This is a story of one of my misguided rocketry projects from when
I was in High School. It was just begging to be tried!
The Estes Porta-Pad has three legs which almost, kinda, sorta
look like fins, and the central body is just about right for a
I installed a mount and replaced the launch rod swivel with a
tiny, inadequate compartment for an 18" 'chute. The blast
deflector was replaced with cardboard painted to look like
a real one, with black char on it. Since the height of the
deflector was not raised, there was no room for a proper
parachute/wadding system. Maybe rear ejection would have been better,
but I couldn't figure out how to do it at the time.
The model made several very stable and impressive flights,
going about 100 feet into the air. It rates as one of the
coolest rockets I've flown. With each flight I tried a new
way of protecting the parachute, but none of the methods that
work in longer rockets were effective that close to the engine.
Plans for a two-stage version, using an Alpha as the upper stage,
were never realized. Would've been neat, though.
Spectators watch as the little Alpha is prepared for launch.
The countdown: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Then suddenly the whole f**king launch
pad screams into the air!
Maybe the Alpha could be a dummy which would hold a parachute
for the rest of the system. A parachute is definitely needed
for safety with a model of this weight, but the model itself
always survived when landing on deep grass.
Nathan "If it's heavy enough it'll fly fine" Chronister