First Ever Rocket Launch

Hey all,
We did our 1st ever rocket launches today...(We being me, my 7 yr old daughter and my 5 yr old daughter), and with some hitches, it was a success.
We had built a balsa model over the winter and it was ready to go, so we set it up first....I put a "B" motor in it, took it out to the field behind our house and got everything set....
Did I mention that we (meaning 99% me,and 1% of the oldest daughter handing me parts as I asked for them, and beer as needed too...) built this balsa model? It's all set up on the launch platform, and we start the countdown...5....4.....3....2...1...blas...nope...nuttin....wait for a bit....check the connections,.,,,,,try it again....5...4...3...2...1....blas.....nope. still nuttin....wait for a bit...pull the plug and sure enough...the igniter has gone off, but not the motor....so a new igniter goes in.....tighter this time....and the plug and so forth...and we go back to the countdown....5...4...3...2....1.......blas.....nope....nuttin.....so I tell my oldest to hold the launch button down while holding the launch key down...and as I am about to tell her to hold it for a few more seconds.....whiiiiiiiiiiiiishhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!....off it goes.......somewhere......not really sure where...cuz I really wasn't prepared for it to go....so here we are looking up for about 10 seconds or so, hoping to see the chute deploy......and nothing....after much fruitless searching in the nearby wheat field...we give up and go home and get the model that came with the launch kit, an Estes Alpha III. I spend about 15 minutes putting this together....wait another 1/2 hr or so until the glue dries...and off we go again.
This time we have a better idea of which direction the wind is going and back up onto the ball diamond about 100 yds north of our original position....we get another "B" engine set up and start our countdown....5...4...3...2...1...blast off! WWWHHHHHHHHHHIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! up it goes.....we look up expectantly and poof! the chute deploys....wooohoooo! The rocket and chute land nicely outside of the outfield fence....
2 more successful launches and we are getting a little more confident....I pull out a C6-4 and get it set up. I send the girls back to the track about 50 yds past the outfield fence and start the countdown.....5....4....3...2...1....BLAST OFF!!!!! WHIIIIIIIIIIISSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! Holy crap! I can't even see this thing any more.......where the hell is it....Oh...wait.....there's the poof of wadding and the chute opening....holy crap...is that thing going to be a hazard for air traffic? Wow is it a long way up there....several minutes later it touches down about 150yds INTO the wheat field......after 10 anxious minutes of searching I locate it....We are going to need a bigger launch site, or less wind. (look up at the flags on top of the back stop...nothing...not even a ripple...) oh crap...We are gonna need a MUCH bigger launch site.....how high do these motors go? "I"? Are you kidding me?? What do you use for ballast to keep them out of orbit? St Bernards? Jeepers...
Needless to say, tomorrow we are heading back to the hobby shop for more motors and such....and maybe a new kit to build.....We are also going to find a MUCH larger spot to launch from tomorrow....a spot without wheat fields or such...
Anyway...I thought I would share a first timer's launch and excitement....
Cheers!
Randy
Melbourne, Ontario.
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Hey there, welcome.
Sounds like you are still excited about the experience. It gets even better.
According to the Estes catalog the Alpha III you flew has a max altitude of about 1100 feet. That's about 1/5th of a mile. Your C6-4 flight was probably around there somewhere. Some of the more powerful stuff can get much higher.
Might I suggest Estes' Big Bertha as your next rocket? It is bigger and does fly quite as high (only about 500 feet) but would be fun to watch. It might work fine at your launch site. Fat Boy would also be a fun one. If you thought these launches were a thrill, try out Eliminator for some D and E engine fun.
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Daniel,
You bet I am still excited...I was looking at the Estes site and found the Big Bertha, as well as the Eliminator...I was actually looking at the eliminator earlier....I will have to see what my local guy can get in stock for me...I am also going to look into some Canadian online dealers as well...
I had another look at my motors and they were a B6-4 and a C6-5...
I really don't know how high they went...I suppose I could get out my Suunto clinometer and figure it out that way.....if it goes to that kind of angle......it's meant for trees, not 1000ft high rockets..:)
It sure was a heck of a lot of fun though....
R.

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Yeah, I thought C6-4 seemed a bit screwy.
Another rocket, though out of production, that is a lot of fun is Estes' Mean Machine. You can find them on eBay. That sucker is 6 feet 6 inches tall.
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Try hobbylinc.com or discountrocketry.com. The mean machine goes quite high in the "D" engine. Easy to spot though especially in yellow
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Daughters can be more fun flying. Sometimes the sons get too serious about it. ; )
Randy http://vernarockets.com /
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Welcome to our great hobby!! It's a great way to spend quality time with the kids.
Phil Stein Philadelphia, PA
wrote:

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Welcome to the madness!!!
I'll agree with the suggestions folks have made for your next kits. I personally really like the Fatboy, that's one FUN little rocket. One thing about it is it doesn't go too high on a C motor and when you get the itch to try something with more punch it's a darned good flyer on Aerotech D's that are the same size as the 18mm Estes A-C motors.
Now what you need to do is track down the closest club and go see some high power launches!
Chuck
P.S. Never forget that having fun is your first priority in the hobby. Anything that gets in the way of the fun should be discarded from your to-do list.
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R & K Bilyea wrote:

Most excellent! I encourage you and your daughters to explore the hobby and find what interests you; there are lots of different options and power levels. Find what you like and fly with it!
-Kevin
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R & K Bilyea wrote:

Congrats, and welcome to the hobby!
R
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consider getting the "Skywriter" next, it's a flying #2 pencil - your daughters will love it!!
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Cliff Sojourner wrote:

Be careful with this one on a C as it will really get up there. A B6-4 is more like it.
Kurt Savegnago
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Yup!! my daughter launched hers on B6-4 a few times but generally is thrilled with flying it on A8-3s.
(she knows something about altitude though, yesterday she put her yellow & blue 4" x 42" 3FNC up on an I218.)
Kurt wrote:

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get a bigger rocket.
the estes executioner or similar sized rocket is almost impossible to lose
unless you start paying $20 per motor(H242-M)
which I think you will :)
--
Tater
President of MARS Club (NAR #660)
  Click to see the full signature.
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wrote:

Cool! Glad you had fun!
Eldred
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I have gone ahead and built an Estes Stormcaster kit, and it should be ready to fly by next weekend. (as long as I stop "tweaking" it....)
It is completely assembled, 1st 2 coats of paint are on. I just need to recoat the fins and apply the decals and clearcoat and it will be ready.
This thing may have started out as a stock Estes stormcaster, but it sure isn't going to look like one when I am done. I will post pics once it is finished.
I think the next one will be from scratch, rather than a kit...I will probably need to make a road trip to get all the parts I want....my local guy seems to be OK for kits...but his MR section is about 3 ft wide....
Cheers,
Randy.

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Randy,
Welcome to the hobby and the added fun of including your family :)
As you grow and explore, check out FlisKits ( http://fliskits.com/ ) for some fun alternatives :)
jim
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