Long: Personal story & an Estes Saturn V 3 stage flight report

Long: Personal story & an Estes Saturn V 3 stage flight report

Post by Rand » Tue, 04 May 2004 10:00:27



A long flash back.....then a launch report.

( I'm not a Homer Hickam but I think he'd enjoy this.)

On a very hot Saturday afternoon in late July of 1968, I saw my first
Centuri Saturn V at the local hobby store. I think it was a cluster kit.

I can remember standing there on a sidewalk that you could have fried an egg
on, staring at it through the window with my mouth watering. It Must have
been around 98* and 100% humidity. I  lived next door to 2 brothers that
were 3 years older than me, they had been into rockets for about a year and
we had gone to pick up a 3 pack of engines for them. They had let me look
through their dog eared rocket catalog for several days now and I had
decided I wanted to buy a rocket too.

I'd seen them fly what I think was an Alpha III the Saturday before, that I
thought, must have made it into orbit because I saw it leave the pad but it
never came down. The local school playground was only 2 blocks from home and
it made a great place to launch. Recovery however, was another matter. They
had slapped in a C and we saw it vaporize off the pad and I think I saw it
start to arc but then I looked right into the sun and it was all over. Most
likely it came down a block, or 2, or 10 away, but for all I know, it may
still be orbiting the equator.

I couldn't wait to buy my first rocket and blow all the money I had made
that week cutting grass, on something that was going to make me a part of
the Space Race. The kit and a 3 pack of engines was over $5.00! That was a
lot of money to a 12 year old in 1968. It would take a lot more to ever
afford a Saturn V, something like $20! But I knew someday I would buy and
build one. I wanted to get 3, one to learn on, one to cluster... maybe 5
engines, and one to build as a 3 stage. My friends said I was crazy. They
will just crash and burn and you will have wasted all that time and money.
It just can't be done.

They had everything I needed to fly, a pad, controller and most importantly,
the expertise to make it all happen. Even though my dad was working for
NASA, I had little concept at age 12 of how it all worked, much less
get a model to fly.

At that time, my dad was working 14-16 hours per day, 7 days per week and
since we lived in Birmingham Alabama, he was always commuting between home,
Huntsville and the Cape, most of it in a small plane and some times in a
Lear. It didn't leave much time to go flying with me. In that time frame, I
only got to see him a few hours a week, usually for church on Sundays. After
I was grown, he asked me once, if I resented him for being gone most of the
time when I was going through junior high and if I thought going to the moon
was worth the time that I didn't have with him? Without hesitation I told
him yes, I understood they needed him to get there and it was important to
the country. Even though I knew there were 10's of thousands that worked to
see that dream become a reality, I've always known it was MY dad that
actually got us there. With a little help from Von Braun.  ; )

I finally built my first rocket, I think it was an Alpha III and got to fly
it Labor Day weekend. We went to the school and set up, only to find the
batteries in the controller were dead. We had no money or any more batteries
but then I had an idea. One of my friends stayed there with the equipment
and the other went with me. Arriving at home and finding everyone gone, I
borrowed a battery... from my brothers car. I didn't realize they were so
heavy. My friend and I took turns carrying it the 2 blocks back to the
playground. By the time we got there our shirts were covered in grease and
dried battery acid. They weren't sure this battery would work since it was
for a car but we decided to try anyway.

We set my little rocket up and did a count down. 5 4 3 2 1 GONE! We were
astonished to say the least. All the other launches had a brief delay from 0
to launch, but not this time. It was gone almost before it was there. It
streaked into the sky on a C and looked like it would go forever. It arched
beautifully and had only begun to start down when the chute came out, too
far away to hear it. Then it drifted.... and drifted ... and drifted
completely out of sight. It was gone. I was happy and sad at the same time.
Like I said, the playground was a great place to launch, not to recover. It
probably landed on a nearby roof. I don't remember how their flights went
that day, just watching my first rocket float away but I was hooked and have
been ever since.

