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
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
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.
Big Sky Rocketry Association
NAR Section #623
Tripoli Prefecture #113