Sunday, August 13, 2006
Here is Jim’s version of last Sunday afternoon: First of all, my usually understanding wife doesn’t like the name Beaver Lodge for our house. I, on the other hand, like it because it helps create a mystique that we are living up in the mountains away from civilization. We actually have lots more deer, bear, turkey, hawks, raccoons, squirrels, bats, snakes, caterpillars, spiders, and ants than beavers, but those names just don’t fit well as a name for our “lodge.”
This past Sunday (8-6-2006) Marita’s Mike and son David came by for a visit. Christopher and Edward love hanging with David so Mike’s and David’s arrival was eagerly anticipated. The first thing that came out of the boys’ arsenal (literally) was an eight-foot long three-stage rocket built by Christopher.
This “Long August” rocket is mounted for takeoff at the top of the wood frame, with the tail fins level with Edward’s hairline. David is on the left. The rocket’s tube is an 8-foot plastic fluorescent light bulb protector available from Home Depot. The first stage is an “E” motor, designed to be pushed out when the second motor, a “D”, fires after being lit by the expended “E.” The white one-foot long object within the tube, at the top of the fins, is a finless third stage using an “A” motor. After being lit by the expended “D” motor, the third stage is supposed to blast its way up the tube, through the green nose cone, and continue higher.
Here we have a magnificent takeoff.The weight of the three motors makes the first stage exhaust nice and thick.
The Long August rocket near the end of the “E” motor firing. The delay before “D” motor startup was a wee-bit too long and the rocket nosed over and headed straight down back to Earth. Then, just when it seemed we were watching a catastrophic failure, the rocket did something we’ve never seen before, the “D” motor ignited, and the rocket made a “U” turn and started heading straight up again. We were all completely amazed.
This rocket was guiding itself to new heights!
Below we see the second (“D” motor) stage bring the Long August way up. You can make out the very faint rocket at the top of this picture. This is really far up at this point – I would guess between 600-800 feet.
After topping out again, the rocket nosed over for its second time, and crashed on the pool deck.
The three rocketeers inspect the spent rocket, after removing the third stage which never fired. Christopher is holding what had been the 8-foot clear plastic tube; David is holding the third stage white tube. They feel that the third stage moved up the tube after the rocket nosed over, and was too far from the second motor to be ignited.
Edward and David took a PVC pipe and fired the third stage bazooka style. Without fins it lost its directional stability. Uncle Mike’s comment was that he sees a future for Edward, in the military.
Christopher checks out the tail. It appears that the second motor, that was mounted a few inches up the tube, must have melted the tube enough to bend it to bring the rocket out of its first dive. It then melted the tube the other way to make the rocket fly straight up again. Improbable as this may sound, it is the only explanation we have at this point.
Front end of the rocket showing the crumpled top of the rocket tube. Uncle Mike is in the background, perhaps wondering how he managed to marry into this family.
The full rocket team: Christopher, Edward, David, Uncle Mike. Where are they all heading? Fourth year H.S., Third year H.S., Fourth year college, back home again.
Heather’s notes: A fun time was had by all. I love that they create their own rockets rather than use kits. Where was Katherine – she was taking movies of the launches.