Confessions of a Rocket Scientist
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
  The X-Ray Flies
Two milestones to report. My X-Ray clone finally flew. And I am updating this blog after how many months?
I managed to get out to the launch this sunday. It looked like it was going to rain, but the sun came out, so I took a chance and loaded up the car. I took only a few rockets with me.
The first rocket I flew was my classic X-Ray clone. Finding the clear plastic payload tube and the balsa nosecone and adapter were the hardest part. The design is fairly straightforward. I will post a picture of it as soon as I get it scanned. I have to say it got a lot of smiles on the range. The X-ray was a classic in the Estes catalogs of the 60's. It originally cost $1.75, which was a lot of money back then.
I flew the X-Ray on an A8-3 motor. It's a light rocket and I did want to get it back. It is surprising how much performance this bird gives on such a small motor. The chute ejected but never really unfolded. I used a classic Estes PK-8 chute. The plastic was a but stickier in those older chutes. I must remember to apply a little baby porder next time. But the model itself is so light that it still recovered safely.
My next bird was a Big Bertha. This particular Bertha is a veteran. I flew it at the very first PARA launch in 1990. I flew it on a C6-5. It flew high and nicely, deployed the chute, and drifted down behind a row of corn. It landed between two different rows, so I had no difficulty finding it.
My next rocket was a lot bigger, a Thoy Falcon. It's about 2.6 inches in diameter and five feet long. I flew it on an Aerotech F20-7 White Lightning motor. It just screamed up into the sky on a brilliant trail of fire and smoke. The delay time lasted a bit more than 7 seconds and caused a bit of nail biting, but the ejection charge eventually deployed the chute and it recovered safely.
That turned out to be my last flight of the day. It started raining. I had prepped a Thoy Phoenix decorated with Grateful Dead teddy bears with a Dark Star F62-7 motor, but it never got launched. Save it for next time
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Location: Quakertown, Pennsylvania, United States

Two time cancer survivor, happily married, LaSalle Alumnus

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