Over time I assembled my own equipment, built and flew many rockets. Decades
passed but there was never a time I ever really abandoned the hobby or
forgot about building a Saturn V, several Saturn V's.  I grew up, went to
school, got a job, found I liked girls. I liked girls a lot. Finally married
one that loved rocketry. Now she builds and flies too.

30 years later, 1998, on line, I picked up the last Saturn V Hobby Linc had
and carefully build it. Built it stock and flew it on a D12-3! What guts!
What glory! I had been told a D12-3 was suicide. The wind will rip it to
shreds. It will crash and burn, everyone will die! All will be lost! It's
madness! Sheer madness! It did have a close call or two but even with the
bad delays back in 1999, it's still flying and still looks ok after a dozen
flights.

2000, Verna picks up 3 Saturn V's from a local hobby shop. A couple for me
for Christmas and one for a son. In time, we build a second Saturn V, a 5
engine cluster, later named Rocket Babe and she's a 5 engine cluster. It's a
long build in unknown territory but as we from the Civilized Tribe always
do, "we endeavor to persevere" and it's completed. The painting is a chore
but it turns out ok.

Finally we find a few hours to fly and head out to our secret field and get
set up. I'm e***d but a little concerned. We've got a whole new launch
system with a heavy duty pad, leads, control box and 12 volt power source.
The wind isn't too bad, about 8-9 mph and it's over cast and cool. My main
concern is about all 5 igniting together. The cameras are ready too. The
wind dies down and the count is 5 4 3 2 1 and off it goes! The first flight
liftoff, is flawless. All 5 light and it lifts straight up on a D12-5 and 4
C6-0 boosters. Unlike the single D engine that seems to fly like molasses,
Rocket Babe jumps off the pad without hesitation, with lots of noise and
smoke, rising to about 200'. All seems to be going great but then, right at
burn out of the boosters, the rocket separates early, while it's still
climbing at a pretty good clip. It looks like it broke in the middle and I
cringe watching it, praying the chutes will voluntarily open.

Screaming down in a severe arc, the 3 ounces of lead in the nose seem to be
leading us into that predicted fiery crash and burn, as the chute and sling
look like a streamer. I'm getting sick as the larger booster tumbles toward
the ground but then just as suddenly, my fears subside. The ejection kicks
out the 2 chutes of the booster, just as the upper stage chute frees itself
and
deploys about 50' off the ground. Both come down intact and for the most
part undamaged. Only a couple of chute lines on the upper stage have pulled
through the plastic. There is a ding or two on the paint but over all,
Rocket Babe is fine.

We decide not to fly it again until we can figure out what went wrong and
hope the video and still photos will tell us. We had a partial success,
because the new pad and launch system worked fine and the lift off was
fantastic. Back at home watching a very good and detailed video, it appears
that everything was going well until there was a pressure build up from the
C6 boosters burning through, causing an early separation. If that is true,
it's a simple matter of using the same delays on all 5 engines but it will
be a while before we can try again.

August 2001... in the mean time, we find out my dad, now 79, has stage 5
stomach cancer and suddenly, flying isn't so important. He chooses not to
under go all the radiation and chemo and recovers quickly from the operation
to remove the tumor from his stomach. We soon forget about flying all
together.

Knowing he has less than 6 months to live and time is short, we prepare as
best we can for the inevitable. The man responsible for my love of rocketry
is not going to be with us much longer.

He does well until New Years Eve and we decide to take him to launch Rocket
Babe again. We set up and prepare to go. It's late afternoon and cold about
40* but the wind is dead calm. I'm concerned he'll catch cold and in his
weakening state, I don't want a family outing to cause pneumonia. He insists
he's fine, cameras are in place and we continue to prepare to launch.
Finally, as the sun sinks behind the hill and we're running out of daylight,
the key goes in and the red light burns brightly, indicating the pad is hot.
We're ready to go. He counts it down, 5 4 3 2 1 and pushes the button.
Rocket Babe responds instantly, and we watch as she burns into the twilight
sky. This time we hear the engines shut down but she continues to coast
upward and then I can hear the 35mm clicking away.

