Back in my youth, I once flew a cold power rocket at launch that had
been rained out. You still get wet during the recovery, not much fun,
but then neither is sitting in car hoping the rain will stop.
I once flew a model rocket into fog...... I think the ceiling was less than
100ft at the time. The statute of limitations has run out on this one.
this was a very strange rocket. The nose cone was a single diamter intake
and there where 3 "flexible" straws exhausted at 120 angles of attack.
It was thought that having a ram air effect out 3 opposing sides would go a
long way towards improving stablitity. In addtion there was fine brass pipe
screen at the exhaust end to collect air pollution samples. I never did see
this rocket once it was launched in the "fog".
Using some form of passive or active ram air system would still be a good
idea for trajectory control.
I got my idea to usr am air for stability control by reading Capt. Forrest
Mims articles in the old Model Rocketry mag back in the early 70's.
Which is kinda funny, isn't it? Take a few ounces of cardboard, add one
piffling rocket motor, and you might knock an airplane out of the air
(as planes are so succesful at hiding in those clouds...silently, even).
Or maybe it's the hot air balloons with which they are concerned? Or a
hydrogen filled zeppelin (hmmm..wonder if the regs were written as a
result of the Hindenburg)?
Dateline Lakehurst: Local man being held under suspicion of blowing up
Hindenburg with an Alpha III model rocket.
I would be VERY worried about drawing lightning. You have a rocket
that is creating a particle stream (exhaust) down to the ground with
alot of copper wires connected to a battery...and you on the end of the
I guess its an easy way to get a tan in the rainy season.
When I first returned to rocketry (over a decade ago) I decided to try
out one of those new (new to me) composite motors. 6 or 7 oz rocket
with a Aerotech G40 motor. I busted a few clouds that day but it was a
mostly sunny day. :)
My first attempt at my level2 was on an Aetotech J415 pushing a 8 pound
rocket up to 5000 feet.(nose cone was lost on ejection) I did that
between two thunderstorm cells about 5 miles apart. That was about as
close as I'll ever come to trying to punch a hole in a rain cloud.
I didn't realize the FAA existed to protect us from ourselves. They let
marginally trained individuals fly themselves around the friendly skies
hanging underneath a chute with a prop on their back, so I can't see the
regulation about clouds existing because of lightning concerns.
I don't know the reasons for the FAA regulations, but I would think
that it would be to protect a pilot that is flying IFR through clouds
and is suddenly nose-to-nose with a large rocket. I know that if I
were a pilot flying through clouds, I wouldn't want to have to worry
about a 30 pound rocket with almost 100 feet of tubular nylon and
fiberglass hitting my prop.
Not to pick on anyone, but I would hope common sense would tell anyone
that flying a rocket into a rain cloud is not a good idea unless you're
going for a Darwin Award.
You guys need to pay attention. They never went to the moon, in fact there
is no moon and there are no helicopters!
However... "THERE ARE 4 LIGHTS!!!" and "All your base are belong to us!"
Indeed, the odds are against it. A better reason to not fly into
clouds, in my opinion at least, is to ensure that you know
whether or not the rocket has deployed its recovery system, and
to know where it is as it's coming down (in either case). And
just to be able to enjoy the whole flight by being able to watch
it all from start to finish.
A moot point for extreme-altitude flights, I know, but for
flights to altitudes where the rocket should still be visible,
it's safer and more enjoyable to be able to be able to see the
rocket during its entire flight profile.
You really get wet waiting for the ceiling to lift, or breaking down
after a launch in a cloudburst. I was part of 2 soakers.
This 2004 CMASS launch was the wettest I ever got at a launch.
Driving there was not fun. Nearly 2" of rain in an hour. Got to the
soggy field. The rain stopped and we set up a few pads for modrocs.
Ceiling lifted to 1000 ft., sun peaked out, launched ~150 rockets, then
all hell broke loose. There was a quarry next to the field with dump
trucks running. I thougth I heard thunder, but everyone else thought
it was the tailgates on the dump trucks. 15 minutes later, with the
first bolt of lightening, we realized we had waited 10 minutes too
long. We did not like running with the pads (lightening rods) to the
trailer. Everyone got totally soaked. Driving home was at least as
bad as getting there.
Last year we brougth back NEMROC after a 14 year absence. We had had a
pretty good fall, and the Columbus Day Weekend is usually a good
weather weekend. Any other year than 2005.
We had well over 6" of rain on Friday and Saturday. Fortunately for
the ~60 attendees, the conference was indoors. Unfortunately the hot
dogs were outdoors. We rescheduled the Sunday launch to Monday in
hopes that the rain would stop. It didn't, got atleast another 2". On
Monday a dozen crazy hardcores showed up, set up the range, waited for
the 0-0 ceiling to lift to ~1500 ft. and then started our launch.
Rain, drizzle, cold east wind. Miserable. After about 3 dozen flight,
the rain increased, and we called it a day after serving the hot dogs.
Yes. You can fly on bad day, but you really get soaked waiting for the
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