Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Launch report 2019-1 (updates)

Location: High Ridge Park
Weather: low 90's, wind 0-5, clear
Total flights: Today - 2; YTD - 2
Total motors: Today - 0; YTD - 0
Motors by class YTD: H2O - 2

Well folks, it's been almost a year since I last lit a motor. However, I couldn't resist grabbing a Ginormous Rocket at Costco. I've seen similar products in the past but wasn't inclined to buy one. That was before the grandrocketeers. As far as I can tell it is currently only available at Costco. At a bit over thirty bucks, it seemed like a decent investment.

The major components include: A rigid styrofoam lower body that holds the preinstalled water bottle; three foam fins that slide snugly into slots on the body; an inflatable upper body that slips into the lower body; a launcher unit; and, a hand pump. There are also a few more minor parts, including a rubber nose weight that slips over the top of the inflatable body.

The resulting rocket stands about 7" tall and is 6.5" in diameter at its widest. Quite impressive for the kiddos.

launch prep includes staking down the launcher, adjusting the tilt with the integral screw down legs, filling the water reservoir, screwing down the pump valve, and attaching the pump.  You then snap the rocket into the base, and pump about 100 times until the pressure gauge reads 100 psi. The rocket is launched by depressing a rubber bulb. I assume it works like this.

We didn't have much time so we only launched it twice. The performance was acceptable even though it probably didn't hit 100'. It backslides nicely but drifts a lot being mostly a big balloon, so the lower height is probably OK for most parks around here. I will charge the Altimeter Two for my next outing.

All the parts seems to be of decent quality. We will see how it holds up over the long run.

At some point I'll try to adapt a car air pump in place of the hand pump. I also think it would be fun to get one just to convert to fly on APCP motors. The base is big enough that you could keep the heat contained and possibly add rear ejection. If the launcher dies and the rocket is intact, I may give that a try.

Update

These notes don't warrant a separate 'launch report' but I thought I'd post them in case anyone is interested in one of these water rockets.  I grabbed my Altimeter2 and headed out to a park with my son and another grandkid in tow.  As we set up, we gathered a nice crowd including a bunch of bigger kids willing to pump. 

Well, the rocket wouldn't launch when the rubber bulb was depressed. During the multiple tries, the lower part of the rocket was bumped and the air pressure released. At that point, there was no good way to get the rocket of the launcher. Even though it wouldn't come off, the seal was broken so the bottle wouldn't hold water under pressure. It finally popped off and we tried again with the same results. I am pretty sure that the release mechanism was damaged after we wrenched the rocket off the launcher. 

Very disappointing. Luckily, Costco has a great return policy. Two flights was just not acceptable.

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