Sunday, April 5, 2009


I cut out and assembled my 32" Dynastar chute canopy (free gift with my Apogee order) yesterday.... er... Friday (I forgot it's after midnight.). I used the nice heavy nylon string from my nylon chutes for the shroud lines. It's an octagonal chute, so each of the four lines is 96" (8 feet) long. I fixed the ends with a candle, then tied them on with a double square knot. Each hole / attachment point is reinforced with 2 binder-paper-hole-reinforcers. The nylon lines are slippery, though, and the knots wouldn't hold, so I had my mom sew each knot solid.

It now stands up to high-speed openings and encounters with crabapple trees. It deploys quickly and looks great and drifts not too much in wind. The nylon lines are nice and thick and easy to reef the chute with. With just 6" of lines between the knots and attachment holes, it's got a third of the drift at only twice the descent rate. It descends at about 2 fps wth a 3-ounce weight. It's too bit for any of my current fleet, although okay for the Mozzie on windless days in big fields, or SpaceShipOne only on a B6-2 (recall its encounter with the big oak tree on a C6-3 and 24" chute? That orange chute is still up there to torment me every day on my way to school).

Next, this morning I painted Lord Gavin and Frankenstein. Lord Gavin is a nice shiny gold on its nose cone, body, and fin faces, while the payload section stays clear (with glow-in-the-dark ends, and the fin edges also glow-in-the-dark. It looks pretty snazzy, I think, and is ready for a C6 or D15 reload soon.

Frankenstein received an ugly yellow-and green speckling on its main body, while the fin unit is now a translucent red (orange plastic plus red spray paint) and the nose cone also red. The end of the body tube are red to yellow-green transitions. There are a few bloody-looking red speckles up and down the body tube, and overall it's an awesome-looking rocket with eye-popping coloring that lives up to its namesake, both the monster (actually, Frakenstein was the man and the monster unnamed) and the Edgar Winters song, which we rock in Jazz Band.

I also did some miscellaneous building today. I got the dowels for the Nantucket Sound cut and evened out in length, the two shrouds - nose cone and main lighthouse body - cut out, plus the railing started to cut out. I'm got the chute ready to assemble too.

Since Estes is bringing back the A10-0T (in theory), the Mandachan will actually get to fly 2-staged at some point! (That just finally occured to me). of course, I can't stage A to A because the 4-second delay on the A3-4T is too short (Bring back the A3-6T, Estes!), but the 1/2A3-4T will be perfect.

I'm gonna put some reinforcements on the Deltie Thunder where it broke on the fuselage. Next flight will be on a D15-4, or maybe a D12-3 if I get them soon. I imagine the E9-4 must be a good match, as well as the E11-3J reload.

I've started hanging some of my rockets in my room to save space in my basement lair. The awkwardly shaped Glider 2, SpaceShipOne, and Comanche-3 (1, 2, and 3. interesting.) are waiting for tomorrow, but the Deltie Thuner now occupies 6" of vertical space in a corner of my room. It looks like a giant tan bat. rather imposing.

One non-rocketry item: I've been reading Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash lately. It's an interesting, hella funny, and classic sci-fi novel set in a mildly dystopian future. Besides, how can you hate the idea of CosaNostra Pizza? More later today or tomorrow.

I ordered a bunch of stuff from Hobylinc last Sunday, and it should come on Monday. It includes 1 pack eack of 1/4A3-3T, B6-4, C6-0, C6-3, and D12-0 motors from Estes, a pack of dog barf (recovery wadding), 6 4" Copperheads (1 for my D21-7 and 5 cheap spares), an aft closure wrench (because it's a pain to tighen when the motor is loaded), and a 3-pack of E18-4W reloads. They're good for Mozzie, 24mm saucer, Nantucket Sound, and maybe even Deltie Thunder or Lord Gavin. I would have liked the E28s, but I don't really like how Blue Thunder flame is almost invisible and leaves no smoke, whereas the White Lightning is loud and bright white and leaves huge clouds on white smoke - just like the Shuttle SRBs.

Speaking of the SRBs, they're the largest RMS systems in existence. They're something like AC10000000-Ps, and the main hardware is reusable after hitting apogee at 220,000 feet and deploying 3 136' paarchutes weighing over a ton each - the largest chutes ever used.

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