Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mountain top launch

This morning, my club president, Dan Cavender, and I made the trek up Monte Sano mountain to Monte Sano Elementary. It's their Space Week, and we were scheduled to give a rocket talk and launch demo to the kiddos. I thought we were going to be dealing with a group or two of K-2nd graders, but it turns out we had four groups - 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. Dan is a high power guy - a darn good one at that - so I bought along 3 of my rockets to fly in the very limited clear grassy area at the school (Monte Sano has beaucoup de trees). Unfortunately, I had only packed 3 motors for the demo - an A10-3T for the Birdie, an A8-3 for Der Red Max, and a C6-3 for my Estes Snitch Saucer - so we had to combine the 2nd and 3rd graders into one group. That way, one rocket flew for each gathering of kids.

Dan explains the basics of rocketry to Monte Sano 4th graders
Today Dan did most of the talking - he showed the HARA launch videos on Youtube to give a flavor of our Manchester launches, showed off his gorgeous Pegasus HPR scale model, and discussed the basic parts of a rocket, asking the kids about each part (nose cone, air frame, and fins). I served as the launch guy, setting up my pad and controller, and doing the final prep on the rockets before flight. I also brought along my Hero 3 camera to see what sort of video I could obtain of the rocket flights from the ground - at 100 frames per second, no less :)

The Snitch was launched for the 5th graders - it flew to about 70 feet or so, landing right beside the school building. One rocket launched, one rocket recovered. Der Red Max flew for the 4th graders; it was the one I was almost sure would hang in a tree, as it returned via parachute. Fortunately, the wind was calm and the rocket missed the trees by a few yards. Two rockets launched and recovered. Last up was my flying badminton birdie, which had the best altitude of the three flights on its A10 motor. It too landed right beside the school, making for 3 perfect flights.

The Go Pro Hero was easy to operate using my iPhone. I managed to get it pointed so that it got some launch video looking "up the tail pipe". The day was cloudy, so the vids were a bit dark; I was pleased nonetheless.

Here is a 1/3rd real time movie of the Snitch leaving the pad, created from the 100 fps footage:

and this is the real time footage of the Der Red Max flight. I love the kids' enthusiasm, and was amused by their reaction when the ejection charge fired. Even though it looks like the rocket was heading for the tree on the right, it missed it.

The rain moved in soon after the Birdie launch; it was a good thing our stuff was scheduled for the morning! Next year I will bring more motors along so I can fly for each individual grade. Of course, I will probably hang one or more in a tree then, given the perversity of Mother Nature.

1 comment:

  1. They really seemed to like that Red Max launch. No wonder - great rocket!