Fiberglass Nike Smoke 4" - This is the kit mis padres purchased for me for Xmas (bah humbug :). It's designed like a tank with a weight to match -- 81 oz dry!! I purchased a Pro54 4-grain 1597K400 Green^3 reload from Jack. The liftoff was slower than I'd expected but, like all Nike Smokes, the thing flew straight as an arrow. I trimmed the delay to 11 seconds and ejection was about 1 second after apogee. I used a 48" parachute and the descent seemed slow until it got nearer the ground then it seemed speedier than I'd like. In any event it landed at the edge of the 'bowl' free of damage.
I think this kit needs some serious thrust so I purchased another 4-grain motor, the 1633K940 White Thunder, for its next flight. At the same time Jack offered me a mystery 4-grain motor for half-price. Others reportedly shied away earlier in the day but I wasn't skerd and bought it anyway. When I got it home I opened the package to find "VM" written on the ejection cap so I'm forced to assume it's the 1408K2045 Vmax. Score!! So I'll reserve that for the third flight of my new Smoke and it should be scootin'.
.38 Spatial - I last flew this minimum diameter, carbon-fiber-over-phenolic design on an I284 to ~9100'. The next logical step on the way to the insane 1115J530 was the J350 I've had sitting in my motor box for many years now. As always these minimum diameter flights take way too long to prep and there never seems to be enough internal room to fit everything despite previous successes there. Once on the pad I had trouble locating the Raven's arm button so I pulled the rocket, slightly rotated the electronics board, and tried again. The second time was sort of a charm. I was able to arm the Raven but, upon 'ignition', the motor pressured up very slowly as old motors will. After a sizable chuff the thing lifted off but was marginally stable. This is about the 10th photo of a 5 fps sequence and the motor took about 5-6 seconds to pressure up:I'm constantly destroying those TopFlight 'chutes at every single launch. The Raven survived and here's the flight graph:
aramid fiber is tough!!
aramid fiber is tough!!
- Burn those motors soon after you buy them! Chuffing (motor pressure surge before actual ignition) is dangerous. In the early 80s motors employed progressive thrust curves and weren't nearly as reliable as today's motors. I saw a few rockets chuff, pop off the launch rod, then fire off horizontally into the desert. If a motor is older and you still choose to fly it always use a long launch rod/rail as an insurance policy against chuffing.
- RockSim's CP calculation is way too aggressive hence the metastable liftoff. I'm now relying more on OpenRocket's CP calculation as it's typically between RockSim and Barrowman.
- [Just added] Plug those forward closures!! I'm certain I would have attained apogee ejection were it not for the unintended pressure vent offered by the motor itself.
- In the unlikely event of a similar failure in the future place the transmitter above the parachute connection point or, even better, always tie a knot in the shock cord for parachute attachment. That way if the parachute strips off it won't take anything with it.
- Offer the benefit of the doubt to those sharing the desert with us. I have a bad history with this so I have some trauma to overcome. When I was a kid I flew a Composite Dynamics 29mm F45 motor in my prized AeroRoc. It was a high flight on a windy day and the rocket landed on the side of the highway in the bay area. I ran toward it only to see someone pull over and drive away with it when I still had a quarter mile to run. Damn them! Epic recovery FAIL.