As she begins to arc, the ejections go in rapid fire and we hear all 5 go.
The rocket separates and the crimson nylon chutes open with a snap, as we
watch both sets of chutes float gently to the ground. Rocket Babe IS a
success. Everyone is jumping up and down and the look on my dad's face was
priceless. I asked how he liked that and he just laughed and said, "Son it
was great, I bet they felt it at the Cape." It was his reference to the
ground shaking for miles when a real Saturn V lifted off.
He got to witness three.

2002 was upon us. It was 34 years later but we finally got to enjoy
launching a Saturn together and a cluster at that. He joined his friend Von
Braun, March 25, 2002.

With so many things to wrap up from taxes to final arrangements, it was
about 6 months before I began to think about flying again. After stopping by
rmr to lurk ...

read more »

 
 
 

Long: Personal story & an Estes Saturn V 3 stage flight report

Post by PeteAlw » Tue, 04 May 2004 10:20:32


Quote:
>Sorry this was so long but over the last 7 years, I've enjoyed many hours
>of reading about many of the rmr regular's backgrounds and histories in the
>hobby. It was my hope that knowing some of the background about our
>history, would be a nice break from the political and OT for a few of

you.

Quote:
>Randy

I knew there was a reason I keep scanning the subject headers on r.m.r.
Excellent story.  Thank you.

Peter Alway

Saturn Press
PO Box 3709
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-3709
http://members.aol.com/satrnpress/saturn.htm
Free scale data at:
http://yellowjacketsystems.com/alway/Default.htm

 
 
 

Long: Personal story & an Estes Saturn V 3 stage flight report

Post by David Erbas-Whit » Tue, 04 May 2004 11:02:15


Quote:

>A long flash back.....then a launch report.

>( I'm not a Homer Hickam but I think he'd enjoy this.)

>On a very hot Saturday afternoon in late July of 1968, I saw my first
>Centuri Saturn V at the local hobby store. I think it was a cluster kit.

<big long snip of wonderful story>

Randy,

Thanks for the pick-me-up.  Just great!!!

BTW, I hope your family is doing well, and the kids safe.  Haven't heard
much about them lately...

David Erbas-White

 
 
 

Long: Personal story & an Estes Saturn V 3 stage flight report

Post by Stephen Corba » Tue, 04 May 2004 11:16:06


I second that

--
Stephen Corban
Change is the only constant in life
I hope I die before I get old


Quote:
> >Sorry this was so long but over the last 7 years, I've enjoyed many hours
> >of reading about many of the rmr regular's backgrounds and histories in
the
> >hobby. It was my hope that knowing some of the background about our
> >history, would be a nice break from the political and OT for a few of
> you.

> >Randy

> I knew there was a reason I keep scanning the subject headers on r.m.r.
> Excellent story.  Thank you.

> Peter Alway

> Saturn Press
> PO Box 3709
> Ann Arbor, MI 48106-3709
> http://members.aol.com/satrnpress/saturn.htm
> Free scale data at:
> http://yellowjacketsystems.com/alway/Default.htm

 
 
 

Long: Personal story & an Estes Saturn V 3 stage flight report

Post by Rand » Tue, 04 May 2004 12:18:21



Quote:
> BTW, I hope your family is doing well, and the kids safe.  Haven't heard
> much about them lately...

Thanks and so far so good. Our oldest daughter is in the middle of her
second deployment to Iraq, flying medi-vac in and out of hot spots. Our
youngest son is training for his second deployment to Afghanistan. Thanks to
their mom, they're smart, well trained and focused on their missions, proud
and glad to serve. The other 3 are doing well also.

Good thoughts and prayers for them and all those who serve with them, are
always appreciated.

Randy

 
 
 

Long: Personal story & an Estes Saturn V 3 stage flight report

Post by Len Brya » Tue, 04 May 2004 12:57:29


Quote:

>As G. Harry stated, it IS possible to chad stage, even with motors 10.5"
>apart. The trick we have to learn is how to get it done 5 times

Thanks for the great story. It's a keeper.

