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Lots of crossover with RC

Old 01-24-2008, 08:20 PM
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Default Lots of crossover with RC

This should be interesting.....

FWIW, I am a life-long RCer and also a recent (since 2005) "BAR" (Born Again Rocketeer). There are LOTS of rocketeers who are also interested in rocketry, both low-power (LPR) and high power (HPR). And like RC flying, there are models and motors ranging from the classic "Estes" hobby rockets all the way up to amateur/experimental class rocketry.

If you are interested in learning more about the current state of the rocketry hobby, take a look at the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) web site (http://www.nar.org/ mostly low power but also some HPR) or Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA, http://www.tripoli.org/, only HPR and experimental/amateur). The primary info source and forums are at TRF (http://www.rocketryforum.com/).

I am a Level 3 rocketeer and have had a blast with projects from 10" to 22'...here's some pics of my projects.

Barry
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Old 01-24-2008, 08:35 PM
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Default RE: Lots of crossover with RC

To be able to buy and use HPR motors, you must progress through several "levels", Level 1 to Level 3... L1 is your basic HPR model, L2 is the middle level (but still a pretty big model and motor), and L3 is top of the heap....here are some pics of my Level 3 project...a 1/6 scale V-2, 55 lbs at launch, using an M1939 motor. Launch site is Plaster City, CA...about 1 1/2 hours east of san Diego.

Barry
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Old 01-24-2008, 08:46 PM
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Default RE: Lots of crossover with RC

And my Experimental/Amateur project, "Double Trouble"...112 lbs, 21' tall, all composite, two "N" class motors, uses six flight computers, two RF tracking beacons, and "real time" GPS tracking and 900mhZ telemetry transmitter onboard. Has flown three times so far.

This is at BALLS 15 at Black Rock, Nevada last year - the same place that Burning Man is held. If you think this is impressive...two guys at this event have since tickled the edge of space with some truly advanced rockets...all designed/built by modelers like you and I. Altitudes over 100K' and sustained speeds over Mach 2 are possible.

Barry
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Old 01-24-2008, 09:03 PM
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Default RE: Lots of crossover with RC

one word, wow. i am embarassed to take out my estes anymore, lol
Old 01-25-2008, 01:06 AM
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Default RE: Lots of crossover with RC

Barry, good to see your pics. I was into high power back in the late '80s and early '90s. Back then all you had to do was be a Tripoli member and successfully launch an "H" while being watched by someone already qualified. Then you could go as big as you wanted. My biggest was a two stage 1/3 scale Sandhawk/Terrier, flew it to a tad over 11,000 feet down in eastern NC, using an L for the booster and a J for the upper stage. Lost the booster when the chute streamered, but recovered the upper stage about a mile from the launchsite. Most of my other stuff was H to K. It was a ball, but just got too expensive for me. I liked building scale models, bought Peter Alway's book and had several 6 to 8 foot models. The Terrier/Sandhawk was around 15 feet.
Old 01-27-2008, 09:37 PM
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Default RE: Lots of crossover with RC

Barry--- were you flying these things when you had to make your own ignitors? At the time I was flying about the only thing commercially available was the bimetallic strip that came with Aerotec disposables. They weren't very reliable, easy to short, and not long enough for the bigger engines. Until the "electric match" ignitors started coming out in the early '90s, I used flashbulb ignition.

For those rocketeers who don't know how this worked, it was cool. First you had to find a source of the little AG-1B flashbulbs like you used on Kodak Instamatic cameras from back in the late 60's and early '70s. Since the advent of self contained electronic flash in most small cameras, these things were getting hard to find.

Then you had to find a source of Thermalite. This stuff was like a fuse. There was fast and slow types; one burned at a rate of one inch per second and the other burned at two inches per second. It had a very small wire in its center so you could bend it and it would maintain the bend, and there was five strands of nickel-chromium wire, spiral wrapped around the outside. The whole thing was about 1/8" diameter. You could use it on black powder by unravveling the wire strands and connecting them to your electrical clips, stuff a short piece in the nozzle and you were good to go. Didn't work like that for composite engines (see below)

The last thing was sheathing, which was a very small teflon tubing that the Thermalite just fit into. I don't know why , but when Thermalite was sheathed, the burn rate (length per second) was almost instantaneous, at least, for pieces a foot long or so.

Composite propellant (Ammonium or Potassium Perchlorate and binder) engines don't ignite at the nozzle end, like black powder (Estes engines) do. The ignition has to occur at the top of the propellant grain, and the engine burns from top to bottom. There is a channel from the nozzle up through the propellant grain, and the ignitor is inserted all the way up to the top.

The homemade ignitors were made by cutting a piece of thermalite long enough to fold over one end about an inch to double the amount that could burn, and then long enough to stick out the nozzle about an inch or so. A piece of sheathing was slid over the length of Thermalite, leaving a "tail" of unsheathed at the nozzle end. A flashbulb was then taped to the unsheathed end and the whole thing was secured to the engine nozzle.

