Thursday, January 1, 2009

Oddball recovery!

Parachute, streamer, glider, and helicopter recovery are all fine and good, but how 'bout some truly crazy recovery schemes? The rules are simple: no streamers, no conventional parachutes, no conventional helicopter blades, and no dedicated gliding surfaces (i.e., wings). No electronics may be used (except as an altimeter that doesn't deploy anything), no staging, and no dropping anything, even an empty motor casing, ever. If this was run as an official contest, then it would be divided into motor classes and your score would simply be your time.
Possibilities include:
  • Aerobrake / UFO: simple conical, drag-recovery rockets. Already used today in sizes from 6mm to 54mm.

  • Monocopter: truly weird, spinning contraptions that are currently flown on 6mm to 24mm motors.

  • Stayed parachute: a parachute that stays of the outside of the body tube and is reinforced by hard wood stays. Rather like a deployable UFO.

  • Separation: commonly used nose-blow, mid-body-separation, and break-apart recovery. Simple destroys the aerodynamic stability of the rocket and causes it to fall far slower.

  • Backslider: certain long, thin rockets can glide backwards after ejection. I've seen my Bullpuppy do this after separating at apogee. This don't have dedicated gliding surfaces, but rather fins that allow it to glide.

  • Similar are flying stovepipe rocket gliders, which glide using a large ring-fin.

  • Balloon: somehow, I imagine a non-electrical device could deploy a CO2 canister to inflate a balloon. Purely imaginative, currently.

  • Body-chute: use a large, probably cone-shaped body as a sort of parachute for the heavier engine mount.

  • Kite: use a kite as both a fin and to slow the recovery. Again, curently purely imaginative.

Just a few ideas.
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