Len Bryan

 
 
 

Long: Personal story & an Estes Saturn V 3 stage flight report

Post by Marcus Lee » Tue, 04 May 2004 22:56:48


Quote:

> A long flash back.....then a launch report.

> ( I'm not a Homer Hickam but I think he'd enjoy this.)

> On a very hot Saturday afternoon in late July of 1968, I saw my first
> Centuri Saturn V at the local hobby store. I think it was a cluster kit.

[Much fabulous narrative deleted]

OMG, Randy.  That was the most inspiring post I've seen on RMR in
  *years*.  Thankyou very much.

 
 
 

Long: Personal story & an Estes Saturn V 3 stage flight report

Post by Dloga » Tue, 04 May 2004 23:29:20


Randy,
     When you are successful with your 3 stage flight, and I'm sure you will
be, you should submit this story to Sprocketry.  Even if you aren't, it
should still be submitted.  Posts and stories such as this are why I still
visit RMR.  Thank you.

David Logan


Quote:
> A long flash back.....then a launch report.

> ( I'm not a Homer Hickam but I think he'd enjoy this.)

> On a very hot Saturday afternoon in late July of 1968, I saw my first
> Centuri Saturn V at the local hobby store. I think it was a cluster kit.

> I can remember standing there on a sidewalk that you could have fried an
egg
> on, staring at it through the window with my mouth watering. It Must have
> been around 98* and 100% humidity. I  lived next door to 2 brothers that
> were 3 years older than me, they had been into rockets for about a year
and
> we had gone to pick up a 3 pack of engines for them. They had let me look
> through their dog eared rocket catalog for several days now and I had
> decided I wanted to buy a rocket too.

> I'd seen them fly what I think was an Alpha III the Saturday before, that
I
> thought, must have made it into orbit because I saw it leave the pad but
it
> never came down. The local school playground was only 2 blocks from home
and
> it made a great place to launch. Recovery however, was another matter.
They
> had slapped in a C and we saw it vaporize off the pad and I think I saw it
> start to arc but then I looked right into the sun and it was all over.
Most
> likely it came down a block, or 2, or 10 away, but for all I know, it may
> still be orbiting the equator.

> I couldn't wait to buy my first rocket and blow all the money I had made
> that week cutting grass, on something that was going to make me a part of
> the Space Race. The kit and a 3 pack of engines was over $5.00! That was a
> lot of money to a 12 year old in 1968. It would take a lot more to ever
> afford a Saturn V, something like $20! But I knew someday I would buy and
> build one. I wanted to get 3, one to learn on, one to cluster... maybe 5
> engines, and one to build as a 3 stage. My friends said I was crazy. They
> will just crash and burn and you will have wasted all that time and money.
> It just can't be done.

> They had everything I needed to fly, a pad, controller and most
importantly,
> the expertise to make it all happen. Even though my dad was working for
> NASA, I had little concept at age 12 of how it all worked, much less
> get a model to fly.

> At that time, my dad was working 14-16 hours per day, 7 days per week and
> since we lived in Birmingham Alabama, he was always commuting between
home,
> Huntsville and the Cape, most of it in a small plane and some times in a
> Lear. It didn't leave much time to go flying with me. In that time frame,
I
> only got to see him a few hours a week, usually for church on Sundays.
After
> I was grown, he asked me once, if I resented him for being gone most of
the
> time when I was going through junior high and if I thought going to the
moon
> was worth the time that I didn't have with him? Without hesitation I told
> him yes, I understood they needed him to get there and it was important to
> the country. Even though I knew there were 10's of thousands that worked
to
> see that dream become a reality, I've always known it was MY dad that
> actually got us there. With a little help from Von Braun.  ; )

> I finally built my first rocket, I think it was an Alpha III and got to
fly
> it Labor Day weekend. We went to the school and set up, only to find the
> batteries in the controller were dead. We had no money or any more
batteries
> but then I had an idea. One of my friends stayed there with the equipment
> and the other went with me. Arriving at home and finding everyone gone, I
> borrowed a battery... from my brothers car. I didn't realize they were so
> heavy. My friend and I took turns carrying it the 2 blocks back to the
> playground. By the time we got there our shirts were covered in grease and
> dried battery acid. They weren't sure this battery would work since it was
> for a car but we decided to try anyway.