Now, your electrical leads from the launch controller were clipped to the small wire tabs on the flash bulb (after the motor was loaded into the rocket and it was on the launcher). Now, all you had to do was arm the switch and push the button. If everything worked like it should, you'd see a bright flash as the bulb fired, igniting the Thermalite. The sheathed portion would instantaneously transfer the flame front ot the folded over portion at the top of the propellant, and the propellant would ignite. The whole sequence took about three seconds. PUSH---FLASH----(pause)-----WHOOSH!!!!
Old 01-27-2008, 11:17 PM
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Default RE: Lots of crossover with RC

The pictures of the Estes rockets bring back some memories. The C-D was my first rocket that I built back in the late 70's. It got me hooked at that time. I lived out in the country in Kansas and
could fire off those small rockets any time I wanted. My two boys would like to do some rockets but the area around here is not that great for rocketry.
John
Old 01-29-2008, 12:59 PM
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Default RE: Lots of crossover with RC


ORIGINAL: khodges

Barry--- were you flying these things when you had to make your own ignitors? .... Until the "electric match" ignitors started coming out in the early '90s, I used flashbulb ignition.
I started in rocketry back in 1970, and flew regularly until the early 80's. I competed in NAR events a lot back then and attended NARAM 14, 16, 17, and 18, as well as a few MARs and other regionals events before college intervened. I am very familiar with flashbulb and thermite (or "cannon cord") ignition... in fact I had a scale Nike-Ajax that used a mercury switch and flashbulb ignition for the upper stage that got a lot of attention at NARAM-18 (the one in Orlando).

Model rockets (as opposed to the current MPR and HPR models) could not carry a lot of weight, and small electronic timers and altimeters were almost unheard of (except for the 555 timer/trip wire setup, which I also used). Large and tall 2 stage rockets needed a reliable means of detecting when the lower stage motor burn was complete, and some way to ignite the upper stage (traditional "hot gas" methods would not work on most scale models due to the length of the booster). To do this we used a small plastic or glass tube, filled with mercury, mounted vertically somewhere in the rocket. The upper end of the tube had two wires embedded in it, which when shorted together, would complete the firing circuit for the upper stage (usually a flashbulb connected to a 9V battery). On deceleration (i.e. booster motor shutdown) the deceleration would cause the mercury to move up the tube, firing the upper stage. We would play with fuses of different lengths, etc to provide a scale-like delay or coasting phase.

So back to Orlando in 1976...my 4' tall, dual D-powered booster and C-powered upper stage Nike-Ajax is on the pad and ready to fire. Someone trips on a pad leg and it starts to fall over, the guy grabs the pad and while untangling himself tilted the pad horizontal.

You got it, the upper stage ignites and off it goes, fortunately only 100' or so with minor damage and no one hurt. But it got a lot of attention! After that I started using the 555 timer and tripwire setup.

barry


PS - Here's a shot taken in (maybe 1974) of an early HPR two stage rocket that used an electric switch for staging. I think we used squibs or electric matches. The guys in the shot are Mike Smalley (who sadly passed away in the early 80's) and Gary Rosenfeld, who is the founder of the largest MPR/HPR motor manufacturer, Aerotech. The motors were probably early AP/resin motors from Composite Dynamics. The launch site was Anaheim Stadium...does not look anything like this anymore!
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Old 02-02-2008, 10:47 PM
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Default RE: Lots of crossover with RC

I have had quite a bit of fun with rocket powered boost gliders, especially the two Aerotech Phoenixes I've had. One of them even got me our club's rotating broken prop award at one of our air shows. It was supposed to have been an annual rotating trophy for the worst re-kitting, but after having the Phoenix go into terminal flutter just before burn-out on an F reload, and imitate the shuttle Challenger, including the motor going off trailing smoke. The officers decided nobody was going to be able to top that.

And after the show was over, apparently one of the spectators, an elderly lady, came up to our commentator and asked "Does he do that EVERY year?"
Old 03-17-2008, 09:03 AM
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Default RE: Lots of crossover with RC

Umm - I'm not into this - other than a few launches with my kids (little stuff) - but let me ask a *dumb* question here - with the high-powered things earlier described, do you need to get FAA permission before launching? or, provide some sort of FAA / NOTAM / notice / whatever - to tell aircraft to stay out of the way?
Old 03-17-2008, 12:43 PM
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Default RE: Lots of crossover with RC

Qwerty3 -

There are federal and FAA regulations covering HPR launches, specifically weight, altitude, distance from an airport, and of course any motor with more than 67.5 grams of propellant (around a "G") is subject to (very stringent) ATF regulations.

The basics are covered under FAR part 101 (airspace regs) and NFPA 1127 (motor handling and usage requirements). In summary, any HPR launch that exceeds 1 pound (and up to 3.3 pounds) in weight that is launched within 5 miles of an airport requires a waiver from the FAA. Any launch exceeding 3.3 lbs. requires a waiver from the FAA, regardless of launch distance from an airport. And any flight exceeding 25,000 feet needs additional advance review and approval by the NAR or TRA Board of Directors, acting as surrogates for FAA review (not including the waiver).

