I just lost the top stage of a plans-built Apogee II - 2 C's to 2600 feet.
It hooked over a lot more than I would have expected. The high clouds kept
the sun away so the mylar streamer didn't sparkle. (Assuming it opened). I
expected to lose it on that one. (I got the Commanche 3 back after I
launched it on D-C-C, so I was still happy at the end of the day).
I'd put the total loss at about $5 because of the clear payload bay. It's
nice building modrocs from discount-bin acquired designers specials and a
chunk-of-balsa-from-a-friend, home-turned nosecone.
My son wonders why I haven't been getting a Level 1 rocket ready. I tell
him that it's because I haven't finished learning everything I can from the
little ones (half truth). I already spend enough on model sailplanes.
Personally, after seeing the cost of many of the Level 1 and Level 2
rockets, I don't think the rockets or the electronics are that bad. A nice
model sailplane is easily going to run you $500 or more after you get all
the servos, receiver, and battery pack into it. The biggest thing is
feeding the beasts. I have an easier time getting a hundred bucks worth of
electronics for the sailplanes than having to get the motors every time I
want to launch:
"I thought you have 50 motors downstairs"
"Yes, but there not the right ones"
Western New York Sailplane and Electric Flyers
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