Friday, February 08, 2013

I have to admit it, I pass a lot of gas

I just got my Into the Wind catalog, which reminded me of one of my favorite finds - nylon repair tape. As much as I love this stuff, I haven't heard of any other rocketeers using it. Maybe I'm the only one who has ever used too little wadding or mis-packed a chute above the 'chute pad? In any event, I have done this often and my rip-stop nylon 'chutes have the burn holes to prove it. Thus, the ability to easily and reliably plug said holes is a real plus for me.

I've mostly used the tape to fix burn holes. I generally apply a piece of the tape on both sides although the 2nd application is mostly just to ensure that the exposed sticky surface (over the hole itself) doesn't adhere to an unexpected spot and hinder the opening of the 'chute.  I have found this stuff very durable. The best example is the 'frankenchute' shown to the right. This well-worn chute has flown many times with multiple patches.  In fact, most of these patches were applied before it hung in a tree for almost 2 years. To date, none of the tape has come off.

I recently had to rescue a rocket from a tall tree. It was up high and MDRA's long pole is so heavy that I had to snag the Kevlar shock cord and pull.  The last part to catch in the tree was, of course, the 'chute.  I got it down but only one of the riser lines remained on the 'chute. To fix it, I applied some tape on each corner to patch the tears. One piece of tape lightly held the end of each riser line. I then had my wife sew through the tape to hold it all together.  It's only flown once since, but the fix seems solid!