> We set my little rocket up and did a count down. 5 4 3 2 1 GONE! We were
> astonished to say the least. All the other launches had a brief delay from
0
> to launch, but not this time. It was gone almost before it was there. It
> streaked into the sky on a C and looked like it would go forever. It
arched
> beautifully and had only begun to start down when the chute came out, too
> far away to hear it. Then it drifted.... and drifted ... and drifted
> completely out of sight. It was gone. I was happy and sad at the same
time.
> Like I said, the playground was a great place to launch, not to recover.
It
> probably landed on a nearby roof. I don't remember how their flights went
> that day, just watching my first rocket float away but I was hooked and
have
> been ever since.

> Over time I assembled my own equipment, built and flew many rockets.
Decades
> passed but there was never a time I ever really abandoned the hobby or
> forgot about building a Saturn V, several Saturn V's.  I grew up, went to
> school, got a job, found I liked girls. I liked girls a lot. Finally
married
> one that loved rocketry. Now she builds and flies too.

> 30 years later, 1998, on line, I picked up the last Saturn V Hobby Linc
had
> and carefully build it. Built it stock and flew it on a D12-3! What guts!
> What glory! I had been told a D12-3 was suicide. The wind will rip it to
> shreds. It will crash and burn, everyone will die! All will be lost! It's
> madness! Sheer madness! It did have a close call or two but even with the
> bad delays back in 1999, it's still flying and still looks ok after a
dozen
> flights.

> 2000, Verna picks up 3 Saturn V's from a local hobby shop. A couple for me
> for Christmas and one for a son. In time, we build a second Saturn V, a 5
> engine cluster, later named Rocket Babe and she's a 5 engine cluster. It's
a
> long build in unknown territory but as we from the Civilized Tribe always
> do, "we endeavor to persevere" and it's completed. The painting is a chore
> but it turns out ok.

> Finally we find a few hours to fly and head out to our secret field and
get
> set up. I'm e***d but a little concerned. We've got a whole new launch
> system with a heavy duty pad, leads, control box and 12 volt power source.
> The wind isn't too bad, about 8-9 mph and it's over cast and cool. My main
> concern is about all 5 igniting together. The cameras are ready too. The
> wind dies down and the count is 5 4 3 2 1 and off it goes! The first
flight
> liftoff, is flawless. All 5 light and it lifts straight up on a D12-5 and
4
> C6-0 boosters. Unlike the single D engine that seems to fly like molasses,
> Rocket Babe jumps off the pad without hesitation, with lots of noise and
> smoke, rising to about 200'. All seems to be going great but then, right
at
> burn out of the boosters, the rocket separates early, while it's still
> climbing at a pretty good clip. It looks like it broke in the middle and I
> cringe watching it, praying the chutes will voluntarily open.

> Screaming down in a severe arc, the 3 ounces of lead in the nose seem to
be
> leading us into that predicted fiery crash and burn, as the chute and
sling
> look like a streamer. I'm getting sick as the larger booster tumbles
toward
> the ground but then just as suddenly, my fears subside. The ejection kicks
> out the 2 chutes of the booster, just as the upper stage chute frees
itself
> and
> deploys about 50' off the ground. Both come down intact and for the most
> part undamaged. Only a couple of chute lines on the upper stage have
pulled
> through the plastic. There is a ding or two on the paint but over all,
> Rocket Babe is fine.

> We decide not to fly it again until we can figure out what went wrong and
> hope the video and still photos will tell us. We had a partial success,
> because the new pad and launch system worked fine and the lift off was
> fantastic. Back at home watching a very good and detailed video, it
appears
> that everything was going well until there was a pressure build up from
the
> C6 boosters burning through, causing an early separation. If that is true,
> it's a simple matter of using the same delays on all 5 engines but it will
> be a while before we can try again.

