Big Sugar
Flight 2 - NEFAR launch 11/12/05

Rick Creamer - Steve Ghioto - Jimmy Yawn

Good news:  the motor worked!  

More good news:  The airframe worked!  

Even more good news:  The rocket came back!

Do you get the feeling that I'm setting you up for some bad news?  You are so clever!

Bad news:  The shock cord broke, causing the airframe to come down in two pieces.  One of them didn't have a parachute. The aft section landed hard and lost a fin, tube is cracked, and another fin looks like it might be fractured too.

More bad news:  The altimeter didn't work, so we did not get an altitude reading

Even worse bad news:  The camcorder did not capture any video.  

Last bit of bad news, (I hope!):  In a feat of stupidity, I put my camcorder in "pause" mode instead of "record" and did a really good job of not filming the flight.

Fortunately, others were on-task and captured it.  

Using a Nikon digital SLR (drool) set to capture 9 frames per second, the stills are almost as good as a movie, and far better resolution.

Here is the flight sequence:


Ignition was a little slow, but better than last time - 1.42 second ignition lag according to the audio from the video of the video I made off the little LCD screen of Rick's camcorder.  This time I put two layers of fuse paper at the head end of the grain and one layer between the grains.  There is a 1/4 inch gap between the grains as well, to allow some flame to circulate, the fuse paper to intercept and circulate the flame.  

The first ignitor failed.  It was a big wad of fuse paper wrapped in green masking tape.  I pulled on the wire and it came out, but the big wad of fuse paper stuck in the nozzle.  The copper bridge wire heated and burned but did not set fire to the fuse paper.  This is the second time this has happened to me out of perhaps a dozen flights...I realized that the 12 volt automotive batteries used in this launch system don't make quite as big a spark as the 110vac I use at home.  

So I ran back to the car and made another ignitor as quickly as I could, this time placing a little black powder next to the bridge wire before rolling it up and taping it.  I ran back to the launch pad without my skinny pliers so there was no way to pull the first ignitor wad out, so I just pushed it back to the head end, stuck the new ignitor in behind it, and hoped for the best.  There was a bit of a delay, and I suspect this was between the new ignitor firing and the previous one firing shortly thereafter, allowing flame to reach the head-end.  

OK!  Now I have the video from Rick, who kindly burned it to DVD for me.  Click Here to see the launch (2 meg .wmv file, 12 seconds of video).

Upon ignition there is a little pop, a bit of smoke, then a louder pop and off she goes!  I believe the second pop is the first ignitor wad of fuse paper finally firing, which passes flame to the forward end of the motor.  

Toward the end of the video, we can make out the two parts of the airframe amidst the curls of smoke.  Apparently they separated a bit early.  Why?  I don't know. Suggestions are welcomed.  But I hope to have another chance to find out in January.

Jimmy Yawn
Recrystallized Rocketry
rev. 12/6/05