Saturday, October 22, 2005

Launch In The Hill Country

The Hill Country Rocketeers were nice enough to invite me out to their monthly club launch. It was a perfect day with sunny skies and little or no wind. There were about 20 people out on the field and half of them were actually launching rockets. The rockets ranged from small model rockets with "A" motors to large high power with "H" power plants. It was a lot of fun with a great bunch of guys and I hope to join them again for another launch.

The Launch Area
011 Superbird on a Full Pad
015 Initiator on Liftoff

Thursday, October 20, 2005

015 Initiator

I bought this rocket right around the same time as the "Miss Riley". They are both part of my experiment into mid-power rocketry. When I received the kit in the mail from Discount Rocketry I was very impressed.

The kit itself comes in a sturdy box that can be made into a work stand. The instructions are very clear and the decals look great. The airframe in a standard "cardboard" type tube with spiral grooves that I had to fill. The fins are made of high-impact plastic and simply snap into some clips on the motor mount tube.

Building the kit was fun but not very challenging. I had one problem with the fins. When I applied a coat of Krylon White Primer the fins "bubbled" slightly. The instructions warned of this but I could not find the compatibility with certain plastics on the can. I probably could have just painted the fins directly.

I was really happy with the nosecone. It was well made with a smooth shape and required very little sanding to obtain a nice finish. The plastic fins were also very well made and required very little sanding. The decals are smooth and crisp and very easy to apply if you follow the manufacturers suggestion of giving them a dip in a bowl of warm water with one drop of dishsoap. Once the water dried up the decals were smooth and on tight.

I am very happy with this kit and would build another Aerotech product. My experiment into mid-power rocketry has been slightly less fulfilling than expected and more expensive than expected. I am currently working on two smaller rockets right now. Model rockets are just to fun to fly and to cheap to build to give up on them.

Manufacturer - Aerotech
Stages - 1
Weight - 14 oz.
Length - 39 in.
Diameter - 2.6 in.
Fin Material - Plastic
Recovery - 24 in. Parachute
Current Status - Active

Monday, October 17, 2005

Launch Report 10/16/05

Click Here To See The Launch Day Highlight Video!

Partly cloudy with a 0-7 mph. wind out of the Southeast. What a great day for a rocket launch. We got to the launch site a little before 3:00pm and set up shop. My Brother-In-Law, Brent and I were the only ones shooting off rockets but our friend Josh agreed to shoot some video for us. Another friend Mark brought his teenage daughters to watch the launch.

View the launch log for the report of the rockets I launched. Everything went great, all rockets were recovered with little or no damage. Brent and I had a great time even though it was getting a little warm by 4:00pm. Josh, Mark and the girls also enjoyed watching all the rockets launch and gently glide back to earth. Just a great day!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

016 Stars & Stripes

Art Applewhite is the leader of the local NAR club here in San Antonio. When I first began building and launching model rockets I would email him and get some tips. After recently speaking with him on the phone I ordered a 18mm Delta Flying Saucer.

The kit arrived in two days via Priority Mail. The construction explained in detail through the excellent documentation and diagrams. The componets are simple and east to work with for rocketeers of any level. After assembly I followed the recommendation to apply a clear coat to the entire model.

Manufacturer - Art Applewhite
Stages - 1
Weight -
Length - 3 in.
Diameter - 6 in.
Fin Material - N/A
Recovery - Tumble
Current Status - Active

Monday, October 10, 2005

014 Miss Riley

This rocket pays homage to the movie that is responsible for getting myself and many others into hobby rocketry. The "Miss Riley" was the final rocket launched by Homer Hickam and the Rocket Boys in the movie "October Sky". It has been one of my favorite movies for some time, even before I started getting interested in model rocketry.

The rocket itself is a kit from LOC Precision called the "Bullet". It is the largest model rocket I have attempted to build. The inner workings of this rocket are no more complex than any small model rocket it's just bigger and more impressive to the eye.

Because of the size finishing the rocket was a real pain. The nose was really poorly made with a huge seam that needed a lot of sanding. The body tube had the normal spiral grooves that needed to be filled but also had many irregularities that took hours of extra work. Overall I was not impressed with the kit and will steer clear of LOC Precision in the future.

All the work that went into this rocket paid off though. It looks good and should fly great. I am having trouble finding a place to launch it and my other rockets too. The field where I used to launch is being developed and the local club in San Antonio lost their field too. I hope we can find a place soon.

Manufacturer - LOC Precision
Stages - 1
Weight - 28 oz.
Length - 39 in.
Diameter - 4 in.
Fin Material - Plywood
Recovery - 36 in. Parachute
Current Status - Active

Thursday, October 06, 2005

011 Superbird

I purchased this rocket from Discount Rocketry. When it came in it was missing the balsa fins. I gave a call over to Jim and Ruby the owners of Discount Rocketry and they sent a replacement kit out right away. After getting that all straighten out I began work on the body tube by filling in the spiral groove with wood filler and sanding. This rocket is the first payloader I have ever built. It splits at apogee and the boost section and the payload section come down separately. The finish came out great after several coats of primer and paint. It's a big rocket with a great design and should be a great flier.

Manufacturer - Quest
Stages - 1
Weight -
Length - 31.25 in.
Diameter - 1.378 in.
Fin Material - Balsa
Recovery - 12 in. Parachute (2)
Current Status - Active