> August 2001... in the mean time, we find out my dad, now 79, has stage 5
> stomach cancer and suddenly, flying isn't so important. He chooses not to
> under go all the radiation and chemo and recovers quickly from the
operation
> to remove the tumor from his stomach. We soon forget about flying all
> together.

> Knowing he has less than 6 months to live and time is short, we prepare as
> best we can for the inevitable. The man responsible for my love of
rocketry
> is not going to be with us much longer.

> He does well until New Years Eve and we decide to take him to launch
Rocket
> Babe again. We set up and prepare to go. It's late afternoon and cold
about
> 40* but the wind is dead calm. I'm concerned he'll catch cold and in his
> weakening state, I don't want a family outing to cause pneumonia. He
insists
> he's fine, cameras are in place and we continue to prepare to launch.
> Finally, as the sun sinks behind the hill and we're running out of
daylight,
> the key goes in and the red light burns brightly, indicating the pad is
hot.
> We're ready to go. He counts it down, 5 4 3 2 1 and pushes the button.
> Rocket Babe responds instantly, and we watch as she burns into the
twilight
> sky. This time we hear the engines shut down but she continues to coast
> upward and then I can hear the 35mm clicking away.

> As she begins to arc, the ejections go in rapid fire and we hear all 5 go.
> The rocket separates and the crimson nylon chutes open with a snap, as we
> watch both sets of chutes float gently to the ground.

...

read more »

 
 
 

Long: Personal story & an Estes Saturn V 3 stage flight report

Post by shockwaverider » Wed, 05 May 2004 03:14:35


excellent story indeed Randy....thanks

maybe you should send a copy to the BATFE, they might finally "get it"

shockie B)


Quote:
> A long flash back.....then a launch report.

> ( I'm not a Homer Hickam but I think he'd enjoy this.)

> On a very hot Saturday afternoon in late July of 1968, I saw my first
> Centuri Saturn V at the local hobby store. I think it was a cluster kit.

> I can remember standing there on a sidewalk that you could have fried an
egg
> on, staring at it through the window with my mouth watering. It Must have
> been around 98* and 100% humidity. I  lived next door to 2 brothers that
> were 3 years older than me, they had been into rockets for about a year
and
> we had gone to pick up a 3 pack of engines for them. They had let me look
> through their dog eared rocket catalog for several days now and I had
> decided I wanted to buy a rocket too.

> I'd seen them fly what I think was an Alpha III the Saturday before, that
I
> thought, must have made it into orbit because I saw it leave the pad but
it
> never came down. The local school playground was only 2 blocks from home
and
> it made a great place to launch. Recovery however, was another matter.
They
> had slapped in a C and we saw it vaporize off the pad and I think I saw it
> start to arc but then I looked right into the sun and it was all over.
Most
> likely it came down a block, or 2, or 10 away, but for all I know, it may
> still be orbiting the equator.

> I couldn't wait to buy my first rocket and blow all the money I had made
> that week cutting grass, on something that was going to make me a part of
> the Space Race. The kit and a 3 pack of engines was over $5.00! That was a
> lot of money to a 12 year old in 1968. It would take a lot more to ever
> afford a Saturn V, something like $20! But I knew someday I would buy and
> build one. I wanted to get 3, one to learn on, one to cluster... maybe 5
> engines, and one to build as a 3 stage. My friends said I was crazy. They
> will just crash and burn and you will have wasted all that time and money.
> It just can't be done.

> They had everything I needed to fly, a pad, controller and most
importantly,
> the expertise to make it all happen. Even though my dad was working for
> NASA, I had little concept at age 12 of how it all worked, much less
> get a model to fly.

