Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Oh No, No, No, I'm A Rocket Man

As I mentioned in the previous post, last Friday was the last day of school here at St. Stanislaus. As my long-time readers know, one of my hobbies is building and flying model rockets. So, I gave the kids at the school a little demonstration and fly some of my rockets for them.

These rockets are built from kits, or from scratch. They use solid-fuel single-use engines. Some of them can go up to 3,000 feet high. I didn't launch any that high Friday - if you're going to launch something that high, you'd better be prepared to recover it up to 1/2 mile away, depending on wind drift!

Here I am showing them my "Honest John" rocket, a model of the '70's era Army artillery rocket of the same name. This is a big one, that's very impressive going up. Because it's so large, it takes a little while to get going, and you can see its lift-off very well. It won't go that high, though. The highest I've ever had it go is about 400 feet.

This is my newest-built rocket, the CFX-6. It stands over 6 feet tall. The kids were very impressed by it!

As you can see, I had the kids' rapt attention!

Here we are outside, and I'm prepping the "Honest John" for launch with the help of a young assistant. I would have liked to have a picture of this rocket in flight, but it suffered a mishap: when the ejection charge blew the nose cone off, it tore the shock cord holding the parachute to the main body tube right out of its mount: It plummeted to earth from about 300 ft. and sustained major damage.

This is my new rocket, the CFX-6, on the launch pad before its maiden flight. It went up flawlessly, a picture-perfect flight! I also allowed some of the kids to launch the rockets. They're electrically fired from about 25 feet away, so it's reasonably safe.

Here's the CFX-6 on its way back to earth, gently floating down on its parachute. I was impressed by how high it went up. Usually the larger rockets don't go that high, but this one went up about 600 feet.

It was a fun morning! I got to play with my rockets, teach the kids something, and the kids had a memorable last day of school!