FAA will take care of creating NOTAM's based on the info provided by the waiver applicant and the waiver granted. They DO create them - as a PPL-SE and Glider (commercial) I have seen numerous NOTAM's posted for our rocket launches at Lucerne Valley and Plaster City/Ocotillo area.

You can read the details here: http://www.tripoli.org/documents/faa_rules.shtml and http://www.tripoli.org/documents/safety_code.shtml.

Barry
Old 03-17-2008, 01:32 PM
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Default RE: Lots of crossover with RC

Our RC club has had a local Rocketry group launching mprs at a couple of our annual shows. Even though we are only about 3 miles from an active county airport, they have had no problem getting the waivers if we give them about a month or more notice. The airport management is very cooperative with us. And probably if any of our club members does anything stupid to endanger the relationship we have with the airport, he might have a permanent spot in one of the nearby landfills.

One of the future projects I have is to build a Sundowner, an early RPBG from a 1970s American Modeler. Sopposed to use D or E size motors. I scaled the plans from the insert in the article.

Of course, someday I also want to cut a set of cores from the Aerotech Phoenix. I had the wing for my first one stolen from my car, and found a kit for a reasonable price on a Tower scratch 'n dent sale, so I built up the second wing, and still have a full fuse kit, and an extra reloadable motor casing, as well as a box of F and G reloads.
Old 03-17-2008, 01:43 PM
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Default RE: Lots of crossover with RC

ORIGINAL: 50+AirYears

...they have had no problem getting the waivers if we give them about a month or more notice...

One of the future projects I have is to build a Sundowner, an early RPBG from a 1970s American Modeler. Supposed to use D or E size motors. I scaled the plans from the insert in the article.
Interesting...the FAA generally only requires 24 to 48 hr. notice. For once a gov't agency is more responsive than the private sector?

Do you mean the Sundowner, or maybe Skydancer? AAM had a Sundowner in the mid 70's but it was an F-4ish design by Bob Violett for the Scozzi DF. AAM also published the Skydancer RCBG, a design from Larry Renger. I have the plans and article scanned, if you want them.

Cheers -

Barry

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Old 03-17-2008, 01:51 PM
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Default RE: Lots of crossover with RC

Yep, that's him, the Skydancer. Senior moment. I'm running back and forth between my desk and a test bench where I have to stabilise an air pressure flow rate to within a certain range, then take a pressure reading. It can take 4 or 5 minutes for a change to settle out before I can decide to take a reading or try another tweak.

That airfoil looks a bit thick, doesn't it?
Old 03-17-2008, 01:59 PM
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Default RE: Lots of crossover with RC

It does look a bit dated!

I had the plans blown up to full size and may try to build one someday. I have a Pheonix and Estes Centurion kit (both NIB) as well as a partial 'Cuda kit and parts and pieces for several other 'vintage' RCBG's stashed away. Still looking for a Pheonix engine case (it's a weird size - 30 or 32mm?) as well as some reloads.

Barry
Old 03-17-2008, 02:04 PM
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Last time I looked on the Aerotech website, both the 29 and 32 mm RC reloadable casings were available, but supply seems spotty. Couldn't be certain if they wee selling diect, or you had to go through a dealer.
Old 05-26-2008, 01:03 AM
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Default RE: Lots of crossover with RC

Wow that's cool but too bad we can't have it locally.
Old 07-13-2008, 09:11 AM
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Default RE: Lots of crossover with RC

After 30 plus years of not flying rockets I am back into them in a big way. I love racing RC buggies but just takes to much time in-between races to prep the cars. With the hours I have been working just not any time. My nephew was asking me about rockets right before Christmas so I got him a Estes launch kit. Yep got be back hooked and now $1,500 later I am back. I am building my first mid power and hope to be getting a kit shortly to get my L1 certification. Here is my mid power I am building.
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Old 08-03-2008, 05:11 PM
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Default RE: Lots of crossover with RC

Barry,

Cool to see you here! I have a couple questions to ask you about your rocket experience but I need to do it offline. Can you PM me your # or I guess I can get it from Buck.

smitty
Old 08-03-2008, 08:19 PM
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Default RE: Lots of crossover with RC

Smitty -

Sent you a PM....look forward to talking to you.

Cheers -

Barry
Old 12-13-2009, 03:19 PM
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Default RE: Lots of crossover with RC

all those are pretty badass
Old 12-13-2009, 09:54 PM
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Default RE: Lots of crossover with RC

I got to get my Estes Sweet Vee back in the air. Last time I tried flying it, I had a D11-P blow it's casing. Luckily, I was still able to get a replacement fuse for it. After the repair, I've only flown it as a hand launced RC glider.

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