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Tour de Deuce Montana!
Hosted by Steve Shannon

August 21st, 2004
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TdD Montana, without a hitch!
(Well, not without a problem, but without a hitch.  See, we don't ship any "hitches" with these kits...)

Well, both TDD rockets flew yesterday - but with some problems (not the rocket's fault of course).

The first launch for each rocket resulted in one motor not igniting. One rocket required some minor repair to one of the fins. The other rocket wasn't even scratched. Both rockets will be in priority mail tomorrow to Neil Thompson. I'm sorry for the damage and if you have any suggestons how I can make it up to you I would like to hear them.

I don't know why there were problems. I have been going over it in my head trying to figure it out. Was it me (always possible); was it the clip whip (I used the one that came with the rockets that the gentleman from Texas send. It looks very well made. The clips are very tight). Or might it have been the motors or igniters? I probably will never know. We used the same launcher to launch 3 motor clusters with no problems. In both instances both igniters lit. For the first flight the rocket angled over and hit the ground under thrust. One of the fins popped loose (not off but hanging by its roots) from the body tube. Looking at the excellent construction I am amazed that happened without the fin breaking. The dowels or pins that anchored the fin to the body tube were loose in the body tube but still attached to the fins. The fillets popped off the body tube and stayed with the fin, which was left hanging from its supports. I put Five minute epoxy on the pins and under the fillets and pressed the fin back into place, wiped off the squeeze out, and held the fin in place while the epoxy cured. I would touch up the paint also if I knew what the brand and color of paint was. I won't because I could just end up making the situation worse.

For the second flight attempt, the other TDD rocket took off (I was extra careful this time because I was already spooked by the first rocket results) and just hovered in the air under thrust, with the clip-whip and launch leads hanging from it. It even picked the relay box partially off the ground, but it could not pick up the 7AH battery. I've seen a lot of flights but never one that did that. I have a photo of it that shows it clearly, which I will include in the album. When the thrust ended, the rocket dropped back to earth and then popped its chute. There is a small dent in the nose cone that I didn't notice before that may have come from that attempt. When I examined the igniter for the unfired motor afterwards, the pyrogen had burned off and the igniter was melted into the plastic motor plug.

Both of those flight attempts were made using two new packages of Estes C6-5 rocket motors that my daughter bought at Michaels in Bozeman, MT on Friday. For the next two attempts, we used motors and igniters that had been purchased elsewhere, a different set of clip whips, and just to be on the safe side I asked Keenan Cox (one of our most prolific teenage rocketeers and a great kid) to prepare them (just in case I was doing something stupid). For both of these attempts the rockets lit perfectly and flew perfectly. I'll be packing them along with our souvenirs today to send out tomorrow.

Please tell me how you want me to send our photos and write-up for the TDD album pages. Thank you for this great opportunity. On the way home from the launch I saw two young bald eagles flying about 30 - 40 feet from my vehicle. They were out looking for food. It was a beautiful end to a great launch day.

Steve Shannon
Big Sky Rocketry Association
NAR Section #623
Tripoli Prefecture #113

rockets! ROCKETS! lookit all the rockets!
"FlisKits make the best kits!"

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