> At that time, my dad was working 14-16 hours per day, 7 days per week and
> since we lived in Birmingham Alabama, he was always commuting between
home,
> Huntsville and the Cape, most of it in a small plane and some times in a
> Lear. It didn't leave much time to go flying with me. In that time frame,
I
> only got to see him a few hours a week, usually for church on Sundays.
After
> I was grown, he asked me once, if I resented him for being gone most of
the
> time when I was going through junior high and if I thought going to the
moon
> was worth the time that I didn't have with him? Without hesitation I told
> him yes, I understood they needed him to get there and it was important to
> the country. Even though I knew there were 10's of thousands that worked
to
> see that dream become a reality, I've always known it was MY dad that
> actually got us there. With a little help from Von Braun.  ; )

> I finally built my first rocket, I think it was an Alpha III and got to
fly
> it Labor Day weekend. We went to the school and set up, only to find the
> batteries in the controller were dead. We had no money or any more
batteries
> but then I had an idea. One of my friends stayed there with the equipment
> and the other went with me. Arriving at home and finding everyone gone, I
> borrowed a battery... from my brothers car. I didn't realize they were so
> heavy. My friend and I took turns carrying it the 2 blocks back to the
> playground. By the time we got there our shirts were covered in grease and
> dried battery acid. They weren't sure this battery would work since it was
> for a car but we decided to try anyway.

> We set my little rocket up and did a count down. 5 4 3 2 1 GONE! We were
> astonished to say the least. All the other launches had a brief delay from
0
> to launch, but not this time. It was gone almost before it was there. It
> streaked into the sky on a C and looked like it would go forever. It
arched
> beautifully and had only begun to start down when the chute came out, too
> far away to hear it. Then it drifted.... and drifted ... and drifted
> completely out of sight. It was gone. I was happy and sad at the same
time.
> Like I said, the playground was a great place to launch, not to recover.
It
> probably landed on a nearby roof. I don't remember how their flights went
> that day, just watching my first rocket float away but I was hooked and
have
> been ever since.

> Over time I assembled my own equipment, built and flew many rockets.
Decades
> passed but there was never a time I ever really abandoned the hobby or
> forgot about building a Saturn V, several Saturn V's.  I grew up, went to
> school, got a job, found I liked girls. I liked girls a lot. Finally
married
> one that loved rocketry. Now she builds and flies too.

> 30 years later, 1998, on line, I picked up the last Saturn V Hobby Linc
had
> and carefully build it. Built it stock and flew it on a D12-3! What guts!
> What glory! I had been told a D12-3 was suicide. The wind will rip it to
> shreds. It will crash and burn, everyone will die! All will be lost! It's
> madness! Sheer madness! It did have a close call or two but even with the
> bad delays back in 1999, it's still flying and still looks ok after a
dozen
> flights.

> 2000, Verna picks up 3 Saturn V's from a local hobby shop. A couple for me
> for Christmas and one for a son. In time, we build a second Saturn V, a 5
> engine cluster, later named Rocket Babe and she's a 5 engine cluster. It's
a
> long build in unknown territory but as we from the Civilized Tribe always
> do, "we endeavor to persevere" and it's completed. The painting is a chore
> but it turns out ok.

> Finally we find a few hours to fly and head out to our secret field and
get
> set up. I'm e***d but a little concerned. We've got a whole new launch
> system with a heavy duty pad, leads, control box and 12 volt power source.
> The wind isn't too bad, about 8-9 mph and it's over cast and cool. My main
> concern is about all 5 igniting together. The cameras are ready too. The
> wind dies down and the count is 5 4 3 2 1 and off it goes! The first
flight
> liftoff, is flawless. All 5 light and it lifts straight up on a D12-5 and
4
> C6-0 boosters. Unlike the single D engine that seems to fly like molasses,
> Rocket Babe jumps off the pad without hesitation, with lots of noise and
> smoke, rising to about 200'. All seems to be going great but then, right
at
> burn out of the boosters, the rocket separates early, while it's still
> climbing at a pretty good clip. It looks like it broke in the middle and I
> cringe watching it, praying the chutes will voluntarily open.

