Tuesday, June 27, 2017

LAUNCH, Schoolyard Soccer Field, June 26, 2017

With all the burn bans I haven't launched anything in two months!
I wanted to get in some test flights on new models to avoid an embarrassing stability moment at the upcoming Orlando R.O.C.K. launch.
To beat the wind I set out a little after 7:00 a.m. The soccer field grass was wet! In the end my shoes and pant legs were soaked and I had sweated through my clothes. I forget paper towels to dry off the models so I opened up a really old Estes wadding package and took out a few sheets. This wadding was aged to a fine brown color.

Maybe Estes shouldn't have posted a parts picture of the new HEX-3 on their website. This is one was pieced together last night, sprayed with clear right before walking to the field.

The Hex-3 looked like something from my past. It was re-drawn to look like the old yellow PORTA PAD LAUNCHER. It flew fine with a B6-2, Stable and slow to a height of 65'. Sorry, I can't send out PDFs on this one, Estes owns the concept and the new kit has just been released.

Here's another prototype that won't become a kit. (Quest wants too much for the surplus white decals from their old X-15 kit.)
The GOONY X-15 was stable with an A8-3, but way under powered. Altitude was only about 100 feet. Maybe I don't need that 1/2 oz. of clay in the nose cone.
Full Odd'l chute deploy and no damage.
Here's an old one, a stretched Quest Cobalt I painted orange and named it ORANGE. (How original.)
I really like how the Chinese A6-4 engines take a moment to build up thrust. When I use the burst feature in my camera I get seven pictures in a half second. Most launches are a blur but with the A6-4 engine you'll have three pictures of the rocket before it leaves the picture frame.
At ejection the chute stayed in the nose cone cavity. It bounced on landing but all fins stayed glued on.

I was nervous about this one, the new Odd'l F-104 prototype.
No reason to worry, boost was arrow straight with an Estes A8-3. Altitude was probably about 250 feet. Easy parachute eject and a soft landing with no damage.
Next test flight, a B6-4 at Saturday's R.O.C.K. launch!
So with all this under powered launch success I was feeling cocky. I pulled the Estes MOSQUITO out of the range box. (I usually keep a few smaller models ready for moments like this.)
Loaded with the powerful 1/4A3-3t engine, boost was quick to 200'. Against the white clouds I could follow the whole flight until ejection. Two black specks flew in different directions. Once I realized I was following a tumbling engine casing I looked back to the left but couldn't find the Mosquito. I turned to the ground and scanned the area.
featherweight or tumble recovery my foot! Good thing it was painted yellow. As always it was dug in, nose first.

Five launches, five recoveries with no damage.


  1. And here I thought I was going to be the only one with a Hex-3 on Saturday. I do like the scheme of yours. That was a neat idea. Any reason why you used the B6-2 instead of the recommended B6-0, other than availability?

    1. Hi Metal,
      I'll be interested to compare the two models on Saturday. I haven't seen a Hex 3 yet.
      I didn't have any booster engines. All my saucers and other rockets that launch with "-O" engines seem to work fine with 2 and 3 second delays. The ejection charges have all gone off before the model gets to the ground.

  2. The Mosquito can easily be built for nose blow recovery. Use a thin Kevlar shock cord with a lariat loop. Friction fit the motor. This also allows launching it where motor ejection isn't permitted.

    1. Hmm, maybe I will build my next one that way, and possibly lengthen the airframe to accommodate a streamer. That would certainly increase the possibility of getting both parts of my mosquitwo back. Thanks for the idea.

    2. Hi Rich,
      If I ever make another Mosquito it'd probably be nose blow. That seems to be the best way to go.

  3. Good to see that you got a chance to go out and do some launching.
    Kudos on the Mosquito flight! These truly are fun little birds. I've got six successful flights and recoveries on mine so far. I'm shooting for the magic '10 flights' after which I might be tempted to load an A10 in it and go for broke.

    1. Hi Ed,
      It did feel good to get up early and launch! That might be something to shoot for - 10 flights and then the "big" engine. This was my fifth Mosquito flight.

  4. Great stuff...I miss launching. Lost our "close" field four years ago and the new one is just too damn far to drive to. I love the launch pad rocket...I've done a lot of OddRocs but never did I think of that...kudos. Moe