunny, wind quite variable
Total flights: Today - 9; YTD - 9
Total motors: Today - 11; YTD - 11
Motors by class YTD: A-2, B-1, C-3, D-2, E-2, F-1


It was a great day for flying and I was happy to get out after a long winter break. Luckily, I had some low-power rockets on tap as a photographer set up between us and the soccer games. This made the launch manager even more cautious and we were limited to 'D' and under until about a half hour before the launch ended.  I managed to sneak in three saucer flights, including two on my new Ring of Fire (with a hat tip to Art Applewhite).

My flight lineup:
  1. 2nd Half on a QC6-3
  2. Mini Patriot on an A10-3
  3. Little Joe I on a 1/2A3-2
  4. Stink Bomb on a C6-5 -  Tube launched.
  5. V104 on a B6-4
  6. Estes White Crayon on a C6-5
  7. Art Applewhite 7.5" USAF Saucer on an F15-0
  8. Art Applewhite Ring of Fire on 2x D12 - This flight was great and was a real crowd pleaser. Very fast with a loud whir!
  9. Art Applewhite Ring of Fire on 2x E12 - I had to try it again on a pair of E's. It was even faster with a longer burn. And a LOUDER whir! The motors were discolored near the nozzle end, which is not uncommon for spinny rockets. However, they didn't seem to be close to a burn though.
See all my photos [here].

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Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Falcon Heavy launch video

The real action starts about 21:30 in.

Spotted while waiting for the Falcon Heavy launch...

If this is real, it would be awesome...