> Screaming down in a severe arc, the 3 ounces of lead in the nose seem to
be
> leading us into that predicted fiery crash and burn, as the chute and
sling
> look like a streamer. I'm getting sick as the larger booster tumbles
toward
> the ground but then just as suddenly, my fears subside. The ejection kicks
> out the 2 chutes of the booster, just as the upper stage chute frees
itself
> and
> deploys about 50' off the ground. Both come down intact and for the most
> part undamaged. Only a couple of chute lines on the upper stage have
pulled
> through the plastic. There is a ding or two on the paint but over all,
> Rocket Babe is fine.

> We decide not to fly it again until we can figure out what went wrong and
> hope the video and still photos will tell us. We had a partial success,
> because the new pad and launch system worked fine and the lift off was
> fantastic. Back at home watching a very good and detailed video, it
appears
> that everything was going well until there was a pressure build up from
the
> C6 boosters burning through, causing an early separation. If that is true,
> it's a simple matter of using the same delays on all 5 engines but it will
> be a while before we can try again.

> August 2001... in the mean time, we find out my dad, now 79, has stage 5
> stomach cancer and suddenly, flying isn't so important. He chooses not to
> under go all the radiation and chemo and recovers quickly from the
operation
> to remove the tumor from his stomach. We soon forget about flying all
> together.

> Knowing he has less than 6 months to live and time is short, we prepare as
> best we can for the inevitable. The man responsible for my love of
rocketry
> is not going to be with us much longer.

> He does well until New Years Eve and we decide to take him to launch
Rocket
> Babe again. We set up and prepare to go. It's late afternoon and cold
about
> 40* but the wind is dead calm. I'm concerned he'll catch cold and in his
> weakening state, I don't want a family outing to cause pneumonia. He
insists
> he's fine, cameras are in place and we continue to prepare to launch.
> Finally, as the sun sinks behind the hill and we're running out of
daylight,
> the key goes in and the red light burns brightly, indicating the pad is
hot.
> We're ready to go. He counts it down, 5 4 3 2 1 and pushes the button.
> Rocket Babe responds instantly, and we watch as she burns into the
twilight
> sky. This time we hear the engines shut down but she continues to coast
> upward and then I can hear the 35mm clicking away.

> As she begins to arc, the ejections go in rapid fire and we hear all 5 go.
> The rocket separates and the crimson nylon chutes open with a snap, as we
> watch both sets of chutes float gently to the ground. Rocket Babe IS a
> success. Everyone is jumping up and down and the look on my dad's face was
> priceless. I asked how he liked that and he just

...

read more »

 
 
 

Long: Personal story & an Estes Saturn V 3 stage flight report

Post by Mark A Palme » Wed, 05 May 2004 04:49:00


Outstanding!!!! Great story...this is the reason most of us are here!

Mark  A Palmer
TRA 08542   L3

 
 
 

Long: Personal story & an Estes Saturn V 3 stage flight report

Post by defaul » Wed, 05 May 2004 05:37:31


Indeed, Randy, great story.  Thanks for taking time to write it.  You and i are nearly the
same age.  I too, in 1968, was watching the older neighborhood boys launch a rocket.  Drew
built a cluster Sat V, or maybe a 1B I'm not sure.  It looked far too complex for me.  I
had an Alpha, V2, a small two stager, a Bertha and a Streak.  Ours came mail order through
a school teacher.  I still launch models today, in between more ambitious projects, and
have quite a stash of kits to build "when I get old".

steve

 
 
 

Long: Personal story & an Estes Saturn V 3 stage flight report

Post by Andy » Wed, 05 May 2004 15:06:18


Quote:

> A long flash back.....then a launch report.

Nice story...   My wife would *never* buy me a Saturn V kit...

Quick question...  Remember Sue McMurray always lecturing us on playing good
music when constructing a ship?  Something about the ship taking on a
persona as it's being crafted?  You weren't by chance raising Bad Girl on
Ozark Mountain Daredevils, were you?  :-)

Best,
Andy